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)
LEESBURG GIRL SCOUT SENDS EXPERIMENT TO SPACE STATION - Marissa Incatasciato, a 15-year-old Girl Scout and student at Heritage High School in Leesburg, will send a science experiment aboard a SpaceX launch from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station later this year.
She is one of a handful of winners of the “Making Space for Girls Challenge,” which is sponsored by SpaceKids Global in conjunction with the Girl Scouts Citrus Council in Central Florida. More
(Source: Loudoun Now - Apr 13)
CANADA'S TELESAT TAKES ON MUSK AND BEZOS IN SPACE RACE TO PROVIDE FAST BROADBAND - Canada’s Telesat is racing to launch a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to provide high-speed global broadband from space, pitting the satellite communications firm founded in 1969 against two trailblazing billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Musk, the Tesla Inc CEO who was only a year old when Telesat launched its first satellite, is putting the so-called Starlink LEO into orbit with his company SpaceX, and Amazon.com Inc, which Bezos founded, is planning a LEO called Project Kuiper. Bezos also owns Blue Origin, which builds rockets. More
(Source: Reuters - Apr 12)
SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER GETTING KEY TEST ABOARD US MILITARY'S MYSTERIOUS X-37B SPACE PLANE - A U.S. military space plane is being used to flight-validate the best ways to gather the sun's energy for power beaming from Earth orbit.
In mid-March, the latest classified mission of the U.S. Space Force's X-37B robotic space plane winged past 300 days in Earth orbit.
Most of the robotic space drone's duties on this mission, known as Orbital Test Vehicle-6 (OTV-6), are a tightly held secret. However, one known bit of research that the craft carries is the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module Flight Experiment, or PRAM-FX. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 10)
ONEWEB, SPACEX SATELLITES DODGED A POTENTIAL COLLISION IN ORBIT - Two satellites from the fast-growing constellations of OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink dodged a dangerously close approach with one another in orbit last weekend, representatives from the US Space Force and OneWeb said. It’s the first known collision avoidance event for the two rival companies as they race to expand their new broadband-beaming networks in space.
On March 30th, five days after OneWeb launched its latest batch of 36 satellites from Russia, the company received several “red alerts” from the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron warning of a possible collision with a Starlink satellite. More
(Source: The Verge - Apr 10)
SOYUZ CREW WELCOMED ABOARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two cosmonauts blasted off from Kazakhstan Friday and docked with the International Space Station after a two-orbit chase, the first step in a record crew rotation requiring two launches and two landings with four different spacecraft in just three weeks.
The launching came three days before the 60th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight on April 12, 1961, to become the first man in space. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 10)
NASA ASTRONAUT, TWO COSMONAUTS SET FOR LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION - NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian cosmonauts will ride a Soyuz ferry ship to the International Space Station early Friday, the first step in a record crew rotation requiring two launches and two landings with four different spacecraft in just three weeks.
The launching comes just three days before the 60th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight on April 12, 1961, to become the first man in space. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 9)
SPACEX LAUNCHES STARLINK V1.0 L23 MISSION - SpaceX has launched another batch of 60 Starlink satellites on the Starlink v1.0 L23 mission. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station occurred on time on April 7 at 12:34 PM EDT (16:34 UTC).
This was the third time a Falcon 9 first stage flew a seventh mission, the tenth Falcon 9 flight of the year, and the first in April. This flight is likely be the last SpaceX mission prior to the Crew-2 launch later this month. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Apr 8)