Celebrating 30 years of the Hubble Space Telescope

It’s been 30 years since NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24, 1990.

Satellite News

Viasat gets FCC approval for MEO constellation

California-based satellite operator Viasat received a greenlight from the Federal Communications Commission April 23 to provide connectivity service in the U.S. with a medium-Earth-orbit constellation of 20 satellites licensed in the Netherlands. 

Lockheed Martin wins DARPA contract to integrate Blackjack satellites

For the Blackjack program, DARPA has selected buses from Airbus, Blue Canyon Technologies and Telesat. Payload suppliers include Collins Aerospace, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Trident, SA Photonics, Airbus, Systems & Technology Research, Sky Quantum and L3Harris. Scientific Systems Company, SEAKR Engineering and BAE Systems are developing Pit Boss concepts.

Airbus Will Support France and India to Monitor Climate Change With TRISHNA

The French Space Agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, CNES) has recently signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space for the development and manufacture of the thermal infrared instrument for the TRISHNA satellite. TRISHNA (Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High resolution Natural resource Assessment) will be the latest satellite in the joint Franco-Indian satellite fleet dedicated to climate monitoring and operational applications. 

Exploration News

Safety panel concludes May launch of commercial crew test flight is feasible

A NASA safety panel believes the agency’s plan to launch a SpaceX commercial crew test flight in late May is feasible, although some issues still need to be resolved before the launch.

China’s Mars mission named Tianwen-1, appears on track for July launch

China has named its first independent interplanetary mission Tianwen-1, with the combined Mars orbiter and rover spacecraft apparently proceeding towards launch in July.

Promising signs for Perseverance rover in its quest for past Martian life

New research indicates river delta deposits within Mars’ Jezero crater – the destination of NASA’ Perseverance rover on the Red Planet – formed over time scales that promoted habitability and enhanced preservation of evidence.

Launcher News

Sea Launch “frozen” after ships moved to Russia

The two vessels that serve as a floating launch platform and command ship for Sea Launch are now in a Russian port, but the company’s owner says no launches are planned for the foreseeable future.

Firefly Aerospace and Spaceflight Inc. Sign Launch Services Agreement

Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a leading provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, and Spaceflight Inc., the leading launch services and mission management provider, today announced they have signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA). The agreement confirms that Spaceflight will secure the majority of the payload mass aboard a Firefly Alpha launch, scheduled for lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2021.

NewSpace  News

SpaceX’s Starlink network surpasses 400-satellite mark after successful launch

SpaceX launched its seventh batch of Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket April 22, growing its internet constellation to 422 satellites in low Earth orbit. 

SpaceX seeks FCC permission for operating all first-gen Starlink in lower orbit

SpaceX is asking the FCC for permission to operate all 4,400 of its first-generation Starlink satellites at much lower altitudes than previously planned. 

Speedcast files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy 

Speedcast International, a network services provider leasing capacity on more than 80 satellites, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 23, citing weakness in the cruise and oil markets. 

Swarm teams with Momentus to spread out SpaceBees

Swarm Technologies is working with in-space transportation startup Momentus to send its constellation of tiny internet-of-things satellites into different orbital planes.

Space Safety News

FCC punts controversial space debris rules for extra study

The Federal Communications Commission on April 23 voted to require more safety disclosures from satellite operators seeking licenses and U.S. market access, but stopped short of introducing stricter orbital debris criteria. 

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