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THREE-PERSON CREW BLASTS OFF FROM BAIKONUR 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 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 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' 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? 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)

OUT OF ISS: RUSSIA GOING SOLO WITH SPACE STATION? OUT OF ISS: RUSSIA GOING SOLO WITH SPACE STATION? - The Russian space agency is reportedly considering construction of a high-altitude orbital station starting from 2017. This means that Moscow may walk away from the ISS after 2020, when its obligations under the current project are fulfilled. Kommersant newspaper reported that the manned space exploration program for the period until 2050 implies step-by-step assembly of a new scientific space station, citing its sources in Central Research Institute for Engineering Technology, Roscosmos space agency's leading space scientific and research enterprise. The principal difference from the currently operating International Space Station will be the new Russian station's high-altitude orbit with a 64.8-degree inclination, which would make up to 90 percent of the Russian territory visible from on board, including Arctic shelf seas.    More
(Source: RT - Nov 18)

CHINA LAUNCHES YAOGAN-23 REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE CHINA LAUNCHES YAOGAN-23 REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE - China has launched the Yaogan-23 remote sensing satellite into scheduled orbit from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China's Shanxi province. The satellite will mainly be used for scientific experiments, natural resource surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster relief. It was carried by a Long March-2C rocket, marking the 198th mission for the Long March rocket family.   More
(Source: CCTV - Nov 15)

GOES-S SATELLITE EXIS INSTRUMENT PASSES FINAL REVIEW GOES-S SATELLITE EXIS INSTRUMENT PASSES FINAL REVIEW - The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) Flight Model 2 instrument that will fly on NOAA's GOES-S satellite is now complete. The instrument successfully concluded its Pre-Shipment Review on October 21, 2014, at instrument developer Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, Colorado. The instrument will be placed into storage until GOES-S spacecraft integration begins. Earlier this year, the EXIS Flight Model 1 instrument for the GOES-R satellite was installed on the GOES-R spacecraft. The GOES-R satellite is scheduled for launch in early 2016. The EXIS Flight Model 3 instrument for the GOES-T spacecraft is currently undergoing post-environmental testing calibration.    More
(Source: Phys.Org - Nov 14)

STATION AVOIDS SATELLITE DEBRIS AFTER ATV-5 FIRES ENGINES STATION AVOIDS SATELLITE DEBRIS AFTER ATV-5 FIRES ENGINES - The International Space Station's "Georges Lemaitre" Automated Transfer Vehicle fired its engines for 3 minutes, 25 seconds at 6:35 a.m. Central time today in a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) to move well away from a small piece of debris from a spent Chinese satellite (Yaogan 12) launched in November 2011. The maneuver, which was coordinated with Russian and European flight controllers, raised the station's altitude by 9/10 of a mile at apogee and 2/10 of a mile at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 262.3 x 252.0 statute miles.   More
(Source: NASA - Nov 13)

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