WHO'S GOING TO FIX THE SPACE JUNK PROBLEM? - There are over 20,000 known and tracked pieces of space debris orbiting Earth, each one traveling at about 15,000 mph (24,000 km/h). They pose a risk to future space missions, and nobody is bothering to clean it up. Why? Because it's too hard.
In the early 1960s, the U.S. military wanted to devise a new way of communicating with its forces around the globe. If an enemy severed undersea cables, they could only rely on bouncing radio signals off of the ionosphere, which was an unreliable method. More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 1)
ARIANE 5 ROCKET LAUNCHES TWO GEOSTATIONARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES - A European Ariane 5 rocket launched from French Guiana Friday, succeeding on its first flight in nearly a year to deploy a pair of geostationary communications satellites for commercial operators in Brazil and France.
The launch was a key test of the Ariane 5 rocket ahead of a flight later this year to send the James Webb Space Telescope toward its observation post nearly a million miles from Earth. The European Space Agency is providing the launch for JWST, a joint program between NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency with a cost of more than $10 billion. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 31)
HIGH DRAMA AS RUSSIAN LAB MODULE TILTS SPACE STATION WITH ERRANT THRUSTER FIRINGS - A heavyweight Russian laboratory module that experienced a variety of problems after launch last week docked at the International Space Station Thursday, but in a moment of unexpected drama, inadvertent thruster firings briefly knocked the sprawling complex out of its normal orientation.
Space station program manager Joel Montalbano said the station was maintaining its orientation, or “attitude,” using massive NASA-supplied gyroscopes when the thruster firings suddenly began at 12:34 p.m. EDT, about three hours after the 44,000-pound Nauka multi-purpose laboratory glided in for docking. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 30)
CHINA LAUNCHES CLASSIFIED SATELLITES, TESTS LANDING NOSE CONE WITH PARACHUTE - China sent three Yaogan 30 series satellites into orbit and used the launch to test controlling the rocket's falling nose cone with a parachute.
A Long March 2C rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 8:11 p.m. EDT July 18 (0019 GMT on July 19, or 8:19 a.m. local time), sending the 10th and final trio of Yaogan-30 satellites into orbit at an altitude of 370 miles (600 kilometers). More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 29)
ROCKET LAB RETURNS TO SERVICE WITH “FLAWLESS” LAUNCH FOR U.S. MILITARY - Resuming launches after a mission failure two months ago, Rocket Lab successfully placed a small U.S. military research and development satellite into orbit Thursday following a fiery liftoff from New Zealand on a flight that was originally supposed to launch from the company’s new pad in Virginia.
The 59-foot-tall (18-meter) Electron rocket ignited its nine kerosene-fueled Rutherford engines and climbed away from Launch Complex 1 on the North Island of New Zealand at 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) Thursday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 29)
ASTRONOMERS BACK TECHNICAL EFFORTS TO REDUCE IMPACTS OF SATELLITE MEGACONSTELLATIONS WHILE SEEKING REGULATORY SOLUTIONS - With slow progress on regulation and policy, astronomers are making progress on other approaches to mitigate the effects that satellite megaconstellations will have on their observations.
At the conclusion of the weeklong SATCON2 workshop July 16, astronomers announced a proposal to develop a virtual center called SatHub that will provide tools for astronomers to avoid satellite passes in their observations or correct observations affected by such passes. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 28)
BOEING STARLINER ORBITAL FLIGHT TEST 2: LIVE UPDATES - Boeing and NASA are getting ready to make a second attempt at launching its Starliner astronaut taxi to the International Space Station. The uncrewed CST-100 Starliner space capsule is scheduled to launch to the space station on July 30 at 2:53 p.m. EDT (1853 GMT), lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 28)
SPACEX IS ABOUT TO BEGIN LAUNCHING THE NEXT SERIES OF STARLINK SATELLITES - fter going through the month of July with no launches, SpaceX is scheduled to resume missions in August with Falcon 9 rocket flights from California and Florida to begin deploying Starlink internet satellites into new orbits.
SpaceX is gearing up for at least two Starlink launches next month, beginning with a Falcon 9 mission departing from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, no earlier than Aug. 10, multiple sources said. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 28)
ASTRONAUT WATCHES RUSSIAN SPACE STATION MODULE FALL FROM SPACE IN FIERY DEMISE - On Monday (July 26), astronauts said goodbye to a cornerstone of the International Space Station and captured stunning images of the compartment burning up in Earth's atmosphere.
A Russian Progress cargo vehicle towed the module, called Pirs, away from the space station and down through Earth's atmosphere to ensure the module burned up completely and reduce the odds of any large chunks making it to Earth's surface. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 28)