Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

11 July, 2024

Exolaunch successfully deploys satellites.........

Exolaunch Successfully Deploys Satellites on Historic Ariane 6 Inaugural Launch, Enhancing European Access to Space

Exolaunch played a pivotal part in the deployment of four satellites for its customers at ESA, NASA, and Spacemanic, marking a significant milestone for Europe's growing space industry


Exolaunch, the global leader in launch mission management, integration, and satellite deployment services, proudly announced the successful deployment of four satellites aboard Arianespace’s Ariane 6 maiden flight. The liftoff occurred on Tuesday, July 9 at 1600 GFT from the Guiana Space Centre, also known as Europe's Spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana. Representing customers ESA, NASA, and Spacemanic, this mission highlights Exolaunch’s crucial role in broadening access to space and supporting new launch vehicle providers.

This historic launch featured ESA’s ISTSat-1 and 3Cat-4, NASA’s CURIE, and Spacemanic’s GRBBeta satellites. The successful deployment of these satellites underscores Exolaunch’s commitment to facilitating groundbreaking scientific research and technological advancements through reliable and innovative satellite deployment solutions.

ESA’s ISTSat-1, developed by students at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, aims to demonstrate ADS-B technology, validating detection capabilities and assessing antenna and receiver performance for receiving messages from commercial aircraft. 3Cat-4, a CubeSat from Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, features a flexible microwave payload technology demonstrator with scientific objectives related to GNSS for Earth observation and AIS receiver validation.

NASA’s CURIE mission comprises two near-identical 3U CubeSats designed to explore low-frequency radio interferometry in space. These CubeSats will study solar radio bursts by maintaining a 1-3 km separation post-deployment, contributing to the understanding of heliospheric space weather and serving as a proof of concept for future space-based interferometry observatories.

09 July, 2024

ICEYE and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine sign a Memorandum of Cooperation

         ICEYE, the global leader in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite operations for Earth Observation, and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to further strengthen their cooperation in remote sensing of the Earth in the interest of Ukraine's national security and defence.



 

The Memorandum of Cooperation builds on ICEYE’s unwavering support for the Government of Ukraine since 2022. In the Memorandum, ICEYE continues to constantly ensure that the imagery captured pertinent to Ukraine’s territory is used in the interests of ensuring the security and defence of Ukraine in conditions of armed aggression and not shared in any circumstance with hostile countries or entities.

 

The Memorandum also outlines ICEYE’s and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense partnering to strengthen Ukraine’s space defence capabilities even further and provide SAR expertise to support defence activities. The Memorandum focuses on advancing remote sensing technology, improving data use for security, and supporting Ukraine’s integration into the global space economy.

 

04 July, 2024

Airbus awarded German Armed Forces prime contract for military communications satellite system

Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, has awarded Airbus the SATCOMBw 3 prime contract for the next generation secure military satellite system which includes geostationary satellites as well as ground segment, launch and operation for 15 years. The spacecraft are due to be deployed before the end of the decade and the contract value amounts to €2.1 billion.

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “After the success of the SATCOMBw Stage 2 programme, which we have been delivering since 2009, this latest contract reinforces our strategic partnership with the Bundeswehr, providing them with a greatly enhanced secure milsatcom capability that is future proofed into the 2040s. At a time when Western democracies are challenged and where the European institutional space ecosystem is struggling, we are excited and grateful to develop and build this leading-edge system. Long term partnerships are crucial to guaranteeing essential sovereignty and capability, and protecting our armed forces in the increasingly unstable geo-political environment.”

The contract covers the design, integration, test and in orbit delivery of two new Airbus built military GEO telecommunications satellites which are the successor communications satellites to COMSATBw 1B and 2B. It also includes upgrading of the existing ground segment to operate the new satellites as well as operational services for 15 years, with the possibility of extension.
    

Airbus built, Copernicus Sentinel-2C climate satellite heading for launch site

Spacecraft to reach launch site on board sail-assisted Canopée ship


After road transport from Airbus in Friedrichshafen to Bremen on 2 July, the Airbus-built Sentinel-2C satellite, the third Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite, is about to be shipped to the European spaceport in French Guiana. The container has been loaded today onto the iconic Canopée, the first sail-assisted cargo ship designed specifically to transport Ariane 6 rocket components from European ports to the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, where it will arrive in approximately two weeks.

"About half of the data used to assess and monitor the impact of climate change on Earth is actually delivered by satellites," said Marc Steckling, Head of Earth Observation, Science and Exploration at Airbus. "The Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites have provided valuable climate information to scientists since 2015 and Sentinel-2C will ensure continuity. Additionally, they have also made monitoring marine litter from space a reality, a significant achievement considering how critical this issue has become."

Data collected by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites is being used to monitor land use and change, soil sealing, land management, agriculture, forestry, natural disasters (floods, forest fires, landslides, volcanic eruptions and erosion) and to support humanitarian aid missions. Environmental monitoring, which provides information on the pollution of lakes and coastal waters, is also part of these activities, as is the monitoring of glaciers, ice and snow.

The Sentinel-2 mission contributes to the management of food security by providing information for the agricultural sector. Copernicus Sentinel-2, with its multispectral instrument, is the first optical Earth observation mission of its kind to include three bands in the "red edge", which provide key information on vegetation conditions. The satellite is designed to provide images that can be used to distinguish between different crop types, as well as data on numerous plant indices such as leaf area index, leaf chlorophyll content and leaf water content - all of which are essential for accurately monitoring plant growth.

27 June, 2024

ispace RESILIENCE lunar lander successfully achieves testing milestone in preparation for mission 2

ispace, inc. which is a lunar exploration company has announced today that the flight model of its HAKUTO-R Mission 2 RESILIENCE lunar lander has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing and remains on schedule for a Winter 2024 launch.

The testing was completed at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center in Tsukuba, Japan, where the agency operates a large testing facility. The flight model was assembled at the facility and all payloads or testing models were integrated into the lunar lander before testing began.

All Testing Success Criteria & Qualifications Attained


All test success criteria were met; ispace engineers are now reviewing the detailed data that RESILIENCE collected during the ten-day testing regime. The results will allow engineers to optimize the spacecraft thermally for spaceflight as well as improve flight operation procedures.

Thermal vacuum testing is conducted in a large chamber that allows the lunar lander to experience conditions similar to what it will face during its journey through outer space including extreme temperatures in a vacuum environment. Initial test results indicated successful operation of power systems, guidance, navigation and control (GNC) equipment, radio communications, and thermal control of the lander while simulating an actual spaceflight. During testing in the chamber, ispace operators utillized the lander’s onboard radio to assess connections, send commands to, and receive telemetry from the lander, further simulating actual flight operations.

25 June, 2024

Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket Lands at the California Science Centre


Rocket Lab USA, a global leader in launch services and space systems, has donated one of its Electron rockets to the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Air and Space Centre expansion project.


Available for public view now, Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket will be showcased temporarily at the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center Work in Progress gallery, offering a preview of new artifacts and plans for the future Air and Space Center. Electron’s inclusion in the exhibit will mark the first time the public can view the historic rocket up close.

“We’re proud to be included among historic names in aerospace from Southern California in this exhibit,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Our mission is to make access to space accessible to everyone, and we hope Electron’s inclusion will inspire future STEM leaders.”

Electron is one of the world’s most prolific launch vehicles, having completed 50 launches from sites in New Zealand and Virginia, USA. Electron is the world’s first carbon composite orbital launch vehicle and the first to use 3D printed engines. Electron’s equipped with 10 3-D printed Rutherford engines, designed and fabricated in Long Beach, Calif. Electron has delivered 190 satellites deployed to orbit for our customers across commercial, civil, defense and academic sectors since Rocket Lab’s first launch in 2017.

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21 June, 2024

Virgin Galactic Announces New Research Flight

Virgin Galactic announced this week it has signed a new contract with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (“IIAS”) to fly three research astronauts as part of a future crew aboard the Company’s Delta Class spaceship.

It will be the second research mission that IIAS has conducted with Virgin Galactic. It follows ‘Galactic 05’ in November 2023, which tested novel healthcare technologies and examined how fluids behaved in low gravity to help inform designs for future medical technologies and life-support systems. The mission is anticipated to take place within the first year of Delta commercial service, which remains on track to commence in 2026.

“We were thrilled with the results from our fluid cell experiment on ‘Galactic 05’, which demonstrated our ability to accurately predict the behaviour of fluid in a container in a weightless environment. We’ll be expanding on that research for our next mission, and I’ll be working to demonstrate our ability to control the behaviour of the liquid as well,” said astronaut and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations Kellie Gerardi. “The quality and repeatability of the microgravity environment provided by Virgin Galactic’s system is truly game-changing and the potential for a ‘fly, fix, fly’ approach opens the door to many exciting possibilities for IIAS to make discoveries that benefit future explorers.”

The IIAS astronaut crew expected to participate in the research mission includes:

Kellie Gerardi, a bioastronautics researcher and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations from the U.S. Gerardi previously flew as a payload specialist on the ‘Galactic 05’ research mission.

 

Dr. Shawna Pandya, a physician, aquanaut, bioastronautics researcher, and Director of IIAS’s Space Medicine Group, from Canada.

 

Dr. Norah Patten, an aeronautical engineer and bioastronautics researcher from Ireland.



The mission is designed to enable IIAS to introduce new research while also expanding upon the results from ‘Galactic 05,’ during which astronaut Kellie Gerardi was able to successfully validate a fluid behaviour theory within the high-quality microgravity conditions available through Virgin Galactic’s unique flight system. The IIAS crew plans to fly additional fluid cells, with payload enhancements including upgrades to camera quality and accelerometer measurements.

31 May, 2024

Heaven-sent EarthCARE to study clouds and climate

Airbus-built ESA-JAXA climate satellite successfully launched

The Airbus-built EarthCARE climate monitoring satellite has been successfully launched from Vandenberg military base, California. EarthCARE (Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) is a joint undertaking between the European and Japanese Space Agencies (ESA and JAXA). The satellite will examine the role clouds and aerosols (tiny atmospheric particles) play in reflecting solar radiation back into space (i.e. cooling down the atmosphere) as well as in trapping infrared radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface (i.e. heating up the atmosphere).

“EarthCARE is ESA’s largest and most complex Earth Explorer spacecraft – a flagship mission whose data will help improve the accuracy and reliability of climate and numerical weather prediction models,” said Alain Fauré, Head of Space Systems at Airbus. “International cooperation was key with more than 200 research institutes and 45 companies across Europe working hand in hand to deliver this spacecraft.”

EarthCARE will draw up vertical profiles of natural and human-made aerosols, register the distribution of water droplets and ice crystals and how they are transported in clouds, and provide essential input to improve the modelling of the warming climate and weather forecasting. Aerosols influence the life cycle of clouds, and so contribute indirectly to how they give off radiation – measuring them will give a better understanding of Earth’s energy budget.

24 May, 2024

Airbus awarded space weather spacecraft mission Vigil

Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the space weather forecasting satellite Vigil, the first operational mission in ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Space Safety Programme (S2P). The spacecraft will give vital extra warning to Earth about incoming solar storms and coronal mass ejections which can potentially disrupt satellites in orbit and electronic and power distribution systems on Earth.

Patrick Wood, Head of Space Systems UK, Airbus Defence and Space said: “Vigil is one of the most exciting and important space missions that will not only improve our understanding of the Sun’s behaviour but crucially provide us with earlier warning and greater precision about potentially damaging solar weather. Space weather forecasters will be able to see what is coming from the Sun and provide more accurate alerts.”

Andrew Griffith MP, Minister for Space at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “Space weather generates stunning phenomena like the recent displays of the Northern lights over our skies - but it also presents a real risk to our way of life which is increasingly dependent on space and satellite services. The Vigil mission will transform our understanding of the impact of potentially dangerous solar events and I congratulate Airbus here in the UK on taking the lead in this important mission.”

“Vigil will be Europe’s first 24/7 operational space weather satellite, providing valuable time to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids or mobile communication networks on Earth as well as valuable satellites in Earth orbit, including the International Space Station ISS,” said Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General.  “Vigil will drastically improve both the lead time of space weather warnings as well as their level of detail from its unique vantage point in deep space.”

Vigil will be positioned at Lagrange point L5 on the same orbit as the Earth, 150 million km behind it as the Earth orbits the Sun. This will enable Vigil to see the Sun as it rotates, and see the size and speed of solar weather heading towards the Earth. Data from Vigil could provide notice of four to five days of solar winds streaming toward Earth.

From its particular vantage point, Vigil will complement other satellites monitoring the Sun from closer to the Earth. Among the most potentially damaging events are coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the Sun, consisting of a magnetised plasma containing protons, electrons and other charged particles. In 1989 a major geomagnetic storm struck Earth and caused a nine-hour outage of electricity transmission across Quebec.

Advance warning of incoming CME will enable power companies and authorities to shut down systems temporarily to protect them from power surges and ensure they can be powered up quickly after the danger has passed. This will avoid longer power outages and major damage to electronic systems used for global positioning and communication services.

Vigil, which will be built in the UK, will include a compact coronagraph developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, a heliographic imager from Florence-based Leonardo SpA and a photo-magnetospheric field Imager from Germany’s Max Planck Institute. In addition, Vigil will carry a plasma analyser from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in London and a magnetometer from Imperial College London. NASA is providing Vigil’s sixth instrument, an extreme ultraviolet imager.

The spacecraft platform will provide the best environment for high-quality scientific measurements, including tight magnetic cleanliness and contamination control measures. Being an operational mission, the design of the satellite has to be extremely resilient to ensure the continuous, flawless operation of its instruments and high reliability in data transmission for users, especially in case of a major solar event.

Vigil was selected by ESA in 2022 and is supported by the UK Space Agency and other member states of ESA. The UK’s Met Office has a dedicated space weather forecasting department which will use the data from Vigil to offer the world more accurate forecasts.

Vigil, due to be launched in 2031, will be the first ESA spacecraft to be positioned at L5 and is designed to operate in orbit for more than 7.5 years.



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13 May, 2024

Swedish Space Corporation and Perigee Aerospace to launch satellites from Esrange

Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and South Korean rocket company Perigee Aerospace Inc. have signed a collaborative agreement to launch satellites jointly from Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden, starting 2025. Perigee’s Blue Whale 1 microlauncher will be the first-ever orbital rocket launched from Esrange.

“I’m very pleased to announce this historic collaboration, our first orbital launch partnership. The market demand for this service is huge and it’s needed now, by both European and international satellite owners. Perigee’s Blue Whale 1 rocket is an ideal match for our orbital launch complex at Esrange. With this partnership, SSC will be able to offer a competitive commercial European orbital launch service at our spaceport in Sweden. This is exciting news for us, and for the global space market,” says Charlotta Sund, CEO of SSC.

“SSC has an impressive 50 years of launch heritage and the new orbital launch infrastructure at Esrange is laying the foundation for the years to come. By bringing our Blue Whale 1 rocket, soon ready for orbital missions, we will partner with SSC to create a state-of-the-art orbital launch service, including further delivery through SSC's ground service offering. After a successful orbital launch from South Korea next year, we look forward to beginning this historic journey at Esrange,” says Yoon Shin, CEO and Founder of Perigee.

The two-stage launch vehicle has the capacity to place up to 200 kg into a 500 km Sun-Synchronous Orbit. Together, SSC and Perigee will develop a service concept with a shared payload space onboard the rocket to make room for both companies’ customer bases. Enforced by SSC’s global satellite ground station network, this service could also be supplemented by additional space-to-ground services.



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Perigee aims to provide the fastest and closest opportunity for all who wants to go to space. Established in 2018, Perigee is dedicated to developing Blue Whale 1 (BW1), a small launch vehicle offering the most affordable ride for small satellites to Earth orbit. BW1 is a two-stage launch vehicle capable of placing up to 200 kg payload into a 500 km Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Featuring high-performance liquid methane engines, lightweight carbon fiber composite structures, and reliable flight control systems, BW1 ensures efficient launch services worldwide.



06 May, 2024

World View expands into Indo-Pacific with $25M investment

World View expands into Indo-Pacific with $25M investment
World View, a global leader in stratospheric exploration and flight, announces the closing of a strategic $25M investment from Breakthrough Victoria, an investment company established by the Victorian government to provide long-term capital to innovation businesses and projects that will improve people’s lives and benefit Victoria’s economy.

The strategic investment from Breakthrough Victoria will enable World View to establish a regional Indo-Pacific headquarters in Melbourne. The Indo-Pacific business will operate as World View Indo-Pacific, a wholly owned subsidiary that will allow World View to pursue new customers and access new markets while benefitting from local talent, technology and capital.

The company plans to establish an advanced manufacturing facility in Victoria, creating up to 200 high-tech, high-value jobs in engineering, manufacturing, flight services and support, mission control, data and material sciences, and analytics.

“Australia, especially Victoria, offers access to incredibly skilled talent, cutting-edge technology, promising partnerships, smart capital and significant geographic leverage to support our Indo-Pacific remote sensing and future space tourism operations, while also contributing to our established business in the United States,” said Ryan M. Hartman, World View President and CEO. “We are eager to get to work in Victoria.”

World View Indo-Pacific has established a stratospheric centre of excellence at Melbourne Connect, a leading innovation hub in partnership with The University of Melbourne. This strategic partnership will facilitate stratospheric research and development at universities and research institutions across all Australian states and territories, and eventually into the wider Indo-Pacific region. Additionally, this stratospheric centre of excellence will identify and partner with small- and medium-sized Australian enterprises to develop technology and talent in support of World View’s global supply chain, playing a key role in World View’s international growth.

Next Virgin Galactic flight window opens from 8th June.....

Virgin Galactic Holdings has said that ‘Galactic 07’ flight window will open on Saturday, June 8, 2024. This will be the Company’s second spaceflight this year and 12th to date.

Virgin Galactic’s spaceship will again be converted into a suborbital science lab, with VSS Unity carrying an Axiom Space affiliated researcher astronaut who will conduct multiple human-tended experiments. In addition, Purdue University and UC Berkeley will have autonomous payloads on board, supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. This mission showcases Virgin Galactic’s ability to provide a flexible microgravity research platform, benefiting further space exploration initiatives as well as innovations on Earth.

“Discovery and innovation are central to our mission at Virgin Galactic. We’re excited to build on our successful record of facilitating scientific experiments in suborbital space, and we look forward to continuing to expand our role in suborbital research going forward,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic. “‘Galactic 07’ will also mark and celebrate VSS Unity's final commercial flight – an exciting and historic turning point for the business as we dedicate our resources fully to the production of our next-generation Delta spaceships, on track for commercial service in 2026.”

“Axiom Space’s commitment to enabling access to space and providing opportunities for scientific discovery beyond Earth aligns closely with Virgin Galactic’s mission,” said Tejpaul Bhatia, Chief Revenue Officer of Axiom Space. “We are very excited about this upcoming Galactic 07 flight; stay tuned for more on our groundbreaking research and astronaut participant as we get closer to June 8th.”

The hybrid research and private astronaut crew of ‘Galactic 07’ will include:

01 May, 2024

Rocket Lab gets ready for back-to-back launches for climate change research mission

Rocket Lab USA, is preparing two back-to-back Electron launches to deploy NASA’s PREFIRE - Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment mission.  The two dedicated missions will each deploy one satellite to a 525km circular orbit from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The first mission – named ‘Ready, Aim, PREFIRE’ – is scheduled to launch no earlier than May 22, 2024. The launch date of the second mission – named ‘PREFIRE And Ice’ – will be scheduled to take place within three weeks of the successful deployment of the first PREFIRE mission. The missions will be Rocket Lab’s 48th and 49th Electron launches overall and its sixth and seventh launches of 2024.


NASA’s PREFIRE mission is a climate change-focused mission that will systematically measure the heat, in the form of infrared and far-infrared wavelengths, lost from Earth’s polar regions for the first time. Extreme storms, flooding, and coastal erosion are examples of weather outcomes that are influenced by climate conditions in the Arctic and Antarctica. Once deployed to their separate orbits, the two PREFIRE satellites will criss-cross over the Arctic and Antarctica measuring thermal infrared radiation – the same type of energy emitted from a heat lamp – that will make climate models more accurate and help predict changes caused by global warming. PREFIRE consists of two 6U CubeSats with a baseline mission length of 10 months.

29 April, 2024

Airbus expands its Earth observation constellation with Pléiades Neo Next

Airbus has launched the Pléiades Neo Next programme to expand its very high-resolution Earth observation constellation. This new programme will result in new satellite assets and capabilities, including enhanced native resolution. As a first step of Pléiades Neo Next, Airbus is developing a new satellite which will be launched in the next few years.


“The Pléiades Neo Next programme builds on the success of our existing Pléiades Neo constellation which serves government and commercial customers around the world,” said Karen Florschütz, Executive Vice President of Connected Intelligence at Airbus Defence and Space. “This new programme will further enhance our standard of excellence in terms of quality, performance, and reliability to deliver images as well as geo-intelligence services and applications.”

The Pléiades Neo Next programme is funded, manufactured, and operated by Airbus Defence and Space, with the full image capacity available for a wide range of sectors including defence and intelligence, agriculture, environment, maritime, disaster response, mapping, location-based services, civil engineering, urban planning and utilities.

Users will continue to be able to directly task the Airbus satellites up to a few dozen minutes prior to the satellite over the area of interest. Images will be received through the customer’s Direct Receiving Stations (DRS) on the ground, or on the OneAtlas digital platform, swiftly after collection, allowing mission-critical applications.

11 April, 2024

Vast’s Haven-1 aims to be the world’s first commercial space station connected by SpaceX starlink

Vast’s Haven-1, is scheduled to be the world’s first commercial space station and will be equipped with SpaceX’s Starlink laser terminal providing Gigabit/s speed, low latency connectivity to its crew users, internal payload racks, external cameras and instruments.

“If you need to provide high-speed, low-latency, continuous internet connectivity on a space station in orbit in 2025, SpaceX Starlink is the only option,” said Max Haot, Vast’s CEO. “We expect their network and technology leading position to continue and accelerate over time, which is why we are excited to have the chance to partner with SpaceX on deploying their first laser connectivity for a space station.”

The Haven-1 crew will be able to connect their personal devices via Wi-Fi to the Starlink network and have unprecedentedly better internet connectivity on orbit to host outreach video calls and perform experiments and science with full, high-speed internet access. Even during crew rest time, they will be able to use high-speed internet.

“High-speed, low-latency connectivity on orbit for crew and critical scientific research is critical to any space station experience,” said Stephanie Bednarek, SpaceX’s Senior Director of Commercial Sales. “We are excited for Vast’s Haven-1 to be the first commercial space station to stay connected with Starlink.”

Vast and SpaceX have reached an agreement for SpaceX to provide Starlink connectivity to future Vast platforms beyond Haven 1, including connectivity for Vast’s next space station, which the company plans to bid for in NASA's upcoming commercial Low Earth Orbit destinations (CLDs) competition.

In May 2023, Vast announced that SpaceX will launch Haven-1, followed by two human spaceflight missions to the Haven-1 space station.

This new partnership between Vast and SpaceX will continue to create and accelerate greater accessibility to space and more opportunities for exploration on the road to making humanity multiplanetary.
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10 April, 2024

Sierra Space Ghost Enters Flight Test Enabling Global Payload Delivery in 90 Minutes

Sierra Space, a leading commercial space-tech company and next-generation defense-tech prime, building a platform in space to benefit life on Earth and protect the freedom of economic activity in the Orbital Age®, has successfully beta-tested a revolutionary new logistics spacecraft, Sierra Space Ghost.

This new technology propels Sierra Space into a new era of national security space and space logistics, promising to redefine the way critical defence supplies are delivered across the globe. The Sierra Space Ghost Beta decelerator, part of the company’s recently announced Sierra Space Axelerator™ incubator, is a cutting-edge thermal protection system tailored for the safe return of small payloads from space. 

Last month, the first drop test of the Sierra Space Ghost was completed in Florida, enabling Sierra Space test engineers to fully understand the flight characteristics of the system and how recovery operations can be rapidly completed on the ground.

“As we continue to innovate at speed, this test enables us to build, test, learn and accelerate the development of a revolutionary new operational asset for national security,” said Tom Vice, CEO of Sierra Space. “We envision having an inventory of Sierra Space Ghost vehicles strategically positioned and readily accessible and deployable within 90 minutes to critical locations anywhere on Earth. Sierra Space Ghost enables our customers to deliver vital resources to frontline personnel with unparalleled precision and speed.”

08 April, 2024

Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) confirms deployment of HawkEye 360 microsatellite clusters 8 and 9

Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) confirmed that six radio frequency geolocation microsatellites developed for HawkEye 360 of Herndon, Va., have successfully communicated with ground control. The HawkEye 360 Cluster 8 and 9 satellites were launched yesterday at 7:16 pm EDT from Florida aboard the SpaceX Bandwagon-1 Rideshare.

The two new three-satellite clusters bring to 27 the total number of geolocation microsatellites developed by SFL for HawkEye 360, which integrated Cluster 8 at its own plant in Virginia under SFL’s Flex Production Program. For Cluster 9, which represents the next evolution and includes updated payload and platform features, SFL handled the entire process, including development, integration, and testing, at its Toronto facility.

“SFL is proud to play a key role in the development of HawkEye 360’s space assets as it continues to expand and enhance its unparalleled space-based RF data detection and analytics capabilities,” said SFL Director Dr. Robert E. Zee.

03 April, 2024

Rocket Lab prepares to launch mission for KAIST and NASA to deploy satellites to two separate orbits

Rocket Lab USA has set the launch window for its next Electron launch.


The ‘Beginning Of The Swarm’ mission is scheduled to launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand during a 14-day launch window that opens on April 24th. Electron will carry two satellites for two separate customers: NEONSAT-1, an Earth observation satellite for the Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC) at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3).

The launch will broadcast live at www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream


The primary payload for this mission, NEONSAT-1, is an Earth observation satellite with a high-resolution optical camera designed to monitor for natural disasters along the Korean Peninsula by pairing its images with artificial intelligence. NEONSAT-1 is the first satellite developed under the NEONSAT program by SaTReC and KAIST, Korea’s leading university in science and technology, which developed and operated Korea’s very first satellite KITSAT-1 more than 30 years ago. Other NEONSAT satellites are planned to be launched in 2026 and 2027 to build out the NEONSAT constellation. The program is a collaboration across multiple Korean academic, industry, and research institutions including SaTReC in KAIST, which is leading the program’s system design and engineering; the SaTReC Initiative, a Korean satellite manufacturer that has successfully developed seven previous remote sensing satellites for low Earth orbit; and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which is managing the mission’s ground segments and technology supervision for the NEONSAT program. NEONSAT is funded by the Koren government’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT).

19 March, 2024

Airbus continues to collaborate with NASA to monitor climate change from Space

GRACE-C contract for two spacecraft awarded to Airbus

NASA and DLR mission will continue measurements of Earth’s gravity field

Airbus has been awarded a contract to design and build the GRACE-C twin spacecraft by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL (Pasadena, California). This new mission of NASA and the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will strengthen the more than 20 year long partnership between the USA and Germany to ensure uninterrupted measurement of the Earth's gravity field, which started in 2002 with GRACE and continues with GRACE Follow-On, launched in 2018.

During its five year nominal mission lifetime, the GRACE-C Mission (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment-Continuity) will continue the series of measurements observing how Earth’s groundwater, oceans, ice sheets, and land shift, month-to-month, by measuring changes in the planet’s gravity field. 

Alain Fauré, Head of Space Systems at Airbus, said: “It is amazing to think that, without looking down at Earth, two satellites more than 200 km away from each other, can tell us how quickly our ice sheets are melting. In environmental monitoring, continuity is key. The valuable data provided by the previous GRACE missions is testament to their success and it is great news that Airbus continues to be part of this international mission providing the tools to measure how our climate is evolving.”

GRACE-C consists of two identical satellites flying around 200 km apart at an orbit altitude of 500 km with an inclination of 89 degrees. Each satellite will measure approximately 3 x 2 x 1 metres and weigh around 600 kg. Launch is planned no earlier than late 2028 from the USA.

14 March, 2024

Latest SpaceX launch goes further than before.

The latest starship from SpaceX launched today, becoming the heaviest manmade object in space, at least for a while.  Elon Musk claimed it would be the starship that takes humanity to Mars. The two-stage vehicle made what appeared to be a perfect getaway from its Texas launch site, to send its upper portion around the globe to a re-entry over the Indian Ocean.

Radio contact was lost towards the end but the firm said it was "incredible to see how far we got this time around".  They lost contact with it, presumably because it had broken up and according to some, the fact the craft didn't survive re-entry to splashdown would be a disappointment, it still represents a major step forward in the development of the world's most powerful rocket. 

The FAA said, a mishap occurred during the SpaceX Starship OFT-3 mission that launched from Boca Chica, Texas, on 14th March. The mishap involved both the Super Heavy booster and the Starship vehicle.

No public injuries or public property damage have been reported. The FAA is overseeing the SpaceX-led mishap investigation to ensure the company complies with its FAA-approved mishap investigation plan and other regulatory requirements. 
  
A mishap investigation is designed to further enhance public safety, determine the root cause of the event, and identify corrective actions to avoid it from happening again. 
  
SpaceX will not need to worry though, the FAA is taking a back seat in the investigation process allowing Musk's space firm to say what went wrong and what went right and the regulator would then rubber stamp whatever SpaceX’s final report says, including any corrective actions. 

A return to flight is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety. In addition, SpaceX may need to modify its license to incorporate any corrective actions and meet all other licensing requirements. 

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