With OneWeb’s drive to cover the globe with hundreds of mass-produced satellites halted by last month’s Chapter 11 filing, some of the bankrupt megaconstellation’s component suppliers are looking to repurpose the investments they made in expanded manufacturing capabilities.
A Mars orbiter developed by the United Arab Emirates will ship to its launch site in Japan this week, its launch preparations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which is getting ready to scoop a sample of asteroid Bennu, has successfully completed a partial dress rehearsal for its historic trip to the asteroid’s surface.
NASA announced April 17 that it has set a May 27 launch date for a SpaceX commercial crew test flight that will be the first mission to launch NASA astronauts to orbit from the United States in nearly a decade.
NOVA-C Selects Landing Site, Masten Gains CLPS Contracts (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
Intuitive Machines (IM) announced the IM-1 mission with the Nova-C lander has selected the Oceanus Procellarum near the Vallis Schrasöteri as a landing site. The Nova-C lander is a lunar lander under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, with the goal of testing technologies to help land astronauts on the lunar surface.
Virgin Orbit Conducts Captive Carry Test (Source: Space News)
Virgin Orbit carried out a final test of its LauncherOne system before its first orbital launch attempt. During a captive carry test flight Sunday, Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747 aircraft, with a fully fueled LauncherOne rocket attached, performed what the company called « a complete, end-to-end launch rehearsal » for the system, including the launch release maneuver where the plane pulls up sharply after releasing the rocket. The company said this test was the last major one before its « Launch Demo » mission, which could take place in the next few weeks.
The satellites will weigh no more than 10 kilograms and are scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2022. Norway and the Netherlands’ entrance into space-based signal mapping follows that of commercial startups HawkEye 360, Kleos Space and UnseenLabs, all of which are in the early stage of deploying cubesat constellations in low Earth orbit.
NanoAvionics and Mexican Space Agency Introduce a Nanosatellite Pilot Project
Nanosatellite manufacturer and mission integrator NanoAvionics, together with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and students from the Polytechnic University of Atlacomulco will develop the first nanosatellite for the State of Mexico, (one of most important states of the country), the AtlaCom-1.
World View, the stratospheric ballooning company, has put on hold new business initiatives and furloughed some staff because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Silver Lining Of New Space Bankruptcies
When any company considers bankruptcy protection, clearly something is not going to plan. Companies of all different sizes to file for bankruptcy roughly 20,000 times every year. But there’s a silver lining. A free market and the associated continuous elevation of our standard of living depends on it. Bankruptcy protection laws allow companies to suspend payments, renegotiate contracts and generally restructure for another shot at success in the future.
A team of transatlantic scientists, using reanalyzed data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, has discovered an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting in its star’s habitable zone, the area around a star where a rocky planet could support liquid water.
Space Safety News
The FCC released a draft of its “Mitigating Orbital Debris in the New Space Age” rules April 2. The rulemaking is the FCC’s first effort to update its space debris regulations since 2004. Some orbital debris experts say the updated FCC rules are long overdue. The satellite industry has many concerns with the FCC’s proposed rules. Among the biggest is that the FCC may not grant licenses to companies that have satellite constellations with a collective collision risk of more than 1 in 1,000.
With an outbreak of wildfires recently threatening the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service has been activated and the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite mission has imaged the fires and smoke, and mapped the resulting area of burned ground.
Intelsat today announced that Intelsat 901 has returned to service following the successful docking with the first Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC, on February 25 – the first time that two commercial spacecraft docked in geostationary orbit.
Russian cosmonauts begin 3D bioprinting experiment on ISS
Russian cosmonauts at the International Space Station (ISS) have started printing inorganic components of rat bone tissue as part of an experiment devised by Russian company 3D-bioprinting Solutions