Space

BREMEN, Germany – Development of spaceplanes for suborbital tourism, satellite launches and point-to-point terrestrial transportation are benefiting from advanced technology, panelists said at the Space Tech Expo Europe here. “It was completely different 30 years ago,” said Koichi Yonemoto, co-founder and chief technical officer of Space Walker, a Japanese startup developing a suborbital spaceplane to
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HOUSTON — The Indian government has offered new details about what happened during its first attempt to land on the moon in September. In a written response to questions Nov. 20 to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, Jitendra Singh, minister of state for the Department of Space, said that the Vikram
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HOUSTON — The first prototype of SpaceX’s next-generation launch system was damaged Nov. 20 during a tanking test, a setback the company claimed would not serious affect their development plans. Video from several observers in the vicinity of SpaceX’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville, showed a white plume erupt from the top
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BREMEN, Germany — As United Launch Alliance prepares for the maiden flight of its Vulcan Centaur rocket, the company no longer has a clear timeline for a major second-stage upgrade.  ULA is preparing to launch Vulcan Centaur in 2021. The rocket features a new first stage powered by BE-4 engines from Blue Origin and an
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HOUSTON — Commercial spaceports say they need to become more proactive in dealing with public opposition to proposed launch sites through a combination of education and community involvement. In October, a private landowner in Hawaii, W.H. Shipman Ltd., announced it was pulling out of a planned launch site on property it owns near the city
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BREMEN, Germany – A European Earth observation cubesat scheduled to launch in 2020 will demonstrate an important space application for artificial intelligence. One of the two six-unit cubesats that comprises the FSSCat mission will rely on artificial intelligence to determine which images to send from the satellite to ground stations. “For instance if you have
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The report titled ”Iran Military Power” is part of a Defense Intelligence Agency effort to inform government leaders and the public on major foreign military challenges. WASHINGTON — The Defense Intelligence Agency released a new unclassified report that highlights Iran’s space program as a means to advance that nation’s civilian and military technologies. The report
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BREMEN, Germany — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai informed Congress Nov. 18 that the agency will run a public auction of C-band spectrum instead of allowing a consortium of satellite operators to sell it directly to 5G wireless operators.  Satellite operators Intelsat, SES and Telesat, acting as the C-Band Alliance, have been lobbying the Federal Communications
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WASHINGTON — Satellite operators Intelsat, SES and Telesat on Nov. 15 detailed how they would calculate the proceeds they have pledged to contribute to the U.S. treasury if the Federal Communications Commission accepts their proposal to privately auction C-band spectrum sought by 5G network operators.  The satellite operators, acting collectively as the C-Band Alliance, would
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Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting said the transfer of space traffic management responsibilities can’t happen until Commerce gets the necessary resources. WASHINGTON — Military space operators at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, are working with the Department of Commerce to help ease the transfer of space traffic management responsibilities, Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting said Nov. 15.
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WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully tested Nov. 13 the thrusters used as part of the abort system for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, nearly seven months after a similar test resulted in the loss of another spacecraft. The test of the Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco thrusters took place shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern at Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX,
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The 10-year contract is for operations and support of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System constellations. WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $3.3 billion contract for support services on classified military communications satellites, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announced Nov. 15. The 10-year indefinite-delivery
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WASHINGTON — EchoStar has ordered two tiny S-band satellites from Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems to jumpstart a low-Earth-orbit constellation using spectrum gained through its October acquisition of IoT startup Helios Wire.  Anders Johnson, Echostar’s president, said during a Nov. 7 earnings call that EchoStar has signed contracts for the construction and launch of a first batch of
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WASHINGTON — With growing bipartisan skepticism that NASA’s current plan to return humans to the moon by 2024 is achievable, members of the House Science Committee used a Nov. 13 hearing to advocate for a different, and arguably more conventional, approach. In statements at a hearing of the committee’s space subcommittee on human exploration of
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WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee approved Nov. 13 a NASA authorization bill introduced a week earlier to extend the life of the International Space Station and support other agency programs. The committee approved, on a voice vote, the NASA Authorization Act of 2019. That bill, S.2800, was introduced Nov. 6 by a bipartisan group
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SAN FRANCISCO – Launcher won its first government funding when the U.S. Air Force awarded the the Brooklyn-based startup $1.5 million to accelerate development and testing of its E-2 rocket engine. Launcher announced the Air Force funding Nov. 13. “It is extremely helpful and keeps us on track to conclude engine development by the end
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WASHINGTON — In its ongoing quest to increase launch vehicle production, Rocket Lab has unveiled a new industrial robotic system designed to speed up manufacturing of its Electron rocket. Rocket Lab announced Nov. 13 it has started to use “Rosie,” a custom-designed robotic manufacturing system that can produce the carbon composite components of the Electron
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SAN FRANCISCO – A new study says companies can build, launch and operate constellations to gather global Earth imagery with a resolution of one meter for $300 million. “You can build a state-of-the-art optical imaging capability with 12 satellites for $300 million,” said Will Porteous, general partner and chief operating officer for RRE Ventures, a
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WASHINGTON — Megaconstellation startup OneWeb and its largest investor Softbank asked the New York Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit from Intelsat, arguing that Intelsat failed to finalize rights it claimed it had to resell OneWeb satellite capacity.  OneWeb and Softbank told the court Nov. 11 that a 90-day negotiation window with Intelsat in late
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WASHINGTON — A NASA space telescope recently completed a major review and is making good progress, project officials say, despite uncertainty about its funding. NASA announced Nov. 1 that the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) passed its preliminary design review (PDR), a major milestone in the development of the space-based observatory. That overall PDR came
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WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its second launch of 60 Starlink satellites Nov. 11, making its own system the largest commercial telecommunications satellite constellation in orbit.  SpaceX launched the satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket at 9:56 a.m. Eastern, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellites separated just over one hour later into a
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WASHINGTON — The Russian company that markets launch vehicles commercially says it doesn’t expect the new Soyuz-5 medium-lift rocket to be available until the mid-2020s, despite leveraging existing designs and facilities. In an interview during the International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, Evgeny Solodovnikov, sales director of GK Launch Services, says the Soyuz-5 rocket, whose design
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SAN FRANCISCO – Fiber Optic Manufacturing in Space (FOMS) Inc. presented the results Nov. 7 of its successful campaign to produce optical fiber on the International Space Station. FOMS “successfully completed the calibration of the manufacturing hardware and demonstrated the first optical fiber manufacturing on orbit,” FOMS Principal Investigator Dmitry Starodubov announced at the 6th Workshop
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WASHINGTON — A NASA astronaut flying to the International Space Station next spring could be the only American on the station for an extended period because of uncertainty in the status of commercial crew vehicles. NASA announced Oct. 30 that Chris Cassidy will fly to the station next April on a Soyuz spacecraft with Russian
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The Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment (IA-Pre) program will be run by the Air Force Space Command’s commercial satellite communications office. RESTON, Va. — The Air Force starting in 2020 will rate the cybersecurity of commercial satellite communications providers in an effort to increase the protection of military networks. The new program is called Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment
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WASHINGTON — Telesat Canada will likely choose the winner of a now three-way race to build its low Earth orbit broadband constellation in the first few months of 2020 instead of this year, CEO Dan Goldberg said Nov. 5.  Goldberg, in an earnings call, said Telesat still anticipates having 200 satellites orbiting in 2022 and
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SAN FRANCISCO — Ursa Space Systems, a geospatial analytics company specializing in applications for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, raised $15 million in a Series B funding round led by Razor’s Edge Ventures. With the additional funding announced Nov. 7, Ithaca, New York-based Ursa plans create new data products. “We’re seeing a number of new
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DIU received 25 proposals for the Dismounted Assured PNT System WASHINGTON — The Defense Innovation Unit’s Boston office is reviewing vendor proposals for handheld navigation devices that don’t rely on Global Positioning System satellite signals. They would be used by U.S. Army soldiers in future military conflicts when they expect GPS signals to be disrupted.
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WASHINGTON — Spire Global has opened its sixth office, setting up a team of 10 employees in the nation’s capital as it seeks to gain more U.S. government business.  Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire, said the company will soon number 200 people spread across the United States, Scotland, Luxembourg and Singapore.  Spire established its Washington
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WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies on Nov. 4 said an undisclosed customer has agreed to buy a geostationary communications satellite, providing what Maxar offered as proof that retaining and resizing Space Systems Loral was a worthwhile decision.  Maxar executives said that the resizing effort progressed further with a $291 million property sale in Palo Alto, California,
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