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SPACEX, BOEING WILL SEND ASTRONAUTS TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IN 2017 SPACEX, BOEING WILL SEND ASTRONAUTS TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IN 2017 - SpaceX and Boeing will start sending astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has confirmed. In 2014, under the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to start sending astronauts to the ISS from U.S. soil. The contracts were a step forward for ending the reliance on Russia for sending astronauts to the space station. NASA revealed last year that the CCP contract to Boeing was worth up to $4.2 billion and up to $2.6 billion for SpaceX.   More
(Source: Tech Times - Jan 29)

LIGHTSAIL-1 LAUNCH ANNOUNCED LIGHTSAIL-1 LAUNCH ANNOUNCED - The first of The Planetary Society's two LightSail spacecraft will ride to space aboard an Atlas V rocket in May 2015 The mission is a shakedown cruise designed to test out the CubeSat's critical systems. The LightSail-1 entry on the IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel status page lists a 9k6 GMSK AX25 amateur radio payload on 437.325 MHz. In 2016, the second LightSail spacecraft will piggyback into orbit aboard the first operational flight of SpaceX's new Falcon Heavy rocket for a full-fledged solar sailing demonstration.    More
(Source: Southgate - Jan 28)

RUSSIA TO PROPOSE BRICS SPACE STATION RUSSIA TO PROPOSE BRICS SPACE STATION - Russia has drawn up a proposal to create a new space station for the BRICS group of emerging economies that could be presented at the organization's five-nation summit this year, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday, citing a copy of the document. The proposal was crafted by Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, the government's primary interface with the aerospace and defense industries. In November, President Vladimir Putin took personal control of the commission. "It would be useful to explore the possibility of an international manned spaceflight project with the BRICS nations within an overall strategy of entering into technological alliances," TASS cited an expert panel on the commission as saying in the document.   More
(Source: The Moscow Times - Jan 28)

LAUNCH OF DELTA 2 ROCKET WITH NASA PROBE THURSDAY LAUNCH OF DELTA 2 ROCKET WITH NASA PROBE THURSDAY - From weather forecasting to agricultural benefits, a new NASA mission launching this week will provide unprecedented detail, accuracy and coverage of soil moisture from space on a world-wide basis every three days for the next three years. "Moist soil is far more interesting than you might have ever imagined," said Sam Thurman, SMAP deputy project manager. "Soil moisture is the bank account of water in the land," added Dara Entekhabi, SMAP science definition team lead. The $916 million Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission is one piece of a larger program of Earth science projects in space to answer questions about how our planet works.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 26)

LAUNCH DELAYED FOR NOAA SOLAR CLIMATE OBSERVATION SATELLITE LAUNCH DELAYED FOR NOAA SOLAR CLIMATE OBSERVATION SATELLITE - The scheduled launch of the satellite that will serve as the orbiting eyes of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Climate Prediction Center in Boulder has been delayed. Previously, the earliest launch time for the satellite recognized as the Deep Space Climate Observatory had been set for Jan. 31. But currently, the U.S. Air Force, acting in its capacity as the launch services provider with SpaceX, and with concurrence from NOAA and NASA, announced it is now expected to launch no earlier than Feb. eight. If the satellite goes off that day, the scheduled launch time would be four:ten p.m. MST.   More
(Source: National Gazette - Jan 25)

INMARSAT GLOBAL XPRESS SATELLITE TO DELIVER HIGH-SPEED MOBILE BROADBAND INMARSAT GLOBAL XPRESS SATELLITE TO DELIVER HIGH-SPEED MOBILE BROADBAND - UK SATELLITE FIRM Inmarsat is to launch a "next generation satellite" to deliver its Global Xpress service, billed as the "world's first" high-speed mobile broadband service. The launch of the Inmarsat-5 F2 will take place on 1 February at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Inmarsat claims that investing $1.6bn into delivering Global Xpress will create the world's first globally available, high-speed mobile broadband service, delivered through a single network operator. Inmarsat's fifth-generation satellites were built by Boeing Satellite Systems International in California, and the launch is being undertaken by International Launch Services using a Proton launch vehicle.   More
(Source: Inquirer - Jan 24)

DID TWO MORE IRIDIUM SATELLITES COLLIDE WITH SPACE DEBRIS? DID TWO MORE IRIDIUM SATELLITES COLLIDE WITH SPACE DEBRIS? - Two mystifying incidents last year involving separate Iridium communications satellites have experts wondering whether the spacecraft collided with tiny fragments of space junk. Both satellites kept operating after inexplicably shedding debris, puzzling engineers who are concerned about the population of small objects in orbit that cannot be tracked by the U.S. Air Force's network of sensitive radars and cameras. Both events "illustrate how mysterious many of the debris phenomena in Earth orbit still remain," according to an article in a quarterly report published by NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 23)

OBAMA HAILS NASA ASTRONAUT SET FOR 1-YEAR SPACE VOYAGE IN STATE OF THE UNION OBAMA HAILS NASA ASTRONAUT SET FOR 1-YEAR SPACE VOYAGE IN STATE OF THE UNION - President Barack Obama recognized the first American astronaut who will spend a year in space during the State of Union address Tuesday night (Jan. 20). NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, scheduled to launch to the International Space Station for a 12-month stay in March, was hailed for his role in advancing Obama's goal of sending astronauts to Mars. Kelly attended the speech as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama. "I want Americans to win the race for the kind of discoveries that unleash new jobs ... pushing out into the solar system, not just to visit, but to stay," Obama said. "Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars," Obama continued, referring to the launch of NASA's first Orion crew capsule on an unmanned test in December. "And in two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a yearlong stay in space."   More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 22)

ATLAS V ROCKET SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES FROM CAPE CANAVERAL ATLAS V ROCKET SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES FROM CAPE CANAVERAL - An Atlas V rocket successfully blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:04 Tuesday evening, despite a few minor delays. The United Launch Alliance rocket hoisted the third in a series of Mobile and User Objective System satellites. The first satellite in the MUOS network was launched in 2012 and the second in 2013. A fourth is set to fly this summer. The satellite system is intended to improve ground communications for U.S. military forces. It's expected to achieve full operational capability in two more years.   More
(Source: WFTV Orlando - Jan 21)

NEW RUSSIAN SPACE STATION BLUEPRINT READY FOR KREMLIN CONSIDERATION NEW RUSSIAN SPACE STATION BLUEPRINT READY FOR KREMLIN CONSIDERATION - A prominent research institute affiliated with Russia's space agency will present conceptual designs for a new Russian national space station to the government's military-industrial commission that would potentially replace the International Space Station (ISS), the institute's deputy director said. "We have prepared the relevant materials," said Alexander Danilyuk, the first deputy general director of the Central Research Institute of Machine Building ("TsNIIMash," by its Russian acronym) was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying on Monday. In mid-November, the Kommersant newspaper reported that the central research institute was floating a proposal to begin construction of a new Russian space station in 2017 using modules - the bus-sized building blocks of a space station - destined for Russia's segment of the ISS.   More
(Source: The Moscow Times - Jan 20)

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