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VIRGIN GALACTIC'S NEXT SPACE PLANE SHOULD BEGIN TEST FLIGHTS IN 2020 - Virgin Galactic will soon have two space planes plying the sky, if all goes according to plan. The company's newest six-passenger SpaceShipTwo vehicle, known as VSS Unity, is nearly ready to fly tourists to suborbital space and back.
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SATELLITE NEWS

BRAD PITT CALLS SPACE STATION ASTRONAUT TO TALK 'AD ASTRA' AND LIFE IN SPACE (VIDEO) BRAD PITT CALLS SPACE STATION ASTRONAUT TO TALK 'AD ASTRA' AND LIFE IN SPACE (VIDEO) - Today (Sept. 16), Brad Pitt, who plays an astronaut in the upcoming sci-fi film "Ad Astra," chatted with NASA astronaut Nick Hague — who recently screened the film at the International Space Station — about what it's really like to be in space. Hague and Pitt spoke on a call from space to Earth about everything ranging from who controls the music on the station to NASA's Artemis Program, which is preparing to send the next man and first woman to the lunar surface. Hague and Pitt even chatted about Pitt's performance in "Ad Astra" and how it compared to George Clooney's performance in "Gravity," a space drama from 2013.    More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 17)


AIR FORCE AWARDS IRIDIUM $738M DEAL FOR SATELLITE SERVICES AIR FORCE AWARDS IRIDIUM $738M DEAL FOR SATELLITE SERVICES - Iridium Communications said it received a $738.5 million, seven-year contract for unlimited satellite services through Air Force Space Command, continuing a decades long relationship between the Pentagon and the Virginia-based company. The contract, announced Sept. 13, was awarded through the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services program. As part of the contract, Iridium will provide global secure and unsecure voice, broadcast and other services via 66 satellites in low earth orbit. Iridium has supported the EMSS program for 20 years, but according to the company, a seven-year term of the contract is unprecedented. The EMSS program was previously managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency.    More
(Source: C4ISRNet - Sep 17)


FIRST COMMERCIAL SPACE HOTEL TO HAVE LOW-GRAVITY BASKETBALL, ROCK CLIMBING FIRST COMMERCIAL SPACE HOTEL TO HAVE LOW-GRAVITY BASKETBALL, ROCK CLIMBING - One company is catering to people's fascination with space by planning to build an enormous hotel for tourists who want to experience life beyond Earth's atmosphere. The Gateway Foundation plans to build a rotating space station that will produce varying rates of artificial gravity, according to its website. Utilizing existing technology from the International Space Station, the accommodations are geared toward guests who want to experience life in space but in the luxury and comfort of a hotel.   More
(Source: ABC News - Sep 16)


TAURUS-1 WITH CODEC-2 TRANSPONDER LAUNCHED TAURUS-1 WITH CODEC-2 TRANSPONDER LAUNCHED - Taurus-1 (Jinniuzuo-1) carrying an amateur radio FM to Codec-2 transponder was launched on a CZ-4B rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Thursday, September 12 at 0326 GMT. Taurus-1 is a CubeSat project developed by Aerospace System Engineering Research Institute of Shanghai for youth education and amateur radio.   More
(Source: AMSAT-UK - Sep 15)


CHINA LAUNCHES EARTH-OBSERVING SATELLITES, SOLAR SAIL EXPERIMENT CHINA LAUNCHES EARTH-OBSERVING SATELLITES, SOLAR SAIL EXPERIMENT - Two Earth-imaging satellites and an experimental solar sail payload rocketed into orbit Thursday aboard a Chinese Long March 4B launcher, the first flight for China’s Long March 4 rocket family since an upper stage failure in May. The liquid-fueled Long March 4B rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan space center in northern China’s Shanxi province at 0326 GMT Thursday (11:26 p.m. EDT Wednesday), according to state media reports.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 15)


RELATIVITY SPACE TO LAUNCH SATELLITES FOR MOMENTUS RELATIVITY SPACE TO LAUNCH SATELLITES FOR MOMENTUS - Relativity Space signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) to launch Momentus’ small and medium satellite customers on Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket. Momentus will then deliver their customers’ small and medium sized satellites to Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) using the Momentus Vigoride Extended in-space shuttle service.   More
(Source: Via Satellite - Sep 14)


BIGELOW’S B330 – AN AUTONOMOUS, EXPANDABLE INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION SPACE STATION BIGELOW’S B330 – AN AUTONOMOUS, EXPANDABLE INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION SPACE STATION - While Bigelow Aerospace’s expandable module, BEAM, continues to perform above all expectations while attached to the International Space Station (ISS), the company has larger ambitions for its range of modules, centered around the B330 – a huge inflatable module. The key focus is on attracting NASA to select B330 as a transportation module for long-duration trips to Mars. Bigelow already has a wealth of experience in space, ranging back to the days of its Genesis modules that tested the technology that has matured into their latest designs.   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Sep 14)


FIRST EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE WITH AI READY FOR LAUNCH FIRST EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE WITH AI READY FOR LAUNCH - A few months from now will see the launch of the first European satellite to demonstrate how onboard artificial intelligence can improve the efficiency of sending Earth observation data back to Earth. Dubbed ɸ-Sat, or PhiSat, this revolutionary artificial intelligence technology will fly on one of the two CubeSats that make up the FSSCat mission—a Copernicus Masters winning idea. As the overall 2017 Copernicus Masters winner, FSSCat, was proposed by Spain's Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and developed by a consortium of European companies and institutes.   More
(Source: Phys.org - Sep 13)


SPACEX SAYS IT WILL DEPLOY SATELLITE BROADBAND ACROSS US FASTER THAN EXPECTED SPACEX SAYS IT WILL DEPLOY SATELLITE BROADBAND ACROSS US FASTER THAN EXPECTED - SpaceX says it plans to change its satellite launch strategy in a way that will speed up deployment of its Starlink broadband service and has set a new goal of providing broadband in the Southern United States late next year. In a filing on August 30, SpaceX asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to "adjust the orbital spacing of its satellites." With this change, each SpaceX launch would deploy satellites in "three different orbital planes" instead of just one, "accelerating the process of deploying satellites covering a wider service area."   More
(Source: Ars Technica - Sep 13)


GOES-13 GETS DRAFTED? GOES-13 GETS DRAFTED? - On the afternoon of Sunday, September 8, 2019, I was leisurely monitoring deep space when I noted an S-band signal that shouldn’t have been where it was if all was normal with the GEO belt world… GOES-15 presently lives at 128W and GOES-17 at 137W, so what was a GOES N,O,P series spacecraft doing in between them? A quick check of Space-Track.org data revealed it was GOES-13. But why was it here and drifting westward? As we will see GOES-13 isn’t lost, it’s just wandering.   More
(Source: Riddles in the Sky (blog) - Sep 12)


PROJECT OBERON: UK EYES CLUSTER OF MILITARY RADAR SATELLITES PROJECT OBERON: UK EYES CLUSTER OF MILITARY RADAR SATELLITES - Project Oberon, as it's known, has been in discussion for a while. It envisages a network of small spacecraft capable of seeing the Earth's surface in all weathers and at night, and at very high resolution. The satellites would also have sensors to locate the use of radio transmissions. This is information that can be used in tandem with the radar pictures to better identify targets on the ground and interpret their behaviour.   More
(Source: BBC News - Sep 12)


BRITISH SATELLITE THREAT FROM NEAR-MISSES WITH CHINA AND RUSSIA BRITISH SATELLITE THREAT FROM NEAR-MISSES WITH CHINA AND RUSSIA - British satellites are being put in danger by near-misses with those operated by the likes of Russia and China, a senior defence official has warned. Air Vice Marshall Simon Rochelle said "the fight is on" to increase the presence of UK military satellites in space, as it has become a "contested environment" between a number of rival nations.   More
(Source: Sky News - Sep 12)


REMEMBERING 9/11: NASA ASTRONAUTS PAY TRIBUTE FROM SPACE REMEMBERING 9/11: NASA ASTRONAUTS PAY TRIBUTE FROM SPACE - On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, NASA astronauts paid tribute to the heroes who risked their lives to save others on that day by tweeting a special message from space. "Honoring the brave public servants of @FDNY. Thank you for your service, we remember your fallen comrades," NASA's Expedition 60 astronaut Drew Morgan tweeted from the International Space Station. "Your flag and patch are proudly orbiting the Earth on board the @Space_Station! #NeverForget."   More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 12)


CHINESE SPACE STATION CORE MODULE PASSES REVIEW BUT FACES DELAYS CHINESE SPACE STATION CORE MODULE PASSES REVIEW BUT FACES DELAYS - The first module for China’s planned space station has passed a final review, but the project continues to suffer launch vehicle-related delays. The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced Sept. 6 that the 20-metric-ton ‘Tianhe’ module design and prototype had passed final reviews Sept. 2. The flight model would be manufactured in the near future.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 12)


NASA MISSION SCHEDULED TO BLAST OFF FROM VIRGINIA NASA MISSION SCHEDULED TO BLAST OFF FROM VIRGINIA - NASA has announced plans to launch a rocket from Virginia to the International Space Station next month. A news release says Northrop Grumman's Cygnus spacecraft will take off from Wallops Island as early as the afternoon of Oct. 21. NASA says the goal is to deliver science investigations, supplies and equipment. The mission includes the testing of a vest created to protect astronauts from radiation, a special oven to study baking food in microgravity and a device to explore recycling plastics for a space device.   More
(Source: Richmond.com - Sep 11)


LAUNCHPAD FIRE FORCES JAPAN TO POSTPONE CARGO SHIP LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION: REPORT LAUNCHPAD FIRE FORCES JAPAN TO POSTPONE CARGO SHIP LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION: REPORT - Japan called off a planned cargo ship launch to the International Space Station today (Sept. 10) after a fire erupted on the launch platform for the mission's rocket, according to press reports. "Today’s launch is postponed because we found a fire around the hole at the deck of the mobile launcher at 3:05 a.m. JST (2:05 p.m. EDT/1805 GMT). Now we are trying to extinguish a fire," representatives with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the rocket's builder, said in a Twitter status update.    More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 11)


BOEING REVEALS 702X FAMILY OF SATELLITES BOEING REVEALS 702X FAMILY OF SATELLITES - Boeing unveiled its 702X family of software-defined satellites, highlighting a 1,900 kilogram (kg) variant for Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO). The 702X technology enables operators to adapt to changing market conditions by dynamically allocating bandwidth. The 702X builds on Boeing’s existing 702 series satellites. The 702X platform incorporates a mature design, with a Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) version already in production.   More
(Source: Via Satellite - Sep 10)


BOEING UNVEILS SMALL GEO PRODUCT AS PART OF NEW 702X SATELLITE LINEUP BOEING UNVEILS SMALL GEO PRODUCT AS PART OF NEW 702X SATELLITE LINEUP - Boeing has joined the growing list of manufacturers offering smaller satellites for geostationary orbit, saying new digital payload technology can reduce the weight of its typical communications spacecraft by half. Boeing’s small GEO satellites will weigh roughly 1,900 kilograms unfueled, relying on reprogrammable, software-defined payloads that are considerably smaller than earlier technologies, Eric Jensen, Boeing’s vice president of global commercial satellite sales, said in an interview.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 9)


JAPANESE CARGO SPACECRAFT SET TO BLAST OFF FROM TANEGASHIMA SPACE CENTER BOUND FOR ISS JAPANESE CARGO SPACECRAFT SET TO BLAST OFF FROM TANEGASHIMA SPACE CENTER BOUND FOR ISS - A Japanese cargo spacecraft loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware is scheduled to launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan to the International Space Station at 5:33 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Live coverage of the launch and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.   More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Sep 8)


UNPILOTED SOYUZ CAPSULE RETURNS TO EARTH WITH HUMANOID ROBOT ON BOARD UNPILOTED SOYUZ CAPSULE RETURNS TO EARTH WITH HUMANOID ROBOT ON BOARD - An uncrewed Russian Soyuz spacecraft returned to Earth Friday (Sept. 6), bringing a humanoid robot home and wrapping up a first-of-its-kind test flight to the International Space Station. The Soyuz MS-14 space capsule landed at 5:32 p.m. EDT (2132 GMT) Friday on the steppes of south-central Kazakhstan, where the local time was 3:32 a.m. EDT on Saturday. Sitting inside the spacecraft was no human crew. Instead, the Soyuz carried the humanoid robot Skybot F-850 and other Russian spaceflight gear.    More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 8)

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