GOVERNMENT INERTIA A PROBLEM FOR SMALL SATELLITE INDUSTRY - The U.S. government has not embraced the small satellite movement as quickly as previously hoped.
That is the takeaway message from analysts and industry advocates who spoke last week at a Space Foundation event on Capitol Hill titled “The SmallSat Revolution.”
Small satellites have been hailed as a game changer in the space industry, but the government’s slower than anticipated adoption of smallsat technology has been a disappointment for many companies. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Nov 20)
ROBOTIC RUSSIAN CARGO SHIP DELIVERS TONS OF SUPPLIES TO SPACE STATION - An uncrewed Russian cargo ship linked up with the International Space Station Sunday (Nov. 18) to deliver nearly 3 tons of supplies for the orbiting lab.
The resupply ship, called Progress 71, docked at the space station at 2:28 p.m. EST (1928 GMT) as both spacecraft sailed 252 miles (405 kilometers) over Algeria. Progress 71 launched into orbit Friday (Nov. 16) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 20)
SPACEX POSTPONES RIDESHARE LAUNCH FROM CALIFORNIA - SpaceX has ordered additional inspections on a Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California set to launch 64 small satellites, a decision that is expected to keep the launcher grounded for several days until after the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said Saturday. The Falcon 9 was supposed to take off Monday from Vandenberg — a military base around 140 miles northwest of Los Angeles — but SpaceX announced the postponement in a tweet Saturday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 19)
ELON MUSK’S SPACEX TO PUT 12,000 SATELLITES IN ORBIT - SpaceX got the green light this week from US authorities to put a constellation of nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit in order to boost cheap, wireless internet access by the 2020s.
The SpaceX network would vastly multiply the number of satellites around Earth.
Since the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, was launched in 1957, humanity has sent just over 8,000 objects into space, according to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. More
(Source: Livemint - Nov 18)
ANTARES ROCKET LAUNCHES CARGO RUN TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo carrier climbed into orbit Saturday from Wallops Island, Virginia, in pursuit of the International Space Station with more than 7,200 pounds of research hardware and provisions, the second supply ship launch to the space station in less than 24 hours. The unpiloted commercial cargo ship rode the 139-foot-tall (42.5-meter) Antares rocket away from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a facility owned by the state of Virginia on the Atlantic coastline at Wallops Island. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 18)
PROGRESS RESUPPLY CRAFT LIFTS OFF FROM KAZAKHSTAN, HEADS FOR SPACE STATION - A Russian Progress freighter loaded with nearly three tons of supplies, water and fuel lifted off on top of a Soyuz rocket Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a two-day trek to the International Space Station, clearing the way for the next Soyuz launch Dec. 3 with the next station-bound crew. Liftoff from Launch Pad No. 1 at Baikonur, the same departure point used by Yuri Gagarin on the first human space mission in 1961, occurred at 1814:08 GMT (1:14:08 p.m. EST) Friday as the space station sailed around 250 miles (400 kilometers) above southern Kazakhstan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 18)
NOAA’S GOES-17 SATELLITE REACHES FINAL LOCATION, SENDS BACK AWESOME IMAGES - In order to make accurate weather predictions, NOAA needs weather satellites in orbit to peer down at Earth. Until recently, the agency was making do with very old hardware from the 1990s, but it has since started launching the much improved GOES-R satellites. GOES-17 launched in March of this year, and it sent back a few images shortly after that. Now, it’s finally reached its final destination over the Pacific Ocean, and it’s beaming back some stunning images and lots of atmospheric data.
GOES-17 reached orbit with the help of a ULA Atlas-V rocket. After launch, the satellite was at an altitude of 22,300 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers), but it was looking down on central and South America. More
(Source: ExtremeTech - Nov 17)
WATCH SPACEX LAUNCH A SATELLITE EVEN AMATEURS CAN USE - The next launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set for Thursday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket will carry a payload designed to take amateur radio to new heights. Elon Musk's space company will reportedly launch the reusable "Block 5" booster that was used in July's Telstar 19V mission. This time around, however, it will carry Qatar's Es'hail-2 satellite to geostationary orbit.
Es'hail-2 was designed and built by Mitsubishi Electric in Japan to "boost broadband delivery, broadcasting and global connectivity in Qatar, the entire region and beyond," according to the Qatar Satellite Company. More
(Source: CNET - Nov 16)
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)