SECOND FLIGHT OF CROSS-COUNTRY STARLINK DOUBLEHEADER TARGETING THURSDAY - SpaceX ended January with and will begin February with two Starlink missions. These launches will occur two days apart from separate launch sites.
The first such mission — Starlink Group 2-6 — lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 8:15 AM PST (16:15 UTC) after a delay from Monday “to allow additional time for pre-launch checkouts.” This will be followed by the Starlink Group 5-3 mission, which will launch from the historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which is currently scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 at 2:43 AM EST (07:43 UTC). More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Feb 2)
SOUTH KOREA PICKS VEGA C TO LAUNCH SATELLITE GROUNDED BY RUSSIAN SANCTIONS - South Korea has selected Arianespace’s Vega C rocket to launch a multipurpose imaging satellite, KOMPSAT-6, that has remained grounded due to sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine.
South Korea’s vice minister for science, Oh Tae-seog, announced Feb. 1 that Vega-C was selected for the launch following international bidding. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 2)
GHGSAT: COMMERCIAL SATELLITE WILL SEE CO2 SUPER-EMITTERS - The world's first commercial satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide from orbit will launch later this year.
It will be put up by the Canadian company GHGSat, which already flies six spacecraft tracking methane emissions.
The new platform will use the same shortwave infrared sensor but be tuned to CO2's specific light signature in the atmosphere.
The satellite will have a resolution at ground level of 25m, meaning it will be able see major individual sources. More
(Source: BBC News - Feb 1)
NASA HITS LIMITS OF SPACE STATION UTILIZATION - NASA has effectively reached full utilization of the International Space Station given limitations on crew time and the ability to get cargo to and from the station, an agency official said Jan. 30.
Speaking at a meeting of a National Academies committee working on the decadal survey for biological and physical sciences in space, Kirt Costello, NASA ISS chief scientist, said that the agency had reached the limits of its share of station resources to do research.
“As we get into this discussion of what is full utilization, I will tell you that I believe that we are already there,” he said. “We have maximized the capabilities of station not only to do research but to sustain the utilization resources we have.” More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 1)
DEFUNCT SATELLITE AND ROCKET STAGE NEARLY COLLIDE IN POTENTIAL ‘WORST-CASE SCENARIO’ - An old rocket body and military satellite—large pieces of space junk dating back to the Soviet Union—nearly smashed into each other on Friday morning, in an uncomfortable near-miss that would’ve resulted in thousands of pieces of debris had they collided.
LeoLabs, a private company that tracks satellites and derelict objects in low Earth orbit, spotted the near-collision in radar data. The company, which can track objects as tiny as 3.9 inches (10 centimeters) in diameter, operates three radar stations, two in the U.S. and one in New Zealand. More
(Source: Gizmodo - Jan 31)
INMARSAT-6 F2 SATELLITE COMPLETES THREE-DAY TRIP TO SPACEX LAUNCH SITE - Inmarsat’s latest geostationary telecoms satellite has arrived at its Florida launch site after a three-day journey from Airbus’ testing facilities in France.
An Airbus Beluga plane carrying the 5,500-kilogram Inmarsat-6 F2 (I-6 F2) satellite landed at the Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 27, Airbus Space Systems spokesperson Jeremy Close said, following refueling stops in Canada and Virginia.
It is the second time a Beluga has flown a large satellite across the Atlantic to Florida since Airbus announced its outsized freight transportation service early last year. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 31)
CREW GETS READY FOR THURSDAY SPACEWALK, KEEPS UP SPACE RESEARCH - he Expedition 68 crew kicked off Monday preparing for a spacewalk to upgrade the International Space Station’s power generation system on Thursday. The orbital residents also researched a variety of space phenomena and packed a cargo craft ahead of its upcoming departure.
Astronauts Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) began their day reviewing procedures for a spacewalk set to begin at 8:15 a.m. EST on Thursday. https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2023/01/30/crew-gets-ready-for-thursday-spacewalk-keeps-up-space-research/ More
(Source: NASA - Jan 31)
SPACEX CREW DRAGON VEHICLE COULD BE USED TO EVACUATE ISS ASTRONAUTS IN AN EMERGENCY - A SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle currently docked to the International Space Station (ISS) could be used to transport extra crew members back to Earth in the event of an emergency, NASA announced.
Following a coolant leak in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked to the ISS in December, international space agencies including NASA and Roscosmos worked together to come up with a plan to safely transport crew members home. The plan they settled on was to use a replacement Soyuz craft that will be launched in February. More
(Source: The Verge - Jan 31)
SPACEX LAUNCHES HEAVIEST PAYLOAD ON FALCON 9 ROCKET - A Falcon 9 rocket thundered off a launch pad at Cape Canaveral before dawn Thursday with 56 Starlink internet satellites, setting a record for the heaviest cargo ever flown on a SpaceX rocket at more than 38,000 pounds.
The mission was the fifth launch by SpaceX so far this year, and the 69th launch with a primary purpose of placing Starlink internet satellites into orbit. With the 56 fresh spacecraft launched Thursday, SpaceX has deployed 3,773 Starlink satellites, with plans to add thousands more in the coming years. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 30)