ROCKET FOR NEXT SPACE STATION CREW ARRIVES ON LAUNCH PAD IN KAZAKHSTAN - A Russian Soyuz-2.1a rocket rolled out to a launch pad Monday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, ready for the first crewed flight to use the modernized Soyuz booster configuration. Liftoff with two Russian cosmonauts and a veteran NASA astronaut is scheduled Thursday on an expedition to the International Space Station.
Preparations for crew and cargo launches to the space station are proceeding amid the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 7)
RUSSIA READY TO LAUNCH MULTI-SATELLITE ORBITAL GROUPS - ROSCOSMOS CHIEF - The launch of British OneWeb communications satellites on March 21 by the Soyuz 2.1b carrier rocket showed that Russia is ready for deploying multi-satellite orbital groups, Head of Roscosmos space corporation Dmitry Rogozin said on Sunday.
"By this launch we proved that our equipment is ready for a swift deployment of multi-satellite groups of complex orbital configuration," Rogozin wrote on his Twitter account. More
(Source: TASS - Apr 6)
ASTRONAUTS TRAIN TO RIDE A DRAGON INTO SPACE - Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, two veteran space shuttle fliers, are gearing up to fly a privately-developed SpaceX Dragon capsule into orbit this year.
The two astronauts participated in several major training events in March, including long-duration simulations to rehearse procedures they will execute during launch on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, their docking with the International Space Station, and then departure from the orbiting lab for return to Earth. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 5)
IS THIS THE OLDEST STILL-WORKING GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITE? - Regular followers of space news will know that when satellites or space probes reach the end of their life, they either are de-orbited in a fiery re-entry, or they stay lifeless in orbit, often in a safe graveyard orbit where they are unlikely to harm other craft. Sometimes these deactivated satellites spring back into life, and there is a dedicated band of enthusiasts who seek out these oddities. More
(Source: Hackaday - Apr 5)
COVID-19: HOW SATELLITES CAN HELP - The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has virtually paralyzed daily life as we know it. Even when the spread of this highly infectious disease has been stemmed, the world will face huge challenges getting back to normal. To help support experts working in Europe's research centers and technical organizations during these unprecedented times, ESA has issued two new initiatives related to understanding the effects that COVID-19 is imposing on society, the economy and the environment. More
(Source: Phys.org - Apr 5)
PANDEMIC PROMPTS FEW CHANGES TO BUSY MONTH ON SPACE STATION - U.S. and Russian vehicles ferrying crews and cargo will continue traveling to and from the International Space Station this month, sustaining the orbiting lab in its 20th year of continuous human occupation amid an escalating pandemic on Earth.
A new European platform was also robotically installed outside the space station early Thursday, giving the international research lab a new outdoor deck to host a range of materials science, Earth observation and space science instruments. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 4)
CELEBRATING THE WORLDS FIRST WEATHER SATELLITE - On April 1, 1960, NASA launched TIROS-1, the world’s first successful meteorological satellite. A couple years before, on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, which began the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The U.S.’s first operational satellite was launched a year later in 1958 as Explorer-1, which was the first U.S. satellite in orbit. More
(Source: WBRZ - Apr 3)
NASA TV TO AIR U.S. CARGO SHIP DEPARTURE FROM SPACE STATION - Filled with more than 4,000 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo, a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft is set to leave the International Space Station Monday, April 6. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast its departure live beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
Robotic flight controllers at mission control in Houston will issue commands at 9:52 a.m. to release Dragon using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. More
(Source: NASA - Apr 3)
CHINA TO LAUNCH COMMUNICATION SATELLITE FOR INDONESIA - China is preparing to launch a communication satellite, Palapa-N1, for Indonesia at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The satellite was developed under a contract signed between the China Great Wall Industry Corp under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) and the Palapa Satelit Nusantara Sejahtera of Indonesia in May 2017. More
(Source: The Star Online - Apr 2)
US MILITARY MAY START MOVING TOWARDS LAUNCHING FLEETS OF TINY SATELLITES - With much of the commercial space industry focused on putting small satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), how quickly will the U.S. military follow?
Companies are shifting away from traditional large satellites towards small satellites. cubesats in LEO have been increasingly used in space since the 1990s. In recent years, advances in camera technology and computer miniaturization have allowed companies to do optical imaging or radar observations using smaller and smaller satellites. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 2)
SEE HOW CORONAVIRUS HAS CHANGED SOCIETY IN THIS VIDEO OF BEFORE-AND-AFTER SATELLITE VIEWS - The coronavirus pandemic continues around the world, satellites in space are revealing a radical shift in human behavior.
Countries including the United States, Italy and China have advised against nonessential travel and many people around the world are either quarantined or self-isolated to reduce the spread of the disease, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This has led to a drastic reduction in crowds at normally populated areas. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 1)
NASA SELECTS SPACE SCIENCE CUBESAT MISSION - NASA announced March 30 it will fund the development of a cluster of six cubesats that will fly in formation above geostationary orbit to study solar storms.
NASA said it selected for development the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) mission as a “mission of opportunity” for its heliophysics program. The mission, with a total cost of $62.6 million, will launch by July 2023. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Mar 31)
HOLIDAY IN SPACE, ANYONE? SPACE X TO SEND TOURISTS TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Spacex recently announced a partnership to send three tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), the first private trip in more than a decade.
Elon Musk’s company has signed a deal with Axiom Space to transport the tourists along with a commander on one of its Crew Dragon capsules in the second half of 2021.
Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said the flight “will represent a watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space”. He did not reveal a price tag. More
(Source: The Star Online - Mar 31)
CHINA'S NEW CREW SPACECRAFT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD DOCK WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A next-generation crew spacecraft that China is preparing for a flight test this spring appears to be capable of docking with the International Space Station (ISS).
An image posted by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) shows the new spacecraft’s docking system, which appears compatible with the International Docking System Standard (IDSS). More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 31)
FIVE MIT PAYLOADS DEPLOYED ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Five research payloads from the MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative were recently deployed on the International Space Station for a 30-day research mission. Scientists, designers, and artists will be able to study the effects of prolonged microgravity, on-station radiation, and launch loads on experiments ranging from self-assembling architecture to biological pigments. The payloads launched on the SpaceX CRS-20 via the Dragon cargo ship atop a Falcon 9 rocket on March 6. More
(Source: MIT News - Mar 29)
VENEZUELA'S ONLY TELECOMS SATELLITE IS LOST IN SPACE - Venezuela’s only telecommunications satellite has veered off its orbit and stopped working, creating a logistical headache for the cash-strapped nation.
The Chinese-built satellite was launched among much fanfare in 2008 under the watch of former President Hugo Chavez, who said the 6-ton machine would help to “construct 21st-century socialism” and contribute to Venezuela’s “independence and sovereignty.” More
(Source: The Japan Times - Mar 29)
THE US ECONOMY HAS COME TO A STANDSTILL, SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS - The coronavirus crisis is bringing the United States economy to a screeching halt, with every sector feeling the effects of most of the country’s workforce staying home.
Satellite imagery combined with other photographic evidence and alternative data sources give a stark look at the U.S. situation: Airplanes are parked on unused runways, the busiest highways are empty during rush hour times, resorts have become ghost towns, ports are seeing sharp drops in shipping activity and more. More
(Source: CNBC - Mar 29)
ONEWEB COLLAPSES AFTER SOFTBANK FUNDING TALKS FALL THROUGH - OneWeb, the satellite internet start-up, filed for bankruptcy and axed most of its staff on Friday, after failing to secure new funding from investors including its biggest backer SoftBank.
The company said it would seek a sale after filing for Chapter 11 relief in New York, noting that financial market turbulence related to coronavirus had sunk negotiations over an investment that would have funded its commercial launch.
(Source: Financial Times - Mar 28)
ULA’S ATLAS 5 LAUNCHES AEHF-6 COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE IN ITS FIRST MISSION FOR U.S. SPACE FORCE - A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off on March 26 at 4:18 PM EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying a $1.4 billion Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) communications satellite for the U.S. Space Force.
This was the sixth and final satellite of the AEHF constellation that provides secure, jam-proof voice and data communications for U.S. national leadership, military forces and international partners Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia. All six were manufactured by Lockheed Martin. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Mar 27)