SPACEX LAUNCHES QATARI COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket powered by a previously flown first stage Thursday, lifting Qatar's Es'hail 2 communications satellite into orbit in the California rocket-builder's 18th launch so far this year. In an increasingly routine feat, the booster's first stage fell away and flew itself back to a pinpoint touchdown on an off-shore drone ship, the company's 31st successful recovery.
The stage first flew last July when it helped boost a Telstar communications satellite into orbit. The booster is one of six "block 5" stages launched so far by SpaceX featuring a variety of upgrades to improve performance and enable multiple flights. More
(Source: CBS News - Nov 15)
BAD WEATHER FORCES NASA, NORTHROP GRUMMAN TO DELAY CARGO LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION - The launch of a Northrop Grumman rocket carrying NASA's next cargo flight to the International Space Station has been delayed at least one day to Friday (Nov. 15) due to bad weather expected to pummel the mission's seaside launch site in Virginia.
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket was scheduled to launch an uncrewed Cygnus cargo ship early Thursday, but forecasts predicted a 90-percent chance that bad weather would prevent the flight, NASA officials said today (Nov. 14). The launch is now scheduled for early Friday at 4:23 a.m. EST (0923 GMT). More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 15)
INDIA’S GSLV MK.3 ACES TEST LAUNCH, CLEARING WAY FOR LUNAR MISSION - The second orbital test flight of India’s GSLV Mk.3 launcher took off Wednesday, hoisting a high-throughput communications satellite into orbit to connect the county’s remote population and clearing the way for a robotic lunar lander to use the rocket in January.
Boosted by two powerful strap-on solid rocket motors, the nearly 143-foot-tall (43.5-meter) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk.3 (GSLV Mk.3) lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India’s east coast at 1138 GMT (6:38 a.m. EST) Wednesday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 14)
NASA ISS ROCKET LAUNCH WILL ‘LIGHT UP THE SKY’ ACROSS THE EAST COAST ON THURSDAY - If you’re up (very) early on Thursday and you live on the East Coast, you may catch a glimpse of an impressive sight soaring through the sky.
On November 15, at 4:49 a.m. EST, NASA will launch an Antares rocket from its Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) on Wallops Island, along Virginia's eastern shore.
Designed by aerospace and defense manufacturer Northup Grumman, the rocket will carry one of the company’s Cygnus spacecraft, which was designed to transport supplies to the International Space Station following the retirement of the Space Shuttle. More
(Source: Newsweek - Nov 14)
ANTARES ROCKET TRANSFERRED TO VIRGINIA LAUNCH PAD FOR STATION RESUPPLY FLIGHT - A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket rolled out of its hangar Monday night, riding a self-propelled transporter for a mile-long trip to launch pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, for a predawn liftoff Thursday with a Cygnus supply ship heading for the International Space Station.
But rainy weather and clouds at the launch base on Virginia’s Eastern Shore could prevent a launch Thursday, with forecasters predicting a 70 percent probability of conditions violating the Antares rocket’s launch criteria. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 14)
NASA PREPARING FOR LAUNCH OF UKRAINIAN PRODUCED ANTARES ROCKET TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - The next launch of the Antares middle-class launch vehicle produced in in Ukraine under the NASA contract for the provision of commercial supply services (CRS) to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for Nov. 15.
The NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of the Antares rocket, carrying the company’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station at 4:49 a.m. EST. More
(Source: Kyiv Post - Nov 13)
SPACEX FIRES FALCON 9 BOOSTER ON PAD 39A, AIMS FOR COMSAT LAUNCH THURSDAY - SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Monday night at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, clearing the way for a launch Thursday with Qatar’s Es’hail 2 communications satellite, the first daytime liftoff from Florida’s Space Coast in more than six months. The rocket’s nine Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited at 8:30 p.m. EST Monday (0130 GMT Tuesday) and fired for several seconds as hold-down restraints kept the Falcon 9 grounded at pad 39A, the historic former starting point for numerous space shuttle launches and Saturn 5 moonshots. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 13)
ISRO TO LAUNCH COMMUNICATION SATELLITE SPECIFICALLY FOR J&K AND NE ON NOV 14 - Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is gearing up for the launch of a communication satellite on November 14 that is specifically meant for Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern regions. Talking to TOI, Isro chairman K Sivan said, “Isro will launch Gsat-29 from Sriharikota on November 14. It is an advanced highthroughput communication satellite which will have two Ku and Ka operational payloads. More
(Source: Times of India - Nov 13)
MINI SATELLITES, MAXIMUM POSSIBILITIES - Covert organizations, geopolitical rivalries, astronomical (pardon the pun) budgets, technology nearly indistinguishable from magic: a clichéd view of space exploration, but not an inaccurate one. Starting with the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, through the intense rivalries of the Cold War, and even down to India’s IRNSS navigation platform, space has mostly been the exclusive domain of nation-states (or powerful corporations).
But all that’s changing now. In what’s a fitting corollary to today’s start-up-focused, agile-is-smart, small-is-beautiful world, satellites have shrunk, physically as well in terms of budget, and are now within the reach of start-ups and educational institutions. More
(Source: Livemint - Nov 12)
HERE'S WHAT CALIFORNIA'S WILDFIRES LOOK LIKE FROM SPACE - This week countless photographs have offered close-up depictions of the destruction caused by California wildfires. Now, with the help of its satellites, NASA has released pictures giving a different perspective. NASA's Landsat 8 satellite captured this first image of the Camp Fire on the morning of November 8, just a few hours after the blaze had broken out. That fire grew quickly, torching 20,000 acres in less than 14 hours. At one point, it grew by a average of more than one football field every three seconds. More
(Source: CNN - Nov 11)
IT'S BUSINESS TIME! ROCKET LAB LOFTS 6 SATELLITES ON 1ST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH - Rocket Lab is officially open for business.
The spaceflight startup's Electron rocket aced its first commercial flight tonight (Nov. 10), lofting six small satellites and a technology demonstrator to low-Earth orbit, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above our planet.
The mission, which Rocket Lab called "It's Business Time," lifted off from the company's New Zealand launch site at 10:50 p.m. EST (0350 GMT and 4:50 p.m. local New Zealand time on Nov. 11). The two-stage Electron first delivered its payloads to an elliptical parking orbit; a "kick stage" that separated from the rocket's upper stage then circularized the orbits of the satellites, which were deployed about 54 minutes after liftoff, Rocket Lab representatives said. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 11)
ICEYE TO LAUNCH NEW SAR SATELLITE LATER THIS MONTH - Earth observation company ICEYE is set to launch its second synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite into space on 19 November from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.
The new ICEYE-X2 satellite is expected to be launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission.
The ICEYE-X2 has already completed all the tests and been transported to the launch site. It is developed to further improve ICEYE’s SAR imaging technology. More
(Source: Aerospace Technology - Nov 10)
SPACEX SETS ITS SIGHTS ON A LOWER ORBIT FOR STARLINK BROADBAND NETWORK’S FIRST SATELLITES - SpaceX wants to lower the bar for its first batch of Starlink broadband satellites, with the aim of beginning deployment by the end of 2019.
The revised plan is laid out for regulators at the Federal Communications Commission in filings that seek a lower orbit for 1,584 of the more than 4,400 satellites it envisions launching. The new target orbit would be 550 kilometers (342 miles) in altitude, as opposed to the 1,150-kilometer (715-mile) orbit described in SpaceX’s initial round of filings.
The FCC signed off on SpaceX’s original plan in March, and would have to approve the revisions after putting them through a public comment period. More
(Source: GeekWire - Nov 10)
SPACEX REVISES INTERNET SATELLITE LAUNCH PLAN TO MINIMIZE SPACE DEBRIS -
For the past few years, SpaceX has been working on its Starlink project, the goal of which is to launch thousands of low-orbiting satellites that will provide high-speed internet to people around the world. In February, the company put two prototype satellites into orbit, which it has used to test the technology ahead of a full deployment of its satellite constellation. But while those satellites were supposed to begin moving to a higher altitude than where they were initially placed, they haven't. And it looks like that's because SpaceX is slightly revising its launch plan.
As The Verge reports, SpaceX has asked the FCC if it can launch 1,584 satellites at 550 kilometers, as opposed to the 1,110 kilometer orbit it initially proposed. More
(Source: Engadget - Nov 10)
CHINA'S CORE SPACE STATION MODULE, CHANG'E-4 SPACECRAFT AND NEW LAUNCHERS UNVEILED AT ZHUHAI AIRSHOW - Chinese space technology, including a full size model space station module, the Chang'e-4 lunar far side spacecraft and new launch vehicles, have been unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow in southern China.
The full size model represents the first time the 'Tianhe' core module for the future Chinese Space Station has been on display to the public.
The 16.6m-long module consists of a 4.2m-diameter resources compartment, a 2.8m-diameter life support and control section, and the docking hub, which will facilitate connection with further modules and visiting Shenzhou-crewed spacecraft and Tianzhou cargo vessels. More
(Source: GBTIMES - Nov 10)
SPACEFLIGHT ARRANGES LAUNCH OF 12 SATELLITES ABOARD INDIA’S PSLV C43 - Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch 12 spacecraft in November from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Payloads aboard the mission include Fleet Space Technologies’ Centauri I, Harris Corporation’s HSAT, Spire’s LEMUR satellites, and BlackSky’s Global-1 microsatellite. More
(Source: Business Wire - Nov 9)
TECHNICAL GLITCH DELAYS LAUNCH OF NASA'S ICON SATELLITE ON PEGASUS ROCKET - A NASA mission to loft a satellite from an airplane to probe Earth's atmosphere at the edge of space has been delayed at least one more day due to a glitch with its rocket that was detected just before launch early Wednesday (Nov. 7).
The Stargazer L-1011 carrier plane carrying NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite, or ICON, had already taken off from its staging ground at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station when an issue was detected on the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket that was to have launched the satellite from the air at 3:05 a.m. EST (0705 GMT). The next launch opportunity for ICON is on Thursday (Nov. 8), NASA officials said. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 8)
RUSSIA REPORTS COMPUTER BUG ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Russia's space agency says that one of the International Space Station's computers has malfunctioned, but the glitch doesn't pose any risks to the crew.
Roscosmos said Tuesday that one of three computers in the station's Russian module has failed. It said Russian flight controllers plan to reboot it Thursday.
The agency emphasized that the computer problem wouldn't affect the station's crew—NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst. It said two other computers can maintain the station's operation.
(Source: Phys.org - Nov 8)
EUROPE'S METOP-C LAUNCHED - The third MetOp satellite, MetOp-C, has been launched on a Soyuz rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana to continue the provision of data for weather forecasting from polar orbit.
Carrying the 4083 kg MetOp-C satellite, the Soyuz rocket lifted off on 7 November at 00:47 GMT (01:47 CET).
Some 60 minutes later Soyuz's upper stage delivered MetOp-C into orbit and contact was established through the Yatharagga ground station in Australia. More
(Source: Spaceref - Nov 8)