Launch Of China’s New Long March 7A Ends In Failure

China’s attempt to launch its first new-generation Long March 7A rocket ended in failure Monday, resulting in a classified satellite apparently failing to enter geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Liftoff from the coastal Wenchang Satellite Launch Center occurred at 9:34 a.m. Eastern. Launch was initially confirmed by images and footage shared online by distant spectators.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., (CASC), which developed and manufactured the rocket, typically announces launches following declaration of mission success. Similar mission profiles are usually announced to be successful around an hour after launch, but no announcement was made. 

Read more at: Spacenews

Elon Musk Says SpaceX Will Investigate Falcon 9 Rocket Engine Anomaly Before Launching Again

SpaceX’s latest batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites made it to orbit just fine this morning (March 18), but the company’s Falcon 9 rocket ride suffered a slight hiccup along the way.

One of the nine Merlin engines that powers the reusable Falcon 9’s first stage shut down too early during today’s launch, said SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. He vowed to get to the bottom of the issue, even though it didn’t prevent the rocket from doing its job.

Today’s success “shows value of having 9 engines! Thorough investigation needed before next mission,” Musk said via Twitter today.

Read more at:

Rocket Lab’s Electron Launch Vehicle Certified by NASA

NASA has certified Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle, providing confidence for NASA’s low cost scientific, educational and technology demonstration small satellites.

The certification milestone was achieved largely through the successful launch of the NASA ELaNa-19 mission which saw 13 NASA CubeSats delivered to orbit by Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle in December 2018. The mission was Rocket Lab’s fourth successful Electron launch. It marked a significant milestone for NASA’s forward-leaning Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) initiative because it was the first time NASA CubeSats received a dedicated ride to orbit on a commercial launch vehicle.

Read more at: Rocketlab usa

SpaceX, NASA Aim For Historic Crew Launch In Mid-May Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

The first crewed orbital launch from American soil is scheduled to lift off just two months from now, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting mid- to late May for the launch of Demo-2, which will send agency astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, NASA officials confirmed in a media advisory on Wednesday (March 18).

Read more at:

Boeing’s First Manned Spacecraft Starliner to Be Launched to ISS on 31 August – Source

The first manned spacecraft of the Boeing company, called Starliner, will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on 31 August, a source in the Russian space and rocket industry said.

In December 2019, the Starliner spaceship set off on its first test flight to the International Space Station, but docking was canceled after Starkiner failed to execute an orbit-insertion burn on schedule.

Boeing is in a race with SpaceX and its Crew Dragon to develop the next capsule to take Western astronauts to the ISS. SpaceX plans to make the first manned flight of the Crew Dragon in the second quarter of 2020 and has its own $2.6 billion crew capsule contract with NASA.

Read more at: Sputniknews

ISS Orbit Raised Ahead Of Soyuz MS-16 Manned Spacecraft’s Docking

Specialists of the Mission Control Center have adjusted the orbit of the International Space Station ahead of the Soyuz MS-16 manned spacecraft’s docking, Roscosmos state space corporation said.

“In accordance with the ISS flight program a scheduled adjustment of its orbit was carried out on March 19, 2020,” Roscosmos said.

The engines of the Progress cargo spacecraft were switched on at 20:14 Moscow Time and worked for 534 seconds as scheduled. As a result of the maneuver the ISS’s orbit was raised by nearly 1.1 km to 419 km.

Read more at: TASS

Launches from Europe’s Spaceport are Suspended in Light of COVID-19

Despite indications just a few days ago that launches as soon as later this month were on track as planned, Arianespace announced on Monday that they made the tough call to suspend operations at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s spaceport located in French Guiana. This includes suspending any launch campaigns currently on the calendar in the immediate future, like the Vega rocket mission carrying multiple satellites set for March 24 and the Soyuz rocket Falcon Eye mission set for April 14.

Arianespace says that the “need to fully implement the measures decided by the French Government” is the primary reason behind its decision to suspend launch campaign operations.

Read more at: Techcrunch


China Develops New System To Quickly Find Fallen Rocket Debris

China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center Wednesday announced the development of a new positioning system that can greatly shorten the time searching for rocket debris.

The system has proved efficient in seeking out fallen rocket pieces after the center launched the 54th BeiDou satellite into space on March 9. The satellite was sent into space by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. With the guidance of the system, the center staff just spent 25 minutes finding the rocket boosters, while in the past, it would take them several hours or even half a month to complete such a task.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Giant ‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid Will Fly Safely By Earth In April

A large and  “potentially hazardous” asteroid is poised to fly by Earth next month, but don’t worry — it poses no threat to Earth.

Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will make a close approach to Earth on April 29. The hefty space rock has an estimated diameter of 1.1 to 2.5 miles (1.8 to 4.1 kilometers), or about the width of the isle of Manhattan. 

While an asteroid that size could wreak havoc if it crashed into Earth — prompting some alarmist and misinformed media reports — this asteroid poses no threat. 

Read more at:

Could Internet-Providing Satellites Create More Space Junk? Some Worry About Space-Faring Future.

Hoik Jang stopped at the headline on his Google News feed: Two defunct satellites were at risk of colliding some 559 miles above Pittsburgh, potentially increasing low-Earth-orbit space junk by 30 percent.

Adding to the bits and pieces of spent rocket stages and lifeless satellites already circling the Earth at up to 17,500 mph — significantly faster than a speeding bullet — could one day make it too risky to operate weather satellites and space stations. Jang fears for humanity’s space-faring future.

Read more at: Houston chronicle

Environmental Concerns Voiced Over Spaceport Plan

DANISH billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen has blasted Britain’s first vertical launch spaceport planned for a remote part of Scotland – warning that the project could be grounded.

His company Wildland Ltd issued its final formal objection to the £17.3m scheme, criticising government agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for submitting what it described as a “deeply damaging” application.

It also called for an extension for public comments to be allowed, Scottish ministers to intervene and warned of a battle ahead in the Land Court.

Read more at: Herald scotsman


A New Way To Provide Internet For The Masses From Space

San Francisco-based Astranis, a microsatellite company founded in 2015, is set to launch its first satellite later this year to bring internet to parts of Alaska that now only have slow connectivity or no access at all.

But it has a different approach than SpaceX’s Starlink or OneWeb to bring reasonably priced, fast internet to developing areas, according to co-founder and CEO John Gedmark.

Instead of launching a group of hundreds or thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit, Astranis will launch very small satellites into a higher geostationary orbit for a constant presence over a particular country or state.

Read more at: Politico

Amid Bankruptcy Reports, Oneweb Plans Launch Of 34 More Satellites

OneWeb is gearing up for launch of 34 more satellites for its broadband Internet network Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, despite reports that the company might seek bankruptcy protection and stringent restrictions on travel stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The London-based satellite operator is one of two companies currently launching large constellations of satellites into low Earth orbit to beam Internet signals to consumers around the world. SpaceX, the other company, has deployed 360 satellites for its Starlink network since last May, well on the way to the fleet’s initial operating number of more than 1,500 spacecraft.

Read more at: Spaceflight now

Virgin Orbit’s Space Launch Business Deemed ‘Essential Service,’ Work Allowed To Continue At Long Beach

Virgin Orbit announced March 20 that it will continue operations at its facility in Long Beach, California, after state officials categorized the work as an essential service that should not be completely shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 19, California, Los Angeles County and Long Beach issued a series of “Safer at Home” orders that closed all non-essential businesses and requires most of the state’s 40 million inhabitants to stay at home until further notice. The city, county, and state orders provide exemptions for certain businesses and industries deemed essential services.

Read more at: Spacenews

FCC Approves SpaceX To Deploy Up To 1 Million Small Antennas For Starlink Internet Network

SpaceX got a key government license last week, federal filings reveal, as the company clears a regulatory hurdle that moves it closer to offering a new high-speed internet service from space.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized SpaceX to begin rolling out as many as 1 million of the ground antenna the company will need to connect users to its Starlink satellite internet network. Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to build an interconnected network, or “constellation,” of about 12,000 small satellites, to provide high-speed internet to anywhere in the world. The company has launched 360 Starlink satellites in the past year.

Read more at: CNBC

SpaceLogistics Sat Servicing Mission Taps New Markets

SpaceLogistics will hit its next big milestone in its first-of-a-kind commercial satellite servicing mission by early next month, repositioning an Intelsat 901 communications satellite back into a working orbit using the firm’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1 robotic spacecraft, says Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development.

If all goes well, the firm will have chocked up another historic first that likely will crack open a large commercial and national security market. As Breaking D readers are well aware, DoD and the services have all expressed interest — if not yet a lot of investment — in robotic on-orbit servicing.

Read more at: Breaking defense

PredaSAR Appoints Three Retired United States Air Force Generals to Board of Directors

PredaSAR Corporation (“PredaSAR” or “the Company”), which is building and will operate the world’s largest and most advanced commercially operated Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite constellation, announced today the appointment of three retired United States Air Force generals, General William Shelton, Lieutenant General Richard Newton, and Major General Douglas Raaberg, effective immediately.

“We are thrilled to welcome all three generals to the Board,” said Marc Bell, PredaSAR Chairman and Co-Founder. “With their combined legacies of trusted and strong leadership, and their combined century of experience with the United States Air Force, they will no doubt deliver tremendous knowledge, industry insight, and the ability to leverage many new and exciting opportunities within the aerospace sector.”

Read more at: PR newswire


Can Astronauts Use GPS to Navigate on the Moon? NASA Scientists Say Yes

If astronauts reach the moon as planned under NASA’s Project Artemis, they’ll have work to do. A major objective will be to mine deposits of ice in craters near the lunar south pole—useful not only for water but because it can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. But they’ll need guidance to navigate precisely to the spots where robotic spacecraft have pointed to the ice on the lunar map. They’ll also need to rendezvous with equipment sent on ahead of them such as landing ships, lunar rovers, drilling equipment, and supply vehicles. There can be no guessing. They will need to know exactly where they are in real time, whether they’re in lunar orbit or on the moon’s very alien surface.

Read more at: IEEE Spectrum

Vega Rocket’s New 3D-Printed Thrust Chamber Passes Critical Hot-Fire Test (Video)

A successful firing test shows that Europe’s lightweight Vega launcher is well on its way to cheaper and more efficient launches in 2025, officials say.

Video footage from the “hot-fire” test of a 3D-printed thrust chamber prototype for Vega’s new M10 engine showed it successfully firing on a rainy day. Flames jut out from the thrust chamber, with the pressure causing ripples in the puddles below. The thrust chamber assembly fired 19 times for 450 seconds (about 7.5 minutes) at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama — a common location for developing rocket technology.

Read more at:

How Will NASA Deal With The Moon Dust Problem For Artemis Lunar Landings?

Study teams have gone back to look at Apollo lunar landing data to appraise how much moon terrain was ejected into space. 

Not only did Apollo landing crews get fogged out by the blown dust, making touchdowns troublesome, but substantial amounts of rock and debris were also sent flying during the rocket-powered landings. 

NASA aims to put astronauts on the moon again by 2024, so what to do about the dust problem? Scientists are trying to devise the workarounds that appear needed if traveling to the moon is to become routine.

Read more at:

Space Startup Lynk Uses Satellite To Send Text Message To Unmodified Android Phone

An aerospace startup that plans to launch thousands of satellite “cell towers” into space says it has successfully sent a text message to a common Android smartphone using one of its satellites in orbit. The company claims it’s the first time a text message has ever been sent to an unmodified mobile phone from space, and it demonstrates the technology needed to provide global cellphone connectivity from orbit.

The company behind the breakthrough space text is called Lynk, which used to go by the name UbiquitiLink. Lynk is one of several space companies at the moment planning on building a constellation of thousands of satellites to provide some kind of connectivity to individuals on the ground.

Read more at: Verge

Skyryse Introduces Automation Flight Operating System FlightOS

Skyryse has unveiled FlightOS, a new flight automation system that can retrofit onto any aircraft to enable anyone to fly as safely as the best pilots on their best day using intuitive controls. The aircraft-agnostic system introduces a new paradigm in flight safety and capabilities through simplified flight control operations.

FlightOS leverages Skyryse’s full flight automation so pilots no longer need to worry about complex flight controls or structural and airframe operating limits. The result is that more people will be able to fly safely in more situations, alleviating a choke point for the many critical organizations that depend on the multi-billion dollar aircraft industry.

Read more at: Spacewar

How Space Station Research Is Helping NASA’s Plans To Explore The Moon And Beyond

As part of the Artemis lunar exploration program, NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon and use that experience to inform future human exploration of Mars. To safely and comfortably explore for days at a time on the surface of these celestial bodies, astronauts need suitable equipment and places to live.

Almost 20 years of human habitation aboard the International Space Station and a growing body of research conducted there are contributing important insights into how to meet these needs for future lunar explorers.

Read more at: Spacedaily


NASA’s ‘Critical Path’ To The Moon No Longer Requires A Lunar Gateway: Report

NASA has removed the Lunar Gateway from its “critical path” to return humans to the moon by 2024, according to a SpaceNews report. But the agency has assured that it isn’t casting aside its plan for a moon-orbiting space station.

With new changes to the agency’s plan to return astronauts to the moon with the Artemis program, NASA has removed the Gateway, a mini-space station that would facilitate crewed lunar landings, from its plan in favor of simpler solutions, Doug Loverro, the head of NASA’s human spaceflight directorate, said Friday (March 13) at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s Science Committee, SpaceNews reported.

Read more at:

Outer Space Diplomacy in South Asia

Recent SAARC Video Conference meets by the leaders of SAARC nations opens a new hope for this regional Organisation. The remark made by the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on telemedicine is significant, especially for a landlocked country like Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal. India, as a substantial power in Space in the SAARC region, can contribute to building such satellite-based telemedicine information to their neighbours. On 14th Nov2019 India celebrated the 130th Birth Anniversary of the first Prime Minister of India, who can rightly remember as the ‘architect of modern India’. Nehru was an undisputed leader of third world countries and a stalwart figure of the Non-Alignment Movement. He was a man who believed science and technology strengthens a nation. At a time when over 130crore Indians are proud of the achievement of ISRO Moon Mission, we should not forget the vision of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Read more at: modern diplomacy

Over Budget, Behind Schedule: NASA’s SLS Megarocket Faces Congressional Review

NASA’s forthcoming moon-rocket program is so costly that the agency will need to let Congress know of budgetary overruns while reviewing the program, NASA’s inspector general said in a March 10 report.

The inspector general examined the Space Launch System (SLS) — the rocket that NASA hopes to start sending on test flights starting in 2021 — as well as the rocket’s program costs and contracts, to see how the rocket’s development was proceeding.

Read more at:


Russia’s Zircon Hypersonic Missile To Be Test-Launched From Underwater

The Zircon, a scramjet-powered maneuverable anti-ship cruise missile capable of accelerating to speeds of up to 11,100 km an hour, is one of half-a-dozen or so strategic systems being developed by Russia’s military to help ensure global strategic stability.

The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile will undergo testing from aboard the K-560 Severodvinsk submarine, a source in the military industry has told Russian media.

The source did not mention a date when testing is expected to begin, but said it would take place once three-to-four more test launches from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate are completed. The test launch is expected to take place from an underwater firing position. The Russian military has not yet commented on the veracity of the reports.

Read more at: Spacewar

U.S. Space Force Declares ‘Offensive’ Communications Jammer Ready For Deployment

A new version of a ground-based communications jammer used to block adversaries’ satellite transmissions is ready to be used in combat operations, the U.S. Space Force announced March 13.

The Counter Communications System Block 10.2 was declared operational by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s special programs directorate. After testing the system over the past year, SMC on March 12 turned it over to the 4th Space Control Squadron based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

The CCS is a transportable electronic warfare system that temporarily denies adversary satellite communications. The U.S. Air Force first deployed the CCS in 2004 in response to electronic warfare systems that other countries were fielding to disrupt American satellites. An upgraded CCS Block 10.1 was developed in 2014.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Force May Be Too Small: RAND

The Space Force should be expanded to include most DoD space operational and acquisition organizations, including those of the Army and Navy, says a study released today by RAND’s Project Air Force. In also recommends that the Missile Defense Agency’s hands-on work operating satellites should be transferred, although the question of moving MDA activities requires more study,

The report, “A Separate Space: Creating a Military Service for Space,” also says that, as currently planned, the new service may be too small to adequately support its mission, noting that the Air Force’s start-up size was 300,000 compared to the Space Force’s planned 16,000.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Brigadier-General Kevin G. Whale To Be First Senior General Officer Appointed To The United States Air Force Space Command

The Department of National Defence today announced that for the first time ever a senior General Office will be sent to work at the United States Air Force Space Command (USAFSPC) in Colorado Springs.

Brigadier-General (BGen.) Kevin G. Whale has been serving as the Director General and Joint Force Component Commander for Space at DND since August of 2017.

BGen. Whale is being appointed to the new position of Deputy Commander Plans for USAFSPC in Colorado Springs where he will be responsible for plans, programs, requirements and analysis.

Read more at: SpaceQ

Space Force To Deliver Report To Congress On Proposed Changes To Acquisitions

Space Force officials have been working to meet required congressional report deadlines even as DoD business and operations across the board are being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

A report due to Congress on March 31 will recommend changes to how Space Force procurement programs are funded and managed. The report is in final draft and on track to be delivered on time, Shawn Barnes, head of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, told SpaceNews March 18.

Read more at: Spacenews

Creation Of A Defence Space Agency: A New Chapter In Exploring India’s Space Security

Outer space exploration has turned into a key part of a modern society’s functionality with several services including weather, communication, Internet, banking and navigation, supported by satellites orbiting the Earth.

India being one of the major actors in outer space has in many ways led the usage of satellites for the benefit of the society. With the space infrastructure of India powering the economy, is there a case for exploring the defence of these vital systems?

Moreover, given that the geopolitics and security scenarios are changing with respect to the utilisation of outer space, should India explore its capabilities and capacities built in the country for the past 50 years for dedicated space defence operations?

Read more at: Defence aviation post


Coronavirus Precautions Are Changing Life For NASA Astronaut’s Launch To Space Station

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is ready to take-off for a six month trip to the International Space Station. But, while Cassidy is safe from contamination in pre-flight quarantine in Star City near Moscow, the growing coronavirus pandemic is still having a major affect on his upcoming launch.

Cassidy is set to launch from a pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 9 alongside Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner in their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft. They’ll spend about six months in space on the flight.

Read more at:

Google Doodle Celebrates Doctor Who Popularized Hand-Washing. Here’s How To Wash Your Hands In Space.

Washing your hands with soap and water is a critical measure to prevent the spread of viruses like the new coronavirus responsible for a global pandemic today, as well as bacteria that can make us sick.

It is so important that today (March 20) Google honored Ignaz Semmelweis, the German-Hungarian physician and scientist who popularized how important hand-washing is in 1847 by demonstrating with his work that cleaning hands drastically reduced the number of deaths of women after childbirth.

Read more at:

Boeing’s to-do list is getting longer.

Before the scheduled return of the 737 Max this summer, the aircraft manufacturer plans to separate wire bundles in the jet to assure regulators about the plane’s safety, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans who was not authorized to speak publicly about them.

Read more at: NYTimes

US Probes Large Crack In Boeing 737 Jet

The US aviation regulator says it has launched an investigation after a 12-inch (30.5cm) crack ruptured the skin of a Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Southwest Airlines, causing the plane to gradually lose cabin pressure.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stepped in on Friday after a plane gradually lost cabin pressure during a flight from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho.

Flight records revealed that the pilots began a rapid, six-minute descent from 39,000 feet (990 meters) to 22,000 feet. No injuries were reported from the incident, on Monday, and the cabin pressure was safe at the lower altitude, the agency said.

Read more at: DW

Retired Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden Dies At 88

One of the astronauts who flew during the lunar program has died. Al Worden, 88, was a command module pilot who circled the moon during Apollo 15.

His family announced the news on Twitter and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “NASA sends its condolences to the family and loved ones of Apollo astronaut Al Worden, an astronaut whose achievements in space and on Earth will not be forgotten.” Apollo 15 was considered one of NASA’s most important scientific missions. But after the crew returned, they got in trouble for selling mementos they took to the moon.

Read more at: NPR

Widow Of Yuri Gagarin, First Human In Space, Dies At 84

The widow of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to fly to space, died Tuesday. She was 84.

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos announced Valentina Gagarina’s death in a short statement, offering condolences to her relatives. It didn’t give any details about the cause or circumstances of her death.

Born Valentina Goryacheva, she married Gagarin in 1957. After Gagarin’s pioneering April 12, 1961 space flight she appeared alongside him at official events but mostly sought to avoid the limelight.

Read more at: ABC news

NewSpace Book on 10 Years of Commercial Space and Children’s Book on Space Released

Fourteen year veteran space writer David Bullock created two books on space and space exploration at the end of last year. A non-fiction book about the emerging private space sector, 2008-2018: A NewSpace Primer, and a children’s book with a broad look at what can be found outer space, What is Up In Space?, both can be found on most online retailers sites in both print and electronic form. The non-fiction book is published by New York’s Page Publishing and the children’s book is self-published by Bullock.

Read more at: Spacedaily

11th IAASS conference