Satellite News

DARPA awards Blackjack contracts to Blue Canyon, SA Photonics

Blue Canyon received a contract for satellite buses. SA Photonics’ contract is for optical communications terminals.

Raytheon wins $37 million DARPA contract for Blackjack payloads

The contract awarded to Raytheon is for Overhead Persistent Infrared sensor payloads.

NASA confirms JWST will miss March 2021 launch date

The head of NASA’s science directorate confirmed June 10 that the James Webb Space Telescope will miss its March 2021 launch date, a slip that was all but inevitable as the coronavirus pandemic slowed work on the spacecraft.

SES weeks away from ordering six C-band satellites

SES plans to replace older satellites whose usefulness will be cut short by the FCC’s upcoming spectrum auction, SES intends to divide the six-satelite order among multiple manufacturers. 

Exploration News

NASA Selects Astrobotic to Fly Water-Hunting Rover to the Moon

NASA has awarded Astrobotic of Pittsburgh $199.5 million to deliver NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023.

Crew Dragon likely to support extended space station stay

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is performing well enough on orbit to give NASA confidence that the mission can last until August

NASA issues contract to Northrop Grumman for Gateway module I-HAB

NASA announced June 5 that it awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to begin work on a habitation module for the lunar Gateway, nearly a year after the agency announced its intent to sole-source that module to the company.


Launcher News

Virgin Orbit moving ahead with U.K. launch plans

Virgin Orbit and the British government are continuing efforts to begin flights of the company’s air-launch system from an English airport by early 2022


NewSpace  News

Exolaunch arranges rides for Loft Orbital satellites

Exolaunch is preparing to launch Loft Orbital’s YAM-3 satellite, built by LeoStella, a Seattle-based joint venture of Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries, on a Falcon 9 flight scheduled for December 2020. YAM-3 includes an internet-of-things payload, an onboard autonomy demonstration, a position and queuing demonstration and blockchain applications.YAM-3 will deploy from the Falcon 9 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter port with CarboNIX, Exolaunch’s microsatellite separation system

BlackSky launching two satellites on June Starlink mission

After the SpaceX rideshare, BlackSky has another four satellites booked to launch on India’s new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle this year.The SpaceX launch will expand BlackSky’s constellation to six satellites, and will be the satellite operator’s first satellites from LeoStella, a joint venture of Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space. LeoStella-built satellites feature improvements in manufacturability, a rapidly commissionable imaging payload and steam-powered propulsion units from Bradford Space. Each satellite weighs 55 kilograms and is designed for a three-year service life,

LatConnect 60 selects York to build and operate satellites

Australian Earth observation startup LatConnect 60 announced plans June 9 to hire York Space Systems to manufacture small satellites and to operate an Earth observation constellation.

Planet unveils tasking and API for expanding SkySat fleet

Planet unveiled a cloud-based dashboard and API June 9 to allow customers to task the firm’s growing SkySat constellation.

Momentus signs contract with OrbAstro for SpaceX rideshare flight

Silicon Valley startup Momentus announced a contract June 4 with OrbAstro, a small United Kingdom company developing hardware and software to enable satellites to operate in flocks or constellations.

Astroscale moving into GEO satellite servicing market

Astroscale is acquiring the rights to Effective Space Solutions’ satellite servicing vehicle known as Space Drone.


Technology News

Raytheon wins NOAA study contract for geostationary imager

Raytheon won a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contract for a design study of Real Time Imager, an instrument to obtain high-resolution Earth observation imagery from geostationary orbit.

NASA Highlights Student Participants in Spacesuit Technology Challenge

Media are invited to attend virtual student presentations for the NASA Spacesuit User Interface Technology for Students (NASA SUITS) challenge

Testing for Ireland’s 1st Satellite

Preparatory testing for Ireland’s first space mission, EIRSAT-1, seen taking place at ESA’s Hertz antenna test chamber. Educational Irish Research Satellite 1, or EIRSAT-1 for short, is being built by students and staff of University College Dublin, who are participating in ESA Education’s Fly Your Satellite! programme. At just 22 by 10 by 10 cm, the miniature EIRSAT-1 is smaller than a shoebox but is still equivalent in complexity to a standard space mission. Normally the EIRSAT-1

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