The Past Week in Launches: SpaceX & China Launch Twice, a Soyuz Rideshare and India Falls Short

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle lifts off on maiden flight. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the past week, SpaceX launched 98 Starlink satellites, a Chinese commercial launch provider made it three in a row, Russia launched a rideshare mission with an Iranian satellite aboard, and India’s new small satellite launcher fell just short of orbit.

There have been 103 orbital launches worldwide, with 99 successes and four failures.

Let’s take a closer look at the last week in launch.

(more…)

Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.

(more…)

The Best Laid Plans: Europe’s Ambitious Launch Year Goes Awry Due to International Tensions, Schedule Delays

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 2021 on its exciting mission to unlock the secrets of the Universe. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Christmas Day 2021, an European Ariane 5 rocket roared off its launch pad in French Guiana with the most expensive payload the booster had ever carried, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope. The launcher performed perfectly, sending the most powerful space telescope on a journey to its final destination 1.5 million km (900 million miles) from Earth. The launch was so accurate that Webb should have sufficient propellant to perform science operations for much longer than its planned 10-year lifetime.

There was a collective sigh of relief among the European, American and Canadian scientists and engineers involved in the long-delayed program. It was a superb Christmas gift to a world suffering through the second year of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

(more…)

77 Launches Conducted During First Half of 2022 as Access to Orbit Expanded

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites while the Dragon that will carry Crew-4 to the International space Station awaits its turn. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.

A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

(more…)

Officials Dedicate ISRO System for Safe & Sustainable Operations Management in Space

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — Honorable Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh Ji dedicated ISRO System for Safe & Sustainable Operations Management (IS4OM) to the nation in Bengaluru. Chairman, ISRO Shri S. Somanath, Former chairmen Dr. Radhakrishnan, Shri Kiran Kumar and Dr. Sivan graced the occasion. 

IS4OM is ISRO’s holistic approach to ensure the safety of our space assets and thus, sustains the utilization of outer space for national development. In response to ever-growing space object population and the risk of collisions in space, it undertakes observation and monitoring of space objects and space environment, processing the observations for orbit determination, object characterization and cataloging, analysis of space environment evolution, risk assessment and mitigation, and, data exchange and collaboration.

The system safeguards all Indian Space assets by mitigating the collisional threats from space objects through specific orbit maneuvers and complying to international guidelines on post mission disposal and satellite’s end-of-life operations.

India Launches 3 Satellites for Singapore

PSLV launches three satellites for Singapore on June 30, 2022. (Credit: ISRO)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched three satellites for Singapore from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Thursday in the nation’s second orbital launch of the year.

(more…)

First Ariane 5 Launch of 2022 Orbits Satellites for MEASAT and NSIL

Ariane 5 launches on June 22, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

– The Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, has successfully placed two telecommunications satellites into geostationary orbit: MEASAT-3d for the Malaysian operator MEASAT, and GSAT-24 built by the Indian Space Agency ISRO on behalf of NSIL.
– Carrying out its first mission of the year, and the 113th overall, Ariane 5 once again demonstrates its exceptional reliability.
– Mission VA257 will improve broadband coverage in the Asia-Pacific region and represents another commercial success for Ariane 5 in the Asia-Pacific market.

KOUROU, French Guiana, June 22, 2022 (Arianespace PR) — On Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 06:50 pm local time, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America), successfully orbiting two geostationary telecommunication satellites, MEASAT-3d and GSAT-24.

(more…)

BRICS Nations Form Joint Committee on Space Cooperation

BEIJING (China Ministry of Foreign Affairs PR) — On May 25, the 1st meeting of the BRICS Joint Committee on Space Cooperation was successfully held virtually, marking the official establishment of the BRICS Joint Committee on Space Cooperation and opening the new chapter for joint observation and data sharing cooperation of BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation (RSSC).

Mr. ZHANG Kejian, Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), served as the chairman of the Joint Committee this year. Mr. Carlos Augusto Teixeira de Moura, President of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), Mr. Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the State Space Corporation “Roscosmos”(ROSCOSMOS), Mr. Somanath S. , Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, and Mr. Hendrik Burger, Representative of the South African National Space Agency, attended the meeting.

(more…)

ISRO Successfully Tests Large Human-rated Solid Rocket Booster for the Gaganyaan Programme

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — ISRO successfully completed the static test of a human-rated solid rocket booster (HS200) for the Gaganyaan Programme at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on May 13, 2022, at 7:20 AM local time. HS200 rocket booster is the human-rated version of the well-proven S200 rocket booster of GSLV Mk III satellite launch vehicle, popularly known as LVM3. The successful completion of this test marks a major milestone for the prestigious human space flight mission of ISRO, the Gaganyaan, as the first stage of the launch vehicle is tested for its performance for the full duration.

(more…)

Hindustan Aeronautics, L&T Consortium to Build PSLV Boosters for ISRO

PSLV rocket launches the EOS-4 Earth observation satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

Indian media are reporting that a partnership of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and L&T consortium submitted the winning bid to manufacture five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) privatizes key elements of the nation’s space program. BusinessToday.In reports:

“The company is the lead partner with L&T sharing the work. Other vendors too will be involved with the consortium in the manufacturing of the launch vehicles (LVs). However, the contract is yet to be formalised/ awarded,” HAL said in a statement.

This will be the first time that the industry will build a LV and will pave the way for commercialisation of other LVs, including the small satellite launch vehicle.

“ISRO’s commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) had floated a request for proposal for the said work in December, 2020,” HAL added.

The first rocket is expected to be realised sometime during the second half of 2024 and the balance four rockets will be delivered during 2025 and 2026 at two rockets per year.

India has taken a number of legal steps to privatize the nation’s government-run space program. Legal and regulatory changes have been undertaken, and private Indian space companies have signed agreements giving them access to ISRO facilities for testing purposes.

Private Companies Produce RF Packages and Electromechanical Actuation Systems for ISRO

ISRO Chairman Shri S. Somanath examines components. (Credit: ISRO)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (ISRO PR) — SFO Technologies, Thiruvananthapuram and Hical Technologies, Bengaluru realized and delivered flight grade RF systems and Electromechanical Actuators, respectively, at the Government-owned Company-operated (GOCO) facilities at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. Firms handed over the modules to ISRO Chairman Shri S. Somanath in a function held last month.

(more…)

Australia’s First National Space Mission Central to Budget 2022-23

CANBERRA (Australian Government PR) — The Morrison Government is establishing Australia’s first ever national space mission as part of our plan for a stronger future. This is an historic investment that will strengthen our sovereign capability as well as grow the sector and create hundreds of new jobs.

The 2022-23 Budget includes $1.16 billion [USD $871.6 million] to 2038-39 and $38.5 million [USD $28.9 million] per annum ongoing for the first phase of a National Space Mission for Earth Observation, which will see Australia design, build, and operate four new satellites.

Led by the Australian Space Agency, this Mission will make Australia more self sufficient when it comes to critical Earth Observation data, while also growing capability and job opportunities that will set the industry up for future success.

(more…)

Space Situational Assessment 2021: The Growing Menace of Space Debris

Credit: ISRO

BENGALULU, India (ISRO PR) — Growing collision threats of space objects including orbital debris with the operational space assets have become a perennial problem for the safe and sustainable use of outer space.  These threats restrict the unhindered access to space and prompt all space actors to take appropriate measures to mitigate them.

(more…)

Failure Analysis Committee Identifies Propellant Leak as Cause of GSLV Failure

GSLV EOS-3 booster on its way to the launch pad. (Credit: ISRO)

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — The GSLV-F10/EOS-03 Mission lifted-off normally from Sriharikota on August 12,2021 at 0543 hrs after a smooth countdown of 26 hours. In the flight, the performance of the first stage (GS1), the strap-on stages (L40) and the second stage (GS2) were satisfactory and in accordance with the pre-flight predictions. However, the onboard computer aborted the mission at 307 seconds into the flight leading to mission failure.

(more…)

ISRO Looks to Transfer Mini Satellite Bus to Private Sector

IMS-1 bus (Credit: ISRO)

As part of its effort to commercialize the nation’s space program, the Indian Space Research Organisation is looking to transfer a small satellite bus to the private sector. The notice for transferring the Indian Mini Satellite-1 bus is below.

Interest Exploratory Note

UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed small satellite platform which would enable low cost access to space by providing dedicated platform for payloads for earth imaging, ocean and atmospheric studies, microwave remote sensing and space science missions with a quick turnaround time.

Department of Space has authorised NSIL for Technology Transfer of IMS-1 Satellite Platform to suitable entrepreneurs/industry in India. Interested Parties may please fill the enclosed form and send by email to contact-nsil@isro.gov.in on or before 25 March 2022.

Indian Mini Satellite-1 (IMS-1) Bus Specifications

Stability3-axes stabilised small satellite (Bus + P/L) of 100 kg Class
StructureSize 600 (Y) x 552 (R) x 600 (P) mm3
Pointing Accuracy±0.1° (3σ) about all axes
Drift Rate±7.5 x 10-04°/s (3σ) about all axes
Nominal Mission Life2 years
Payload Mass30 Kg
BDH32 Mbps
InterfacesLVDS, 1553, Standard TM/TC Interface
Solar PanelSolar Array consists of two wings, each having one panel of size 0.915 x 0.83 m2
Power330 W (EOL with one string failure)
BatteryLithium ion battery of 27.2 Ah capacity
Attitude SensorsMagnetometer -1 No., 4 PI Sensors, micro Star Sensors, micro-IRU
Reaction Control System
Magnetic Torquers (2nos. of 20 A-m2)
Reaction Wheels (4 Nos. of 1 Nm-s @ 8000 RPM & 0.02 Nm)
Thruster of 1N-1No.
Tank- 7.5 litre Volume
SSR32 Gb
ThermalThermistors – 48,
FTS- 16,
PRTs – 10,
Thermocouples – 2,
On-board heaters-28