Month: February 2020

Elon Musk insisted reusable launch vehicles are “absolutely fundamental” to achieving whatever space ambitions the military might have, including staying ahead of China. ORLANDO, Fla. — In his first appearance at a military conference since the establishment of the U.S. Space Force, SpaceX founder Elon Musk gave his usual pitch on the virtues of reusable
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Dr. Daylan Tzompa Sosa holds a handful of crickets at Ghent University, Belgium February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir GHENT, Belgium (Reuters) – Belgian waffles may be about to become more environmentally friendly. Scientists at Ghent University in Belgium are experimenting with larva fat to replace butter in waffles, cakes and cookies, saying using grease from
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WASHINGTON — SpaceX is proposing a significant increase in launch activity in Florida over the next few years, including missions to polar orbits and those that will require the use of a new vertical payload integration tower. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation published a draft environmental assessment Feb. 27 regarding SpaceX
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WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee expressed doubts any space-related legislation, or even spending bills, can make it through Congress this year. At a Space Transportation Association event here Feb. 26, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) suggested differences between the House and Senate versions of a NASA authorization bill might be
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WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman’s satellite servicing spacecraft successfully docked with an Intelsat communications satellite Feb. 25 in a bid to keep the nearly 19-year-old satellite in service an additional five years, Northrop Grumman and Intelsat executives said Feb. 26.  Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1, which launched in October, underwent months of in-orbit testing before finally
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WASHINGTON — NASA is asking companies in its commercial lunar landing services program to bid on delivering a NASA rover whose launch has been slightly delayed. NASA announced Feb. 25 it was asking the 14 companies that are part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to bid on a task order for sending
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic executives suggested Feb. 25 that the beginning of commercial flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle might slip again, even as the company starts planning to resume ticket sales. The company, which became publicly traded in October after closing a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Social Capital Hedosophia, released its fourth quarter
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Northrop Grumman is the only bidder for GBSD after Boeing dropped out of the competition. WASHINGTON — Defense and space contractor Kratos and the engineering firm Bechtel have joined Northrop Grumman’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent team to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile for the U.S. Air Force. Bechtel will provide launch system design, construction
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WASHINGTON — Australia’s nascent launch industry says it would like to see the country’s government provide more financial and regulatory support to help it get established in the global market. In a panel discussion during the Ninth Australian Space Forum in Adelaide Feb. 18, leaders of launch vehicle companies and spaceport operators in the country
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WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin will acquire the satellite technology assets of Vector by default after a bankruptcy court received no qualified bids by a deadline last week. In a Feb. 24 filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, lawyers overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings for Vector said that they received no
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – NASA’s robotic InSight lander has for the first time established that Mars is seismically active, but do not call the shaking, rattling and rolling taking place on the Red Planet earthquakes. The proper term, fittingly, is marsquakes. FILE PHOTO: A life-size model of the spaceship Insight, NASA’s first robotic lander dedicated to
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WASHINGTON — Engineers plan to use the robotic arm on its InSight Mars lander to push a heat flow probe into the surface, acknowledging that they have “few alternatives” if that effort fails. The Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument team has spent nearly a year trying to get the instrument’s probe, or “mole,”
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Civil aviation is one of the premiere success stories of the 20th century. Airmail was authorized by the US government in 1911 and began scheduled service in 1918. The federal government then authorized private contractors to carry the mail in 1925. An aviation boom followed. With the establishment of passenger airline service — initiated by
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Satellite builders booked more commercial orders in 2019 than the prior two years combined, but the industry remains in flux This article originally appeared in the Jan. 20, 2020 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Manufacturers are hopeful that 2019 marked the beginning of a turnaround for geostationary satellite orders, even though their market remains fraught with
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Building a military space culture may not require mass transfers of Army, Navy units to the Space Force The creation of the U.S. Space Force is a historic event, but many years of hard work lie ahead before we know what form the new service will take. One unanswered question that will shape the new
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WASHINGTON — Spaceflight Industries’ decision to sell its rideshare launch services company, Spaceflight, to two Japanese firms will benefit both Spaceflight and its parent company, executives of the two companies say. Spaceflight Industries announced Feb. 11 that it had an agreement to sell Spaceflight to Japanese companies Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Yamasa Co., Ltd.,
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WASHINGTON — Arianespace completed its third launch of the year Feb. 18, sending a Japanese communications satellite and a South Korean weather satellite into geostationary transfer orbits.  An Ariane 5 rocket lifted off at 5:18 p.m. Eastern from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana with Sky Perfect JSAT’s JCSAT-17 satellite and the South
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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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