AS NASA AIMS FOR THE MOON, AN AGING SPACE STATION FACES AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE - When a rocket carrying the first module of the International Space Station blasted off from Kazakhstan in November of 1998, NASA officials said that the station would serve as an orbiting home for astronauts and cosmonauts for at least 15 years.
It's now been over 18 years that the station has been continuously occupied by people. The place is impressive, with more living space than a six-bedroom house, two bathrooms and a large bay window for looking down at Earth. More
(Source: NPR - Jul 8)
MYSTERIOUS X-37B MILITARY SPACE PLANE CAUGHT ON CAMERA (PHOTO) - Skywatcher and satellite tracker Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands recently caught a rare glimpse of the U.S. Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane.
Vandebergh said he'd been hunting for the robotic spacecraft for months and finally managed to track it down in May. But it took a bit longer to get photos of the vehicle.
"When I tried to observe it again [in] mid-June, it didn't meet the predicted time and path," Vandebergh explained. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 7)
AMAZON SEEKS PERMISSION TO LAUNCH 3,236 INTERNET SATELLITES - Amazon wants the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to give it the go-ahead to launch 3,236 satellites that would be used to establish a globe-spanning internet network. Seeking Alpha reported that Amazon expects "to offer service to tens of millions of underserved customers around the world" via the network, which the company is developing under the code-name Project Kuiper. More
(Source: Tom's Hardware - Jul 7)
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES LAUNCHES NEW SATELLITE WITH DUAL-USE CAPABILITIES - The United Arab Emirates will launch its latest reconnaissance satellite, Falcon Eye 1, from the Guiana Space Centre in South America today.
This will be the UAE’s tenth satellite in orbit and its fourth reconnaissance satellite, making it a geospatial development leader in the Middle East.
Falcon Eye 1 is the first of two reconnaissance satellites arising from an Emirati-French agreement. As the most capable optics France has sold to a foreign country, the Falcon Eyes will be able to take ground images across a 20km swathe anywhere in the world 24 hours a day. More
(Source: Foreign Brief - Jul 6)
SOYUZ ROCKET AND FREGAT UPPER STAGE DELIVER 33 SATELLITES TO THREE DIFFERENT ORBITS - A new Russian weather satellite, a CubeSat to test a Silicon Valley startup’s water-based propulsion system, and eight more members of Spire’s commercial fleet of nanosatellites were among 33 spacecraft that rode a Soyuz rocket into orbit Friday from Russia’s Far East.
The mission took off at 0541:46 GMT (1:41:46 a.m. EDT) Friday from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, located in Amur Oblast tin Russia’s Far East. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 6)
THE PENTAGON WANTS ITS OWN TINY SPACE STATION - An arm of the Defense Department wants ideas for a future robotic space station. The Orbital Outpost would support the military’s fleet of space satellites, conduct experiments, and even someday expand to support humans. Don’t get too excited about the human aspect: the first iteration will have an internal volume smaller than a camping tent.
The Defense Innovation Unit is an arm of the Pentagon, growing companies with big, defense-related ideas. The DIU, which describes itself as “a fast-moving government entity that provides recurring revenue to companies to solve national security problems," has invested in companies both small and large in technologies such as internet security, robotics, communications, unmanned systems, computing, additive manufacturing, and space technologies. More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Jul 6)
NASA SPACE STATION ASTRONAUTS CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY - Two Americans are celebrating the Fourth of July 250 miles above Earth.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague are currently aboard the International Space Station, serving as flight engineers on the orbiting space lab’s Expedition 60. “As we orbit our planet high above you, we want to take a moment and wish all Americans at home, and around the world, a very happy fourth of July,” said Koch, in a video posted to Twitter... More
(Source: Fox News - Jul 5)
RUSSIAN SOYUZ LAUNCHER SET TO CARRY 33 SATELLITES INTO ORBIT - A Soyuz rocket is scheduled for liftoff Friday from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s newest launch site, with 33 satellites from 12 countries on-board to collect weather data and test new space technology.
Liftoff of the Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, located in Amur Oblast in Russia’s Far East, is set for 0541:46 GMT (1:41:46 a.m. EDT) Friday, or 2:41 p.m. local time at the launch base near Russia’s border with China. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 5)
EXOLAUNCH WILL SEND BIG SATELLITE CLUSTER ALOFT USING NEW TECH - Exolaunch soon plans to test a new separation system that will gently push microsatellites into space. The German launch provider (formerly known as ECM-Space) says the separation system, called CarboNIX, is "shock free" — meaning that no pyrotechnics are involved, and instead there will be a simple spring and locking mechanism.
"It's important because the pyrotechnic shock separation system is the highest shock a satellite will receive during launch," said Connor Jonas, a program manager with Exolaunch. More
(Source: Forbes - Jul 5)