Space

SAN FRANCISCO – Hanwha Aerospace, South Korea’s largest defense company, announced plans Jan. 14 to invest approximately $100 million to purchase 30% of the shares of satellite manufacturer Satrec Initiative. Once the deal is completed, Satrec Initiative, a firm known for manufacturing small and medium-size Earth-observation satellites, will be managed independently but will have access
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WASHINGTON — OneWeb says it’s drastically reducing the size of a proposed next-generation satellite constellation originally envisioned to have nearly 48,000 satellites. In a Jan. 12 filing with the Federal Communications Commission, OneWeb sought permission to amend an application filed in May requesting to launch 47,844 satellites for its “Phase Two” constellation. Instead, the company
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WASHINGTON — Blue Origin is gearing up for the next test flight of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle as soon as Jan. 14. Temporary flight restrictions published by the Federal Aviation Administration Jan. 12 will close airspace above Blue Origin’s West Texas test site from Jan. 14 through Jan. 17, from 9:45 a.m. to 4
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WASHINGTON — NASA and the Japanese government have completed an agreement outlining Japan’s contributions to the lunar Gateway as NASA works to wrap up international contributions to the outpost. NASA announced Jan. 12 it signed an agreement with the Japanese government governing Japan’s contributions to the Gateway. They include components for the European-led International Habitation,
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The NGA and NRO are stepping up research to better understand the emerging commercial geospatial intelligence market. WASHINGTON — The private sector is coming out with new geospatial intelligence products and services faster than the government can figure out how to buy them. That means analysts need ways to procure commercial geoint “at a moment’s
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WASHINGTON — L3Harris Technologies announced Jan. 12 it completed the development of an electronic phased array ground antenna for the U.S. Space Force.  The prototype “multi-band multi-mission” antenna is one three that were developed under a Defense Innovation Unit 2019 contract. Lockheed Martin and Atlas Space Operations also have completed prototypes.  The DIU program was
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SAN FRANCISCO – NOAA’s National Satellite, Data and Information Service is recommending flying three satellites over the United States in the satellite constellation that will follow the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R Series (GOES-R). In addition, to operating satellites in orbits similar to those of the current GOES East and GOES West satellites, NOAA recommends
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WASHINGTON — Intelsat has ordered two geostationary communications satellites from Airbus Defence and Space that will support the satellite operator’s aviation connectivity business. The companies announced Jan. 8 the order of two spacecraft from Airbus’ OneSat family of fully reconfigurable geostationary satellites. The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal beyond starting the
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WASHINGTON — The head of Arianespace asked European governments to provide his company with more support in order to balance what he called government support of American competitors “with no precedent.” At a Jan. 7 press briefing, Stéphane Israël, chief executive of Arianespace, said the company completed 2020 with revenues of about one billion euros
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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected four small astrophysics missions for further study, although the agency cautions that not all may ultimately be flown. NASA announced Jan. 7 it selected three smallsat missions and one high-altitude balloon mission as the first in its new Astrophysics Pioneers program. The program, established last year, is intended to support
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Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond announced the service has stood up the U.S. Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise to support the intelligence community. WASHINGTON— The U.S. Space Force on Jan. 8 officially became the 18th member of the U.S. intelligence community. The addition of the Space Force to the intelligence community
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WASHINGTON — The outgoing director general of the European Space agency announced Jan. 8 that he will step down at the end of February, four months ahead of schedule. In a blog post, Jan Wörner announced that, after consultation with the chair of the ESA Council, Anna Rathsman, he will resign at the end of
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WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a Turkish communications satellite Jan. 7 to start what may be the busiest year yet for the launch company. The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 9:15 p.m. Eastern, more than 45 minutes into a four-hour launch window.
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SDA statement: “The reevaluation confirmed the original selection decision that the SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies’ proposals offered the best value to the government.” WASHINGTON — Following a series of contract protests, the Space Development Agency again awarded SpaceX a $149 million contract and L3Harris a $193.5 million contract to each build four satellites to detect
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WASHINGTON — In-space transportation provider Momentus is delaying its first operational mission, which was to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 later this month, because of delays completing an interagency review. In a Jan. 4 statement, Momentus said the flight of its first Vigoride tug, which was to be part of the payloads on a
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WASHINGTON — NASA plans to complete the Green Run test campaign for the Space Launch System core stage with a hotfire test scheduled for mid-January. NASA announced Jan. 5 that it has scheduled the static-fire test, where the core stage’s four RS-25 engines are fired for a full-duration burn of 493 seconds, for no earlier
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Adm. Charles Richard said the Pentagon has to continue to invest in the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a new intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the Minuteman 3. WASHINGTON — The commander of U.S. Strategic Command Adm. Charles Richard said the Pentagon has to procure a new intercontinental ballistic missile and updating Cold War-era missiles is
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WASHINGTON — SpinLaunch expects to perform the first suborbital tests of a prototype of its centrifugal system for launching small satellites later this year from New Mexico. The company, based in Long Beach, California, has said little about its efforts to develop a mass accelerator that would, in effect, serve as the first stage of
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SAN FRANCISCO – Chinese startup Spacety released the first images from Hisea-1, a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, launched Dec. 22 on China’s new Long March 8 medium-lift rocket. Three days after launch, Spacety began receiving data from Hisea-1’s SAR payload built by the China Electronics Technology Group. On Dec. 27, Spacety acquired its
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The satellites will be operated by the U.S. Space Force and provide initial warning of a ballistic or tactical missile launch anywhere on the globe.  WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $4.9 billion contract for the production of three geosynchronous Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites, the Pentagon announced Jan. 4. The satellites will
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WASHINGTON — A NASA small launch vehicle competition attracted bids from 10 companies, but half of them were effectively disqualified because of deficiencies or other problems. NASA announced Dec. 11 it was awarding contracts to Astra Space, Firefly Aerospace and Relativity Space for its Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Demo 2 program. The contracts, with
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WASHINGTON — The governor of Puerto Rico says she backs rebuilding the Arecibo radio observatory, but a final decision on whether, and how, to reconstruct the giant telescope could take years. Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced signed an executive order Dec. 28 stating it was the formal policy of the commonwealth to rebuild the 305-meter radio
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WASHINGTON — The White House released a national strategy for planetary protection Dec. 30, outlining new assessments to prevent terrestrial contamination of other worlds and vice versa. The National Strategy for Planetary Protection, developed by an interagency working group led by the National Space Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), outlines work
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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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