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ROCKET LAB'S 1ST LAUNCH OF 2020 IS FOR THE NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE, THE US SPYSAT AGENCY - The private small-satellite launch company Rocket Lab will fly its first mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) next week, kicking off a busy 2020 that also includes plans for a new launchpad and larger headquarters.
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SATELLITE NEWS

ARIANE 5 DEPLOYS COMMUNICATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING SATELLITES ARIANE 5 DEPLOYS COMMUNICATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING SATELLITES - A Japanese-owned communications satellite built in Colorado and a South Korean environmental monitoring observatory shared an Ariane 5 rocket ride into orbit Tuesday from the South American jungle. The heavyweight duo rocketed away from a launch pad in French Guiana at 5:18 p.m. EST (2218 GMT; 7:18 p.m. French Guiana time) Tuesday after a smooth countdown, beginning Arianespace’s third mission of the year.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 19)


2 RUSSIAN SATELLITES TAILING US SPY SATELLITE: WASHINGTON 2 RUSSIAN SATELLITES TAILING US SPY SATELLITE: WASHINGTON - Washington has accused two Russian satellites of tailing a US spy satellite in what it called "disturbing behavior", prompting a guarded response from Moscow on Tuesday. Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that he had received a message from Washington regarding the satellites, adding that "Moscow will respond after studying it."   More
(Source: Voice of America - Feb 19)


COULD HACKERS TURN SATELLITES INTO WEAPONS? COULD HACKERS TURN SATELLITES INTO WEAPONS? - Hackers could shut down satellites and potentially turn them into weapons, an expert warns. According to William Akoto, a scholar who studies cyber conflict, hackers taking control of the satellites orbiting Earth could have dire consequences. “On the mundane end of scale, hackers could simply shut satellites down, denying access to their services. Hackers could also jam or spoof the signals from satellites, creating havoc for critical infrastructure,” Akoto wrote for Space.com.    More
(Source: New York Post - Feb 19)


SPACEX WILL FLY SPACE TOURISTS ON CREW DRAGON FOR SPACE ADVENTURES SPACEX WILL FLY SPACE TOURISTS ON CREW DRAGON FOR SPACE ADVENTURES - SpaceX just inked its first deal to launch space tourists into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft. The private spaceflight company founded by billionaire Elon Musk has signed an agreement with the U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures to launch up to four passengers on an orbital trip aboard a Crew Dragon space capsule. The mission would last up to five days and could launch as early as late 2021, Space Adventures representatives told Space.com.   More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 19)


CYGNUS FREIGHTER DELIVERS NEW BRITISH-MADE ANTENNA TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CYGNUS FREIGHTER DELIVERS NEW BRITISH-MADE ANTENNA TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A commercial Cygnus cargo freighter arrived at the International Space Station Tuesday two-and-a-half days after launching from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, delivering a new British-made high-speed communications antenna and more than 7,000 pounds of other experiments and equipment. Astronaut Drew Morgan, working at a control station aboard the space station, used the research outposts’s Canadian-built robotic arm to capture the Cygnus spacecraft at 4:05 a.m. EST (0905 GMT) Tuesday while the cargo freighter hovered less than 40 feet (12 meters) below the complex.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 19)


NEW SATELLITE MADE FROM CORK COULD HELP SMALLER SPACECRAFT RE-ENTER EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE INTACT BY DIRECTING HEAT TOWARD PARTS OF THE HULL DESIGNED TO BURN UP AND FLAKE AWAY NEW SATELLITE MADE FROM CORK COULD HELP SMALLER SPACECRAFT RE-ENTER EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE INTACT BY DIRECTING HEAT TOWARD PARTS OF THE HULL DESIGNED TO BURN UP AND FLAKE AWAY - This week the European Space Agency will begin testing a new kind of spacecraft partially made from cork in the hopes of finding a safer way to re-enter the atmosphere. Called ‘QubeSat for Aerothermodynamic Research and Measurements on Ablation,’ the vessel is made up of a series of cubes stacked on top of each other and measures around a foot in height.   More
(Source: Daily Mail - Feb 18)


SPACE COMPANIES ARE RACING TO BEAM WEB ACCESS TO THE ENTIRE PLANET. BUT ‘SPACE JUNK’ IS A BIG WORRY SPACE COMPANIES ARE RACING TO BEAM WEB ACCESS TO THE ENTIRE PLANET. BUT ‘SPACE JUNK’ IS A BIG WORRY - Space companies, from Elon Musk’s SpaceX to start-up OneWeb, are racing to launch satellites into space with the aim of creating global internet coverage on Earth. But there’s one big problem, experts say — the creation and threat from so-called “space junk.” This debris floating in space could interfere with future space missions and satellite launches — and even send objects hurtling back to Earth.   More
(Source: CNBC - Feb 18)


SPACEX LAUNCHES 60 STARLINK SATELLITES FOR NEW MEGACONSTELLATION, MISSES ROCKET LANDING SPACEX LAUNCHES 60 STARLINK SATELLITES FOR NEW MEGACONSTELLATION, MISSES ROCKET LANDING - SpaceX successfully launched another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit Monday (Feb. 17), but missed a milestone rocket landing on what was the company's fourth flight of the year. Smoked billowed and flames erupted as the sooty Falcon 9 roared to life at 10:05 a.m. EST (1505 GMT), lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here in Florida.    More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 17)


COULD DRONES LAUNCH SATELLITES INTO SPACE BY CRACKING ONE GIANT WHIP? COULD DRONES LAUNCH SATELLITES INTO SPACE BY CRACKING ONE GIANT WHIP? - Of all the ways we’ve found to sling stuff into space, a patented method that combines cutting-edge drone technology with good old-fashioned physics — the kind that even Indiana Jones would probably admire — may be the wildest one we’ve seen yet. As first reported by GeekWire, Amazon has patented a satellite-launching process that, while untested at full scale, aims to summon the power of wave motion to catapult a payload into orbit...    More
(Source: SYFY WIRE - Feb 17)


CHINA QUIETLY ROLLS OUT NEW ROCKET TO LAUNCH MYSTERY SATELLITE CHINA QUIETLY ROLLS OUT NEW ROCKET TO LAUNCH MYSTERY SATELLITE - China has quietly rolled out a new Long March 7A rocket at a coastal launch site in preparation for launch of a ‘technology verification satellite’. Official acknowledgement of an mission involving the new launcher came on Feb. 12 (Chinese), but with no indication of its timeline. However images shared by Chinese space program watchers in China suggest the Long March 7A has already been rolled out to its launch pad at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 17)


NEXT GPS SATELLITE LANDS IN FLORIDA FOR APRIL LAUNCH NEXT GPS SATELLITE LANDS IN FLORIDA FOR APRIL LAUNCH - The U.S. Space Force’s third new-generation GPS 3-series navigation satellite has arrived in Florida for final processing and fueling ahead of a launch currently targeted for April 29 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The GPS 3 SV03 spacecraft landed Feb. 5 at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida, after a ride aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, near the satellite’s Denver-area Lockheed Martin factory.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 17)


SPACEX TEST-FIRES FALCON 9 ROCKET; STARLINK LAUNCH DELAYED TO MONDAY SPACEX TEST-FIRES FALCON 9 ROCKET; STARLINK LAUNCH DELAYED TO MONDAY - SpaceX test-fired its next Falcon 9 rocket Friday ahead of a planned launch Monday from Cape Canaveral with 60 more Starlink Internet satellites, days after an international group sounded another warning about the effects of large satellite fleets on astronomy. The hold-down firing Friday at Cape Canaveral signaled a milestone in SpaceX’s preparations for the next Starlink launch Monday. That represents a two-day delay from the mission’s first public target launch date. The mission was delayed to Sunday due to poor weather in the Falcon 9’s first stage recovery zone in the Atlantic Ocean.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 16)


SPACEX CREW DRAGON ARRIVES AT LAUNCH SITE FOR THE 1ST ORBITAL CREW FLIGHT FROM US SOIL SINCE 2011 SPACEX CREW DRAGON ARRIVES AT LAUNCH SITE FOR THE 1ST ORBITAL CREW FLIGHT FROM US SOIL SINCE 2011 - The spacecraft that will fly SpaceX's first-ever crewed mission has made it to Florida. A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule arrived on Florida's Space Coast on Thursday (Feb. 13), NASA officials said, completing a cross-country trek from the company's California headquarters. "The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," NASA officials said in an update.   More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 16)


ANTARES ROCKET LIFTS OFF FROM VIRGINIA ON SPACE STATION CARGO MISSION ANTARES ROCKET LIFTS OFF FROM VIRGINIA ON SPACE STATION CARGO MISSION - A twin-engine Northrop Grumman Antares rocket climbed into orbit Saturday from Virginia’s Eastern Shore carrying a Cygnus supply ship bound for the International Space Station with a compact electron microscope, a flame combustion experiment, a range of biological investigations, fresh cheese, fruit and vegetables for the research lab’s three-person crew. The 139-foot-tall (42.5-meter) Antares launcher lifted off from pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at 3:21:04 p.m. EST (2021:04 GMT) Saturday after Northrop Grumman scrubbed two previous launch attempts due to an issue with ground support equipment and unfavorable winds aloft.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 16)


NORTHROP GRUMMAN AIMS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY LAUNCH OF NASA CARGO ON CYGNUS SPACECRAFT NORTHROP GRUMMAN AIMS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY LAUNCH OF NASA CARGO ON CYGNUS SPACECRAFT - Northrop Grumman is now aiming for a Valentine's Day launch of its next Cygnus cargo ship filled with NASA supplies bound for the International Space Station. The resupply mission, which has been delayed since Sunday (Feb. 9), is now scheduled to launch an Antares rocket and uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft on Friday (Feb. 14) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. Liftoff is set for 3:43 p.m. EST (2043 GMT).    More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 14)


NORTHROP GRUMMAN TO DEVELOP JAM-RESISTANT PAYLOAD FOR U.S. MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES NORTHROP GRUMMAN TO DEVELOP JAM-RESISTANT PAYLOAD FOR U.S. MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES - Northrop Grumman was awarded a $253.5 million contract by the U.S. Space Force to develop a cyber-secure communications payload that could be deployed on a military or commercial satellite. The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center announced Feb. 12 that Northrop Grumman was the first vendor selected to build a prototype payload under the Protected Tactical Satellite Communications (PTS) program that the U.S. Air Force started in 2018.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 14)


WEEKEND PLANS? TRY SPACEX'S NEXT STARLINK LAUNCH FROM CAPE CANAVERAL WEEKEND PLANS? TRY SPACEX'S NEXT STARLINK LAUNCH FROM CAPE CANAVERAL - The window for SpaceX's next launch from Cape Canaveral, slated for Saturday, should embody wintertime Florida: nearly 70 degrees, a healthy breeze, and the possibility of offshore showers. And unlike many late-night or early morning missions, the 10:47 a.m. liftoff from Launch Complex 40 is ideal for Space Coast visitors and residents to catch a glimpse of the 230-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket. Air Force weather forecasters are anticipating 70% "go" conditions.   More
(Source: Florida Today - Feb 14)


ASTRONOMERS HAVE SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS ASTRONOMERS HAVE SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS - Picture the space around Earth filled with tens of thousands of communications satellites. That scenario is slowly coming into being, and it has astronomers concerned. Now, a group of astronomers has written a paper outlining detailed concerns, and how all of these satellites could have a severe, negative impact on ground-based astronomy. SpaceX and other companies are casting their keen capitalist eyes on the space around Earth. SpaceX and OneWeb are the only companies to launch any portion of their satellite constellations so far.    More
(Source: Phys.org - Feb 13)


NASA CONFIRMS CREW DRAGON ALMOST READY, MOSTLY PAPERWORK LEFT NASA CONFIRMS CREW DRAGON ALMOST READY, MOSTLY PAPERWORK LEFT - NASA and SpaceX are closing in on the first launch of humans into orbit from US soil since 2011, when the space shuttle made its final flight. Although the space agency has not yet said so publicly, NASA is working toward a May 7 launch of a Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. Asked Monday about the early May launch date, the director of Johnson Space Center, Mark Geyer, said it is tentative and that no final decisions have been made.   More
(Source: Ars Technica - Feb 12)


LOCKHEED MARTIN DELIVERS NEW GPS SATELLITE SCHEDULED FOR APRIL LAUNCH ABOARD FALCON 9 LOCKHEED MARTIN DELIVERS NEW GPS SATELLITE SCHEDULED FOR APRIL LAUNCH ABOARD FALCON 9 - The third satellite of the GPS 3 constellation arrived Feb. 5 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, where it will undergo final testing and checkout before its scheduled launch in April aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The GPS 3 satellite was flown from Lockheed Martin’s assembly line in Colorado aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft.    More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 11)

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