2020-05-25

Launcher News

Virgin Orbit sets expectations for first launch

Virgin Orbit says that it’s ready for its first orbital launch attempt, scheduled for May 24, while acknowledging potentially long odds of successfully placing a payload into orbit.

Trump to attend Space_X Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch, but fewer other guests

US President Donald Trump will attend the May 27 launch of two astronauts aboard a SpaceX mission – the first crewed space flight from US soil in nine years, the White House said Saturday.

Video: Dragon astronauts practice for launch day

Following the same timeline as they will on launch day, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken put on their SpaceX flight suits and strapped inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Preparations are underway for Arianespace’s upcoming Vega and Ariane 5 missions

A pair of important arrivals this week – one by air, the other by sea – marked an acceleration of preparations at Europe’s Spaceport for Arianespace’s next two missions, to be performed from French Guiana with its lightweight Vega and heavy-lift Ariane 5 launch vehicles. These parallel arrivals involved personnel who will conduct the first Vega “rideshare” mission, scheduled for mid-June to orbit 53 small satellite payloads; and Ariane 5 launch vehicle components for a three-passenger flight

Relativity Space hires SpaceX executive to lead launch vehicle factory development

Relativity Space has hired a longtime SpaceX executive to help the startup scale up production of its small launch vehicle.

Satellite News

Northrop Grumman gets $2.3 billion Space Force contract to develop missile-warning satellites

The contract is for two Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning satellites to be deployed in polar orbits.

Navy’s solar power satellite hardware to be tested in orbit

The results of the experiment could drive the design of a dedicated spacecraft to capture solar power in space.

Thales Alenia Space Wins 2 Contracts from ESA to Study Future Upgrades of EGNOS System

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded two contracts to Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), concerning EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service). These contracts, fully financed under the European Commission H2020 programme concern study phases on the system evolution. They will call on Thales Alenia Space’s expertise as program prime contractor for over 25 years to study and develop upgrades for the EGNOS satellite navigation.

Exploration News

OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Collection Set for October 20th

After more than a decade of work and much anticipation, the University of Arizona-led OSIRIS-REx mission will swipe a sample from the asteroid Bennu’s rocky surface on

More details of China’s space station unveiled

After the successful maiden flight of the Long March-5B large rocket and the testing of China’s new-generation manned spaceship, more details of China’s space station have been unveiled. The space station, expected to be completed around 2022, will operate in the low-Earth orbit at an altitude from 340 km to 450 km for more than 10 years, supporting large-scale scientific, technological an

ExoMars Rover Upgrades and Parachute Tests

The new launch date on the horizon is allowing more margin for replacements and repairs to the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover. The solar panels that will help the rover survive the cold Martian nights will gain in strength. After some cracks were detected during the environmental tests earlier this year, new fasteners will be installed to reinforce the interface between panels and holding brackets at the Airbus facilities in Stevenage, in the UK.

 

NewSpace  News

D-Orbit preps for in-orbit transportation with upcoming Arianespace and SpaceX launches

Bruno Carvalho, D-Orbit’s vice president of business development, said the company hopes to launch one of its InOrbit Now (ION) propulsive cubesat deployers every two to three months after proving out the system and lining up customers.

Space  Safety News

Bridenstine criticizes China for uncontrolled rocket reentry

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine criticized China May 15 for the “really dangerous” reentry of a large rocket stage earlier in the week that led to debris landing in Africa.

Technology News

Machine-learning tool could help develop tougher materials

For engineers developing new materials or protective coatings, there are billions of different possibilities to sort through. Lab tests or even detailed computer simulations to determine their exact

Ultra-thin Sail Could Speed Journey to Other Star Systems

A tiny sail made of the thinnest material known – one carbon-atom-thick graphene – has passed initial tests designed to show that it could be a viable material to make solar sails for spacecraft. Light sails are one of the most promising existing space propulsion technologies that could enable us to reach other star systems within many decades. Traditional spacecraft carry fuel to power their journeys and use complex orbital manoeuvres around other planets

Science News

SOFIA finds clues hidden in Pluto’s haze

When the New Horizons spacecraft passed by Pluto in 2015, one of the many fascinating features its images revealed was that this small, frigid world in the distant solar system has a hazy atmosphere. Now, new data helps explain how Pluto’s haze is formed from the faint light of the Sun 3.7 billion miles away as it moves through an unusual orbit.

Swarm Probes Weakening of Earth’s Magnetic Field

In an area stretching from Africa to South America, Earth’s magnetic field is gradually weakening. This strange behaviour has geophysicists puzzled and is causing technical disturbances in satellites orbiting Earth. Scientists are using data from ESA’s Swarm constellation to improve our understanding of this area known as the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly.’ Earth’s magnetic field is vital to life on our planet. It is a complex and dynamic force that protects us from cosmic radiation

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