LONG MARCH 2D LAUNCHES LKW-4 - Returning to orbital launch activity after the traditional festivities of the Spring Festival, China launched a new remote sensing satellite on Saturday. Launch took place at 07:10 UTC via a Long March 2D launch vehicle orbiting a new satellite in the Ludikancha Weixing (LKW) series, also known as ‘Land Surveying’. The launch of Ludikancha Weixing-4 took place from the 94 Launch Platform at the LC43 Launch Complex from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC).
As per usual for the Chinese media, this spacecraft is once again classed as a new remote sensing bird that will be used for remote sensing exploration of land resources. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Mar 17)
WE MAY NOT GET TRUMP'S 'SPACE FORCE,' BUT THE MILITARY'S ALWAYS BEEN INVOLVED IN SPACE - Space was never guaranteed to be a non-militarized zone, and we are lucky that it is explicitly seen as a peaceful, cooperative domain, even if reality suggests that it might not remain so forever. After all, the United States rejected a treaty that offered some guarantees that could preserved that peace — a formal, international prohibition of weapons in space, the development of ground-based anti-satellite weapons, and a robust verification regime — in 2014.
So when President Trump floated the idea of a "Space Force" before a crowd at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., this week, it's probably a good thing that the defense world greeted it with uncomfortable laughter. More
(Source: NBCNews.com - Mar 17)
NASA MULLS A MINI SPACE STATION FOR THE MOON - NASA is considering a new space station that would act as a halfway house for astronauts near the moon, which could be completed as soon as 2025. Dubbed the NASA Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway, it would offer future missions a point from which to observe the moon, in addition to acting as a waypoint for space exploration further afield. Indeed, it could eventually be a stepping stone to travel to Mars. It would not, of course, be the first such orbiting platform... More
(Source: SlashGear - Mar 17)
AIRBUS BUILDING ‘SPACE HARPOON’ TO CAPTURE ROGUE SATELLITES ORBITING EARTH - Humans have totally messed up Earth and are already getting started on ruining the heavens.
Now the European firm Airbus has unveiled a ‘harpoon’ designed to tackle the growing problem of space junk. The projectile is designed to be attached to a ‘chase spacecraft’ and used to capture runaway satellites and other objects orbiting Earth. More
(Source: Metro - Mar 17)
STAR WARS? PRESIDENT TRUMP PROPOSES MILITARY SPACE FORCE - America should create its own separate military space force, President Donald Trump mentioned in an offhand remark Tuesday that would change the course of U.S. space policy.
But don’t expect Captain Kirk ordering phasers set on stun, “Battlestar Galactica” or ray guns blazing in orbit in the near future, space experts said. And some said a military space force may make it harder to keep Earth’s orbit a place of peace.
Saying his national security strategy “recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said at a San Diego Marine Corps base that he’s considering “a space force” that would be the equivalent of the Air Force, Army and Navy.
(Source: Military Times - Mar 16)
SHOEBOX-SIZED CUBE SATELLITE TO STUDY EARTH'S INNER RADIATION BELT - A NASA-funded cube satellite built and operated by CU Boulder researchers will study the inner radiation belt of Earth's magnetosphere, providing new insight into the energetic particles that can disrupt satellites and threaten spacewalking astronauts.
The $4 million Cubesat: Inner Radiation Belt Experiment (CIRBE) mission, tentatively slated for a 2021 launch, will provide some of the first advanced resolution of one of Earth's two Van Allen belts, a zone that traps energetic particles in the planet's magnetic field. More
(Source: Phys.org - Mar 16)
ORBITAL ATK UNVEILS NEW VERSION OF SATELLITE SERVICING VEHICLE - Orbital ATK announced March 13 it is developing a new version of a satellite life extension vehicle intended to provide more flexibility to customers while also moving the company closer to more advanced in-space servicing.
During a presentation at the Satellite 2018 conference here, company executives announced plans to develop the Mission Robotic Vehicle and Mission Extension Pods, which would handle stationkeeping for geostationary satellites that are running out of fuel. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Mar 16)
ISS ORBIT RAISED BY 400 METERS BEFORE MANNED SPACEFLIGHT LAUNCH
- The Russian Mission Control Center has raised the International Space Station’s flight orbit before manned spaceflight takeoffs from Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.
"At 00:25, Moscow time, the ISS orbit was adjusted as scheduled to create ballistic conditions before the flight of manned transport spacecraft under the program of the Russian segment of the ISS," the Mission Control Center in the Moscow suburbs said.
(Source: TASS - Mar 15)
CHINA’S LONG MARCH 5 HEAVY-LIFT ROCKET TO FLY AGAIN AROUND NOVEMBER IN CRUCIAL TEST - The return-to-flight mission will carry an experimental, 300 Gbps telecommunications satellite based on a new, large DFH-5 satellite platform. Future DFH-5's will deliver 1 terabit per second, up from the current 20 Gbps with DFH-4.
China’s most powerful rocket will fly for the third time late this year, with success of the launch to be crucial to upcoming projects including a lunar sample return, space station module launch and a 2020 mission to Mars. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Mar 15)