Editor’s Note: The successful launch of the Soyuz-FG booster — which malfunctioned in October — paves the way for a crew launch to the station on Dec. 3.
BAIKONUR, Kazahkstan (Roscosmos PR) — On November 16, 2018, at 21:14 Moscow time, from the Baikonur cosmodrome, the Soyuz-FG space launch vehicle was successfully launched under the International Space Station (ISS) program. The launch vehicle launched the Progress MS-10 transport cargo ship (TGK) into near-earth orbit.
After the separation of the spacecraft from the third stage of the carrier rocket, the TGK began to carry out the flight program for the ISS.
Defense Onereports that senior Pentagon officials remain widely apart on what the Space Force will cost to set up.
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Thursday told reporters at the Pentagon that it would cost “single digit, not a double-digit” billions of dollars. “It might be lower than $5” billion, he said.
About two hours later, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson defended her service’s far higher estimate. In September, she estimated that standing up a Space Force and a new combatant command for space warfare would cost about $13 billion over five years. (Shanahan did not specify the timeframe for his $5 billion estimate on Thursday.)
“Our cost estimate that we gave to a lot of people in the Pentagon in September was the cost of a fully-fledged, stand-alone department and also a unified combatant command,” she said at the Defense One Summit. “Whatever is put forward needs to implement the president’s proposal,” she said.
Roscomos State Space Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin said an international effort based on parity and “mutually respectful cooperation is needed to send humans back to the moon, TASS reports.
If the United States is unable to work on that basis, Russia will cooperate with other international partners, he added.
Rogozin added that Russia should be able to develop a system for human lunar flights by 2024.
“Today the Russian Federation has the sole space transport system so far. We have carrier rockets and manned spacecraft. Ballistics specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation have made calculations of our possibilities. In about 6-7 years, we will be able, using already the Angara-A5 rocket, in case that it blasts off from the Vostochny spaceport beginning from 2023-2024, we will be able, even using the current manned spacecraft, to ensure the permanently operating transport system capable of reaching the Moon and working in the lunar orbit,” the Roscosmos chief said.
Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky says that human missions to Mars should be undertaken as an international effort as well, TASS reports.
“Mars should become a global task. We should strive for it. The youth will join the effort, investments will come and, most importantly, the flight can be implemented, in principle. Another thing is that other technologies should be developed to make the flight quicker and safer and all of them will recoup investments in the Martian project because they will be in demand on Earth,” said Ryazansky, who called the moon an “intermediate step” toward the Red Planet.
Russia plans to leapfrog Elon Musk’s “old tech” by developing nuclear-powered engines that will make human missions to Mars faster and safer for crews, the head of a research center told Russian media.
“Elon Musk is using the existing tech, developed a long time ago,” said Vladimir Koshlakov, head of the Keldysh Research Center. “He is a businessman; he took a solution that was already there, and applied it successfully. Notably, he is also doing his work with help from the government.”
Keldysh is working on a nuclear engines that will make human exploration of the Red Planet feasible within the near future, he added. The engines will allow cosmonauts to make the voyage in seven months.
“A person should not spend more than a year or two in space. Nuclear-powered spacecraft will allow a relatively fast journey, and, most importantly, a return flight. This technology has special significance for interplanetary flights and research of far planets,” Koshlakov said.
The Keldysh center has successfully conducted the first ground test of the nuclear engine’s cooling system, he added.
WASHINGTON, November 15, 2018 (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission today proposed to further simplify and streamline its rules governing satellite communications. This proceeding is part of an ongoing effort to make the regulatory approval process for satellite licenses more efficient and less burdensome.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today builds upon the FCC’s 2016 Biennial Review as well as initiatives developed by Commission staff during its independent review. One significant proposal is to create a new unified license for space stations and earth stations operating in a geostationary orbit, fixed-satellite service network. The proposed unified network license would eliminate redundancies in the separate licensing processes for satellites and earth stations.
The NPRM also seeks comment on other proposals, such as eliminating certain annual reporting requirements for satellite operators and aligning the build-out periods for some earth stations with the accompanying build-out periods for their communicating satellites.
Action by the Commission November 15, 2018 by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 18-165). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel approving. Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly issuing separate statements.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX successfully launched the Es’hail-2 satellite on Thursday, November 15 from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff occurred at 3:46 p.m. EST, or 20:46 UTC, and the satellite was deployed to a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) about 32 minutes after liftoff.
Falcon 9’s first stage for the Es’hail-2 mission previously supported the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018. Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX constellation includes 7,518 satellite Internet spacecraft
Three other approved constellations total 335 satellites
WASHINGTON, November 15, 2018 (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission today approved the requests of four companies—Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (SpaceX), Kepler Communications, Inc. (Kepler), Telesat Canada (Telesat), and LeoSat MA, Inc. (LeoSat)—seeking to roll-out new and expanded services using proposed non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) satellites.
These proposed satellite systems are expected to enable fixed satellite service in the United States, expanding global connectivity and advancing the goals of increasing high-speed broadband availability and competition in the marketplace.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — In November 2017, scientists pointed NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope toward the object known as ‘Oumuamua — the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system. The infrared Spitzer was one of many telescopes pointed at ‘Oumuamua in the weeks after its discovery that October.
LEXINGTON, Ken., November 15, 2018 (Space Tango PR) – Space Tango, a leader in the commercialization of space through R&D, bioengineering and manufacturing in microgravity, today announced ST-42, a fully autonomous robotic orbital platform designed specifically for scalable manufacturing in space.
Rocket Lab reveals $140 million (USD) funding in Series E financing, closed in advance of the company’s second successful orbital mission, ‘It’s Business Time’ on 11 November.
Investors show continued ardent support in pre-‘It’s Business Time’ launch round led by existing backers Future Fund (Australia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund), with participation from current investors Greenspring Associates, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures, and K1W1.
New investor, the Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand (ACC), also joins the round.
Funding will support continued Electron vehicle production expansion, new launch sites and three new major research and development programs.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., November 15, 2018 (Rocket Lab PR) – US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has closed a Series E financing round of $140 million (USD). The funding round closed last month, prior to the launch of the successful mission ‘It’s Business Time,’ and was led by existing investor Future Fund, with strong participation from current investors including Greenspring Associates, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures and K1W1. New investor ACC also contributed to the round. The Series E round close brings total Rocket Lab funding to date to more than $288 million (USD), with the company now soaring past its previous $1 billion-plus (USD) valuation.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is hosting an event at its Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9 a.m. EST Friday, Nov. 16, to celebrate the arrival of the European Service Module for the agency’s Orion spacecraft. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will preside over the event, which will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Provided by ESA (European Space Agency) and built by ESA contractor Airbus Space, the service module will provide power, air and water to the Orion spacecraft on missions to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
Speaking at the event are:
Janet Petro, deputy director of Kennedy
Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development
Sue Motil, Orion European Service Module integration manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center
Mark Kirasich, Orion Program manager at the agency’s Johnson Space Center
Phillippe Deloo, European Service Module program manager at ESA
Jan Wörner, ESA director general
The service module departed Bremen, Germany, Monday, Nov. 5, and arrived at Kennedy the following day. A team at Kennedy will perform final outfitting, integration and testing of the service and crew modules, and other elements of Orion, in preparation for its first mission, an uncrewed test flight.
GB Timesreports that China plans to launch the first of a planned 320 communications satellite constellation by the end of this year.
The satellite will be sent into a 1,100 km altitude orbit by a Long March 2D launch vehicle to test L- and Ka-band communication capabilities and compatibility in low Earth orbit (LEO).
A Long March 2D appears set to launch the SaudiSat 5A and 5B earth observation satellites with passengers including Jiading-1 from Jiuquan on November 20, but Hongyan-1 will likely be aboard a later launch.
It will be one of nine satellites orbited by 2020 as a pilot demonstration for the Hongyan system, which translates as ‘wild goose’. The name likely comes from the fact that geese were used to deliver messages in ancient China.
The first 60 satellites making up the first phase of deployment of the Hongyan constellation are expected to be in orbit and operational by around 2023, with the 300+ satellite system, which will provide global coverage, to be completed by 2025.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Orbiting 250 miles above Earth’s surface is a large example of in-space assembly: the International Space Station. Modules, trusses, solar arrays and instruments were flown to space and assembled by astronauts during spacewalks and using space-controlled robotics.
On Nov. 6, NASA, along with the U.S. Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office — its principal partners in the Science & Technology Partnership Forum — hosted more than 50 industry members at NASA Headquarters in Washington for an open discussion on in-space assembly technology and projects. Representatives from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory involved in in-space assembly projects also attended.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — India’s GSAT-29 communication satellite was successfully launched by the second developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII-D2) on Wednesday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.