Space

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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SAN FRANCISCO – In-space transportation startup Momentus announced service agreements Oct. 2 with Australia’s Skykraft and French spacecraft engineering company Mecano ID. Santa, Clara, California-based Momentus revealed plans to deploy a pathfinder for Skykraft’s microsatellite constellation on a Vigoride flight in June 2021. Momentus plans to send the Skykraft microsatellite into orbit via EOS, a
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WASHINGTON — A Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station after a successful launch on the company’s Antares rocket Oct. 2. The Antares 230+ rocket lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, at 9:16 p.m. Eastern. The NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft separated from the rocket’s
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WASHINGTON — A federal bankruptcy court approved Oct. 2 the sale of broadband megaconstellation company OneWeb to the British government and Indian telecommunications company Bharti Global. At a confirmation hearing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, judge Robert D. Drain approved the reorganization plan for OneWeb, which filed
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VALLETTA, Malta — German startup Rocket Factory Augsburg has selected the Norwegian launch facility Andøya Spaceport for a 2022 maiden flight of the company’s RFA One small-satellite launch vehicle. Rocket Factory Augsburg, founded in 2018 as the launch arm of German space technology company OHB SE, is in the process of developing its three-stage RFA
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SAN FRANCISCO – The four-satellite NetSat mission launched Sept. 28 on a Russian Soyuz rocket is designed to showcase technology for formation flight. NetSat’s four cubesats will “demonstrate formation flight in a three-dimensional configuration,” Klaus Schilling, University of Wurzburg robotics and telematics chair, told SpaceNews by email. “This promises huge potential for innovative approaches to future
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The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate is looking for companies with which to partner. WASHINGTON — The Pentagon contracting process can be a major deterrent to tech companies interested in selling products to the military. The U.S. Space Force is aware of that problem and is trying to incentivize suppliers that are developing
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SAN FRANCISCO — SWISSto12 is working with Thales Alenia Space to expand the use of additively manufactured parts for geostationary communications satellites. Swissto12, a Lausanne, Switzerland, telecommunications component startup, has worked for years to design, manufacture and test waveguide signal interconnects for Thales Alenia Space communications satellites. Thales Alenia Space plans to install the 3D-printed
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WASHINGTON — NASA and SpaceX are finalizing reviews of minor changes to the Crew Dragon spacecraft that they expect will be complete before the first operational mission launches to the International Space Station at the end of October. During a series of press conferences Sept. 29 about the upcoming Crew-1 mission to the ISS, officials
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Upgrades will include mix of new phased array antennas, commercial services and capacity from other U.S. government agencies. WASHINGTON – In a test this summer at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, an electronically steered phased array antenna made by Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace communicated with four military satellites across multiple orbits. This was a
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WASHINGTON — NASA says they are still not sure of the source of a small air leak on the International Space Station after the crew spent a second weekend confined to a single module there. The Expedition 63 crew of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner remained inside the
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Congress for years has been critical of the U.S. Air Force’s weather satellite programs. WASHINGTON — The Space Force has completed a report mandated by Congress on its plans to acquire weather satellites to fill a growing military demand for meteorological data, a senior official told SpaceNews. The report is done and is being submitted
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When Capella Space’s first operational synthetic aperture radar satellite launched from New Zealand last month on a Rocket Lab Electron, a team of agriculture specialists at The Climate Corporation watched with excitement. “We were really happy,” said Steven Ward, the director of geospatial sciences at The Climate Corporation, a San Francisco-based subsidiary of life sciences
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VALLETTA, Malta — Launch startup HyImpulse successfully tested its 16,800-pounds-force hybrid rocket motor this month at German space agency DLR’s Lampoldshausen facility. Headquartered in Neuenstadt am Kocher, Germany, HyImpulse is developing its three-stage SL1 launch vehicle designed to carry payloads of up to 500 kilogram to Sun-synchronous orbit. The light-lift launch vehicle will be powered
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