ROCKET LAB’S SATELLITE LAUNCH FROM NEW ZEALAND SITE FAILS - California-based Rocket Lab says a launch of satellites from its facility in New Zealand has failed.
A company statement says the problem occurred during ignition of the Electron rocket’s second stage Saturday.
The rocket was carrying two Earth-observation satellites for the global monitoring company BlackSky. More
(Source: KTIV - May 16)
WOODEN SATELLITE TO LAUNCH BY YEAR’S END - The WISA Woodsat project, being sponsored by plywood supplier WISA in an unconventional PR initiative, is poised to place a wooden satellite into orbit by the end of the year. The idea is to test the suitability of treated wood as a low-cost and widely available material for space applications. The IARU posting for Woodsat indicates that several amateur radio experiments will be on board as well as photo downlinking, including selfies.
The wooden satellite is based on a basic, versatile CubeSat format, Kitsat, which is designed with educational use in mind. It retails for just $1,500. More
(Source: ARRL - May 15)
RUSSIAN FILM CREW PASSES MEDICAL CHECKS FOR OCTOBER LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION - A Russian film director and actor, plus their backups, have passed preflight medical tests for an October launch to the International Space Station to shoot scenes for a movie dubbed "Challenge."
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, had previously announced that it was working with Channel One and the film studio Yellow, Black and White on a movie to be shot partially in space. The project opened a competition last year for women interested in a starring role in the film, which would be directed by Klim Shipenko, who would also launch for the filming. More
(Source: Space.com - May 15)
RUSSIAN ACTRESS, JAPANESE ENTREPRENEUR CLEARED FOR SPACE STATION VISITS - Russian actress Yulia Peresild and filmmaker Klim Shipenko will join cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station on Oct. 5 to shoot scenes for an upcoming movie, the Russian space agency announced Thursday.
“At the end of 2020, an open competition was announced for the lead role in the first feature film to be filmed in space,” Roscosmos said on its website. Peresild, 36, and Shipenko, 37, were selected “based on the results of medical and creative selection.” Training will begin in June. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 15)
RUSSIA’S NEXT-GENERATION GLONASS-K2 NAVIGATION SATELLITE TO BE ORBITED IN LATE 2021 - An inaugural launch of a Glonass-K2 satellite for Russia’s global Glonass orbital navigation system is scheduled to be held late this year, CEO of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Company (the satellites’ producer) Nikolai Testoyedov told TASS on Thursday.
"We are launching our first Glonass-K2 satellite this year," Testoyedov said. "This launch is planned for the fourth quarter of the year."
(Source: TASS - May 14)
A NEW CONSTELLATION? SPACE FORCE WANTS TO GET INTO TACTICAL SATELLITE IMAGERY BUSINESS - he head of the U.S. Space Force wants the new service to take on a new mission: providing tactical satellite imagery to the joint forces. He didn’t explain whether that means the service would try to build its own satellite constellation.
“There’s a role here for the Space Force in tactical level ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance],” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond at the 12th annual McAleese Conference May 12. “I really believe this is an area that we’ll begin to migrate to because we can do it, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t break the bank and is focused on our joint and coalition partners.” More
(Source: C4ISRNet - May 13)
NASA WALLOPS ROCKET LAUNCH POSTPONED AGAIN - NASA has again postponed the launch of the KiNET-X sounding rocket from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The next launch opportunity will be no earlier than Wednesday May 12, at 8:06 p.m.
The Sunday and Monday launches were postponed due to “upper level winds not being within the limits for a safe launch.” The original launch was planned for last Friday, but has been moved each night due to the weather. More
(Source: CBSN Boston - May 12)
NASA AND AXIOM INK DEAL FOR 1ST PRIVATE ASTRONAUT MISSION TO SPACE STATION - NASA and Texas-based company Axiom Space have agreed on terms for the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, which will launch as soon as January 2022.
The agreement, which was announced on Monday (May 10), includes only a portion of the assorted exchanges required to make a flight like this a reality, but it will result in a net payment from NASA to Axiom of $1.69 million. More
(Source: Space.com - May 12)
WATCH LIVE TUESDAY: NASA SOUNDING ROCKET LAUNCH TO MAKE COLORFUL CLOUD SHOW OVER EASTERN US - NASA will launch a Black Brant XII sounding rocket from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia today (May 10), and you can watch it live online or in person.
Observers in the eastern U.S. will have an opportunity to see a colorful light show following the rocket's liftoff, weather permitting. The sounding rocket will release nontoxic barium vapor that will form two visible, green-violet clouds in the evening sky. The clouds will remain visible for about 30 seconds, according to NASA. More
(Source: Space.com - May 11)
SPYBIRDS: POPPY 8 AND THE DAWN OF SATELLITE OCEAN SURVEILLANCE - At the end of September 1969, a Thor-Agena rocket roared off its launch pad in California and climbed high over the Pacific Ocean, heading south. The rocket dropped its stubby pencil-like solid booster motors not very long after lifting off and continued its arc. A few minutes later, its first stage, burning a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen, ran low on fuel and its engine shut down. More
(Source: The Space Review - May 11)
RUSSIA MAY ABANDON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IN 2025: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? - The announcement blazed across the headlines of The Moscow Times on April 19: "Russia to Quit Int'l Space Station in 2025 "!
Citing "a senior government official" (Vice Prime Minister Yury Borisov), MT reported that Russia will soon officially inform the United States and its other space partners of its withdrawal from the International Space Station (ISS) effective in 2025, and its plans to "deploy a next-generation national orbital service station" of its own instead. More
(Source: Motley Fool - May 10)
SPACEX LAUNCHES 60 STARLINK SATELLITES IN RECORD 10TH LIFTOFF (AND LANDING) OF REUSED ROCKET - A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit early Sunday (May 9) and then stuck a landing at sea to cap a record 10th flight for the company's reusable booster.
The veteran Falcon 9 rocket blasted off before dawn from Space Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 2:42 a.m. EDT (0642 GMT), marking the company's 14th launch of the year. It was also one for the record books as the flight was this particular booster's 10th launch and landing attempt. The rocket's once pristine exterior was almost black, charred by its many trips to orbit and back. More
(Source: Space.com - May 9)
SPACEX READY TO BREAK ANOTHER ROCKET REUSE RECORD WITH LAUNCH EARLY SUNDAY - A Falcon 9 rocket and 60 more Starlink internet satellites set for launch early Sunday at Cape Canaveral will mark the first time SpaceX has flown a first stage 10 times, reaching a milestone that the company once said could be a limit for reusing boosters. Now SpaceX plans to keep flying reused rockets on Starlink missions until one fails.
The mission Sunday is set for liftoff at 2:42 a.m. EDT (0642 GMT) from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 9)
CHINA ROCKET HAS REENTERED THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE, SAYS CHINA'S SPACE AGENCY - An out-of-control Chinese rocket plunged out of orbit Saturday night ET and reentered Earth's atmosphere, according to China's space agency.
The Long March 5B carrier rocket had an estimated landing area of 72.47°E longitude and 2.65°N latitude, just west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, China's National Space Agency said in a post on WeChat.
Most of the rocket was "destroyed" on reentry to the atmosphere, the space agency said. More
(Source: CNN - May 9)
A HUGE CHINESE ROCKET WILL CRASH TO EARTH THIS WEEKEND JUST AS CHINA’S NEW SPACE STATION BECOMES VISIBLE IN THE NIGHT SKY - China’s new space station can now be seen in the night sky from Earth.
Although it’s the tumbling booster rocket from its launch that grabbed all the headlines—and is set to crash on Sunday, May 9—what’s been missed is that “Tianhe-1” is safely in orbit and now visible from Earth at night.
Set to become a fixture of the night sky, this first module of China’s new space station has already been seen from Middle America this past week, reports SpaceWeather.com. More
(Source: Forbes - May 8)
SPACE JUNK FROM 2007 CHINA SATELLITE ATTACK STILL POSES RISK - Space debris from a Chinese experiment 14 years ago in which Beijing destroyed one of its own satellites continues to orbit Earth, a senior U.S. military commander has told Congress.
"In 2007, we saw the Chinese conduct a very irresponsible test. We continue to have about 3,000 pieces of debris on orbit that we continue to track," Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, the commander of Space Operations Command at the U.S. Space Force said in testimony to subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. "That's about 10% of the total amount of objects that we track on orbit." More
(Source: Nikkei Asia - May 7)
ROCKET DEBRIS FROM CHINA'S SPACE STATION LAUNCH IS HURTLING BACK TO EARTH — AND SCIENTISTS AREN'T SURE WHERE IT WILL LAND - A huge piece of space junk is about to make an uncontrolled re-entry back into Earth's atmosphere, threatening to drop debris on a number of cities around the world in the coming days. It's leftover from China's first module for its new Tianhe space station — and no one knows where it will land.
The 46,000-pound Chinese rocket Long March-5B recently launched the first module for the country's new space station into orbit. After the core separated from the rest of the rocket, it should have followed a predetermined flight path into the ocean. More
(Source: CBS News - May 7)
NASA'S NEW FLEET OF SATELLITES WILL OFFER INSIGHTS INTO THE WILD CARDS OF CLIMATE CHANGE - NASA is about to announce its next generation of Earth-observing satellites. As soon as this month, it will lay out preliminary plans for a multibillion-dollar set of missions that will launch later this decade. This “Earth system observatory,” as NASA calls it, will offer insights into two long-standing wild cards of climate change—clouds and aerosols—while providing new details about the temperatures and chemistry of the planet’s changing surface. The satellite fleets also mark a revival for NASA’s earth science, which has languished over the past decade compared with exploration of Mars and other planets. More
(Source: Science Magazine - May 6)
EUROPE PROPOSES ORBITING SATELLITE TELESCOPE THAT WILL KEEP AN EYE ON SPACE DEBRIS - The European Space Agency (ESA) has proposed a plan to build and launch a satellite with a telescope that can monitor space debris. If the member nations approved the funding, the space agency hopes to complete the project by 2025, reported Space.com. It will be the first of its kind space junk monitoring satellite.ESA is an intergovernmental organization made up of 22 member states. More
(Source: Firstpost - May 6)