FACEBOOK CONFIRMS IT'S WORKING ON A NEW INTERNET SATELLITE - Fiber optic cables are the gold standard of a good internet connection, but laying them can be expensive, and in some parts of the world, a physically daunting task. So in remote corners of the globe, people often connect to the internet instead via massive geostationary satellites. These school bus-size instruments are especially far away, producing significantly slower connections. A host of companies believe the better way to connect the estimated half of Earth’s population that’s still offline is to launch “constellations” of smaller satellites into low Earth orbit, around 100 to 1,250 miles above our planet. More
(Source: WIRED - Jul 21)
WATCH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION POOP OUT A TINY SATELLITE THAT WILL SEARCH FOR MATTER - You might think of satellites as large, imposing spacecraft that cruise through Earth’s orbit like hulking beasts, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many modern satellites are tiny in size, but they do lots of very important work, and the International Space Station just dropped another one above Australia. Its mission will be to find missing matter.
The mini satellite is called a CubeSat because, well, it’s shaped like a box, and this particular CubeSat is going to peer into the Milky Way and study its halo. What’s a galaxy halo? Well, dear reader, I’m so glad you asked! More
(Source: BGR - Jul 20)
BROWN UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADS LAUNCH THE LITTLE DIY SATELLITE THAT COULD - For Max Monn, and three fellow engineering students at Brown University, it all started as just another project in just another undergraduate class back in 2012. The assignment?
"Developing a mission plan for a space related project," explained Monn.
Keep in mind that developing the plan, in this class, was simply a theoretical learning exercise. As such, most students tend to opt for imaginative, pie-in-the sky type proposals like a new space station or a giant telescope. But inspired by a professor, who Monn calls "a self-described aerospace anarchist," Monn and his three friends wanted to "focus small." More
(Source: wgbh.org - Jul 19)
CYGNUS SPACECRAFT LEAVES THE SPACE STATION AFTER GIVING IT AN ORBITAL BOOST - A Cygnus cargo spacecraft left the International Space Station (ISS) today (July 15), nearly two months after it arrived with supplies and science gear for the station's six-person crew.
The uncrewed Cygnus OA-9 spacecraft, also known as the "S.S. J.R. Thompson," departed the ISS at 8:37 a.m. EDT (1237 GMT), when European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor set it free using Canadarm2, a 58-foot (18 meters) robotic arm that the astronauts controlled from inside the ISS. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 18)
MU SPACE TO LAUNCH NEW LEO SATELLITE - Mu Space plans to launch a new satellite into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a significant strategic move. The company will collaborate with SSL, a Maxar Technologies company and provider of satellites and spacecraft systems, to develop concepts for communications and Earth observation satellites.
SSL will help Mu Space with its plans to launch a satellite into LEO in the early 2020s. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jul 18)
SATELLITE ROCKET LAUNCHES TO BLAST OFF FROM UK AS PART OF PIONEERING SPACE PLAN - Satellite launches are set to come to the UK as Virgin hopes to carry a rocket on a plane and then launch it into space.
The government hopes that the new launch plans are part of a vast new space industry across the country, which also includes launchpads in Scotland.
Britain hasn't launched a satellite using a UK rocket since 1971, when Black Arrow carried a satellite called Prospero into low Earth orbit. Even that took off from a launchpad in Australia. More
(Source: The Independent - Jul 17)
CYGNUS CARGO SHIP RELEASED FROM SPACE STATION, HEADS FOR EXTENDED MISSION - Closing out 52 days at the International Space Station, an automated Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft left the research outpost Sunday to climb into a higher orbit for deployment of six CubeSats and further engineering experiments, before de-orbiting over Pacific Ocean later this month. European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, at the controls of the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm, sent the command to release the Cygnus spacecraft a few hours after the supply ship was removed from a berthing port on the station’s Harmony module. More
(Source: SoaceFlight Now - Jul 16)
NASA COMMERCIAL CREW PROGRAM FOR SPACE STATION FACES DELAYS, REPORT SAYS - Plans to launch the first NASA astronauts since 2011 to the International Space Station from the United States look set to be delayed due to incomplete safety measures and accountability holes in the agency's commercial crew program, according to a federal report released on Wednesday.
SpaceX and Boeing Co are the two main contractors selected under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's commercial crew program to send U.S. astronauts to space as soon as 2019, using their Dragon and Starliner spacecraft respectively. More
(Source: WSAU News - Jul 14)
U.S. CARGO CRAFT TESTS REBOOST CAPABILITY AT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A commercial Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply ship berthed at the International Space Station fired its main engine for 50 seconds Tuesday in a test of the spacecraft’s ability to reboost, and possibly eventually deorbit, the massive research outpost.
Ground controllers at Northrop Grumman’s mission operations center in Dulles, Virginia, uplinked commands for the Cygnus spacecraft, attached to the space station’s Unity module, to ignite its main engine at 4:25 p.m. EDT (2025 GMT) Tuesday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 14)
SATELLITE-LOFTING STARTUP WILL BUILD US LAUNCH SITE - The small-satellite launch provider Rocket Lab plans to build a new launch site in the United States, the company announced on Tuesday (July 10).
Although Rocket Lab is a U.S. startup based in California, it has launched missions only from New Zealand, where the company built the world's first private launch complex, constructed on a remote peninsula.
Rocket Lab is now looking at four potential sites for a second, U.S.-based launch facility, and the company expects to decide by August, Rocket Lab officials said in a statement. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 13)
CUBESATS TO DEPLOY FROM INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION ON JULY 13 - Japan’s space agency JAXA has announced that nine CubeSats will be deployed from the International Space Station on July 13. Three of the satellites — EnduroSat AD, EQUISat, and MemSat — will transmit telemetry in the 70-centimeter Amateur Radio band. EnduroSat AD will transmit on 437.050 MHz (CW, 9.6 kB GFSK); EQUISat will transmit on 435.550 MHz (CW, 9.6 kB FSK), and MemSat will transmit on 437.350 MHz (9.6 kB BPSK). More
(Source: ARRL - Jul 12)
ARRL URGES REGULATORY REGIME TO KEEP NON-AMATEUR SATELLITES OFF AMATEUR SPECTRUM - ARRL wants the FCC to facilitate bona fide Amateur Satellite experimentation by educational institutions under Part 97 Amateur Service rules, while precluding the exploitation of amateur spectrum by commercial, small-satellite users authorized under Part 5 Experimental rules. In comments filed on July 9 in an FCC proceeding to streamline licensing procedures for small satellites, ARRL suggested that the FCC adopt a “a bright line test” to define and distinguish satellites that should be permitted to operate under Amateur-Satellite rules, as opposed to non-amateur satellites authorized under Part 5 Experimental rules. More
(Source: ARRL - Jul 11)
EUROPE'S ICE-WATCHING SATELLITE DODGES SPACE JUNK IN ORBIT - The European Space Agency nudged one of its satellites from its normal orbit this week to avoid a potential collision with space junk, with the satellite soaring almost 400 feet (122 meters) above the risky object. But now, the agency needs to move the satellite back on track.
The operation comes less than a week after the agency released a new report about the huge amount of debris in space. That report found a total of almost 20,000 pieces of space junk in orbit as of the end of 2017 — more than 8,000 lbs. (3,628 kilograms) of dead spacecraft and their remnants. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 11)
IMAGE: THE INTEGRATED CHEOPS SATELLITE - Cheops, the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, will make observations of exoplanet-hosting stars to measure small changes in their brightness due to the transit of a planet across the star's disc.
The information will enable precise measurements of the sizes of the orbiting planets, in particular in the Earth-to-Neptune mass range: combined with measurements of the planet masses, this will provide an estimate of their mean density – a first step to characterising planets outside our Solar System. More
(Source: Phys.Org - Jul 11)
CHINESE NAVIGATION SATELLITE DEPLOYED BY LONG MARCH ROCKET - China launched its second space mission in less than 24 hours Monday, sending a Beidou navigation satellite toward an orbital perch around 22,000 miles above Earth.
The Beidou navigation lifted off on top of a Long March 3A rocket at 2058 GMT (4:58 p.m. EDT) Monday from the Xichang launch base, situated in a mountainous region of southwest China’s Sichuan province, according to the Beidou program’s official government website.
Liftoff occurred at 4:58 a.m. Tuesday, Beijing time. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 11)
CHINA SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES 2 SATELLITES FOR CLOSE ALLY PAKISTAN - China today successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for its "all-weather" ally Pakistan, which will also help the two countries monitor progress as they build the strategic USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The launch of the two satellites marks yet another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 2011.
(Source: Economic Times - Jul 10)
PROGRESS FREIGHTER COMPLETES FASTEST-EVER TRIP TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A Russian Progress resupply and refueling craft launched Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, riding a Soyuz booster into orbit on a perfectly-timed departure that set the stage for an on-target docking with the International Space Station less than four hours later.
The Progress MS-09 cargo carrier lifted off atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket at 2151:34 GMT (5:51:34 p.m. EDT) Monday from the historic spaceport on the Kazakh steppe. Riding nearly a million pounds of thrust, the Soyuz rocket tilted toward the northeast, quickly exceeding the speed of sound and casting an orange glow over the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where liftoff occurred at 3:51 a.m. local time Tuesday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 10)
RUSSIAN CARGO SHIP TO TRY FAST-TRACK RENDEZVOUS WITH SPACE STATION - A Russian Soyuz rocket and Progress resupply freighter are set for liftoff Monday on an accelerated, less-than-four-hour rendezvous with the International Space Station after last-minute launch scrubs prevented two similar fast-track approach attempts in recent months.
The Progress MS-09 cargo craft will blast off on top of a Soyuz-2.1a rocket at 2151 GMT (5:51 p.m. EDT) Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where liftoff is set to occur at 3:51 a.m. local time Tuesday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 9)
HOW A SNAFU OVER SWARMING SATELLITES LED SPACEFLIGHT TO SHARPEN ITS LAUNCH POLICY - When India’s PSLV rocket launched a host of satellites into orbit in January, one big piece was missing: the Federal Communications Commission’s authorization for Swarm Technologies’ super-miniaturized satellites.
The FCC had nixed Swarm’s application on the grounds that the wallet-sized communications satellites, known as SpaceBEEs, were too small to be tracked properly. But Seattle-based Spaceflight, which had arranged for the launch, didn’t know that.
January’s unauthorized launch of the SpaceBEEs resulted in a regulatory slap for Swarm, and no small embarrassment for Spaceflight. More
(Source: GeekWire - Jul 8)