Blue Canyon Technology Building CubeSat Constellation for Hurricane Obsevations

TROPICS mission CubeSat (Credit: Blue Canyon Technologies)

BOULDER, Colo., October 31, 2017 (BCT PR) – It’s no secret that hurricanes are affecting the United States in a dramatic way this year. In the past few months alone, the US and Caribbean regions have been impacted by multiple catastrophic storms.  To help understand why we are seeing such drastic changes in tropical storm patterns, Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) will build a constellation of CubeSats for an observing system for NASA to measure environmental inner-core conditions for tropical cyclones.

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$30 Billion/Year Over Next Decade to Manufacture & Launch ~300 Satellites Annually

Paris, Washington D.C., Montreal, Yokohama, October 11, 2017 – According to the 20th edition of the report Satellites to be Built & Launched, Euroconsult anticipates that 300 satellites with a mass over 50 kg will be launched on average each year by 2026 for government agencies and commercial organizations worldwide. This is a threefold increase over the past decade as the satellite market experiences a paradigm shift with the rise of small satellites and mega constellations, such as that of OneWeb.

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IAC Updates: Starliner, Rocket Lab and Long March 5

Electron lifts off on maiden flight from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The International Astronautical Congress has been going on all week down in Adelaide, Australia. In addition to Elon Musk’s presentation on Friday and some news I’ve already posted here, there have been a few updates on various programs.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner.  Boeing is aiming for a test flight of the CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station in the third quarter of 2018. However, the first crewed test flight could slip from the fourth quarter of 2018 into the first quarter of 2019.  Link

Rocket Lab. The company’s next test launch will carry will two Dove Cubesats from Planet and a pair of Lemur CubeSsats from Spire Global. The satellite will allow Rocket Lab to test deploying spacecraft from the second stage of its Electron rocket. The launch is planned for several weeks from now. Link

Long March 5. The failure of a Long March 5 booster in July will delay the launch of China’s Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission, which had been scheduled for November. The Chang’e-4 mission, which will land on the far side of the moon, also will be delayed. That flight had been scheduled for late next year. The accident investigation is ongoing. Link

UNOOSA, JAXA Open Third Round of KiboCUBE

VIENNA/TOKYO, 26 September (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have announced the opening of the third round of the KiboCUBE initiative.

KiboCUBE was launched in September 2015 as a capacity-building initiative between UNOOSA and JAXA to offer developing and emerging countries the opportunity to deploy cube satellites (CubeSats) from the Japanese Kibo module of the International Space Station (ISS).

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NASA Small Satellite Promises Big Discoveries

Dr. Reyhan Baktur, a co-investigator from Utah State University, poses with a glass component of UF-Radsat’s solar array. (Credit: Utah State University)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Small satellites provide a cheap, responsive alternative to larger, more expensive satellites. As demand grows, engineers must adapt these “nanosatellites” to provide greater data returns. NASA, in collaboration with educational partners, targets 2021 for the launch of an innovative CubeSat that addresses these challenges.

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ELSE Raises $3 Million Seed Round for Internet of Things Constellation

Lausanne, Switzerland (August 10th, 2017) – ELSE SA, the Swiss new space start-up, today announced the funding of a $3 million seed round. The successful capital raise was enabled by a group of investors including Airbus Ventures, a Geneva-based Independent Assets Manager and Multi Family Office, as well as numerous additional Swiss- and internationally-based private investors. The seed round follows $3 million previously raised by the company in public support.

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German Orbital Systems to Launch LEO Communications CubeSat

BERLIN (German Orbital Systems PR) — German Orbital Systems GmbH works on the development of small satellites’ constellation for communication in LEO orbit, the constellation will consist of 3U CubeSats. This project is implemented in partnership with iSky Technology s.r.o. (Prague, Czech Republic).

The first satellite, called “D-Star ONE”, will demonstrate the main bus components. It will future four communication modules with D-Star capability, two of which be fully dedicated to the amateur radio community. Subsequent satellites will have enhanced capabilities and communication protocols to address larger potential customer groups beyond the amateur radio community. D-Star ONE will become the first private German satellite, i.e. designed and built on own company funds.

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New CubeSat Propulsion System Uses Water as Propellant

Purdue University graduate student Katherine Fowee and postdoctoral research associate Anthony Cofer work on a new micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats. (Credit: Purdue University/Erin Easterling)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR)  – A new type of micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats uses an innovative design of tiny nozzles that release precise bursts of water vapor to maneuver the spacecraft.

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NASA Studies Tethered CubeSat Mission to Study Lunar Swirls

This artist’s drawing shows how two CubeSats, connected by a miles-long tether, would gather measurements on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — A novel mission concept involving two CubeSats connected by a thin, miles-long tether could help scientists understand how the Moon got its mysterious “tattoos” — swirling patterns of light and dark found at more than 100 locations across the lunar surface.

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CloudIX Looks to Serve CubeSat Market

Credit: CloudIX

There’s a new startup looking to serve the growing small satellite market. CloudIX (Cloud Nine) is developing a system that dispenses with a ground-based first stage in favor of launching a rocket from a balloon.

“The benefit of being launched at high altitude (135,000ft/41km) is dramatically reduced air resistance, allowing higher rocket altitudes that weren’t previously possible at this scale,” the company says on its website.

CloudIX says it can deploy 16 1U CubeSats or a 50-lb payload to an altitude of 220 miles (355 km).  Mobile deployment will allow for the deployment of satellites into a variety of orbital planes, the company said.

CloudIX is headquartered in Hayward, Calif.

Science Payloads Set for Launch Aboard CRS-12 Mission

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 8, 2017 (CASIS PR) The SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle is poised to launch its 12th cargo resupply mission (CRS-12) to the International Space Station (ISS) no earlier than August 13th, 2017 from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will carry more than 20 ISS National Laboratory payloads to conduct research across a variety of areas aimed at improving life on Earth, including research on Parkinson’s disease, new anti-bacterial compounds, new approaches to treating blood pressure, and pioneering new advances in the use of stem cells for repairing damage from disease, among many others. Thus far in 2017, the ISS National Lab has sponsored more than 100 separate experiments that have reached the station.

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First Iodine Fueled Ion Engines Pass Major Milestone

BIT

3 thruster and neutralizer firing on xenon (top) and iodine (bottom). (Credit: Busek Co.)

NATICK, MA, JULY 31, 2017 (Busek PR) – Space propulsion firm Busek Co. Inc. confirms its ‘BIT-3’ ion thruster system completed two separate Critical D esign Reviews (CDR) for upcoming CubeSat space flight programs. CDRs are major milestones prior to manufacturing flight hardware, the initial set of BIT-3 flight systems being scheduled for delivery Q1 2018. The iodine fueled solar electric propulsion systems are the first of their kind which enable an entirely new range of small spacecraft missions.

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NASA Awards $14.3 Million to Small Businesses, Research Institutions to Develop Innovative Technologies

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 19 proposals from American small businesses and research institutions for Phase II of its competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, totaling $14.3 million in awards.

These selections are for the 2016 STTR program, which supports NASA’s future missions into deep space, while also benefiting the U.S. economy. The STTR program stimulates partnerships between small businesses and research institutions by providing awards for cooperative research and development efforts with potential for commercialization.

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House Appropriations Committee Boosts NASA’s Budget

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Ignoring the Trump’s Administration’s fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) budget request, the House Appropriations Committee has voted to boost NASA’ spending to $19.88 billion, including significant increases to the space agency’s Exploration and Planetary Science programs.

The appropriations bill is an increase of $779.8 million over Trump’s requested budget of $19.09 billion. It would increase NASA’s budget by $218.5 million over the $19.65 billion the space agency is receiving in FY 2017.

NASA’s Exploration program, which includes the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft, would be boosted by $226 million to $4.55 billion under the House measure. The administration had requested $3.93 billion, a cut of $390 million under current spending.

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Soyuz Rocket Launches 73 Satellites in One Flight

Soyuz-2 launch (Credit: Roskosmos)

A Russian Soyuz-2 rocket deployed 48 Planet Dove and eight Spire Lemur CubeSats on Friday during a flight that deployed a total of 73 satellites.

The Dove and Lemur satellites were secondary payloads on the launch, whose main mission was to deploy the Kanopus-V-IK remote sensing satellite.

Planet co-founder Will Marshall tweeted that all 48 satellites were deployed as planned and were in contact with ground controllers.

The Soyuz also launched three Cicero radio occultation satellites for GeoOptics and two Corvus-BC imaging CubeSats for Astro Digital.  Both companies are based in the United States.

In addition to Russia and the United States, the 72 secondary satellites came from Canada, Germany Japan, and Norway.