Space Station Mishap Caused Orbiting Lab To Rotate 1 1/2 Times, NASA Says

The International Space Station spun around 1 1/2 times on its main axis last week when a new Russian segment of the orbiting platform malfunctioned, a NASA spokesman said, as new details emerged about the incident.

“Mission control got alerts on the ground at the same time astronauts got an alert that the attitude [position] of the space station was changing,” Dan Huot, a NASA public affairs officer, told UPI on Tuesday.

“The astronauts didn’t even know they were moving, because the motion was very slow, until they looked out the window and saw the Earth and stars moving.”

Read more at: Spacedaily

Impact Of Space Station Spin Requires Study, Official Says

Space engineers will analyze whether a glitch that caused the International Space Station to spin out of its normal orientation could have impacted any of its systems, a Russian space official said Wednesday.

Sergei Krikalev, the director of crewed space programs at the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, emphasized that last week’s incident did not inflict any observable damage to the space station but he said that experts would need to study its potential implications.

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Boeing’s Starliner Heads Back To Hangar After Valve Issue Thwarts Test Launch For NASA

Boeing’s Starliner capsule will trudge back inside for more checks after skipping a Tuesday launch attempt when indications suggested a problem with a valve in the vehicle’s propulsion system. Ground teams will roll the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket back into the Vertical Integration Facility at Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday (Aug. 5), NASA confirmed in a statement. The move allows engineers to directly access the Starliner capsule, which officials hope will help them track down the elusive valve issue.

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Starliner Investigation Continues

Boeing is continuing its investigation into the thruster issue that delayed the launch of its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle but could soon run into schedule conflicts on both the International Space Station and with its launch vehicle. In an Aug. 6 statement, Boeing said it was continuing to study why several valves in the propulsion system of the spacecraft were unexpectedly in the closed position during the countdown to the Aug. 3 launch attempt of the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) 2 mission, an uncrewed test flight. Boeing scrubbed the launch about three hours before the scheduled liftoff because of the problem.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX Stacks Starship Atop Massive Booster For 1st Time To Make The World’s Tallest Rocket

SpaceX’s newest Starship prototype was briefly placed atop of its massive booster for the first time on Friday (Aug. 6), setting a new record for the world’s tallest rocket ahead of a planned orbital test flight this year. Engineers performed the stacking test at the SpaceX Starbase facility in South Texas, near the village of Boca Chica, in view of livestreams from NASA Spaceflight and SpaceX has not commented on the stacking procedure yet on Twitter, although founder Elon Musk sent an update suggesting the company actually wanted to complete the stacking Thursday (Aug. 5), a few hours after Starship completed its rollout to the launch pad, but winds were too high.

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The Explosive Growth Of The Satellite Business

If you have any doubt about the meteoric growth of the satellite industry, consider this: In 2019, there were ~2k high-tech devices orbiting the planet. Today, there are more than 6k By 2030, there will be an estimated 50k For decades, these extraterrestrial bodies were the preserve of governments and multi-billion-dollar firms like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and AT&T. Then, 3 things changed: Rocket launches got cheaper, Satellites got smaller, Data analysis software became more advanced. These shifts shepherded in a host of private players and led to an explosion of readily available, high-resolution satellite imagery.

Read more at: hustle

New Technology For Space Weather Monitoring From The Ground

The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space have awarded £131,000 to Lancaster University to design a prototype network of radiation detectors which will help with predicting and understanding space weather events. Space weather refers to disturbances in the upper atmosphere and space environment around the Earth, caused by activity at the Sun which can disrupt technology, including causing risks to safe aircraft operation, power outages, and satellite navigation errors.

The first international network of ground-level neutron monitors were established in 1957 but there are now only around 50 active stations worldwide and none in the UK. The funding will kick off a 12-month design phase during which a team from Lancaster University will design smaller, cheaper monitors.

Read more at: Ralspace

New Zealand and LeoLabs Sign Multiyear Deal for Space Regulatory Platform

LeoLabs and the New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA) are working together to develop a cloud-based software platform for monitoring space activity. New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced the multiyear deal Aug. 5, saying it would lead to “the world’s most advanced Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform.”

LeoLabs, a Silicon Valley startup focused on monitoring activity in low Earth orbit, began developing the platform with the NZSA in 2019. In the past two years, LeoLabs and NZSA have moved from a prototype platform that tracks objects in low Earth orbit and ensures satellite operators are fulfilling commitments made when applying for launch licenses to a working model.

Read more at: Spacenews

Who’s Going To Fix The Space Junk Problem?

There are over 20,000 known and tracked pieces of space debris orbiting Earth, each one traveling at about 15,000 mph (24,000 km/h). They pose a risk to future space missions, and nobody is bothering to clean it up. Why? Because it’s too hard.

In the early 1960s, the U.S. military wanted to devise a new way of communicating with its forces around the globe. If an enemy severed undersea cables, they could only rely on bouncing radio signals off of the ionosphere, which was an unreliable method. The Cold War-era solution? A program called Project West Ford, a plan to launch 480 million tiny slivers of copper needles into space, giving Earth an artificial ionosphere and a reliable way to communicate.

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The Magnificent Seven: The Main UK Rocket Launch Sites & Their Benefits

The UK is the leading satellite manufacturer in Europe, but the country lacks a cluster of space launch services and UK rocket launch sites. The vast majority of British spacecraft are launched from US sites and the ESA-operated Kourou in French Guiana, South America.

To fill the gap and enter a lucrative market, in 2018, the British government and UKSA announced their support for a programme to build multiple launch sites across the country. The UK launch market is predicted to give a powerful boost to the British economy and increase its share in the international space industry from 6% to 10%.

Read more at: Orbital today


German Startups Launch Mini-Rocket Challenge To Spacex And Co.

Car-manufacturing powerhouse Germany is rushing to join the private sector space race as it looks to ride a boom in mini-launchers for small satellites and compete with major US firms such as SpaceX.

Three projects in particular are making Germany a serious player in the race to provide mini-launchers for the increasing number of small satellites which observe the Earth and provide connectivity for the internet of things and smart vehicles.

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Mystery Surrounds Chinese Private Rocket Launch Attempt

Chinese private firm iSpace conducted a launch of a Hyperbola-1 solid rocket early Tuesday but status of the mission remained unclear for hours after liftoff.

The Hyperbola-1 four-stage solid rocket lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at around 3:50 a.m. Eastern (15:50 local time) August 3. 

The launch was tacitly revealed ahead of time via airspace closure notices. The first signs of an issue with the launch came with the early deletion of amateur footage from Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo. 

Read more at: Spacenews

Rocket Startup Astra To Launch Satellite For US Space Force This Month

The small-launch startup Astra will get a satellite to orbit for the first time this month, if all goes according to plan. The U.S. Space Force has booked two missions with Astra, the Bay Area company announced today (Aug. 5). The first flight will launch a test payload for the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, during a window that runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 11.

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Virgin Galactic Restarting Space Tickets From $450,000

After flying its founder Richard Branson to space, Virgin Galactic is restarting ticket sales beginning at $450,000, the company announced Thursday.

The new price is about double the $200,000 to $250,000 paid by around 600 people who previously booked seats on Virgin’s spaceship between 2005 and 2014, as the company looks to cash in on the success of last month’s fully-crewed test flight.

“We are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today,” said CEO Michael Colglazier in a statement, with first dibs going to people on a waiting list.

Read more at: Spacedaily

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