WHAT COMES AFTER THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? - For the past two decades, the International Space Station has been humanity’s home away from home. It’s hosted hundreds of astronauts from 18 countries. It’s served as the platform for groundbreaking science experiments that have fundamentally changed our understanding of human biology, climate change, and the universe itself. It’s been a proving ground for futuristic technologies like organs on a chip and quantum communication terminals, and it's fostered the birth of a vibrant commercial space industry. The ISS is arguably the best thing we’ve ever done. But all good things must come to an end. More
(Source: WIRED - Oct 28)
CHINA LAUNCHES THREE MILITARY SPY SATELLITES - Three mysterious payloads widely believed to be signals intelligence satellites for the Chinese military rocketed into orbit on top of a Long March 2C booster Monday from a launch base in southwestern China.
The three Yaogan 30-type satellites lifted off aboard the Long March 2C rocket at 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT) Monday from the Xichang space center in the Sichuan province of southwestern China. Liftoff occurred at 11:19 p.m. Beijing time, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 27)
ABOUT 3% OF STARLINK SATELLITES HAVE FAILED SO FAR - SpaceX has drawn plenty of praise and criticism with the creation of Starlink, a constellation that will one day provide broadband internet access to the entire world. To date, the company has launched over 800 satellites and (as of this summer) is producing them at a rate of about 120 a month. There are even plans to have a constellation of 42,000 satellites in orbit before the decade is out. More
(Source: Phys.org - Oct 27)
SPACEX JUST LAUNCHED ITS 100TH SUCCESSFUL FALCON ROCKET FLIGHT. YES, THERE'S A VIDEO. - SpaceX just launched its 100th successful mission, and the company put together an action-packed video to mark the milestone.
SpaceX hit the century mark on Saturday (Oct. 24) with the liftoff of a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 of the company's Starlink broadband satellites to orbit. That same day, SpaceX tweeted out a video documenting all 100 successful launches, starting with a September 2008 flight of a Falcon 1 booster. More
(Source: Space.com - Oct 27)
RUSSIA LAUNCHES SOYUZ WITH NEXT-GENERATION NAVIGATION SATELLITE - Russia launched a next-generation navigation satellite to join its GLONASS constellation Sunday.
Liftoff of the Uragan-K No.15L satellite, aboard a Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat rocket, took place at 23:08:42 Moscow Time (19:08:42 UTC) from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the northwest of the country. Spacecraft separation is expected to occur a little over three and a half hours after launch. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Oct 26)
THE FIRST SATELLITE WITH AI ONBOARD IS NOW IN ORBIT, AND ITS TECH COULD COMPLETELY CHANGE HOW WE RESPOND TO WILDFIRES - On September 2, a satellite the size of a cereal box took off for space.
Names PhiSat-1, its mission was to monitor polar ice and soil moisture, making it — at least superficially — a fairly unglamorous piece of kit.
But for the satellite's creators — the European Space Agency (ESA), chip giant Intel, and Irish robotics company Ubotica — this launch represented months of work, and had been postponed by a failed rocket launch, two natural disasters, and a global pandemic. More
(Source: Business Insider - Oct 26)
SPACEX ADDS ANOTHER 60 SATELLITES TO STARLINK NETWORK - SpaceX successfully deployed 60 more Starlink internet satellites in orbit Saturday, continuing a record launch cadence while engineers assess a concern with Falcon 9 rocket engines that has delayed other missions, including the next crew flight to the International Space Station. The 60 Starlink satellites blasted off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:31:34 a.m. EDT (1531:34 GMT) Saturday. The mission was delayed from Thursday to allow time for engineers to assess a problem with a camera on the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 25)
US ASTRONAUT VOTES EARLY FROM SPACE STATION - ASA astronaut Kate Rubins shared her voting selfie from orbit after stating before her launch earlier this month that she would cast her ballot from the International Space Station.
Since 1997, as a concession to the fact that most NASA astronauts live near the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas has had an extreme absentee ballot procedure in place for anyone who finds themselves off Earth on Election Day. More
(Source: Space.com - Oct 24)
SPACEX SCRUBS 15TH STARLINK MISSION - Just four days after the previous flight, SpaceX was ready to launch its third batch of Starlink satellites this month into orbit at 12:14 EDT (16:14 UTC) on Thursday, 22 October. However, an issue 13 minutes before liftoff forced a hold and scrub for the day.
The v1.0 L14 mission — the 14th launch of operational satellites and 15th Starlink flight overall — will launch from pad SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Oct 22)
SOYUZ BRINGS THREE SPACE STATION FLIERS BACK TO EARTH - One week after two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut arrived at the International Space Station, the three crew members they’re replacing strapped into their own Soyuz spacecraft, undocked and returned to Earth Wednesday with a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 196-day mission.
Descending under a huge orange-and-white parachute, the Soyuz crew module touched down at 10:54 p.m. EDT (8:54 a.m. Thursday local time), three-and-a-half hours after departing the lab complex. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 22)
SPACEX IS WORKING WITH MICROSOFT TO BUILD A SATELLITE NETWORK THAT CAN DETECT THE LAUNCH OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS - paceX has tapped Azure, a massive cloud-computing service built by Microsoft, to help it develop and operate experimental satellites capable of detecting missile launches all over the world.
Microsoft revealed its partnership with SpaceX on Tuesday as part of its larger announcement of new modular datacenters, or shipping-container-like platforms crammed with cloud-computing resources that can be deployed to remote areas of the world. More
(Source: Business Insider - Oct 22)
COMPANY ADVANCES PLAN FOR PRIVATE CITIZEN FLIGHT TO SPACE STATION - Houston-based Axiom Space is negotiating final details of a contract with NASA to fly a private citizen to the International Space Station in 2021.
The company's CEO, Michael Suffredini, said the mission is fully funded, and not by governments. "We're just about done with our contract with NASA, so we expect that to be complete here in the next two to three weeks," Suffredini said last week during an online panel discussion sponsored by International Astronautical Congress. More
(Source: UPI.com - Oct 21)
SPACE-STATION CREW MEMBERS JUST FOUND AN ELUSIVE AIR LEAK BY WATCHING TEA LEAVES FLOAT IN MICROGRAVITY - The International Space Station has been leaking an unusual amount of air since September 2019.
At first, crew members held off on troubleshooting the issue, since the leak wasn't major. But in August, the leak rate increased, prompting astronauts and cosmonauts on board the orbiting laboratory to start trying to locate its source in earnest. More
(Source: Business Insider - Oct 20)
LEOLABS INDICATES NO COLLISION OF SOVIET SATELLITE AND CHINESE ROCKET STAGE - Most of the aerospace world watched the skies over Antarctica and New Zealand for portions of Thursday night/Friday morning.
Earlier this week, LeoLabs Inc, a company that tracks objects in Low Earth Orbit, issued a statement regarding two large objects which posed a “high risk” of collision at 00:56:40 UTC on 16 October 2020 (8:56:40 pm EDT on 15 October).
Roughly one hour after the time of possible collision, LeoLabs confirmed “No indication of collision” via a statement on Twitter. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Oct 18)
SPACEX LAUNCHES ANOTHER BATCH OF STARLINK SATELLITES - SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink internet relay platforms into orbit Sunday as the company ramps up network testing in Washington state and touts a streak of nearly 300 satellites launched since June without a spacecraft failure.
Nine Merlin 1D engines fired up and powered the Falcon 9 rocket off pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:25:57 a.m. EDT (1225:57 GMT) Sunday, marking the 14th Falcon 9 mission dedicated to deploying satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 18)
COSMONAUTS PATCH SMALL AIR LEAK ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: REPORTS - Cosmonauts are making progress in the fight against the small air leak that has beleaguered the International Space Station for months, according to Russian reports.
The leak was first detected in September 2019 but was too low a priority for NASA and Roscosmos to address until August of this year given the short staffing and high activity rates at the orbiting laboratory, according to a previous statement from the U.S. space agency. More
(Source: Space.com - Oct 17)
TWO OLD SPACECRAFT JUST AVOIDED CATASTROPHICALLY COLLIDING IN ORBIT - About 1000 kilometres above Earth’s surface, two old spacecraft have narrowly avoided a collision. If they had hit one another, the smash-up could have created a spray of debris that would be extremely dangerous for other satellites and could set off a chain reaction of collisions.
The two objects are a Soviet Parus navigation satellite launched in 1989 and a Chinese rocket booster launched in 2009. Neither has any method of propulsion onboard, so there is no way to steer them away from one another.
(Source: New Scientist - Oct 17)
ASTRONAUTS SET TO LAUNCH SECURITY SATELLITE FROM SPACE STATION - Spire Global is a startup that is pivoting so quickly that in the past 18 months, it’s added specialties such as weather tracking and data services to its initial work on tracking ships and aircraft from orbit.
Now the company has a contract with the Australian Office of National Intelligence to experiment with commercial satellite technologies, including “machine learning” — an application of artificial intelligence that allows a system to learn and improve classification from an initial dataset. More
(Source: Forbes - Oct 17)
U.S.-EUROPEAN SEA LEVEL SATELLITE GEARS UP FOR LAUNCH - The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft will soon be heading into orbit to monitor the height of the ocean for nearly the entire globe.
Preparations are ramping up for the Nov. 10 launch of the world's latest sea level satellite. Since arriving in a giant cargo plane at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California last month, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich has been undergoing final checks, including visual inspections, to make sure it's fit to head into orbit. More
(Source: NASA - Oct 17)