THE TRUE PRICE OF PRIVATIZING SPACE TRAVEL - On New Year’s Day 2001, the first crew of the International Space Station spent a quiet day in orbit. The commander, U.S. Navy Captain William Shepherd, decided to honor a naval New Year’s tradition, in which the person at the helm recites a poem. Shepherd had written something for the occasion, which included the following, recorded in the ship’s log:
Though star trackers mark Altair and Vega / Same as mariners eyed long ago / We are still as wayfinders of knowledge / Seeking new things that mankind shall know.
(Source: The Atlantic - Jun 12)
NOAA EXPERTS PREVIEW COSMIC-2 SATELLITE MISSION - The mission of six satellites that will orbit the planet near the equator, is scheduled to lift off at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Sat., June 22. Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be hosting a media teleconference to highlight the upcoming COSMIC-2 satellite mission. More
(Source: SatelliteProME.com - Jun 11)
NEWLY-LAUNCHED RUSSIAN TELECOM SATELLITE RELYING ON BACKUP THRUSTERS - A French-built communications satellite for Russia’s Gazprom Space Systems launched May 30 is maneuvering toward its final operating location in geostationary orbit using a set of backup thrusters after the spacecraft encountered a problem with its main engine. Ground controllers planned a series of burns using the Yamal 601 satellite’s main engine to send the craft into geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) above the equator... More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 11)
FIRST FALCON HEAVY NIGHT LAUNCH SLIPS TO JUNE 24 - The first nighttime launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, and the first Falcon Heavy flight for the U.S. military, is set for no earlier than June 24 from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Air Force officials said Friday.
The four-hour launch window opens at 11:30 p.m. EDT on June 24 (0330 GMT on June 25). The new target launch date is two days later than previously planned.
The Falcon Heavy will launch 24 satellites into three distinct orbits around Earth, using up most of the heavy-lift rocket’s lift capacity with a series of four upper stage engine burns, the most ever by a SpaceX launch vehicle. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 10)
NASA UNVEILS PLANS TO COMMERCIALIZE LOW EARTH ORBIT - NASA unveiled an ambitious program Friday to commercialize low-Earth orbit, making way for product development and even advertising aboard the International Space Station, month-long visits by company astronauts starting as early as next year and use of a station docking port for privately financed research-and-development modules.
NASA’s five-part commercialization blueprint also calls for the agency to facilitate development of technology needed for free-flying research labs NASA could rent space aboard in the future and work to “stimulate sustainable demand” for commercial R & D in a variety of fields ranging from in-space manufacturing to biomedicine. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 8)
RICHARD BRANSON TAKES SATELLITE LAUNCH BUSINESS TO JAPAN WITH AIRLINE ANA - Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit said on Thursday it plans to bring its satellite launch system to Japan in partnership with airline operator ANA Holdings Inc, which will provide maintenance and possibly aircraft.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system is undergoing testing with the aim of launching rockets bearing small satellites into space from a modified jumbo jet. The company said it will conduct its first orbital test flight later this year. More
(Source: Reuters - Jun 7)
NASA'S FIRST SPACEX ASTRONAUTS PREPARED FOR 'MESSY CAMPING TRIP' TO SPACE STATION - The first US astronauts chosen to fly aboard a SpaceX capsule built for NASA shrugged off a spate of design and test mishaps, saying such setbacks were "part of the process" and the new technology was far more advanced than the space shuttle program that ended eight years ago.
Space shuttle veterans Bob Behnken, 48, and Doug Hurley, 52 are slated for blastoff later this year or in 2020 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the debut manned flight of the Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station and back. More
(Source: Firstpost - Jun 7)
CHINA’S FIRST SEA LAUNCH DECLARED A SUCCESS - A solid-fueled Long March 11 rocket fired out of a container aboard a barge in the Yellow Sea on Wednesday with seven satellites heading into orbit on China’s first space launch from an ocean vessel.
The four-stage Long March 11 booster took off from the converted barge at 0406 GMT (12:06 a.m. EDT; 12:06 p.m. Beijing time) Wednesday, and headed southeast to send its payloads into orbit, soaring over the East China Sea then over the Pacific Ocean after passing between Okinawa and the southernmost of Japan’s main islands. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 6)
DOZENS OF SATELLITES JOINING VEGA'S RIDESHARE TO SPACE - More than 40 satellite missions will be launched at once by Europe's Vega launcher this autumn, thanks to the innovative modular "Lego-style" dispenser resting on its upper stage.
Up until now the smallest classes of satellites—all the way down to tiny CubeSats, built from 10 cm modular boxes—have typically piggybacked to orbit. They have to make use of any spare capacity as a single large satellite is launched, meaning their overall launch opportunities are limited. More
(Source: Phys.org - Jun 6)