Busy Launch Week With Flights to ISS, Electron Test

The Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

We’ve got a busy launch week coming up with a new three-man crew headed for the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX launching a Dragon resupply mission to the station, and Rocket Lab attempting the second flight test of its Electron small-satellite launcher. Europe and China are also launching satellites this week.

December 10

Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B
Payload: Alcomsat 1 communications satellite (Algeria)
Launch Time: Approx. 1635 GMT (11:35 a.m. EST)
Launch Site: Xichang, China

December 10/11

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Payloads: 3 Planet and Spire CubeSats
Launch Window: 0130-0530 GMT on 11th (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EST on 10/11th)
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Webcast: http://www.rocketlabusa.com

December 12

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Dragon (CRS 13 mission)
Launch Time: 1646 GMT (11:46 a.m. EST)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Webcast: http://www.spacex.com and http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv/

Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5
Payloads: Galileo 19-22 navigation satellites
Launch Time: 1836:07 GMT (1:36:07 p.m. EST)
Launch Site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Webcast: http://www.esa.int

December 17

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: Soyuz spacecraft with Anton Shkaplerov (Roscosmos), Scott Tingle (NASA) and Norishige Kanai (JAXA)
Launch Time: 0720 GMT (2:20 a.m. EST)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Webcast: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv/

ESA Signs Contract for Vega E, Space Rider

The new launcher has a liquid oxygen/methane engine with a low impact on the environment. The Space Rider can return to earth at the end of its mission and be reused.

Colleferro, Italy, 30th November 2017 (Avio PR) – Today, Avio signed two contracts with ESA, the European Space Agency, in Paris to develop the Vega E launcher and the Space Rider re-entry vehicle, in line with market expectations. The contracts are worth a total of €89.7 million.

(more…)

ESA’s Latest Technology CubeSat Cleared for Launch Site

GomX-4B with GomX-4A (Credit: GomSpace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — GomX-4B, ESA’s latest and largest technology-testing CubeSat, will be launched from China early next year, together with the near-identical GomX-4A. The pair will test intersatellite communication links and propulsion while orbiting up to 4500 km apart.

The cereal box-sized GomX-4B has been passed as ready to travel along with its twin from manufacturer GomSpace in Denmark in early December to begin launch preparations in China.

(more…)

ESA to Launch Deep-space Asteroid Surveying CubeSat

M-Argo CubeSat. (Credit: ESA-Jacky Huart)

PARIS (ESA PR) — M-Argo is designed as ESA’s first CubeSat to enter interplanetary space.

Studied in the Concurrent Design Facility, ESA’s highly networked facility for designing novel missions, the ‘Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer’, or M-Argo, is a nanospacecraft based on the CubeSat design employing standardised 10 cm cubic units within which electronic boards can be stacked and subsystems attached.

(more…)

Vega Launches Earth Observation Satellite

On 7 November 2017, Vega flight VV11 lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana to deliver the Earth observation satellite Mohammed VI-A into orbit for the Kingdom of Morocco. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Arianespace has launched a Vega rocket to deliver an Earth observation satellite into orbit for the Kingdom of Morocco.

Liftoff of Vega’s 11th mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana came at 01:42 GMT on 8 November (02:42 CET; 22:42 local time on 7 November).

With a mass at liftoff of 1110 kg, Mohammed VI-A was manoeuvred into its target Sun-synchronous orbit about 55 minutes into the mission after a series of burns of Vega’s upper stage.

Complying with debris regulations to help keep space clean, Vega’s upper stage fired a final time to burn up high in the atmosphere over the ocean.

Vega is a 30 m-high, four-stage vehicle designed to accommodate small scientific and Earth observation payloads of 300–2500 kg, depending on the orbit.

SpaceX, ULA Split Pair of NASA Launch Contracts

Falcon 9 on the launch pad with Intelsat 35e satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the Sentinel-6A mission. Launch is currently targeted for November 2020, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

NASA also has selected United Launch Services LLC (ULS) of Centennial, Colorado, to provide launch services for the Landsat 9 mission. The mission is currently targeted for a contract launch date of June 2021, while protecting for the ability to launch as early as December 2020, on an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

(more…)

ESA Role in Europe’s First All-electric Telecom Satellite

Eutelsat 172B satellite (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

 

PARIS (ESA PR) — Europe’s first all-electric telecom satellite has reached its final working orbit above the Pacific Ocean. Eutelsat-172B, built for Eutelsat by Airbus, carries new technologies developed through ESA-led projects, including fully articulated thruster arms.

The satellite relied entirely on electric thrusters to climb from its initial orbit into its planned slot over the equator some 35 800 km up, and is now using them to hold position.

(more…)

Rocket Motor for Ariane 6 and Vega-C is Cast for Testing

The first full-scale model of the P120C rocket motor that will propel Ariane 6 and Vega-C into orbit was cast and filled with inert propellant for intensive testing in Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in September 2017. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first full-scale model of the rocket motor that will propel Ariane 6 and Vega-C into orbit has been cast and filled with inert propellant for testing at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The P120C is the largest solid-propellant rocket motor ever built in one segment.

(more…)

Atlas V Scrubbed for Weather, Soyuz Launches Progress to Station

Atlas V with NROL-52 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

ULA says it scrubbed an early-morning launch of an Atlas V carrying the NROL-52 satellite due to weather violations. The launch has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 15, at 3:28 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was the third scrub of the flight due to weather constraints and the fourth scrub overall.

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying a Russian Progress resupply ship blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Saturday. The freighter will take about two days to reach the International Space Station. The launch comes two after a last-minute abort of the Soyuz booster.

On Friday, the European Sentinel 5 Precursor satellite was orbited by a Russian Rockot booster from the Plesestk Cosmodrome. The mission, a joint collaboration of the European Commission and European Space Agency, will measure greenhouse gases.

ESA Looking for Commercial Ride for ISRU Lunar Mission

Lunar base made with 3D printing (Credit: ESA/Foster + Partners)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In the first act of lunar exploration, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were major characters. In setting its sights on the Moon, ESA hopes to bring many more actors to this off-world stage.

By testing the market for transport services to the Moon, ESA aims to push the limits of technology and create new models of space business.

(more…)

Seraphim Space Tech Venture Capital Fund Reaches $95 Million Close

  • The world’s only dedicated space tech Venture Capital fund reaches £70m close
  • Europe’s leading space companies collectively supporting pioneering new fund
  • Former Google Earth CTO Michael Jones joins Seraphim as Managing Partner
  • Completed first 2 investments in leading nanosat constellations – Spire & Iceye

LONDON (Seraphim Capital PR) — A new revolution in Earth Observation is underway driven by low cost satellites and drones/UAVs enabling data that will be defining our changing world over the next decade. A new venture fund launched by Seraphim Capital has been established to capitalize on this opportunity.

(more…)

ESA Signs First Ariane 6 Contract for Galileo Launches

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: ESA–David Ducros,)

PARIS, 15 September 2017 (ESA PR) — Four of the latest set of Galileo navigation satellites will be launched on Ariane 6 rockets – ESA’s first contract to use Europe’s new vehicle.

The launches are scheduled between the end of 2020 and mid-2021, using two Ariane 62 rockets – the configuration of Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle that is best suited to haul the two 750 kg navigation satellites into their orbits at 23 222 km altitude.

(more…)