WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FLY A BILLION-DOLLAR SATELLITE ON THE US AIR FORCE’S LARGEST PLANE - The California heat is stifling as we climb the 14-foot ladder into the passenger compartment of the C-5 Galaxy, the largest plane flown by the US Air Force. I had been told to expect a cold flight, and wore four layers of clothing. Now, sweat drips down my face. Everyone wears ear protection to drown out the engulfing noise of the four van-size jet engines hanging from the wings. A passing airman’s backpack bears a patch with the slogan “Embrace the Suck.” Good advice.
This flight is not built to suit passengers. Below, in the belly of the aircraft, sits 35 tons (32 metric tons) of equipment—an ultra-secure military communications satellite... More
(Source: Quartz - Aug 14)
HEAVENS TO SHINE WITH NEW ‘STAR’ AS FIRST SPACE SCULPTURE PREPARES FOR LAUNCH - Look up into the night sky towards the end of October and you may catch sight of a brand new ‘star’ twinkling in the cosmos.
The tiny speck of light is not the offspring of a seething nebula, but the world’s first space sculpture, which will orbit the Earth for three weeks this autumn.
The length of a football field, and the shape of an elongated diamond, the ‘Orbital Reflector’ artwork is the brainchild of US artist Trevor Paglen and will be launched on board on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. More
(Source: Telegraph.co.uk - Aug 13)
SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS OF THE EARTH'S MAGNETOSPHERE PROMISE BETTER SPACE WEATHER FORECASTS - Earth is constantly being hammered by charged particles emitted by the sun with enough power to make life on Earth almost impossible. Life is only possible because Earth's magnetic field traps and deflects these particles, preventing the vast majority of them from ever reaching the planet's surface. The trapped particles bounce back and forth between the North and South poles in complex, ever-changing patterns that are also influenced by intricate and shifting electric fields. When the Van Allen radiation belts in which they travel dip into the atmosphere near the poles, they create the Northern (and Southern) lights. Bursts of these particles can also damage satellites and sensitive equipment on the ground.
(Source: Phys.org - Aug 13)
CHINA’S ‘HEAVENLY PALACE’ SPACE STATION TO BE LAUNCHED IN 2022 - China’s space station, the Tiangong, which means ‘heavenly palace’, is going to be launched in 2022 and expected to stand up to the same standards as the International Space Station in addition to welcoming foreign astronauts.
The Tiangong will be larger than the Russian Mir and will consist of a core module and two laboratory cabins, the latter which will have pressurized environments which will allow the astronauts to conduct free-fall and microgravity experiments. More
(Source: TechTheLead - Aug 12)
ON 'MISSION TO TOUCH THE SUN,' PARKER SOLAR PROBE HAS LAUNCHED - umanity's first visit to a star began this weekend. NASA's Parker Solar Probe will explore the sun's atmosphere in a mission that launched early Sunday. This is the agency's first mission to the sun and its outermost atmosphere, the corona.
After being delayed on Saturday, the probe successfully launched at 3:31 a.m. ET Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, one of the world's most powerful rockets.
Although the probe itself is about the size of a car, a powerful rocket is needed to escape Earth's orbit, change direction and reach the sun. More
(Source: CNN - Aug 12)
A NEW WAVE OF SATELLITES IN ORBIT: CHEAP AND TINY, WITH SHORT LIFESPANS - It’s one of the most recognizable images in aerospace: Highly specialized workers clad in gowns, hair nets and shoe coverings crawl over a one-of-a-kind satellite the size of a school bus. The months-long process is so delicate that even workers’ metal rings must be covered with a translucent tape to prevent static transfer.
Contrast that with how things are done at Planet Labs Inc. in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. More
(Source: Los Angeles Times - Aug 9)
INDONESIAN COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE DEPLOYED IN ORBIT BY SPACEX - Keeping up a run of middle-of-the-night launches from Cape Canaveral, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket powered by a recycled first stage booster climbed into orbit early Tuesday with the Indonesian Merah Putih communications satellite. The Falcon 9’s first stage dropped out of the night sky a few minutes later over the Atlantic Ocean, descending to a pinpoint landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love” parked a few hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 8)
GOT IDEAS FOR AN AGING SPACE STATION? NASA WANTS TO HEAR THEM - For 18 years, the International Space Station, the orbiting zenith of global scientific cooperation, has hosted a continuous human presence and thousands of science experiments in its microgravity environment. But the $100 billion laboratory won’t last forever and President Donald Trump’s proposal to withdraw federal funding in 2025 has jolted a discussion about its future.
The idea of ending the U.S. taxpayer’s role—the station costs more than $3 billion annually in a partnership with Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan—has stirred congressional opposition. It also raises a perplexing question: Who might run the place if the U.S. government doesn’t? More
(Source: Bloomberg - Aug 7)
LATER THIS YEAR, A SPACEX FALCON 9 ROCKET WILL LAUNCH ITS BIGGEST BATCH OF SATELLITES YET - Later this year, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch more than 70 satellites into orbit — the largest batch of satellites sent into space at one time from one of the company’s vehicles or of any other US rocket company. Dubbed the SSO-A mission, the flight is scheduled to take off from Vandenberg Air Force in California in late 2018, though an exact date has yet to be determined.
The epic satellite rideshare was coordinated and brokered by Spaceflight Industries — a company dedicated to finding launch “real estate” for small satellites that need to get into space. More
(Source: The Verge - Aug 7)
THE AIR FORCE’S NEXT COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE ARRIVES IN FLORIDA - Lockheed Martin announced the successful delivery of its fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, according to an Aug. 6 press release.
The highly protected communication satellite, known as AEHF-4, is set to launch into orbit on an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in October.
(Source: C4ISRNet - Aug 7)
MERAH PUTIH POISED TO BRING SPACEX’S LAUNCH TEMPO TO ALMOST TWO PER MONTH
- SpaceX is planning to launch its fifteenth mission of the year on Tuesday, Aug. 7. As has been the case with several of the flights successfully carried out in 2018, this week’s planned launch is set to send a communications satellite to orbit.
The payload for this flight is the Merah Putih geostationary communications satellite. Formerly known as Telkom-4, it was constructed by SSL. Upon reaching orbit and after its various systems have been checked, PT Telkomunikasi will manage the satellite’s operations. PT Telkomunikasi is the largest telecommunication and network provider in Indonesia. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Aug 6)
HOW SMALL SATELLITES TACKLE BIG CHALLENGES, FROM ORBITAL MANUFACTURING TO EXOPLANETS - No one has ever built a satellite in space, but thanks in part to a team of students from Idaho, that could soon change.
Other teams are building miniaturized satellites to look for missing sources of mass around our Milky Way galaxy, or find out how much deadly ultraviolet radiation hits alien planets, or zoom past Mars and track a bigger spacecraft as it descends to the Red Planet’s surface.
Those are just a few of the science experiments detailed over the weekend here at the AIAA / Utah State University Conference on Small Satellites, better known as SmallSat. More
(Source: GeekWire - Aug 6)
COMMERCIAL CREW ASTRONAUTS PREPARE FOR LAUNCH — WHAT WILL THEY WEAR? - SpaceX and Boeing are working to launch commercial crewed vehicles into space — so what will the astronauts wear?
As part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX and Boeing will fly crewed test flights in 2019, according to new schedule changes. These flights will follow uncrewed test flights that are scheduled for late 2018. Today (Aug. 3), NASA announced the astronauts who will make up the first commercial crew for these missions.
It will be exciting to follow the journey of these astronauts, from their training to their launch to the International Space Station. But what will they wear on their epic journey into orbit? More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 6)
NASA TO LAUNCH WORLD'S LIGHTEST SATELLITE THIS MONTH, MADE BY CHENNAI STUDENTS - our engineering students from Chennai have built the world’s lightest satellite, due to launch from a NASA facility in the US later this month.
If successful, the experiment may help in a better understanding and research about the environment of outer space.
A brainchild of the four-man team of engineering students from Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science, Chennai, it isn't just tiny in size (at 4 cm wide) but cost them as little as Rs 15,000 to build.
They're calling it ‘Jaihind-1S’. More
(Source: Firstpost - Aug 4)
SENATE PANEL EXTENDS LIFE OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TO 2030 - A Senate panel approved key reforms Wednesday that will extend the ability for private companies to operate on the International Space Station until 2030.
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees U.S. space programs, approved the bipartisan Space Frontier Act, sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), which will streamline "regulations companies have to follow when it comes to launching, reentering or observing Earth from space," according to a joint statement by the committee. More
(Source: WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando - Aug 3)
STUDENTS CHAT WITH ASTRONAUT ABOARD SPACE STATION - High school students in Virginia got to learn Thursday about the challenges of life in microgravity directly from an American astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
During a 20-minute video chat, Drew Feustel discussed the challenges of sleeping, showering and even thinking — it's called "space brain" — aboard the orbiting facility.
And yet his dreams have been pretty normal, he said when questioned about that by a student. More
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Aug 3)
UK COULD DEVELOP INDEPENDENT SATELLITE SYSTEM AFTER LEAVING EU – PROFESSOR - The Guardian has reported that the UK law enforcement and military will continue to access the encrypted signal of the Galileo satellite system post-Brexit.
According to the sources, the EU chief Brexit negotiator is contemplating an offer to the UK that will give London an advantage over the use of the encrypted service compared to other third-party nations. More
(Source: Sputnik International - Aug 2)
CHINA LAUNCHES HIGH-RESOLUTION EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE TO MONITOR BRI
- China today successfully launched an optical remote sensing satellite, as part of its high-resolution Earth observation project which will also provide data for the Belt and Road Initiative, official media reported. The Gaofen-11 satellite was launched on a Long March 4B rocket at 11 am (local time) from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
It was the 282nd flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.
(Source: Economic Times - Aug 1)
WILDFIRE SMOKE BLANKETS CALIFORNIA IN SATELLITE PHOTO - A dramatic new satellite photo shows the destructive reach of the wildfires raging across California.
The image, which was captured Sunday (July 29) by NASA's Earth-observing Aqua satellite, depicts smoke blanketing much of the Golden State and spreading as far east as Salt Lake City.
Much of that smoke is coming from the Carr Fire, a dangerous and fast-moving blaze centered near the Northern California city of Redding. As of Monday morning (July 30), the Carr Fire had scorched nearly 100,000 acres (40,500 hectares) and was just 20 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 1)