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UrtheCast Enters into $180 Million Agreement to Sell and Operate Two Satellites

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urthecast-logoVANCOUVER, January 17, 2017 (UrtheCast PR) — UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”), the geospatial and geo-analytics company developing two Earth Observation (EO) satellite constellations, known as OptiSARTM and UrtheDailyTM, today announces that it has entered into a binding agreement with a confidential government customer for the sale and shared operation of the first two satellites in the OptiSARTM Constellation, the world’s first commercial EO constellation with integrated optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, for US$180 million.

The customer has also agreed to pay an additional US$30 million for other products and services related to the sale of the satellites, contingent on the parties reaching mutual agreement on the final scope of these deliverables.
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Rocket Crafters Receives Patent for Printed Hybrid Fuel Grain

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rocket_craftersTITUSVILLE, Fla. (RCI PR) – Rocket Crafters, Inc. (RCI) announced today a U.S. patent was granted to co-founder, President & CTO Ronald Jones for a method for designing and fabricating flawless, high-performance, safer handling fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines using additive manufacturing technology (also known as 3D printing) which will allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts. Jones stated that 3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI’s expendable motors to deliver small satellites to orbits at as low as half current launch costs.

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Next Cygnus Resupply Mission Set for March

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The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Orbital ATK has completed a significant mission milestone for NASA’s next International Space Station cargo mission.

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With Cernan’s Passing, America Has Lost Half its Moon Walkers

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With the passing of Eugene Cernan on Monday, America has lost half of the 12 Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972. All the surviving astronauts from the Apollo lunar program are in their 80’s.

Cernan, 82, was the last man to step off the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. He and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt spent three days on the lunar surface while command module pilot Ronald Evans orbited overhead.

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NASA Administrator Reflects on Legacy of Gene Cernan

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Gene Cernan in t he lunar module Challenger during Apollo 17. (Credit: NASA)

Gene Cernan in t he lunar module Challenger during Apollo 17. (Credit: NASA)

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the passing of Gemini and Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan:

“Gene Cernan, Apollo astronaut and the last man to walk on the moon, has passed from our sphere, and we mourn his loss. Leaving the moon in 1972, Cernan said, ‘As I take these last steps from the surface for some time into the future to come, I’d just like to record that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow.’ Truly, America has lost a patriot and pioneer who helped shape our country’s bold ambitions to do things that humankind had never before achieved.

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Last Man on the Moon Gene Cernan Passes Away

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Gene Cernan on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

Gene Cernan on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died Monday, Jan. 16, surrounded by his family.

Cernan, a Captain in the U.S. Navy, left his mark on the history of exploration by flying three times in space, twice to the moon. He also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface.

Photo gallery of Eugene Cernan

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Iridium Announces Successful First Launch of Iridium NEXT Satellites

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Falcon 9 lifts off. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Falcon 9 lifts off. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 14, 2017 (Iridium PR) — Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today the successful launch of its first ten Iridium NEXT satellites. The satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54:39 a.m. PST. Iridium NEXT is the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe — the largest commercial satellite constellation in space.

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ULA Postpones NROL-79 Launch From Vandenberg

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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2017) – The launch date for a United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying NROL-79 for the National Reconnaissance Office is under review.

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exactEarth Launches Four Hosted Payloads on Iridium Satellite

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exactEarth_solid_colorCAMBRIDGE, ON, Jan 16, 2017 (exactEarth PR) — exactEarth Ltd. (TSX: XCT), the leading provider of Satellite AIS data services, announced the successful launch of four hosted payloads for its next generation constellation, exactView™ RT powered by Harris.

Launched aboard an Iridium NEXT satellite on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, these hosted maritime payloads are now being commissioned and are expected to be brought into service within the next four months.

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Atlas V Scheduled for Thursday Launch from Cape Canaveral

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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying EchoStar XIX satellite lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 2:13 p.m. ET. (Credit: United Launch Alliance/Lockheed Martin)

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying EchoStar XIX satellite lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 2:13 p.m. ET. (Credit: United Launch Alliance/Lockheed Martin)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite. The mission is set to lift off on a ULA Atlas V rocket on Thursday, Jan. 19 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window 7:46-8:26 p.m. EST. Today’s L-4 forecast shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

Weather Forecast

Overall probability of violating weather constraints: 30%
Primary concerns: Cumulus Clouds, Thick Clouds
Overall probability of violating weather constraints for 24 hour delay: 40%
Primary concerns: Cumulus Clouds, Thick Clouds

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This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, Jan. 16, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back COURTNEY STADD to discuss presidential transitions regarding space matters.

2. Tuesday, Jan. 17 2017: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: We welcome DR. GEOFFREY LANDIS regarding his innovative work on laser drives, interstellar probes and more.

3. Friday, Jan. 20, 2016: 9:30-11AM PST; (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CST) No show today due to presidential inauguration.

4. Sunday, Jan. 22,, 2017: 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 5PM CST):We welcome back DR. LARRY KUZNETZ regarding the Mars spacesuit and his new class on spacesuits at the University of California.

Moon Express Raises $20 Million for Lunar Flight

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Moon Express MX-1 spacecraft orbits the Moon in preparation for landing. MX-1 will deliver commercial, academic and government instruments to explore the Moon for science and resources. (Credit: Moon Express)

Moon Express MX-1 spacecraft orbits the Moon in preparation for landing. MX-1 will deliver commercial, academic and government instruments to explore the Moon for science and resources. (Credit: Moon Express)

Moon Express has announced that it has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round from Founders Fund, Autodesk and Collaborative Fund.

The company says it is fully funded to land a spacecraft on the moon later this year. The flight will be an attempt to win the $20 million first prize in the Google Lunar X Prize for the first privately built vehicle to land on the moon and travel 500 meters across the surface. There is a $5 million prize for the second team to achieve the goal.

Moon Express’ spacecraft will launch on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. Rocket Lab expects to launch the Electron on its first flight test in February.

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Lu: Good News and Bad News on Asteroid Defense

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These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions)

Statement by Dr. Ed Lu
Co-founder and CEO, B612 Foundation

“Last week brought both good and bad news for the field of planetary defense and the worldwide effort to protect the Earth from large and dangerous asteroid impacts.

The good news is that the National Near Earth Object Preparedness Strategy report from the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) presented a list of strategic goals to address the risk of large asteroid impacts.

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Japanese Smallsat Launcher Fails in Maiden Flight

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The world’s smallest launch vehicle failed in its maiden launch from a Japanese spaceport on Sunday.

JAXA’s SS-520-4 booster took off from the >Uchinoura Space Center at 8:33 a.m. local time carrying the TRICOM-1 CubeSat. The space agency said although the rocket’s first stage fired normally, the second stage failed to ignite. The booster and its payload fell into the ocean.

The SS-520-4 is an upgraded version of a Japanese sounding rocket that is designed to launch micro-satellites. The three-stage booster stands only 9.5 meters (31.3 ft) tall and has a diameter of .52 meters (1.7 ft).

The TRICOM-1 spacecraft was developed by the University of Tokyo. The 3-kg (6.6 lb) CubeSat included store-and-forward communications equipment and Earth observation cameras.

Videos: SpaceX Returns Falcon 9 to Flight, Lands on Drone Ship

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SpaceX successfully returned its Falcon 9 rocket to flight today, orbiting 10 Iridium satellites and landing the first stage on an off-shore drone ship. The launch took place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.