Space

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on satellite constellations from four companies in mid-November, another satellite operator is reducing the size of its proposed constellation. Viasat of Carlsbad, California, modified its design for a medium-Earth-orbit constellation that would consist of 20 telecom satellites instead of 24 as originally envisioned, the
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This article originally appeared in the Oct. 22, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Engineers and researchers stand near one of the two metal laser-deposition machines at Lockheed Martin’s Additive Design and Manufacturing Center. Credit: Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin’s Additive Design and Manufacturing Center in Sunnyvale, California, where the company produces military, commercial and civil space
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LOS ANGELES — SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk says he supports the concept of establishing a separate Space Force, using an argument that mirrors statements made by administration officials. In an extended interview with the technology site Recode published Nov. 2, Musk drew parallels between the Space Force and the creation of the U.S. Air
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WASHINGTON — Aireon, the aircraft-tracking venture Iridium Communications founded to help finance construction of the now nearly completed Iridium Next constellation, is close to securing a new credit line that should allow the firm to catch up on $200 million in overdue payload hosting fees. McLean, Virginia-based Iridium said Oct. 25 that Aireon expects to
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On October 19th, 2017, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) in Hawaii announced the first-ever detection of an interstellar asteroid, named 1I/2017 U1 (AKA ‘Oumuamua). In the months that followed, multiple follow-up observations were conducted that allowed astronomers to get a better idea of its size and shape, while also revealing that it had the
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This article originally appeared in the Oct. 22, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Space system engineers, who once saw additive manufacturing as a way to trim the size and weight of conventional components, are beginning to see its true potential, said Stewart Deadman, Burloak Technologies’ space products manager. “I’ve seen the biggest change in mindset
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WASHINGTON — A NASA spacecraft that visited two of the largest objects in the solar system’s main asteroid belt has run out of fuel, ending its mission, NASA announced Nov. 1. NASA announced that the Dawn spacecraft was silent during two communications sessions on the Deep Space Network Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. After eliminating
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WASHINGTON — As NASA works to keep the James Webb Space Telescope on track for a 2021 launch, the chairman of the mission’s independent review board believes that the mission was “a step too far” for the agency. Speaking at a meeting of the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics of the National Academies’ Space Studies
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SAN FRANCISCO – Commercial lunar transportation firm Moon Express delivered 590,710 shares of stock worth an estimated $2.25 million to Intuitive Machines LLC, a firm with autonomous systems expertise, as ordered Oct. 15 by a federal judge in Delaware. “I recently received the shares per the judge’s order,” Steve Altemus, Intuitive Machines president, told SpaceNews by
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MOSCOW — Accident investigators confirmed that the failed Soyuz launch to the International Space Station three weeks ago was caused by a damaged sensor in the booster package, a fault attributed to the final assembly stage of the rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Oleg Skorobogatov, deputy director of Russia’s Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMASH)
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WASHINGTON — Planetary Resources Inc., once a high-flying company backed by billionaires with aspirations to mine asteroids, only to later suffer funding problems, has been acquired by a blockchain company, the firms announced Oct. 31. Planetary Resources said in a statement that it was acquired by ConsenSys, Inc. in an “asset-purchase transaction.” The companies did
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SAN FRANCISCO – Blue Canyon Technologies is evolving quickly. The Boulder, Colorado firm that started off selling attitude control systems and now builds and operates individual satellites for customers won a high-profile constellation contract. On Oct. 12, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BCT a $1.5 million contract to define bus and payload requirements
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NASA announced Tuesday that Kepler, an orbital telescope that’s been spotting and analyzing distant planets for the past nine years, has run out of fuel and will no longer carry out scientific research. Since it launched in March 2009, the telescope identified over 2,600 planets outside of our solar system, and found that as much
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which helped astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets since its launch nearly a decade ago, has ended operations after running out of fuel, the agency announced Oct. 30. In a briefing with reporters, agency officials said that Kepler ended operations after exhausting the last of its hydrazine fuel used for attitude
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SAN FRANCISCO – ExoTerra Resources LLC, a Littleton, Colorado, startup obtained a $1.5 million investment to further its campaign to develop solar electric propulsion systems for microsatellites. The investment is significant because “it allows us to fund our flight qualification effort and it shows investor confidence in our business plan and in the growth of
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Mitchell is now considered the father of the U.S. Air Force, but the Air Force has forgotten the lessons of his experience when it comes to the new combat domain of space This op-ed originally appeared in the Oct. 8, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Since President Trump announced he would form the U.S. Space
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Pentagon official responsible for space policy says he expects an “exciting and interesting discussion” in Congress next year when the House and Senate take up the administration’s proposal to establish a Space Force. In a speech at the American Astronautical Society’s Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium here Oct. 25, Stephen Kitay,
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has resumed normal operations after controllers fixed a faulty gyroscope on the spacecraft, the agency announced Oct. 27. In a statement, NASA said that Hubble resumed normal science operations at 9 p.m. Eastern Oct. 26, and completed its first science observations, of a distant galaxy using the spacecraft’s Wide
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Deputy Defense Secretary Shanahan: “The Space Development Agency gets after how we, as a government, develop and field capability more quickly.” WASHINGTON — Much of the criticism aimed at the Trump administration’s Space Force plan is that it creates an expensive new bureaucracy that the Pentagon does not need. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Commerce Department plans to soon release a new rule designed to streamline licensing of commercial remote sensing systems with what one official called a “fundamentally different” approach for licensing. During a presentation at the National Space Council meeting in Washington Oct. 23, Karen Dunn Kelley, the acting deputy secretary of commerce,
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