NASA TO LAUNCH NEW BROWN STUDENT SATELLITE - This month, NASA announced that a small satellite to be designed and built by Brown students has a ticket to ride on a future rocket launch. The news arrived just a few months after a prior Brown student-built satellite ended a successful mission of more than two and a half years in space.
The new satellite, dubbed PVDX, is a cubesat — a class of miniature satellites ideal for doing low-cost science experiments or technology demonstration in space. More
(Source: Brown University - Apr 22)
CREW DRAGON LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION DELAYED TO FRIDAY BY OFFSHORE WEATHER - Launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station has been delayed 24 hours to Friday because of bad weather in the Atlantic Ocean where the crew could be forced to ditch in an emergency, NASA announced Wednesday.
Originally scheduled for liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, the flight was reset for 5:49 a.m. Friday, roughly the moment Earth’s rotation carries pad 39A directly under the space station’s orbital path — a requirement for spacecraft trying to rendezvous with a target in low-Earth orbit. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 21)
‘HUGE RISK’ OF SPACE JUNK COLLISIONS AS SATELLITE LAUNCHES INTENSIFY, EXPERTS WARN -
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email email@example.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
The launch of thousands of new satellites in “mega-constellations” to improve global internet access will exacerbate the growing problem of space debris, experts at a European Space Agency conference warned on Tuesday.
“We face entirely new challenges as hundreds of satellites are launched every month now — more than we used to launch in a year,” said Thomas Schildknecht of the International Astronomical Union. “The mega-constellations are producing huge risks of collisions. We need more stringent rules for traffic management in space and international mechanisms to ensure enforcement of the rules.”
(Source: Financial Times - Apr 21)
RUSSIA MULLS WITHDRAWING FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION AFTER 2024 - The 20-year-old International Space Station (ISS) is showing its age: Last month, cosmonauts patched up cracks in a Russian module that were thought to be the source of minor air leaks. Cracks are also appearing in the international alliance that keeps the station going. This week, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov suggested Russia would back away from the ISS as early as 2025 to pursue a national space station. More
(Source: Science Magazine - Apr 21)
CHINA WANTS TO LAUNCH ITS OWN HUBBLE-CLASS TELESCOPE AS PART OF SPACE STATION - China could launch the first module for its own space station this month as the country also prepares to send a large space telescope to join it in orbit within the next few years.
The Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST), which is set to launch in 2024, will operate as a space optical observatory for Chinese scientists to carry out sky surveys, according to Xinhua.The telescope, sometimes called "Xuntian," which literally translates to "survey the heavens," will have an impressive 6.6-foot (2 meters) diameter lens, making it comparable to the Hubble Telescope Scope. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 21)
NASA, SPACEX WATCHING WEATHER IN DOWNRANGE ABORT ZONES FOR CREW LAUNCH - Preparations for the planned liftoff Thursday of a SpaceX Dragon capsule with a four-person crew to the International Space Station cleared another readiness review Tuesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but officials are tracking marginal wind and sea conditions in downrange abort zones in the Atlantic Ocean that could force a launch delay.
With no significant technical issues standing in the way of launch Thursday, NASA and SpaceX officials gave a “go” to continue flight preps at the conclusion of a Launch Readiness Review early Tuesday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 21)
THE VULNERABILITY OF SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS - Over the past decade or so, we’ve witnessed the increasingly significant role satellites play in today’s technology, from providing geolocation capabilities to enabling logistics and navigation, to the intelligence gathering conducted by nation states. The satellite industry has seen a resurgence over the past few years, and is now in a prime position to play a key role in meeting the ever-growing market demands, such as 5G backhaul and the Internet of Things (IoT). More
(Source: Security Magazine - Apr 20)
ELON MUSK’S SATELLITE INTERNET PROJECT IS TOO RISKY, RIVALS SAY - Elon Musk’s internet satellite venture has spawned an unlikely alliance of competitors, regulators and experts who say the billionaire is building a near-monopoly that is threatening space safety and the environment.
The Starlink project, owned by Mr. Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. or SpaceX, is authorized to send some 12,000 satellites into orbit to beam superfast internet to every corner of the Earth. It has sought permission for another 30,000. More
(Source: The Wall Street Journal - Apr 20)
DRAGON CREW REHEARSES FOR LAUNCH DAY, FIRST-LOOK WEATHER FORECAST LOOKS GOOD - After completing a dress rehearsal for launch day over the weekend, the four astronauts gearing up for liftoff Thursday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket are in good spirits and spending time with their families in Florida before leaving the planet for six months.
Forecasters with the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predict an 80% chance of acceptable weather for launch at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT) Thursday from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 20)
WORLD'S FIRST SPACE STATION LAUNCHED 50 YEARS AGO TODAY - On 19 April 1971, 50 years ago, the world’s first space station – Salyut 1 – was launched.
Its debut success for the Soviet Salyut program paved the way for the future of space exploration, allowing astronauts to spend extended periods of time in space and conduct the scientific experiments and make the observations that have shaped human history, as well as breaking numerous space records, all ratified by the FAI. More
(Source: World Air Sports Federation - Apr 20)
A BOOM IN SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY IS REVOLUTIONIZING THE WAY WE SEE THE EARTH - When researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) published a study last year on its discovery of 11 new colonies of emperor penguins, they acknowledged an unusual source of assistance – students at Stirling High School in Scotland. Inspired by a David Attenborough program on the plight of the iconic bird, the teens and their teacher used satellite mapping imagery from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2, developed an algorithm, and found traces of unknown and unconfirmed colonies. They then passed on their findings to the BAS. More
(Source: Landscape News - Apr 19)
RUSSIAN CAPSULE BRINGS HOME THREE SPACE FLIERS - Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut undocked from the International Space Station and plunged back to Earth early Saturday, landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan amid preparations in Florida for launch of another station-bound crew Thursday aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
With Russian recovery forces and NASA support personnel standing by, the Soyuz spacecraft’s central crew module, descending under a single orange-and-white parachute, settled to an on target rocket-assisted touchdown at 12:55 a.m. EDT (10:55 a.m. local time) to close out a 185-day mission. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 18)
BOEING’S STARLINER IS FURTHER DELAYED DUE TO ISS ‘TRAFFIC JAM’ CREATED BY SPACEX - SpaceX has already proved that it’s better at building human-carrying spacecraft than Boeing. Now its busy operation schedule is actually hampering Boeing’s effort to catch up. SpaceX has so many missions scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station in the coming months that there are no docking ports available for Boeing to conduct test flights with.
SpaceX and Boeing are both contractors under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, tasked with building a reusable rocket-spacecraft system for transporting astronauts and payloads to the ISS. More
(Source: Observer - Apr 17)
ST. VINCENT'S LA SOUFRIèRE VOLCANO ERUPTION SPOTTED FROM SPACE - New satellite imagery captures the relentless eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent, which began on Friday (April 9).
La Soufrière, which last erupted in 1979, is located on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. After decades of inactivity, the volcano started rumbling late last year, when scientists noticed a new lava dome had formed, oozing lava in the volcano's summit crater. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 16)
NASA TO PROVIDE LIVE COVERAGE OF EXPEDITION 64 SPACE STATION CREW LANDING - Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA and two Roscosmos cosmonauts are scheduled to end their mission on the International Space Station Friday, April 16. Coverage of departure from the station and landing on Earth will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
Rubins, along with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, will close the hatch to the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 6:10 p.m. EDT to begin the journey back to Earth. More
(Source: SciTechDaily - Apr 15)
JUST IN: SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY MOVING AHEAD WITH LOW-EARTH ORBIT SATELLITES - The Space Development Agency is moving forward with its fast-paced efforts to build a robust network of low-Earth orbit satellites, and the organization's leader is optimistic that funding for these initiatives will continue during the Biden administration.
SDA was established in 2019 and tasked with coming up with a new approach to developing space-based capabilities that would be less expensive and more robust than legacy systems. More
(Source: National Defense Magazine - Apr 15)
CHINA PREPARING TIANZHOU-2 CARGO MISSION TO FOLLOW UPCOMING SPACE STATION LAUNCH - A Long March 7 rocket has arrived at China’s coastal Wenchang spaceport to facilitate the Tianzhou-2 supply mission to a soon-to-launch space station module.
The delivery was announced by the China Manned Space Engineering Office Monday and is part of intense preparations for construction of a modular space station in low Earth orbit.
China is currently readying a Long March 5B rocket to launch Tianhe, aroughly 22-metric-ton spacecraft which will serve as the core space station module. That mission is expected to launch in late April. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 14)
CHINA LAUNCHES EXPERIMENTAL SHIYAN SATELLITE - China launched the third in a series of experimental Shiyan 6 satellites April 8 aboard a Long March 4B rocket, beginning a mission to test new space technologies, including a new super-black coating to absorb stray light and improve the sensitivity of on-board optics. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 14)
FROM YURI GAGARIN'S LAUNCH TO TODAY, HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT HAS ALWAYS BEEN POLITICAL - When cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly in space, he also became an instant celebrity, a diplomatic icon of the Soviet Union around the world.
Gagarin blasted off Earth 60 years ago on Monday (April 12), kicking off the era of human spaceflight. Rooted in the Cold War, human spaceflight was, at the time, inherently about the perception of power and prestige — and it remains so today, although the nuances of international relationships at play have changed just as much as the technological ones. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 13)