NASA SELECTS SPACE SCIENCE CUBESAT MISSION - NASA announced March 30 it will fund the development of a cluster of six cubesats that will fly in formation above geostationary orbit to study solar storms.
NASA said it selected for development the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) mission as a “mission of opportunity” for its heliophysics program. The mission, with a total cost of $62.6 million, will launch by July 2023. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Mar 31)
HOLIDAY IN SPACE, ANYONE? SPACE X TO SEND TOURISTS TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Spacex recently announced a partnership to send three tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), the first private trip in more than a decade.
Elon Musk’s company has signed a deal with Axiom Space to transport the tourists along with a commander on one of its Crew Dragon capsules in the second half of 2021.
Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said the flight “will represent a watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space”. He did not reveal a price tag. More
(Source: The Star Online - Mar 31)
CHINA'S NEW CREW SPACECRAFT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD DOCK WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A next-generation crew spacecraft that China is preparing for a flight test this spring appears to be capable of docking with the International Space Station (ISS).
An image posted by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) shows the new spacecraft’s docking system, which appears compatible with the International Docking System Standard (IDSS). More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 31)
FIVE MIT PAYLOADS DEPLOYED ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Five research payloads from the MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative were recently deployed on the International Space Station for a 30-day research mission. Scientists, designers, and artists will be able to study the effects of prolonged microgravity, on-station radiation, and launch loads on experiments ranging from self-assembling architecture to biological pigments. The payloads launched on the SpaceX CRS-20 via the Dragon cargo ship atop a Falcon 9 rocket on March 6. More
(Source: MIT News - Mar 29)
VENEZUELA'S ONLY TELECOMS SATELLITE IS LOST IN SPACE - Venezuela’s only telecommunications satellite has veered off its orbit and stopped working, creating a logistical headache for the cash-strapped nation.
The Chinese-built satellite was launched among much fanfare in 2008 under the watch of former President Hugo Chavez, who said the 6-ton machine would help to “construct 21st-century socialism” and contribute to Venezuela’s “independence and sovereignty.” More
(Source: The Japan Times - Mar 29)
THE US ECONOMY HAS COME TO A STANDSTILL, SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS - The coronavirus crisis is bringing the United States economy to a screeching halt, with every sector feeling the effects of most of the country’s workforce staying home.
Satellite imagery combined with other photographic evidence and alternative data sources give a stark look at the U.S. situation: Airplanes are parked on unused runways, the busiest highways are empty during rush hour times, resorts have become ghost towns, ports are seeing sharp drops in shipping activity and more. More
(Source: CNBC - Mar 29)
ONEWEB COLLAPSES AFTER SOFTBANK FUNDING TALKS FALL THROUGH - OneWeb, the satellite internet start-up, filed for bankruptcy and axed most of its staff on Friday, after failing to secure new funding from investors including its biggest backer SoftBank.
The company said it would seek a sale after filing for Chapter 11 relief in New York, noting that financial market turbulence related to coronavirus had sunk negotiations over an investment that would have funded its commercial launch.
(Source: Financial Times - Mar 28)
ULA’S ATLAS 5 LAUNCHES AEHF-6 COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE IN ITS FIRST MISSION FOR U.S. SPACE FORCE - A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off on March 26 at 4:18 PM EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying a $1.4 billion Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) communications satellite for the U.S. Space Force.
This was the sixth and final satellite of the AEHF constellation that provides secure, jam-proof voice and data communications for U.S. national leadership, military forces and international partners Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia. All six were manufactured by Lockheed Martin. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Mar 27)
AMID CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, SPACEX LAUNCH OF ARGENTINIAN SATELLITE POSTPONED - A SpaceX satellite launch that had been scheduled for later this month has been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The SAOCOM1B satellite is being launched for Argentina’s Space Agency, the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE). The launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had originally been scheduled for March 30 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. More
(Source: Fox News - Mar 26)