Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Agreement with Andøya Space for Maiden Flight

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

AUGSBURG, Germany — Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), a participation of space technology company OHB SE, will be establishing a launch site for a micro launcher together with Norwegian company Andøya Space. The two partners have now signed a letter of intent to this effect. The site is to provide launch services for small satellites from 2022.

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Crew Continues Troubleshooting as Tests Isolate Small Leak

International Space Station (Credit: NASA/Roscosmos)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Late Monday night, the Expedition 63 crew was awakened by flight controllers to continue troubleshooting a small leak on the International Space Station that appeared to grow in size. Ground analysis of the modules tested overnight have isolated the leak location to the main work area of the Zvezda Service Module. Additional work is underway to precisely locate the source of the leak.

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Kymeta u8 Terminal Receives Commercial Authorization from FCC for Q4 2020 Launch

REDMOND, Wash. (Kymeta PR) —Kymeta—the communications company making mobile global—announced today that the FCC has granted blanket authorization for the operation of its next-generation electronically steered, flat-panel ESIM (earth station in motion) platform, the Kymeta™ u8 terminal. The authorization is a major milestone toward the release of the u8. In addition, Kymeta has received type approvals from several leading satellite service operators (SSO’s) that include Intelsat, Echostar, Hellasat, KTSat, and Telesat for use with Kymeta u8 terminal.

“Receiving the FCC authorization, puts us one step closer to releasing our next-generation solutions into the market and at scale,” said Walter Berger, President, and COO, Kymeta. “We have the only hybrid technology that is part of a global land mobile ecosystem. The market needs a connectivity solution they can rely on and we are positioned well to be a driving force of what lies ahead for mobile communications.”

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NASA’s New Mars Rover Is Ready for Space Lasers

Visible both in the inset photograph on the upper left and near the center of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover in this illustration is the palm-size dome called the Laser Retroreflector Array (LaRA). In the distant future, laser-equipped Mars orbiters could use such a reflector for scientific studies. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Perseverance is one of a few Mars spacecraft carrying laser retroreflectors. The devices could provide new science and safer Mars landings in the future.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — When the Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon, they brought devices with them called retroreflectors, which are essentially small arrays of mirrors. The plan was for scientists on Earth to aim lasers at them and calculate the time it took for the beams to return. This provided exceptionally precise measurements of the Moon’s orbit and shape, including how it changed slightly based on Earth’s gravitational pull.

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Machine-learning Nanosats to Inform Global Trade

Spire’s machine-learning capable nanosat (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The latest batch of tiny satellites to monitor trade on Earth from space have launched.

The Glaswegian-built nanosatellites join a fleet of about 100 objects in low Earth orbit that help to predict the movement of the world’s resources, so that businesses and governments can make informed decisions.

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First Results from Cheops: ESA’s Exoplanet Observer Reveals Extreme Alien World

Artist impression of exoplanet WASP-189b orbiting its host star. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s new exoplanet mission, Cheops, has found a nearby planetary system to contain one of the hottest and most extreme extra-solar planets known to date: WASP-189 b. The finding, the very first from the mission, demonstrates Cheops’ unique ability to shed light on the Universe around us by revealing the secrets of these alien worlds.

Launched in December 2019, Cheops (the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite) is designed to observe nearby stars known to host planets. By ultra-precisely measuring changes in the levels of light coming from these systems as the planets orbit their stars, Cheops can initially characterise these planets — and, in turn, increase our understanding of how they form and evolve.

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Mars Express Finds More Underground Water on Mars

ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft has discovered several ponds of liquid water buried under the ice in the south polar region of Mars. The spacecraft’s radar instrument, MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding), revealed one underground reservoir in 2018, buried about 1.5 km below the ice. Now, taking into account more data and analysing it in a different way, three new ponds have been discovered. The largest underground lake measures about 20 x 30 km, and is surrounded by several smaller ponds. The water is thought to be very salty in order for it to remain liquid at cold temperatures.

Mars was once warmer and wetter with water flowing across the surface, much like early Earth. While it is not possible for water to remain stable on the surface today the new result opens the possibility that an entire system of ancient lakes might exist underground, perhaps millions or even billions of years old. They would be ideal locations to search for evidence of life on Mars, albeit very difficult to reach.

Subglacial lakes are also known on Earth, like Lake Vostok in Antarctica. They may harbour unique ecosystems, providing useful analogies for astrobiologists exploring how life can survive in extreme environments. The techniques used to analyse the radar data on Mars are similar to those used in investigations of subglacial lakes in Antarctica, Canada and Greenland.

SpaceX to Launch Crew-1 Mission on Halloween

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 crew members are seen seated in the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during crew equipment interface training. From left to right are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, mission specialist; Victor Glover, pilot; and Mike Hopkins, Crew Dragon commander; and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 2:40 a.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 31, for the launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station.

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China, Russia Launch Communications & Environmental Satellites

China and Russia conducted launches on Sunday and Monday, placing five primary payloads and a group of rideshare satellites into orbit.

A Chinese Long March 4B booster lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center early Sunday morning. The three-stage rocket carried the Huanjing 2A and 2B environmental monitoring satellites into orbit.

Chinese media said the satellites will collect data for environmental protection, water conservancy, natural resources monitoring, agriculture and forestry. They will replace the Huanjing 1A and 1B environmental satellites launched in 2008.

On Monday, a Russian Soyuz rocket launched three Gonets M military communications satellites from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The rocket also included a group of international rideshare payloads.

Three U.S. Launches Scheduled This Week

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Tuesday, September 29

Launcher: Delta IV Heavy
Payload: NROL-44 reconnaissance satellite
Launch Time: 12:02 a.m. EDT (0402 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Company: United Launch Alliance
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com

Launcher: Falcon 9
Payload: GPS 3 SV04 navigation satellite
Launch Window: 9:55-10:10 p.m. EDT (0155-0210 GMT on Sept. 30th)
Launch Site:
 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Company: SpaceX
Webcast: www.spacex.com

October 1

Launcher: Antares
Payload: Cygnus ISS resupply ship
Launch Time: 9:38 p.m. EDT (0138 GMT on Oct. 2)
Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility, Va.
Company: Northrop Grumman
Webcast: http://nasa.gov/ntv

TBA

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: 60 Starlink satellite broadband spacecraft
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

The launch was scrubbed on Monday due to weather constraints. SpaceX has not announced a new date yet.

Northrop Grumman Set to Launch 14th Cargo Delivery Mission to ISS

The U.S. Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is pictured moments after being released from the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va., Sept. 28, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is set to launch the company’s 14th resupply mission (NG-14) to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract. The NG-14 mission’s Cygnus spacecraft will launch aboard the company’s Antares rocket with nearly 8,000 pounds (approximately 3,600 kg) of scientific research, supplies and hardware for the astronauts aboard the station.

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Student Research Experiments to Play Prominent Role in Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission to the Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), September 28, 2020 – When  Northrop Grumman launches its Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on its 14th commercial resupply services mission (CRS-14), it will do so with the eyes of children across the U.S. hoping to catch a glimpse of a rocket soaring into space.

Rocket launches have a unique ability to captivate audiences and inspire young students to look to the stars for inspiration. The upcoming resupply mission contracted through NASA, currently scheduled for launch no earlier than October 1 at 9:38 p.m. ET, will carry dozens of research experiments to the orbiting laboratory. However, these payloads are not just from professional researchers—multiple student experiments will also launch to the ISS on this mission.

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Momentus Announces Appointment of Jikun Kim as CFO

SANTA CLARA, Calif,, September 28, 2020 (Momentus PR) — Momentus Inc. (the “Company”), a commercial space company offering in-space satellite transportation and infrastructure services, today announced the appointment of Jikun Kim as Chief Financial Officer, effective September 28, 2020.

Mr. Kim’s appointment comes as Momentus prepares for the first commercial launch of Vigoride, the Company’s orbital transfer vehicle designed for last mile, in-space satellite transportation services. Vigoride is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in December 2020. The launch marks the first time Momentus’ vehicles will carry customers, following a successful in-space test of Momentus’ groundbreaking water propulsion technology.

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This Week on The Space Show

This Week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Sept. 28, 2020; 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) No programming for today.

2. Tuesday, Sept. 29 2020, 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) We welcome back DR. ROBERT ZUBRIN to discuss the virtual Mars Society 2020 conference and more.

3. Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020; Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Oct. 1,, 2020: 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT: No program for this date.

5. Friday, Oct. 2 , 2020; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT: We welcome GRANT BONIN, VP of Business Development for Spaceflight.

6. Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT):We welcome DR. ROBERT (SAM) WILSON OF THE AEROSPACE CORP regarding his paper, “The Value of Space.”

Video: First Hot Fire Testing of 75kN HyImpulse Hybrid Rocket Motor

Video Caption: At midday of Tuesday 15 September, the first firing of the HyImpulse 75kN hybrid rocket motor was a full success! It was performed at the world class DLR Lampoldshausen testing facility.

This is the biggest hybrid rocket motor ever built and tested in Europe. This marks an important milestone in accomplishing our plan for a suborbital flight in early 2021 and the first flight of the three stage HyImpulse launcher SL1 by the end of 2022.

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