Space

WASHINGTON — Rideshare launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. announced a new version of its Sherpa tug Nov. 12 equipped with electric propulsion that can send smallsats to high orbits or cislunar space. Spaceflight announced the first flight of its Sherpa-LTE orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) will take place in mid-2021. The vehicle is based on the
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SAN FRANCISCO – Luxembourg-based Kleos Space raised $13.8 million following the Nov. 7 launch of its first cluster of radio frequency mapping satellites. “Kleos is now well financed to execute the launch of the second cluster of satellites, Polar Vigilance Mission in mid-2021, and to develop its third cluster of satellites, targeted to be in
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HELSINKI — A draft policy on opening up India’s space sector is expected to bring transformational change, the chairman of the commercial arm of the Indian space agency said Nov. 10. Speaking during an interview at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week Virtual Edition conference, chairman and managing director of Antrix Corp. Rakesh Sasibhushan said the Spacecom
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Appropriators questioned “recent moves by some agencies to procure launches outside of the space launch enterprise through direct commercial contracts or delivery on orbit contracts.” WASHINGTON — The Senate Appropriations Committee in a report Nov. 10 criticized the practice by some agencies of procuring launch services directly from commercial providers, bypassing the National Security Space
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SAN FRANCISCO – Radar satellite operators continue to see the long-term promise of commercial markets and near-term demand from government customers, according to panelists speaking Nov. 10 at the virtual World Satellite Business Week conference. “We do still believe in the commercial market but it’s not as mature as we would have hoped,” said Payam
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SAN FRANCISCO – L3Harris Technologies will help the U.S. Defense Defense extract information and insight from satellite and airborne imagery under a three-year U.S. Army Research Laboratory contract. L3Harris will develop and demonstrate an artificial intelligence-machine learning interface for Defense Department applications under the multimillion-dollar contract announced Oct. 26. “L3Harris will assist the Department of
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Airbus U.S. Space and Defense filed its protest Oct. 28. Raytheon’s protest was filed Nov. 3. WASHINGTON — Airbus and Raytheon have filed protests with the Government Accountability Office challenging Space Development Agency contracts awarded to L3Harris and SpaceX last month for eight missile-tracking satellites, putting the projects on hold until the dispute is resolved.
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HELSINKI — Chinese rocket firm Galactic Energy successfully sent a small satellite into orbit Saturday with the first launch of its Ceres-1 launch vehicle. The Ceres-1 four-stage solid rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near the Gobi Desert at 2:12 a.m. Eastern Saturday. First indications of launch came from spectators posting footage
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HELSINKI — The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully carried out its first launch since the COVID-19 outbreak Saturday sending the EOS-1 Earth observation satellite and nine smaller payloads into orbit. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C49 (PSLV-C49) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on the Indian island of Sriharikota at 4:42 a.m. Eastern Nov. 7
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic executives said Nov. 5 that the company is ready to begin a final series of test flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle as the company attempts to move into commercial operations in 2021. In its release of its third quarter financial results and accompanying earnings call, the company said it is
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The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate will use the new facility to test advanced composite materials and structures. WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory is opening a $4 million facility focused on spacecraft component testing, AFRL announced Nov. 3. The so-called Deployable structures Laboratory will be part of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate.
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SAN FRANCISCO – Frontier Aerospace, a small Simi Valley, California, company, has completed the design of attitude control thrusters developed with NASA and Astrobotic Technologies for deep space missions. “We are well on our way to qualifying both 150 and 10 [pounds of thrust] engines for Astrobotic’s near-term Peregrine lunar lander mission,” Frontier Aerospace announced
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WASHINGTON — Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly won his race for the U.S. Senate in Arizona Nov. 3 while two members of Congress involved in space issues lost their bids for reelection. Kelly, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally by a margin of 52.6% to 47.4%, according to results published by the Arizona
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WASHINGTON — A new “national initiative” wants to promote the development of satellite servicing and in-space assembly technologies among U.S. government agencies that have differing views on the value of such capabilities. The On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM) National Initiative is intended to exchange information and establish partnerships among government agencies, and with industry
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WASHINGTON — Vector, a small launch vehicle developer that went bankrupt in 2019, is getting a second chance under new ownership, with changes to both its technology and initial markets. Vector has raised more than $100 million to develop a family of small launch vehicles, but suspended operations in August 2019 and laid off most
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SAN FRANCISCO – Spacebit is inviting university researchers to share data the London-based company plans to obtain from two miniature rovers scheduled to travel to the moon with Astrobotic Technology and Intuitive Machines in 2021. Spacebit’s sensor-laden rovers are designed to transmit data through the Astrobotic and Intuitive Machine landers to the company’s mission control
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U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), a co-chair of the recently established House Space Force Caucus, suggested Oct. 28 that orbital debris is a major threat to a prosperous space economy and that better space situational awareness is crucial to protecting the sector. “I think space debris and situational awareness, the need to deconflict is a
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SAN FRANCISCO – NXT Communications Corp. (NXTCOMM) announced plans Oct. 28 to begin demonstrating the performance of its electronically steered antenna through leased capacity on a Eutelsat Communications satellite. Atlanta-based NXTCOMM unveiled its electronically steered antenna in June, which it considers a building block for a family of satellite antennas for mobile connectivity. Specifically, NXTCOMM
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WASHINGTON — Virgin Orbit plans to invest in Sky and Space Global (SAS), the financially troubled satellite constellation company, and partner with it on launch and satellite services. In an Oct. 28 statement, SAS said that Virgin Orbit will take a stake of no less than 14.7% in the company by purchasing shares in the
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HELSINKI — China has outlined a proposed architecture for getting astronauts to the moon and back as part of plans for long-term lunar exploration. A presentation at the 2020 China Space Conference in September details infrastructure including a new launch vehicle, new-generation spacecraft and a lunar lander, along with a potential lunar orbit module and
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WASHINGTON — The commercial space industry hopes to continue recent progress in regulatory reform even if there is a new president or a change in party control in Congress after the election. The last six months have seen two major milestones in government regulation of commercial space activities: the publication of revised commercial remote sensing
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has secured material it collected from the asteroid Bennu into a sample return capsule, a process the mission accelerated after images showed material leaking into space. At an Oct. 29 briefing, project officials said they had stowed a sample collection device called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) into a
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Braxton, based Colorado Springs, will be merged into Parsons’ space and geospatial business. WASHINGTON — Parsons announced Oct. 29 it will acquire Braxton Science & Technology Group for $258 million. The acquisition broadens the company’s footprint in space and cybersecurity.  Braxton, based Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be merged into Parsons’ space and geospatial business, adding
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WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket successfully placed 10 satellites into orbit for two customers who lost payloads on a launch failure earlier this year. The Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 5:21 p.m. Eastern Oct. 28. The rocket’s kick stage deployed its payload of
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Air Force Col. Michael “Hopper” Hopkins, commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, will be commissioned into the U.S. Space Force. WASHINGTON — NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, a U.S. Air Force colonel and the commander of the upcoming SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, is transferring to the U.S. Space Force and is expected to be commissioned aboard
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