Satellite News

Telesat preparing for mid-2020 constellation manufacturer selection 

Telesat says enabling technologies for its low-Earth-orbit constellation of 298 internet satellites are now mature enough for the operator to select a prime contractor in the next few months. 

WorldView Legion remains on track for 2021 launch

Maxar Technologies is on track to begin integrating Earth-imaging sensors built by Raytheon Intelligence & Space with WorldView Legion satellites this summer in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northrop Grumman “bullish but cautious” about satellite servicing

With the success of its first life extension vehicle and a new DARPA award, Northrop Grumman is cautiously optimistic that demand for satellite servicing will grow.

Exploration News

NASA Selects Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX Human Landers for Artemis

NASA has picked three teams to develop new lunar landers that will carry astronauts to the surface of the moon. The agency has awarded contracts to SpaceX, a Blue Origin-led team, and a Dynetics-led team to design and build a human landing system for the Artemis program, which aims to establish a sustainable, long-term human presence on and around the moon by the late 2020s.

Thales Alenia Space selected by Dynetics to partner in the “back to the Moon” challenge

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has been selected by Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, serving as prime contractor, to partner for the study development phase of the pressurized cabin of the NASA Human Landing System (HLS). The international consortium led by Dynetics is one among other teams appointed by NASA to compete during the initial design and development phase of the Human Landing System until the Preliminary Design Review

 NASA evaluation sees SpaceX lunar lander as innovative but risky

A NASA evaluation suggests that the agency selected SpaceX for one of the three human lunar lander awards as a high-risk, high-reward option that could provide significant capability but may not be ready in time for a 2024 landing.

SpaceX’s Fast Track to the Moon
SpaceX told NASA that — before it flies astronauts to the Moon in 2024 — Starship will have done: 1) Orbital flight with Super Heavy; 2) Reflight; 3) Long duration orbital flight; 4) Beyond LEO flight; Lunar landing demo mission in 2022. 

Starship passes key pressurization test

A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship next-generation launch vehicle passed a pressurization test April 27, one that had destroyed three of its predecessors.

Emirates Mars Mission: Hope Probe Ready for Launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre

The UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center announced the safe transfer of the Mars Hope spacecraft to its launch site at Tanegashima Space Centre. The transfer was conducted in an 83-hour operation brought forward from its scheduled May shipment date because of the travel and movement restrictions imposed by international efforts to contain the impact of Covid-19.

Launcher News

Rocket Lab tests Electron on new Virginia launch pad

Rocket Lab has tested an Electron rocket on its new launch pad in Virginia ahead of a launch that has been pushed back to later this year.

Guiana Space Center launches to resume in June

Europe’s South American spaceport will resume launch preparations in late May under new protective measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Long March 5B rolled out for crewed spacecraft, space station test launch

China rolled out a Long March 5B launcher Wednesday for a mission to prove space station launch capabilities and test a new spacecraft for deep space human spaceflight.

China to Test Next Generation Crew Space Capsule

China is planning to launch a new generation crew space capsule at 10:06 UTC on May 5, 2020, using the first Long March-5B rocket. The launch will take place from the LC101 Launch Complex of the Wenchang Spaceflight Launch Center, in Hainan.

Northrop Grumman to start producing hardware for OmegA rocket’s first flight

The company said data from first and second stage static fires supports hardware production for OmegA’s first certification flight in 2021

NewSpace  News

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Completes 1st Flight From Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from its New Mexico spaceport May 1 as the company edges closer to finally beginning commercial flights of the suborbital spaceplane.

Space executive: Government can’t save every startup but can do a lot

Relativity Space VP: “The most impactful thing that government can do is actually go out and buy services from startups.”

GreenSpace News

SpaceX to test Starlink “sun visor” to reduce brightness

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said April 27 that he hopes to test a new way to reduce the brightness of the company’s Starlink satellites on the next launch for the broadband megaconstellation.

Technology News

Space executive: Government can’t save every startup but can do a lot

Relativity Space VP: “The most impactful thing that government can do is actually go out and buy services from startups.”

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