Archive for the ‘satellites’ category: Page 5

Feb 10, 2020

Lockheed Martin delivers new GPS satellite scheduled for April launch aboard Falcon 9

Posted by in category: satellites

WASHINGTON — The third satellite of the GPS 3 constellation arrived Feb. 5 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, where it will undergo final testing and checkout before its scheduled launch in April aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The GPS 3 satellite was flown from Lockheed Martin’s assembly line in Colorado aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft.

In a news release on Friday, the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center said the next steps are to prepare the GPS 3 SV-3 for propellant loading and fairing encapsulation before it’s horizontally integrated with a Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

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Feb 8, 2020

H-IIA conducts IGS Optical 7 launch

Posted by in categories: existential risks, government, satellites, surveillance

Making its first flight in over a year, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Centre on Sunday with a reconnaissance satellite for the Japanese government. Liftoff occurred at10:34 local time 01:34 UTC, during a five-minute launch window.

Sunday’s launch deployed the IGS Optical 7 satellite for the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre, an agency of the Japanese government responsible for space-based surveillance. IGS Optical 7 is part of the Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) or Joho Shushu Eisei (JSE) system, consisting of spacecraft collecting optical and radar images of the Earth.

Japan began development of IGS in the late 1990s, following North Korea’s attempted satellite launch in 1998. Although the North Korean launch failed to reach orbit, the rocket carrying it crossed Japan during its ascent, sparking fears that North Korean missiles would be able to target the islands. With IGS, Japan aimed to develop an independent reconnaissance capability to monitor future threats. The constellation can also be used for disaster monitoring and other civilian applications by the Japanese government.

Feb 8, 2020

A possible technique for giving names to nameless satellites

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

There are many satellites in space and we know which launch put most of them up there. But there are a number of them that are not associated with a specific launch, though it would be desirable to identify which put them into orbit. This article is about a technique which could help associate objects in space with particular launches, one that I am currently developing. But let’s start with some background information: what do we know about most satellites?

First, there are several catalogs of satellites. These are lists of satellites and information about them, and are maintained by different organizations. What are these catalogs? I have written a couple of articles that have appeared here that give some background, such as one about overlooked satellites (see “Acknowledging some overlooked satellites”, The Space Review, June 12, 2017), while another discusses why some satellites are in some catalogs and not others (see “Time for common sense with the satellite catalog”, The Space Review, April 10, 2017).

The US Air Force maintains the default world official satellite catalog and assigns official satellite numbers and “international designators,” which state what launch each object is associated with. The Air Force gets observations from many sites, radar and optical, around the world and uses them to generate and maintain orbital parameters for satellites. That is how they know which object is from which launch. That international designator is very important when a satellite reenters: the country that owns a satellite that reenters is responsible for any damage caused when it impacts the ground. Also, for satellite collisions, the country that owns a satellite that “causes” a collision is responsible for damage.

Feb 7, 2020

OneWeb launches 34 internet satellites into orbit to boost broadband megaconstellation

Posted by in categories: internet, satellites

A Soyuz rocket carrying 34 of OneWeb’s broadband satellites lifted off today (Feb. 6) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, rising off the pad at 4:42 p.m. EST (2142 GMT).

Feb 6, 2020

You Can Now Book Space on a SpaceX Rocket for $1 Million Online

Posted by in category: satellites

SpaceX has officially launched an online booking tool that lets you reserve space on a Falcon 9 rocket.

You won’t be getting a seat to travel to space yet, though — the tool is meant to offer smaller companies a way to send payloads into space, including small satellites, as TechCrunch reports.

Feb 5, 2020

Maxar says last year’s unnamed GEO order is new Intelsat satellite

Posted by in categories: electronics, satellites

WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies says the geostationary satellite order it disclosed in November without naming the customer is a high-throughput Intelsat spacecraft that will also carry a pollution sensor for NASA.

Intelsat announced Feb. 3 that it had selected Maxar to build Intelsat-40e, a satellite that will provide high-throughput coverage of North America and Central America.

Intelsat-40e will also carry NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) hosted payload under a NASA contract with Maxar.

Feb 4, 2020

Ocean-Studying Satellite to Launch from Vandenberg AFB Gets Familiar Name

Posted by in category: satellites

Spacecraft’s new moniker honors NASA’s retired Earth Science Division leader Michael Freilich.

An artist’s concept depicts the Sentinel-6A satellite, which NASA and several partners have renamed in honor of noted earth scientist Michael Freilich, who retired from the space agency but oversaw many missions from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is set to launch this fall from the Central Coast. (NASA illustration)

Feb 3, 2020

Rocket startup Astra emerges from stealth, aims to launch for as little as $1M per flight

Posted by in categories: business, satellites

There’s yet another new rocket launch startup throwing its hat in the ring — Astra, an Alameda-based company that’s actually been operating in stealth mode (though relatively openly, often referred to as “Stealth Space Company”) for the past three years developing and testing its launch vehicle. Astra revealed its business model and progress to date in a new feature article with Bloomberg Businessweek, detailing how it plans to use mass production to deliver rockets quickly and cheaply for small satellite orbital delivery. Astra revealed it has raised more than $100 million from investors, including Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Airbus Ventures, Canann Partners and Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff, to name a few, and it has big ambitions in terms of cost and capabilities.

Astra’s rockets are smaller than most existing launch vehicles in operation, designed to delivery up to 450 lbs of cargo to space, but with the specific mandate of doing so quickly and responsively. The company is a finalist (and the only remaining one) on DARPA’s Launch Challenge, the terms of which mandate that the winning company deploy two rockets from two different locations within a few weeks of each other. Astra is still in the running, while its erstwhile competitors have dropped out, with Virgin Orbit having voluntarily withdrawn and Vector Launch having gone out of business.

The DARPA challenge, which includes an award of $12 million for the winner, represents a growing trend in terms of defense customer needs: Fast turnaround and responsive operations for small satellite delivery. In an industry where the process of securing a launch service provider to actually flying a payload has typically taken at least six months in the best-case scenario, there’s a growing need for quicker timelines in the interest of building more redundancy and resilience into defense and reconnaissance space operations through use of networks of small satellites, versus single large geostationary satellites that are expensive to launch and more time-consuming to task.

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Feb 3, 2020

A Small-Rocket Maker Is Running a Different Kind of Space Race

Posted by in category: satellites

Astra, DARPA’s rocket startup of choice, is preparing to launch satellites into orbit in record time.

Feb 2, 2020

Pentagon report: DoD needs to test how satellites would perform under attack

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation warns in a new report that the military today is not able to assess the durability of its satellites if they came under attack.

DoD plans to invest at least $100 billion in space systems over the next decade, “and we are not alone,” writes DOT&E director Robert Behler in his just released annual report for fiscal year 2019.

“We therefore must thoroughly understand how our systems will perform in space, particularly when facing man-made threats,” says the report. “Yet, the DoD currently has no real means to assess adequately the operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of space-based systems in a representative environment.

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