Long March 3B Launches Tiantong-1 03 Communications Satellite

Long March 3B rocket lifts off with Tiantong-1 03 satellite. (Credit: Zhang Yiyi)

BEIJING (CASC PR) — At 00:25 on January 20, the Long March 3B carrier rocket ignited and lifted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and then sent the Tiantong-1 03 satellite into the scheduled orbit. The launch mission was a complete success.

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Rocket Lab Launches OHB’s Fast-track Communications Satellite

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

MAHIA PENINSULA, NZ, Jan. 20, 2021 (OHB PR) — OHB Cosmos International, a company of OHB’s newly established business segment OHB DIGITAL, successfully launched the telecommunication satellite GMS-T on board an Electron launcher.

The satellite took off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 7.26 a.m. (UCT) on January 20th.The launch was performed only seven months after starting engineering activities for the satellite. After having reached the planned 1200 km/90 degree orbit the satellite has been activated and works as planned.

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SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites, First Stage Lands for Record 8th Time

Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Wednesday, January 20 at 8:02 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites to orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, completing the seventeenth Starlink mission.

Following first-stage separation, Falcon 9 successfully landed for the eighth time on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s first stage booster rocket previously supported seven other missions: the SXM-7 mission in December 2020, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in June 2019, launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission in March 2019, and four Starlink missions. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported a Starlink mission and the other previously supported two.

New Record for Australia’s Gilmour Space

QUEENSLAND, 20 January 2021 (Gilmour Space Technologies PR) — Australia’s leading rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, has ushered in the New Year with a successful hot fire of the world’s largest single-port hybrid rocket engine.

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Testing of New Russian Nauka Space Station Module Continues

Fitting a radiator for the cooling system and installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscomos PR) — In accordance with the prelaunch preparation schedule, factory control tests of the Nauka module continue in the assembly and test building of site No. 254 of the Baikonur cosmodrome.  Its launch to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for 2021 using the Proton-M launch vehicle.

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Rocket Roundup: NASA Doesn’t Get What It Wanted or Needed

The core stage for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is seen in the B-2 Test Stand during a scheduled eight minute duration hot fire test, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The four RS-25 engines fired for a little more than one minute. The hot fire test is the final stage of the Green Run test series, a comprehensive assessment of the Space Launch System’s core stage prior to launching the Artemis I mission to the Moon. (Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There’s an old saying that I made up just the other day. You can’t always get what you want, but if you test enough times, you get what you need.

Yes, I know. It’s unwieldy. And I expect a copyright infringement letter from the Rolling Stones’ shortly. Forgive me; it’s really hard to come up with a brand new saying that sounds old on short notice.

While we wait for the lawyers to weigh in, let’s talk about what happened over the weekend.

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FAA Issues Commercial Space Reentry Site Operator License to Space Florida

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — After completing an assessment of potential environmental impacts, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Space Florida’s application for a commercial space Reentry Site Operator License (RSOL) at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) in Titusville, Fla.

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Astronauts to Boost European Connectivity

Image taken by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano from outside the International Space Station on the first spacewalk to service the cosmic ray detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02). The image shows the three main laboratory modules, clockwise from top: the US Destiny lab, Japanese Kibo module and the European Columbus lab. (Credit: ESA–L. Parmitano, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are planning a spacewalk to install a high-speed satellite link that will improve their connections with Europe.

The system will enable astronauts to connect at home broadband internet speeds – delivering a whole family’s worth of video streaming for communications and a data pipeline connecting the scientific experiments aboard the Station to researchers in Europe.

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NASA’s Costly Toxic Legacy: Space Agency Faces at Least $1.9 Billion in Environmental Liabilities

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA faces at least $1.9 billion in environmental clean up and restoration costs at its far-flung network of centers, an amount that has increased $724 million, or 61 percent, since 2014, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

While five of 14 centers where chemical contamination exists have decreased their cleanup liability, other centers such as Kennedy Space Center, Ames Research Center and the White Sands Test Facilities have seen increased costs from 2014 to 2019.

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Redwire Acquires Oakman Aerospace, a Leading Digitally Engineered Spacecraft and Satellite Design Firm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., January 19, 2021 (Redwire PR) – Redwire, a new leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy, announced today that it has acquired Oakman Aerospace, Inc. (OAI) a leading provider of cutting-edge products and services related to digital engineering, spacecraft and satellite design and development, mission payload development, and data distribution services. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Oakman Aerospace adds a critical capability in digital engineering that will significantly enhance our space infrastructure solutions,” said Peter Cannito, Chairman and CEO of Redwire. “Their modular open systems architecture design and development approach and proprietary commercial off-the-shelf software suite is transforming the way future space capabilities are designed, developed, deployed and operated.”

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NASA: Early Green Run Engine Shutdown Caused by Conservative Test Parameters; Core Stage in Good Condition

The core stage for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is seen in the B-2 Test Stand during a scheduled eight minute duration hot fire test, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The four RS-25 engines fired for a little more than one minute. The hot fire test is the final stage of the Green Run test series, a comprehensive assessment of the Space Launch System’s core stage prior to launching the Artemis I mission to the Moon. (Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Green Run team has reviewed extensive data and completed preliminary inspections that show the rocket’s hardware is in excellent condition after the Green Run test that ignited all the engines at 5:27 p.m. EST at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. After analyzing initial data, the team determined that the shutdown after firing the engines for 67.2-seconds on Jan.16 was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test.

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Satellogic and SpaceX Announce Multiple Launch Agreement

Falcon 9 launches the Turksat 5A satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

First mission, scheduled for mid-2021, will further expand Satellogic’s industry-leading in-orbit capacity

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (Satellogic PR) – -Satellogic, the first company to develop a scalable Earth observation platform with the ability to remap the entire planet at both high-frequency and high-resolution, today announced a Multiple Launch Services Agreement (MLA) with SpaceX. Through the agreement, SpaceX becomes Satellogic’s preferred vendor for rideshare missions. The first launch, scheduled for June 2021, will deliver Satellogic satellites to Low Earth Orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket.

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Tech Designed by University Students Could Shine Light on Extreme Lunar Environments

Michigan Technological University’s Tethered-permanently shadowed Region Explorer would extract and use the water ice located in and around the lunar polar regions through the use of super conducting cables to deliver large quantities of power to these extremely hard to access regions. (Credits: Michigan Technological University)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — “The dark side of the Moon” is sometimes used to describe mysterious things. Though the far side of the Moon isn’t actually dark, there are some areas on the Moon that haven’t seen the Sun in billions of years. Those are the unexplored areas university students aimed to help NASA reach.

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