Space

WASHINGTON — Despite sticker shock from some quarters, Aerojet Rocketdyne says a new contract for producing engines for NASA’s Space Launch System will result in cost reductions compared to the engines used on the space shuttle. NASA announced May 1 it had awarded a contract to Aerojet valued at $1.79 billion to produce 18 RS-25
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WASHINGTON — As the Federal Aviation Administration licenses another commercial spaceport, it has formally opened an office to address the issues facing such launch sites. The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) issued a launch site operators license, better known as a spaceport license, May 5 to the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority. The license allows
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The House Armed Services Committee said the FCC’s approval of Ligado’s proposal disregards federal law. WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee fired the latest salvo in a growing dispute over the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of a 5G network that could interfere with GPS. In a May 7 letter committee leaders asked FCC commissioners
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SAN FRANCISCO – Finland’s Iceye is demonstrating for customers its ability to detect millimeter-scale vertical differences by comparing data in multiple Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite images of the same location. In the past, this product, called satellite interferometry, has been provided by operators of large satellites. Airbus Defence and Space, for example, performs interferometry,
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WASHINGTON — Seven members of the European Parliament, the legislative branch of the European Union, are pushing for a recovery plan for space companies hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.  The parliamentarians wrote to Thierry Breton, a commissioner overseeing space in the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, estimating that the European space sector could contract
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At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, DoD officials argued that Ligado’s 5G network will cause interference both for civilian and military users of GPS. WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says it will formally appeal the Federal Communications Commission’s unanimous approval of the Ligado proposal to create a cellular network by repurposing a portion of radio
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WASHINGTON — Spacecraft technology company Tethers Unlimited on May 6 announced its acquisition by Amergint Technology Holdings, a Colorado company specialized in satellite ground systems.  Amergint Technology said it is acquiring Tethers Unlimited for an undisclosed sum. Based in Bothell, Washington, Tethers Unlimited was founded in 1994 by Robert Hoyt, its chief executive, and the
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WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wants the space agency to play a bigger role in national strategy, including requiring countries interested in participating in the Artemis program to accept “norms of behavior” for safe space operations. Bridenstine, speaking May 5 at a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webinar, said that the agency’s
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Treasury is said to be concerned that changing the rule for venture-owned startups would subvert the intent of the relief loan program. WASHINGTON — Industry groups representing space companies and other sectors have been lobbying the Treasury to waive the so-called “affiliation” rule that disqualifies many startups from coronavirus relief loan programs. To be eligible
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MT LAUREL, New Jersey — The coronavirus pandemic is making it harder for Iridium to line up customers for its recently upgraded satellite constellation, but isn’t expected to reverse the company’s six-year annual growth streak, according to CEO Matt Desch. Iridium, a mobile satellite services pioneer that completed its second-generation constellation last year, said April
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WASHINGTON — While NASA’s decision to award lunar lander development contracts to three companies won praise from a Senate committee, the leaders of the House Science Committee said they remained concerned about NASA’s approach to returning humans to the moon. NASA issued awards to teams led by Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX April 30 to
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SAN FRANCISCO – Maxar Technologies is on track to begin integrating Earth-imaging sensors built by Raytheon Intelligence & Space with WorldView Legion satellites this summer in spite of challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers spaced apart and wearing personal protective gear are integrating and testing satellites in San Francisco Bay Area facilities for Maxar
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SAN FRANCISCO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded a $7.5 million contract to the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, to design, build and test an ion sensor for the Space Weather Follow-On (SWFO) Lagrange-1 mission. Under the contract announced May 1, the Space Sciences Laboratory will build the Supra
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from its New Mexico spaceport May 1 as the company edges closer to finally beginning commercial flights of the suborbital spaceplane. The company’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, with the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo attached to it, took off shortly before 11 a.m. Eastern from Spaceport America in
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Satellite images and other data can be analyzed to forecast potential spreads of the disease and move resources to help combat it. WASHINGTON — Using overhead satellite imagery and analytics software, geospatial data companies track the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic. They forecast trends such as shortages of supplies and identify areas where there
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Inhofe: “Given that the FCC has made its decision, it’s critical our members understand the national security implications.” WASHINGTON – The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced the committee has scheduled a May 6 hearing on the impact on national security of the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of Ligado’s
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The Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the SmallSat Alliance have asked the SBA to change how it defines a small business. WASHINGTON — Industry groups representing space and other technology sectors are asking the U.S. government to change rules that make many startups ineligible to receive Small Business Administration loans to help pay workers during the
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MT LAUREL, New Jersey — Europe’s spaceport will resume launch activity May 11 when France lifts a nation-wide lockdown that included the Guiana Space Center.  Located in the South American territory of French Guiana, the spaceport has been closed since March 16 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by
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Gen. Raymond: “The COVID crisis must not undermine critical space industries.” WASHINGTON — The Space Acquisition Council, a senior level group created by Congress to oversee space procurements across the Defense Department, held an emergency meeting April 27 to discuss ways to support the space industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic. Will
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WASHINGTON — A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship next-generation launch vehicle passed a pressurization test April 27, one that had destroyed three of its predecessors. The Starship SN4 vehicle, on a pad at SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, was loaded with liquid nitrogen, a test designed to confirm its ability to hold cryogenic propellants at
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HELSINKI — China has named its first independent interplanetary mission Tianwen-1, with the combined Mars orbiter and rover spacecraft apparently proceeding towards launch in July. The name and mission logo were unveiled at a China National Space Administration online ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the country’s first satellite. DFH-1 launched
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Pompeo: “Iran’s space program is neither peaceful nor entirely civilian.” WASHINGTON — Following Iran’s launch of the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Iran’s space program as a cover for the development of ballistic missiles. “For years, Iran has claimed its space program is purely peaceful and civilian. The
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WASHINGTON — The two vessels that serve as a floating launch platform and command ship for Sea Launch are now in a Russian port, but the company’s owner says no launches are planned for the foreseeable future. In an interview in the Russian publication Kommersant April 23, Vladislav Filev, chairman of the board of S7
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Brig. Gen. James: GPS links are vulnerable, which is “part of the reason we’re concerned about this situation.” WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission insists that the vote to license spectrum to Ligado adjacent to the Global Positioning System was based on expert guidance. The commission said engineering studies show that Ligado’s terrestrial cellular network,
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MT Laurel, New Jersey — California-based satellite operator Viasat received a green light from the Federal Communications Commission April 23 to provide connectivity service in the U.S. with a medium-Earth-orbit constellation licensed in the Netherlands.  Viasat originally proposed a 24-satellite broadband constellation in 2016, but reduced it to 20 satellites in 2018, saying the lower
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