SPACE-STATION CREW MEMBERS JUST FOUND AN ELUSIVE AIR LEAK BY WATCHING TEA LEAVES FLOAT IN MICROGRAVITY - The International Space Station has been leaking an unusual amount of air since September 2019.
At first, crew members held off on troubleshooting the issue, since the leak wasn't major. But in August, the leak rate increased, prompting astronauts and cosmonauts on board the orbiting laboratory to start trying to locate its source in earnest. More
(Source: Business Insider - Oct 20)
LEOLABS INDICATES NO COLLISION OF SOVIET SATELLITE AND CHINESE ROCKET STAGE - Most of the aerospace world watched the skies over Antarctica and New Zealand for portions of Thursday night/Friday morning.
Earlier this week, LeoLabs Inc, a company that tracks objects in Low Earth Orbit, issued a statement regarding two large objects which posed a “high risk” of collision at 00:56:40 UTC on 16 October 2020 (8:56:40 pm EDT on 15 October).
Roughly one hour after the time of possible collision, LeoLabs confirmed “No indication of collision” via a statement on Twitter. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Oct 18)
SPACEX LAUNCHES ANOTHER BATCH OF STARLINK SATELLITES - SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink internet relay platforms into orbit Sunday as the company ramps up network testing in Washington state and touts a streak of nearly 300 satellites launched since June without a spacecraft failure.
Nine Merlin 1D engines fired up and powered the Falcon 9 rocket off pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:25:57 a.m. EDT (1225:57 GMT) Sunday, marking the 14th Falcon 9 mission dedicated to deploying satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 18)
COSMONAUTS PATCH SMALL AIR LEAK ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: REPORTS - Cosmonauts are making progress in the fight against the small air leak that has beleaguered the International Space Station for months, according to Russian reports.
The leak was first detected in September 2019 but was too low a priority for NASA and Roscosmos to address until August of this year given the short staffing and high activity rates at the orbiting laboratory, according to a previous statement from the U.S. space agency. More
(Source: Space.com - Oct 17)
TWO OLD SPACECRAFT JUST AVOIDED CATASTROPHICALLY COLLIDING IN ORBIT - About 1000 kilometres above Earth’s surface, two old spacecraft have narrowly avoided a collision. If they had hit one another, the smash-up could have created a spray of debris that would be extremely dangerous for other satellites and could set off a chain reaction of collisions.
The two objects are a Soviet Parus navigation satellite launched in 1989 and a Chinese rocket booster launched in 2009. Neither has any method of propulsion onboard, so there is no way to steer them away from one another.
(Source: New Scientist - Oct 17)
ASTRONAUTS SET TO LAUNCH SECURITY SATELLITE FROM SPACE STATION - Spire Global is a startup that is pivoting so quickly that in the past 18 months, it’s added specialties such as weather tracking and data services to its initial work on tracking ships and aircraft from orbit.
Now the company has a contract with the Australian Office of National Intelligence to experiment with commercial satellite technologies, including “machine learning” — an application of artificial intelligence that allows a system to learn and improve classification from an initial dataset. More
(Source: Forbes - Oct 17)
U.S.-EUROPEAN SEA LEVEL SATELLITE GEARS UP FOR LAUNCH - The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft will soon be heading into orbit to monitor the height of the ocean for nearly the entire globe.
Preparations are ramping up for the Nov. 10 launch of the world's latest sea level satellite. Since arriving in a giant cargo plane at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California last month, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich has been undergoing final checks, including visual inspections, to make sure it's fit to head into orbit. More
(Source: NASA - Oct 17)
SWEDEN TO LAUNCH SATELLITES FROM SPACE CENTER INSIDE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE - The space center in northern Sweden is mostly known for launching sounding rockets and research balloons. Now, the Swedish Space Corporation wants to be the first location north of the Arctic Circle to provide facilities for launching satellites into orbit.
90 million kronor (€8,6 million) was this week granted by the government and comes in addition to previous investment in creating a test facility at Esrange.
(Source: The Independent Barents Observer - Oct 16)
SPACEX TO LAUNCH SATELLITE TRACKING RISING SEA LEVELS - A new payload that Elon Musk’s SpaceX will deliver into orbit next month will play a pivotal role in measuring sea level increases, potentially helping to spare economies from billions of euros in damages by the end of this century. The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite lifts off Nov. 10 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket that will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its mission will be to track how the accelerating rise of sea levels are changing coastlines, threatening the habitat of more than a third of the world’s population. The European Space Agency will provide details about the mission on Friday at 4 p.m. in Paris.
(Source: BloombergQuint - Oct 16)