Space

SAN FRANCISCO – Iceye and Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) announced plans Sept. 25 to extend their joint campaign to speed up access to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data for government and commercial customers. “The newly signed contract covers further data purchases and extended operations of Iceye’s near real-time SAR processor within the KSAT ground network,
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Orbit has shipped the LauncherOne rocket for its inaugural mission from the factory, setting up a launch attempt some time this fall. The company announced Sept. 24 that it transported the LauncherOne rocket for its first orbital flight from the company’s factory in Long Beach, California, to the Mojave Air and Space
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WASHINGTON — A Senate appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill Sept. 24 that would provide $22.75 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2020, including much, but not all, of what the agency sought in additional funding for the Artemis program. The commerce, justice and science subcommittee favorably reported its appropriations bill in a brief markup
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The second-fastest pulsar ever discovered has been caught spitting out gamma rays, and this surprise discovery could help astronomers better understand the properties of these strange and extreme stars. The gamma radiation of millisecond pulsar PSR J0952−0607 is so faint, detecting it required some clever new search methods – and these made it possible to
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NRO official Pete Muend: “HySpecIQ is developing interesting new hyperspectral imaging capabilities that have the potential to contribute to our current and future overhead architecture.” WASHINGTON — The National Reconnaissance Office awarded its first commercial hyperspectral imaging study contract to HySpecIQ, a private-equity backed startup based in Washington, D.C. The NRO described the award, announced
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On 27 June 2018, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency‘s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft reached asteroid 162173 Ryugu. As part of JAXA’s program to study Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs), this mission has spent over a year conducting landing operations, shooting up the surface with “bullets” and an anti-tank warhead, and collecting samples from the surface and interior that
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KAHULUI, Hawaii — After years of study and failed proposals, NASA has decided to proceed with development of a space-based telescope to search for near-Earth asteroids. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, said Sept. 23 the agency will go forward with a mission called the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveillance Mission, a concept based on
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WAILEA, Hawaii — NASA signed an agreement with its Australian counterpart Sept. 21 to cooperate on NASA’s Artemis program as Australia seeks to further boost its space industry. In a ceremony at NASA Headquarters, the two space agencies signed a “joint statement of intent” regarding cooperation on NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon.
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Countries to consider science payload contributions to respective Luna-26 and Chang’e-7 spacecraft and establish a joint data center for lunar and deep space exploration. HELSINKI — Russia and China have agreed to joint exploration of the moon following at meeting of heads of government in St. Petersburg. The agreements will see cooperation in Russia’s Luna-26
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WAILEA, Hawaii — Despite the ongoing debate about the orbital debris risks posed by proposed satellite megaconstellations, one expert believes that an even greater risk comes from clusters of objects already in orbit. In a concluding presentation at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference here Sept. 20, Darren McKnight of
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SMC Commander Lt. Gen. Thompson: “They are fully certified now. But that doesn’t mean the work on the Falcon Heavy stops.” WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon Heavy on June 25 launched the Defense Department’s Space Test Program-2 mission with 24 satellites. Although STP-2 was a U.S.government-funded space launch managed by the Air Force, it was
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SAN FRANCISCO – Intelsat filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court claiming OneWeb and its largest investor SoftBank breached contracts, committed fraud and conspired to steal confidential and proprietary information. The nine-count lawsuit filed Sept. 10 stems from Intelsat’s $25 million investment in OneWeb, subsequent cooperation agreements and the unsuccessful merger of the
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WAILEA, Hawaii — With satellite operators doing a poor job complying with guidelines to deorbit their satellites, incentives or even regulation may be inevitable to address concerns about orbital debris and satellite collisions. During a Sept. 19 presentation at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference here, Francesca Letizia, an engineer
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The new contract includes support services for the Air Force Space Rapid Capabilities Office and the Defense Department’s new Space Development Agency. WASHINGTON — The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded the Aerospace Corp. a $1.08 billion modification to a previously awarded contract for systems engineering and integration support for national security
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WAILEA, Hawaii — A retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration geostationary weather satellite is being handed over to the U.S. Air Force to fill in a gap in the service’s forecasting requirements. NOAA spokesman John Leslie confirmed Sept. 19 that the GOES-13 satellite, decommissioned by NOAA in 2018, is being transferred to the Air Force
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WAILEA, Hawaii — Members of a House committee expressed skepticism about NASA’s reliance on commercial launch vehicles to carry out human lunar landings by 2024 rather than an upgraded version of the Space Launch System. The Sept. 18 hearing by the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee on NASA’s exploration programs left members of both parties
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WAILEA, Hawaii — It is possible to build improved space traffic management approaches to ensure safe operations in space, a panel of experts in the field said Sept. 18, but it will require more transparency among satellite operators. A panel at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference here, was asked
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Boeing is asking the government to force a teaming arrangement with Northrop Grumman for the GBSD program. NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Boeing is asking the Air Force to compel Northrop Grumman to include Boeing it its bid for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to design the nation’s future intercontinental ballistic missile system. Northrop Grumman
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PHOENIX — With one module under contract and a second soon to be formally awarded, NASA says development of the lunar Gateway, a key element of its Artemis effort to return humans to the moon, is moving ahead as planned. During a panel discussion Sept. 11 at the American Astronautical Society’s Wernher von Braun Memorial
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Last month, we got the exciting news of a rare flash of light on Jupiter, bright enough to be seen through telescopes. According to a new analysis, the cause of this smash was a small asteroid, with a density consistent with meteors that are equal parts stone and iron. The meteor exploded in Jupiter’s upper
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SAN FRANCISCO – Airbus Defence and Space subsidiary UP42 unveiled Sept. 17 a commercial data and analytics platform that offers access to satellite imagery, other geospatial datasets and algorithms. On the platform, UP42 offers startups and application developers access to algorithms related to agriculture, object detection and change detection as well as tools to prepare
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PARIS — As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to decide how to reallocate some or all of the nation’s satellite C-band downlink spectrum for the coming wave of 5G mobile communications services, experts say appraising the monetary value of the spectrum remains tricky.  Satellite operators Intelsat, SES and Telesat collectively stand to gain billions
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WASHINGTON — After five month-long extensions, the U.S. government signed a seven-year agreement with Iridium Communications for unlimited use of the McLean, Virginia-based firm’s mobile communications constellation. Iridium’s new Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services contract is two years longer and $238.5 million higher than the five-year deal it signed in 2013, roughly four years before it
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WASHINGTON — NASA has awarded a contract to a small business for the development of a cubesat designed to demonstrate the use of the unique orbit planned for the agency’s lunar Gateway. The $13.7 million contract to Colorado company Advanced Space covers the development of Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE),
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