SOUNDS LIKE DIRECTV'S BIG SATELLITE IS ABOUT TO BLOW - DirecTV has asked for special permission to move a satellite it says is likely to explode in about a month, The Verge reports. The SPACEWAY-1 is part of parent company AT&T’s satellite TV fleet, launched in 2005 as part of a major satellite TV boom. In an FCC filing, DirecTV says an “anomaly” (the company doesn’t elaborate) in December burned up some of the battery packs, leaving them structurally damaged.
Satellites like SPACEWAY-1 have solar panels that power them for much of the year, and battery power for the brief time during each orbit when they’re in shadow. More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Jan 25)
FOUR NEW US SPACESHIPS MAY START LAUNCHING PEOPLE INTO SPACE THIS YEAR - It looks like the United States' long human spaceflight drought is about to end, in a big way.
No astronauts have launched to orbit from American soil since July 2011, when NASA's space shuttle fleet was retired. Ever since, the nation has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to get crewmembers to and from the International Space Station (ISS). More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 25)
PROTOTYPES FOR NEW CHINESE CREW CAPSULE AND SPACE STATION ARRIVE AT LAUNCH SITE - The next flight of China’s heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket will debut a new configuration designed to launch modules for a Chinese space station. But a demonstration launch of the Long March 5B booster scheduled as soon as April will instead carry a prototype of China’s next-generation deep space crew capsule into orbit on an unpiloted test flight. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 25)
ARISS OPENS WINDOW FOR ISS HAM RADIO CONTACT PROPOSALS ON FEBRUARY 1 - Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is once again seeking formal and informal education institutions and organizations — individually or working together — interested in hosting an amateur radio contact with an International Space Station (ISS) crew member. A window to accept proposals will open on February 1 for contacts that would be scheduled between January and June 2021. More
(Source: ARRL - Jan 25)
CHINA READIES ITS NEW DEEP-SPACE CREW CAPSULE FOR 1ST TEST FLIGHT - A Chinese next-generation spacecraft for taking astronauts to low Earth orbit and beyond has arrived at a coastal spaceport in preparation for a test flight.
The new spacecraft is designed boost China's capabilities in sending humans into orbit, reduce costs through partial reusability, and allow astronauts to survive the radiation environment and higher-speed reentries of deep-space missions.
(Source: Space.com - Jan 24)
THE US WILL LAUNCH ITS NEXT SPY SATELLITE FROM NEW ZEALAND - The National Reconnaissance Office’s first satellite launch of 2020 will take place in New Zealand, with the agency taking advantage of a new contract vehicle designed to leverage growing commercial small satellite launch capabilities.
Rocket Lab, a Los Angeles-based company, announced Jan. 20 it had been selected by the NRO to launch the agency’s first satellite of 2020—NROL-151.
(Source: C4ISRNet - Jan 24)
SECOND SPACE DATA HIGHWAY SATELLITE SET TO BEAM - The second satellite in the European Data Relay System has reached its intended orbit and completed its in-orbit tests.
Dubbed the "SpaceDataHighway" by its commercial operator Airbus, EDRS uses innovative laser technology to enable Earth-observation satellites to deliver their information to users on the ground in near real-time, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products. More
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 24)
SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY TO START BUILDING ITS FIRST CONSTELLATION OF SURVEILLANCE SATELLITES - The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency is soliciting pitches for technologies that will be used to build a network of satellites in low Earth orbit that would help the military find targets on the ground and track enemy missiles in flight.
By late 2022, the agency wants to have several dozen satellites in orbit “to show that we can operate a proliferated constellation and that the constellation can talk to weapon systems,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said Jan. 21 at a Pentagon news conference. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 23)
NORTHROP GRUMMAN NAMES CYGNUS SPACECRAFT FOR FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT - The first African American to be selected as an astronaut is being remembered with the naming of a space station cargo capsule set to launch during Black History Month.
The 13th Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft has been christened for Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., who in 1967 was chosen for the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 23)
PENTAGON WANTS TO BUILD ONE SATELLITE PER WEEK - One satellite per week. That’s what the Pentagon wants industry to provide under its plans to orbit seven new constellations — each with a different function — by the end of 2020.
The satellites would be smaller (“a few hundred kilograms”), cheaper (about $10 million each), and shorter-lived (about five years) than today’s typical military satellites, which can weigh tons and consume billions of dollars but which are expected to operate for decades. More
(Source: Defense One - Jan 22)
LAUNCHERS GET READY FOR THE SMALL SATELLITE GOLD RUSH - Just five years ago, small satellite operators would say “yes” to any possibility to get into orbit at a reasonable price, says Stephen Eisele, vice president of Business Development at Virgin Orbit. But times are changing, and with the small satellite market growing exponentially, the operators are increasingly aware of their significance for the launch providers and expect more.
Where cost used to be the single decisive factor, the requirements to get into orbit on time and into a specific orbit are becoming more important. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 22)
NRO, THE U.S. SPY SATELLITE AGENCY, PREPS FOR FIRST DEDICATED LAUNCH FROM FOREIGN SOIL - Rocket Lab’s first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the U.S. government’s fleet of intelligence-gathering satellites, is scheduled to launch from New Zealand as soon as Jan. 30 (U.S. time), officials announced Monday. With rare exceptions, information about the NRO’s payloads is typically classified. The spy satellite agency and Rocket Lab released no details about the payload set to fly into orbit on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket later this month. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 22)
SPACEX GEARS UP FOR NEXT STARLINK SATELLITE MEGACONSTELLATION LAUNCH WITH ROCKET TEST - SpaceX has fired up the rocket booster that will ferry the company's fourth batch of Starlink satellites into space. Just over 24 hours after SpaceX aced an in-flight abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, the company conducted a static-fire test of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the company said on Twitter. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 22)
SPACE STATION PROTOTYPES SHIPPED TO LAUNCH CENTER - Two major prototypes in China's manned space station program have been transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province for prelaunch preparations, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The agency said in a statement on Monday that the arrival of the prototypes of the Chinese space station's core module and the country's new-generation manned spacecraft at the launch center meant that the construction project of the space station will soon begin. More
(Source: ecns - Jan 22)
IRAN SAYS IT IS PREPARING FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH - Iran said Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation's space center for eventual launch, without elaborating.
Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted about the development, calling it an “important research step.” More
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 20)
SPACEX ACES FINAL MAJOR TEST BEFORE FIRST CREW MISSION - SpaceX performed a dramatic high-altitude test flight Sunday of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule over Florida’s Space Coast, testing the human-rated ship’s ability to escape a rocket failure and save its crew before two NASA astronauts strap in for a flight to the International Space Station as soon as this spring.
The unusual test flight included an intentional failure of the Crew Dragon’s Falcon 9 rocket about a minute-and-a-half after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 20)
EUTELSAT CONFIRMS SOLAR RAY LOST ON EUTELSAT 5 WEST B - After an investigation into a malfunction on one of EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite’s solar rays, Eutelsat confirmed Friday that the satellite’s South solar array has been lost. The attendant power loss means only 45% of the capacity of the satellite can be operated. With the exception of the South solar array, the satellite performance remains nominal. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 19)
EUTELSAT KONNECT SATELLITE NOW IN ORBIT - Eutelsat Konnect telecommunications satellite has been successfully launched by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center. Eutelsat Konnect was built by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), acting as prime contractor for Eutelsat Communications.
From geostationary orbit, this satellite will provide large-scale coverage of highspeed internet markets across Africa and Europe. More
(Source: SatelliteProME.com - Jan 19)
SPACEX DELAYS CREW DRAGON ABORT TEST LAUNCH TO SUNDAY DUE TO BAD WEATHER - SpaceX postponed a critical launch escape test of its Crew Dragon astronaut taxi today (Jan. 18) due to bad weather at the mission’s launch site. The next attempt will be on Sunday, the company said.
The California-based spaceflight company was scheduled to launch its unpiloted Crew Dragon spacecraft on a used Falcon 9 rocket at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) today from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, bad weather at the launch site, coupled with rough seas at Crew Dragon's recovery zone in the Atlantic Ocean, prompted the delay. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 18)