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ULA DELTA IV-HEAVY LAUNCH WITH NROL-71 SCRUBBED ULA DELTA IV-HEAVY LAUNCH WITH NROL-71 SCRUBBED - United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket will try again on Saturday to launch the mysterious NROL-71 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. Ahead of Friday’s launch window – that was to open at 20:19 Pacific Time (04:19 UTC on Saturday) – ULA noted an issue with the holdfire circuitry required further work, scrubbing the launch attemot. The launch – after a 24 hour recycle – will take place from Space Launch Complex 6 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. Like most activities conducted by the United States National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), specifics of the NRO Launch 71 (NROL-71) mission are classified. The NRO is the organization that operates America’s fleet of reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering satellites, using a variety of spacecraft types and surveillance techniques to support national defense and security.   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Dec 8)


CHINA LAUNCHES SATELLITES FOR SAUDI ARABIA CHINA LAUNCHES SATELLITES FOR SAUDI ARABIA - Two Saudi Arabian Earth observation satellites and 10 small secondary payloads rode a Long March 2D rocket into orbit Friday from the Jiuquan space base in China’s northwestern Inner Mongolia region, hours before the launch of a Chinese lunar probe targeting the first soft landing on the far side of the moon. The Long March 2D rocket lifted off at 0412 GMT Friday (11:12 p.m. EST Thursday) from Jiuquan, carrying the 12 satellites into a low Earth orbit a few hundred miles above the planet.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 7)


TINY SATELLITES POSE A SWARM OF OPPORTUNITIES — AND THREATS TINY SATELLITES POSE A SWARM OF OPPORTUNITIES — AND THREATS - Spaceflight favors big rockets and small technology — but when technology gets small enough, it may act very differently from traditional satellites and spacecraft. And that tipping point may not be all that far away, with engineers having already flown tiny satellites that stretch just 1.3 inches (3.5 centimeters) across. With these tiny satellites come the potential opportunity to produce hordes of them, turning one large device into a host of smaller, cheaper ones.   More
(Source: Space.com - Dec 7)


SPACEX FALCON 9 BOOSTS DRAGON CARGO SHIP TO ORBIT, FIRST STAGE MISSES LANDING TARGET SPACEX FALCON 9 BOOSTS DRAGON CARGO SHIP TO ORBIT, FIRST STAGE MISSES LANDING TARGET - Two days after a successful launch from California, SpaceX fired off another Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, this one carrying a Dragon cargo ship loaded with 5,660 pounds of equipment and supplies bound for the International Space Station. But an attempt to recover the booster’s first stage ended in failure when a hydraulic system malfunction caused the booster to rapidly spin and tilt about its long axis during its final descent. As a result, the rocket landed well off target, settling to a gentle, upright “landing” in the Atlantic Ocean just east of the launch site.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 6)


SYNOPSIS: SATELLITE MISHAP PROVIDES CHANCE FOR RELATIVITY TEST SYNOPSIS: SATELLITE MISHAP PROVIDES CHANCE FOR RELATIVITY TEST - In 2014, two satellites of the Galileo European Global Navigation Satellite System were unintentionally launched on elliptical, rather than circular, orbits. This ellipticity created problems for their use in the global navigation network, but scientists turned this misfortune into an opportunity. Two independent teams, one led by Sven Herrmann at the University of Bremen in Germany and the other by Pacôme Delva, at both the Paris Sciences & Letters–PSL University and Sorbonne University in France, used clocks on the satellites to perform the most precise tests to date of one aspect of general relativity: the gravitational redshift of a clock’s frequency.   More
(Source: Physics - Dec 6)


POLISH STUDENTS’ SATELLITE LAUNCHED INTO ORBIT POLISH STUDENTS’ SATELLITE LAUNCHED INTO ORBIT - A satellite designed by Warsaw students to cut down on space junk has been launched into orbit. The satellite was designed by students from the Warsaw University of Technology. It was sent into space on Monday on board a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US. The satellite will be used to test a so-called deorbitation sail system, akin to a drag parachute, which it is carrying. The mechanism will be released after the satellite completes its mission. By increasing drag, the sail slows the satellite, causing it to descend to earth and burn up in the atmosphere, rather than remaining in orbit and becoming another piece of junk floating around the planet.   More
(Source: thenews.pl - Dec 6)


ASTROCAST SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES ITS FIRST SATELLITE ASTROCAST SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES ITS FIRST SATELLITE - Yesterday evening, Astrocast – a young start-up spun out of EPFL – launched its first demonstration satellite intended to test its Internet-of-Things system. It was put into orbit by a SpaceX rocket that took off from California. This Monday December 3rd was a big day for Astrocast. At 7:34pm Swiss time, the first satellite produced by this EPFL start-up took off from California on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, went smoothly.    More
(Source: Phys.org - Dec 6)


INDIA LAUNCHES 'HEAVIEST' SATELLITE FOR INTERNET ACCESS INDIA LAUNCHES 'HEAVIEST' SATELLITE FOR INTERNET ACCESS - India's heaviest satellite has gone into orbit on a French rocket to help boost broadband internet services. Weighing about 5,854kg (12,906lb), the GSAT-11 is India's "most-advanced" multi-band communication satellite. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) launched the satellite from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana early on Wednesday morning. It will be placed in a geostationary orbit by the end of this month and its transponders will be switched on. Isro chief K Sivan told reporters that the satellite will "play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country".   More
(Source: BBC News - Dec 6)


FOX-1CLIFF DESIGNATED AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95) FOX-1CLIFF DESIGNATED AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95) - On December 3rd, 2018, Fox-1Cliff was launched on a Falcon 9 vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express launch, Fox-1Cliff was named after long time AMSAT supporter Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR (SK). In the 48 hours after launch, more than 110 amateur radio operators around the world have successfully received and submitted telemetry from the satellite. Following in our long tradition of naming amateur satellites, AMSAT hereby designates Fox-1Cliff as AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95).   More
(Source: AMSAT - Dec 6)


3 ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE SAFELY ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOLLOWING PREVIOUS FAILED LAUNCH 3 ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE SAFELY ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOLLOWING PREVIOUS FAILED LAUNCH - Three astronauts who were launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Monday entered the International Space Station nearly eight hours later, a relief to relatives and scientists months after a rocket failure aborted another mission. The hatch of the capsule carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Russian space agency Roscosmos was opened while the station was flying over the southern coast of Yemen.   More
(Source: TIME - Dec 5)

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