Exploration News

Tianwen-1 launches for Mars, marking dawn of Chinese interplanetary exploration

The successfull launch atop a Long March 5 from Wenchang, Thursday July 23, 202O, initiated a phase of deep space and interplanetary exploration.

UAE’s Hope mission on its way to Mars

A Japanese rocket launched the United Arab Emirates’ first mission to Mars July 19, an orbiter that will study the planet’s weather while demonstrating the country’s growing space capabilities.

NASA’s Mars 2020 will search for traces of past microbial life with the Perseverance rover

With Perseverance, its most complex Mars rover to date, NASA is opening a new chapter in the search for traces of ancient life on Mars. The launch is scheduled to take place on 30 July

 Satellite News

European Commission agrees to reduced space budget

The European Commission slashed its space budget for the next seven years, agreeing to a maximum of 13.2 billion ($15.2 billion) focused mainly on continuing the Galileo and Copernicus satellite programs. 

British military finalizes Skynet-6A contract with Airbus

Britain’s military on July 19 agreed to fully fund a gap-filler Skynet satellite it sole-sourced from Airbus Defence and Space three years ago, signing a 500-million-pound ($628.5 million) contract that covers the satellite’s manufacture and launch, as well as ground segment upgrades.

Launcher News

Virgin Orbit identifies cause of engine shutdown on first LauncherOne flight

The first flight of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket failed to reach orbit in May when a propellant line broke seconds after the ignition of the rocket’s first stage engine, the company’s chief executive said July 22.

Astra sets early August for next launch attempt

Small launch vehicle developer Astra said July 20 it’s now planning to make its next orbital launch attempt in early August, five months after a previous attempt was scrubbed a minute before liftoff.

NewSpace  News

Pandemic won’t stop smallsat market takeoff to average 1,000 smallsats per year over 2020s

In the 6th edition of its latest research titled “Prospects for the Small Satellite Market”, Euroconsult forecasts that two mega-constellations will account for half of the smallsats to be launched

BlackSky gets U.S. Air Force contract to monitor coronavirus outbreaks

The Air Force will use BlackSky’s monitoring service to track the spread of COVID-19 and secure its supply chain.

Near Space Labs discloses prices for Texas imagery

Near Space Labs is selling high-resolution imagery of major Texas cities for prices ranging from $10 to $50 per square kilometer.

Startups in U.K., Switzerland, led Europe in space investment last year

Space startups in the United Kingdom and Switzerland led their European counterparts in raising private capital last year, according to the European Space Policy Institute.

Three companies studying “Orbital Outpost” space station concepts for Defense Department

Three companies have received study contracts from a Defense Department agency regarding concepts for small, uncrewed space stations in low Earth orbit. Sierra Nevada Corp. said July 14 that it won a contract from the Defense Innovation Unit to study repurposing its Shooting Star vehicle, developed as a cargo module for Dream Chaser missions to the ISS, as a standalone “Orbital Outpost” for flying military payloads

Space Safety News

British government finalizing launch regulations

The British government expects to soon release a comprehensive set of regulations that will enable companies to perform commercial launches from spaceports in the country.

NASA safety panel has lingering doubts about Boeing Starliner quality control

Members of a NASA safety panel expressed continued concern about quality issues with Boeing’s commercial crew spacecraft while cautiously supporting SpaceX’s plans to fly reused spacecraft on future crewed missions.

U.S. Space Command again condemns Russia for anti-satellite weapon test

U.S. Space Command says Russia on July 15 conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon.

Technology News

Spaceflight Inc chooses Tethers Unlimited’s Terminator Tape to deorbit of Orbit Transfer Vehicle

Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) is pleased to announce that Spaceflight Inc. has selected TUI’s NanoSat Terminator Tape Deorbit System for end-of life disposal of its new Sherpa-FX orbit transfer vehicle

Morpheus thruster propels single cubesat to lower orbit

Germany’s University of Wurzburg Experimental-4 (UWE-4) cubesat avoided a potential collision while lowering its altitude with Morpheus Space’s NanoFEEP electric propulsion system.

Millennium Space experiment to measure speed of satellite deorbiting system

A tethered cubesat is projected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up within six weeks whereas an untethered one could take up to nine years.

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