SPACEX FIRES FALCON 9 BOOSTER ON PAD 39A, AIMS FOR COMSAT LAUNCH THURSDAY - SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Monday night at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, clearing the way for a launch Thursday with Qatar’s Es’hail 2 communications satellite, the first daytime liftoff from Florida’s Space Coast in more than six months. The rocket’s nine Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited at 8:30 p.m. EST Monday (0130 GMT Tuesday) and fired for several seconds as hold-down restraints kept the Falcon 9 grounded at pad 39A, the historic former starting point for numerous space shuttle launches and Saturn 5 moonshots. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 13)
ISRO TO LAUNCH COMMUNICATION SATELLITE SPECIFICALLY FOR J&K AND NE ON NOV 14 - Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is gearing up for the launch of a communication satellite on November 14 that is specifically meant for Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern regions. Talking to TOI, Isro chairman K Sivan said, “Isro will launch Gsat-29 from Sriharikota on November 14. It is an advanced highthroughput communication satellite which will have two Ku and Ka operational payloads. More
(Source: Times of India - Nov 13)
MINI SATELLITES, MAXIMUM POSSIBILITIES - Covert organizations, geopolitical rivalries, astronomical (pardon the pun) budgets, technology nearly indistinguishable from magic: a clichéd view of space exploration, but not an inaccurate one. Starting with the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, through the intense rivalries of the Cold War, and even down to India’s IRNSS navigation platform, space has mostly been the exclusive domain of nation-states (or powerful corporations).
But all that’s changing now. In what’s a fitting corollary to today’s start-up-focused, agile-is-smart, small-is-beautiful world, satellites have shrunk, physically as well in terms of budget, and are now within the reach of start-ups and educational institutions. More
(Source: Livemint - Nov 12)
HERE'S WHAT CALIFORNIA'S WILDFIRES LOOK LIKE FROM SPACE - This week countless photographs have offered close-up depictions of the destruction caused by California wildfires. Now, with the help of its satellites, NASA has released pictures giving a different perspective. NASA's Landsat 8 satellite captured this first image of the Camp Fire on the morning of November 8, just a few hours after the blaze had broken out. That fire grew quickly, torching 20,000 acres in less than 14 hours. At one point, it grew by a average of more than one football field every three seconds. More
(Source: CNN - Nov 11)
IT'S BUSINESS TIME! ROCKET LAB LOFTS 6 SATELLITES ON 1ST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH - Rocket Lab is officially open for business.
The spaceflight startup's Electron rocket aced its first commercial flight tonight (Nov. 10), lofting six small satellites and a technology demonstrator to low-Earth orbit, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above our planet.
The mission, which Rocket Lab called "It's Business Time," lifted off from the company's New Zealand launch site at 10:50 p.m. EST (0350 GMT and 4:50 p.m. local New Zealand time on Nov. 11). The two-stage Electron first delivered its payloads to an elliptical parking orbit; a "kick stage" that separated from the rocket's upper stage then circularized the orbits of the satellites, which were deployed about 54 minutes after liftoff, Rocket Lab representatives said. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 11)
ICEYE TO LAUNCH NEW SAR SATELLITE LATER THIS MONTH - Earth observation company ICEYE is set to launch its second synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite into space on 19 November from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.
The new ICEYE-X2 satellite is expected to be launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission.
The ICEYE-X2 has already completed all the tests and been transported to the launch site. It is developed to further improve ICEYE’s SAR imaging technology. More
(Source: Aerospace Technology - Nov 10)
SPACEX SETS ITS SIGHTS ON A LOWER ORBIT FOR STARLINK BROADBAND NETWORK’S FIRST SATELLITES - SpaceX wants to lower the bar for its first batch of Starlink broadband satellites, with the aim of beginning deployment by the end of 2019.
The revised plan is laid out for regulators at the Federal Communications Commission in filings that seek a lower orbit for 1,584 of the more than 4,400 satellites it envisions launching. The new target orbit would be 550 kilometers (342 miles) in altitude, as opposed to the 1,150-kilometer (715-mile) orbit described in SpaceX’s initial round of filings.
The FCC signed off on SpaceX’s original plan in March, and would have to approve the revisions after putting them through a public comment period. More
(Source: GeekWire - Nov 10)
SPACEX REVISES INTERNET SATELLITE LAUNCH PLAN TO MINIMIZE SPACE DEBRIS -
For the past few years, SpaceX has been working on its Starlink project, the goal of which is to launch thousands of low-orbiting satellites that will provide high-speed internet to people around the world. In February, the company put two prototype satellites into orbit, which it has used to test the technology ahead of a full deployment of its satellite constellation. But while those satellites were supposed to begin moving to a higher altitude than where they were initially placed, they haven't. And it looks like that's because SpaceX is slightly revising its launch plan.
As The Verge reports, SpaceX has asked the FCC if it can launch 1,584 satellites at 550 kilometers, as opposed to the 1,110 kilometer orbit it initially proposed. More
(Source: Engadget - Nov 10)
CHINA'S CORE SPACE STATION MODULE, CHANG'E-4 SPACECRAFT AND NEW LAUNCHERS UNVEILED AT ZHUHAI AIRSHOW - Chinese space technology, including a full size model space station module, the Chang'e-4 lunar far side spacecraft and new launch vehicles, have been unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow in southern China.
The full size model represents the first time the 'Tianhe' core module for the future Chinese Space Station has been on display to the public.
The 16.6m-long module consists of a 4.2m-diameter resources compartment, a 2.8m-diameter life support and control section, and the docking hub, which will facilitate connection with further modules and visiting Shenzhou-crewed spacecraft and Tianzhou cargo vessels. More
(Source: GBTIMES - Nov 10)