Space

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has agreed to maneuver any of its Starlink satellites that come close to the International Space Station or other NASA spacecraft in low Earth orbit as part of an agreement between the agency and the company. NASA announced March 18 it had signed a Space Act Agreement with SpaceX regarding coordination of
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s nomination of former senator Bill Nelson as the next administrator of NASA has won widespread support from both members of Congress and the broader space community. The White House announced March 19 its formal intent to nominate Nelson, a Democrat who served three terms in the Senate from Florida, as
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TAMPA, Fla. — The frenzy of activity swirling around SPACs is pushing space into a new era of risk-taking, according to two satellite industry veterans.  The past decade’s flow of private capital into megaconstellations and launch startups was a sedate “tea party” in comparison to what’s happening now, Iridium Communications CEO Matt Desch told SpaceNews
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WASHINGTON — A polar-orbiting weather satellite decommissioned nearly eight years ago has broken up, adding to the growing debris population in a key orbit. The Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron said March 18 it hard confirmed the NOAA-17 satellite broke up March 10. The squadron said it was tracking 16 pieces of debris associated
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TAMPA, Fla. — The UK Space Agency will partly fund the development of an in-orbit telemetry relay system called InRange, which will use British satellite operator Inmarsat’s L-band constellation to guide rocket launches. Inmarsat says that InRange will reduce launch providers’ dependence on ground-based systems for tracking rockets in flight, potentially saving them money on
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HELSINKI — A spacecraft involved in China’s 2020 lunar sample return mission has entered orbit around Sun-Earth Lagrange point 1 as part of an extended mission. The Chang’e-5 orbiter successfully entered an intended orbit around the Lagrange point at 1:29 a.m. Eastern March 15, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the spacecraft’s manufacturer,
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WASHINGTON — The White House plans to nominate Bill Nelson to be the next administrator of NASA, putting the former senator in charge of the agency he once advocated for on Capitol Hill. According to several sources, the administration is expected to formally announce the nomination as soon as March 19. An announcement was reportedly
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Elon Musk’s SpaceX has disrupted long-held beliefs of how the space business works and permanently expanded thinking about government contracting with industry. This impact has been felt throughout the national security, civil, and commercial space enterprises. Because of the lawsuit that it settled with the Air Force in 2015, old assumptions about the government’s launch
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is making continued progress for a launch in October as engineers close out a series of technical issues with the spacecraft but deal with one new problem. In a March 16 presentation during a meeting of NASA’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee, Eric Smith, JWST program scientist, said engineers had
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WASHINGTON — Aerojet Rocketdyne doesn’t expect any potential changes to the Artemis program to have much of an effect on its business supplying engines for NASA’s Space Launch System. Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference March 15, Dan Boehle, chief financial officer of Aerojet Rocketdyne, played down any impacts of possible changes to the
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“We believe we have a major interest in this security related conversation,” said Eutelsat’s David Bertolotti WASHINGTON — Companies that operate commercial satellites should participate in the growing conversation about rules of behavior in space, a Eutelsat executive said March 16. How to ensure space remains a peaceful environment is a central question that government
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WASHINGTON — A NASA competition to launch a cluster of cubesats attracted a bid from SpaceX, who appeared to offer a vehicle other than its current Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy. NASA released March 11 the source selection statement from the competition to launch the Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation Structure and Storm Intensity with a
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WASHINGTON — A NASA astronaut flying to the International Space Station in April could spend up to a year on the station, an extended stay that he said he was “enthusiastic” about. NASA announced March 9 that Mark Vande Hei would fly on the Soyuz MS-18 mission to the space station, launching April 9. He
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Viasat and AFRL will recommend ways to build a “hybrid architecture” of commercial and government satellites. WASHINGTON — The incompatibilities between government and commercial satellite networks have been a nagging problem the U.S. Air Force has spent years trying to solve.  In an effort to come up with solutions, the Air Force Research Laboratory signed
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WASHINGTON — Three space industry groups are asking the Commerce Department to commit to continued support and funding for the Office of Space Commerce. In a March 9 letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the Aerospace Industries Association, Commercial Spaceflight Federation and Satellite Industry Association called for the department to fund the small office at
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SAN FRANCISCO – Radar satellite startup Umbra plans to capture imagery with a resolution as high as 15 centimeters per pixel thanks to a Federal Communications Commission license. The FCC granted Umbra, a Santa Barbara, California, startup preparing to launch its first X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) microsatellite this year, an experimental license in February
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SEAKR, based in Centennial, Colorado, is developing the artificial brain of DARPA’s Blackjack satellite network. WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced March 12 it awarded SEAKR Engineering a $60.4 million contract to develop a data processing system for satellites to operate autonomously.   SEAKR, based in Centennial, Colorado, was selected by DARPA
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HELSINKI — China launched a new-generation Long March 7A rocket Thursday, sending a classified, experimental payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Liftoff from the coastal Wenchang Satellite Launch Center occurred at 12:51 p.m. Eastern March 11. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the country’s main space contractor, confirmed launch success 40 minutes later (Chinese).
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TAMPA, Fla. — Satellite communications provider Speedcast emerged Thursday from nearly a year in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under private equity ownership. Centerbridge Partners, which manages about $28 billion of assets, has officially taken ownership of the company after completing all necessary regulatory and administrative requirements. The private equity firm invested $500 million into Speedcast
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TAMPA, Fla. — Northrop Grumman’s MEV-2 satellite servicer is performing close proximity operations with Intelsat’s in-orbit 10-02 spacecraft ahead of a docking attempt, SpaceNews has learned. Both spacecraft remain healthy after being in close quarters to calibrate and test systems before MEV-2 backed off, according to a Northrop Grumman official. The company intends to release
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Kurs Orbital plans to focus on servicing commercial geostationary satellites WASHINGTON — A Ukrainian startup is building an in-orbit servicing vehicle using space docking technology developed decades ago by the former Soviet Union.  The startup, named Kurs Orbital, was co-founded by the former head of Ukraine’s space agency Volodymyr Usov. The company plans to launch
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WASHINGTON — Proponents of a proposed Georgia launch site remain optimistic they will win approval from the Federal Aviation Administration despite another delay in the environmental review process. The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation informed stakeholders in the ongoing assessment of Spaceport Camden in Camden County, Georgia, March 5 that a final version of
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Reps. Frank Lucas and Brian Babin, who oversee civil and commercial space, expressed concerns about the administration’s push for international regulations of space activities. WASHINGTON — The top House Republicans on the committee that oversees civil and commercial space are asking the Biden administration to update lawmakers on its plans regarding space security and space
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s Perseverance rover has started moving on the Martian surface as project scientists prepare to send the rover toward the remnants of a river delta in search of signs of past life. At a March 5 press briefing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, project officials said that the rover made its first movements
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WASHINGTON — The longtime chief executive of Virgin Galactic, who moved into a new position at the company last year, has left the company but will continue to be an adviser to it. According to company sources, Whitesides said he was leaving the position of Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer to pursue unspecified opportunities in
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WASHINGTON — NASA has sharply increased the prices it charges commercial users of the International Space Station for cargo and other resources, a move that has left some companies confused and frustrated. NASA announced Feb. 25 that it was revising the commercial marketing pricing policy it first published in June 2019 as part of a
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