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Archive for the ‘satellites’ category

Dec 12, 2019

China shows off its newest satellite’s high-resolution 3D imagery

Posted by in categories: business, satellites

China launched the Gaofen-7 imaging satellite in November, and the country has just shared the first of its high-resolution, 3D shots. The satellite is sensitive enough to height that it should be able to spot a single person from 500 kilometers up.

Gaofen-7 is the latest in a planned series of 14 satellites intended to overhaul China’s orbital imaging capabilities. Companies like Planet are lofting hundreds of satellites to provide terrestrial businesses with up-to-date imagery, so it’s natural that China, among other countries, would want to have their own.

Already the Gaofen project has led to a huge reduction in reliance on foreign sources for this critical data, which as frictions in other areas of technology have shown, may not always be possible to rely on.

Dec 11, 2019

‘We Are Going To Get It Done’ — SpaceX Says It Is Trying To Stop Its Starlink Satellites Ruining The Night Sky

Posted by in categories: internet, satellites

SpaceX has said it is taking measures to tackle some of the concerns raised by astronomers about its Starlink constellation, as it gears up to launch more than a thousand satellites in the next 12 months.

The company’s Starlink mega constellation, which will add up to 42,000 satellites to orbit (only 2,000 active satellites in total orbit Earth today) to beam high-speed internet around the globe, has been taking shape in 2019. The company launched its first 60 satellites in May, followed by a second launch in November.

A third launch is planned in late December, and a fourth in January – with 24 in total planned by the end of 2020. The company hopes to launch 60 Starlink satellites roughly once every two weeks, adding more than 1,500 satellites to orbit by the end of next year alone.

Dec 10, 2019

Global Nanosatellite and Microsatellite Market, Sector / Industry Report & Analysis, 2025

Posted by in categories: business, finance, satellites

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Dec 9, 2019

Why you should take Trump’s Space Force seriously

Posted by in categories: business, economics, entertainment, humor, internet, military, satellites

The case for creating a United States Space Force is compelling. The United States military’s ability to wage war has become increasingly reliant on satellites. Navigation, reconnaissance, and communications are all handled by space assets. The world economy has become dependent on space satellites. The Internet consists of servers throughout the world linked by satellite constellations. Knock out those satellites and commercial companies’ ability to do business becomes seriously compromised. The space version of Pearl Harbor could reduce the United States to developing-world status in a single blow.

China and Russia, the main enemies of the United States in a potential conflict, are busily developing weapons systems to destroy America’s space infrastructure. Indeed, remote jamming may well do the job without resorting to a direct strike. The potential for jamming is a reason why Pence mentioned the development of jam-proof satellites in his speech. In all, Pence proposed an investment of $8 billion in new space systems during the next five years. The money is likely to be just a down payment for creating a new military branch that would achieve President Trump’s dream of achieving American space dominance.

The idea of a United States Space Force brings science fiction visions of American military personnel doing battle against an enemy in space. Indeed, the joke that has become common on social media is that President Trump is proposing to create nothing less than Star Fleet, the organization made famous in the Star Trek franchise of movies and TV shows.

Dec 5, 2019

The Future of GPS Is Taking Shape Inside These Locked Rooms

Posted by in categories: military, mobile phones, satellites

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. — It’s not easy to get into the GPS room. A security cocoon typical of U.S. military installations protects Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado, but the windowless home of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS) lies within the base’s “restricted access area.” A gatehouse, extra vehicle barriers, armed guards, monitored communication channels, and a total ban on smartphones stand between the outside world and the place where the U.S. Air Force operates the GPS satellite constellation.

Inside you’ll find a hallway lined with keypad-controlled doors. Behind each is a room with 10-person teams who fly satellites. The rooms are staffed around the clock. The 2SOP squadron not only runs the constellation that provides global navigation and precise time data to civilian and military users.

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Dec 4, 2019

Mesmerizing graph shows uncomfortably close encounters between space junk

Posted by in category: satellites

As the number of satellites and space junk in orbit continues to increase, so do the chances of these human-made objects colliding with one another, potentially creating more debris that could threaten other healthy spacecraft. Now, a new tool shows just how crowded Earth orbit is by tracking space objects through their close calls every couple of seconds.

Called the “Conjunction Streaming Service Demo,” the graph tool illustrates in real time the sheer number of space objects — out of an assortment of 1,500 items in low Earth orbit — that get uncomfortably close to one another in a period of 20 minutes. While the X-axis keeps track of the time, the Y-axis shows the short distance between two approaching space objects, ranging from five kilometers to the dreaded zero kilometers. On the graph is a series of arcs demonstrating when two pieces of debris rapidly move toward one another, make their closest approach, and then speed away.

Dec 3, 2019

Using Balloons to Launch Rockets

Posted by in category: satellites

LEO Aerospace is developing a “Rockoon” system that will provide commercial launch services for microsatellites, as well as a platforms for conducting everything from scientific research to emergency rescues.

Nov 29, 2019

‘Dead satellites’ pose danger to humans, warns European Space Agency

Posted by in category: satellites

Thousands of ‘dead’ satellites are floating in space and pose a ‘very big danger’ to humanity, the head of the European Space Agency (Esa) has warned.

Speaking at the agency’s ministerial council in Seville, Jan Worner said that of almost 4,500 satellites in orbit, only 1,500 are active.

Space scientists are concerned that defunct satellites could hit other satellites or the International Space Station (ISS), which would then cause more debris, setting off a catastrophic chain reaction that could wipe out telecommunications systems — a phenomenon known as Kessler Syndrome.

Nov 25, 2019

Rocket Lab readies Electron for the first launch with rocket recovery systems on board

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, satellites

Rocket Lab is getting ready to fly its tenth mission, which the first official launch window during which it could happen set for this week on November 29. Aside from being a milestone 10th mission (dubbed ‘Running Out of Fingers,’ ha), this will be the first time that Rocket Lab includes technology designed to help it eventually recover and reuse elements of its launch vehicle.

After first designing its Electron launch platform as a fully expendable spacecraft, meaning it could only do one way trips to bring cargo to orbit, Rocket Lab announced that it would be moving towards rocket reusability at an event hosted by CEO and founder Peter Beck in August. To make this happen, the company will be developing and testing the tech necessary to recover Electron’s first-stage rocket booster over the course of multiple missions.

Toe be clear, this mission has the primary goal of delivering a number of small satellites on behalf of paying customers, including microsatellites from Alba Orbital and a Tokyo –based company called ALE that is using microsatellites to simulate particles from meteors. But Rocket Lab will also be testing recovery instrumentation loaddd on board the Electron vehicle, including guidance and navigation systems, as well as telemetry and flight computer hardware. This will be used to gather real-time data about the process of re-entry for Electron’s first stage, and Rocket Lab will also attempt to make use of a reaction control system to control the orientation of the booster as it re-enters.

Nov 23, 2019

Water propulsion technologies picking up steam

Posted by in categories: mapping, satellites

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 19, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

When the Aerospace Corp. launched the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration in 2017, one mission objective was to test water-fueled thrusters. At the time, the idea was fairly novel. Two years later, water-based propulsion is moving rapidly into the mainstream.

Capella Space’s first radar satellite and HawkEye 360’s first cluster of three radio-frequency mapping satellites move in orbit by firing Bradford Space’s water-based Comet electrothermal propulsion system. Momentus Space and Astro Digital are testing a water plasma thruster on their joint El Camino Real mission launched in July. And an updated version of the water-fueled cold gas thrusters the Aerospace Corp. first flew in 2017 launched in early August.

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