TWO COMMERCIAL SATELLITES JUST DOCKED IN SPACE FOR THE FIRST TIME - Two commercial satellites have docked in orbit as part of a pioneering satellite-servicing mission. If the rest of the mission is successful, it should give an ailing communications satellite a new lease on life, and it could kickstart an industry that keeps space junk from clogging the skies. More
(Source: The Verge - Feb 27)
PARSONS ASSEMBLING SMALL SATELLITE TO FLY ON ATLAS 5 IN UPCOMING AEHF-6 MISSION - A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket scheduled to fly a $1.4 billion Advanced Extremely High Frequency military satellite next month will also carry a small spacecraft as a secondary payload.
This will be the second rideshare payload assembled by Parsons under a $100 million five-year contract from the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center. SMC last year selected the company to run a new program —called Launch Manifest Systems Integration — to allow small satellites to hitch rides as secondary payloads on national security or civil space missions. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 26)
LOCKHEED TO OBTAIN VECTOR SATELLITE ASSETS - Lockheed Martin will acquire the satellite technology assets of Vector by default after a bankruptcy court received no qualified bids by a deadline last week.
In a Feb. 24 filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, lawyers overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings for Vector said that they received no qualifying bids for the company’s GalacticSky software-defined spacecraft technology by a Feb. 21 deadline.
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 26)
FRESH OUT OF STEALTH MODE, ASTRA GEARING UP FOR ORBITAL LAUNCH FROM ALASKA - Some time in the next few days, a California-based company that has quietly toiled to develop a new light-class satellite launcher since 2016 will attempt to send three CubeSats into orbit from Kodiak Island, Alaska, on the first of two missions scheduled before the end of March to win up to $12 million in prize money from the U.S. military.
Astra, which operated in stealth mode until earlier this month, is gearing up to launch its first orbital mission as soon as this week. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 25)
CHINA WANTS TO BUILD A NEW SPACE STATION. A PLANNED LAUNCH IN APRIL WILL SET THE STAGE - China's space program is planning a launch in April to prepare for building the country's next space station.
A Long March 5B rocket will carry a "trial version" of China's new spaceship, which is designed to carry crews of up to six people, state media source Xinhua said. Previous Chinese spaceships carried up to three taikonauts, the term used to describe Chinese astronauts. More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 23)
NASA SATELLITE CAPTURES ANTARCTICA MELTING DURING HEAT WAVE - Antarctica, home to the coldest place on Earth, experienced a worrying heat wave earlier in February, possibly even setting a record high temperature for the normally frigid continent. A NASA satellite has taken stock of what that heat meant to the local ice cap and glaciers.
NASA's Earth Observatory released two images from the agency's Landsat 8 satellite. They highlight dramatic changes in the ice and snow along the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula. More
(Source: CNET - Feb 22)
GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITE ORDERS BOUNCING BACK - Manufacturers are hopeful that 2019 marked the beginning of a turnaround for geostationary satellite orders, even though their market remains fraught with uncertainty.
After booking just 14 orders in 2017 and 2018 combined, satellite manufacturers reported 2019 orders for 15 commercially competed geostationary communications spacecraft and two military comsats awarded without open bidding. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 22)
CONSTRUCTION OF CHINA'S SPACE STATION ABOUT TO START - The maiden flight of the Long March-5B rocket carrying a trial version of China's new-generation manned spaceship is expected to take place in April, indicating the imminent start of construction of China's space station.
The rocket, the prototype core capsule of the space station and the experimental manned spaceship are undergoing tests at the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the coast of south China's island province of Hainan. More
(Source: Space Daily - Feb 21)
SOYUZ ROCKET LAUNCHES RUSSIAN MILITARY SATELLITE AFTER ONE-MONTH DELAY - A Russian military communications satellite rode a Soyuz rocket and Fregat upper stage Thursday into an orbit stretching nearly 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) above Earth, successfully launching after a one-month delay to replace a suspect third stage on the Soyuz booster.
The Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifted off with a Meridian M communications satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 0824:54 GMT (3:24:54 a.m. EST) Thursday, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 21)
LONG MARCH-2D CONDUCTS MAIDEN LAUNCH FROM XICHANG WITH FOUR SATELLITES - Taking precautions with the coronavirus outbreak in all orbital and space launch centers, China returned to its launch activities after the Chinese New Year festivities with a new launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
This was the first use of a Long March-2D (Chang Zheng-2D) launch vehicle from Xichang. The mission orbited four satellites that will be used to carry out inter-satellite link networking and new ground observation technology tests in orbit. The launch took place from the LC3 Launch Complex at 21:07UTC. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Feb 20)
A SATELLITE MADE IN ST. LOUIS WILL BE LAUNCHED FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION WEDNESDAY - A six-pound satellite built right here in St. Louis will be launched from the International Space Station Wednesday.
The Argus-2 satellite was built by students at Saint Louis University's Parks College of Engineering and sent to the International Space Station in November. The spacecraft will be launched into orbit at 10 a.m.
(Source: KSDK.com - Feb 20)
AZTECHSAT-1 SOON TO DEPLOY FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - The launch of one very small spacecraft marks a big success for the first collaboration between NASA and the Mexican Space Agency on a spaceflight project. It's also important for the team of students in Mexico who designed and built the satellite.
Called AzTechSat-1, it will demonstrate satellite-to-satellite communications for applications in space and on Earth. Specifically, it will "talk to" a network of telecommunications satellites already orbiting the Earth and contribute new data about this transmission strategy to developers of small satellites called CubeSats. More
(Source: Space Daily - Feb 20)
IMAGE: INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TRANSITS THE MOON - Say cheese.
Amateur astrophotographer Javier Manteca captured the International Space Station as flew in front of the moon on 5 February.
While most eyes were on the change of command ceremony taking place inside the Space Station ahead of ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano's return to Earth, Javier set up his gear to track the Station from the small town of Campo Real in Madrid, Spain. More
(Source: Phys.org - Feb 20)
ARIANE 5 DEPLOYS COMMUNICATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING SATELLITES - A Japanese-owned communications satellite built in Colorado and a South Korean environmental monitoring observatory shared an Ariane 5 rocket ride into orbit Tuesday from the South American jungle.
The heavyweight duo rocketed away from a launch pad in French Guiana at 5:18 p.m. EST (2218 GMT; 7:18 p.m. French Guiana time) Tuesday after a smooth countdown, beginning Arianespace’s third mission of the year. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 19)
2 RUSSIAN SATELLITES TAILING US SPY SATELLITE: WASHINGTON - Washington has accused two Russian satellites of tailing a US spy satellite in what it called "disturbing behavior", prompting a guarded response from Moscow on Tuesday.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that he had received a message from Washington regarding the satellites, adding that "Moscow will respond after studying it." More
(Source: Voice of America - Feb 19)
COULD HACKERS TURN SATELLITES INTO WEAPONS? - Hackers could shut down satellites and potentially turn them into weapons, an expert warns.
According to William Akoto, a scholar who studies cyber conflict, hackers taking control of the satellites orbiting Earth could have dire consequences.
“On the mundane end of scale, hackers could simply shut satellites down, denying access to their services. Hackers could also jam or spoof the signals from satellites, creating havoc for critical infrastructure,” Akoto wrote for Space.com. More
(Source: New York Post - Feb 19)
SPACEX WILL FLY SPACE TOURISTS ON CREW DRAGON FOR SPACE ADVENTURES - SpaceX just inked its first deal to launch space tourists into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The private spaceflight company founded by billionaire Elon Musk has signed an agreement with the U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures to launch up to four passengers on an orbital trip aboard a Crew Dragon space capsule. The mission would last up to five days and could launch as early as late 2021, Space Adventures representatives told Space.com. More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 19)
CYGNUS FREIGHTER DELIVERS NEW BRITISH-MADE ANTENNA TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A commercial Cygnus cargo freighter arrived at the International Space Station Tuesday two-and-a-half days after launching from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, delivering a new British-made high-speed communications antenna and more than 7,000 pounds of other experiments and equipment.
Astronaut Drew Morgan, working at a control station aboard the space station, used the research outposts’s Canadian-built robotic arm to capture the Cygnus spacecraft at 4:05 a.m. EST (0905 GMT) Tuesday while the cargo freighter hovered less than 40 feet (12 meters) below the complex. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 19)
NEW SATELLITE MADE FROM CORK COULD HELP SMALLER SPACECRAFT RE-ENTER EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE INTACT BY DIRECTING HEAT TOWARD PARTS OF THE HULL DESIGNED TO BURN UP AND FLAKE AWAY - This week the European Space Agency will begin testing a new kind of spacecraft partially made from cork in the hopes of finding a safer way to re-enter the atmosphere.
Called ‘QubeSat for Aerothermodynamic Research and Measurements on Ablation,’ the vessel is made up of a series of cubes stacked on top of each other and measures around a foot in height. More
(Source: Daily Mail - Feb 18)