BOULDER’S BALL AEROSPACE SATELLITE SET FOR LAUNCH - A satellite built by Boulder-based Ball Aerospace arrived in Florida on Monday in preparation for a June launch as part of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission. The mission will be NASA’s first time using a low toxicity “green” propellant and propulsion system in orbit – an alternative to conventional chemical propulsion.
“We are proud to be part of this historic mission to test a new green propellant on board Ball’s flight-proven small satellite, helping to provide science at any scale,” Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace said in a statement. More
(Source: Boulder Daily Camera - May 24)
SPACEX LAUNCHES STARLINK: WAITING FOR DEPLOYMENT OF 60 SATELLITES IN LANDMARK MISSION - SpaceX just vaulted a rocket full of 60 satellites into the sky. Now for the moment of truth: The company will try to deploy the entire batch of satellites safely into orbit.
This is the first dedicated mission for SpaceX's Starlink, an ambitious plan to put up a megaconstellation of satellites that could beam cheap broadband all over the planet. The towering Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:30 pm ET.
Around 11:30 pm ET, the second stage of the rocket will try to gently deploy all 60 satellites in a unique way. The payload stack will turn over as the satellites fan out in a way that will look like "spreading a deck of cards on a table," as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described it. More
(Source: CNN - May 24)
TETHERS UNLIMITED DEVELOPING SATELLITE SERVICER FOR LEO MISSIONS - Tethers Unlimited is designing a satellite servicing vehicle that would leverage technologies developed for the U.S. Defense Department and NASA to service spacecraft in low Earth orbit.
Tethers Unlimited already has many of the technologies needed for the servicer either completed or in development under Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, CEO Robert Hoyt told SpaceNews.
By combining these technologies, the company hopes to have a servicer called LEO Knight in orbit within three to four years, he said. The servicer would support on-orbit assembly, refueling for small satellites and other functions, he said. More
(Source: SpaceNews - May 22)
ARE WE REACHING THE END OF SPACEWALKS? - It’s June 3, 1965 and astronaut Ed White, in orbit over Hawaii, emerges from a space capsule to become the first American to conduct a extravehicular activity, or EVA. Connected with a single tether providing power and communication lines, he maneuvers using an oxygen gun for propulsion, takes in the view, and poses for pictures.
“I feel like a million dollars,” White says.
These days EVAs are not done for the photos, they are part of the maintenance and operation of the International Space Station. They are planned to the minute, and astronauts seldom have time for a selfie (or joyriding with jet-guns). More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - May 22)
INDIAN ROCKET SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERS RADAR OBSERVATION SATELLITE TO ORBIT - An Indian rocket fired into space Wednesday with a high-power radar imaging satellite designed to peer through clouds and darkness to resolve signs of pollution, natural disasters and foreign military movements.
The 145-foot-tall (44.4-meter) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off with more than a million pounds of thrust at 0000 GMT Wednesday (8 p.m. EDT Tuesday) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, a spaceport on India’s southeastern coast with the Bay of Bengal. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 22)
ULA BEGINS STACKING ATLAS 5 ROCKET FOR LATE JUNE LAUNCH - The bronze first stage of United Launch Alliance’s next Atlas 5 rocket arrived at its Cape Canaveral launch pad Friday, where it will be joined by five solid-fueled boosters, a Centaur upper stage and a U.S. Air Force communications satellite in the coming weeks ahead of liftoff set for June 27.
Riding on a specially-outfitted trailer, the rocket’s first stage was trucked from the Atlas Space Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the nearby Complex 41 launch pad, where cranes lifted the 107-foot-long (32-meter) stage vertical and placed it on a mobile platform inside the Vertical Integration Facility. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 21)
LONG MARCH 3C ROCKET LAUNCHES BEIDOU SATELLITE TOWARD GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT - China launched a Beidou navigation satellite Friday using a Long March 3C rocket, adding another node to a growing space-based network that Chinese officials say will broadcast positioning and timing signals around the world next year.
The Long March 3C launcher, fitted with a pair of liquid-fueled strap-on boosters, fired away from the Xichang space center at 1548 GMT (11:48 a.m. EDT) Friday, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, or CALT, the state-owned contractor that builds most Chinese satellite launchers. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 19)
SATELLITE DATA CAN HELP MONITOR SHIFTING AND SINKING GROUNDS - Land subsidence is the shifting and sinking of the ground, and it can be disastrous for low lying countries. Subsidence can be caused by several factors, including erosion, earthquakes, mining, and even rapid urbanization.
Because of the risks that subsidence poses to urban areas and agriculture, it is crucial to find ways to monitor and map subsidence in regions where city infrastructure, buildings, homes, and crop yields are under threat. More
(Source: Earth.com - May 19)
SPACEX DELAYS LAUNCH OF 60 STARLINK SATELLITES AGAIN, THIS TIME FOR SOFTWARE CHECKS - The first big batch of SpaceX internet satellites will have to wait at least another week to get aloft.
Elon Musk's company scrubbed the launch of 60 Starlink spacecraft tonight (May 16) about two hours before their planned 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT on May 17) liftoff, citing a desire to update software and perform some more checks. More
(Source: Space.com - May 17)