SPACEX FIRES FALCON 9 ROCKET ENGINES FOR PRELAUNCH CHECK BY STEPHEN CLARK - SpaceX fired up the nine-engine first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday in a major preflight rehearsal before the March 16 launch of nearly 5,000 pounds of experiments and supplies to the International Space Station. The brief ignition of the Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1D engines occurred with the rocket firmly fastened to SpaceX's Complex 40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The engines generate about 1.3 million pounds of thrust at sea level. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 9)
NASA TEAMS DEPLOY TO KAZAKHSTAN FOR SOYUZ LANDING - As diplomatic tensions flare over Russia's armed incursion into Ukraine, preparations for Monday's landing of two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut continue unabated as recovery crews converge on the Kazakhstan touchdown zone. Nearly two dozen NASA officials and medical personnel are on the way to Kazakhstan to greet the three-man crew, led by veteran Russian commander Oleg Kotov, a native of the Crimea region at the center of a standoff between Russian forces and the Ukrainian government. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 8)
NAVIGATIONAL SATELLITE IRNSS 1-B LAUNCH SET FOR MARCH 31 - India's latest navigational satellite IRNSS 1-B would be launched onboard PSLV C-24 rocket from the spaceport at Sriharikota on March 31.
There would be a two-and-a-half day countdown which would be preceded by a launch rehearsal on March 26, Indian Space
Research Organisation (ISRO) sources said today.
"The launch of IRNSS 1-B from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre atPSLV C-24 rocket is scheduled at 5.20 pm on March 31," they told PTI. More
(Source: Indian Express - Mar 8)
RECORD-SETTING 33 TINY 'CUBESATS' LAUNCHED FROM SPACE STATION - A record release of 33 CubeSats from the International Space Station ended Friday after a methodical series of deployments of miniature Earth imaging satellites for San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. The CubeSat constellation, released in pairs over a 17-day period, included 28 satellites for Planet Labs and five spacecraft for private engineering research firms and institutions in Lithuania and Peru. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 7)
BOLDEN DOWNPLAYS IMPACT OF UKRAINE CRISIS ON NASA - The Obama administration's $17.5 billion budget request for NASA in fiscal 2015 will maintain American leadership on the high frontier, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said Tuesday, urging Congress to fully fund development of commercial manned spacecraft to end U.S. reliance on Russia to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Bolden said he did not expect the current crisis in Ukraine to impact space station operations, adding that "right now, everything is normal in our relationship with the Russians." More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 6)
SPACE STATION ORBIT TO BE RAISED AHEAD OF NEW MANNED MISSION - The orbit of the International Space Station will be raised next week by 1.5 kilometers to ensure safe docking of a Russian manned spacecraft, a space industry source said Tuesday.
The thrusters on Russia's Progress space freighter, currently docked with the ISS, will be fired up at 7:54 a.m. Moscow time [3:54 GMT] on March 13 and will work for 218 seconds, giving the station a boost of 0.49 meters per second, the source said.
As a result, the average altitude of the ISS, which currently vacillates between 412 and 430 kilometers, will be increased by 1,500 meters, the official said. More
(Source: RIA Novosti - Mar 6)
SA SATELLITE ENCOUNTERS SPACE DEBRIS - After three months in orbit, SA's first cube satellite, developed by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and launched from Russia on 21 November 2013, experienced two very close encounters with defunct satellites in the last two days of its trip.
The US Joint Space Operations Centre in California notified the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) last week that the Zacube-1 (TshepisoSat) nano-type satellite was on "close approach" with the defunct (Russian) Cosmos 2151 satellite. More
(Source: ITWeb - Mar 5)
SPY-SATELLITE PLAN KEEPS EYE ON THREATS IN THE SKY - A newly declassified military space program will place satellites on the lookout for threats to national-security spacecraft high above Earth.
Four satellites launched in pairs, the first late this year from Cape Canaveral on a Delta IV rocket, will provide new eyes on exactly what is flying in geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles up. And should an adversary's spacecraft move too close to U.S. assets - to learn more about them or potentially launch an orbital attack - the action won't go unnoticed. More
(Source: USA Today - Mar 4)
TINY SKYCUBE AND ARDUSAT-2 SATELLITES VENTURE INTO ORBIT -
The International Space Station has been busy this month releasing the largest-ever group of CubeSats - tiny shoebox-sized satellites that can take images of Earth, log environmental data and even tweet messages.
Late last night, crew members aboard the ISS released five more CubeSats operated by two San Francisco companies, a Peruvian university and the the country of Lithuania. They join Planet Labs' flock of 28 satellites that were already released this month. More
(Source: GigaOM - Mar 3)
NASA ASTRONAUTS WATCHED "GRAVITY" ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - "Gravity" was chilling enough in theaters. Just imagine watching the thriller on a doomed space expedition... in space.
That is apparently what the crew aboard the International Space Station was up to ahead of the Academy Awards, where "Gravity" picked up Oscars for directing and cinematography, among others. So on Sunday night, the ISS crew - American astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata - beamed down a congratulatory message to "Gravity's" producers. More
(Source: Washington Post - Mar 3)