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)
SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH SET FOR DEC. 19 FROM CAPE - Be amazed at thunderous roar of the Falcon 9 rocket as it launches from Space Launch Complex- 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Dec. 19, at 1:20 pm. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is carrying the Dragon capsule to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and will arrive at the ISS on dec. 21.
This is the fifth resupply mission by SpaceX for NASA, bringing food and supplies, including new science experiments and technology research, to the crew aboard the ISS. More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Dec 15)
ATLAS V LAUNCHES NROL-35 OUT OF VANDENBERG - United Launch Alliance has conducted its final launch of 2014, making use of a new upper stage engine on its Atlas V rocket to deliver a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit. Friday's launch of NROL-35 dodged the weather and occurred at 19:19 local time (03:19 UTC on Saturday) from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Although mission details are classified, the rocket was believed to be targeting a Molniya orbit - a highly elliptical trajectory with a period of 12 hours. The orbit is named after the Soviet Union's Molniya communications satellites which were the first spacecraft to make use of the orbit.
The Atlas V flew in her 541 configuration, however her Centaur upper stage sported an RL10C engine for the first time. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Dec 13)
VANDENBERG LAUNCH OF POWERFUL ATLAS V ROCKET CARRYING SPY SATELLITE SCRUBBED - The oncoming storm prompted a delay in the planned launch Thursday of a powerful rocket carrying a mysterious U.S. spy satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The Atlas V 541 rocket had been expected to blast off from the Lompoc-area base at 7:17 p.m., the 30th Space Wing announced earlier this week. The launch was rescheduled for 7:13 p.m. Friday.
The rocket is the same kind that launched NASA's Curiosity Mars rover in 2011, according to the system's maker, United Launch Alliance.
The 20-story rocket will be the most powerful ever launched from Vandenberg AFB, SpaceFlightNow.com reported. More
(Source: KTLA - Dec 12)
CHINA PUTS IN ORBIT RESEARCH SATELLITE - China has successfully placed into designated orbit its Yaogan-25 remote sensing satellite, China's Central Television said on Thursday.
The satellite was launched by a Long March-4C carrier rocket from the Jiuquan space pad in the northwestern province of Gansu.
The Yaogan-25 satellite will be used for scientific experiments and Earth surface surveys. Its data will also be used to estimate crop yields and disaster relief.
This was Long March's 201st launch. More
(Source: ITAR-TASS - Dec 11)
FINAL ULA MISSION OF 2014, NROL-35, SCHEDULED FOR LIFTOFF ON THURSDAY NIGHT - Another classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), NROL-35, is scheduled to take to the skies on Thursday, Dec. 11, from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It is currently scheduled to launch at 7:17 p.m. PST (0317 GMT), within their two-hour launch window of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. PST (0200 to 0400 GMT).
Regarding the NROL-35 payload itself, little has been said. The only mission description given by United Launch Alliance (ULA), whose rocket will carry the payload, is, "The mission will be launched for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense." More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Dec 11)
ORBITAL PICKS ATLAS 5 TO LAUNCH NEXT SPACE STATION CARGO RUN - Orbital Sciences Corp. announced Tuesday it selected United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket to launch a Cygnus space station resupply mission in late 2015 while the company redesigns its Antares booster with a new engine following a catastrophic failure seconds after liftoff in October.
The Atlas 5 launcher will take off from Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 launch pad to send Orbital's Cygnus supply ship on a trek to the International Space Station.
The flight is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015, Orbital Sciences said in a statement. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 11)