Space

WASHINGTON — As Stratolaunch ramps up operations after being sold last year, it says it remains interested in providing launch services as well as supporting hypersonic vehicles. In a Jan. 21 statement to SpaceNews, Stratolaunch spokesperson Art Pettigrue confirmed the company was interested in “reliable, routine access to space” while also confirming the company was
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ARLINGTON, Va. — A consortium established last year to develop a rating to measure how well satellites comply with space sustainability guidelines expects to have an initial version of its rating system ready by late this year or early next year. The World Economic Forum (WEF) announced in May 2019 it selected a group that
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WASHINGTON — The government of Luxembourg has invested in a new fund intended to support space startups in the country, a move that will be one of the last for the country’s most prominent backer of the industry. Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister of Luxembourg and the country’s economy minister, said Jan. 16 that the
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WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace completed its first launch of the year Jan. 16, sending two communications satellites into geostationary transfer orbits.  The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the Guiana Space Center at 4:05 p.m. Eastern with the 3,600-kilogram Eutelsat Konnect satellite and the 3,400-kilogram GSAT-30 satellite.  Eutelsat Konnect separated from the rocket’s
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WASHINGTON — NASA and SpaceX are ready to perform a test of the launch abort system of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft that will also serve as a dress rehearsal of sorts for upcoming crewed flights of the vehicle. At a Jan. 17 briefing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, officials with NASA and SpaceX said
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WASHINGTON — SpinLaunch, a startup pursuing an alternative approach for placing payloads into orbit, has raised $35 million in a new funding round disclosed Jan. 16. The company, headquartered in Long Beach, California, said the new round featured several funds that included Airbus Ventures, the venture capital arm of aerospace company Airbus. Other investors include
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WASHINGTON — With its funding secured for the next three years, the head of the European Space Agency is now focused on implementing those key programs while establishing a new cooperative agreement with the European Union. At a press briefing Jan. 15 at ESA’s Paris headquarters, ESA Director General Jan Woerner reviewed the outcome of
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BOSTON – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seeks to dramatically increase the supply of radio occultation soundings it feeds into weather forecast models. NOAA currently obtains slightly more than 2,000 soundings daily from its own satellites and those of its international partners. The agency has a target of acquiring 20,000 soundings per day, Steve
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BOSTON – Spire Global shared early data from new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Reflectometry cubesats at the American Meteorological Society conference here. Spire launch two GNSS Reflectometry cubesats Dec. 11 on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The spacecraft, equipped with bistatic radars to observe how GNSS signals scatter after bouncing off Earth surface
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BOSTON – Anyone who thinks the international weather community has given up the fight to protect key portions of the radio frequency spectrum from 5G interference is mistaken. After losing a battle at the International Telecommunication Union’s World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 in Egypt, meteorologists, atmospheric scientists, aerospace engineers and radio frequency experts met at the
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BOSTON – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is preparing to update its aging space weather fleet with instruments to gather imagery of coronal mass ejection and monitor solar winds. Congress provided NOAA funding in the 2020 budget for Space Weather Follow On (SWFO), a satellite destined for Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1. The Commerce Department also
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BOSTON – The U.S. Air Force is turning increasingly to U.S. government, industry, academia and international partners for help gathering and making sense of terrestrial and space weather data, Air Force officials said Jan. 13 at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting here. “We are reaching out to the broader community, both in the U.S.
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic is making progress in the development of its next SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane, although the company is saying little about when its existing SpaceShipTwo will be ready to resume test flights. In a Jan. 8 statement, Virgin Galactic announced that the next SpaceShipTwo vehicle achieved a milestone called “weight on wheels,” where
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Technology entrepreneur Ben Lamm outlines three space opportunities for budding founders not interested in building hardware. I did not start out as a space entrepreneur — in fact, I know almost no one who has. Instead, I created and sold four other companies in different industries before I got into the space business. Yet, in
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WASHINGTON — Hispasat purchased a satellite from Thales Alenia Space Jan. 10, marking the operator’s first satellite order since being acquired by Spanish power company Red Eléctrica last year.  Thales Alenia Space will build a new satellite called Amazonas Nexus, designed with Ku-band coverage over both American continents, plus Greenland and North Atlantic transportation routes.
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SAN FRANCISCO – The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology approved legislation to coordinate federal government space weather research, forecasting and operations with input from academia, commercial firms and groups affected by space weather. The legislation, Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act, was introduced in
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Walker replaces Keoki Jackson, who will become Lockheed Martin’s chief engineer WASHINGTON — Former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Steven Walker has been named vice president and chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin Corp. effective Jan. 13. Steven Walker. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Pausic Walker replaces Keoki Jackson, who
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HONOLULU — The first core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System finally rolled out of its factory Jan. 8, ready to be shipped to a NASA center for a key series of tests in the coming months. The core stage of the SLS rolled out of the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, accompanied by
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HELSINKI — Chinese private space launch firm Galactic Energy has raised $21.5 million for the development and launch of new rockets. The round was led by Puhua Capital and Huaqiang Capital with six further investors. The funding was secured in October and announced by Galactic Energy late December (Chinese). The funds will be used for
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To receive FIRST UP Satcom, a weekly SpaceNews newsletter for satellite and telecom professionals, sign up here. TOP STORIES Thales Alenia Space and its majority shareholder Thales Group have signed a study contract with the French defense procurement agency DGA to evaluate the use of a Stratobus-type airship for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications. The study contract
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HONOLULU — As one astronomy cubesat reaches the end of its mission, scientists and NASA officials argue that such spacecraft have demonstrated they can perform useful science often not feasible with larger missions. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced Jan. 3 that it had lost contact with the Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics, or
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WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched 60 of its own Starlink broadband satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket Jan. 6, becoming the operator of the world’s largest commercial satellite constellation.  The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:19 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on SpaceX’s first launch of the year. The company’s 60 Starlink satellites, built
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WASHINGTON — MethaneSAT, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund, has selected Blue Canyon Technologies to supply the platform for its donor-funded satellite.  MethaneSAT said Jan. 6 it will use X-SAT, Blue Canyon’s largest offered spacecraft bus, to carry a methane-detection payload from Ball Aerospace. The nonprofit hopes to launch the 350-kilogram satellite in
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HONOLULU — A NASA Earth science hosted payload mission to study the planet’s carbon cycle has been confirmed for development, although exactly when and how it will fly have yet to be determined. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced in a Dec. 28 tweet that the GeoCarb mission had passed its confirmation review. “The innovative GeoCarb
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