Space

WASHINGTON — Viasat has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to perform an environmental review of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation, arguing that the satellite system poses environmental hazards in space and on Earth. In a Dec. 22 filing, Viasat formally requested that the FCC conduct either an environmental assessment or more rigorous environmental impact statement of
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If the political, technical and budgetary stars align for NASA and its partners in coming years, the moon could be the go-to place as the century unfolds. Astronauts would again explore Earth’s celestial next-door neighbor, perhaps setting in motion future mining endeavors to extract ices likely lurking in sunlight-shy craters for processing into water, oxygen,
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There was no clearer set of contrasts between how SpaceX and NASA approach launch vehicle development than the dueling tests the two performed in early December of Starship and Space Launch System, respectively. It was hard to miss the Dec. 9 test flight of SpaceX’s Starship SN8 prototype, the first time the vehicle flew more
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The Pentagon’s overseers in Congress have been consistently critical of how the military acquires space hardware. Frustration with space procurements was in fact one of the catalysts for the creation of the U.S. Space Force. Satisfying congressional demands for a revamped space acquisition process will now fall on President-elect Joe Biden’s Pentagon team. Earlier this
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VALETTA, Malta —  Through a novel approach to testing, the European Space Agency’s Clean Space initiative is assisting in the development of satellite components that are designed for demise, an approach to satellite development that advocates for the safe disposal of spacecraft by destructive atmospheric reentry. The ESA Clean Space initiative was launched in 2012
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Space Development Agency spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said in a statement Dec. 22 that the agency is “expeditiously implementing its corrective action plan for the Tracking Tranche 0 solicitation.” WASHINGTON — Companies that competed earlier this year for Space Development Agency satellite contracts awarded to L3Harris and SpaceX were asked to resubmit their proposals following several
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WASHINGTON — An upgraded upper stage for the Space Launch System rocket has passed a major review, allowing its prime contractor, Boeing, to start producing hardware. Boeing announced Dec. 21 that the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) of the SLS completed a critical design review with NASA. That review confirmed the design of the EUS, allowing
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HELSINKI — China successfully carried out a first launch of the new Long March 8 medium-lift rocket late Monday, marking a small step towards Chinese rocket reusability. The 50.3-meter-long, 356-ton Long March 8 lifted off at 11:37 p.m. Eastern Dec. 21 from the coastal Wenchang launch site carrying five satellites into Sun-synchronous orbits. Launch was delayed
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The acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne will be the first test case of how the Biden administration views defense and aerospace industry consolidation. WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet said he expects the U.S. government to approve the company’s proposed $4.4 billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne despite concerns that it could reduce competition in the
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James Taiclet, Lockheed Martin’s president and CEO, said the acquisition gives the company a larger footprint in space and hypersonic technology.  WASHINGTON — The largest U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced Dec. 20 it has inked a deal to acquire rocket engine and missile manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.4 billion.  James Taiclet, Lockheed Martin’s president
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WASHINGTON — NASA will not repair a faulty electronics unit on the Orion spacecraft recently completed for the Artemis 1 mission after concluding there was sufficient redundancy in the overall system. In a Dec. 17 statement, NASA said it had decided to “use as is” one of eight power and data units (PDU) on the
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WASHINGTON — The Senate unanimously approved a NASA authorization bill Dec. 18, a largely symbolic move intended to set up work on a new version of the legislation next year. The Senate passed by unanimous consent S. 2800, the NASA Authorization Act of 2019. The bill had been awaiting action by the full Senate since
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The Space Force says Guardians is a “name with a long history in space operations.” WASHINGTON — The members of the U.S. Space Force finally have a name: Guardians.  Vice President Mike Pence revealed the name Dec. 18 at a ceremony at the White House for the Space Force’s one-year anniversary.  “Henceforth the men and
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WASHINGTON — OneWeb resumed deployment of its broadband satellite constellation with a Dec. 18 launch of 36 satellites, the first since the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A Soyuz-2.1b rocket lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia at 7:26 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s Fregat upper stage released the 36 satellites in nine sets
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SAN FRANCISCO – Now that it’s spun out of Analytical Graphics Inc., Comspoc operates more like a startup focused on space situational awareness, space domain awareness and space traffic coordination and management than a corporate business unit, Travis Langster, Comspoc vice president and general manager, told SpaceNews. “We have the ability to move at a
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WASHINGTON — Small launch vehicle developer Astra Space fell just short of reaching orbit on its second launch attempt Dec. 15, but the company is “beyond ecstatic” with the performance of the rocket. Astra’s Rocket 3.2 vehicle lifted off from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska at 3:55 p.m. Eastern. The company did not provide a
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SAN FRANCISCO — BAE Systems is developing miniature spectrometers to provide high-resolution weather data from a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. The company is drawing on experience gained building the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument to develop miniature sensors with applications for weather and climate monitoring. In a six-month $376,000 study completed in
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Under the new 10-year agreement, the Space Enterprise Consortium, known as SpEC, is projected to award up to $12 billion worth of projects. WASHINGTON — NSTXL, a company that helps commercial businesses compete for government contracts, has been selected to manage the U.S. Space Force’s Space Enterprise Consortium for the next 10 years. Based in
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WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a new spacecraft for satellite radio company SiriusXM Dec. 13 as the company nears the end of a record-setting year. The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. SpaceX scrubbed a previous launch attempt two days
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WASHINGTON — Three small launch vehicle developers won a combined $16.7 million in NASA contracts as part of an effort to support the development of new launch vehicles. Astra Space, Firefly Aerospace and Relativity Space won the contracts through NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) 2 program, the agency announced Dec. 11. The companies will
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo aborted an attempted suborbital spaceflight Dec. 12 from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, carrying the SpaceShipTwo vehicle named VSS Unity by the company, took off from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico at 10:24 a.m. Eastern. Piloting SpaceShipTwo were Dave Mackay, the company’s chief test
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SAN FRANCISCO – As the combined mass of satellites in orbit climbs, research is needed to better understand the environmental impact of the portions of satellites and launch vehicles that eventually reenter Earth’s atmosphere, according to an Aerospace Corp. poster presented at the virtual American Geophysical Union fall meeting. The Aerospace Corp. included a model of
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SAN FRANCISCO – Researchers seeking to improve space weather forecasting need detailed information on the impact of previous space weather events from airplane, power grid and satellite operators, according to a panel of experts speaking at the virtual American Geophysical Union fall meeting. “One of the impediments to being able to do good space weather
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Satellite firm’s funding round caps a year of growing Chinese space industry investment alongside cooperation agreements between space companies and local governments. HELSINKI — Chinese remote sensing company Changguang Satellite has secured $375 million for its constellation of optical Earth observation satellites. Changguang Satellite Co. Ltd., a commercial offshoot of the state-owned Changchun Institute of
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