SATELLOGIC SELECTS CHINA GREAT WALL TO LAUNCH SATELLITE CONSTELLATION - Satellogic, a company developing a constellation of Earth imaging satellites with hyperspectral capabilities, announced Jan. 15 that it will launch its fleet of spacecraft on Chinese rockets.
Buenos Aires-based Satellogic said that it plans to launch 90 of its remote sensing smallsats on as many as six Long March 6 rockets under a contract with China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
In an interview, Emiliano Kargieman, founder and chief executive of the company, said the first of the launches, carrying 13 satellites, is planned for September or October of this year. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 17)
RUSSIA TO COMPLETE MILITARY SATELLITE CONSTELLATION BLAGOVEST IN APRIL - SOURCE - The communications satellites will be spread out evenly to provide seamless global coverage. They are equipped with modern Ka and Q-band transponders and support high-speed Internet, telephony and other broadcasting services. The launch of the fourth and last military communications satellite of Russia’s Blagovest constellation is tentatively planned for April, a source in the space industry told Sputnik. More
(Source: Sputnik International - Jan 16)
RUSSIA HAS LOST CONTROL OF ITS SPEKTR-R RADIO SATELLITE AFTER COSMIC RADIATION FRIED ITS ELECTRONICS - Russia has lost control of its only space radio telescope Spektr-R. The 33-foot satellite, which was launched in 2011, stopped responding to commands on January 10.
Experts with Russia’s space agency Roscosmos say cosmic radiation accumulated in the satellite’s electronics has caused problems with the communications system. A source from the agency told TASS attempts to regain control of Spektr-R over the weekend had failed and they would be trying again Monday. More
(Source: NewsWeek - Jan 16)
DESPITE US WARNING, IRAN LAUNCHES SATELLITE AND FAILS - Iran launched a satellite on Tuesday that failed to reach orbit, after the US warned against the launch earlier this month.
The satellite "did not reach enough speed in the third stage and was not put into orbit," Mohammad Jahromi, the country's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, told the official IRNA news agency after a ceremony was held for the launch at Imam Khomeini Spaceport early Tuesday.
The minister said Iran would launch another satellite soon. More
(Source: CNN - Jan 16)
DRAGON CARGO CRAFT RETURNS TO EARTH - A SpaceX-owned commercial cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California late Sunday, closing out a 39-day mission that delivered 2.8 tons of supplies, experiments and holiday treats to the International Space Station, and returned home with research specimens and no-longer-needed hardware. The unpiloted supply ship, loaded with about 2 tons of gear and experiment specimens, departed the space station at 6:33 p.m. EST (2333 GMT) Sunday with a ground-commanded release from the orbiting research lab’s 58-foot (17.7-meter) Canadian-built robotic arm. The Dragon capsule fired its thrusters for a series of departure burns to fly away from the station’s vicinity, setting up for a deorbit burn at 11:19 p.m. EST (0419 GMT) to slow the craft’s velocity enough to drop out of orbit and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 15)
DRAGON CARGO SPACECRAFT UNDOCKED FROM ISS, RETURNS TO EARTH - US cargo spacecraft Dragon left the International Space Station (ISS) after a month in the orbit and is expected to land in the Pacific later on Monday, the spacecraft's manufacturer SpaceX reported late on Sunday.NASA broadcast the undocking of the ship, but due to the temporary suspension of the agency’s work caused by the lack of a budget, the broadcast is not commented. More
(Source: Sputnik International - Jan 14)
JAPAN SPACE AGENCY TO MONITOR DETERIORATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE VIA SATELLITE - The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has developed a system to efficiently monitor the deterioration of infrastructure — such as river embankments, airports and harbors — using the Advanced Land Observing Satellite Daichi-2.
According to JAXA, it can monitor a wide area at once, which is expected to significantly reduce the amount of labor needed for inspections. The system will be available for a fee to the central government, local governments and private companies, to improve their disaster prevention measures. More
(Source: The Japan News - Jan 14)
CHINA LAUNCHES ZHONGXING-2D BROADCASTING SATELLITE — MEDIA
- China has successfully put into orbit the Zhongxing 2D telecommunications and broadcasting satellite, the Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
The Long March-3B carrier rocket blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southern province of Sichuan at 01:11 local time on Friday (10:11 Moscow time on Thursday). It was China’s first space launch this year.
The satellite will provide transmission services for the country's radio, television stations and cable television networks. It will also be used for a wide range of telecommunications services for data transmission and broadband internet connection.
(Source: TASS - Jan 12)
SPACEX BEGINS 2019 WITH EIGHTH AND FINAL FOR UPGRADED IRIDIUM NETWORK - Ten Iridium communications satellites rode a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit Friday from California in the eighth and final launch for Iridium’s upgraded network over the last two years, and the first of around 18 predicted SpaceX missions planned in 2019. The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lit its nine Merlin 1D main engines and climbed away from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 7:31:33 a.m. PST (10:31:33 a.m. EST; 1531:33 GMT) Friday. More
(Source: SpacewFlight Now - Jan 12)
SPACEX, NASA PUSH 1ST CREW DRAGON TEST FLIGHT TO FEBRUARY - The first uncrewed test flight of SpaceX's new Dragon spacecraft for astronauts will now launch no earlier than February, NASA officials said today (Jan. 10).
The Crew Dragon test flight, called Demo-1, was scheduled to launch on Jan. 17 after already being pushed back once from a Jan. 7 target. NASA announced the new schedule slip, which delays the launch by at least two weeks, in a written status update. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 11)
WORLD-FIRST CHAMELEON SATELLITE LEAVING NATIVE BRITISH SHORES - The last component of British-built chameleon satellite, Eutelsat Quantum, is getting ready to leave home for good.
The final piece of equipment is part of the new SSTL platform; the chassis that provides a payload with structure, power and the ability to propel itself through space.
Representing a major first for the company, the platform weighs in at just over 1 tonne, which is an order of magnitude bigger than any other satellite they have built in the past.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-world-first-chameleon-satellite-native-british.html#jCp More
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 11)
FIXING BROKEN SATELLITES IN SPACE COULD SAVE COMPANIES BIG MONEY - When your satellite breaks in space, as DigitalGlobe’s did on Monday, there isn’t an easy way to repair it. Technology that’s currently on the horizon may change that, however, allowing satellite providers to staunch their financial losses and get more out of their investments.
For DigitalGlobe, the loss was brutal: an Earth-imaging satellite called WorldView-4, which had clients that include Google Maps. A critical instrument needed to stabilize the spacecraft has stopped working properly. Now, the satellite can’t take decent pictures of Earth for DigitalGlobe’s customers, and there seems to be no way to fix the damage. More
(Source: The Verge - Jan 11)
WHAT’S NEXT FOR AIR FORCE WEATHER SATELLITES? - The U.S. military’s highest priority weather satellite, a spacecraft requested by U.S. Strategic Command to observe clouds and theaters of operations, is on hold after NASA rescinded the contract award.
In September the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, working with the NASA Ames Research Center’s small spacecraft prototyping office, awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a $119 million contract to develop a satellite to gather cloud and theater imagery until the service finds a long-term solution to fulfilling its weather requirements. In October, Space Systems Loral protested the award and NASA rescinded it. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 10)
IMAGES SHOW IRAN PREPPING SATELLITE LAUNCH DESPITE POMPEO'S THREAT - New images obtained by CNN Tuesday indicate Iran is preparing to launch a remote sensing satellite into space, the latest sign that the Islamic Republic is moving ahead with the planned mission despite recent warnings from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The high-resolution satellite images, captured by Planet Labs on January 4, 6 and 7, show activity at the Imam Khomeini Space Center consistent with steps that were taken prior to a previous launch in 2017, according to researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. More
(Source: CNN - Jan 9)
BEHOLD! SPACEX'S 1ST CREW DRAGON SPACESHIP IS ON THE LAUNCHPAD - The private spaceflight company SpaceX has moved its first Dragon spaceship designed for astronauts to the launchpad ahead of an uncrewed test flight that's just weeks away.
SpaceX rolled the Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket out to the historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday (Jan. 3) for a test flight for NASA targeted for Jan. 17 . That schedule, however, may be delayed due to the ongoing partial government shutdown that has shuttered much of the U.S. space agency. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 8)
DIGITALGLOBE LOSES WORLDVIEW-4 SATELLITE TO GYRO FAILURE - DigitalGlobe announced Monday that its WorldView-4 satellite has malfunctioned.
In a statement, DigitalGlobe, a division of Maxar Technologies, said the control moment gyros on WorldView-4, launched in November 2016, have failed, preventing the spacecraft from pointing accurately.
The company said that while efforts are continuing to restore the spacecraft, “Maxar believes that WorldView-4 will likely not be recoverable and will no longer produce usable imagery.”
Lockheed Martin built the satellite, which used gyros from Honeywell. Maxar said it “intends to seek full recovery for the loss of WorldView-4 under its insurance policies,” with an insured value of $183 million. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 8)
DRAGON DEPARTING STATION NEXT WEEK; CREW STUDIES BIOLOGY - The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is in its final week attached to the International Space Station’s Harmony module. Meanwhile, robotics experts on the ground and the crew aboard the lab are working a wide variety of science activities today.
The Dragon space freighter has nearly completed its cargo mission to replenish the orbital laboratory after delivering over 5,600 pounds of science and supplies Dec. 8. Dragon will return to Earth Jan. 10 for retrieval in the Pacific Ocean loaded with completed science experiments and used hardware for analysis. More
(Source: NASA - Jan 6)
'METEOR' MOST LIKELY AN OLD RUSSIAN MILITARY SATELLITE - A Russian military satellite was most likely the bright light in the sky that had lots of Kiwis stargazing on Saturday night, experts say.
People from around the North Island reported a possible meteor or space junk sighting about 9pm.
Cosmologist Professor Richard Easther from Auckland University said the evidence was strong that it was a satellite falling back to earth. More
(Source: Stuff.co.nz - Jan 6)
NEW NANO-SATELLITE SYSTEM YIELDS HIGH-RES IMAGERY AT LOWER COST
- Constellations of nano-satellites can produce high-resolution images for less money, according to new research. The imaging techniques developed by scientists at Ben-Gurion University in Israel could also be used to improve the observations of ground-telescope arrays.
"This is an invention that completely changes the costs of space exploration, astronomy, aerial photography, and more," Angika Bulbul, a BGU Ph.D. candidate, said in a news release.
(Source: UPI - Jan 5)