Branson’s Virgin Rocket Takes Satellites To Orbit
Ten payloads in total were lofted on the same rocket, which was launched from under the wing of one of the entrepreneur’s old 747 jumbos.
Sir Richard is hoping to tap into what is a growing market for small, lower-cost satellites.
By using a jet plane as the launch platform, he can theoretically send up spacecraft from anywhere in the world.
Read more at: BBC
The Five: Space Missions For 2021
James Webb space telescope: This Nasa telescope, which is to replace the Hubble, has been subject to many delays – its first planned launch was in 2007. A March 2020 takeoff was delayed due to Covid, while its initial $500m budget has spiralled to more than $10bn (£7.4bn). It is a more sensitive telescope than the Hubble and once operational it will be able to observe the formation of some of the first galaxies. It will be launched on a European Ariane 5 rocket on 31 October.
Read more at: Guardian
SpaceX’s Upgraded Cargo Dragon Supply Ship Makes 1st Atlantic Splashdown
A SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft returned to Earth from the International Space Station Wednesday (Jan. 13), splashing down off the coast of Florida for the first time ever.
The Dragon CRS-21 mission, SpaceX’s 21st space station cargo delivery for NASA, launched Dec. 6, 2020, with 6,400 lbs. (2,903 kilograms) of supplies and science equipment for the seven-person crew of Expedition 64.
Read more at: Space.com
Blue Origin Tests New Shepard Capsule Upgrades On NS-14 Mission
Blue Origin conducted flight 14 of the New Shepard rocket for Thursday, January 14.
Liftoff from Launch Site One in West Texas occurred at 11:17 CST (17:17 UTC) with the booster and capsule landing safely several minutes later.
The capsule on this flight featured new upgrades as Blue Origin progresses towards launching crewed missions. The environmental control system was upgraded for improved sound and temperature regulation, and new systems such as display panels, speakers, and push-to-talk microphones were added for future crews
Read more at: NASA spaceflight
Critical Engine Test For NASA’s Space Launch System Megarocket Shuts Down Earlier Than Planned
NASA fired up the core stage of its massive new rocket — the Space Launch System (SLS) — on Saturday (Jan. 16) in a critical test that ended prematurely when the booster’s engines shut down earlier than planned.
Smoke and flames billowed from the four RS-25 engines that power the behemoth rocket’s core booster, a centerpiece of NASA’s Artemis moon program, as it roared to life atop a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Read more at: Space.com
SPACE HAZARDS & STM
Space Junk A ‘Disaster Waiting To Happen’, Expert Warns
Pieces of unwanted debris left by humans in low-Earth orbit have become the equivalent of a ‘new drifting island of plastic’ in outer space, an expert has said. Ekaterini Kavvada, who is the directorate general of Defence Industry and Space at the European Commission, described space junk as ‘not a theoretical threat but a reality’ which risks causing damage to active European and other satellites.
Read more at: Metro
British Launch Company Skyrora Completes Testing On Rocket Upper Stage – And Hopes To Reach Space This Year
Scotland-based startup Skyrora says it has fully tested the upper stage of its Skyrora XL rocket, which it hopes to launch as soon as 2022 – but may launch another smaller rocket in the next six months.
The company, headquartered in Edinburgh, says that on December 23, 2020, it successfully test fired the upper stage of its XL rocket for 450 seconds at its test site in Fife.
Read more at: Forbes
Two Friends Will Send India’s 1st Private Earth-Imaging Satellite On ISRO Rocket
Whenever we hear about private space companies, the first name that comes to our mind is Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But very soon, you’ll have to make room for India’s Pixxel space startup to that list.
While India’s space adventures are often associated with the government-backed space organisation ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), it looks like startup Pixxel Space will soon join this list, as it readies India’s first homegrown private, commercial Earth-imaging satellite.
Read more at: Indiatimes