Ariane 5 Launches Two Communications Satellites in First Launch of 2019

Ariane 5 launch on Feb. 5, 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has successfully orbited two telecommunications satellites: the Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 condosat for operators KACST and Hellas Sat; and GSAT-31 for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Arianespace’s first launch of the year took place on Tuesday, February 5 at 6:01 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).
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Video: Falcon Heavy Flew One Year Ago Today

One year ago, I was on a beach in Florida watching the Falcon Heavy launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Today, I’m in Mojave where it is currently 37 F (2.8 C) and it was snowing and below freezing last night.

Ceremony for Virgin Galactic Pilots to be Webcast

Richard Branson with the pilots of SpaceShipTwo. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

The ceremony on Thursday where the two Virgin Galactic pilots who flew above 50 miles in December will be awarded commercial astronaut wings will be webcast on the FAA’s YouTube channel. The 30-minute ceremony will begin at 2:30 EST/11:30 PST.

NASA, Buzz Aldrin Get Shout Out During State of the Union Speech

Buzz Aldrin salutes during the 2019 State of the Union address. (Credit: U.S. Senate Photo Studio/John Shinkle)

With Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in attendance, President Donald Trump gave a shout out to NASA during the annual State of the Union address.

“In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets,” he said.

NASA’s commercial crew program is set to begin transporting astronauts to the International Space Station later this year. Today, NASA released the following schedule for flight tests of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.

Test Flight Planning Dates:

SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): March 2, 2019
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): NET April 2019
Boeing Pad Abort Test: NET May 2019
SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test: June 2019
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): July 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): NET August 2019

SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 Flight Set for March 2

Crew Dragon for DM-1 mission with Falcon 9 booster. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and its Commercial Crew Program providers Boeing and SpaceX have agreed to move the target launch dates for the upcoming inaugural test flights of their next generation American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station.

The agency now is targeting March 2 for launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on its uncrewed Demo-1 test flight. Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test is targeted for launch no earlier than April.

Test Flight Planning Dates:

SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): March 2, 2019
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): NET April 2019
Boeing Pad Abort Test: NET May 2019
SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test: June 2019
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): July 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): NET August 2019

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NASA Seeks Small Business Innovation Research for Future Missions, Commercialization

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Small businesses are at the cutting edge of research, with fresh and unexpected ideas. NASA hopes to leverage innovative small business concepts for use on Earth, at the Moon and beyond.

NASA’s Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs seek proposals that could be integrated into NASA missions and commercial markets. The 2019 solicitation encourages U.S. small businesses and research institutions to submit ideas related to NASA’s aeronautics, human exploration, science and space technology objectives.

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Beyond Mars, the Mini MarCO Spacecraft Fall Silent

Mars as seen from the MarCO-B satellite. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — Before the pair of briefcase-sized spacecraft known collectively as MarCO launched last year, their success was measured by survival: If they were able to operate in deep space at all, they would be pushing the limits of experimental technology.

Now well past Mars, the daring twins seem to have reached their limit. It’s been over a month since engineers have heard from MarCO, which followed NASA’s InSight to the Red Planet. At this time, the mission team considers it unlikely they’ll be heard from again.

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Momentus Announces Orders are Open for the Vigoride Orbit Transfer Service – EXOLAUNCH Among First to Book

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. January 6, 2019 (Momentus PR) — Momentus, provider of in-space transportation services, today announced that they are taking orders for their Vigoride and Vigoride Extended services (orbital repositioning for satellites with masses up to 250kG) and have signed their first customer: EXOLAUNCH, in a contract worth more than $6M. EXOLAUNCH (formerly ECM Launch Services), is a leading European launch services provider and cluster integrator, that will first use Vigoride in the fourth quarter of 2020 and Vigoride Extended in 2021.

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Rogozin Promises Vladimir Putin to Double Launches to 45 This Year

At the meeting with General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

MOSCOW (President Putin PR) — Vladimir Putin had a meeting with General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin to discuss the performance and development plans for the space industry.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, let us discuss the space industry’s performance last year and development plans.

General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President,

We were working to improve our performance in three fields. The first had to do with the choice of our development priorities. The second concerned the reduction of non-manufacturing expenses by at least 15 percent and increasing the corporation’s revenue by adopting new competences and entering new markets, about which I would like to speak later. We also needed to dramatically improve production discipline at the corporation and all the subordinate agencies. I have introduced a system of the officials’ personal responsibility for budget execution and have taken measures to reduce the corporation’s budget.

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Plexscape Partners with Bird.i to Offer Up-to-date Satellite Imagery Integration within CAD Platform

LONDON (Bird.i PR) — Plexscape, developers of Plex.Earth®, one of the most popular tools for AutoCAD for the acceleration of architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) projects, and Bird.i, a start-up that combines the latest satellite imagery and artificial intelligence technology to provide valuable business insights, are on a mission to change the way engineering projects are being designed by opening up access to high-quality geospatial data to the global AEC market.

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Space Access Conference Registration Now Open


Space Access 2019 Conference
The Technology, Business, and Politics of
Radically Cheaper Space Transportation

Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley
April 18-21

Space Access 2019 will be the next round of Space Access Society’s conference on the technology, business, and politics of radically cheaper space transportation, brought to you this year in cooperation with the Bay Area’s own Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society.

SA2019 will feature a cross-section of the growing cheap access community, talking about what’s going on now and what happens next, in an intensive informal atmosphere, single-track throughout so you don’t have to miss anything. Space Access has been described as “Hackers” for rocket people, with better content than other space conferences costing many times more. It’s three days of total immersion in making the future happen.

The primary web page for SA2019 conference registration and hotel room reservations is https://sa2019.erps.org/ . And check http://space-access.org/updates/sa2019info.html for the latest updated conference info and program as it grows and evolves.

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Astrobotic Selects Jeffrey Apeldoorn to Lead Future Missions and Technology

Jeffrey Apeldoorn

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic, a lunar logistics company that is making space accessible to the world, announces the selection of Jeffrey Apeldoorn as its Vice President of Future Missions and Technology. In this role, Apeldoorn will lead the Future Missions and Technology department and join the Leadership Team of the company. This selection comes after Astrobotic was competitively chosen by NASA as one of the providers for its $2.6 billion Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Through CLPS, Astrobotic will be a 10-year provider of lunar delivery services for NASA payloads.

Previously, Apeldoorn served as the Vice President of Corporate Affairs at OHB SE in Bremen, Germany. His work included support of the OHB Group’s 2019+ strategy, strengthening of the Group’s capabilities and competitiveness, and investigating expansion possibilities of the Group.

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Hypergiant Galactic Systems Launches to Advance the Space Industry with AI-driven Technologies

AUSTIN, Texas (Hypergiant PR) — Hypergiant Industries today announced the launch of its Hypergiant Galactic Systems division, with the goal of helping mankind expand its horizon into the next frontier through orbital AI. Hypergiant Galactic Systems will focus on artificial intelligence-driven aerospace and astronautic software and hardware products for the booming space industry.

In its first step towards realizing this vision, Hypergiant Galactic Systems has acquired Satellite & Extraterrestrial Operations & Procedures (S.E.O.P.s), a Houston-based satellite deployment and services provider that offers innovative proprietary launch and deployment systems servicing the CubeSat and MicroSat markets.

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InSight’s Seismometer Now Has a Cozy Shelter on Mars

NASA’s InSight lander deployed its Wind and Thermal Shield on Feb. 2 (Sol 66). The shield covers InSight’s seismometer, which was set down onto the Martian surface on Dec. 19. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL_Caltech PR) — For the past several weeks, NASA’s InSight lander has been making adjustments to the seismometer it set on the Martian surface on Dec. 19. Now it’s reached another milestone by placing a domed shield over the seismometer to help the instrument collect accurate data. The seismometer will give scientists their first look at the deep interior of the Red Planet, helping them understand how it and other rocky planets are formed.

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Spotlight on European Space Station Science

Columbus module International Space Station (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 4 February 2019 (ESA PR) — Though all ESA astronauts are back on Earth, European science on the International Space Station is ongoing. Explore a few experiments underway right now in celebration of science at ESA.

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