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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

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)


FINAL BEIDOU-3 SATELLITE REACHES OPERATIONAL ORBIT, CHINA’S LAUNCH SITES GEAR UP FOR JULY MISSIONS FINAL BEIDOU-3 SATELLITE REACHES OPERATIONAL ORBIT, CHINA’S LAUNCH SITES GEAR UP FOR JULY MISSIONS - China’s final Beidou-3 satellite has reached its intended geostationary orbit and passed systems checks, a week after launch from Xichang. The satellite’s frequency synthesizers, atomic clock, navigation processors and inter-satellite payloads and other systems are working normally, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation stated in a June 30 release.    More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 1)


NASA TV GOES LIVE WEDNESDAY TO BROADCAST SPACEWALK NASA TV GOES LIVE WEDNESDAY TO BROADCAST SPACEWALK - NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken are scheduled to depart the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Wednesday for a spacewalk to complete battery replacement activities to upgrade one of two power channels on the station’s far starboard truss (S6 Truss). The upgrade includes removing six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries and replacing them with three new lithium-ion batteries and the adapter plates that complete the power circuit to the new batteries.   More
(Source: NASA - Jul 1)


SPACEX LAUNCHES ADVANCED GPS SATELLITE FOR US SPACE FORCE, STICKS ROCKET LANDING SPACEX LAUNCHES ADVANCED GPS SATELLITE FOR US SPACE FORCE, STICKS ROCKET LANDING - SpaceX successfully launched its 11th mission of the year, lofting a next-generation global positioning satellite into space for the U.S. Space Force. A shiny, white Falcon 9 rocket took to the skies today (June 30) at 4:10 p.m. EDT (2010 GMT), taking off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.    More
(Source: Space.com - Jun 30)


WATCH: SPACEX SET FOR GPS SATELLITE LAUNCH FROM CAPE TODAY WATCH: SPACEX SET FOR GPS SATELLITE LAUNCH FROM CAPE TODAY - On board the rocket will be the U.S. Air Force’s third-generation satellite called the GPS III Space Vehicle 03. The GPS III constellation of satellites, made by Lockheed Martin, supports U.S. and allied operations. The launch window opens at 3:55 p.m. ET and ends at 4:10 p.m. ET at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40.   More
(Source: Bay News 9 - Jun 30)


VEGA’S RETURN TO FLIGHT MISSION SCRUBBED AGAIN VEGA’S RETURN TO FLIGHT MISSION SCRUBBED AGAIN - After a lengthy grounding following a failed launch in July 2019, the closure of the Guiana Space Centre due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and a further postponement because of high-altitude winds, Arianespace’s small-lift Vega rocket was set to launch on its Return To Flight (RTF) mission on Sunday night/Monday morning. Yet another weather delay has now pushed the mission’s launch to “indefinite” as Arianespace works to determine a new launch date.   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jun 29)


SPECTACULAR NEW IMAGES CAPTURE THE SPACE STATION CRUISE ACROSS THE SUN SPECTACULAR NEW IMAGES CAPTURE THE SPACE STATION CRUISE ACROSS THE SUN - Moving at eight kilometers (five miles) per second, the International Space Station (ISS) circles our planet every 90 minutes. In a 24-hour period, crew members on the ISS experience 16 sunrises and sunsets. Despite how often the station passes directly between Earth and the Sun, capturing an image of the ISS transiting our nearest star is rare.   More
(Source: SciTechDaily - Jun 29)


ASTRONAUTS COMPLETE SPACEWALK OUTSIDE SPACE STATION ASTRONAUTS COMPLETE SPACEWALK OUTSIDE SPACE STATION - Two NASA astronauts conducted a spacewalk to replace lithium ion batteries outside of the International Space Station on Friday with only a minor snafu -- the loss of a mirror. Astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken began the spacewalk at 7:32 a.m. EDT and were back safely inside the ISS just over 6 hours later.    More
(Source: UPI.com - Jun 27)


TINY SATELLITES COULD DISTRIBUTE QUANTUM KEYS TINY SATELLITES COULD DISTRIBUTE QUANTUM KEYS - Unbreakable quantum keys that use the laws of physics to protect their secrets could be transmitted from orbiting devices a person could lift with one hand, according to experiments conducted from the International Space Station. Researchers launched a tiny, experimental satellite loaded with optics that could emit entangled pairs of photons.   More
(Source: IEEE Spectrum - Jun 27)


SPACEX DELAYS LAUNCH OF STARLINK AND BLACKSKY SATELLITES FOR MORE ROCKET CHECKS SPACEX DELAYS LAUNCH OF STARLINK AND BLACKSKY SATELLITES FOR MORE ROCKET CHECKS - SpaceX is standing down from the launch of its next batch of Starlink satellites to allow time for additional preflight checks of the Falcon 9. The California-based spaceflight company was scheduled to launch another batch of its Starlink internet-beaming satellites and two satellites for BlackSky on a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket at 4:18 p.m. EST (2018 GMT) today from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, the company chose to delay the launch attempt, and a new date has not yet been set.   More
(Source: Space.com - Jun 26)

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