Vega-C: Launcher Integration Begins for Inaugural Flight VV21

The Vega-C Interstage 1/2 has now been transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega) ZLV at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 22 April 2022. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique video du CSG/P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Launcher integration for the inaugural flight of Vega-C began with the P120C solid-fuel first stage being delivered to the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega, or ZLV) at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 15 April 2022. P120C will also fly on Ariane 6, with two or four units serving as boosters depending on mission requirements.

The interstage segment to join the P120C first stage with the Z40 second stage followed on the 22nd.

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Pre-shipment Review Held on LARES2 Platform for First Vega C Launch

LARES2 satellite undergoing pre-shipment inspection. (Credit: ASI)

The satellite, installed on the LARES System platform, is preparing to leave Italy to reach the European base in French Guiana where, on board the inaugural flight of the ESA Vega C launcher, it will be put into orbit.

MILAN, Italy (Italian Space Agency PR) — On 23 and 24 March 2022, the Pre-Shipment Review was held at the OHB Italia headquarters in Milan , during which the Italian Space Agency checked the status of the LARES2 System and authorized its shipment to the site launch, the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

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Rocket Lab Selected by MDA to Design and Build Spacecraft for Globalstar

Photon system (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The $143 million contract is the largest spacecraft bus order placed with Rocket Lab to date, encompassing the design and manufacture of 17 state-of-the-art spacecraft for Globalstar’s newest satellites

LONG BEACH, Calif., February 24, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced that it has been awarded a subcontract by MDA Ltd (TSX: MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, to lead the design and manufacture of 17 spacecraft buses for Globalstar’s new Low Earth Orbit satellites. Globalstar, Inc. (NYSE American: GSAT) is a leading provider of Mobile Satellite Services including customizable satellite IoT solutions for individuals and businesses globally.

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Second-generation PRISMA Earth Observation System Gets Underway

© Asi

The consortium led by Thales Alenia Space signs the feasibility study contract with Italian Space Agency

ROME, February 21, 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has signed a contract with the Italian space agency (ASI) to conduct a feasibility study for the PRISMA Second Generation (PSG) hyperspectral Earth observation system. It will be leading a consortium that includes Leonardo, Telespazio (the joint-venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), e-GEOS and SITAEL.

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Orbital Sidekick Characterizes Aurora, Secures Key Partnership to Enhance USG Support

The In-Q-Tel partnership supports technical capability enhancements

SAN FRANCISCO, February 17, 2022 (Orbital Sidekick PR) – Orbital Sidekick (OSK), the leader in commercial space-based hyperspectral monitoring, shares the validation of first light imagery from the company’s recent pathfinder mission and announces a strategic investment with In-Q-Tel (IQT). 

To assess the data quality of its Aurora hyperspectral satellite sensor, which launched on June 30, 2021, OSK performed a comparative study between Aurora and two well-known sensors: Hyperion and PRISMA. The Aurora sensor was designed in the likeness of the Hyperion sensor, a hyperspectral instrument launched as part of Earth Observing-1 in 2000 (decommissioned in 2017). PRISMA, a mission from the Italian Space Agency (launched in 2019) consists of two hyperspectral detectors, which together cover the wavelength ranges of Aurora and Hyperion. 

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Glaciers are Melting Faster With Far Greater Consequences Than Expected

Pope Glacier in Antarctica taken by Operation Ice Bridge in 2016. (Credit: NASA)

https://www.dlr.de/content/de/artikel/news/2022/01/20220128_gletscher-schmelzen-schneller-als-erwartet.html

  • West Antarctica: Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers are melting faster than expected.
  • Critical area: Free-floating undersides of glaciers melt the most.
  • Ice masses in West Antarctica could raise sea levels by up to 1.3 meters.
  • Focus: space travel, earth observation, global change, TanDEM-X

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The South Pole has new problem children. A group of smaller glaciers are melting faster than expected: Pope, Smith and Kohler. So far, the neighboring ice giants Thwaites and Pine Island have been the focus of research because they are very fragile and could cause global sea levels to rise by up to 1.2 meters. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has uncovered and analyzed the changes in West Antarctica together with international research partners. Using special radar data from the TanDEM-X and COSMO-SkyMed satellite missions, they tracked down the causes of the rapid melting of the smaller glaciers.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Second Generation COSMO-SkyMed Satellite

Falcon 9 launches the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)
  • The dual use Italian Constellation at the Service of Security and Sustainability
  • The enlarged 4 satellites final constellation will represent an extraordinary monitoring system guaranteeing greater performance and a significant increase in possible applications.
  • Since 2008, the COSMO-SkyMed constellation has acquired approximately 2 million images, monitoring 7 billion square meters and generating vital data for our planet

ROME, 1 February 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – The second satellite of the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG) constellation, built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) and operated in orbit by Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), was successfully launched today at 00.11 CET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida (USA), on board of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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SpaceX to Launch Italian Surveillance Satellite on Thursday, Starlink Satellites on Saturday

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Italian Space Agency’s COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation radar surveillance satellite tonight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The launch is scheduled for 6:11 p.m. EST (2311 GMT). It will be the company’s fourth launch of the year.

After stage separation, Falcon 9 will return to Earth and land on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission previously supported the launch of Arabsat-6A and STP-2. One half of the fairings supporting this mission previously supported Transporter-1, Transporter-2, and one Starlink mission, and the other half previously supported SAOCOM 1B, Transporter-2, and one Starlink mission.

SpaceX plans to launch another group of Starlink broadband satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, Jan. 29. The launch is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT).

SpaceX will stream both launches beginning about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

Arianespace to Launch PLATiNO 1 & 2 on Vega and Vega C

Vega rocket in flight (Credit: Arianespace)
  • PLATiNO 1 and 2 are Earth observation satellites that will be launched on a Sun-synchronous orbit.
  • Both small satellites are due to be launched between 2022 and 2024.
  • PLATiNO is an all-electric multi-purpose small satellite platform developed in Italy, suitable for a wide range of applications (e.g. Optical, SAR, Telecom, etc.)

Évry-Courcouronnes, France, January 6, 2022 (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has been awarded a launch contract by SITAEL, with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) as the final customer, to orbit PLATiNO 1 & 2 satellites, between 2022 and 2024 on Vega and Vega C. PLATiNO 1 and 2 are Earth observation small satellites operating on Sun-synchronous orbits. PLATiNO 1 will embark a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), operating in the X band, while PLATiNO 2 will carry an optical thermal instrument.

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What We Learned from the Space Station this Past Year

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As the International Space Station enters its third decade of continuous human presence, the impact of microgravity research conducted there keeps growing. The months between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 saw publication of more than 400 scientific papers based on studies aboard the orbiting lab.

Here are some highlights of recent results from groundbreaking space station science:

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Investing Recovery and Resilience Funds in Italian Space Projects

PARIS (ESA PR) — Green and digital transition in Europe will benefit from ESA expertise that supports national plans for investing recovery and resilience funds in space projects.

At the 303rd ESA Council meeting in Paris on 15 December 2021, ESA Member States took the decision to further the role of ESA as provider of expertise in support of national space plans, in particular in order to accompany the investment of Italian recovery and resilience funds in space programmes.

The corresponding arrangement for ESA’s assistance to the Italian National Project concerning Earth observation and space transportation and associated protocol were signed on the margin of the first Giornata Nazionale dello Spazio (Italian National Space Day), held at the Italian Space Agency (ASI) headquarters in Rome on 16 December 2021, by the Italian Minister for Digital Transition and Technological Innovation and delegated authority for space, Vittorio Colao, and ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher, in the presence of the ASI President, Giorgio Saccoccia.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches NASA IXPE Scientific Satellite

Falcon 9 lifts off with NASA’s IXPE satellite on Dec. 9, 2021. (Credit: NASA webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer ( IXPE) early Thursday morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will study of the most energetic objects in the universe – the remnants of exploded stars, powerful particle jets spewing from feeding black holes, and more.

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Planetary Defense: Italy’s LICIACube Flies with DART Toward a Collision with an Asteroid

LICIACube (Credit: Argotec)

The journey into deep space of the satellite of the Italian Space Agency’s LICIACube satellite has begun.

ROME (ASI PR) — The first planetary defense mission of NASA DART, which carries the LICIACube satellite built by Argotec, in collaboration and with the contribution of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), was launched as scheduled on Nov. 24 at 07.21 Italian time from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

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NASA’s New X-ray Mission Will Unlock the Secrets of Extreme Cosmic Objects

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer mission is set to launch Dec. 9 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In space, IXPE will explore the leftovers of exploded stars, black holes, and more by looking at a special property of light called polarization. (Credits: NASA)

by Rick Smith
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA is gearing up to launch a new set of X-ray eyes on the cosmos. The first space observatory of its kind, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, or IXPE, is built to study some of the most energetic objects in the universe – the remnants of exploded stars, powerful particle jets spewing from feeding black holes, and much more.

IXPE is set to launch Dec. 9 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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NASA, SpaceX Launch DART: First Test Mission to Defend Planet Earth

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, spacecraft onboard, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, Pacific time (Nov. 24 Eastern time) from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. DART is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology. The mission was built and is managed by Johns Hopkins APL for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy, DART – built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland – will impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth. Its goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.

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