RSCC PLANNING FOUR SATELLITES TO COVER RUSSIA’S FAR NORTH - Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC) plans to add arctic coverage to its fleet by ordering four satellites for highly elliptical orbits later this year.
Yuri Prokhorov, RSCC’s chief executive, said the company wants to have the satellites in orbit in 2024 to provide Ku-band coverage to Russia’s Far North, a vast region beyond the reach of the state-owned satellite operator’s 10 geostationary satellites. The elliptical orbit satellites, called Express-RVs, will extend RSCC’s coverage deep into the Arctic Circle, he said by email. More
(Source: SpaceNews - May 28)
HISTORIC SPACEX LAUNCH DELAYED DUE TO BAD WEATHER, NEXT ATTEMPT COMING THIS WEEKEND - History will be made this weekend at Cape Canaveral, Florida, as SpaceX launches astronauts into space for the first time. Not only will this be the first time that the privately owned company is sending astronauts into space, but it will be the first time that astronauts have launched from the United States in nearly a decade.
The launch was originally set for Wednesday, May 27 at 4:33 p.m. EDT, but poor weather conditions forced SpaceX and NASA to delay the launch.
The next launch attempt will be on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT. More
(Source: Accuweather - May 27)
NASA, SPACEX PICK MAY 27 TO RESUME ASTRONAUT LAUNCHES IN US - NASA and SpaceX have picked May 27 for resuming astronaut launches from the U.S. after nine years of complete Russian dependence.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the launch date Friday. Astronauts haven’t launched into orbit from the U.S. since NASA’s last space shuttle flight in 2011. SpaceX aims to end the drought by sending two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
(Source: AP News - May 27)
CANADIAN ROBOTIC ARM CAPTURES JAPANESE SPACE FREIGHTER - After a five-day journey, the H-II Transport Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) was captured by Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to grapple the 12-ton spacecraft. More
(Source: NASA - May 27)
TWO PAYLOADS QUALIFIED FOR U.S. SPACE FORCE EARLY WARNING SATELLITES - Two sensor payloads for the U.S. Space Force’s new missile warning satellites have passed a key design review. One of them will be selected for the first Next-Generation Overhead Infrared satellite scheduled to launch in 2025.
Raytheon and a Northrop Grumman/Ball Aerospace team designed competing sensor payloads for the Next-Gen OPIR geosynchronous satellites that Lockheed Martin is developing for the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. Both payloads completed preliminary design reviews last week, SMC said on May 22. More
(Source: SpaceNews - May 26)
SMALL SATELLITE LAUNCHER VIRGIN ORBIT FAILS TO LAUNCH ROCKET TO SPACE DURING FIRST TEST FLIGHT - Virgin Orbit’s test flight ended in failure shortly after LauncherOne dropped from under the company’s carrier 747 airplane. Virgin Orbit confirmed that the drop was successful and that the rocket’s main engine ignited. But then it quickly suffered some kind of anomaly at the beginning of the flight. The company says no one was hurt during the test and the team will be digging into the data to learn what went wrong. More
(Source: The Verge - May 26)
ASK AN ASTRONOMER: SPACE DEBRIS AND THREAT THEY POSE TO SATELLITES, SPACE MISSIONS - Thousands of satellites orbit the Earth to study the planet, support communication and several other purposes. However, once these satellites reach their expiry time, they become space junk or space debris and can turn into a major hazard for other multi-million dollar satellites. Recently, China’s mission Long March 5B fell into Earth in an uncontrollable manner—this event once again raised a major alarm related to the space junk floating around in space. More
(Source: The Weather Channel - May 26)
SPACEX'S HISTORIC DEMO-2 CREW DRAGON ASTRONAUT LAUNCH: FULL COVERAGE - SpaceX is set to make history on May 27, 2020.
On that date, Elon Musk's company is scheduled to launch its first crewed mission, a test flight called Demo-2 that will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon capsule. If all goes well with Demo-2, Crew Dragon and SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will be validated for operational crewed missions, the first of which is expected to launch later this year. More
(Source: Space.com - May 26)
NASA INVITES PUBLIC TO BE ITS GUESTS TO CELEBRATE HISTORIC ‘LAUNCH AMERICA’ - NASA is inviting the public to help celebrate a historic milestone in human spaceflight as it prepares for #LaunchAmerica – the first flight into orbit of American astronauts on American rockets from American soil since the end of the space shuttle era in 2011.
Known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, which is targeted for lift off at 4:33 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 27... More
(Source: NASA - May 25)
CHINA'S LOW-ORBIT BROADBAND COMMUNICATION SATELLITE BEARS FRUITFUL RESULTS - China's first technology experiment satellite for low-orbit broadband communication has completed more than 180 communication tests and generated fruitful results, according to its developer Friday.
As the first satellite of the Hongyun Project, a low-orbit broadband communication satellite system developed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), it has worked stably for more than 8,800 hours... More
(Source: Space Daily - May 25)
NASA SPACE STATION ON-ORBIT STATUS 21 MAY, 2020 - SPACEX CREW PREPS FOR LAUNCH - The International Space Station will welcome a pair of different spaceships next week. Japan's space freighter will arrive first on Monday followed by the first crewed mission from SpaceX on Thursday.
The H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) is in space racing toward the orbiting lab following its launch from Japan on Wednesday. The HTV-9, nicknamed Kounotori, or "white stork", will arrive at the station Monday packed with over four tons of crew supplies, space experiments and new lithium-ion batteries to upgrade station power systems. More
(Source: Space Ref - May 24)
VENERABLE AO-7 SATELLITE CONTINUES TO DELIVER - The nearly 46-year-old AO-7 amateur satellite made a remarkable contact possible on May 4 between Diego Feil, LW2DAF, in Buenos Aires, Argentina (GF05rk), and Tom Ambrose, ZS1TA, in Cape Town, South Africa (JF95fx). The contact spanned 4,329 miles across the South Atlantic, with both stations aiming at only 2 or 3 degrees above the horizon. More
(Source: ARRL - May 24)
MYSTERIOUS LIGHTS OVER AUSTRALIA MAY HAVE COME FROM RUSSIAN SATELLITE - Earth has been spared yet again — from asteroids, at least.
Australians in central Victoria were shocked to see streaks of fire passing through the night sky on Friday, sparking theories of meteors and aliens on social media. Sky-watchers in parts of Tasmania also reported witnessing the mysterious light show, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). More
(Source: New York Post - May 24)
RUSSIA’S SOYUZ-2-1B LAUNCHES MISSILE DETECTION SATELLITE - Russia’s Aerospace Forces launched a Soyuz-2-1b rocket Friday, carrying a satellite designed to give the Kremlin advance warning of missile attacks. Soyuz lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at about 10:31 Moscow Time (07:31 UTC), beginning a multi-hour mission to deliver the Tundra No.4 satellite into an elliptical Molniya orbit. A successful mission was declared at around 13:00 UTC.
(Source: NASASpaceflight.com - May 23)
THE US IS PLANNING TO BUILD A SATELLITE NETWORK TO TRACK HYPERSONIC WEAPONS FROM RUSSIA AND CHINA - The United States plans to launch 150 satellites that can track hypersonic weapons in orbit in 2024, a move observers say is aimed at helping the Pentagon control assets in space and keep a close watch on Chinese activities.
According to a draft request for proposals released by the Space Development Agency (SDA) last week, it is seeking a contractor to design and build eight satellites with infrared sensors to track hypersonic weapons, US online military tech publication C4ISRNET reported. More
(Source: Business Insider - May 23)
SATELLITE MANUFACTURING FACES CHANGES, UNCERTAINTY IN COMING YEARS - Commercial satellite operators are experiencing significant changes that are part of a shift from a legacy Geostationary (GEO) communications satellite broadcasting business to more data-centric use cases. The commercial GEO communications satellite industry declined sharply in 2017 with a record low of only seven satellite orders. The previous industry low was seven units 15 years ago when the industry was in crisis in the early 2000s. With ten commercial orders, 2019 showed early signs of recovery but also a growing diversity of GEO comsat. More
(Source: Via Satellite - May 22)
ONCE LAUNCHED, KLEOS SPACE WILL PROVIDE DATA TO MICRO-SATELLITE MILITARY UTILITY PROJECT - Luxembourg-based data-as-a-service company Kleos Space has been contracted to provide Radio Frequency (RF) geolocation intelligence data to the Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory‘s (SDL) Micro-Satellite Military Utility (MSMU) project in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
“Our satellites and our data will enhance defense capabilities when fused with other data sets in the Government environment, as well as providing timely monitoring of illegal fishing, oil embargoes and other illicit action that both damages our environment and hurts our economies,” Kleos Space Project Director Karyn Hayes-Ryan said in a statement issued May 19. More
(Source: Via Satellite - May 22)
ASTRONAUTS LAND IN FLORIDA AHEAD OF HISTORIC LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION - NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday to prepare for the historic return of crewed launches from U.S. soil.
Their space agency jet from Houston arrived shortly before 4 p.m. EDT. Behnken and Hurley, who both flew two previous space shuttle missions, are scheduled for a May 27 launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. More
(Source: UPI - May 22)
NEW MILITARY WEATHER SATELLITE PASSES KEY MILESTONES - A satellite designed to rapidly provide space-based environmental monitoring for the war fighter has achieved two major milestones, passing a critical design review and receiving Milestone B certification, the U.S. Space Force announced May 19.
The next-generation Weather System Follow-on—Microwave (WSF-M) program will provide essential weather data to the U.S. military and its allies. More
(Source: C4ISRNet - May 21)