Boeing Attempts Uncrewed Test Flight To ISS A Second Time

Boeing will be aiming to get its spaceflight program back on track Tuesday with an uncrewed flight of its Starliner capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), after its last such test in 2019 ended in failure.

The spaceship is due to launch on an Atlas V rocket built by the United Launch Alliance from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 1:20 pm Eastern time (1720 GMT).

A livestream of the mission, Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), will be up on NASA’s website.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Russia’s Pirs Module Discarded After 20 Years Of Service At Space Station

Wrapping up nearly 20 years of service as a docking port and airlock, Russia’s Pirs module departed the International Space Station Monday under tow from a Progress supply ship and headed for a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere, clearing the way for arrival of a larger science lab later this week.

Russia’s Progress MS-16 cargo freighter undocked from the space station at 6:55 a.m. EDT (1055 GMT) Monday as the outpost soared 260 miles (418 kilometers) over northern China.

Instead of departing the station alone, the Progress spacecraft backed away from the complex with Russia’s Pirs docking compartment, clearing a port on the Zvezda service module that has been occupied since 2001.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Europa Clipper Mission To Launch Atop A Falcon Heavy

After years of debating on a launch vehicle Europa Clipper spacecraft, NASA has selected SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy for the highly-anticipated mission to Jupiter’s icy moon. Originally mandated by the United States Congress to fly atop NASA’s Space Launch System, earlier in 2021, NASA got the go-ahead to select a commercial launch vehicle if an SLS wouldn’t be available or if there was a hardware compatibility issue. As it turns out, a spare SLS is unlikely to be available for non-Artemis missions. So in January, NASA issued a solicitation for options to launch the flagship mission.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

Russia Says ‘Software Failure’ Caused Thruster Misfire At Space Station

Yesterday’s unexpected tilting of the International Space Station was caused by a software glitch, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.

A new Russian module dubbed Nauka arrived at the space station Thursday morning (July 29). In development for more than a decade, Nauka is designed to host science experiments, anchor visiting vehicles and serve as a gateway for spacewalks.

Read more at:

Ariane 5 Lofts Two Satellites In Important Lead-Up To James Webb Launch

Close to one year after its last flight, the Ariane 5 ECA has returned to service with its first launch of 2021, lifting off at 21:00 UTC on Friday, July 30. The sixth overall mission for Arianespace this year follows a rework of the payload fairing due to vibration issues that could have endangered payloads.

On board the mission, named VA254, were two communications satellites bound for geostationary transfer orbit. This flight is the first of two that precede the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope as early as this November.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight


Ball Aerospace Completes Preliminary Design Review Of NOAA’s Space Weather Satellite

Ball Aerospace successfully completed the preliminary design review (PDR) for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) spacecraft. With PDR complete, the spacecraft now moves into the critical design phase.

Ball was awarded the contract to design and build the SWFO-L1 spacecraft on June 25, 2020 by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on behalf of NOAA. SWFO-L1 is an operational mission that will collect solar wind data and coronal imagery to meet NOAA’s operational requirements to monitor and forecast solar storm activity.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Astroscale And Rocket Maker MHI Team Up To Develop Debris Removal Technology

Astroscale, an orbital debris removal and satellite servicing company based in Japan, announced July 27 that it will be working with rocket maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on technologies to help clean up space junk.

The collaboration between Astroscale and a launch provider is significant because it could help address the growing problem of rocket upper stages left behind in orbit, which the European Space Agency identified as the most dangerous pieces of orbital debris.

A major concern cited by ESA is the breakup of satellites and rocket bodies caused when batteries or propellant tanks explode.

Read more at: Spacenews

How AI Is Helping Space Debris Removal Efforts

As the space race heats up, debris has become a burning issue. Since the beginning of the space age in the 1950s, thousands of satellites and rockets have been sent to space and are marooned there. The Union of Concerned Scientists Satellite database has listed more than 4,084 operational satellites currently orbiting the Earth. In 2010, this number was less than a thousand. In the distant future, this problem can extend to the lunar surface and the asteroid belt (the current count stands at 34,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 10 centimetres in size and millions of smaller pieces).

Anti satellite tests smash and shrapnelize existing satellites into hundreds of newer pieces that may take anywhere between weeks or years to disintegrate in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at: Analytics India

Western Leads Global Project Observing Rare Meteor Showers And Meteorite Falls

As billionaires battle it out in a space race that only a handful of the world’s richest persons can play, a highly inclusive international project is looking in the other direction – what’s flying towards Earth – and all are welcome.

Led by Western University’s Denis Vida, the Global Meteor Network (GMN) is a collection of more than 450 video meteor cameras hosted by amateur astronomers and professionals alike in 23 countries across the globe.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Inmarsat Unveils Multi-Orbit Orchestra Constellation

British operator Inmarsat plans to add at least 150 low-Earth-orbit satellites to its global fleet, stepping up competition against OneWeb and others developing megaconstellations for mobility markets.

The company is investing $100 million over the next five years to lay the groundwork for deploying 150-175 LEO spacecraft.

They aim to join satellites Inmarsat has in geostationary and highly elliptical orbits from 2026.

Inmarsat, which currently operates 14 satellites, is also on track to add five new GEO and two HEO spacecraft to its network over the next five years.

Read more at: Spacenews


iRocket To Begin Rocket Engine Testing At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Reusable rocket startup iRocket has entered into a new partnership with NASA in its quest to reach commercialization in just two years.

The partnership will give iRocket access to testing facilities and engineering support, chiefly at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The company is hoping that it will conduct its first rocket engine test — an on-the-ground engine firing test — at the Huntsville site in September.

Read more at: Yahoo

Rocket Lab Returns Electron To Flight With Dedicated US Space Force Mission

Rocket Lab conducted the 21st flight of its Electron small satellite launch vehicle, a return to flight mission following a failure over two months ago. The launch carried a satellite for the United States Space Force on a dedicated trip.

Electron launched at the opening of the launch window at 06:00 UTC Thursday.

Electron lifted-off from Rocket Lab‘s LC-1A launch site on Mahia Peninsula, located on the Eastern Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, which has been the launch site for all of Electron‘s previous launches.

This mission was originally meant to mark the first Electron launch out of Rocket Lab’s second launch site, LC-2, located on Wallops Island in Virginia, although the mission was moved to New Zealand after Rocket Lab encountered delays in obtaining certification from NASA regarding Electron’s Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS).

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

NASA Starts Proposal Solicitation for Near-Earth Commercial Satcom Services

NASA has started its proposal solicitation effort to identity satellite communications companies that could work with the space agency to demonstrate the feasibility of near-Earth satcom operations by 2025.

Interested commercial providers have until Aug. 20 to submit proposals for NASA’s Communications Services Project, the agency said Wednesday.

A notice posted on states that the agency looks to procure communications services for future spacecraft that will orbit close to Earth rather than maintaining the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System fleet.

Read more at: executivebiz

AST SpaceMobile Announces Launch Services Agreement to Deploy 693-Square-Foot Phased Array Spacecraft for Direct-to-Cell Phone Connectivity Testing

AST SpaceMobile, Inc., the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, today announced an agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for the launch of its next prototype spacecraft, BlueWalker 3.

BlueWalker 3 is expected to launch aboard a SpaceX mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in March 2022. The spacecraft has an aperture of 693 square feet and is designed to communicate directly with cell phones via 3GPP standard frequencies.

Read more at: Business wire

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