RADIO HAM HELPS ESA WITH TRACKING WIDGET - Thanks to radio amateur Chip Sufitchi N2YO the European Space Agency's new satellite tracking widgets are live.
The tracking widgets are fed with the latest orbital tracks for ESA missions, or missions with significant ESA participation. The default track shows the ISS.
(Source: AMSAT-UK - Dec 20)
SPACE WEATHER SATELLITE SET FOR LAUNCH - Space weather forecasters will get an important new tool to help predict disruptions to the Earth's magnetic field that could damage critical infrastructure when the US launches a deep space sentry designed to monitor solar activity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plans to launch its Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 23, 2015, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. If all goes as planned, DSCOVR will take about 110 days to reach a stable "Lagrange point" orbit between the Earth and Sun.
The NOAA space weather satellite orbiting about 1 million miles from Earth represents the first deep space early warning system for detecting geomagnetic storms emanating from the Sun. More
(Source: EE Times - Dec 20)
RUSSIAN-BUILT SPY SATELLITE ROCKETS OUT OF UNDERGROUND SILO - A Strela rocket carrying a Russian-built radar surveillance satellite built for an undisclosed foreign customer sprung out of an underground silo in Kazakhstan and fired into orbit Friday.
The Kondor E spacecraft will look down on Earth, peering through clouds to collect high-resolution imagery around the clock, according to NPO Mashinostroyenia, the satellite's Moscow-based manufacturer.
The 115-ton Strela launcher - a modified Soviet-era SS-19 ballistic missile - blasted out of an underground launch tube at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0443 GMT Friday (11:43 p.m. EST), the Russian Federal Space Agency said in a press statement. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 20)
STRELA ROCKET WITH KONDOR-E SATELLITE TO BE LAUNCHED DECEMBER 19 - Specialists have made a decision to launch the Strela carrier rocket with the Kondor-E satellite on Friday, December 19. The launch was initially planned from the Baikonur spaceport on Thursday morning, a source at Baikonur in Kazakhstan told TASS. "The decision has been made to launch the Strela carrier rocket with the Kondor-E spacecraft on an auxiliary date - December 19, at 07:43am, Moscow time," the source said.
Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) confirmed this information to TASS. "The launch will be carried out tomorrow at 07:43am, Moscow time," a Roscosmos official said. More
(Source: ITAR TASS - Dec 19)
EUROPEAN SOYUZ DELIVERS FOUR O3B BROADBAND SATELLITE TO ORBIT - A Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket on Dec. 18 successfully placed four O3b Networks high-throughput Ka-band broadband satellites into O3b's unique 8,000-kilometer-altitude orbit, giving O3b a bigger margin for error as it manages its constellation, now comprising 12 satellites.
?Launch-service provider Arianespace's chief executive, Stephane Israel, said after the launch that all parameters looked good for the satellites but that it would take several hours to determine their exact status, including the precise orbital parameters. But the spacecraft are sending signals, he said.
(Source: Space News - Dec 19)
SPACEX DELAYS SPACE STATION DELIVERY UNTIL NEW YEAR - Christmas won't be coming early for space station astronauts. In fact, they won't be getting their presents until the New Year.
On Thursday, the SpaceX company announced it was delaying this week's planned launch of an unmanned supply capsule until January.
SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said a test firing of the rocket engines earlier this week did not go precisely as planned at the Cape Canaveral launch pad. The company wants to conduct a second test on the Falcon rocket before committing to a launch, he said.
Combined with the Christmas and New Year's holidays, as well as the sun's angles on the space station, the earliest the California-based company can launch is Jan. 6. The liftoff should have occurred Friday, already a few days late. More
(Source: CBS Local - Dec 19)
RUSSIA TO LAUNCH SA SPY SATELLITE - DA - The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) had announced that a Kondor-E "earth observation satellite" would be launched on Thursday (December 18) from its Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier said in a statement.
"We cannot be sure, but the Kondor-E satellite, which will be launched at 6.55pm SA time, may be defence intelligence's secret Russian Kondor-E 'spy satellite', developed under 'Project Flute'."
Maynier said the satellite reportedly arrived at the cosmodrome on December 1 "for pre-launch processing".
Since then, it had been tested, loaded with propellant and transferred to site for final preparations. More
(Source: Independent Online - Dec 18)
SPACEX EXPECTED TO SET NEW FALCON 9 LAUNCH DATE - Officials will likely set a new launch date Thursday for a SpaceX-owned commercial cargo craft that was expected to take off Friday heading for the International Space Station, according to sources familiar with launch preparations.
Managers were scheduled to meet to decide on a plan for the launch after SpaceX was unable to complete a preflight engine hotfire test Tuesday. The static fire test is a procedure SpaceX uses to verify the readiness of its Falcon 9 rocket and ground facilities for liftoff.
The nature of the problem during Tuesday's static fire was not clear, and a SpaceX spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 18)
SOYUZ BOOSTER ROLLS OUT TO FRENCH GUIANA LAUNCH PAD - Russian rocket technicians working in the French Guiana jungle transported a three-stage Soyuz booster to its launch pad Monday and erected it upright for liftoff Thursday with four communications satellites for O3b Networks, a company with aims to beam broadband Internet service to the developing world.
The rocket rolled to the launch pad from a horizontal integration building riding on rail tracks while mounted on a specially-built transporter-erector system. Once the rocket completed the nearly half-mile rollout, the transporter-erector lifted the rocket vertical, then workers mounted the Soyuz to hold-down clamps suspended over the launch pad's flame trench. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 17)
INDIA TO LAUNCH 4 NAVIGATION AND 5 FOREIGN SATELLITES IN 2015, SAYS ISRO CHIEF - The year 2015 is going to be a busy year for the Indian space agency. It will launch five foreign satellites apart from its own four navigation satellites and a communication satellite.
The Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO will also launch a heavy communication satellite, GSAT-15, with around 40 transponders-automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals using the Ariane rocket of Arianespace.
"We will be completing the IRNSS (Indian Regional Satellite Navigation System) constellation by launching four more satellites and operationalise the navigation system. The geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) rocket is getting ready to launch GSAT-6 communication satellite," ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan told IANS in a telephone interview from Bangalore. More
(Source: NDTV - Dec 15)