Satellite News

Webb’s coldest instrument reaches operating temperature

With help from a cryocooler, Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument has dropped down to just a few degrees above the lowest temperature matter can reach and is ready for calibration.

Launcher News

NASA halts third attempt at SLS practice countdown

NASA cut short a third attempt to load propellants onto the Space Launch System for a countdown rehearsal April 14 after encountering several problems, including a hydrogen leak.

NASA to roll back SLS for repairs

NASA announced late April 16 it will roll back the Space Launch System from the launch pad for various repairs, further delaying the rocket’s long-anticipated first launch.

Why Falcon 9 is Better Than Even SpaceX Thought 

Falcon 9 has seemingly overachieved on its promises of rapid reuse with little to no refurbishment between flights. Ian breaks down data from SpaceX’s workhorse showing how Falcon 9 Block 5 surpassed even SpaceX’s expectations. Click he. (4/8)

Exploration News

Far side: the moon’s use as a new astronomical site

Astronomers have always sought out remote and isolated spots from which their precision observations of the surrounding universe can be made. Now, add one more far-flung location – the moon.

Space balloon company offers first look at luxury cabins

A new entrant in the space tourism market promises customers views of the Earth’s curvature from the comfort of a luxury cabin, lifted to the upper atmosphere with a giant balloon. Space Perspective on Tuesday revealed illustrations of its swish cabins, which it hopes to start launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida from late 2024. More than 600 tickets have so far been sold, at $125,000 each.

NewSpace News

Exotrail Signs A Launch Service Agreement With SpaceX To Launch Their SpaceVan™ OTV

The debut SpaceVan mission will launch onboard a Falcon 9 rideshare mission in October 2023 following a launch service agreement signed between Exotrail and SpaceX. The SpaceVan uses Exotrail’s space proven ExoMG propulsion system which is a key differentiator from its chemical propulsion OTVs counterparts and offers up to 1 km/s of deltaV for a payload capacity of up to 400 kg. The SpaceVan is able to perform a typical constellation plane change maneuver in less than 3 months and a 100 km change in just two weeks.

Kepler validates intersatellite data-relay terminal

Kepler Communications has successfully tested inter-satellite links with a terminal designed to tap into the Aether data-relay constellation it plans to start deploying early next year, an executive for the Canadian company said.

Capella unveils automated tasking products

Capella Space unveiled three products April 14 that automate tasking of the company’s constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.

Space Safety News

NASA and Space Force cooperate on near Earth object data

NASA has hailed an agreement with the Space Force to share information on near Earth object impacts as a key step forward in planetary defense, even as the agency defers work on a mission it says is critical to tracking such objects.

Space domain awareness: A secret weapon against shadowy threats in orbit

KBR, a Defense Department and NASA contractor with $6 billion in annual sales, paid $800 million in 2020 to acquire Centauri, a company focused on space sensors and satellite tracking. The acquisition gave KBR an entry into the business of “space domain awareness,” a military term for the capability to track objects in space and predict potential threats.

White House releases in-space servicing strategy

A new federal strategy seeks to coordinate activities among agencies and interaction with the private sector to advance work making and repairing spacecraft in space.

Science &Technology News

AFRL completes series of 1 newton ascent monopropellant thruster testing

The Chemical Propulsion Flight Programs Group at the Air Force Research Laboratory has successfully completed the Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-toxic Propellant (ASCENT) monopropellant 1 Newton (1N) thruster testing in the Chemical in-Space Thruster Test and Research Site test facility.

Diverse life forms may have evolved earlier than previously thought

Diverse microbial life existed on Earth at least 3.75 billion years ago, suggests a new study led by UCL researchers that challenges the conventional view of when life began

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