NASA, SpaceX “Go” for Dec. 5 Cargo Resupply Launch

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX managers conducted a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) Monday, Nov. 23, for SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-21) mission to the International Space Station.

To enable additional time to evaluate flight data from Crew-1 and close out certification work ahead of this first flight of the cargo version of Dragon 2, teams are now proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 11:39 a.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 5, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the Dragon spacecraft arriving to autonomously dock at the orbiting laboratory on Sunday, Dec. 6, at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The science to be delivered on this mission includes a study aimed at better understanding the effects of microgravity on cardiac function in human heart tissue, research into how microbes could be used for biomining on asteroids, and a tool being tested for quick and accurate blood analysis in microgravity. The first commercially owned and operated airlock on the space station, the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, will arrive in the unpressurized trunk of the Dragon spacecraft. Bishop will provide a variety of capabilities to the orbiting laboratory, including CubeSat deployment and support of external payloads.

Nanoracks to Provide ISS with New Doorway to Space

Illustration of Bishop commercial airlock on International Space Station. (Credit: NanoRacks)

by Margo Pierce
NASA’s Spinoff Publication

Anyone who has gotten a sofa stuck in a doorway on moving day knows how frustrating it is when there’s no other way in or out. The doorways on the International Space Station, or airlocks, have worked just fine for 20 years. But as more researchers and companies wish to expand the scope and size of the projects they send into low-Earth orbit, a larger doorway could help.

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SSC UK Awarded ESA Contract to Define Next Generation Ground Segment Connectivity Systems for CubeSats and Smallsats

One of SSC antennas at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden, where SSC has one of the world’s largest ground stations for satellite management. (Credit: SSC)

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — The UK subsidiary of SSC (Swedish Space Corporation), has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a next generation concept for space to ground communications targeting the “NewSpace” (CubeSats and SmallSats) market. The initiative is supported by the UK Space Agency and aims at developing a range of new technologies that will address some of the market entry barriers faced by CubeSat organizations globally.

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ThrustMe, Spacety Announce Launch of Satellite with World’s First Iodine Electric Propulsion System

BEIHANGKONGSHI-1 satellite (Credit: Spacety)

Paris, France/Luxembourg/Beijing China (ThrustMe/Spacety PR) – ThrustMe and Spacety announce that the BEIHANGKONGSHI-1 satellite, carrying the world’s first iodine electric propulsion system on board, was successfully launched into space on a CZ-6 Long March 6 rocket from Taiyuan in China on the 6th of November at 04:20 a.m. (Paris time).

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Virgin Orbit 747 Flies the Racetrack Over the Pacific Ocean

Credit: FlightAware

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A gloomy Sunday in Mojave didn’t stop Virgin Orbit from getting in some practice for the upcoming second flight test of its LauncherOne rocket.

Virgin Orbit’s modified Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 conducted a nearly three-hour long practice flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

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Rocket Lab to Launch Most Diverse Mission Yet

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)
  • The mission will deploy 30 satellites to unique orbits using the Electron launch vehicle’s Kick Stage space tug
  • The satellites will enable internet from space, test new methods of deorbiting space debris, and enable research into predicting earthquakes
  • The launch will also feature a 3D printed mass simulator for Valve’s Gabe Newell to raise funds for Starship Children’s Hospital

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 2, 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Leading space systems company, Rocket Lab, has today announced its next Electron mission will feature a diverse range of payloads from the United States, France and New Zealand.

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D-Orbit Announces Successful Origin Satellite Deployment Mission

The satellite carrier completes deployment of all 12 SuperDove satellites

FINO MORNASCO, Italy D-Orbit PR) — D-Orbit, the in-orbit transportation company, announced the successful completion of the deployment phase of Origin mission, the first of ION Satellite Carrier. ION, D-Orbit’s satellite platform, successfully released 12 SuperDove satellites for Earth-imaging company Planet, in the precise orbital slots requested by the client.

The vehicle has been operational since September 3rd, when it was successfully released from an Arianespace Vega launcher. On September 25th, it released successfully the first SuperDove satellite of the batch, and the last satellite was deployed on October 28th, at 10:38:46 UTC.

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Rocket Lab Launches 10 Earth Imaging Satellites

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

MAHIA PENINSULA, New Zeland — Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket launched 10 small satellites into Earth orbit on Wednesday (Thursday local time) from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

The “In Focus” rideshare mission orbited nine SuperDove Earth imaging satellites for Planet of San Francisco and a microsatellite with several telescopes aboard for Canon Electronics of Japan.

It was Rocket Lab’s Electron’s 15th launch overall and the fifth flight of the booster in 2020. The company has a record of 13 successes and two failures.

Planet’s nine SuperDove spacecraft were deployed into 500 km (311 mile) high sun synchronous orbits using Rocket Lab’s Maxwell satellite dispensers. They join Planet’s constellation of medium-resolution imaging satellites.

Canon Electronics’ CE-SAT-IIB is a technological demonstration satellite has a middle-sized telescope equipped with an ultra-high sensitivity camera capable of taking night images of the Earth. The spacecraft also has small-size telescopes suitable for CubeSat use.

Momentus Announces Service Agreement for Gran Systems NUTSAT

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

SANTA CLARA, Calif, October 26, 2020 (Momentus PR) – Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a commercial space company providing in-space infrastructure services, and Gran Systems, a newspace service provider for Taiwainese and Southeast Asia, today announced a service agreement for Gran System’s 2U CubeSat NUTSAT to fly on Momentus’ December 2020 Vigoride demo mission.

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International Consortium Adds Hyperspectral Imaging, Communication Payloads to NanoAvionics’ D-2/AtlaCom-1 Rideshare Mission

COLUMBIA, Ill. (NanoAvionics PR) — NanoAvionics, a leading nanosatellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator, has revealed the remaining three payloads of its ‘D-2/AtlaCom-1’ rideshare mission hosted on board its M6P 6U nanosatellite bus. The additional payloads, a camera for hyperspectral remote sensing, a new high-gain X-band antenna and an upgraded X-Band downlink transmitter, are all part of an international collaboration by an international consortium and its partners called “HyperActive”.

The consortium partners for this international collaboration comprise Dragonfly Aerospace (South Africa), Space JLTZ (Mexico) and NanoAvionics US as a supplier to the consortium, as well as mission contributors Polytechnical University of Atlacomulco (Mexico), and CubeCom (South Africa).

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Bishop Airlock Cycles Pre-Purchased by NASA and European Space Agency

Workers stand before NanoRacks airlock. (Credit: NanoRacks)

WASHINGTON, DC, OCTOBER 20, 2020 (Nanoracks PR) – Nanoracks is pleased to announce that both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have pre-purchased Bishop Airlock Cycles for agency and third-party use. The Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, launching this Fall to the International Space Station (ISS), is the first-ever commercially built, owned, and operated airlock on the ISS and provides five times the existing payload volume currently available on station.

ESA has pre-purchased five airlock cycles, and NASA six, with an option for four additional cycles at a discounted rate.

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Spaceflight Inc. Launch Cadence Accelerates with Upcoming Electron and PSLV Missions to Expand Constellations

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

Rideshare provider to deploy nine spacecraft for customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire on next two missions

SEATTLE – October 14, 2020 – Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will execute two launches on two different continents in a matter of weeks; one aboard a Rocket Lab Electron and the other on NewSpace India Limited’s (NSIL) PSLV. For both missions, Spaceflight arranged the launch and is providing mission management and rideshare integration services for its customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire.

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NASA Releases Latest CubeSat Launch Initiative Announcement of Opportunity

ASTERIA was deployed from the International Space Station on November 20, 2017. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Accredited education institutions, nonprofit organizations and NASA Centers can join the adventure and challenges of space while helping the agency achieve its exploration goals through the next round of the NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). Applicants must submit proposals by 4:30 p.m. EST, December 16, 2020.

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D-Orbit Announces Launch Service Contract with AAC Clyde Space

The contract covers InOrbit NOW Launch Service for two AAC Clyde Space’s 6U CubeSats built for the Eutelsat LEO for Objects (ELO) Constellation

FINO MORNASCO, Italy, October 8, 2020 (D-Orbit PR) — Italian in-orbit transportation company D-Orbit has announced a launch service agreement with Swedish-British small satellite manufacturer AAC Clyde Space. The contract covers launch and deployment of two Eutelsat LEO for Objects (ELO) 6U CubeSats in 2021 developed and built by AAC Clyde Space.

Eutelsat’s ELO is a constellation that aims at providing global Internet of things (IoT) coverage from low Earth orbit to support sectors like transport, oil and gas, and agriculture. The constellation, in combination with ground infrastructures, will enable companies to gather data from tens of millions of objects, irrespective of their geographic location.

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ESA Awards Contract for Hera Planetary Defense Mission

ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence seen approaching the Dimorphos asteroid moonlet. (Credit: OHB)

PARIS, 15 September 2020 (ESA PR) — Today ESA awarded a €129.4 million contract covering the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, the Agency’s first mission for planetary defence. This ambitious mission will be Europe’s contribution to an international asteroid deflection effort, set to perform sustained exploration of a double asteroid system.

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