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ROCKET LAB'S 1ST LAUNCH OF 2020 IS FOR THE NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE, THE US SPYSAT AGENCY - The private small-satellite launch company Rocket Lab will fly its first mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) next week, kicking off a busy 2020 that also includes plans for a new launchpad and larger headquarters.
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SATELLITE NEWS

SPACEX WINS CONTRACT TO LAUNCH EGYPTIAN COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE SPACEX WINS CONTRACT TO LAUNCH EGYPTIAN COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - SpaceX and the Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat have signed a contract to launch the Nilesat 301 communications craft on a Falcon 9 rocket in early 2022, SpaceX confirmed this week. The commercial agreement was signed in Cairo on Tuesday by SpaceX and Nilesat officials. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 26)


BOEING SAYS SPACEWAY-1 BATTERY FAILURE HAS LOW RISK OF REPEATING ON SIMILAR SATELLITES BOEING SAYS SPACEWAY-1 BATTERY FAILURE HAS LOW RISK OF REPEATING ON SIMILAR SATELLITES - The battery malfunction that put DirecTV’s Spaceway-1 satellite at risk of exploding has a “very low likelihood” of occuring on other satellites, according to the satellite’s manufacturer, Boeing. Spaceway-1 was the first of three virtually identical Spaceway satellites built by Boeing and launched between 2005 and 2007. AT&T subsidiary DirectTV owns Spaceway-1 and -2, which were launched to provide direct broadcast TV services over the Americas. Hughes Network Systems, which was spun off from DirecTV in 2005, owns Spaceway-3 and uses it to provide internet connectivity to customers in North America.    More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 26)


NORTHROP GRUMMAN TARGETING FEB. 9 FOR LAUNCH OF CYGNUS SPACECRAFT TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION NORTHROP GRUMMAN TARGETING FEB. 9 FOR LAUNCH OF CYGNUS SPACECRAFT TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Northrop Grumman is targeting Sunday, Feb. 9, at 5:39 p.m., for the launch of its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. This will be Northrop Grumman’s 13th commercial resupply mission for the agency to the International Space Station.   More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Jan 26)


ASTRONAUTS FINISH SPACEWALK FOR FINAL FIX OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION DEVICE ASTRONAUTS FINISH SPACEWALK FOR FINAL FIX OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION DEVICE - Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station conducted their fourth and final spacewalk Saturday to finish a series of repairs aimed at extending the functioning of a cosmic ray detector attached to the spacecraft. The six-hour, 16-minute foray outside the space capsule began shortly after 7:00 a.m. ET and ended at 1:20 p.m.   More
(Source: NPR - Jan 26)


SPACEX DELAYS LAUNCH OF NEXT 60 STARLINK SATELLITE DUE TO BAD WEATHER SPACEX DELAYS LAUNCH OF NEXT 60 STARLINK SATELLITE DUE TO BAD WEATHER - Dismal rocket landing weather has prompted SpaceX to postpone the launch of its next Starlink satellite mission by another three days, with liftoff now set for Monday, Jan. 27. The private spaceflight company had hoped to launch its next 60 Starlink internet satellites earlier this week, but delayed the mission to no earlier than Friday (Jan. 24) due to bad weather at its rocket landing site. On Thursday, SpaceX pushed the launch back again, to no earlier than Monday.    More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 25)


SOUNDS LIKE DIRECTV'S BIG SATELLITE IS ABOUT TO BLOW SOUNDS LIKE DIRECTV'S BIG SATELLITE IS ABOUT TO BLOW - DirecTV has asked for special permission to move a satellite it says is likely to explode in about a month, The Verge reports. The SPACEWAY-1 is part of parent company AT&T’s satellite TV fleet, launched in 2005 as part of a major satellite TV boom. In an FCC filing, DirecTV says an “anomaly” (the company doesn’t elaborate) in December burned up some of the battery packs, leaving them structurally damaged. Satellites like SPACEWAY-1 have solar panels that power them for much of the year, and battery power for the brief time during each orbit when they’re in shadow.    More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Jan 25)


FOUR NEW US SPACESHIPS MAY START LAUNCHING PEOPLE INTO SPACE THIS YEAR FOUR NEW US SPACESHIPS MAY START LAUNCHING PEOPLE INTO SPACE THIS YEAR - It looks like the United States' long human spaceflight drought is about to end, in a big way. No astronauts have launched to orbit from American soil since July 2011, when NASA's space shuttle fleet was retired. Ever since, the nation has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to get crewmembers to and from the International Space Station (ISS).   More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 25)


PROTOTYPES FOR NEW CHINESE CREW CAPSULE AND SPACE STATION ARRIVE AT LAUNCH SITE PROTOTYPES FOR NEW CHINESE CREW CAPSULE AND SPACE STATION ARRIVE AT LAUNCH SITE - The next flight of China’s heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket will debut a new configuration designed to launch modules for a Chinese space station. But a demonstration launch of the Long March 5B booster scheduled as soon as April will instead carry a prototype of China’s next-generation deep space crew capsule into orbit on an unpiloted test flight.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 25)


ARISS OPENS WINDOW FOR ISS HAM RADIO CONTACT PROPOSALS ON FEBRUARY 1 ARISS OPENS WINDOW FOR ISS HAM RADIO CONTACT PROPOSALS ON FEBRUARY 1 - Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is once again seeking formal and informal education institutions and organizations — individually or working together — interested in hosting an amateur radio contact with an International Space Station (ISS) crew member. A window to accept proposals will open on February 1 for contacts that would be scheduled between January and June 2021.   More
(Source: ARRL - Jan 25)


CHINA READIES ITS NEW DEEP-SPACE CREW CAPSULE FOR 1ST TEST FLIGHT CHINA READIES ITS NEW DEEP-SPACE CREW CAPSULE FOR 1ST TEST FLIGHT - A Chinese next-generation spacecraft for taking astronauts to low Earth orbit and beyond has arrived at a coastal spaceport in preparation for a test flight. The new spacecraft is designed boost China's capabilities in sending humans into orbit, reduce costs through partial reusability, and allow astronauts to survive the radiation environment and higher-speed reentries of deep-space missions.    More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 24)


THE US WILL LAUNCH ITS NEXT SPY SATELLITE FROM NEW ZEALAND THE US WILL LAUNCH ITS NEXT SPY SATELLITE FROM NEW ZEALAND - The National Reconnaissance Office’s first satellite launch of 2020 will take place in New Zealand, with the agency taking advantage of a new contract vehicle designed to leverage growing commercial small satellite launch capabilities. Rocket Lab, a Los Angeles-based company, announced Jan. 20 it had been selected by the NRO to launch the agency’s first satellite of 2020—NROL-151.    More
(Source: C4ISRNet - Jan 24)


SECOND SPACE DATA HIGHWAY SATELLITE SET TO BEAM SECOND SPACE DATA HIGHWAY SATELLITE SET TO BEAM - The second satellite in the European Data Relay System has reached its intended orbit and completed its in-orbit tests. Dubbed the "SpaceDataHighway" by its commercial operator Airbus, EDRS uses innovative laser technology to enable Earth-observation satellites to deliver their information to users on the ground in near real-time, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products.   More
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 24)


SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY TO START BUILDING ITS FIRST CONSTELLATION OF SURVEILLANCE SATELLITES SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY TO START BUILDING ITS FIRST CONSTELLATION OF SURVEILLANCE SATELLITES - The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency is soliciting pitches for technologies that will be used to build a network of satellites in low Earth orbit that would help the military find targets on the ground and track enemy missiles in flight. By late 2022, the agency wants to have several dozen satellites in orbit “to show that we can operate a proliferated constellation and that the constellation can talk to weapon systems,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said Jan. 21 at a Pentagon news conference.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 23)


NORTHROP GRUMMAN NAMES CYGNUS SPACECRAFT FOR FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT NORTHROP GRUMMAN NAMES CYGNUS SPACECRAFT FOR FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT - The first African American to be selected as an astronaut is being remembered with the naming of a space station cargo capsule set to launch during Black History Month. The 13th Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft has been christened for Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., who in 1967 was chosen for the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program.   More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 23)


PENTAGON WANTS TO BUILD ONE SATELLITE PER WEEK PENTAGON WANTS TO BUILD ONE SATELLITE PER WEEK - One satellite per week. That’s what the Pentagon wants industry to provide under its plans to orbit seven new constellations — each with a different function — by the end of 2020. The satellites would be smaller (“a few hundred kilograms”), cheaper (about $10 million each), and shorter-lived (about five years) than today’s typical military satellites, which can weigh tons and consume billions of dollars but which are expected to operate for decades.   More
(Source: Defense One - Jan 22)


LAUNCHERS GET READY FOR THE SMALL SATELLITE GOLD RUSH LAUNCHERS GET READY FOR THE SMALL SATELLITE GOLD RUSH - Just five years ago, small satellite operators would say “yes” to any possibility to get into orbit at a reasonable price, says Stephen Eisele, vice president of Business Development at Virgin Orbit. But times are changing, and with the small satellite market growing exponentially, the operators are increasingly aware of their significance for the launch providers and expect more. Where cost used to be the single decisive factor, the requirements to get into orbit on time and into a specific orbit are becoming more important.    More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 22)


NRO, THE U.S. SPY SATELLITE AGENCY, PREPS FOR FIRST DEDICATED LAUNCH FROM FOREIGN SOIL NRO, THE U.S. SPY SATELLITE AGENCY, PREPS FOR FIRST DEDICATED LAUNCH FROM FOREIGN SOIL - Rocket Lab’s first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the U.S. government’s fleet of intelligence-gathering satellites, is scheduled to launch from New Zealand as soon as Jan. 30 (U.S. time), officials announced Monday. With rare exceptions, information about the NRO’s payloads is typically classified. The spy satellite agency and Rocket Lab released no details about the payload set to fly into orbit on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket later this month.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 22)


SPACEX GEARS UP FOR NEXT STARLINK SATELLITE MEGACONSTELLATION LAUNCH WITH ROCKET TEST SPACEX GEARS UP FOR NEXT STARLINK SATELLITE MEGACONSTELLATION LAUNCH WITH ROCKET TEST - SpaceX has fired up the rocket booster that will ferry the company's fourth batch of Starlink satellites into space. Just over 24 hours after SpaceX aced an in-flight abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, the company conducted a static-fire test of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the company said on Twitter.   More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 22)


SPACE STATION PROTOTYPES SHIPPED TO LAUNCH CENTER SPACE STATION PROTOTYPES SHIPPED TO LAUNCH CENTER - Two major prototypes in China's manned space station program have been transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province for prelaunch preparations, according to the China Manned Space Agency. The agency said in a statement on Monday that the arrival of the prototypes of the Chinese space station's core module and the country's new-generation manned spacecraft at the launch center meant that the construction project of the space station will soon begin.   More
(Source: ecns - Jan 22)


IRAN SAYS IT IS PREPARING FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH IRAN SAYS IT IS PREPARING FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH - Iran said Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation's space center for eventual launch, without elaborating. Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted about the development, calling it an “important research step.”   More
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 20)

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