NASA Mega Moon Rocket Passes Key Test, Readies For Launch

The largest rocket element NASA has ever built, the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, fired its four RS-25 engines for 8 minutes and 19 seconds Thursday at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The successful test, known as a hot fire, is a critical milestone ahead of the agency’s Artemis I mission, which will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a test flight around the Moon and back to Earth, paving the way for future Artemis missions with astronauts.

Read more at: Spacedaily

NASA Analysis: Earth Is Safe From Asteroid Apophis for 100-Plus Years

After its discovery in 2004, asteroid 99942 Apophis had been identified as one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth. But that impact assessment changed as astronomers tracked Apophis and its orbit became better determined.

Now, the results from a new radar observation campaign combined with precise orbit analysis have helped astronomers conclude that there is no risk of Apophis impacting our planet for at least a century.

Read more at: JPL

FAA Streamlined Launch And Reentry Rule Takes Effect

The United States is leading the way to a new era of commercial space transportation with a final rule that streamlines the licensing process for private sector launch and reentry operations.

“Innovation in commercial space transportation is increasing dramatically, and policy needs to keep up. This rule will help us to prepare for future U.S. leadership in commercial space transportation by facilitating the continued economic growth and innovation of the American aerospace industry and ensuring the highest level of public safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Space Debris Removal Demonstration Launches

Among the payloads was a 500kg Earth imager developed by the South Korean space agency; and a pair of spacecraft from the Tokyo-headquartered Astroscale company which will give a demonstration of how to clean up orbital debris.

Astroscale’s showcase will be run from an operations centre in the UK. The Soyuz flight lasted nearly five hours following a 06:07 GMT lift-off.

The long duration was a consequence of having to put so many different satellites in three different orbits roughly 500km to 550km above the Earth.

Read more at: BBC

Static Test Of SSLV’s First Stage Solid Motor Unsuccessful: ISRO

The static test of first stage solid motor (SS1) of ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) — a new-generation compact rocket — was not successful, according to sources in ISRO. “Oscillation was noticed after 60 seconds into the test and nozzle was blown out near the bucket flange where it’s attached with the motor at around 95 seconds”, sources in the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said. It was supposed to be tested for a total duration of about 110 seconds, officials said.

Read more at: HansIndia


Decommissioned NOAA Weather Satellite Breaks Up

A polar-orbiting weather satellite decommissioned nearly eight years ago has broken up, adding to the growing debris population in a key orbit.

The Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron said March 18 it hard confirmed the NOAA-17 satellite broke up March 10. The squadron said it was tracking 16 pieces of debris associated with the satellite, and that there was no evidence the breakup was caused by a collision.

Read more at: Spacenews

Suspected Space Junk From Satellite Launch Puts On Light Show Over Southern B.C.

A cluster of bright, falling lights lit up the skies over B.C.’s South Coast and much of the U.S. Pacific Northwest on Thursday night, the suspected result of rocket debris burning up as it re-entered the atmosphere.

Videos of the phenomenon were posted on social media by residents of the Seattle area, Oregon and B.C.

On Vancouver Island, the Saanich Fire Department tweeted that it had “received reports of flames in the sky” from multiple callers.

Read more at: CBC

Algorithms Inspired By Social Networks Reveal Lifecycle Of Substorms, A Key Element Of Space Weather

Space weather often manifests as substorms, where a beautiful auroral display such as the Northern Lights is accompanied by an electrical current in space which has effects at earth that can interfere with and damage power distribution and electrical systems. Now, the lifecycle of these auroral substorms has been revealed using social media-inspired mathematical tools to analyse space weather observations across the Earth’s surface.

Analysis by researchers led by the University of Warwick has revealed that these substorms manifest as global-scale electrical current systems associated with the spectacular aurora, reaching across over a third of the globe at high latitudes.

Read more at: Eurekalert

New Imaging Algorithm Can Spot Fast-Moving And Rotating Space Junk

A new imaging algorithm devised by researchers in the US could improve our ability to track space junk orbiting the Earth. Through simulated tests, the team has showed how a cross-correlation of the signals reflected by a piece of debris could be used to extract high-resolution, undistorted images of how an object spins as it travels through space – allowing it to be tracked more accurately. Their algorithm could soon prove invaluable in protecting satellite systems from colliding with space junk.

Read more at: Physics world

Water Mission Takes On Space Weather

For well over a decade, ESA’s SMOS satellite has been delivering a wealth of data to map moisture in soil and salt in the surface waters of the oceans for a better understanding of the processes driving the water cycle. While addressing key scientific questions, this exceptional Earth Explorer has repeatedly surpassed expectations by returning a wide range of unexpected results, often leading to practical applications that improve everyday life. Adding to SMOS’ list of talents, new findings show that what was considered noise in the mission’s data can actually be used to monitor solar activity and space weather, which can damage communication and navigation systems.

Read more at: ESA

Spaceblower: A Rocket To Combat Space Debris

SpaceBlower is a light suborbital rocket designed to eject a cloud of particles into the path of large non-manoeuvrable space debris. Its goal is to avoid collisions likely to generate thousands more debris fragments and thus to keep satellites and their orbits safe. Space Blower is a preliminary project initiated and funded by CNES and its partner Bertin Technologies (now CT France). Christophe Bonnal, senior expert at CNES’s Launch Vehicles Directorate, outlines what this project is aiming to accomplish.

Read more at: sciences-techniques


Exclusive: First Wuhan-Manufactured Commercial Rocket Ready For Launch Post Pandemic

The first locally manufactured commercial launch vehicle in Wuhan, capital of Central China’s Hubei Province and the region hardest hit by the COVID-19 epidemic at the beginning of 2020, is now undergoing final-stage testing and is ready for launch anytime, according to developers on Sunday.

Preparations have been completed on four new rockets which are awaiting orders for launch. The first of the Wuhan-manufactured launch vehicles will be codenamed Xinzhou after its birthplace in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district, sources with the Kuaizhou Rocket Complex at the Wuhan National Aerospace Industrial Base told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

Read more at: Globatimes

Rocket Lab Launches Smallsat Rideshare Mission

Rocket Lab launched six smallsats for a variety of commercial and government customers March 22 on a mission also intended to demonstrate the performance of its own smallsat bus.

The company’s Electron rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 1 at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The rocket deployed its kick stage eight and a half minutes after liftoff and, after a 40-minute coast, fired its Curie engine for nearly two minutes. Four minutes later, it deployed five payloads into a 550-kilometer circular orbit inclined at 45 degrees.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA To Offer Funding For Initial Studies Of Commercial Space Stations

NASA is shifting direction in its effort to support development of commercial space stations in low Earth orbit, with plans to issue a series of awards for initial studies before later purchasing services.

At a March 23 industry briefing, agency officials outlined what it calls the Commercial LEO Development (CLD) program, which will start with a set of two to four funded Space Act Agreements with companies to help with the initial design of their proposed orbital facilities. A draft announcement of proposals is scheduled for release in April followed by the final version in May.

Read more at: Spacenews

With CAS500, South Korea Launches Journey Toward Private-Led Satellite Development

The March 22 launch of South Korea’s CAS500-1 remote sensing satellite has marked the beginning of the country’s journey toward the domestic satellite industry being driven by the private sector.

To that end, the state-funded Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) jointly developed the 500-kilogram satellite with a group of selected industry partners from 2015, sharing its core technologies and information with the latter from the get-go, the first case of this kind, according to a KARI document.

Read more at: Spacenews

Southern Launch Gets First Aussie Launch Licence

The first Australian launch facility licence has been granted to Southern Launch, allowing the Adelaide based space tech to launch suborbital satellites from its Koonibba Test Range in regional South Australia.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews announced the licence on Thursday, saying it marked a major milestone for the Australian space sector.

“It will contribute to fuelling national capability as the civil space sector rapidly grows and transforms and becomes an even more important economic contributor,” Mrs Andrews said.

Read more at: innovationaus

Chinese Private Firm To Build Space Lab By 2025

As China has scheduled 11 launch missions in the next two years for the building of its first space station, a private space technology start-up based in Huzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province has been keeping its pace close to the national program, with an ambitious goal of initiating an orbital space biology lab around 2025, firm founder Cheng Wei told the Global Times on Sunday.

Read more at: Globaltimes

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