2020-02-17

Satellite News

Northrop Grumman to develop jam-resistant payload for U.S. military communications satellites

Northrop Grumman won a $253.5 million payload development contract under the Protected Tactical Satellite Communications program.

Astroscale wins first half of JAXA debris-removal mission 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has selected Astroscale to send a spacecraft into orbit to inspect a discarded Japanese rocket upper stage, a step that would pave the way for a debris-removal  mission. 

Navigation payload for next-generation GPS satellites passes critical design review

L3Harris’ new digital payload will be introduced in the 11th satellite of the GPS 3 constellation.

Raymond calls out Russia for ‘threatening behavior’ in outer space

Gen. John Raymond said recent orbital maneuvers by a Russian “inspector” satellite are concerning and threaten stability in space.

Exploration News

Atlas launches Solar Orbiter mission

An Atlas 5 successfully launched a European-led solar science mission Feb. 9, the latest effort in what scientists are calling a “golden age” for studying the sun.

White House requests significant NASA budget increase to fund Artemis program

The White House is proposing to increase NASA’s budget by more than two and a half billion dollars in fiscal year 2021, providing substantially increased funding

NASA selects four possible missions to study the secrets of the solar system

Launcher News

SpaceX Crew Dragon arrives at launch site for the 1st orbital crew flight from US soil since 2011

It is completing a cross-country trek from the company’s California headquarters.

Rocket Lab wins contract to launch NASA lunar cubesat mission

NASA awarded a contract to Rocket Lab Feb. 14 for the launch of a cubesat mission that will serve as a precursor for the agency’s planned lunar Gateway.

Spaceflight Industries to sell rideshare business to Japanese firms

Spaceflight Industries announced Feb. 11 it will sell its smallsat rideshare launch business to a pair of Japanese companies, allowing it to focus on its BlackSky geospatial business.

Astra unveils plans for frequent, low-cost launches

A small launch vehicle company emerged from stealth mode this week, but is still keeping many details about its plans and capabilities behind closed doors.

NewSpace  News

Blue Canyon Technologies to supply bus for Made In Space’s Archinaut One

Blue Canyon Technologies announced plans Feb. 12 to supply its X-SAT small satellite for Made In Space’s Archinaut One on-orbit manufacturing demonstration mission.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo arrives in New Mexico

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane arrived at the company’s spaceport in New Mexico Feb. 13, ready for a final series of test flights before the company starts commercial operations.

Space Safety News

DirecTV’s defunct Spaceway-1 reaches high graveyard orbit in one piece

DirecTV’s Spaceway-1 satellite has been retired to a graveyard orbit 500 kilometers above the geostationary arc, eliminating the risk of the malfunctioning satellite exploding in an orbit populated by active satellites. 

Starliner investigation finds numerous problems in Boeing software development process

Boeing will reverify all the software on its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft after an ongoing investigation found “numerous” problems in the original development process that allowed at least two major problems to escape detection.

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