Space

WASHINGTON — A U.K. parliamentary committee said it will review the steps that led to the government’s bid for struggling megaconstellation startup OneWeb, arguing that the $500-million investment decision was rushed and jeopardizes British taxpayer dollars.  Darren Jones, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee in Parliament, said Wednesday that the decision to
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WASHINGTON — The British government expects to soon release a comprehensive set of regulations that will enable companies to perform commercial launches from spaceports in the country. During a July 22 webinar by the U.K. Space Agency, part of series of virtual events held in place of the Farnborough International Airshow, government officials said they
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WASHINGTON — Members of a NASA safety panel expressed continued concern about quality issues with Boeing’s commercial crew spacecraft while cautiously supporting SpaceX’s plans to fly reused spacecraft on future crewed missions. During a July 23 teleconference by the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, members discussed several reviews of issues with the uncrewed flight of Boeing’s
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SAN FRANCISCO – Germany’s University of Wurzburg Experimental-4 (UWE-4) cubesat avoided a potential collision in early July while lowering its altitude with Morpheus Space’s NanoFEEP electric propulsion system. It was the first time a one-unit cubesat performed a collision-avoidance maneuver, Istvan Lorincz, Morpheus president and co-founder, told SpaceNews. The growing popularity of small satellites is
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Hyvinkää, FINLAND — China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission launched successfully Thursday, initiating a phase of deep space and interplanetary exploration. A Long March 5 rocket launched the Tianwen-1 orbiter and rover from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center at 12:41 a.m. Eastern.  Successful Trans-Mars injection was confirmed around 40 minutes later by the China Aerospace Science and Technology
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SAN FRANCISCO – Silicon Valley startup LeoLabs announced plans July 22 to construct a phased-array radar in Costa Rica to track objects as small as two centimeters across in low inclination orbits. LeoLabs currently tracks objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) with radars in Alaska, Texas and New Zealand. The Costa Rican radar, scheduled to
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WASHINGTON — Small launch vehicle developer Astra said July 20 it’s now planning to make its next orbital launch attempt in early August, five months after a previous attempt was scrubbed a minute before liftoff. The company announced on Twitter that the window for its Rocket 3.1 vehicle will open Aug. 2 from Pacific Spaceport
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SAN FRANCISCO – Near Space Labs is selling high-resolution imagery of major Texas cities for prices ranging from $10 to $50 per square kilometer. The New York startup, which gathers the imagery with instruments hanging from weather balloons, seeks to attract business and government customers by offering weekly imagery updates and transparent pricing. “Our aim
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WASHINGTON — A Japanese rocket launched the United Arab Emirates’ first mission to Mars July 19, an orbiter that will study the planet’s weather while demonstrating the country’s growing space capabilities. The H-2A rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at 5:58 p.m. Eastern. The launch was originally scheduled for July 14
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WASHINGTON — Britain’s military on July 19 agreed to fully fund a gap-filler Skynet satellite it sole-sourced from Airbus Defence and Space three years ago, signing a 500-million-pound ($628.5 million) contract that covers the satellite’s manufacture and launch, as well as ground segment upgrades. Airbus Defence and Space will build the Skynet-6A satellite in the
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WASHINGTON — Three companies have received study contracts from a Defense Department agency regarding concepts for small, uncrewed space stations in low Earth orbit, although none of the awards yet fund spacecraft construction. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced July 14 that it won a contract from the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for that agency’s “Unmanned
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WASHINGTON — The federal government will soon allow U.S. commercial remote sensing companies to sell high-resolution satellite images of Israel, changing resolution limits that have been in place for more than two decades. In a draft of a Federal Register notice obtained by SpaceNews, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which hosts the office
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GLASSBORO, N.J. — Exotrail, a French startup that builds electric propulsion systems and designs flight software for smallsats, has raised 11 million euros ($13 million) from investors, the company announced July 16.  French venture capital firms Karista and Innovacom led the Series A round, with participation from IXO Private Equity, NCI-Waterstart and Turenne Capital, plus
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WASHINGTON — NASA announced July 16 that it is delaying the launch of its largest-ever space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, by seven months to address both technical issues as well as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Agency officials said in a media teleconference that the launch of JWST is now projected for
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s inspector general criticized the agency for its accounting of Orion program costs in a new report, arguing it has “hindered the overall transparency” of the program amid growing costs and schedule slips. In a July 16 report, NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) raised several issues with costs of the Orion program,
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WASHINGTON — NASA and Boeing are on track to perform a major static-fire test of the core stage of the Space Launch System in October, a key milestone ahead of a first launch in late 2021. Speaking at the American Astronautical Society’s Glenn Memorial Symposium July 15, John Shannon, Boeing vice president and program manager
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SAN FRANCISCO – Orbite Corp., a Seattle startup founded by American entrepreneur Jason Andrews and French entrepreneur Nicolas Gaume, announced plans July 14 to establish a Spaceflight Gateway and Astronaut Training Complex offering luxury accommodations, dining and recreation for commercial astronauts, their friends and families. “It’s been clear during my two-plus decades in this industry
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Mars is a popular destination for science missions, but also a challenging one even for major space powers. Russia and the former Soviet Union have a long history of failed Mars missions: Russia’s last two, Mars 96 and Fobos-Grunt, couldn’t even leave Earth orbit. Japan’s only Mars mission to date, Nozomi, suffered various problems after
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WASHINGTON — NASA has signed an agreement with the Japanese government that brings the agencies closer to finalizing Japan’s roles in the Artemis program. The agreement, called a Joint Exploration Declaration of Intent, was signed late July 9 in a virtual meeting between NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, in the United States, and Koichi Hagiuda, Minister
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HELSINKI — Launch of a new Chinese Kuaizhou-11 commercial solid rocket ended in failure Friday resulting in the loss of two satellites. The Kuaizhou-11 lifted off at 12:17 a.m. Eastern from a transporter erector launcher at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, northwest China. Video footage of the launch taken from a delayed stream indicates the
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WASHINGTON — Program delays have forced Eumetsat to reserve a pair of Ariane 6 rockets for two European weather satellites originally anticipated to launch on Ariane 5 rockets.  Eumetsat had signed a contract with Arianespace in 2015 to launch two or three Meteosat Third Generation satellites on Ariane 5 rockets between 2019 and 2023. Of
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