Space

DALLAS — NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will manage the agency’s efforts to develop a lander needed to achieve the goal of landing astronauts on the moon by 2024, an announcement overshadowed by political wrangling about what center should be responsible. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, speaking at Marshall and flanked by three House members from
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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, still wants to drop nuclear bombs on Mars to transform it into a livable planet for humans — as evidenced by his latest tweet on Friday morning. Nuke Mars! — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 16, 2019 Musk believes that by hitting Mars with nuclear weapons, the planet’s polar
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HELSINKI — India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is scheduled to enter lunar orbit Aug. 20 following a relatively circuitous journey to the moon. Back on Earth, India’s future space ambitions are also developing. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft entered lunar transfer trajectory Aug. 13 following five orbit maneuvers to raise its initial elliptical geocentric orbit after launch
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To receive FIRST UP Satcom, a weekly SpaceNews newsletter for satellite and telecom professionals, sign up here. TOP STORIES Australian farmers are celebrating the start of less restrictive satellite internet from the country’s twin Sky Muster broadband satellites. NBN, operator of the Ka-band satellites, announced Sky Muster Plus Aug. 11, providing an option for homes and business
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SAN FRANCISCO – Spire Global announced an agreement Aug. 13 to share data and develop new products alongside Concirrus, a London-based insurance analytics company. “The insurance sector is a data-based industry at its core and Spire can add deep intrinsic value to existing forecasting and modeling capabilities,” Peter Platzer, Spire Global CEO, told SpaceNews by
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WASHINGTON — NASA will perform an independent review of the non-profit organization that runs the portion of the International Space Station designated a national laboratory while also calling for a “strategic pause” in that organization’s work. In a pair of tweets late Aug. 13, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he was calling for the independent
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BAE Systems originally won the contract for the Hallmark Tools, Capabilities, and Evaluation Methodology program in November 2017. WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems the second phase of an existing $12.8 million contract to develop digital tools to test and evaluate technologies for space command and control. The second phase
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WASHINGTON — The European Space Agency said Aug. 12 that another test of the parachutes that will be used on the ExoMars 2020 lander mission failed last week, putting the schedule of the mission into jeopardy. The Aug. 5 test, using a high-altitude balloon above the Esrange test site in northern Sweden, was intended to
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ATLANTA — As Russia prepares to launch an experimental humanoid robot to the International Space Station later this month, a similar NASA robot is being readied for a return to the station after repairs on Earth. In an Aug. 1 presentation at the ISS Research and Development Conference here, Jonathan Rogers, deputy project manager for
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The Universe is vast beyond imagination, containing billions upon billions of galaxies. We have a pretty good handle on a lot of galactic dynamics, but how these colossal objects form, grow, and change is still something we’re struggling to understand. Enter the UniverseMachine: simulation software run on a powerful supercomputer, able to grow millions of
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ATLANTA — An experimental module added to the International Space Station three years ago to test expandable module technologies has been cleared to remain on the station through the late 2020s. In a July 30 presentation at the ISS Research and Development Conference here, Nathan Wells, an instrumentation lead for the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module
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This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Tim Pickens has vivid memories of Project Apollo. Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, where his father worked at Redstone Arsenal, Pickens recalls his father explaining why their home windows were vibrating. Saturn V was undergoing testing nearby. “My passion to get us
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LOGAN, Utah — Iceye is publicly releasing its first synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite imagery with a resolution of less than one meter. “Under one-meter resolution imaging from SAR satellites under 100 kilograms is a remarkable technological achievement,” Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski told SpaceNews by email. “It helps in solving a different set of Earth
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Astrobiologists have sent 18 different strains of bacteria up to the International Space Station. They’re not meant to contaminate the already-kinda-gross orbital research center, but rather to determine whether the mineral-leaching microbes could help astronauts mine space rocks during future missions, Space.com reports. If the so-called BioRock experiment pans out, the researchers behind the experiment
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This op-ed originally appeared in the June 10, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Satellite communications is under threat and in danger of losing its relevance. Fiber connections continue to roll out across the world, giving consumers fast and reliable connectivity even in some of the more rural, previously unconnected areas. With communities continuing to put
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PARK CITY, Utah — Small launch vehicle company Vector has replaced its founding chief executive amid reports that financial difficulties have forced the company to close, at least temporarily, its facilities. “Jim Cantrell is no longer with Vector effective today. John Garvey has assumed the role of CEO,” a company spokesperson told SpaceNews Aug. 9.
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WASHINGTON — Fleet operator Viasat, already in the middle of building a trio of high-capacity broadband satellites, has started work on a next-generation constellation, CEO Mark Dankberg said Aug. 8.  A ViaSat-4 series is in early development, extensively leveraging research and development on the 1-terabit-per-second or more ViaSat-3 satellites, Dankberg said during an earnings call. 
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Griffin: “Some elements of Congress are very supportive. Others are skeptical.” HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Space Development Agency has an ambitious agenda, including the design of a military space architecture in low Earth orbit that would enable global communications and help protect U.S. forces from missile attacks. But work remains largely on hold until Congress
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As modern weapons systems become more automated and connected, they become more vulnerable to cyber threats: attacks on IP addresses, radio frequency (RF) manipulation, supply chain risk, human error (e.g., downloading a malicious attachment), and more. Unfortunately, much of today’s systems were never designed with these kinds of attacks in mind—or even cybersecurity in general.
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The ASLON-45 space vehicle manifest will consist of multiple 3U and larger U.S. government cubesats to low earth orbit. HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Small launch provider Vector Launch has received a $3.4 million contract from the Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program office to lift experimental satellites to low Earth orbit. The Air Force Space and
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