Virgin Galactic To Launch Its 1st Suborbital Spaceflight From Spaceport America In October: Report
Virgin Galactic will fly to space again next month, if all goes according to plan. The space tourism company’s latest SpaceShipTwo vehicle, known as VSS Unity, has made two crewed test flights to suborbital space, first in December 2018 and then again in February 2019.
Virgin Galactic is now preparing for its next suborbital test flight, which could launch as soon as Oct. 22, CNBC reported, citing documents filed last week with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
Read more at: Space.com
China Bounces Back With Long March 11 Launch Of Nine Satellites
Three days after losing a high-resolution remote sensing satellite due to an apparent problem with its upper stage, China launched nine new satellites for the Jilin-1 remote sensing constellation from a barge out at sea.
Launch of the nine Jilin-1 Gaofen-03 satellites took place at 01:23 UTC on Tuesday using the Long March-11H (Y2) rocket.
Launched from the De Bo 3 launch platform, all mission preparations and countdown operations were conducted from the command and control ship Bei Hai Jiu 101. This ship left port on September 13 to travel to the launch zone in the Yellow Sea.
Read more at: NASA Spaceflight
Isro’s Next PSLV Launch Likely In November, To Carry Kleos Space’s Satellites
Kleos Space, a Luxembourg-based company that provides radio frequency reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS), on Monday said that the four-satellite Kleos Scouting Mission will be launched onboard a PSLV in the first half of November 2020.
In a release, the company said the satellites would be launched in Isro’s PSLV-C49 mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
The company is launching the scouting satellites under a rideshare contract with US-based Spaceflight Inc, with the launch managed by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Isro.
Read more at: Times of India
ULA Targeting Sept. 26 For Next Delta 4-Heavy Launch Attempt
United Launch Alliance said Thursday it is targeting Sept. 26 for the next attempt to send a classified U.S. government spy satellite into orbit aboard a Delta 4-Heavy rocket, following an abort Aug. 29 just three seconds before liftoff from Cape Canaveral.
A computer automatically called the abort Aug. 29 after one of the rocket’s three Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engines had already ignited. ULA said Thursday that the launch team determined “a ground system regulator internal component failure was the cause of the on-pad abort.”
Read more at: Spaceflight Now
Space Oddity: Australia Launches 35kg Commercial Rocket Into Atmosphere
A small commercial rocket has been launched from Australia to the edge of space for the first time.
The Dart rocket, carrying an air force radio prototype, was launched from the Koonibba rocket range in South Australia on Saturday.
At just 3.4m long and 34kg, the commercial rocket is a fraction of the size of rockets launched by Nasa and will travel up to 100km into the atmosphere.
The launch is part of the air force’s Plan Jericho – an advanced sensing program to detect and track challenging targets that has also seen a high-altitude balloon launched to the edge of space.
Read more at: Guardian
Gilmour Space To Launch Space Machines Company On First Eris Rocket
Homegrown rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, has secured the first Australian customer for its maiden Eris rocket launch in 2022. Space Machines Company has contracted to launch a 35-kilogram (kg) spacecraft to orbit, the largest payload announced to date by an Australian space company.
“This could well be the first Australian payload to be launched to orbit on an Australian rocket, from an Australian launch site,” said Adam Gilmour, co-founder and CEO of Gilmour Space, a Queensland-based company that is building new hybrid rockets to meet the world’s growing demand for small rocket launches.
Read more at: gspacetech
Okinawa Plans To Build Facility On Island For Space Launch Tourism
The Okinawa prefectural government will link up with a company to utilize one of its remote islands to operate a space tourism venture.
Together with PD Aerospace Ltd., a Nagoya-based venture company, the government plans to build a center to develop a spaceplane for tourism on Shimojishima island.
PD Aerospace will start a flight experiment on a runway on the island as early as the end of this year.
Read more at: Asahi
SPACE HAZARDS & STM
The Sun Has Begun A New Solar Weather Cycle. It Should Be Pretty Quiet, Scientists Say.
The sun is officially nine months into a new solar weather cycle, scientists have confirmed, and it will likely look much like its predecessor, which ran from 2008 to 2019.
Scientists predict that the sun’s new activity phase, called solar cycle 25, will peak in 2025 but will generally be a less active cycle, quite similar to solar cycle 24, which ended in December.
Read more at: Space.com
Government Backs UK Companies Tackling Dangerous ‘Space Junk’
Seven pioneering projects which will develop new sensor technology or artificial intelligence to monitor hazardous space debris, have been announced today by the UK Space Agency.
The UK Space Agency and Ministry of Defence have also announced the next step in their joint initiative to enhance the UK’s awareness of events in space.
Read more at: Gov.UK
Five Years in the Making, Space Weather Bill Finally Clears Congress
Five years and many modifications later, Congress has finally passed bipartisan legislation to address how the U.S. government deals with threats posed by emissions from the Sun to critical elements of our infrastructure like the electric grid and satellites. PROSWIFT, S. 881, now awaits signature by the President.
Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the first version of the bill in 2016 and a successor passed the Senate in 2017, but the House has been a stumbling block until now. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) got it over the finish line today.
Read more at: Spacepolicyonline
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Roscosmos To Sign Contract On Nuclear-Powered Space Tug Project By Year-End
By the end of 2020, Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos will sign a contract to design the Nuklon space complex, which includes a space tug fitted with a nuclear reactor, said Alexander Bloshenko, the director of advanced programs and science at Roscosmos.
“The contract for preliminary design of the Nuklon space complex will be signed by the end of the year. It will include a space tug fitted with a nuclear reactor, to be used for missions to remote planets of the solar system. Its first mission is scheduled for 2030,” Bloshenko told TASS.
Read more at: TASS
OHB To Build ESA’s Hera Asteroid Mission
The European Space Agency on Sept. 15 finalized a contract worth 129.4 million euros ($153.3 million) with German satellite manufacturer OHB to build its Hera asteroid spacecraft with a pan-European consortium.
OHB will lead a team of companies from 17 ESA member states to complete Hera ahead of an October 2024 launch. Hera is scheduled to reach a binary asteroid pair called Didymos and Dimorphos in late 2026 for a minimum-six-month study of the asteroid system.
Read more at: Spacenews