ANTARES ROCKET FAILURE PUSHES TINY SATELLITE COMPANY TO HITCH RIDE WITH SPACEX - The various companies that had stuff sitting on the failed Orbital Sciences Antares rocket launch last month are busy looking for alternatives. One example is Planet Labs, which is best known for deploying dozens of tiny satellites from the International Space Station this year.
The company lost 26 satellites in the explosion. But within nine days of the Oct. 28 event, Planet Labs had a partial backup plan-send two replacements last-minute on an upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 launch.
(Source: Phys.Org - Nov 26)
GERMAN SATELLITE CRASHES IN SAUDI - A German satellite which was put in orbit by a Russian rocket in 2008 has crashed in Saudi Arabia but there were no reports of any damage.
Newspapers said the 1.5-tonne satellite fell on Saudi territory at 04:36 am on Sunday and that debris was scattered over many areas in central and south Saudi Arabia.
Sabq newspaper quoted Saudi astronomer Mohammed Shawkat Awdi as saying most of the 6.5-metre satellite, which was launched by Russia's Cosmos 3M rocket, burned in space before parts of it reached earth. More
(Source: Emirates 24/7 - Nov 25)
ANOTHER GLONASS SATELLITE TO BE LAUNCHED FROM PLESETSK SPACE SITE DECEMBER 1 - The next launch of Russian navigation satellite GLONASS-K from the northern Plesetsk space site, located in Russia's Arkhangelsk region, is scheduled for December 1, Russian space agency Roscosmos told TASS on Monday.
"Another GLONASS-K satellite will be put into orbit by Soyuz 2.1b Russian carrier rocket from Plesetsk space site on December 1 at approximately 00:52am Moscow time (November 30, 9:52pm GMT)", Roscosmos official said. More
(Source: ITAR-TASS - Nov 25)
FRESH CREW ARRIVES AT SPACE STATION - Five hours and 47 minutes after a sky-lighting launch from Kazakhstan, a Russian Soyuz ferry craft carrying a crew of three representing Russia, the United States and Italy, glided to a smooth docking at the International Space Station late Sunday, boosting the lab's crew back to six and setting the stage for a busy winter of research and spacewalk assembly work.
As the two spacecraft sailed 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean approaching the coast of South America, Soyuz TMA-15M commander Anton Shkaplerov, flanked on the left by European Space Agency flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti and on the right by NASA astronaut Terry Virts, monitored an autonomous approach to the Earth-facing Rassvet module, moving in for docking at 9:48 p.m. EST. More
(Source: CBS News - Nov 24)
THREE-PERSON CREW BLASTS OFF FROM BAIKONUR - Braving near-zero temperatures, a workhorse Soyuz rocket carrying a crew of three - a veteran cosmonaut, a NASA shuttle pilot and an Italian fighter pilot making her first space flight - vaulted into orbit Sunday, kicking off a six-hour rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Launching almost directly into the plane of the station's orbit, Soyuz TMA-15M commander Anton Shkaplerov, flanked on the left by European Space Agency flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti and on the right by NASA astronaut Terry Virts, lifted off from complex 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:01 p.m. EST (GMT-5; 3:01 a.m. Monday local time). More
(Source: SpaceFlight.com - Nov 23)
CHINA LAUNCHES FOR THE SECOND TIME IN 24 HOURS - A mysterious new Chinese rocket lifted off Friday and put a small satellite several hundred miles above Earth, marking China's second space launch in less than 24 hours.
China's state-run media outlets released few details on the mission, which launched from the Jiuquan space center in northwest China's Gobi desert.
The Kuaizhou 2 spacecraft launched at 0637 GMT (1:37 a.m. EST) Friday, or 2:37 p.m. Beijing time, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.
The Jiuquan space base was the starting point for another Chinese rocket launch less than 24 hours earlier, when a Long March 2D rocket placed a military reconnaissance payload int orbit. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 23)
TWO JAPANESE SATELLITES WILL CARRY HAM RADIO PAYLOADS INTO DEEP SPACE THIS MONTH - Two Amateur Radio satellites, Shin'en 2 (Abyss 2) and ARTSAT2: DESPATCH, will be heading into deep space this month. The satellites will hitch a ride with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa 2 asteroid mission, which is scheduled to launch on November 29.
A 17 kg, 50 cm diameter polyhedron, Shin'en 2, developed by Kyushu Institute of Technology and Kagoshima University, will carry into deep space an F1D digital store-and-forward transponder, but not the Amateur Radio Mode J linear transponder announced earlier. A linear transponder had been part of the initial design, but Hideo Kambayashi, JH3XCU, said that Japanese regulations would not allow it and that it would have taken a long time to negotiate a variance with regulatory authorities. More
(Source: ARRL - Nov 20)
CHINESE MILITARY SATELLITE LAUNCHED BY LONG MARCH ROCKET - China launched a Long March rocket last week with a satellite Western analysts believe will conduct all-weather global radar surveillance for the Chinese military.
The Long March 2C rocket lifted off at 1853 GMT (1:53 p.m. EST) Friday from the Taiyuan launch base in northern China's Shanxi province. Launch occurred at 2:53 a.m. Beijing time Saturday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The Yaogan 23 spacecraft carried on top of the two-stage Long March 2C booster is flying more than 300 miles above Earth in an orbit over the poles tilted 97.3 degrees to the equator, according to tracking data acquired by the U.S. Air Force's Space Surveillance Network. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 19)
RUSSIAN SPACE OBJECT 2014-28E SPARKS WORRIES ABOUT 'SATELLITE KILLER' - Satellite-watchers say a Russian object that was put into orbit six months ago has been behaving strangely, sparking worries that the craft is conducting a test run for anti-satellite warfare.
The object carries several designations - 2014-28E, or Cosmos 2499, or NORAD object 39765. It popped up in space along with three military communication satellites after a Russian Rokot-Briz launch in May, and at the time, experts assumed it was just a piece of space debris.
But since that time, 2014-28E moved into a different orbit and then maneuvered back into a position near the launch vehicle's spent Briz-KM upper stage, according to reports circulating among satellite observers. In the latest issue of his report on satellites and launches, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell says the object "made a final burn to complete its rendezvous" on Nov. 9. More
(Source: NBC News - Nov 19)
OBJECT 2014-28E - SPACE JUNK OR RUSSIAN SATELLITE KILLER? - It is a tale that could have come from the cold war. A mysterious object launched by the Russian military is being tracked by western space agencies, stoking fears over the revival of a defunct Kremlin project to destroy satellites.
For the past few weeks, amateur astronomers and satellite-trackers in Russia and the west have followed the unusual manoeuvres of Object 2014-28E, watching it guide itself towards other Russian space objects. The pattern appeared to culminate last weekend in a rendezvous with the remains of the rocket stage that launched it. More
(Source: Financial Times - Nov 18)