Satellite News

A long-awaited asteroid sample has landed in the US

The sample landed in the Defense Department’s Utah Test and Training Range about 10 minutes after entering the atmosphere. OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer, lifted off in 2016 and began orbiting Bennu in 2018. The spacecraft collected the sample in 2020 and set off on its lengthy return trip to Earth in May 2021. The mission traveled 3.86 billion miles total to Bennu and back.

Maxar Technologies reorganizes as two separate businesses

The restructuring comes less than five months after Maxar, previously a publicly traded company, was acquired by the private equity firm Advent International in a $6.4 billion deal. Maxar is being restructured as two separate businesses: Maxar Space Infrastructure and Maxar Intelligence, a spokesperson told SpaceNews.

Launcher News

Pending FAA approval, Starship ready to sport upgrades for upcoming test flight

Following Starship’s debut during Integrated Flight Test One (IFT 1), SpaceX is ready to improve on the vehicle’s objectives by employing a vast series of upgrades. Most of the enhancements have been made to the launch site and Booster 9, which, in turn, are waiting for final regulatory approval.

Blue Origin preparing for New Glenn testing at LC-36 ahead of maiden flight

Over the past few months, Blue Origin has continued making progress towards the maiden launch of its orbital class rocket, New Glenn. The company has continued testing systems at Launch Complex 36 (LC-36), and recently submitted plans for a refurbishment facility near the Cape Canaveral Skid Strip, expanding Blue Origin’s already impressive spread of installations on the Space Coast.

China’s Galactic Energy suffers first launch failure

 Chinese commercial rocket firm Galactic Energy experienced its first failure Thursday with its 10th launch attempt. Airspace closure notices pointed to a launch attempt from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China at around 1:00 a.m. Eastern, Sept. 21. The window passed without notification of a launch, which would typically follow within an hour of liftoff.

Exploration News

Artemis II crew visits Bremen, as Germany signs the Artemis Accords

ESA and Airbus, in coordination with NASA, hosted an Artemis II media event at the Airbus facility in Bremen, Germany, on Friday, Sept. 15. In this event, the whole crew of Artemis II was present at the facility where Airbus assembles the Orion European Service Module (ESM). The ESM will provide life support and propulsion for the crew to fly to the Moon and back for the upcoming Artemis II mission and beyond. The first ESM mission was the Artemis I mission last year.

China releases first image captured by new wide-field survey telescope

A wide-field telescope capable of surveying the entire Northern Hemisphere sky was put into operation on Sunday in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, and its first image – the Andromeda Galaxy,

NewSpace  News

Open Broadcast Systems demos OneWeb Video contribution

Working with Network Innovations, OneWeb and Zixi, Open Broadcast Systems will deliver a live, broadcast quality video feed from the Network Innovations facility in Essel, Netherlands, to the IBC Show floor. This demo follows the company’s world-first use of OneWeb to deliver a UEFA Champions League match from the Faroe Islands in July.

Ubotica advances space AI “App Store”

This new infrastructure will enable developers to easily deploy AI applications to satellites equipped with Ubotica’s CogniSAT technology. Opening space AI to developers will drive a surge in innovation, such as the transformative impact of the millions of applications built via the App Stores for mobile phones.

Satellogic relocating to the United States in search of government growth

Satellogic is currently registered in the British Virgin Islands and headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, meaning it is not subject to U.S. export controls for an imagery business that recently branched into selling its dishwasher-sized satellites to other companies.

Space Safety News

FAA proposes rule to limit lifetime of upper stages in orbit

The rule would require companies with FAA commercial launch licenses to choose from one of five approaches for removing upper stages from congested orbits on future launches, ranging from placing them into graveyard orbits to contracting with a third party to handle the disposal.

FCC directing more satellite constellations to mitigate effects on astronomy

Both licenses now include provisions requiring the companies to coordinate with the National Science Foundation (NSF) “to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement to mitigate the impact of its satellites… on optical ground-based astronomy.” The companies are required to report to the FCC annually whether they have reached a coordination agreement with the NSF and what steps they have taken to mitigate the effects of their satellites on astronomy, unless the NSF concludes they have no concerns about those spacecraft. The NSF announced a similar coordination agreement with SpaceX in January to help reduce the impact of the Starlink constellation, including the larger V2 series of satellites, on astronomy. Such an agreement was a condition of the FCC’s license for the second-generation Starlink system, although NSF and SpaceX had voluntarily worked out that agreement before the FCC issued its license.

Science & Technology News

CACI optical terminals pass initial tests required for Space Development Agency satellites

CACI, a defense contractor based in Reston, Virginia, said its optical terminal successfully completed an interoperability test, bringing it closer to meeting technical requirements set by the Space Development Agency (SDA) for its constellation of military satellites in low Earth orbit. 

Sierra Space tests inflatable module technology

Sierra Space conducted another test of its inflatable habitat technology, demonstrating that the module exceeds its requirements even with the addition of a window in its fabric structure.

Rubicon’s ASCENT propulsion system to power NASA dual-mode project

Dual-mode propulsion (sometimes called multi-mode propulsion) is when both chemical and electric thrusters operate using the same propellant. The Sprite propulsion module uses the Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-Toxic Propellant (ASCENT) propellant. ASCENT monopropellant based propulsion provides missions with a high performance and low toxicity alternative to hydrazine. As ASCENT is an ionic liquid, it can be used in electric thrusters, as well.. Sprite can deliver more than 1200 Ns of total impulse, the equivalent of 100 m/s of delta V to a 12U CubeSat, and features Rubicon’s flight qualified 0.1N thruster,

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