NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

(more…)

Roscosmos Looks Back at Successful Launch Year

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — For the third year in a row, Roscosmos ensured trouble-free launches of spacecraft from the Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny cosmodromes. Russia has achieved the best indicators of accident-free launches in 5 years (about 97 percent) among the leading space powers (Russia, USA, China).

As of the end of 2021, 25 launches of space rockets were carried out, including 14 launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome, 5 launches from Vostochny, 5 from Plesetsk and 1 from the Guiana Space Center.

(more…)

Germany Made Important Contributions to James Webb Space Telescope

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)
  • On December 25, 2021 at 9:20 a.m. local time (1:20 p.m. CET), the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space telescope of all time to date, took off from the spaceport of the European Space Agency on an Ariane 5 launcher.
  • A total of four instruments are housed on James Webb.  Two of them come from Europe and have German shares.
  • The German Space Agency at DLR coordinates the German contributions for ESA and for an instrument in the national space program.

KOUROU, French Guiana (DLR PR) — James Webb Space Telescope – JWST for short – was launched from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) on its journey to Lagrange Point 2, 1.5 million kilometers away.  James Webb is the largest and most expensive space telescope of all time, which has now started its long journey into the depths of space with an Ariane 5 upper stage ‘Made in Germany’. In addition, MIRI (Mid Infrared Iinstrument) and Near Infrared ( Near Infrared Spectrograph) – two of the four instruments on board – German parts: The near-infrared instrument NIRSpec was built by Airbus in Ottobrunn and Friedrichshafen. With this instrument, scientists from all over the world want to analyze the ‘hours of birth’ of the universe. NIRSpec is primarily intended to detect the radiation from the first galaxies that formed shortly after the Big Bang. 

(more…)

Webb Liftoff on Ariane 5 to Unlock Secrets of the Universe

The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 13:20 CET on 25 December on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe.

Following launch and separation from the rocket, Webb’s mission operations centre in Baltimore, USA confirmed Webb deployed its solar array and is in good condition, marking the launch a success.

(more…)

James Webb Space Telescope Launch Celebrated by UK

The James Webb Space Telescope previously deployed its primary mirror in March 2020. Its folded sunshield is also visible in this image. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The once-in-a-generation James Webb Space Telescope has launched, with scientists and engineers across the UK playing a vital role in the mission.

The telescope, known as ‘Webb’, blasted off from the Arianespace spaceport in French Guiana on 25 December 2021 at 12:20 pm – the culmination of decades of scientific collaboration.

(more…)

James Webb Space Telescope Updates: Antenna Unfolded and Mid-course Corrections

The James Webb Space Telescope after separation from its Ariane 5 booster. (Credit; NASA)

NASA Mission Updates

December 27, 2021

While the team continues to work on unfolding Webb, we take a moment to  learn more about the launch from two European Space Agency (ESA) representatives, Daniel de Chambure, Acting Head Ariane 5 Adaptation & Future Missions for ESA and Maurice Te Plate, JWST NIRSpec Systems and AIV Engineer for ESA. They provide details about the launch trajectory, which is the first phase of Webb’s journey before additional planned course corrections:

(more…)

CNES Invites Micro and Mini Launch Operators to Apply to Operate From Guiana Space Center

Vega and Ariane 5 launch pads at Europe’s Spaceport. (Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja)

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Monday, December 20, 2021, CNES launched a call for applications to host micro and mini-launchers at the Guiana Space Centre, thus expressing, in close collaboration with ESA, its desire to open the spaceport of the Europe to new operators. Applicants have until January 31, 2022 to submit their application.

(more…)

NASA, Partners Complete Webb Rocket Rollout

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope onboard, is rolled out to the launch pad, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, at Europe’s Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is a large infrared telescope with a 21.3 foot (6.5 meter) primary mirror. The observatory will study every phase of cosmic history—from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

KOUROU, French Guiana (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – inside the Ariane 5 rocket it will ride to space – has arrived at its final location on Earth: the Arianespace ELA-3 launch complex at Europe’s Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is scheduled for liftoff at 7:20 am EST Saturday, Dec. 25. With Webb and its rocket securely on the pad, the team will run electrical diagnostics to ensure all lights are green for launch. Teams will power on the observatory while at the launch pad to run one final aliveness test to ensure all systems have power and are working before liftoff.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Has Completed Testing

Fully assembled and fully tested, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has completed its primary testing regimen and will soon begin shipment preparations. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

By Thaddeus Cesari
​NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — After successful completion of its final tests, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is being prepped for shipment to its launch site.

Engineering teams have completed Webb’s long-spanning comprehensive testing regimen at Northrop Grumman’s facilities. Webb’s many tests and checkpoints were designed to ensure that the world’s most complex space science observatory will operate as designed once in space.

(more…)

Launch 2020: India’s Flight Rate Declined Due to COVID-19, but Nation Moved Forward with Commercialization

PSLV-C50 lifts off with the CMS-01 satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s growing space program managed only two domestic launches last year as it was forced to delay the Gaganyaan human spaceflight program and several other high profile projects.

However, India was able to move forward last year on a sweeping commercialization of its state-controlled space industry designed to make the country internationally competitive.

(more…)

Roscosmos Eyes Crewed Flights from French Guiana, Seeks Partners for Lunar Base with China

A Soyuz-2 launches the CSO-2 defense satellite on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Roscosmos head discussed launching cosmonauts from Kourou with French counterpart
  • Russian-Chinese lunar south pole base is rival to planned U.S. facility
  • Russia to begin design work on new Earth orbiting station by late summer

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos is exploring the possibility of launching spacecraft from the Guiana Space Centre in South America that would carry cosmonauts to the new Chinese space station and a base that Russia and China plan to build at the lunar south pole, according to media reports. Russia is also beginning work on a new Earth orbiting space station.

(more…)

Launch 2020: Russian Missions Improved in Quality, Declined in Numbers

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For Russia, 2020 was a mixed year in terms of launch. Once the world’s leader in sending payloads into space, the nation finished a distant third behind the United States and China with only 17 orbital flights. That figure was eight below the 25 launches in 2019, and Russia’s lowest number of the 21st century. The U.S. and China finished with 44 and 39 launch attempts, respectively.

On the bright side, 2020 was the second year in a row in which Russia did not experience a launch failure. That streak came after more a decade during which the Russian launch industry was plagued with multiple fmishaps.

(more…)

ESA, CNES Sign Contract to Maintain and Modernize Spaceport

Vega and Ariane 5 launch pads at Europe’s Spaceport. (Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA will contribute to the maintenance, operations and modernisation of Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana over the period 2020–24.

At the ESA Council meeting on 16 December, a contract for the ‘Maintenance of the Guiana Space Centre launch range in operational condition for the period 2020–24, including core launch range renewal activities’ was signed by Jan Wörner, ESA Director General and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, France’s space agency.

(more…)

Arianespace to Launch EUTELSAT 10B Satellite

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s Flight VA253 was equipped with a new vehicle equipment bay that enabled the launcher’s payload capacity to be increased. (Credit: Arianespace)

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and Eutelsat have confirmed that EUTELSAT 10B, Eutelsat’s next generation high-throughput telecommunications satellite, will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket.

EUTELSAT 10B is scheduled for launch in 2022 on one of eight Ariane 5 missions remaining to be performed with the heavy-lift launcher.

(more…)

Kepler Announces Successful Launch of Third Satellite

TARS satellite (Credit: Kepler Communications)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, September 3, 2020 (Kepler Communications PR) – Kepler’s Low Earth Orbit constellation expanded earlier today with the successful launch of its third satellite. This satellite, internally referred to as TARS, was launched onboard the Arianespace Vega SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) from the Guiana Space Centre at approximately 01:51 UTC, with communication established shortly thereafter.

(more…)