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WORLD’S FIRST WIND-MAPPING SATELLITE SET TO LAUNCH WORLD’S FIRST WIND-MAPPING SATELLITE SET TO LAUNCH - A satellite that will be the first to comprehensively monitor wind around the globe is finally ready to fly. After nearly two decades in the planning, the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Aeolus mission is slated to launch from Kourou, French Guiana, on 21 August. Meteorologists think that its data will significantly improve weather forecasts, because the lack of detailed wind measurements is one of the biggest gaps in the global Earth-observing system. Aeolus, a €480-million (US$550-million) mission, will use ultraviolet lasers to track wind speed and direction in the lowermost 30 kilometres of the atmosphere.    More
(Source: Nature - Aug 18)


BEIJING TO LAUNCH SATELLITE NETWORK TO MONITOR SOUTH CHINA SEA TRAFFIC BEIJING TO LAUNCH SATELLITE NETWORK TO MONITOR SOUTH CHINA SEA TRAFFIC - Officials in China's Hainan province are preparing to send a series of satellites into space starting in 2019 in order to keep track of "every reef and ship" within the contested waters of the South China Sea. The project is headed by the Sanya Institute of Remote Sensing in Hainan and has been sponsored by the provincial government, according to the China News Service. In total, 10 satellites will be launched into low-Earth orbit by the end of 2021.   More
(Source: Sputnik International - Aug 17)


SPACEWALKERS TOSS NANOSATELLITES INTO ORBIT, HOOK UP BIRD MIGRATION MONITOR SPACEWALKERS TOSS NANOSATELLITES INTO ORBIT, HOOK UP BIRD MIGRATION MONITOR - Clad in pressurized spacesuits, two Russian cosmonauts headed outside the International Space Station on Wednesday and hand-released four tiny CubeSats and installed hardware for a German experiment to track animal migration. The 7-hour, 46-minute excursion by Russian flight engineers Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev began at 1617 GMT (12:17 p.m. EDT) as they opened the hatch to the station’s Pirs airlock.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 16)


MYSTERY RUSSIAN SATELLITE'S BEHAVIOUR RAISES ALARM IN US MYSTERY RUSSIAN SATELLITE'S BEHAVIOUR RAISES ALARM IN US - A mysterious Russian satellite displaying "very abnormal behaviour" has raised alarm in the US, according to a State Department official. "We don't know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it," said assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Switzerland on 14 August. She voiced fears that it was impossible to say if the object may be a weapon. Russia has dismissed the comments as "unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions". The satellite in question was launched in October last year.   More
(Source: BBC News - Aug 16)


SPACEX VOWS MANNED FLIGHT TO SPACE STATION IS ON TRACK SPACEX VOWS MANNED FLIGHT TO SPACE STATION IS ON TRACK - ech magnate Elon Musk's SpaceX vowed Monday to send its first astronauts into orbit on schedule next year—part of a drive to restore America's dominance of the space race. Gwynne Shotwell, the aerospace manufacturer's president, told journalists in Los Angeles an unmanned flight to the International Space Station in November would pave the way for a manned mission in April 2019.    More
(Source: Phys.org - Aug 15)


TINY SATELLITE TO SEARCH UNIVERSE FOR MISSING MATTER TINY SATELLITE TO SEARCH UNIVERSE FOR MISSING MATTER - HaloSat was launched into orbit in May aboard a Cygnus spacecraft and released from the International Space Station over Australia on July 13, 2018. It is charged with studying the halo of hot gas surrounding the Milky Way as part of a mission to search for matter missing from the universe.   More
(Source: HowStuffWorks - Aug 15)


CHINA DESIGNS SPACECRAFT TO EXTEND LIFESPAN OF SATELLITES CHINA DESIGNS SPACECRAFT TO EXTEND LIFESPAN OF SATELLITES - Chinese scientists are designing a new type of spacecraft that can move a de-orbiting satellite back into its intended orbit, thus extending its period of service, media reports said on Monday. Engineers from the China Academy of Space Technology are conducting research and development on the proposed spacecraft, which would help bring satellites that have run short on fuel or experienced technical problems, back to their designed trajectories, Xinhua news agency reported.   More
(Source: NDTV - Aug 14)


WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FLY A BILLION-DOLLAR SATELLITE ON THE US AIR FORCE’S LARGEST PLANE WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FLY A BILLION-DOLLAR SATELLITE ON THE US AIR FORCE’S LARGEST PLANE - The California heat is stifling as we climb the 14-foot ladder into the passenger compartment of the C-5 Galaxy, the largest plane flown by the US Air Force. I had been told to expect a cold flight, and wore four layers of clothing. Now, sweat drips down my face. Everyone wears ear protection to drown out the engulfing noise of the four van-size jet engines hanging from the wings. A passing airman’s backpack bears a patch with the slogan “Embrace the Suck.” Good advice. This flight is not built to suit passengers. Below, in the belly of the aircraft, sits 35 tons (32 metric tons) of equipment—an ultra-secure military communications satellite...   More
(Source: Quartz - Aug 14)


HEAVENS TO SHINE WITH NEW ‘STAR’ AS FIRST SPACE SCULPTURE PREPARES FOR LAUNCH HEAVENS TO SHINE WITH NEW ‘STAR’ AS FIRST SPACE SCULPTURE PREPARES FOR LAUNCH - Look up into the night sky towards the end of October and you may catch sight of a brand new ‘star’ twinkling in the cosmos. The tiny speck of light is not the offspring of a seething nebula, but the world’s first space sculpture, which will orbit the Earth for three weeks this autumn. The length of a football field, and the shape of an elongated diamond, the ‘Orbital Reflector’ artwork is the brainchild of US artist Trevor Paglen and will be launched on board on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.   More
(Source: Telegraph.co.uk - Aug 13)


SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS OF THE EARTH'S MAGNETOSPHERE PROMISE BETTER SPACE WEATHER FORECASTS SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS OF THE EARTH'S MAGNETOSPHERE PROMISE BETTER SPACE WEATHER FORECASTS - Earth is constantly being hammered by charged particles emitted by the sun with enough power to make life on Earth almost impossible. Life is only possible because Earth's magnetic field traps and deflects these particles, preventing the vast majority of them from ever reaching the planet's surface. The trapped particles bounce back and forth between the North and South poles in complex, ever-changing patterns that are also influenced by intricate and shifting electric fields. When the Van Allen radiation belts in which they travel dip into the atmosphere near the poles, they create the Northern (and Southern) lights. Bursts of these particles can also damage satellites and sensitive equipment on the ground.    More
(Source: Phys.org - Aug 13)

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