Malaysia’s Measat-3 Satellite Tumbling In GEO

Malaysian operator Measat announced July 17 it has maintained continuous telemetry and command control of an aging satellite that ExoAnalytic Solutions, a space tracking company, said has been drifting westward in geostationary orbit for nearly a month.

The ExoAnalytic space tracking system detected an anomaly for Measat-3 on June 21, after which it started drifting out of its 91.5 East orbital slot.

Measat-3 appears to have made several in-orbit maneuvers after beginning to drift June 22, but “none since our analysts confirmed on July 1 that it was tumbling,” said ExoAnalytic Solutions executive vice president of engineering Bill Therien.

Read more at: Spacenews

Virgin Galactic’s Spaceshiptwo Unity 22 Launch With Richard Branson. See Video And Photos Of The Flight.

On July 11, Virgin Galactic made a giant leap toward commercial suborbital spaceflight. The company launched its first fully crewed flight of its SpaceShipTwo space plane Unity with a special passenger on board: the company’s billionaire founder Richard Branson. Branson, three crewmates and two pilots launched on the historic flight after being carried into launch position by Virgin Galactic’s carrier plane VMS Eve. They will take off from the company’s homeport of Spaceport America in New Mexico, with a live webcast chronicling the flight.

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‘Hubble Is Back!’ Famed Space Telescope Has New Lease On Life After Computer Swap Appears To Fix Glitch

The iconic but elderly Hubble Space Telescope appears to have been resurrected again after a shutdown of more than a month following a computer glitch. Science has learned that following a switch from the operating payload control computer to a backup device over the past 24 hours, Hubble’s operators have re-established communications with all the telescope’s instruments and plan to return them to normal operations today.

“Hubble is back!” Tom Brown, head of the Hubble mission office, emailed to staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute at 5:56 a.m. “I am excited to watch Hubble get back to exploring the universe.”

Read more at: Sciencemag

U.S. Approves Blue Origin License For Human Space Travel Ahead Of Bezos Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday it approved a Blue Origin license to carry humans on the New Shepard launch system into space.

Former Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s maiden crewed voyage on July 20.

Blue Origin is authorized to carry humans while its FAA license is valid through August and is approved to conduct these missions from its Launch Site One facility in Texas, the agency confirmed.

Read more at: Reuters

Increasing Demands Putting Pressure On Deep Space Network

A growing number of spacecraft missions, as well as NASA’s Artemis program, are putting new pressures on the agency’s Deep Space Network of antennas that communicate with them.

In a July 7 presentation to the steering committee of the planetary science decadal survey, Brad Arnold, manager of the Deep Space Network (DSN) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says that even with upgrades to the radio antennas at sites in Australia, California and Spain, the system can’t keep up with growing demand from missions.

“We’re trying to add capacity and more antennas, but we can’t keep up with the demand that’s currently out there, so missions should expect to be getting less availability,” he said.

Read more at: Spacenews


US Wants Giant Radar In UK To Track Space Objects

The US Space Force is developing the global system to identify potential “targets” up to 36,000km away, in areas of deep space where a lot of military satellites are positioned.

Other sites would include Texas and Australia.

The Ministry of Defence said the new radar capability has the potential to make space “safer and more secure”.

It comes amid growing concerns about congestion, competition and even an arms race in space.

Read more at: BBC

Government Fund Will Support New Ideas For Cleaning Up Space

One of the biggest global challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts orbiting Earth. Space debris can stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

The UK Space Agency is looking to fund two active debris removal feasibility studies through its Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) programme, which aims to make space safer and more sustainable.

Read more at: UK gov

Solar Storm 2021: Earth Braces For Powerful Solar Storm

After a powerful solar flare created a blackout over the Atlantic, a solar storm is headed towards Earth, likely to hit the planet Today & Tomorrow.

Read more at: Youtube


What Are The Chances That Jeff Bezos Won’t Survive His Flight On New Shepard?

Jeff Bezos should feel mildly confident that he’s not going to be blown to smithereens during his upcoming jaunt to space. Though riskier than many other things the world’s wealthiest billionaire might do, the first crewed flight of his New Shepard rocket will be about as dangerous as the majority of other spaceflight launches, according to two experts consulted by Live Science. Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, will partake in an 11-minute journey along with three other crew members on July 20, an event set to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, as Live Science previously reported.

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China’s Commercial Space Industry

Richard Branson won the billionaire space race this week when he boarded his Virgin Galactic spacecraft and became the first “space tourist” for a few minutes. He got there ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who is to take off in his Blue Origin rocket next week.

Of course, American firms aren’t the only ones heading into space. In recent months, China’s national space program has landed rovers on the moon and Mars and placed its own space station into orbit. But beyond the national program, China’s commercial space industry is growing rapidly.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Israeli Lunar Landing Venture Says It Secures $70 Million For 2024 Launch

An Israeli space group is on course to make its second attempt at an unmanned lunar landing in 2024 after securing $70 million in private funding for the mission.

The SpaceIL organisation said on Sunday that Patrick Drahi, a Franco-Israeli billionaire and controlling shareholder of Altice Europe, would donate the funds along with SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn and South African businessman Martin Moshal.

Read more at: Reuters

Thales Alenia Space To Provide The First Two Pressurized Modules For Axiom Space Station

Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), and Axiom Space of Houston, Texas (USA), have signed the final contract for the development of two key pressurized elements of Axiom Space Station – the world’s first commercial space station. Scheduled for launch in 2024 and 2025 respectively, the two elements will originally be docked to the International Space Station (ISS), marking the birth of the new Axiom Station segment. The value of the contract is 110 Million Euro.

Read more at: Thales group

Chinese Rocket Companies Are Preparing For Hop Tests

A number of Chinese rocket firms are preparing to carry out first hop tests in a bid to develop reusable launch vehicles.

Beijing Deep Blue Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd., carried out a 10-second static fire test of the 7.3-meter-high “Nebula-M” technology verification test vehicle, the company announced July 13.

Deep Blue Aerospace plans to follow up with a variable thrust test before attempting vertical takeoff, vertical landing tests with the Nebula-M. No timeline for the attempts was provided.

Read more at: Spacenews

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