RUSSIAN SPACEWALKERS CUT INTO SOYUZ SPACESHIP TO INSPECT LEAK REPAIR - Clad in pressurized spacesuits, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev used knives and scissors Tuesday to slice through insulation and a debris shield on a Soyuz spaceship set to return to Earth next week, finally reaching the capsule’s metallic hull to examine the site of an air leak plugged in August. Wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits, Kononenko and Prokopyev opened the hatch to the Pirs airlock at 10:59 a.m. EST (1559 GMT) to officially begin the unusual excursion, the 213th spacewalk since 1998 in support of space station assembly and maintenance. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 12)
FIRST GPS III SATELLITE ENCAPSULATED FOR DEC. 18 SPACEX LAUNCH - The U.S. Air Force’s first Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite is now encapsulated for its planned Dec. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (GPS III SV01) underwent pre-launch processing, fueling and encapsulation at Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, Florida. During encapsulation, GPS III SV01 was sealed in its launch fairing — an aerodynamic, nose-cone shell that protects the satellite during launch. More
(Source: GPS World magazine - Dec 12)
IT’S A BRIEFCASE! IT’S A PIZZA BOX! NO, IT’S A MINI SATELLITE - Recently, officials in California announced that the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history, had been fully contained. The achievement was made possible through the hard work of firefighters on the ground, with some help from above: a swarm of tiny, orbiting satellites that represent the next phase of the space age.
The satellites are operated by Planet Labs, a company in San Francisco that runs the world’s largest fleet of Earth-observing satellites. Its craft number around 140. All of them carry cameras and telescopes. In size, most rival a loaf of bread. More
(Source: New York Times - Dec 12)
FOX-1CLIFF/AO-95 RECEIVER SUFFERS APPARENT FAILURE - The receiver on the newly launched Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 CubeSat seems to have suffered a receiver failure that could render the satellite unusable, AMSAT said over the weekend. Efforts continue by AMSAT Engineering to establish the cause of the problem and determine if a fix is possible. AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, reported over the weekend that the issue cropped up during efforts to commission Fox-1Cliff/AO-95.
“After a few days of tests, analysis, and discussion, it appears that Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 will not be commissioned as our fourth Fox-1 Amateur Radio satellite,” Buxton said. Commissioning began on December 4, right after the CubeSat’s successful launch a day earlier. More
(Source: ARRL - Dec 12)
JORDAN’S FIRST CUBESAT, JY1SAT, IS DESIGNATED AS JO-97 - JY1Sat, launched on December 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California as part of the SpaceX SSO-A: SmallSat Express launch, has been designated as Jordan OSCAR 97 (JO-97). The 1U CubeSat is a project of the Crown Prince Foundation of Jordan. Telemetry has been received and decoded around the world since the launch. More
(Source: ARRL - Dec 12)
THIS IMAGE OF SPAIN IS THE FIRST FROM AN ALL-SEEING SATELLITE CONSTELLATION BY STARTUP ICEYE - Satellite startup ICEYE is riding a wave of success this year. Just days after its launch, the company got back its first image from ICEYE-X2, its second satellite. The company gave CNBC an exclusive look at the image on Monday.
The first ICEYE-X2 image shows the mountainous areas of Spain's Basque Country at night. Forest, roads and agriculture are visible in the image, which contains over 500 square kilometers, captured at a resolution of 3 by 3 meters. That's the expected, medium resolution for a high-powered satellite, but ICEYE packed that power into a suitcase-sized satellite. The X2 satellite was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last week on the record-breaking "SmallSat Express" mission for Spaceflight Industries. More
(Source: CNBC - Dec 11)
SPACEX MAKES ANOTHER SPACE STATION CARGO DELIVERY - A commercial supply ship owned and operated by SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering a pair of NASA experiments to demonstrate satellite refueling techniques and monitor changes in Earth’s forests, along with a special holiday menu of turkey, candied yams, cranberry sauce and shortbread cookies. The arrival of the Dragon cargo capsule Saturday marked another event in a busy schedule for the space station’s six-person crew, following the docking of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three fresh residents Dec. 3, and ahead of a spacewalk Tuesday to inspect the exterior of a different Soyuz capsule that developed a pressure leak in August. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 11)
RUSSIANS PREPARE FOR SPACEWALK, AIMING TO SOLVE A SPACE STATION MYSTERY - The two men will spend six hours examining and repairing a tiny hole that roiled space relations between the United States and Russia. On Tuesday, Russian astronauts hope to gather clues in a whodunit at the International Space Station.
The astronauts, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, are to conduct a spacewalk to examine the outside of a Soyuz capsule currently docked at the space station and used for transporting astronauts. They, as well as officials at NASA and the Russian space agency, want to know why there is a hole in the Soyuz. That small cavity roiled space relations between the United States and Russia this summer, leading to speculation in Russian media about an act of sabotage aboard the station. More
(Source: New York Times - Dec 11)
RAAF FUNDS SATELLITE MISSIONS WITH SPACE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT IN MIND - If all goes to plan, Mission 1 (M1), the first of two Royal Australian Air Force-funded small satellite efforts, will soon be placed into space by a US launch vehicle.
The M1 and later M2 missions are being funded by the air force and conducted in partnership with the University of NSW Canberra, with the aims of developing a cadre of expertise in satellite capabilities and demonstrating innovative space technologies and rapid small-satellite development. More
(Source: The Australian - Dec 10)