BACK AT CAPE CANAVERAL, SPACEX’S CREW DRAGON CAPSULE PREPS FOR NEXT MISSION - Fresh off a 64-day test flight to the International Space Station with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, SpaceX’s first human-rated Crew Dragon spaceship is back at Cape Canaveral for inspections, refurbishment and upgrades before flying to the station again with a four-person crew next spring.
The crew capsule — named “Endeavour” by Hurley and Behnken — arrived at Port Canaveral on Aug. 7 aboard SpaceX’s “Go Navigator” recovery ship after sailing from the Gulf of Mexico, where the Dragon spacecraft splashed down under parachutes Aug. 2 south of Pensacola, Florida. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 13)
MEET 'TENACITY': 1ST DREAM CHASER SPACE PLANE GETS A NAME - The first orbital Dream Chaser space plane recently got its wings, and a name.
Dream Chaser, which is built by Colorado-based company Sierra Nevada Corp., is the world's only non-capsule private orbital spacecraft. The winged vehicle will launch vertically atop a rocket but end its missions with runway landings, like NASA's now-retired space shuttle orbiters used to do. More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 13)
UAE TO LAUNCH A NAVIGATION SATELLITE NEXT YEAR - The United Arab Emirates will launch a navigation satellite next year aimed at demonstrating the country’s technological capabilities, a top official told Emirates News Agency, WAM.
“The first satellite will be launched in 2021 and the second – a technologically enhanced one – the following year,” said Dr. Khaled Al Hashmi, Director of the National Space Science and Technology Centre, NSSTC, in UAE University in Al Ain. More
(Source: SpaceWatch.Global - Aug 12)
COMPANIES ARE FLYING OLD SATELLITES LONGER, STUDY FINDS - Nearly a third of commercial geostationary communications satellites in orbit are operating beyond their design lives, a far higher figure than in previous years, according to a study.
Research firm TelAstra of Los Angeles found that in 2020, some 31% of commercial geostationary comsats remained in service past their expected retirement, more than double the number of satellites putting in extra time in 2009. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Aug 12)
JAPANESE RESUPPLY SHIP DEPARTS NEXT WEEK - A Japanese resupply ship will depart the International Space Station next week after nearly three months attached to the orbital lab. Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew continued a variety of science operations today.
JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, announced Tuesday, Aug. 18, as the release date for its H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) cargo craft. More
(Source: NASA - Aug 12)
HOW SPACEX AND NASA OVERCAME A BITTER CULTURE CLASH TO BRING BACK US ASTRONAUT LAUNCHES - In May, millions of Americans watched as Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, two veteran NASA astronauts, strapped into a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and took a 17,000 mile per hour ride to the International Space Station. It was the first time NASA astronauts launched from US soil since 2011 — and the first time in history that a privately owned vehicle carried humans into Earth's orbit.
The astronauts returned safely home last weekend, and once again, NASA and SpaceX employees cheered together, celebrating their coordinated accomplishment. More
(Source: CNN - Aug 11)
SPACEX IS MANUFACTURING 120 STARLINK INTERNET SATELLITES PER MONTH - SpaceX is manufacturing its Starlink satellites at an unprecedented rate for the space industry, analysts say, as the company dives headlong into building a space-based global internet service.
Elon Musk’s company told the Federal Communications Commission in a presentation last month that its Starlink unit is “now building 120 satellites per month” and has “invested over $70 million developing and producing thousands of consumer user terminals per month. More
(Source: CNBC - Aug 11)
SPACEX TO LAUNCH FIRST SAR SATELLITE FOR PREDASAR - Satellite data provider PredaSAR Corporation has announced that its first of 48 advanced commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. is the launch integration provider in addition to the manufacturer of the spacecraft. As part of the agreement, PredaSAR, Tyvak, and SpaceX will be working together to optimise the deployment plan for the remainder of PredaSAR’s commercial SAR satellite constellation. More
(Source: SatelliteProME.com - Aug 11)
A RUSSIAN SATELLITE WEAPON SHOWS THE DANGER OF HAZY RULES IN SPACE - KOSMOS 2542, a Russian satellite lofted into space atop a Soyuz rocket on November 25th last year, was “like Russian nesting dolls”, remarked General John Raymond, commander of America’s space force, in February. Eleven days after its launch it disgorged another satellite, labelled Kosmos 2543. General Raymond’s analogy was more apt than he imagined. On July 15th, as it swung high over northern Europe, Kosmos 2543 itself spat out another object, which sped away at over 140 metres per second. More
(Source: The Economist - Aug 10)
SPACEX STARLINK SATELLITE TRAIN SNAPPED FLYING OVER NEW ZEALAND - A new batch of SpaceX's Starlink satellites has been spotted travelling in the skies over New Zealand.
Fifty-seven of the satellites, intended to provide a satellite-based internet system, were released into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket on Friday. There are now 597 of them - SpaceX hoping to eventually have more than 40,000.
When a batch is first released, the satellites are close together and can be seen moving across the sky in a train. More
(Source: Newshub - Aug 10)
EXPERIMENTAL DRAGRACER SATELLITES WILL TEST 'TERMINATOR TAPE' FOR SPACE JUNK CLEANUP THIS FALL - An experimental mission to test tether-based orbital debris cleanup method with "Terminator Tape" is slated to launch this fall to test the deorbit performance of two satellites.
The Millennium Space Systems mission, called DragRacer, involves two small satellites that are set to launch simultaneously to low Earth orbit (LEO) to measure how fast satellites fall out of space. The goal, the company said, is to study technologies for removing space debris from orbit. More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 9)
SPACEX CLOSES OUT BUSY WEEK WITH LAUNCH OF MORE STARLINK SATELLITES - With a Falcon 9 rocket launch Friday, SpaceX added 57 more satellites to the Starlink broadband fleet and deployed a pair of piggyback commercial Earth-imaging reconnaissance satellites for BlackSky, wrapping up a busy week that began with SpaceX’s return of two NASA astronauts to Earth and the first low-altitude test flight of the company’s next-generation Starship vehicle. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 8)
WATCH SPACEX LAUNCH ITS TENTH STARLINK MISSION TO BUILD OUT ITS SATELLITE INTERNET CONSTELLATION - SpaceX is getting ready for a third try at launching its tenth Starlink mission, after two prior attempts were scrubbed, first in June and then again in July. Meanwhile, SpaceX has accomplished a lot — including another launch of a GPS satellite, and returning astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth from the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon. More
(Source: TechCrunch - Aug 7)
CHINA LAUNCHES 2 SATELLITES FROM DESERT LAUNCH SITE - China is continuing its rapid rate of space launches with its 22nd mission of 2020.
China launched a new Earth observation satellite on Thursday (Aug. 6), with a small companion satellite from Tsinghua University joining the ride. A Long March 2D rocket lifted off from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert at 12:01 p.m. local time Aug. 6 (12:01 a.m. EDT, 0401 GMT). More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 7)
TRUMP SAYS 'NASA WAS CLOSED & DEAD' BEFORE HE TOOK CHARGE. THAT'S NOT TRUE. - President Donald Trump took to Twitter today (Aug. 5) to announce that he brought NASA back from being "Closed & Dead."
In a tweet posted today, Trump said that he had resurrected the space agency. But the claim doesn't hold up under scrutiny: NASA has never closed since it was founded in 1958, and it has certainly never been "dead." More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 6)
SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW AFTERMATH OF BEIRUT BLAST - New satellite photos show the aftermath of Tuesday's massive, deadly explosion at the port of Beirut.
An image taken by the satellite company BlackSky shows extensive damage at the port following the blast. Several warehouses appear to be flattened and a cruise ship called the Orient Queen can be seen listing to one side, according to Allison Puccioni, an analyst and founder of Armillary Services, an independent firm partnered with BlackSky. More
(Source: NPR - Aug 6)
HACKERS ARE BUILDING AN ARMY OF CHEAP SATELLITE TRACKERS - Even though the Defcon security conference has moved entirely online the year, the US Air Force is going forward with Hack-a-Sat, a months-long competition that culminates with hacking a real orbiting satellite starting on Friday. But another project at Defcon's Aerospace Village this week should have at least as much impact and a potentially much broader reach: an open source satellite communication tool made from about a hundred bucks worth of hardware. More
(Source: WIRED - Aug 5)
TECHEDSAT-10 DEPLOYS FROM THE SPACE STATION - On July 13, TechEdSat-10, a six-unit CubeSat deployed from the International Space Station. The mission is demonstrating increased storage and power capabilities that could enable future science and exploration using small spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. Included on TechEdSat-10 are improvements over previous CubeSat technologies in the areas of communications and radio systems, and new propulsion techniques. More
(Source: NASA - Aug 5)
ASTRA'S 1ST ORBITAL LAUNCH ATTEMPT SCUTTLED BY WAYWARD BOAT - Astra was poised to send a rocket to Earth orbit for the first time ever last night (Aug. 2) — until a boat got in the way.
The California-based startup had to call off the launch of its Rocket 3.1 booster from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Alaska's Kodiak Island for safety reasons after a ship wandered into downrange waters. More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 4)