SPACEX MAKES ANOTHER SPACE STATION CARGO DELIVERY - A commercial supply ship owned and operated by SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering a pair of NASA experiments to demonstrate satellite refueling techniques and monitor changes in Earth’s forests, along with a special holiday menu of turkey, candied yams, cranberry sauce and shortbread cookies. The arrival of the Dragon cargo capsule Saturday marked another event in a busy schedule for the space station’s six-person crew, following the docking of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three fresh residents Dec. 3, and ahead of a spacewalk Tuesday to inspect the exterior of a different Soyuz capsule that developed a pressure leak in August. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 11)
RUSSIANS PREPARE FOR SPACEWALK, AIMING TO SOLVE A SPACE STATION MYSTERY - The two men will spend six hours examining and repairing a tiny hole that roiled space relations between the United States and Russia. On Tuesday, Russian astronauts hope to gather clues in a whodunit at the International Space Station.
The astronauts, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, are to conduct a spacewalk to examine the outside of a Soyuz capsule currently docked at the space station and used for transporting astronauts. They, as well as officials at NASA and the Russian space agency, want to know why there is a hole in the Soyuz. That small cavity roiled space relations between the United States and Russia this summer, leading to speculation in Russian media about an act of sabotage aboard the station. More
(Source: New York Times - Dec 11)
RAAF FUNDS SATELLITE MISSIONS WITH SPACE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT IN MIND - If all goes to plan, Mission 1 (M1), the first of two Royal Australian Air Force-funded small satellite efforts, will soon be placed into space by a US launch vehicle.
The M1 and later M2 missions are being funded by the air force and conducted in partnership with the University of NSW Canberra, with the aims of developing a cadre of expertise in satellite capabilities and demonstrating innovative space technologies and rapid small-satellite development. More
(Source: The Australian - Dec 10)
ISRO TO LAUNCH DEDICATED SATELLITE FOR IAF IN 3RD WEEK OF DECEMBER - After the heaviest satellite Gsat-11 mission, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is gearing up to launch a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Air Force. Talking to TOI, Isro chairman K Sivan said, “Isro will launch a communication satellite Gsat-7A dedicated for the IAF in the third week of this month. In January, there will be a PSLV launch and then communication satellite Gsat-31 will be launched from French Guiana that will replace INSAT 4CR, whose end of life is expected soon. And then we have the Chandrayaan-2 mission in January, whose launch window is from January 3 to February 13.” More
(Source: Times of India - Dec 10)
RUSSIA'S CRUMBLING BAIKONUR SPACEPORT IS EARTH'S ONLY LAUNCH PAD FOR MANNED FLIGHTS - The landscape approaching Russia’s spaceport in Baikonur is otherworldly. The yellow steppe of southern Kazakhstan where it is located is effectively desert, unbroken flatlands for hundreds of miles covered by a layer of scrub. In December, the freezing winds that blow across it encase the scrub plants in ice, making them look like silver coral sprouting out of the sand. Established at the dawn of the Cold War space race in the 1950s, Baikonur is Russia’s chief spaceport and, for now, the only launchpad in the world sending manned flights into space. Since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011, Russia’s Soyuz rockets -- launched from Baikonur -- are the only option for astronauts headed to the International Space Station. More
(Source: ABC News - Dec 10)
DELTA 4-HEAVY COUNTDOWN ABORTED MOMENTS BEFORE LAUNCH - A dramatic automatic abort 7.5 seconds before the planned liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket Saturday night kept the towering launcher on the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, with a top secret spy payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
The 233-foot-tall (71-meter) rocket was counting down to launch at 8:15 p.m. PST Saturday (11:15 p.m. PST; 0415 GMT Sunday), but an automated sequencer detected a technical issue and triggered an abort. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 9)
ULA DELTA IV-HEAVY LAUNCH WITH NROL-71 SCRUBBED - United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket will try again on Saturday to launch the mysterious NROL-71 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. Ahead of Friday’s launch window – that was to open at 20:19 Pacific Time (04:19 UTC on Saturday) – ULA noted an issue with the holdfire circuitry required further work, scrubbing the launch attemot. The launch – after a 24 hour recycle – will take place from Space Launch Complex 6 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Like most activities conducted by the United States National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), specifics of the NRO Launch 71 (NROL-71) mission are classified. The NRO is the organization that operates America’s fleet of reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering satellites, using a variety of spacecraft types and surveillance techniques to support national defense and security. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Dec 8)
CHINA LAUNCHES SATELLITES FOR SAUDI ARABIA - Two Saudi Arabian Earth observation satellites and 10 small secondary payloads rode a Long March 2D rocket into orbit Friday from the Jiuquan space base in China’s northwestern Inner Mongolia region, hours before the launch of a Chinese lunar probe targeting the first soft landing on the far side of the moon.
The Long March 2D rocket lifted off at 0412 GMT Friday (11:12 p.m. EST Thursday) from Jiuquan, carrying the 12 satellites into a low Earth orbit a few hundred miles above the planet. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 7)
TINY SATELLITES POSE A SWARM OF OPPORTUNITIES — AND THREATS - Spaceflight favors big rockets and small technology — but when technology gets small enough, it may act very differently from traditional satellites and spacecraft.
And that tipping point may not be all that far away, with engineers having already flown tiny satellites that stretch just 1.3 inches (3.5 centimeters) across. With these tiny satellites come the potential opportunity to produce hordes of them, turning one large device into a host of smaller, cheaper ones. More
(Source: Space.com - Dec 7)
SPACEX FALCON 9 BOOSTS DRAGON CARGO SHIP TO ORBIT, FIRST STAGE MISSES LANDING TARGET - Two days after a successful launch from California, SpaceX fired off another Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, this one carrying a Dragon cargo ship loaded with 5,660 pounds of equipment and supplies bound for the International Space Station.
But an attempt to recover the booster’s first stage ended in failure when a hydraulic system malfunction caused the booster to rapidly spin and tilt about its long axis during its final descent. As a result, the rocket landed well off target, settling to a gentle, upright “landing” in the Atlantic Ocean just east of the launch site. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 6)
SYNOPSIS: SATELLITE MISHAP PROVIDES CHANCE FOR RELATIVITY TEST - In 2014, two satellites of the Galileo European Global Navigation Satellite System were unintentionally launched on elliptical, rather than circular, orbits. This ellipticity created problems for their use in the global navigation network, but scientists turned this misfortune into an opportunity. Two independent teams, one led by Sven Herrmann at the University of Bremen in Germany and the other by Pacôme Delva, at both the Paris Sciences & Letters–PSL University and Sorbonne University in France, used clocks on the satellites to perform the most precise tests to date of one aspect of general relativity: the gravitational redshift of a clock’s frequency. More
(Source: Physics - Dec 6)
POLISH STUDENTS’ SATELLITE LAUNCHED INTO ORBIT - A satellite designed by Warsaw students to cut down on space junk has been launched into orbit. The satellite was designed by students from the Warsaw University of Technology. It was sent into space on Monday on board a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.
The satellite will be used to test a so-called deorbitation sail system, akin to a drag parachute, which it is carrying. The mechanism will be released after the satellite completes its mission.
By increasing drag, the sail slows the satellite, causing it to descend to earth and burn up in the atmosphere, rather than remaining in orbit and becoming another piece of junk floating around the planet. More
(Source: thenews.pl - Dec 6)
ASTROCAST SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES ITS FIRST SATELLITE - Yesterday evening, Astrocast – a young start-up spun out of EPFL – launched its first demonstration satellite intended to test its Internet-of-Things system. It was put into orbit by a SpaceX rocket that took off from California.
This Monday December 3rd was a big day for Astrocast. At 7:34pm Swiss time, the first satellite produced by this EPFL start-up took off from California on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, went smoothly.
(Source: Phys.org - Dec 6)
INDIA LAUNCHES 'HEAVIEST' SATELLITE FOR INTERNET ACCESS - India's heaviest satellite has gone into orbit on a French rocket to help boost broadband internet services.
Weighing about 5,854kg (12,906lb), the GSAT-11 is India's "most-advanced" multi-band communication satellite.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) launched the satellite from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana early on Wednesday morning.
It will be placed in a geostationary orbit by the end of this month and its transponders will be switched on.
Isro chief K Sivan told reporters that the satellite will "play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country". More
(Source: BBC News - Dec 6)
FOX-1CLIFF DESIGNATED AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95) - On December 3rd, 2018, Fox-1Cliff was launched on a Falcon 9 vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express launch, Fox-1Cliff
was named after long time AMSAT supporter Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR (SK). In the 48 hours after launch, more than 110 amateur radio operators around the world have successfully
received and submitted telemetry from the satellite.
Following in our long tradition of naming amateur satellites, AMSAT hereby designates Fox-1Cliff as AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95). More
(Source: AMSAT - Dec 6)
3 ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE SAFELY ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOLLOWING PREVIOUS FAILED LAUNCH - Three astronauts who were launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Monday entered the International Space Station nearly eight hours later, a relief to relatives and scientists months after a rocket failure aborted another mission.
The hatch of the capsule carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos was opened while the station was flying over the southern coast of Yemen. More
(Source: TIME - Dec 5)
WHY MASSIVE SATELLITE LAUNCH SIGNALS START OF IOT REVOLUTION - The Dec. 3 launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried 64 tiny satellites into orbit, with several of those spacecraft dedicated to a new wave of IoT communications. It was the sort of picture-perfect launch that has now become routine for SpaceX, with a Falcon 9 rocket on its third trip into space carrying a pair of deployment vehicles from Spaceflight designed to safely launch dozens of satellites into their respective orbits. Among those satellites were several satellites devoted specifically to providing communications for internet of things devices worldwide. More
(Source: eWeek - Dec 5)
SPACEX CARGO LAUNCH SLIPS A DAY AFTER RODENT EXPERIMENT SNAG - NASA has announced a one-day delay in SpaceX’s next cargo launch until Wednesday to allow time for ground teams to replace moldy food bars meant for 40 mice heading for the International Space Station as part of a biological research experiment, denying the launch company a chance at two Falcon 9 missions on back-to-back days. The commercial cargo flight, previously set for Tuesday, is now scheduled for 1:16 p.m. EST (1816 GMT) Wednesday from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 will loft SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule into orbit in pursuit of the space station, where astronauts will snare the supply ship with the station’s robotic arm. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 5)
ARIANESPACE LAUNCHES TWO ASIAN SATELLITES ON ARIANE 5 ROCKET - Arianespace completed its final Ariane 5 launch of 2018 and penultimate overall mission for the year on Dec. 4, carrying a satellite for India and another for South Korea to geostationary transfer orbit.
The Ariane 5 lifted off from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana along the South American coast at 3:37 p.m. Eastern. The Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSAT-11 telecom satellite detached from the rocket’s upper stage 29 minutes later, followed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute’s GEO-Kompsat-2A weather satellite another four and a half minutes later.
The mission was Arianespace of Evry, France’s sixth Ariane 5 mission of the year and 10th cumulative launch for 2018. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Dec 5)