2020-02-03

Satellite News

NASA prepares to shut down Spitzer Space Telescope

NASA will turn off an aging infrared space telescope in a week, citing the complexities of continuing to operate the spacecraft as it drifts away from the Earth.

Solar Orbiter launch media kit

Galileo now replying to SOS messages worldwide

As well as providing global navigation services, Europe’s Galileo satellite constellation is contributing to saving more than 2000 lives annually by relaying SOS messages to first responders

Exploration News

Bigelow Aerospace sets sights on free-flying station after passing on ISS commercial module

The founder of Bigelow Aerospace says his company decided not to pursue a NASA competition for a commercial International Space Station module because of funding concerns, but remains interested in a separate effort for supporting a free-flying facility in low Earth orbit.

One step closer to prospecting the Moon

The first European device to land on the Moon this decade will be a drill and sample analysis package, and the teams behind it are one step closer to flight as part of Russia’s Luna-27 mission.

Bartolomeo Starts its Journey to the ISS

The Bartolomeo research platform, developed by Airbus has been delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The  European-built Bartolomeo is set to become the first commercial research platform to be attached to the ISS

Launcher News

Rocket Lab kicks off busy year with NRO launch

Rocket Lab successfully launched a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office Jan. 30 in the first of up to a dozen launches planned by the company this year.

Rocket nears spaceport for Chinese space station test launch

The first flight model of a rocket designed to launch modules for a Chinese space station is set to arrive at Wenchang spaceport for a crucial test mission. The Long March 5B launch vehicle — including a five-meter-diameter core stage and four side boosters — is due to reach Qinglan port, Hainan island, Feb.1

NewSpace  News

Vector proceeding with sale of assets

Vector, the launch vehicle and smallsat technology company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, announced Jan. 24 it is proceeding with plans to sell its satellite technology to Lockheed Martin or another bidder.

Kepler Communications has decided to manufacture its satellite constellation in-house. 

The company will build 140 satellites in a 5,000-square-foot facility at its Toronto headquarters.

NASA to allow researchers to fly on commercial suborbital vehicles

NASA plans for the first time to allow researchers to fly with their payloads on commercial suborbital vehicles, ending years of debate and deliberation.

Space Safety News

DirecTV’s damaged Spaceway-1 satellite moving to graveyard orbit

Spaceway-1 began relocating Jan. 29, two satellite trackers and is continuing to raise its altitude to a “graveyard orbit” about 300 kilometers above active geostationary communications satellites. 

Commerce Department moves ahead on space traffic management work despite limited budget

The head of the Commerce Department office with the mandate, but not the money, for civil space traffic management says he hopes the recent near-miss involving two satellites will help provide more attention to the issue.

Technology News

Maxar wins $142 million NASA robotics mission

Maxar Technologies on Jan. 31 announced a $142 million NASA contract to demonstrate in-space assembly using a robotic arm. 

Tethers Unlimited says early results of deorbit hardware test promising

Hoyt said observations from the U.S. military’s Space Surveillance Network showed the Prox-1 satellite deorbiting more than 24 times faster than before deploying the tape. 

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