SPACEX BEGINS 2019 WITH EIGHTH AND FINAL FOR UPGRADED IRIDIUM NETWORK - Ten Iridium communications satellites rode a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit Friday from California in the eighth and final launch for Iridium’s upgraded network over the last two years, and the first of around 18 predicted SpaceX missions planned in 2019. The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lit its nine Merlin 1D main engines and climbed away from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 7:31:33 a.m. PST (10:31:33 a.m. EST; 1531:33 GMT) Friday. More
(Source: SpacewFlight Now - Jan 12)
SPACEX, NASA PUSH 1ST CREW DRAGON TEST FLIGHT TO FEBRUARY - The first uncrewed test flight of SpaceX's new Dragon spacecraft for astronauts will now launch no earlier than February, NASA officials said today (Jan. 10).
The Crew Dragon test flight, called Demo-1, was scheduled to launch on Jan. 17 after already being pushed back once from a Jan. 7 target. NASA announced the new schedule slip, which delays the launch by at least two weeks, in a written status update. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 11)
WORLD-FIRST CHAMELEON SATELLITE LEAVING NATIVE BRITISH SHORES - The last component of British-built chameleon satellite, Eutelsat Quantum, is getting ready to leave home for good.
The final piece of equipment is part of the new SSTL platform; the chassis that provides a payload with structure, power and the ability to propel itself through space.
Representing a major first for the company, the platform weighs in at just over 1 tonne, which is an order of magnitude bigger than any other satellite they have built in the past.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-world-first-chameleon-satellite-native-british.html#jCp More
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 11)
FIXING BROKEN SATELLITES IN SPACE COULD SAVE COMPANIES BIG MONEY - When your satellite breaks in space, as DigitalGlobe’s did on Monday, there isn’t an easy way to repair it. Technology that’s currently on the horizon may change that, however, allowing satellite providers to staunch their financial losses and get more out of their investments.
For DigitalGlobe, the loss was brutal: an Earth-imaging satellite called WorldView-4, which had clients that include Google Maps. A critical instrument needed to stabilize the spacecraft has stopped working properly. Now, the satellite can’t take decent pictures of Earth for DigitalGlobe’s customers, and there seems to be no way to fix the damage. More
(Source: The Verge - Jan 11)
WHAT’S NEXT FOR AIR FORCE WEATHER SATELLITES? - The U.S. military’s highest priority weather satellite, a spacecraft requested by U.S. Strategic Command to observe clouds and theaters of operations, is on hold after NASA rescinded the contract award.
In September the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, working with the NASA Ames Research Center’s small spacecraft prototyping office, awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a $119 million contract to develop a satellite to gather cloud and theater imagery until the service finds a long-term solution to fulfilling its weather requirements. In October, Space Systems Loral protested the award and NASA rescinded it. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 10)
IMAGES SHOW IRAN PREPPING SATELLITE LAUNCH DESPITE POMPEO'S THREAT - New images obtained by CNN Tuesday indicate Iran is preparing to launch a remote sensing satellite into space, the latest sign that the Islamic Republic is moving ahead with the planned mission despite recent warnings from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The high-resolution satellite images, captured by Planet Labs on January 4, 6 and 7, show activity at the Imam Khomeini Space Center consistent with steps that were taken prior to a previous launch in 2017, according to researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. More
(Source: CNN - Jan 9)
BEHOLD! SPACEX'S 1ST CREW DRAGON SPACESHIP IS ON THE LAUNCHPAD - The private spaceflight company SpaceX has moved its first Dragon spaceship designed for astronauts to the launchpad ahead of an uncrewed test flight that's just weeks away.
SpaceX rolled the Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket out to the historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday (Jan. 3) for a test flight for NASA targeted for Jan. 17 . That schedule, however, may be delayed due to the ongoing partial government shutdown that has shuttered much of the U.S. space agency. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 8)
DIGITALGLOBE LOSES WORLDVIEW-4 SATELLITE TO GYRO FAILURE - DigitalGlobe announced Monday that its WorldView-4 satellite has malfunctioned.
In a statement, DigitalGlobe, a division of Maxar Technologies, said the control moment gyros on WorldView-4, launched in November 2016, have failed, preventing the spacecraft from pointing accurately.
The company said that while efforts are continuing to restore the spacecraft, “Maxar believes that WorldView-4 will likely not be recoverable and will no longer produce usable imagery.”
Lockheed Martin built the satellite, which used gyros from Honeywell. Maxar said it “intends to seek full recovery for the loss of WorldView-4 under its insurance policies,” with an insured value of $183 million. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 8)
DRAGON DEPARTING STATION NEXT WEEK; CREW STUDIES BIOLOGY - The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is in its final week attached to the International Space Station’s Harmony module. Meanwhile, robotics experts on the ground and the crew aboard the lab are working a wide variety of science activities today.
The Dragon space freighter has nearly completed its cargo mission to replenish the orbital laboratory after delivering over 5,600 pounds of science and supplies Dec. 8. Dragon will return to Earth Jan. 10 for retrieval in the Pacific Ocean loaded with completed science experiments and used hardware for analysis. More
(Source: NASA - Jan 6)