Month: February 2020

WASHINGTON — Space Adventures announced Feb. 18 that it has an agreement with SpaceX to fly a dedicated Crew Dragon mission that would send four space tourists on a mission to a relatively high Earth orbit. Virginia-based Space Adventures, best known for arranging flights of private individuals to the International Space Station on Soyuz spacecraft,
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Blue Origin formally opened a factory Feb. 17 that the company plans to use to produce engines both for its vehicles and for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket. A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of a 350,000-square-foot factory here that will produce BE-4 and BE-3U engines. The factory, built in a little
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A full moon rises behind the dome of the U.S. Capitol in 2015 in Washington. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls In a recent SpaceNews Op-ed, Louis Friedman, co-founder and executive director emeritus of The Planetary Society, argues that the U.S. should pursue “a policy more directed to Mars and away from commercial participation.” With all due respect to
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WASHINGTON — The White House has added the Secretary of Energy and two other officials to the roster of members of the National Space Council. In a statement issued late Feb. 13, the White House announced that the Secretary of Energy, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and the Assistant to the President for
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane arrived at the company’s spaceport in New Mexico Feb. 13, ready for a final series of test flights before the company starts commercial operations. The vehicle, named VSS Unity, flew from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California to Spaceport America in southern New Mexico attached to
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WASHINGTON — A Cygnus cargo spacecraft launched Feb. 15 carrying more than three tons of supplies and experiments for the International Space Station. A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket lifted off from Pad 0-A the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at 3:21 p.m. Eastern, carrying a Cygnus spacecraft on a mission designated NG-13. The Cygnus, now in orbit,
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WASHINGTON — NASA awarded a contract to Rocket Lab Feb. 14 for the launch of a cubesat mission that will serve as a precursor for the agency’s planned lunar Gateway. A Rocket Lab Electron will launch the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) satellite from the company’s Launch Complex 2 site
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WASHINGTON — DirecTV’s Spaceway-1 satellite has been retired to a graveyard orbit 500 kilometers above the geostationary arc, eliminating the risk of the malfunctioning satellite exploding in an orbit populated by active satellites.  Ground-based observations from ExoAnalytic Solutions’ network of space surveillance telescopes show that Spaceway-1 has been moved out of harm’s way and deactivated. 
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WASHINGTON — NASA is considering missions to Venus and two outer solar system moons as the next in its Discovery line of planetary science missions. NASA announced Feb. 13 it selected four finalists in the next round of the Discovery program from an unspecified number of proposals submitted last summer. Each of the mission proposals
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Northrop Grumman won a $253.5 million payload development contract under the Protected Tactical Satellite Communications program. WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman was awarded a $253.5 million contract by the U.S. Space Force to develop a cyber-secure communications payload that could be deployed on a military or commercial satellite. The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems
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Sigmatech will provide “architecture and integration support for Air Force space systems and programs.” WASHINGTON — Sigmatech, a professional services firm headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, has won a five-year $74 million contract to provide expert support staff to the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, the company
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Several upcoming NASA missions will use lasers to increase data transmission from space. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Amber Jacobson, producer NASA just unveiled a new antenna that will help push a new era of ultra-fast “space broadband” that could make live TV transmissions from Mars a reality—and much, much more. Today NASA breaks ground on
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Experiencing trauma, abuse or neglect in childhood may lead to health complications later on, including a higher risk of developing dementia, new research finds. Researchers in Japan published a study this week that examined the connection between adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, and dementia risk. The team found that the more ACEs someone experiences early
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NASA astronaut Christina Koch is pictured working in the vacuum of space 265 miles above the … [+] Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. She and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir (out of frame) conducted a spacewalk to install new lithium-ion batteries that store and distribute power collected from solar arrays on the station’s Port-6
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A space industry flush with startups and easy money struggles to tamp down all the B.S. At a meteorology conference, a space industry consultant asked if I’d heard the news. He claimed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration canceled plans to buy commercial weather satellite data. Since I hadn’t heard, I checked with NOAA officials
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WASHINGTON — An Atlas 5 successfully launched a European-led solar science mission Feb. 9, the latest effort in what scientists are calling a “golden age” for studying the sun. A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 411 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:03 p.m. Eastern. The Solar Orbiter spacecraft
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — NASA withdrew without explanation last week a task order for its commercial lunar lander services program, frustrating many of the companies involved. According to several industry sources, NASA withdrew late Jan. 31 a task order designated 19C for the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The task orders serve as requests
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A small launch vehicle company emerged from stealth mode this week, but is still keeping many details about its plans and capabilities behind closed doors. Astra, a company based in Alameda, California, formally announced its plans Feb. 3, an unveiling timed to the publication of a profile of the company in
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Reusability efforts and Starlink are two sides of the same coin This article originally appeared in the Dec. 23, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine. SpaceX’s technical validation of reusable rockets has opened new horizons for the launch sector while inciting the firm’s competitors to invest in technological innovation as a means to fight market share
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WASHINGTON — Boeing will reverify all the software on its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft after an ongoing investigation found “numerous” problems in the original development process that allowed at least two major problems to escape detection. In a call with reporters Feb. 7, NASA and Boeing officials said they had made no decisions about
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WASHINGTON — A Federal Communications Commission plan to auction satellite C-band spectrum without waiting for legislation garnered mixed reactions from U.S. lawmakers who oversee the FCC.  On Thursday, Ajit Pai, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, outlined the agency’s plan to commence an auction Dec. 8 to license the spectrum to 5G network operators.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fireflies are under threat globally, with familiar hazards such as habitat loss and pesticides compounded by another peril: humankind’s ubiquitous nighttime artificial light that plays havoc with their balletic nocturnal courtship, scientists said. FILE PHOTO: Fireflies seeking mates light up in synchronized bursts inside a forest at Santa Clara sanctuary near the
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HELSINKI — China’s space industry is suffering adverse effects from the coronavirus outbreak which has so far infected mare than 30,000 in mainland China. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s state-owned main space contractor, has resumed a degree of launch vehicle production activities following the Chinese New Year holiday. However the
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The current and former directors of the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency (SDA) have differing views of congressional direction to move SDA under the U.S. Space Force. “Eventually, the Space Development Agency will report to the U.S. Space Force,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said Feb. 6 at the SmallSat Symposium. “That’s the
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