Satellites

Science • Space
Rocket Lab launches Earth-observing satellite for Capella Space
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch Credit: RocketLab (Twitter Reproduction)

Rocket Lab successfully launched Monday, from their New Zealand launch facility, a satellite on behalf of client Capella Space. In just over a month, Rocket Lab was able to identify what went wrong with the previous Electron launch, that caused the loss of seven satellites.

"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" was the 14th orbital launch for the Electron booster, which debuted in May 2017. The rocket had strung together 11 consecutive successful missions until the July 4 failure.

Science • Space
SpaceX successfully launches Earth-observation satellite for Argentina
SpaceX successfully launches Earth-observation satellite for Argentina
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

SpaceX launched three satellites Sunday, including the SAOCOM-1B for the Argentine Space Agency. The mission was the first polar launch from Cape Canaveral since 1969.

The company reused a Falcon 9 booster that previously flew on two separate commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station, and one mission to deploy Starlink's internet satellites.

SpaceX originally planned two launches to be performed on Sunday, but the weather earlier in the day forced the first launch to be rescheduled.

Science • Space
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Credit: Rocket Lab

After losing a payload during a mission failure on July 4, Rocket Lab has set a launch window for its next commercial mission starting on August 27 at 3:05 PM local New Zealand time.

The new Electron mission is billed as a relatively commonplace small satellite delivery mission and will launch from Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

Science • Space
Amazon gets approval to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit for internet services
Amazon gets approval to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit for internet services
Credit: unsplash.com / NASA

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a request from Amazon to launch 3,236 communication sattelites into low earth orbit.

The company plans to provide a low-latency, high-speed satellite-based internet connections to United States households with it's Project Kuiper. Amazon has announced that it will invest over $10 billtion into the project and will build a supporting infrastructure on the ground in addition to launching the satellites.

With Project Kuiper Amazon goes into direct competition to the Starlink network by SpaceX that aims towards the same goals.

Politics • World
US Space Comnmand warns of possible armed Russian satellite
Representative picture of a NASA satellite
Representative picture of a NASA satellite Credit: unsplash.com / Nasa

The US Space Command has stated that they have evidence of Russia testing an anti-satellite weapon in space. According to them "a projectile was launched from" the Cosmos 2543 Russian satellite, that has been tailing a US spy satellite.

Russia claims the object that has been dispatched from the satellite was an inspector satellite. Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, rejected that explanation and stated that "the behavior of that satellite looked nothing like an inspector satellite and looked like something much more concerning".

Science • Space
SpaceX launches South Korea satellite, recovers booster and two fairings
SpaceX launches South Korea satellite, recovers booster and two fairings
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on Monday delivered the ANASIS-II, a South Korean military communications satellite, to orbit and set a new record for the fastest turnaround time for reusing a rocket. The first stage booster successfully landed on the "Just Read the Instructions" droneship.

The company also set a new milestone by catching both halves of the nosecone fairing. Catching the $6-million fairing spares it from suffering any saltwater damage and so allows it to be used again with minimal maintenance, reducing costs.

Science • Space
SpaceX going to launch a South Korean satellite Monday
Falcon 9 booster
Falcon 9 booster Credit: Official SpaceX Photos (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

SpaceX scheduled the launch of a Falcon 9 carrying ANASIS-II, a South Korean military communications satellite, Monday, with a window from 21:00(UTC) to 00:55(UTC).

The Falcon 9 booster is the same one that catapulted astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken toward the International Space Station in May, which would be a record for the quickest turnaround time between flights of an orbital-class rocket stage.

Science • Space
Rocket Lab 13th launch fails after second stage malfunction
Rocket Lab - Pics Or It Didn't Happen Launch
Rocket Lab - Pics Or It Didn't Happen Launch Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

The Rocket Lab's mission ‘Pics or It Didn’t Happen’ failed after the second stage of the Electron rocket carrying seven satellites malfunctioned after launch from New Zealand on Saturday, suddenly slowing down and losing altitude. Rocket Lab confirmed the vehicle and its payloads were lost, but no official indication of what went wrong was immediately available.

CEO Peter Beck tweeted after the failure: "We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today. Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon."

Science • Space
Rocket Lab to launch a seven-satellites rideshare mission Saturday
Electron Rocket
Electron Rocket Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab to launch a rideshare mission Saturday using its Electron rocket. The launch, which is named ‘Pics or It Didn’t Happen’, is scheduled to happen between 21:19 - 22:03 (UTC) from the company's New Zealand spaceport.

The mission is Rocket Lab’s third flight this year, and it includes seven small satellites from several different companies.

Science • Space
SpaceX to launch third Starlink mission in a month
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Credit: 2nd Lt. Alex Preisser/USAF (Public Domain)

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Starlink 9 mission this Thursday. The launch is planned for 20:39(UTC) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This will be the third Starlink launch in June alone, bringing the size of the growing constellation to around 600 satellites and closer to the threshold of 800 required for some limited broadband service to begin.

Science • Space
SpaceX has until July 15 to prove Starlink could qualify for $16 billion federal funding
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Credit: 2nd Lt. Alex Preisser/USAF (Public Domain)

SpaceX's Starlink network of low-Earth orbit small satellites plans to compete for the rural broadband funding, a $16 billion federal funding auction. To qualify for the auction the FCC requires that participants demonstrate latency under 100 milliseconds until July 15.

On a public notice released on June 11, the FCC stated it had "serious doubts that any low-Earth orbit networks will be able to meet the short-form application requirements for bidding in the low-latency tier".

SpaceX's announces it could have latencies around 20 milliseconds.

Science • Space
The D.C. BLM mural can be seen from space
Screenshot of Planet's Tweet showcasing the BLM mural in DC
Screenshot of Planet's Tweet showcasing the BLM mural in DC Credit: Planet via Twitter

The Black Lives Matter mural in D.C. was spotted by Planet, a SF-based observation satellite company. Planet posted an image to Twitter, showing a satellite view of downtown D.C. with the Black Lives Matter mural painted on the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza clearly visible. The company has also voiced support for the BLM movement earlier this month.

Science • Space
SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites
SpaceX Logo
SpaceX Logo Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

SpaceX has launched on Wednesday another 60 internet-beaming satellites, bringing the company's constellation to around 480.

One of the 60 Starlink satellites has a visor system installed to block the sun from reflecting off of its communication antenna surfaces. If the system works, it should greatly reduce sunlight reflected off of the satellite back to Earth, one of the major criticisms from astronomers.

Also, this was the fifth launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, achieving a new record in booster reusability for the company.

Science • Space
Virgin Orbit’s fails on first orbital test flight
Cosmic Girl releases LauncherOne mid-air for the first time during a July 2019 drop test
Cosmic Girl releases LauncherOne mid-air for the first time during a July 2019 drop test Credit: Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit has failed in its test launch of a LauncherOne rocket carried by a Boeing 747. The launch was the first attempt to an end-to-end system test, but the test ended shortly after LauncherOne was released from the 'Cosmic Girl' Boeing 747.

“Our team performed their prelaunch and flight operations with incredible skill today. Test flights are instrumented to yield data and we now have a treasure trove of that. We accomplished many of the goals we set for ourselves, though not as many as we would have liked,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “Nevertheless, we took a big step forward today. Our engineers are already poring through the data. Our next rocket is waiting. We will learn, adjust, and begin preparing for our next test, which is coming up soon.”

Science • Space
Ariane 6 maiden flight likely delayed to 2021
Artistic view of Ariane 6 rocket with four boosters
Artistic view of Ariane 6 rocket with four boosters Credit: ESA

Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) say that their plans for the debut flight of the Ariane 6 launch rocket have been delayed into 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic that slowed or halted work on development projects related to the rocket.

Ariane 6 is the long-awaited replacement for the reliable Ariane 5 rocket and planned to be a valid financial competitor to SpaceX.