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SPACE JUNK: ASTRONOMERS WORRY AS PRIVATE COMPANIES PUSH AHEAD WITH SATELLITE LAUNCHES - Since the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, the lower orbit around the Earth has become an increasingly congested environment.
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SATELLITE NEWS

U.S. SATELLITES INCREASINGLY VULNERABLE TO CHINA’S GROUND-BASED LASERS U.S. SATELLITES INCREASINGLY VULNERABLE TO CHINA’S GROUND-BASED LASERS - The Defense Intelligence Agency warned in January 2019 that China likely will field in 2020 a ground-based laser weapon that can counter low-orbit space-based sensors. By the mid-to-late 2020s it may field higher power systems that could damage the structures of non-optical satellites. How real is the threat? Analysts have already identified five Chinese laser bases.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 11)


NEW CHINESE SATELLITE LAUNCHER FAILS ON FIRST FLIGHT NEW CHINESE SATELLITE LAUNCHER FAILS ON FIRST FLIGHT - The first flight of the new Chinese Kuaizhou 11 solid-fueled rocket failed to place two small satellites into orbit Friday, and Chinese state media said the cause of the malfunction is under investigation. The Kuaizhou 11 launcher fired away from a launch site at the Jiuquan space center in the Gobi Desert of northwestern China at 0417 GMT (12:17 a.m. EDT; 12:17 p.m. Beijing time).   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 11)


HIGH-THROUGHPUT COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE LAUNCHED FROM CHINA HIGH-THROUGHPUT COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE LAUNCHED FROM CHINA - A high-power broadband communications satellite designed to provide Internet access to airliner passengers, cruise ships, fishing vessels, and other mobile users successfully launched Thursday aboard a Chinese Long March 3B rocket. The 12,235-pound (5,550-kilogram) Apstar 6D communications satellite lifted off at 1211 GMT (8:11 a.m. EDT; 8:11 p.m. Beijing time) Thursday from the Xichang space launch facility, located in Sichuan province in southwestern China.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 10)


VANGUARD 1: EARTH’S OLDEST ARTIFICIAL SATELLITE THAT'S STILL IN ORBIT VANGUARD 1: EARTH’S OLDEST ARTIFICIAL SATELLITE THAT'S STILL IN ORBIT - Today, there are more than 2,600 active satellites in orbit, as well as thousands of dead satellites that circle the planet as space junk. But plummeting rocket prices and a revolution in small electronics are now fueling a commercial space rush, with companies combining to launch hundreds of additional satellites into orbit every year. Just one of those companies, SpaceX, has plans to launch tens of thousands more satellites as part of its controversial Starlink constellation, which aims to provide space-based internet to the world.   More
(Source: Astronomy Magazine - Jul 10)


SPACEX RESCHEDULES SATELLITE LAUNCH FOR SATURDAY SPACEX RESCHEDULES SATELLITE LAUNCH FOR SATURDAY - Hawthorne-based SpaceX will try again Saturday to launch its twice-delayed mission to deploy nearly 60 satellites into orbit. The launch of the Starlink satellites was originally scheduled for June 26 from Cape Canaveral in Florida but was scrubbed at the last minute to allow for more pre-flight equipment checks. SpaceX tried again Wednesday morning, but that launch had to be canceled due to bad weather. The company announced Thursday that the launch has now been rescheduled for 7:54 a.m. California time Saturday.   More
(Source: The Daily Breeze - Jul 10)


VEGA ROCKET'S 53-SATELLITE LAUNCH DELAYED TO AUGUST VEGA ROCKET'S 53-SATELLITE LAUNCH DELAYED TO AUGUST - 'Exceptionally unfavorable winds' at high altitudes are blamed for once again pushing back the launch of 53 satellites on a European Vega rocket. The rideshare mission, called the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) proof-of-concept flight, is now scheduled to launch on Aug. 17 — the latest in a series of delays this year.   More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 10)


RUSSIAN CARGO SHIP LEAVES, CREW TESTS DRAGON’S COMFORT FACTORS RUSSIAN CARGO SHIP LEAVES, CREW TESTS DRAGON’S COMFORT FACTORS - Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft departed the International Space Station today leaving four spaceships from the U.S., Russia and Japan parked at the orbital lab. It will be replaced in two weeks when the Progress 76 arrives to replenish the crew. The 74P undocked today at 2:23 p.m. EDT after seven months attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-packed resupply ship will descend into Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise. The 76P will take its place when it launches on July 23 at 10:26 a.m. and docks just three-and-a-half hours later to Pirs.   More
(Source: NASA - Jul 9)


NEW SATELLITES SET FOR DEPLOYMENT, CARGO CRAFT READY FOR DEPARTURE NEW SATELLITES SET FOR DEPLOYMENT, CARGO CRAFT READY FOR DEPARTURE - The Expedition 63 crew readied a pair of tiny satellites for deployment and finished packing a Russian cargo craft for departure. The International Space Station residents also checked on BEAM today then worked on life support and computer maintenance. Two CubeSats were installed inside a NanoRacks small satellite deployer this morning for release into Earth orbit later this week from outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.   More
(Source: NASA - Jul 9)


SPACEX SCRUBS FALCON 9 LAUNCH OF STARLINK SATELLITES DUE TO WEATHER SPACEX SCRUBS FALCON 9 LAUNCH OF STARLINK SATELLITES DUE TO WEATHER - SpaceX scrubbed their planned Falcon 9 launch for Wednesday due to weather. When a new date is picked, SpaceX will launch the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, carrying another batch of Starlink satellites into orbit. The launch, which is SpaceX's 10th Starlink mission, is part of the company's effort to deliver broadband internet service from low-Earth orbit. There are just under 600 satellites in orbit. SpaceX launched its first batch of 60 Starlink satellites on May 23, 2019.    More
(Source: Fox 35 Orlando - Jul 9)


THREE U.S.-BUILT SATELLITES IN FRENCH GUIANA FOR ARIANE 5 LAUNCH THREE U.S.-BUILT SATELLITES IN FRENCH GUIANA FOR ARIANE 5 LAUNCH - The next flight of Europe’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, set for July 28 from French Guiana, will carry a record payload of three multi-ton satellites toward geostationary orbit, including a pair of U.S.-built commercial communications payloads and Northrop Grumman’s second robotic satellite servicing spacecraft. The Ariane 5 is one of the most powerful rockets in the world, typically carrying two large satellites at a time on missions toward geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 8)


COMET NEOWISE SHINES IN STUNNING PHOTOS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION COMET NEOWISE SHINES IN STUNNING PHOTOS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Astronauts caught a stunning natural light show this weekend from a comet that has been dazzling skywatchers on Earth as well. That streaker, called Comet NEOWISE or C/2020 F3, first came on the scene at the end of March. At that point, the icy lump was quite faint in our skies, and astronomers weren't sure that would change. But as time has passed, the comet has brightened immensely, tantalizing skywatchers even after they were disappointed by two other recent comets that faded away.   More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 7)


ISRAEL SUCCESSFULLY PLACES SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE INTO ORBIT ISRAEL SUCCESSFULLY PLACES SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE INTO ORBIT - For the first time in nearly four years, a rocket successfully shot into orbit from Israel on Monday with a military reconnaissance satellite to shore up the country’s space-based capability to surveil Iran and other adversaries. A Shavit 2 launcher carried the Ofek 16 Earth-imaging satellite into orbit from the Palmachim air base in central Israel. The three-stage rocket lifted off at 0100 GMT Monday (9 p.m. EDT Sunday), or at 4 a.m. local time in Israel, according to the Israel Ministry of Defense.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 7)


THE LONG COUNTDOWN TO COMMERCIAL CREW’S LIFTOFF THE LONG COUNTDOWN TO COMMERCIAL CREW’S LIFTOFF - Success, the saying goes, has a thousand fathers. Sure enough, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off May 30, placing a Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts on board into orbit on the first human orbital spaceflight from U.S. soil in nearly nine years, plenty of prospective parents stepped forward. President Donald Trump, who attended the launch at the Kennedy Space Center, was quick to take credit for it.    More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 6)


VIRGIN GALACTIC WILL HELP NASA TAKE PRIVATE PASSENGERS TO SPACE STATION VERY SOON VIRGIN GALACTIC WILL HELP NASA TAKE PRIVATE PASSENGERS TO SPACE STATION VERY SOON - Virgin Galactic has announced a collaboration with NASA to encourage space tourism, with commercial participation in orbital human spaceflight to the International Space Station. In case you didn’t know, Virgin Galactic is known to be working on commercial space tourism trips aboard its VSS Unity, that launches passengers mid-air after being dropped from an aircraft carrier.    More
(Source: India Times - Jul 6)


LONG MARCH 4B LOFTS NEW GAOFEN SATELLITE LONG MARCH 4B LOFTS NEW GAOFEN SATELLITE - China launched a new remote sensing satellite on Friday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Launch of the Gaofen multi-mode integrated imaging satellite took place at 03:10 UTC from the LC9 launch Complex using the Long March-4B (Y43) rocket. The new remote sensing satellite was accompanied by the small Xibaipo (BY 70-2) on its ride to orbit.   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jul 5)


ROCKET LAB SATELLITE LAUNCH FAILS BEFORE REACHING ORBIT ROCKET LAB SATELLITE LAUNCH FAILS BEFORE REACHING ORBIT - A failure during the second stage burn of a Rocket Lab Electron rocket caused seven small commercial satellites to crash back to Earth Saturday following liftoff from New Zealand. Carrying satellites from the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom, the Electron launcher lifted off from Rocket Lab’s privately-run spaceport on New Zealand’s North Island at 5:19:36 p.m. EDT (2119:36 GMT).   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 5)


ROCKET LAB PLANS NEXT LAUNCH SATURDAY, CLOSES IN ON FIRST MISSION FROM VIRGINIA ROCKET LAB PLANS NEXT LAUNCH SATURDAY, CLOSES IN ON FIRST MISSION FROM VIRGINIA - Rocket Lab is readying for a launch from its New Zealand spaceport Saturday (U.S. time) with seven commercial satellites from Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, while teams at Wallops Island, Virginia, move closer to Rocket Lab’s first launch there as soon as August. The mission Sunday will take off from Rocket Lab’s primary privately-run spaceport on Mahia Peninsula, located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 4)


SPACE STARTUP MOMENTUS PROVIDES ‘LAST MILE DELIVERY’ FOR SATELLITES LAUNCHED ON ANY ROCKET SPACE STARTUP MOMENTUS PROVIDES ‘LAST MILE DELIVERY’ FOR SATELLITES LAUNCHED ON ANY ROCKET - A space startup offering a “last mile delivery” service for spacecraft is continuing its deal spree this year, becoming an increasingly important player in the growing small satellite market. Momentus, a Santa Clara, California-based company, has so far struck $40 million worth of customer contracts this year and announced on Thursday its latest deal with Dutch small satellite specialist ISILaunch. Its the eighth such deal Momentus has unveiled in 2020, with the company providing its orbit transfer services for ISILaunch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in December.   More
(Source: CNBC - Jul 3)


AFTER WEATHER DELAYS, ARIANESPACE DELAYS VEGA LAUNCH TO RECHARGE BATTERIES AFTER WEATHER DELAYS, ARIANESPACE DELAYS VEGA LAUNCH TO RECHARGE BATTERIES - After an unusual stretch of excessive high-altitude winds prevented launch from French Guiana of 53 small satellites on a Vega rocket in June — and no sign of a letup in winds in the coming days — Arianespace said Wednesday that the mission will be delayed to Aug. 17 to allow time for teams to recharge launcher and payload batteries.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 3)


SPACEWALKERS COMPLETE PENULTIMATE SET OF BATTERY UPGRADES FOR SPACE STATION SPACEWALKERS COMPLETE PENULTIMATE SET OF BATTERY UPGRADES FOR SPACE STATION - Two NASA astronauts have completed the second-to-last set of battery replacements outside of the International Space Station, advancing a multi-year project to upgrade the power system for the orbiting laboratory. Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken, who launched on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft in late May, conducted their second spacewalk together on Wednesday (July 1), five days after beginning the battery swap work for one of two power channels on the station's far starboard (S6) truss still needing to be upgraded.    More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 2)

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