FAA: New Tool Limits Disruptions Caused By Space Operations

Federal regulators said Thursday they now can better track rocket launches and space vehicles returning to Earth, which could cut the amount of time that airplanes must be routed around space operations.

The tool, called the Space Data Integrator, will replace a system in which much of the work of giving telemetry data about space vehicles to air traffic control managers is done manually.

Read more at: ABCnews

Space Junk Flies At 1.8 Km Distance From Orbital Outpost — Roscosmos

A piece of space junk flew at a distance of 1.8 km from the International Space Station (ISS), Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced on Thursday.—

“According to the data of Russian specialists, an uncatalogued piece of space debris flew at a distance of 1.8 km from the International Space Station at around 4:15 p.m. Moscow time,” the statement says.

It was highly unlikely that the orbit paths of the orbital outpost and the space junk would intersect and, therefore, there was no need for the ISS to conduct an avoidance maneuver, the Russian space agency explained.

Read more at: TASS

The Hubble Space Telescope Is Facing Its Most Serious Glitch In A Decade And NASA Really Wants To Fix It

The venerable Hubble Space Telescope is facing its most serious malfunction in more than a decade, and while NASA is eager to restore the iconic observatory, the agency doesn’t want to rush that fix-it process. On June 13, Hubble unexpectedly stopped doing science work in what mission engineers originally suspected was a case of a memory module gone bad. But the anomaly has turned out to be more slippery than that.

Now, more than three weeks later, NASA’s team is still working to pin down precisely what went wrong on the observatory, which astronauts deployed from space shuttle Discovery in 1990 and last repaired in 2009. Although the anomaly has been trickier than originally expected, NASA officials are confident that Hubble has plenty more science up its sleeve.

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Chinese Researchers Propose Deflecting ‘Armageddon’ Asteroids With Rockets

Chinese researchers want to send more than 20 of China’s largest rockets to practice turning away a sizable asteroid – a technique that may eventually be crucial if a killer rock is on a collision course with Earth.

The idea is more than science fiction. Sometime between late 2021 to early 2022, the United States will launch a robotic spacecraft to intercept two asteroids relatively close to Earth.

When it arrives a year later, the NASA spacecraft will crash-land on the smaller of the two rocky bodies to see how much the asteroid’s trajectory changes. It will be humanity’s first try at changing the course of a celestial body.

Read more at: Reuters

Repurposed Communications Satellites Could Help Save Humanity From An Asteroid Impact

Large satellites used for TV broadcasting could be quickly and easily repurposed as asteroid deflectors if a space rock were to threaten Earth, according to a study by the European aerospace company Airbus. The study, part of a mission concept called Fast Kinetic Deflection (FastKD), was commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA), as part of its effort to prepare for an apocalyptic scenario that will certainly happen one day (even though that day might be in a very distant future).

Read more at:

Another Free-Falling Chinese Rocket Body Hit Earth Last Week

On July 3, another Chinese rocket fell to Earth. But this one landed in the Pacific Ocean with very little splash. 

The Long March-2F rocket launched June 17 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. It carried the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and three Chinese astronauts to the country’s new space station. Then, just like its higher-profile predecessor, the Long March-5B, the rocket ran out of fuel after boosting the astronauts into space and began to free-fall back to Earth. 

Just like with the earlier rocket free-fall, the task of tracking its path fell to U.S. Space Command’s 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

Read more at: defenseone


Space Tugs As A Service: In-Orbit Service Providers Are Bracing For Consolidation

Orbital transfer and servicing providers are bracing for a space tug of war as they jostle for position in an increasingly crowded market.

Newcomers are flooding into a space tug industry that has only emerged in recent years, pushing their own ideas to give operators greater flexibility for deploying and maintaining satellites.

At one end of the spectrum, companies such as Spaceflight, Exolaunch and Momentus are devising tugs that satellites attach to on the ground before they are transported to custom orbits post-launch. These services enable customers to cut costs by reducing a satellite’s onboard propulsion, or by removing it altogether and hosting the payload on the tug — sometimes called an orbital transfer vehicle (OTV).

Read more at: Spacenews

Richard Branson Believes The Space Market Has Room For 20 Companies Launching Tourists

Sir Richard Branson may be trying to be first in the billionaire space race, but he believes there is plenty of opportunity in the market for companies like Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, or Elon Musk’s SpaceX. “There’s room for 20 space companies to take people up there,” Branson said in an interview this week. “The more spaceships we can build, the more we can bring the price down and the more we’ll be able to satisfy demand and that will happen over the years to come.” Virgin Galactic leadership has previously forecast that “around 2 million people can experience” spaceflights that are priced in the $250,000 to $500,000 range.

Read more at: CNBC

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