Falcon 9 Launches GPS III Satellite

Falcon 9 lifts off with GPS III satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Tuesday, June 30th at 4:10 p.m. ET, 20:10 UTC, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 successfully lifted off, carrying the Space Force’s GPS III Space Vehicle 03 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft deployed approximately 1 hour and 29 minutes after liftoff.

Exolaunch & NanoAvionics Sign Two Launch Agreements for SpaceX’s Rideshare Missions

NanoAvionics satellite in orbit. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

NanoAvionics awarded Exolaunch two contracts to launch the NanoAvionics-built nano-satellites on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

BERLIN, Germany, June 30, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed launch agreements with NanoAvionics, a nano-satellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator, to launch two 6U nano-satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

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SpaceX Plans Friday Launch of Starlink Satellites

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

Update: The launch has been scrubbed for Friday. SpaceX tweeted that engineers needed additional time for pre-launch checks. The company has not announced a new launch date and time.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Friday, June 26 at 4:18 p.m. EDT, 20:18 UTC, for launch of its tenth Starlink mission, which will include 57 Starlink satellites and 2 satellites from BlackSky, a Spaceflight customer. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.

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CarboNIX Separation Systems Deployed Planet SkySats into Orbit on Falcon 9

Planet SkySat deployed during SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission using Exolaunch’s CarboNix deployer. (Credit: SpaceX website)

BERLIN (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a German rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, confirmed that CarboNIX, its newly developed separation system, successfully deployed three Planet SkySats microsatellites into low Earth orbit on SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission. Falcon 9 lifted on June 13th at 5:21am from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying three SkySats as a rideshare payload.

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Spaceflight to Launch Its First Rideshare Payloads on a SpaceX Starlink Mission

SEATTLE, June 17, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch two rideshare payloads aboard SpaceX’s tenth Starlink mission, marking the first SpaceX Starlink mission that will be accompanied by Spaceflight rideshare payloads.

The ability to launch rideshare payloads aboard SpaceX Starlink missions provides smallsat customers with a new, reliable and routine launch option. Spaceflight’s mission, which it has dubbed SXRS-1 to signify its first rideshare with Starlink, will include two Earth-observation microsatellites for Spaceflight’s customer BlackSky.

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Spaceflight Inc. Signs Multi-Launch Agreement with SpaceX for Rideshare Services

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SEATTLE, June 17, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it inked an agreement with SpaceX to secure rideshare capacity on multiple launches. This agreement between the two companies secures Spaceflight capacity to launch manifest payloads on several SpaceX launches through the end of 2021, providing launch schedule assurance to smallsat customers needing frequent, reliable, and cost-effective launches to Sun-synchronous orbit.

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Momentus and EnduroSat Announce Two Service Agreements

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

Multiple satellite service agreements will expand Momentus’ service offering to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

SANTA CLARA, Calif./BULGARIA (Momentus/Eudurosat PR) — Momentus (www.momentus.space), provider of in-space transportation services for satellites, and EnduroSat (www.endurosat.com), the European designer of spacecraft for business applications and space exploration missions, today announced two separate service agreements. The 6U and 1U CubeSats will launch February 2021 on the second Vigoride demo mission onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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New International Ocean Satellite Completes Testing

Mission team members perform acoustic tests of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite in a chamber outfitted with giant speakers that blast the spacecraft with sound. This is to ensure that the high decibels associated with liftoff won’t damage the spacecraft. (Credit: Airbus)

A team of engineers in the U.S. and Europe subjected the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft to a battery of trials to ready it for liftoff later this year.


Once the state-of-the-art Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite launches in November, it will collect the most accurate data yet on sea level – a key indicator of how Earth’s warming climate is affecting the oceans, weather and coastlines. But first, engineers need to ensure that the spacecraft can survive the rigors of launch and of operating in the harsh environment of space. That’s where meticulous testing comes in.

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Spiral Blue Partners with SatRevolution for in Orbit Demonstration Mission

SWIFT satellite (Credit: SatRevolution)

SYDNEY, Australia (Spiral Blue PR) — Spiral Blue has signed an agreement with Polish satellite manufacturer SatRevolution to launch and test our first prototype Space Edge Zero (SEZ) computer in orbit. Our SEZ computer will be hosted by SatRevolution’s SW1FT satellite, set for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 no earlier than December 2020. Following in orbit qualification, the SEZ will be tested throughout 2021.

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The Year of the Four Spaceships: A Progress Report

The Expedition 63 crew welcomes Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA / Bill Stafford)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Back in February, I went out on a limb and predicted that 2020 could be the Year of the Four Spaceships, with SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic and reaching major milestones in human spaceflight. (See 2020: Four Spaceships & the End of America’s Cosmic Groundhog Day)

With nearly half the year over, I thought it would be a good time to review the companies’ progress toward those milestones.

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SpaceX Launches 58 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched its ninth Starlink mission on Saturday, lofting 58 Starlink and three Planet SkySat Earth observation satellites into orbit.

Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the pre-dawn darkness.

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Schedule for Upcoming Launches

Electron rocket lifts off on Jan. 31, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The week ahead features launches by Rocket Lab and SpaceX, Vega’s first rideshare mission, two Chinese launches, and a Japanese sounding rocket flight.

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Loft Orbital Awards Contract to Exolaunch to Launch YAM-3 Microsat on Falcon 9

BERLIN, June 10th, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, the leading rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, has announced a Launch Services Agreement with Loft Orbital, a San Francisco-based company, to deliver Loft Orbital’s YAM microsatellite into sun-synchronous orbit on Falcon 9.

Under the contract, Exolaunch will deliver mission management, deployment and integration services to Loft Orbital, who operates microsatellites and flies customers’ payloads as a service. The launch is targeted for December 2020 and is part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program.

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Space Exploration in a Time of Social Turmoil

The Expedition 63 crew welcomes Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The contrast was jarring. In one browser window, two NASA astronauts were making their way to the International Space Station (ISS) after the first orbital launch of a crew from U.S. soil in nearly 9 years.

In another window, scenes of chaos played out as protests over the death of George Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police erupted into violent clashes across the country.

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