SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon to Deliver New Space Station Docking Adapter for Commercial Crew Spacecraft

The International Docking Adapter 3, a critical component for future crewed missions to the International Space Station, is carefully packed away in the unpressurized “trunk” section of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at the SpaceX facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 19. (Credit: NASA/Isaac Watson)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A new International Docking Adapter, called IDA-3, is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station this July aboard SpaceX’s 18th cargo resupply mission to the microgravity laboratory. When installed on the space station, the one-of-a-kind outpost will have two common ports enabling expanded opportunities for visiting vehicles, including new spacecraft designed to carry humans for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

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India Aims for the Moon on Monday in Nation’s Most Ambitious Space Mission Yet

Chandrayaan 2 in Earth orbit with lander on top and orbiter on the bottom. (Credit: ISRO)

UPDATE: The launch was scrubbed due to a technical problem with the booster. ISRO has not announced a new launch date yet.

India is aiming for the moon for the second time with the most ambitious space mission the nation has ever attempted. On Monday, the GSLV-Mk III booster is set to launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, which includes an orbiter, lander and rover.

Live coverage begins on the ISRO website on Monday, July 15 at 02:30 hrs (Sunday, July 14 at 2100 UTC/5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT).

Below are details taken from the ISRO Chandrayaan 2 mission kit.

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University of Illinois Studies Maintaining Large Satellite Constellations

Overview of the multilevel spare strategy for a satellite constellation. (Credit: University of Illinois)

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (University of Illinois PR) — Today, large-scale communication satellite constellations, also known as megaconstellations, have been more and more popular. OneWeb launched the first batch of satellites of an initial 650-satellite constellation in February 2019, and SpaceX also launched the first batch of its 12,000-satellite constellation in May 2019. On July 8, Amazon also filed an application with the FCC for its planned satellite constellation with 3,236 satellites. These satellite constellations are expected to be a game changer by realizing the worldwide satellite Internet service.

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NASA Awards $73.7 Million to Made in Space for 3D-Printed & Assembled Spacecraft Parts in Orbit

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a $73.7 million contract to Made In Space, Inc. of Mountain View, California, to demonstrate the ability of a small spacecraft, called Archinaut One, to manufacture and assemble spacecraft components in low-Earth orbit. The in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly technologies could be important for America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

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White House Objects to Space Corps, Launch Provisions in House Defense Funding Bill

Credit: Matt Wade

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Trump Administration is threatening to veto the House’s Pentagon spending bill for fiscal year 2020 unless changes are made relating to the establishment of a Space Corps, the selection of launch companies for national security payloads, and the funding for an infrared surveillance satellite system.

The requested changes were included in a 10-page statement of administration policy that objected to provisions in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.

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Scottish Supercomputer Satellites Launched into Orbit

Pioneer satellites launch on board Soyuz. (Credit: Roscomos)

A pair of Glasgow-built satellites which could revolutionise how data is downloaded from space were successfully launched on July 5

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — Satellites are essential to modern life due to their application in navigation, finance, telecoms and in monitoring weather, climate change and air pollution. However, the data they collect can be slow to download due to the volume of traffic, with users often having to download very large files they don’t need just to obtain specific elements.

Spire Global operates a network of small satellites, known as nanosatellites, which collect and transmit a range of valuable data. The two new additions, supported by the UK Space Agency, will be able to process and cherry-pick data from other satellites in orbit before transmitting it to Earth, optimising and freeing up bandwidth for other tasks and users.

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House Science Leaders Seek Answers on Removal of NASA’s Gerstenmaier, Hill

Eddie Bernice Johnson

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – Yesterday, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) leadership reassigned Mr. William H. Gerstenmaier from his post as Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. He will now serve as special assistant to NASA’s Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard. Mr. William Hill, who served with Gerstenmaier as Deputy Associate Administrator of HEO, was also reassigned to now serve as a special advisor to NASA’s Associate Administrator, Steve Jurczyk. 

“I am baffled by the NASA Administrator’s decision to abruptly remove the highly respected heads of NASA’s human spaceflight directorate and its Exploration Systems Development office with no permanent successors identified,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “The Trump Administration’s ill-defined crash program to land astronauts on the Moon in 2024 was going to be challenging enough to achieve under the best of circumstances. Removing experienced engineering leadership from that effort and the rest of the nation’s human spaceflight programs at such a crucial point in time seems misguided at best.  The Administrator needs to explain this personnel action, as well as provide an executable program plan accompanied by a credible budget if Congress is to have any basis for supporting the President’s Moon initiative.”

“As the head of NASA’s human exploration program, William Gerstenmaier has a long, successful track record of shepherding people safely into space,” said Chairwoman Kendra Horn (D-OK) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. “He had just testified on the future of the International Space Station before the Subcommittee that I chair the morning of the announcement. The Subcommittee found his testimony very important given his technical insight and his depth of NASA experience.

“I was surprised about the Administrator’s announcement. I look forward to speaking further with the Administrator about his decision.

“I am concerned about the impacts that such abrupt leadership changes in our nation’s human space flight programs could have at a time when we are at the threshold of testing the integrated Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle that will take humans into deep space and the commercial space flight systems that will take our astronauts to the International Space Station.”

More Than 40 Student Experiments Slated for SpaceX CRS-18

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), July 10, 2019 (ISS National Laboratory PR) – When the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches on its next mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Dragon spacecraft will be loaded with dozens of experiments to be conducted in space, many of which are from students and educators.

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Virginia Opens New Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Payload Processing Facility on Wallops Island

Ribbon cutting at the new Wallops Payload Processing Facility. (Credit: Virginia Space)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (Virginia Space PR) ) —Governor Ralph Northam today celebrated the opening of the Commonwealth’s newest facility to prepare rockets and payloads for launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Payload Processing Facility (MARS PPF), which held a ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication with Governor Northam this morning, represents a major expansion in capabilities for the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the region.

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Blue Canyon Provides CubeSats for NASA Lasercom Demo Mission

BOULDER, Colo. (Blue Canyon Technologies PR) –Small satellite manufacturer Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) announced it has been selected by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Small Spacecraft Technology program and NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, in collaboration with the University of Florida and MIT, to provide multiple 3U spacecraft for its CubeSat Lasercom Infrared Crosslink (CLICK) flight demonstration missions.

The CubeSats will be used for separate demonstration missions: the first is a laser space-to-ground demonstration mission and the second will demonstrate laser crosslinks and ranging in low-Earth orbit.

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PlanetiQ Secures $18.7 Million Series B Financing Round Co-Led by New Science Ventures, AV8 Ventures

DENVER, Colorado (July 9, 2019) — PlanetiQ, the high-definition satellite-based weather forecasting and analytics company, today announced it has completed an $18.7 million Series B round of financing.

New Science Ventures and AV8 Ventures co-led the investment round with participation from existing and new investors, Valo Ventures, Kodem Growth Partners, Access Venture Partners, Virginia Tech Carilion Innovation Fund, Hemisphere Ventures, Service Provider Capital, Earth Investments, Moonshots Capital, and a large Kansas City-based family office that wishes to remain anonymous.

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Images From Hayabusa2’s Second Landing on Asteroid Ryugu

Asteroid Ryugu with north polar boulder (Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Today (July 11), the Hayabusa2 spacecraft performed a second touchdown on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The touchdown occurred at 10:06 JST at the on board time and was successful.

From the data sent from Hayabusa2, it has been confirmed that the touchdown sequence, including the discharge of a projectile for sampling, was completed successfully. Hayabusa2 is functioning normally, and thus the second touchdown ended with success.

Below we show images taken before and after the touchdown. As this is a quick bulletin, more detailed information will be given in the future.

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ESA, Arianespace Appoint Independent Inquiry Commission to Investigate Vega Launch Failure

Vega launch vehicle (Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2015)

PARIS, 11 July 2019 (ESA PR) — Arianespace announced today, 11 July, 2019, the failure of Flight VV15 carrying the FalconEye1 satellite. This was the first Vega failure after 14 successful launches in a row since being introduced at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana in 2012.

The Vega launch vehicle lifted off as scheduled on July 10, 2019 at 10:53 pm (local time in French Guiana). Approximately two minutes after the Vega launcher’s liftoff, shortly after ignition of the second stage (Zefiro 23), a launcher anomaly occurred – leading to the premature end of the mission.

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace immediately decided to appoint an independent inquiry commission. This commission is tasked with analysing the reasons for the failure and defining the measures needed to ensure the resumption of Vega flights while fulfilling all requisite safety and security conditions. The inquiry commission is co-chaired by the Inspector General of ESA and the Senior Vice President, Technical and Quality of Arianespace.

Preparations for the next Ariane 5 launch are continuing at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s Spaceport.

UC Berkeley Scientists Scramble to Build Payload for 2021 Moon Landing

Commercial landers like this will carry science and technology payloads, including one built by UC Berkeley, to the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024. (Credit: NASA)

Robert Sanders
UC Berkeley Media Relations

Scavenging spare parts and grabbing off-the-shelf hardware, University of California, Berkeley, space scientists are in a sprint to build scientific instruments that will land on the moon in a mere two years.

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