Space

WASHINGTON — NASA and the Department of Energy announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Oct. 20 that is the latest in a series of measures by the two agencies to expand cooperation. The MOU, signed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and announced at a meeting of the Secretary of
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SpaceX will use Microsoft Azure’s orbital emulator — a digital environment that allows the user to visualize an entire satellite architecture, test satellite designs and artificial intelligence algorithms.  WASHINGTON — SpaceX earlier this month won a $149 million contract from the Defense Department’s Space Development Agency to build four satellites to detect and track ballistic and
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HELSINKI — Chinese large state-owned enterprise CASIC laid out a new set of commercial space plans for the next five years at a conference Monday. The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC) outlined plans for developing launch services, satellite constellations and a reusable space plane at the 6th China International Commercial Aerospace Forum, which
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SAN FRANCISCO – Orbital Sidekick is speeding up its campaign to build and launch a constellation of six hyperspectral imaging satellites thanks to a $16 million U.S. government contract announced Oct. 15. The government funding, which Orbital Sidekick matched with private investment, comes from the U.S. Air Force commercial investment group AFVentures’s Strategic Financing program
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One of the most anticipated announcements is the official name of Space Force members WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force plans to make “a lot of announcements” during the month of December as the service approaches its one-year anniversary, Deputy Chief of Space Operations Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman said Oct. 16. “We’re going to
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SAN FRANCISCO — AAC Clyde Space announced plans Oct. 15 to acquire SpaceQuest, a satellite technology developer based in Fairfax, Virginia, for $8.4 million, pending the approval of shareholders and the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Luis Gomes, AAC Clyde Space CEO, and Craig Clark, AAC Clyde Space chief strategy officer,
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WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration released Oct. 15 the final version of updated commercial launch and reentry regulations, although those in industry say the regulatory reform process is far from over. The FAA released the final version of its Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements, or SLR2, regulations on its website, with formal publication
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WASHINGTON — NASA is planning a hotfire test of the core stage of the Space Launch System in the middle of November, a schedule it says keeps it on track for its first launch late next year. During an Oct. 13 media teleconference, officials with NASA, Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne said they are making good
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WASHINGTON — The European Space Agency has awarded contracts for work on elements of its moon and Mars exploration program, ranging from modules for the lunar Gateway to a mission to return Mars samples to Earth. ESA’s announcement of the contracts was tied to an Oct. 14 session of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), where
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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected its first human-tended commercial suborbital research payload, clearing the way for the biggest advocate of such research to fly on a future Virgin Galactic mission. NASA announced Oct. 14 it selected a proposed experiment by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) as part of its Flight Opportunities program for testing technologies
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WASHINGTON — A Soyuz spacecraft launched to the International Space Station Oct. 14 on what will likely be the last mission where NASA pays Russia for a seat, but not necessarily the last time NASA astronauts fly on the spacecraft. The Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:45 a.m. Eastern, placing the
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WASHINGTON — Seven countries have joined the United States in signing the Artemis Accords, a set of principles governing norms of behavior for those who want to participate in the Artemis lunar exploration program. During a session of the International Astronautical Congress Oct. 13, NASA announced that Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Arab
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WASHINGTON — While launch providers are doing a better job at disposing of upper stages left behind in orbit, rocket bodies still constitute the most dangerous pieces of orbital debris. The European Space Agency released Oct. 12 its annual Space Environment Report, the agency’s assessment of orbital debris. The report identifies more than 25,000 tracked
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WASHINGTON — The head of Russia’s space agency said that the lunar Gateway, part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, is too “U.S.-centric” for it to participate in, even though the Gateway leverages the existing International Space Station partnership. During a panel featuring the heads of seven space agencies at the International Astronautical Congress Oct.
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WASHINGTON — The merger of in-space transportation company Momentus with a special-purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) could encourage other space startups seeking large amounts of capital to follow its lead. Momentus announced Oct. 7 it would merge with Stable Road Acquisition Corp., a SPAC created by venture fund Stable Road Capital. The deal will value Momentus
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How NASA’s InVEST program is yielding big dividends for future Earth-observing missions For the last several years at the Small Satellite Conference, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has held a “Small Satellite Mission of the Year” competition. An AIAA committee gathers nominations for smallsats that have launched in the last year and
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WASHINGTON — Despite dire predictions just six months ago, space companies in general, and startups in particular, have survived the pandemic and its economic fallout in relatively good shape. In sessions at the three-day Satellite Innovation 2020 conference that concluded Oct. 8, executives and other industry observers concluded that the industry fared better than expected
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SAN FRANCISCO – Exolaunch signed an agreement to secure rides for dozens of small satellites on SpaceX rideshare missions scheduled to launch later this year and in 2021. Under the agreement announced Oct. 8, Germany’s Exolaunch plans to integrate 30 U.S. and European cubesats and microsatellites on Falcon 9 rideshare flights to sun-synchronous orbit scheduled
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SAN FRANCISCO — GHGSat, the Canadian firm preparing to launch a constellation of methane-monitoring satellites, announced Oct. 8 that the sensor on its Iris satellite launched in early September detects methane emissions five times as well as Claire, its predecessor.  GHGSat tested the Iris sensor by flying the satellite over a controlled methane release in
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SAN FRANCISCO —  Capella Space unveiled images Oct. 6 from Sequoia, the first of 36 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites the San Francisco startup plans to send into a constellation to collect global imagery with hourly updates. “When I started Capella Space in 2016, there were a number of European providers operating and building commercial
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SAN FRANCISCO – Rather than pushing the state-of-the art, Boeing, Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman are emphasizing reliability in satellites they are manufacturing to help Intelsat and SES clear C-band spectrum, according to speakers at the Satellite Innovation 2020 conference. “Schedule is king,” said Jordan Bletscher, Boeing Space Launch chief strategist. “We want to get
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SDA Director Derek Tournear said SpaceX “came in with an extremely credible proposal” that leverages the Starlink assembly line WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency awarded SpaceX a $149 million contract and L3Harris a $193.5 million contract to each build four satellites to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles. The contracts announced Oct. 5
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The United States must work with long-time Arctic partners to increase vigilance in this increasingly vital region. China has published an Arctic strategy making clear the government’s desire to control infrastructure along Arctic routes.   Geographically, the terrestrial Arctic region consists of the area north of the Arctic Circle, including the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas and
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SAN FRANCISCO – Colorado startup ExoTerra Resources announced plans Oct. 5 to develop a solar electric upper stage to boost small satellites traveling on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne beyond low Earth orbit. With ExoTerra’s Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage, LauncherOne customers could reach destinations including geostationary orbit, trans-lunar injection orbit, Earth-Moon Lagrange points and low lunar
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SAN FRANCISCO – SkyWatch Space Applications, the Canadian startup whose EarthCache platform helps software developers embed geospatial data and imagery in applications, announced a partnership Oct. 5 with Picterra, a Swiss startup with a self-service platform to help customers autonomously extract information from aerial and satellite imagery. “One of the things that has been very
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The contract is for the Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications program, known as Evolved Strategic Satcom WASHINGTON — Boeing received a $298 million contract to build a satellite payload prototype and develop a secure communications architecture for the U.S. Space Force’s Evolved Strategic SATCOM (ESS) program, the company announced Oct. 1. The ESS will replace the
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