GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – into planetary space. Not only will such information improve understanding of how our solar system works, but it ultimately can help protect astronauts traveling to the Moon and Mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment they must travel through.
Here’s quick look at the launches scheduled for the rest of March. Information from Spaceflightnow.com’s launch schedule.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for March 30 is listed. However, unofficial reports say it has been delayed indefinitely due to travel restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The booster will launch the SAOCOM 1B Earth observation satellite for Argentine.
What the months ahead hold in terms of launch is uncertain. Europe has suspended flights out of its launch base in French Guiana. Whether other spaceports are closed remains to be seen. China appears to have weathered the worst of the virus.
I would expect crew and cargo flights to the International Space Station (ISS) to continue. The first crewed flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to ISS is scheduled for mid- to late May. It’s difficult to say whether that schedule will hold.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 2C Payloads: 3 Yaogan 30-06 military surveillance satellites Launch Time: Approximately 11:40 p.m. EDT on 23rd (0340 GMT on 24th) Launch Site: Xichang, China
The certification enables NASA to launch small satellites on Electron, providing confidence for the nation’s low-cost science, research and exploration payloads
Long Beach, California. 17 March 2020 – NASA has certified Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle, providing confidence for NASA’s low cost scientific, educational and technology demonstration small satellites.
COLUMBIA, Ill., (NanoAvionics PR) – NanoAvionics announced the reception of a full mission contract for two 6U nanosatellites and the opening of a new sales and engineering support office in Columbia (IL), USA. The mission contract includes payload integration, launch and operation services for the two nanosatellites, both of which are based on NanoAvionics’ pre-configured M6P bus. The launch of both satellites is planned for the end of this year.
“Constantly increasing demand for our standardized satellite buses and this latest mission contract from a US commercial data services company represents a significant milestone of NanoAvionics penetration in the US market for New Space as well as in the US Civil space sector”, said F. Brent Abbott, CEO of NanoAvionics North America. “Completing our Columbia office will support our efforts to provide US customers with the most cost-efficient satellite buses and hosted payload flights in low Earth orbit (LEO).”
Exolaunch will launch MeznSat, a 3U cubesat aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket, for the UAE Space Agency in mid-2020.
BERLIN, March 17, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) — Berlin-based Exolaunch (www.exolaunch.com) – the leading launch services and deployment system provider for small satellites – today announced that the launch of a 3U cubesat, MeznSat, for the UAE Space Agency will be performed aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket. The purpose of the satellite is to study and monitor the greenhouse gases, specifically CO2 and Methane, over the UAE.
LONDON (NanoAvionics PR) – Sen, a British space company establishing video streaming media to provide real-time and timely Ultra-High Definition (UHD) video of Earth, has contracted NanoAvionics to build the first five nano-satellites of its constellation.
Sen has already demonstrated its technology of streaming ultra-high definition (UHD) video from space. It is now focused on developing its “EarthTV” constellation of nano-satellites to stream real-time and timely videos from space. The service, which will include a freely accessible app for individuals, will be used for monitoring environmental events and natural disasters such as wild fires, floods and storms, as well as monitoring climate change and movement of large groups of people.
Video Caption: Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 conducted a slow-speed taxi test down the runway with a fueled LauncherOne under its wing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on March 5, 2020. The test covered about 2 miles on runway 12-30.
The taxi test was a precursor to a flight test with a fueled booster for Sir Richard Branson’s launch company. LauncherOne is designed to orbit small satellites after being dropped from the modified Boeing airliner. Virgin Orbit plans to conduct a flight test of the booster for later this year.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Momentus Space PR) — As we have written in the past, SpaceX has proven a new paradigm for the satellite launch industry. From record-breaking launches for payloads (number of satellites on one rocket) to one of the most innovative and flexible ridesharing programs, the team there has proven that the world’s first orbital-class reusable rocket can bring down costs for smallsat operators through regularly scheduled, dedicated Falcon 9 rideshare missions.
Still, many CubeSat and smallsat operators would prefer to be in custom orbits at different inclinations, in different orbit planes, or at different altitudes.
NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (ESA PR) — Three university teams have been selected for the third edition of the Fly Your Satellite! programme following a call for proposals open in the second half of 2019. The CubeSats’ evaluation and selection was carried out by a CubeSat Evaluation Panel, consisting of ESA experts from a range of disciplines.
The moment ESA’s latest mission left the International Space Station: the Qarman reentry CubeSat developed with Belgium’s Von Karman Institute was deployed by NASA astronaut Andrew ‘Drew’ Morgan via a Nanoracks dispenser on 19 February 2020. Qarman will now fall gradually to Earth, to eventually gather valuable data on atmospheric reentry physics.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — They might be small, but they’re also mighty. Very small and innovative spacecraft called CubeSats are poised to play a role in NASA’s Artemis program, which will return humans to the Moon by 2024.
Advancements in consumer electronics and miniaturized sensors enable small spacecraft to be powerful tools for space exploration.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 18 small research satellites from 11 states to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets launching in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The selected CubeSats were proposed by educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and NASA centers in response to NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) call for proposals issued in August 2019.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Today the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP) CubeSat made history by becoming the 100th CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) selected mission deployed into space. This mission marks nearly 12 years of the CSLI providing CubeSat developers rideshare opportunities to space via Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) missions.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Rocket Lab of Huntington Beach, California, to provide launch services for the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat.
Rocket Lab, a commercial launch provider licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, will launch the 55-pound CubeSat aboard an Electron rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. After launch, the company’s Photon platform will deliver CAPSTONE to a trans-lunar injection.
PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s latest mission will enter the vacuum of space, not aboard a rocket but by being released from the International Space Station. The first task of the shoebox-sized Qarman CubeSat is simply to fall. While typical space missions resist orbital decay, Qarman will drift down month by month until it reenters the atmosphere, at which point it will gather a wealth of data on the fiery physics of reentry.