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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

RUSSIA SAYS IT WILL KEEP SOURCE OF HOLE (AND AIR LEAK) ON SOYUZ SECRET— BUT NASA WANTS TO KNOW: REPORT RUSSIA SAYS IT WILL KEEP SOURCE OF HOLE (AND AIR LEAK) ON SOYUZ SECRET— BUT NASA WANTS TO KNOW: REPORT - Amid reports that the Russians will keep the cause of an air leak discovered at the International Space Station in 2018 secret, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has promised to speak personally with the head of the Russian space agency. "They have not told me anything," Bridenstine said during a Houston energy conference question session Thursday (Sept. 19), according to the Houston Chronicle. But he emphasized that he wants to keep good relations with the Russians, one of the two chief partners on the orbiting complex.    More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 22)


JAPANESE CARGO LAUNCH RESET FOR MONDAY AFTER FIRE JAPANESE CARGO LAUNCH RESET FOR MONDAY AFTER FIRE - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for Japan’s H-2B rocket, said Friday that engineers concluded a fire on the launch pad during a countdown earlier this month was most likely sparked by static electricity and stimulated by oxygen. The H-2B rocket launch has been rescheduled for Monday at 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT), MHI said in a statement Friday. Launch time is set for 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in Japan. The 186-foot-tall (56.6-meter) rocket will carry Japan’s eighth HTV cargo ship into orbit on a mission to resupply the International Space Station.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 21)


NOAA WEATHER SATELLITE TRANSFERRED TO U.S. AIR FORCE NOAA WEATHER SATELLITE TRANSFERRED TO U.S. AIR FORCE - A retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration geostationary weather satellite is being handed over to the U.S. Air Force to fill in a gap in the service’s forecasting requirements. NOAA spokesman John Leslie confirmed Sept. 19 that the GOES-13 satellite, decommissioned by NOAA in 2018, is being transferred to the Air Force to operate at a new orbital location, which the agency did not disclose.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 21)


SKY IS NO LIMIT FOR NEW GENERATION OF FLEXIBLE SATELLITES SKY IS NO LIMIT FOR NEW GENERATION OF FLEXIBLE SATELLITES - Thales and Boeing last week announced proposals for a new generation of flexible satellites, capable of coping with the changing demands of customers who want mobile phones that can connect to the web on planes, trains and cars as well as in isolated regions, such as Africa and Central America.    More
(Source: Financial Times - Sep 20)


CHINA LAUNCHES 5 NEW EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITES INTO ORBIT (VIDEO) CHINA LAUNCHES 5 NEW EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITES INTO ORBIT (VIDEO) - A Chinese Long March 11 rocket successfully launched five new remote-sensing satellites today (Sept. 19). The rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's Gobi Desert at 2:42 p.m. local time (2:42 a.m. EDT; 0642 GMT), lofting the Zhuhai-1 Group-3 satellites into orbit. Those satellites will join a commercial satellite constellation built and operated by the Chinese company Zhuhai Orbita Aerospace Science and Technology Co., Ltd. That constellation, called Zhuhai-1, will ultimately consist of 34 small satellites...   More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 20)


NO SPACE CRASH: DEAD RUSSIAN SATELLITE JUST MISSED AN OLD HABITAT PROTOTYPE IN ORBIT NO SPACE CRASH: DEAD RUSSIAN SATELLITE JUST MISSED AN OLD HABITAT PROTOTYPE IN ORBIT - It could have been bad. There was a 5.6% chance that two big pieces of space debris — Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II experimental habitat and Russia's defunct Cosmos 1300 satellite — would collide high above Earth early this morning (Sept. 18). That warning came yesterday (Sept. 17) via Twitter from Bigelow Aerospace representatives, who cited analyses by the U.S. Air Force.   More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 19)


ISRAELI COMPANY PLANS SECOND SATELLITE LAUNCH FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS ISRAELI COMPANY PLANS SECOND SATELLITE LAUNCH FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS - An Israeli space startup promises that its second satellite will offer a lot in a small package. NSLComm's newly announced NSLSat-2 will eventually form part of a network of nanosatellites meant to monitor assets from space in many industries, such as oil, shipping and agriculture. NSLSat-2 will launch within six months, joining another satellite called NSLSat-1 that flew to orbit in July.   More
(Source: Forbes - Sep 19)


RUSSIA KNOWS HOW A HOLE FORMED IN THE SPACE STATION LAST YEAR. IT REFUSES TO TELL. RUSSIA KNOWS HOW A HOLE FORMED IN THE SPACE STATION LAST YEAR. IT REFUSES TO TELL. - The Russian space agency is refusing to explain what caused a hole that threatened the air supply on the International Space Station last year, even though officials said Wednesday they know the answer. "What happened is clear to us, but we won't tell you anything," Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said at a meeting Wednesday. The news was reported by state-run news agency RIA Novosti.   More
(Source: Houston Chronicle - Sep 19)


THE AIR FORCE WILL LET HACKERS TRY TO HIJACK AN ORBITING SATELLITE THE AIR FORCE WILL LET HACKERS TRY TO HIJACK AN ORBITING SATELLITE - When the Air Force showed up at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas last month, it didn’t come empty-handed. It brought along an F-15 fighter-jet data system—one that security researchers thoroughly dismantled, finding serious vulnerabilities along the way. The USAF was so pleased with the result that it has decided to up the ante. Next year, it’s bringing a satellite. That’s a promise from Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics.   More
(Source: WIRED - Sep 18)


U.S. AIR FORCE WARNS THERE'S A CHANCE AN AMERICAN AND RUSSIAN SATELLITE COULD COLLIDE OVERNIGHT U.S. AIR FORCE WARNS THERE'S A CHANCE AN AMERICAN AND RUSSIAN SATELLITE COULD COLLIDE OVERNIGHT - Earlier today, the private American firm Bigelow Aerospace was notified by the U.S. Air Force that its Genesis II spacecraft has a slim chance of smashing into a dead Russian spy satellite. News of the potential orbital smash-up came via Bigelow Aerospace’s Twitter account. “Today, we were notified by the US Air Force that there is a 5.6% chance that Genesis II will collide with dead Russian satellite Cosmos 1300 in 15 hours,” says the tweet. “Although this is a relatively low probability, it brings to light that low Earth orbit is becoming increasingly more littered.”   More
(Source: Gizmodo - Sep 18)


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)

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