Orion capsule leaves lunar orbit, heads for moon flyby and return to Earth

Continuing a “drama-free” test flight, NASA’s unpiloted Orion spacecraft is set to fire its main engine Thursday to leave a distant orbit around the moon, heading for a flyby close to the lunar surface next week to swing onto a trajectory bringing it back to Earth for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11.

Satellite News

FCC grants partial approval for Starlink second-generation constellation

The FCC has partially approved SpaceX’s application for the second generation of its Starlink constellation, allowing the company to launch up to a quarter of the proposed 30,000 satellites while deferring action on the rest.

Eutelsat orders GEO broadband satellite with LEO in mind

Eutelsat said Dec. 1 it has ordered a geostationary broadband satellite to support multi-orbit services in the Americas from 2026.

NASA to cancel GeoCarb Mission, expands greenhouse gas portfolio

NASA announced Monday it intends to cancel development of its GeoCarb mission, and instead implement a plan for pursuing alternate options to measure and observe greenhouse gases

NASA responds to Independent Review of Earth System Observatory

NASA shared a response Wednesday on an independent review board established to assess plans and goals for the next generation of Earth-observing satellites:

Launcher News

OneWeb aims to deploy a record 40 satellites in SpaceX mission

OneWeb said SpaceX is slated to launch 40 of its satellites as early as Dec. 6 to complete almost 80% of its low Earth orbit broadband constellation.

China’s Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft deployed a small satellite before deorbiting

China’s Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft released a small satellite after its departure from the Tiangong space station and ahead of its controlled deorbiting.

Exploration News

Japanese commercial moon lander, UAE rover ready for launch on SpaceX rocket

A commercial moon craft developed by the Japanese company ispace is awaiting launch from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will send it on a five-month trajectory culminating in a lunar landing attempt next year, an achievement that could make ispace the first private company to accomplish the feat.

The PI’s Perspective: Extended Mission 2 Begins!

New Horizons remains healthy from its position deep in the Kuiper Belt, even as it speeds farther from the Earth and Sun by about 300 million miles per year!

At NASA, France’s Macron and US vow strong space cooperation

Paris and Washington pledged Wednesday to reenforce their cooperation in space, particularly on exploration and climate, during a visit by France’s Emmanuel Macron to NASA headquarters alongside US Vice President Kamala Harris. The French president, on a state visit to the United States, highlighted the American lunar program Artemis, whose first uncrewed test mission launched in mid-November

ESA’s ExoMars plans depend on NASA contributions

While the European Space Agency has secured funding to continue the ExoMars mission for a 2028 launch, that plan requires cooperation with NASA that has yet to be finalized.

NewSpace  News

Gravitics raises $20M in bid to build next-generation space station modules

Hiber demands Astrocast cash after failed acquisition

Dutch remote monitoring specialist Hiber is demanding $1.5 million from cash-strapped Astrocast after plans to be sold to the company ran out of time, according to the Swiss small satellite operator.

OroraTech raises funding for additional thermal mapping satellites

OroraTech, a German company developing a constellation of thermal mapping satellites for tracking wildfires and other applications, has raised an additional 15 million euros ($15.4 million) to support work on future satellites.

UK firm to release GEO-compatible smartphone early next year

British handset maker Bullitt said Nov. 29 it will release a smartphone early next year capable of sending and receiving texts via satellites in geostationary orbit.

Space Safety News

France joins ASAT testing moratorium

by Jeff Foust — November 30, 2022

The French government said Nov. 29 it will join the United States and several other countries in a pledge not to conduct anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests that can leave hazardous debris in orbit.

Wide-Field-of-View missile warning satellite transmits first images

The U.S. Space Force has received initial images from a new missile-warning satellite launched in July.

Science &Technology News

NASA awards contract for 3D-printed construction on moon, Mars

A Texas-based company has landed a five-year contract from NASA to build landing p²ads, roads and shelter on the moon and on Mars. ICON, which is known for its 3D-printed homes and military barracks, announced Tuesday it has won a $57 million contract from NASA to build Project Olympus, which will 3D-print infrastructure constructed from existing materials on the moon and Mars. 

Pulsar Fusion funded by the UK Govt to construct a nuclear based space engine

Pulsar Fusion, a UK rocket company that has seen its advanced space engines tested in the UK and Switzerland earlier this year, has been awarded funding from the UK Space Agency to develop ‘Integrated nuclear fission-based power systems for electric propulsion’ The project will be supported by Southampton and Cambridge Universities

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *