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SPACE CALENDAR 2021: ROCKET LAUNCHES, SKY EVENTS, MISSIONS & MORE! - Here's a guide to all the rocket launches and astronomical events in 2021, as well as milestones for space missions, anniversaries and conferences.
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SATELLITE NEWS

SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER GETTING KEY TEST ABOARD US MILITARY'S MYSTERIOUS X-37B SPACE PLANE SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER GETTING KEY TEST ABOARD US MILITARY'S MYSTERIOUS X-37B SPACE PLANE - A U.S. military space plane is being used to flight-validate the best ways to gather the sun's energy for power beaming from Earth orbit. In mid-March, the latest classified mission of the U.S. Space Force's X-37B robotic space plane winged past 300 days in Earth orbit. Most of the robotic space drone's duties on this mission, known as Orbital Test Vehicle-6 (OTV-6), are a tightly held secret. However, one known bit of research that the craft carries is the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module Flight Experiment, or PRAM-FX.    More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 10)


ONEWEB, SPACEX SATELLITES DODGED A POTENTIAL COLLISION IN ORBIT ONEWEB, SPACEX SATELLITES DODGED A POTENTIAL COLLISION IN ORBIT - Two satellites from the fast-growing constellations of OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink dodged a dangerously close approach with one another in orbit last weekend, representatives from the US Space Force and OneWeb said. It’s the first known collision avoidance event for the two rival companies as they race to expand their new broadband-beaming networks in space. On March 30th, five days after OneWeb launched its latest batch of 36 satellites from Russia, the company received several “red alerts” from the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron warning of a possible collision with a Starlink satellite.   More
(Source: The Verge - Apr 10)


SOYUZ CREW WELCOMED ABOARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SOYUZ CREW WELCOMED ABOARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two cosmonauts blasted off from Kazakhstan Friday and docked with the International Space Station after a two-orbit chase, the first step in a record crew rotation requiring two launches and two landings with four different spacecraft in just three weeks. The launching came three days before the 60th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight on April 12, 1961, to become the first man in space.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 10)


NASA ASTRONAUT, TWO COSMONAUTS SET FOR LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION NASA ASTRONAUT, TWO COSMONAUTS SET FOR LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION - NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian cosmonauts will ride a Soyuz ferry ship to the International Space Station early Friday, the first step in a record crew rotation requiring two launches and two landings with four different spacecraft in just three weeks. The launching comes just three days before the 60th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight on April 12, 1961, to become the first man in space.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 9)


SPACEX LAUNCHES STARLINK V1.0 L23 MISSION SPACEX LAUNCHES STARLINK V1.0 L23 MISSION - SpaceX has launched another batch of 60 Starlink satellites on the Starlink v1.0 L23 mission. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station occurred on time on April 7 at 12:34 PM EDT (16:34 UTC). This was the third time a Falcon 9 first stage flew a seventh mission, the tenth Falcon 9 flight of the year, and the first in April. This flight is likely be the last SpaceX mission prior to the Crew-2 launch later this month.   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Apr 8)


SPACEX SET FOR LUNCHTIME STARLINK LAUNCH FROM CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEX SET FOR LUNCHTIME STARLINK LAUNCH FROM CAPE CANAVERAL - After a spate of late-night and early morning Florida launches, the Space Coast is finally scheduled to see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lift off at a reasonable time on Wednesday. The 230-foot rocket will take the company's 24th batch of Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station during an instantaneous window that opens at 12:34 p.m. Launch Complex 40 will host the attempt.   More
(Source: Florida Today - Apr 7)


L3HARRIS TO DEVELOP NEXT-GENERATION WEATHER SATELLITE CONCEPT L3HARRIS TO DEVELOP NEXT-GENERATION WEATHER SATELLITE CONCEPT - Aerospace and defence technology manufacturer L3Harris Technologies has won a contract to develop a next-generation geostationary weather imagers concept. Under this contract awarded by Nasa, L3Harris will design the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary and Extended Orbits (GEO-XO) satellite system imager. The GEO-XO imager will be equipped with additional spectral bands, advanced spatial resolution, and enhanced data compression algorithms.   More
(Source: Aerospace Technology - Apr 7)


WATCH NEXT SPACE STATION CREW LAUNCH LIVE ON NASA TV, NASA APP WATCH NEXT SPACE STATION CREW LAUNCH LIVE ON NASA TV, NASA APP - Three space travelers, including NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, are poised to launch Friday, April 9, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide comprehensive prelaunch and launch-to-docking coverage.   More
(Source: NASA - Apr 6)


SPACEX’S CREW DRAGON CAPSULE SWAPS DOCKING PORTS ON SPACE STATION SPACEX’S CREW DRAGON CAPSULE SWAPS DOCKING PORTS ON SPACE STATION - In the home stretch of nearly a half-year on the International Space Station, four astronauts suited up and rode their SpaceX-owned Crew Dragon “Resilience” spaceship to a new docking port outside the orbiting research lab Monday, a first-of-its kind maneuver for the new generation of commercial crew spaceships. The maneuver clears the way for arrival of the next SpaceX Crew Dragon mission at the space station later this month, and sets up for the docking of a Dragon cargo freighter in June carrying a new pair of solar arrays to upgrade the outpost’s power system.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 6)


PARAGUAY’S FIRST SATELLITE DEPLOYED FROM SPACE STATION – WILL HELP TRACK A TINY, LIFE-THREATENING PARASITE PARAGUAY’S FIRST SATELLITE DEPLOYED FROM SPACE STATION – WILL HELP TRACK A TINY, LIFE-THREATENING PARASITE - On March 14, the Paraguayan Space Agency (AEP) deployed a satellite from the International Space Station to help track a tiny parasite that causes Chagas disease. The satellite, Guaranisat-1, is the first developed and put into orbit by Paraguay. An estimated 8 million people in Mexico, Central America, and South America have Chagas disease, which if untreated can be life-threatening. Large-scale population movements from rural to urban areas of Latin America and other parts of the world have increased the geographic distribution of the disease.   More
(Source: SciTechDaily - Apr 5)


ONEWEB, A NEW SATELLITE COMPANY FROM THE UK, IS GOING HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH SPACEX'S STARLINK TO PROVIDE A GLOBAL SPACE BROADBAND SERVICE ONEWEB, A NEW SATELLITE COMPANY FROM THE UK, IS GOING HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH SPACEX'S STARLINK TO PROVIDE A GLOBAL SPACE BROADBAND SERVICE - Space internet provider OneWeb recently blasted 36 satellites into orbit, steadily expanding its constellation in the face of Elon Musk's Starlink. The British-owned satellite broadband operator, which was rescued from bankruptcy by the UK government in November, wants to beam internet down to households and businesses across the world from satellites in orbit.    More
(Source: Yahoo News - Apr 4)


BUSY MONTH OF CREW ROTATIONS ON TAP AT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION BUSY MONTH OF CREW ROTATIONS ON TAP AT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Seven astronauts and cosmonauts are gearing up for launches April 9 and April 22 to the International Space Station, replacing seven outgoing crew members set to land in Kazakhstan and off the coast of Florida on April 17 and April 28. The back-to-back crew rotations will make for a busy month on the orbiting research complex. Preparations for the arrival of the fresh crew members are already underway on the space station.   More
(Source: Spaceflight Now - Apr 3)


WITH 1ST SPACE STATION LAUNCH THIS SPRING, CHINESE ASTRONAUTS ARE TRAINING FOR FLIGHT WITH 1ST SPACE STATION LAUNCH THIS SPRING, CHINESE ASTRONAUTS ARE TRAINING FOR FLIGHT - Chinese astronauts are undergoing intense training for the first crewed missions to construct the nation's new space station, work that is expected to begin in the next few months. At Wenchang, China's coastal launch center, teams are preparing a huge Long March 5 rocket to launch the first of three modules for the Chinese Space Station (CSS).   More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 3)


NEW REPORTS DETAIL ONGOING SPACE THREATS, AND RUSSIA IS RAISING CONCERNS NEW REPORTS DETAIL ONGOING SPACE THREATS, AND RUSSIA IS RAISING CONCERNS - Security experts say that when it comes to threats in space, Russia is raising more concerns than China. These findings come from two annual reports published by nongovernmental organizations that provide open-source information about global developments in counterspace weapons and other space threats. Counterspace missions are defensive or offensive operations in space.    More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 3)


SPACEX ROCKET DEBRIS LANDS ON MAN’S FARM IN WASHINGTON SPACEX ROCKET DEBRIS LANDS ON MAN’S FARM IN WASHINGTON - A pressure vessel from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stage fell on a man’s farm in Washington State last week, leaving a “4-inch dent in the soil,” the local sheriff’s office said Friday. The black Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessel, or COPV, was a remnant from the alien invasion-looking breakup of a Falcon 9 second stage over Oregon and Washington on March 26, local officials said. The stage reentered the atmosphere in an unusual spot in the sky after sending a payload of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to orbit.    More
(Source: The Verge - Apr 2)


THE FIRST WEATHER SATELLITE LAUNCHED MORE THAN 6 DECADES AGO THE FIRST WEATHER SATELLITE LAUNCHED MORE THAN 6 DECADES AGO - What would we do without weather satellites? Previously, before this date in 1960, forecasters were blind to hurricanes out at sea. Then came the world’s first useful weather satellite, the polar-orbiting TIROS-1, which launched April 1 from Cape Canaveral. While the satellite only operated for 78 days, it sent the first meteorological pictures showing what clouds looked like from space.    More
(Source: WJXT News4JAX - Apr 2)


SPACEX IS ADDING A GLASS DOME ON CREW DRAGON FOR 360 VIEWS OF SPACE SPACEX IS ADDING A GLASS DOME ON CREW DRAGON FOR 360 VIEWS OF SPACE - The Crew Dragon capsule poised to fly four civilian astronauts to space this year is getting an upgrade: a glass dome will be added at the top to give space tourists a 360-degree view of the cosmos. Plans for the window were announced on Tuesday as SpaceX and the team managing the tourist mission, Inspiration4, revealed the full crew for the upcoming expedition.   More
(Source: The Verge - Apr 1)


SSTL’S HYDROGNSS SATELLITE GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR CLIMATE MISSION SSTL’S HYDROGNSS SATELLITE GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR CLIMATE MISSION - The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected HydroGNSS from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) for its second Scout Earth Observation small satellite mission. HydroGNSS is a 40-kg satellite that will be built and operated by SSTL. ESA selected the first ESA Scout satellite, ESP-MACCS, in December 2020. ESP-MACCS focuses on understanding and quantifying processes in the upper atmosphere over the tropics — processes that play an important role in the overall evolution of the atmosphere.   More
(Source: GPS World magazine - Apr 1)


CHINA LAUNCHES GAOFEN EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE CHINA LAUNCHES GAOFEN EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE - An Earth observation satellite China says will assist in land surveys, urban planning, and agriculture monitoring successfully launched Tuesday on a Chinese Long March 4C rocket. The spacecraft is the second Gaofen 12-type Earth-imaging satellite launched by China. Chinese officials say the Gaofen satellites are part of the China High-Resolution Earth Observation System, or CHEOS. China says the CHEOS satellite fleet is a civilian-operated program comprising optical and radar imaging spacecraft.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 31)


MEET VSS IMAGINE: VIRGIN GALACTIC UNVEILS ITS FIRST SPACESHIP III SPACECRAFT MEET VSS IMAGINE: VIRGIN GALACTIC UNVEILS ITS FIRST SPACESHIP III SPACECRAFT - The company today (March 30) unveiled its second piloted space plane, a shiny silver vehicle called VSS Imagine. Like Virgin Galactic's other spacecraft, VSS Unity, VSS Imagine is designed to take people and scientific experiments to and from suborbital space. However, the newcomer is the first of the next-generation SpaceShip III line, which features upgrades that will "enable improved performance in terms of maintenance access and flight rate," company representatives wrote in a statement today.    More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 31)

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