Rocket Lab Delays Electron Launch Due to Stormy Weather

“As the Crow Flies”

Booster: Electron
Payload: Palisade 16U CubeSat for Astro Digital
Location: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, NZ
Launch Period: 15 October – 28 October 2019 NZDT (14 October – 28 October 2019 UTC)
Launch Window: Daily from 12:00 – 16:00 NZDT (23:00 – 03:00 UTC/7 – 11 pm EDT)
Live launch webcast: www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream (begins 15 – 20 minutes prior to launch)
Launch Day Updates: www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/ and follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab

SatRevolution, Virgin Orbit & Polish Universities Join to Launch CubeSat to Mars

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 performs its first captive carry of LauncherOne. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

KATOWICE, Poland, 9 October 2019 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Scientists and engineers from nearly a dozen Polish universities have teamed up with Poland-based satellite company SatRevolution and Sir Richard Branson’s small satellite launch company Virgin Orbit to establish a new consortium to design and carry out the world’s first dedicated commercial small satellite mission to Mars. The parties established the consortium at a formal signing ceremony during the Impact Mobility’ 19 rEVolution conference in Katowice, Poland.

The consortium will jointly develop the first in a series of up to three Mars missions, with the initial launch expected as early as three years from now.

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China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative Opens Call for Payloads on Artemis 2 Mission

Orion and European Service Module orbiting the Moon. (Credit NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — CubeSats can be part of a historic mission—Artemis 2—when NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will send astronauts on their first flight aboard the Orion spacecraft farther into the solar system than humanity has ever traveled before. Artemis 2, will mark a significant step forward in NASA’s plans to return humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and future missions to worlds beyond, including Mars, and the small satellites traveling along for the mission will help inform the next steps of exploration.

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NASA Announces New Tipping Point Partnerships for Moon and Mars Technologies

Astrobotic is one of 14 companies selected for NASA’s Tipping Point solicitation. This illustration depicts CubeRover, an ultra-light, modular and scalable commercial rover.(Credit: Astrobotic/Carnegie Mellon University)

Astrobotic, Blue Origin, ExoTerra, Paragon and SpaceX among contract awardees for advanced technologies

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 14 American companies as partners whose technologies will help enable the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

The selections are based on NASA’s fourth competitive Tipping Point solicitation and have a combined total award value of about $43.2 million. This investment in the U.S. space industry, including small businesses across the country, will help bring the technologies to market and ready them for use by NASA.

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Russia to Launch Four Korea CubeSats in 2021

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Four Korean Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) 6U Cubesats will be launched on Soyuz-2.1a as part of the rideshare mission scheduled for the Q1-Q2, 2021 in two 12U deployers from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

A new and very challenging space mission was initiated by KASI since 2017. KASI designed the innovative concept of multi-satellites mission, named as the Small scale magNetospheric and Ionospheric Plasma Experiments (SNIPE).

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GK Launch Services, ISL Team Up for Commercial SSO CubeSat Launch

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — GK Launch Services (“GK”) and Innovative Space Logistics (“ISL”) have teamed up for launching CubeSats on GK’s first commercial SSO mission from Q2 2020 that will fly from Baikonur Cosmodrome. 

The objective of this joint service is to address the need of the current CubeSat market for reliable launch solutions at a highly cost-effective pricepoint, supported by a team with unique experience.

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First Earth Observation Satellite with Artificial Intelligence Ready to Launch

ɸ-Sat AI (Credit: CERN/M. Brice)

CATALONIA, Spain (ESA PR) — A few months from now will see the launch of the first European satellite to demonstrate how onboard artificial intelligence can improve the efficiency of sending Earth observation data back to Earth. Dubbed ɸ-Sat, or PhiSat, this revolutionary artificial intelligence technology will fly on one of the two CubeSats that make up the FSSCat mission – a Copernicus Masters winning idea.

As the overall 2017 Copernicus Masters winner, FSSCat, was proposed by Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and developed by a consortium of European companies and institutes.

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NASA Funds CubeSat Pathfinder Mission to Unique Lunar Orbit

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (Credit: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a $13.7 million contract to Advanced Space of Boulder, Colorado, to develop and operate a CubeSat mission to the same lunar orbit targeted for Gateway – an orbiting outpost astronauts will visit before descending to the surface of the Moon in a landing system as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

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Skykraft, Equatorial Launch Australia Sign Letter of Intent for Strategic Partnership

Letter of Strategic Intent

Skykraft Pty Ltd and Equatorial Launch Australia Pty Ltd (ELA) agree to develop a strategic relationship that leverages the strengths of both companies. Those being, Skykraft as a designer and manufacturer of small satellite (SmallSAT) constellations for a broad range of space-based services, and ELA as the operator of Australia’s first commercial spaceport, located near Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory.

The combination of Skykraft’s rapid constellation design and manufacture capability, plus ELA’s ability to tailor the launch options through their established spaceport and access to a wide selection of launch vehicles, provides Australia and the broader space community with an end-to-end solution for rapid, flexible and responsive space access.

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Kuaizhou-1A Lofts Two Satellites into Orbit, 8-9 More Launches Planned for 2019

China’s Kuaizhou-1A light launcher orbited two small satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday in a successful commercial mission.

The solid-fuel booster launched DFH Satellite Company’s KX-09 microgravity experimental satellite and SpaceTY’s Xiaoxiang 1-07 CubeSat.

The Kuaizhou-1A booster is manufactured and launches are managed by Expace, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).

CASIS said it is planning to launch Kuaizhou-1A eight or nine more times before the end of the year. This was the booster’s first launch of 2019.

It was the fifth successful flight in five attempts for the solid-fuel Kuaizhou family of boosters, and the third success for the upgraded Kuaizhou-1A variant. The booster can place payloads weighing up to 200 kg (441 lbs) in 700 km (435 mile) high sun synchronous orbits.

NASA Awards CubeSat Dispenser Hardware, Mission Integration Services 3 Contract

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has selected five companies to provide commercial CubeSat dispenser hardware and mission integration services.

The five companies are:

  • Maverick Space Systems, Inc. of San Luis Obispo, California
  • NanoRacks, LLC of Webster, Texas
  • TriSept Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia
  • Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. of Irvine, California
  • Xtenti, LLC of Dallas, Texas
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Rocket Lab Launch Reset for Tuesday New Zealand Time

Electron lifts off with U.S. Air Force satellites. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

After a scrub due to high winds, Rocket Lab has rescheduled its latest Electron Look Ma, No Hands launch for no earlier than Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 12:12 am NZST (12:12 UTC/8:12 am EDT).

Rocket Lab’s eighth mission will carry four satellites, including: a Cubesat for French maritime surveillance company UNSEENLABS ; BlackSky’s Global-4 Earth-imaging satellite; and two U.S. Air Force Space Command experimental satellites designed to test new propulsion, power, communications, and drag technologies.

Rocket Lab will webcast the launch at www.rocketlabusa.com.

A Spacefaring Coast Guard

This simulation shows a U.S. Coast Guard CubeSat in orbit over Alaska’s Aleutian Peninsula searching for life rafts after a storm. (Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

LIVERMORE, Calif. (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory PR) — Nanosatellite technology, in particular, small cube satellites, are finding purpose in the most extraordinary places. Known as CubeSats, these miniature versions of conventional satellites can be used for applications that range from tracking space debris to monitoring atmospheric gas concentrations.

Now, Lawrence Livermore scientists and engineers are turning their expertise in CubeSat development toward assisting the U.S. Coast Guard in becoming a spacefaring agency.

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Lacuna Space Achieves Major Milestone for LoRa® in Space

OXFORDSHIRE, UK (Lacuna Space PR) — Lacuna Space is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the first phase of testing in its mission to provide complete global coverage for LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) to anywhere in the world, no matter how remote.

Lacuna Space is at the forefront of satellite IoT connectivity, with low-cost and high-scalability as its fundamental tenets in its system design. Over the course of the last two years, Lacuna has been collaborating with Semtech Corporation to extend LoRa Technology connectivity to the whole world.

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