ONEWEB STARTS TO MASS-PRODUCE SATELLITES IN FLORIDA - In the shiny white laboratory that is OneWeb Satellites' new Florida manufacturing plant, a historic first happened this week: The first few mass-produced satellites ever to be built in Florida started coming together.
Workers in lab coats and hairnets pushed solar panels into cabinets where bright lights checked for fractures. Satellite frames covered in gold-colored film, about the size of a washing machine, neared the final radio-frequency test chambers. More
(Source: UPI - Mar 20)
US MILITARY WANTS $300M TO START TESTING SATELLITE-MOUNTED LASERS AND ‘PARTICLE BEAMS’ - The U.S. military is looking to develop and test more weapons it can blast into space to fire at targets on the surface of the earth.
According to Defense One, the first plan on the agenda is a space laser that could be used to blow up enemy missiles "coming off the launch pad".
A study to see if this is feasible should wrap up within six months, but only takes up $15m (£11m) of the total budget. More
(Source: Fox News - Mar 20)
TOILET ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION GETS A BACTERIA-KILLING UPGRADE - Killing bacteria in space is surprisingly hard. Space missions have been plagued by bacterial biofilms that have coated surfaces and corroded equipment.
Now, an antimicrobial metal surface that explodes bacteria on contact has been tested on the International Space Station (ISS), and it may be used in future missions to keep astronauts healthy. More
(Source: New Scientist - Mar 20)
CHINA LAUNCHED ITS 300TH LONG MARCH ROCKET THIS MONTH - China just hit a rocket launch milestone.
Last week, the China National Space Administration launched its 300th Long March rocket mission, successfully placing the new communications satellite ChinaSat 6C into orbit. The mission launched March 10 atop a Long March 3B rocket that lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's southwestern Sichuan Province. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 18)
CHINA PLANS A SOLAR POWER PLAY IN SPACE THAT NASA ABANDONED DECADES AGO - John Mankins has spent his professional life working on novel ideas that could transform the way humans use technology in space, solar power among them. But Mankins’ interplanetary musings went beyond the way solar is already used to power satellites and the International Space Station. During a 25-year career at NASA and CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he devised multiple concepts to extend the use of solar in space, among them a solar-powered interplanetary transport vehicle and a space-based power system.
(Source: CNBC - Mar 18)
UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SPACEWALKS EXPECTED TO LAST 6 HOURS EACH - Four astronauts are preparing for their first spacewalks outside the International Space Station, scheduled for March 22, March 29 and April 8. Live coverage of all three spacewalks will begin at 6:30 a.m. on the respective day of the spacewalk. Designated as U.S. spacewalks 52, 53 and 54, each is expected to last about 6.5 hours. More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Mar 17)
VIRGINIA CUBESAT CONSTELLATION SATELLITES TO CARRY AMATEUR PACKET PAYLOADS - A three-satellite constellation of CubeSats developed by university students across Virginia has moved a step closer to orbit and the culmination of a multi-year effort. The Virginia CubeSat Constellation is a collaborative project of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and its four member universities — the University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, and Hampton University. Three CubeSats — developed by engineering students and named after Roman deities — were delivered to Houston aerospace company NanoRacks for integration into a launch vehicle headed for the International Space Station (ISS). Each satellite will carry a UHF Amateur Radio packet repeater, but their primary mission is to quantify atmospheric density. Launch is set for April 17 from NASA’s Wallop’s Island facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore on Northrop Grumman’s Antares vehicle, and the CubeSats will be deployed into orbit by ISS crew members. More
(Source: ARRL - Mar 16)
US AIR FORCE LAUNCHES ADVANCED MILITARY COMMUNICATION SATELLITE - A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket took to the skies during an evening launch today (March 15), lofting a military satellite to become the 10th piece of a communications constellation.
The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:26 p.m. EDT (0026 on March 16 GMT) after a series of technical delays. It deployed the satellite just under 37 minutes into the flight. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 16)
SPACE STATION CREW BACK AT SIX WITH SUCCESSFUL SOYUZ DOCKING - A Russian cosmonaut and his NASA co-pilot, five months after riding out a dramatic launch abort last October, finally made it into orbit Thursday and, along with a NASA astronaut making her first flight, docked with the International Space Station six hours later to boost the lab’s crew back to six.
Under a cloudy sky, the Soyuz booster roared to life and climbed away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:14:08 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. Friday local time), roughly the moment Earth’s rotation carried the launch pad — the same one used by Yuri Gagarin at the dawn of the Space Age — into the plane of the station’s orbit. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 16)
WGS-10 IN FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR ULA LAUNCH - A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket is in final preparations to launch the tenth Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite for the U.S. Air Force. The launch is planned for March 15 at Space Launch Complex-37 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. According to the release, ULA has a track record of 100 percent mission success with 132 successful launches.
The WGS system, developed by the Boeing Company, provides wideband communications connectivity for U.S. and allied warfighters around the world. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Mar 15)
LOCKHEED MARTIN DEVELOPS WORLD-FIRST LTE-OVER-SATELLITE SYSTEM - Lockheed Martin has developed a new LTE-over-Satellite system designed to provide connectivity to remote regions, including areas without cellphone coverage, boats off-shore, or during natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, catastrophic floods or volcanoes. New hotspots connect existing phones to satellites for reliable 4G connections.
"When disaster strikes, cell phone networks often go down - whether because of the event or because of the sheer volume of traffic," said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of Mission Solutions at Lockheed Martin Space. More
(Source: Space Daily - Mar 15)
HOW ONE COMPANY WILL BUILD SATELLITE PARTS IN SPACE - Imagine a satellite able to repair itself. When a solar panel degrades or an antenna gets stuck, the satellite simply 3-D prints a replacement and goes on with its business.
Futuristic? Yes. Likely in a couple of decades? Also yes, says Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush. His company just completed testing of an autonomous construction platform called Archinaut. Inside of a test chamber intended to simulate the vacuum of space, Archinaut took the first steps towards its eventual goal -- to build antennas, solar arrays and similar components on newly launched satellites. More
(Source: Forbes - Mar 15)
2 ASTRONAUTS, 1 COSMONAUT LAUNCH TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Three spaceflyers launched to the International Space Station on Thursday, lighting up the night sky over central Asia.
NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin rode into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:14 p.m. ET (12:14 a.m. local time on March 15).
The trio will now spend six hours journeying to the space station, with an estimated arrival at 9:07 p.m. ET. More
(Source: NBC News - Mar 15)
DELAYED SATELLITE RADAR MISSION BUCKS THE SMALLSAT TREND - This space project is delayed, over budget and still waiting on a launch date. But despite the issues facing the Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM), the MDA built-project will fill a growing need in northern climes to monitor the effects of climate change, an analyst notes, because CubeSats can't fill the hole yet. The $1 billion CDN ($750 million) constellation was supposed to lift off in February, but an issue with a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster during a December 2018 launch delayed RCM for the sixth time; a new launch date has not been announced yet. More
(Source: Forbes - Mar 14)
WALLOPS TO LAUNCH VIRGINIA SATELLITES TO SPACE STATION - Three small satellites that were developed at public universities in Virginia will be lifting off into space next month.
Old Dominion University in Norfolk said in a press release that the satellites will be aboard Northrop Grumman's Antares launch to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for April 17 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore. More
(Source: Delmarva Public Radio - Mar 13)
JAPAN TO BUILD HABITATION MODULE FOR SPACE STATION - apan is set to build a habitation module for astronauts in a new space station that will orbit the Moon.
US space agency NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, the European Space Agency, or ESA, and others plan to build the space station, called Gateway, by 2026. More
(Source: NHK WORLD - Mar 13)
NEXT SPACE STATION CREW LAUNCH SET THURSDAY ON SOYUZ FROM BAIKONUR COSMODROME - Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are set to join the crew aboard the International Space Station next Thursday, March 14. The trio’s arrival will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. This launch will also mark the fourth Expedition crew with two female astronauts. Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website. More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Mar 12)
CHINA LAUNCHES NEW COMMUNICATION SATELLITE - China Sunday sent a new communication satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan province.
The "ChinaSat 6C" satellite was launched at 0:28 a.m. Beijing Time by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. It will provide high-quality radio and TV transmission services.
The satellite has been sent to the geostationary orbit, and can cover China, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific island countries. More
(Source: China.org.cn - Mar 11)
AFTER A SUCCESSFUL TEST FLIGHT TO THE ISS, SPACEX LOOKS AHEAD TO LAUNCHING ASTRONAUTS
- Over the course of the last week, SpaceX took a giant leap toward launching humans from Cape Canaveral for the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. On Saturday, March 2, at 2:49 a.m. EST, one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets lit up the pre-dawn sky, lofting a Crew Dragon spacecraft designed to carry humans—but carrying only a stuffed globe and a manikin named Ripley outfitted with a space suit and suite of sensors—to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX then landed the Falcon 9 first stage on one of the company’s two drone ships, Of Course I Still Love You, waiting out in the Atlantic.
(Source: Smithsonian - Mar 11)