Astroscale’s ADRAS-J Completes Successful Rendezvous and Initiates Proximity Approach

Astroscale Japan Inc. (“Astroscale Japan”), a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, announced that its commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J), has achieved a major technical milestone: completion of the rendezvous phase of its mission and the beginning of proximity approach. This success is underscored by starting Angles-Only Navigation, a navigation method to estimate relative position and velocity through the servicer’s on-board cameras.

Read more at: Astroscale

Russian Spacecraft Comes Alarmingly Close To Colliding With US Satellite, NASA ‘Very Shocked’

An American satellite narrowly avoided destruction when it came within 10 meters of a Russian satellite in space.

According to a report by The Mirror US citing experts, a collision between the two could have “endangered lives”. NASA’s Deputy Administrator, Colonel Pam Melroy expressed deep concern over the incident that occurred in February 2024. Despite efforts, neither satellite could be manoeuvred, resulting in an alarming near miss.

Read more at: livemint


NASA Says Giraffe-Sized Asteroid to Pass Incredibly Close to Earth Today

An asteroid is expected to come extremely close to the Earth on Thursday, skimming past us as it flies off into the cosmos.

The asteroid, named 2024 GJ2, will zip past our planet at a distance of 0.00012 astronomical units, or around 11,100 miles. While this may still sound like a long way away, it is very close on a cosmic scale, equivalent to only 4 percent of the distance between the Earth and the moon, which is about 238,900 miles away. 2024 GJ2 is thought to be between 7.2 and 16.4 feet across, making it no larger than a giraffe.

Read more at: newsweek

Fireball Lights Up New Jersey Night Sky Days After Eclipse, Earthquake

A massive fireball lit up the sky across New Jersey early Wednesday morning in what has already been a bizarre week of natural phenomena in the Garden State and surrounding area, including an earthquake and the solar eclipse.

An apparent meteor falling to earth created a brilliant streak of light, with residents in several New Jersey towns — as well as some parts of Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania — reporting the spectacle to the American Meteor Society.

Read more at: NYpost

NASA Investigates Possible Space Junk That Crashed Through Florida Home

NASA is investigating whether a piece of space junk re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and came crashing through the roof and two stories of a Naples, Florida, home.On March 8, Alejandro Otero of Naples wrote to Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell on social media that a piece of space debris landed in his home. McDowell tracks Earth reentries on his website.Otero responded to McDowell’s post about an International Space Station battery pallet re-entering Earth’s atmosphere around March 8. According to McDowell, the item was jettisoned from the space station in 2021.

Read more at: foxweather


There Appears to Be a Huge Problem With SpaceX’s Starlink

In a brief announcement on his social media platform last year, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk celebrated that the company’s Starlink broadband service had “achieved breakeven cash flow.”

“Starlink is also now a majority of all active satellites and will have launched a majority of all satellites cumulatively from Earth by next year,” he said at the time.

But according to a damning new report by Bloomberg, Musk may have once again rigged the numbers in his favor by greatly underplaying the costs involved in launching the satellites, when in reality the company is losing “hundreds of dollars on each of the millions of ground terminals it ships.”

Read more at: futurism

The Outside Perspective | SES Q&A

After taking the helm of SES in February, IT veteran Adel Al-Saleh plans to draw on his AI and terrestrial network expertise to position the geostationary and medium Earth orbit (MEO) operator to meet future broadband needs.

His appointment comes at a critical juncture for an industry facing a lack of capacity to insure innovative, multimillion-dollar satellites following a string of high-profile failures.

SpaceNews caught up with Al-Saleh as SES prepares to start services from O3b mPower before the end of April, despite power issues affecting four of the initial six satellites in its next-gen MEO network.

Read more at: spacenews

Starlink Rival Astranis Debuts Next-Gen Satellite With 5x More Capacity

Starlink rival Astranis has a new satellite designed to beam over 50Gbps of internet capacity to Earth, or about five times more than the company’s current satellites.

US-based Astranis today debuted Omega, which it says is “pound-for-pound the most powerful communications satellite,” for higher geostationary orbits — or about 22,000 miles above the planet, 60 times further than a typical Starlink satellite.

Astranis’ first-generation satellites already deliver 10Gbps. This includes beaming internet to users in Alaska with download rates around 25Mbps.

Read more at: PCmag

US Government Could Help fund Intelsat’s MEO Plans

Intelsat is in talks with the U.S. government to help fund 17 medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites to expand the operator’s multi-orbit broadband network.

CEO David Wajsgras said the company, which operates geostationary satellites but also provides low Earth orbit (LEO) services via leased capacity from OneWeb, is due to pick companies to build its own MEO network before the end of June.

Read more at: spacenews

Chilliwack Engineer Launches Inflatable ‘Space Habitat’ With Elon Musk’s SpaceX

A Chilliwack aerospace engineer is hoping to get his company’s latest creation – an expandable space habitat – as far as Mars, perhaps with the help of Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

At a news conference at the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on Tuesday (April 9), Maxim De Jong’s new Max Space company introduced a new unique, expandable space-habitat architecture to the world.

The engineers at Max Space said they have successfully shown that their expandable technology can be scaled upwards in size indefinitely — potentially as large as a stadium — while maintaining structural predictability. Their advancements make the company one-of-a-kind in the space habitation market by opening the door to large-scale production and vastly reduced flight qualification cost, the company announced.

Read more at: theprogress



Russia’s First Post-Cold War Rocket Lifts Off from Remote Eastern Launch Site

The three-stage rocket has taken flight on three previous occasions, but today’s launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region marks an important first, as Russia seeks to modernize its space program and keep pace with the rest of the world.

The big rocket, standing nearly 179 feet (54.5 meters) tall, rumbled off the Vostochny launch pad at 5:00 a.m. ET this morning, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos. The mission went as planned, with the Angara A5 successfully delivering a test payload to low Earth orbit.

Read more at: gizmodo

Three Years Later, the Search for Life on Mars Continues

In the three years since NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars, the NASA science team has made the daily task of investigating the red planet seem almost mundane.

The rover and its helicopter sidekick Ingenuity have captured stunning images of Mars and collected 23 unique rock core samples along 17 miles of an ancient river delta.

One science team member, University of Cincinnati Associate Professor Andy Czaja, said he sometimes has to remind himself that the project is anything but ordinary.

“This is so cool. I’m exploring another planet,” he said.

Read more at: scitechdaily

NASA Next-Generation Solar Sail Boom Technology Ready for Launch

Sailing through space might sound like something out of science fiction, but the concept is no longer limited to books or the big screen. In April, a next-generation solar sail technology – known as the Advanced Composite Solar Sail System – will launch aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in Māhia, New Zealand. The technology could advance future space travel and expand our understanding of our Sun and solar system.

Solar sails use the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, angling toward or away from the Sun so that photons bounce off the reflective sail to push a spacecraft. This eliminates heavy propulsion systems and could enable longer duration and lower-cost missions. Although mass is reduced, solar sails have been limited by the material and structure of the booms, which act much like a sailboat’s mast. But NASA is about to change the sailing game for the future.

Read more at: NASA

This Is The New Spaceship That Will Take Humans Back To The Moon

Next year, NASA will blast astronauts back to the moon. This is their 21st-century ride. The European Space Agency — which helped build the Orion spacecraft that will carry four passengers — just posted an image of the tall vehicle before it was transferred to a test chamber for exposure to extreme, space-like environs.

“At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, the Orion vehicle that will be used for Artemis II is getting ready for this first mission to bring humans around the Moon and back in over 50 years,” ESA wrote.

Read more at: Mashable

NASA Has A Possible Ingenuity Successor And Her Name Is MAGGIE

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter took its final flight on January 18, 2024, but it proved that flight on Mars was indeed possible, flying 72 times before being permanently grounded by a broken rotor. NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) has now approved funding for a proposed Ingenuity successor, the Mars Aerial and Ground Global Intelligent Explorer or MAGGIE.

Read more at: boingboing

SpaceX Begins Deployment of Direct to Cell Capable Starlinks

SpaceX began the deployment of their Direct to Cell Starlink satellites following a successful launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California Saturday evening.

Of the 21 satellites launched, 6 of them feature an advanced modem that is capable of connecting directly to cell phones the same way phones connect to land-based cell towers.

Read more at: Teslarati


New NASA Strategy Envisions Sustainable Future for Space Operations

To address a rapidly changing space operating environment and ensure its preservation for generations to come, NASA released the first part of its integrated Space Sustainability Strategy, on Tuesday advancing the agency’s role as a global leader on this crucial issue.

“The release of this strategy marks true progress for NASA on space sustainability,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Space is busy – and only getting busier. If we want to make sure that critical parts of space are preserved so that our children and grandchildren can continue to use them for the benefit of humanity, the time to act is now. NASA is making sure that we’re aligning our resources to support sustainable activity for us and for all.”

Read more at: NASA

FAA: No Current Plans To Tax Commercial Space Launches

A Federal Aviation Administration official said April 10 that the Biden administration has no plans for the time being to levy taxes on commercial launches, similar to those on airlines, to address the launch industry’s impact on airspace.

The New York Times reported April 4 that the Biden administration was proposing to tax companies that perform commercial launches, modeling the tax on those the Department of Transportation charges on commercial airline tickets that go into a trust fund that supports airport infrastructure and airspace operations. The article suggested that launch companies were getting a “tax-free ride” by not funding the FAA’s air traffic management work even as launches impose temporary airspace closures that affect aviation.

Read more at: spacenews

NASA, Japan Advance Space Cooperation, Sign Agreement for Lunar Rover

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Masahito Moriyama have signed an agreement to advance sustainable human exploration of the Moon.

Japan will design, develop, and operate a pressurized rover for crewed and uncrewed exploration on the Moon. NASA will provide the launch and delivery of the rover to the Moon as well as two opportunities for Japanese astronauts to travel to the lunar surface.

Read more at: NASA

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Tata Co Launches India’s 1st Privately-Built Sub-Metre Resolution Surveillance Satellite

Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons that specializes in aerospace and defense solutions, in collaboration with Satellogic, a leading provider of high-resolution satellite imagery in the world, announced on Monday the successful launch and deployment in low-earth orbit of India’s first private sector-built sub-metre resolution earth observation or surveillance satellite, TSAT-1A.

Read more at: times of india

Tata co launches India's 1st privately-built sub-metre resolution  surveillance satellite - Times of India

Rocket Lab, True Anomaly Selected For Space Force ‘Tactically Responsive’ Mission

The space services company Rocket Lab and startup True Anomaly announced April 11 they have secured contracts to launch a “tactically responsive space” mission for the U.S. Space Force.

Rocket Lab was awarded a $32 million contract and True Anomaly got a $30 million contract for Victus Haze, a demonstration mission intended to test and refine the military’s capabilities for rapidly deploying satellites in response to threats in space. For Victus Haze, an imaging satellite will be launched to inspect an object in orbit.

Read more at: spacenews

US Space Force To Perform World’s First Military Exercise In Orbit

The US Space Force on April 11 announced that it is partnering with private space companies Rocket Lab and True Anomaly for a military on-orbit demonstration.

The Victus Haze Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS) mission will demonstrate how the military would counter “on-orbit aggression.” It is a first-of-its-kind mission that reflects ongoing military escalation in the space domain.

Read more at: interesting engineering

US Risks Losing Space And Military Tech Dominance Without Commercial Sector Support, Space Force Commander Warns

The United States’ dominant position when it comes to the space industry and, by extension, certain military tech could be lost as adversaries such as Russia and especially China make huge gains. The commander of the US Space Force (USSF) warns that without help from the commercial sector, “the US will lose.”

Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations for USSF, talked about the need for the military to form partnerships with the commercial space sector, such as SpaceX, ULA, and Blue Origin (eventually), to develop new space-based tech.

Read more at: techspot

National Guard Chief Makes Case for Space Guard: ‘Would Work Exactly Like It is Right Now’

National Guard officials and state governors are arguing against removing space missions from the Guard, challenging a key element of the Department of the Air Force’s plan on how to staff its space missions.

The long-simmering issue came to the fore recently after the leaders of the National Governors Association, Govs. Spencer Cox (R-Utah) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) released a statement blasting the Department of Air Force’s plans to create part-time Guardians in lieu of a Space National Guard.

Read more at: airandspaceforces


End Of An Era: Delta 4 Heavy Soars One Last Time

In a historic sendoff, United Launch Alliance on April 9 launched a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite on the final flight of the Delta 4 Heavy rocket.

The Delta 4 Heavy, with three common core boosters strapped together, thundered off the pad at 12:53 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, marking the end of an era for the rocket that launched 16 missions since its debut in December 2004.

Read more at: spacenews

HALO Space Unveils Capsule Design For Stratospheric Space ‘Glamping’

Stratospheric balloon company HALO Space plans to offer aspiring space travelers the space tourism equivalent of glamping. Instead of tight space suits and stomach-churning G-forces typically attached to a rocket flight, the company’s pressurized capsule, attached to a helium-filled balloon, will offer comfy swivel seats, giant windows and a selection of fine cuisine.

The Spanish-headquartered firm unveiled the design of the 3.9-ton (3.5 metric tonnes) Aurora capsule at an event in London on Wednesday, April 10, and said it hoped to begin commercial operations in 2026.

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Long-Awaited Ariane 6 Rocket Faces Tough Odds in First Launch

The highly anticipated first flight of Ariane 6 may finally take place this summer after years of delays. But before we can get too excited, European Space Agency Director General Josef Aschbacher is already setting the rocket up for failure without it even reaching the launchpad yet.

During a panel discussion at the 39th Space Symposium held this week, Aschbacher pointed out that heavy-lift rockets have a 47% chance of experiencing a major anomaly during their inaugural flights, European Spaceflight reported. Although he didn’t refer to Ariane 6 specifically, the statement puts a major damper on the upcoming debut of the long-awaited heavy-lift rocket.

Read more at: gizmodo

NASA Mission Accidentally Sends Space Rocks Hurtling Towards Mars

Well, now we’ve torn it. A mission to divert the course of an asteroid in September 2022 may have been a wild success, but it hasn’t been without collateral damage. A new analysis of the debris ejected from the asteroid Dimorphos when NASA slammed the DART spacecraft into it has revealed that some of the rocks could be on a collision course with Mars.

That doesn’t seem like a big deal at the moment, because there’s no one on Mars to worry about… but by the time the rocks are due to intersect with Mars’s orbit, there very well might be, if crewed missions go according to plan.

Read more at: sciencealert

The Space Shuttle Was Revolutionary For Its Time. What Went Wrong?

Upon its inception, NASA’s space shuttle program promised to usher in a new era of exploration, keeping astronauts space-bound with a reusable and relatively cheap ride into orbit. It was a project that forever altered the course of spaceflight with its triumphs — and its tragic failures.

Deemed an “engineering marvel,” the first of five winged orbiters — the space shuttle Columbia — made its inaugural flight in 1981.

Twenty-two years and 28 trips to space later, the same shuttle broke apart during its final return to Earth, killing all seven crew members on board.

The tragedy spelled the end for the US space agency’s transformative shuttle program. And its memory continues to reverberate in the halls of NASA today, leaving a lasting mark on its consideration of safety.

Read more at: CNN

NASA Discovered Bacteria That Wouldn’t Die. Now It’s Boosting Sunscreen.

Many people associate NASA with exploring new worlds in space, but few know it’s also finding new microscopic ecosystems right here. Years ago, Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a scientist who decontaminates spacecraft bound for Mars, found a curious microorganism on the end of his swab. The bacteria, which he named bacillus pumilus, was so resilient, the usual cleaning solutions — ultraviolet light and peroxide — wouldn’t kill it.

Read more at: mashable