Arianespace Postpones Launch of Two Galileo Navigation Satellites Due to Weather

Launch of VS01, first Soyuz ST-B flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, on 21 October 2011, carrying the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Due to adverse weather conditions (lightning), launch operations have been interrupted at H-10 minutes.

The Soyuz launch vehicle and Spacecraft are in stable and safe conditions.

The new earliest targeted launch date is December 4, 2021 at exactly:

> 07:19 p.m. Washington, D.C. time,
> 09:19 p.m. Kourou time,
> 00:19 a.m. Universal time (UTC), on December 5,
> 01:19 a.m. Paris time, on December 5,
> 03:10 a.m. Moscow time, on December 5.

Galileo Navigation Satellites in Place for Dec. 2 Launch From French Guiana

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 being lowered onto their Fregat upper stage ahead of their launch on 2 December 2021. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Video du CSG – P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have been attached to the dispenser on which they will ride to orbit, and the launcher fairing that will protect them during the first part of the ascent to orbit has been closed around the pair.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 2 December at 01:31 CET (1 December at 21:31:27 local Kourou time).

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Xona Space Systems Fully Funded for First LEO Satellite Navigation Mission

SAN MATEO, Calif., September 22nd, 2021 (Xona Space Systems PR) — Xona Space Systems, the leading innovator in precision LEO satellite navigation services, announced today that it has raised a new funding round co-led by Seraphim Space Investment Trust (LSE:SSIT) and MaC Venture Capital, with participation from Toyota Ventures, Daniel Ammann (co-founder of u-blox), and Ryan Johnson (former CEO of BlackBridge, operator of the Rapideye constellation). Follow-on investors also include 1517 Fund and Stellar Solutions.

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS and Galileo have become the backbone of nearly every aspect of the modern connected world. However, threats to these legacy systems along with consumer demands for enhanced performance are increasing rapidly. 

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ESA Signs Contract for New Generation of Galileo Navigation Satellites

ESA has signed two contracts for an overall amount of €1.47 billion [$1.79 billion], to design and build the first batch of the second generation of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Acting on behalf of the European Commission, ESA has signed two contracts for an overall amount of €1.47 billion, to design and build the first batch of the second generation of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites.

Following an intense process of open competition, these contracts have been awarded to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) to create two independent families of satellites amounting to 12 Galileo Second Generation satellites in total.

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Galileo will Help Lunar Pathfinder Navigate Around Moon

Lunar Pathfinder will relay signals from other Moon missions. (Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Lunar Pathfinder mission to the Moon will carry an advanced satellite navigation receiver, in order to perform the first ever satnav positioning fix in lunar orbit. This experimental payload marks a preliminary step in an ambitious ESA plan to expand reliable satnav coverage – as well as communication links – to explorers around and ultimately on the Moon during this decade.

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European Commission Awards €1.47 Billion in Contracts for 2nd Generation of Galileo Satellites

BRUSSELS (European Commission PR) — Today the Commission awarded two contracts for 12 Satellites (6 satellites each) for a total of €1.47 billion, to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) following an open competition.

With this, the Commission is initiating the launch of the 2nd Generation of Galileo, the European satellite positioning system. The aim is to keep Galileo ahead of the technological curve compared to global competition and maintaining it as one of the best performing satellite positioning infrastructures in the world while strengthening it as a key asset for Europe’s strategic autonomy.

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Russia Achieves Clean Launch Record for Second Year in Row

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The outgoing year 2020 has become a difficult test for the entire world marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many world economic players have encountered objective difficulties in the implementation of previously outlined plans.

Unfortunately, Roscosmos also had to correct a number of plans, including those related to launch activities. Nevertheless, Roscosmos management put the quality of production and the safety of personnel working at the Russian rocket and space industry enterprises and cosmodromes at the forefront.

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The Good, the Bad and the Brexit: UK’s Participation in European Space Programs Curtailed by EU Departure

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although the United Kingdom’s (UK) “Brexit” departure from the European Union (EU) on Jan. 1 will not affect its membership status in the European Space Agency (ESA), the nation’s participation in a number of European space programs is either ending or being curtailed.

On Christmas Eve, the UK and EU announced an agreement in principle that will govern trade, security and political relations after Brexit. Under the agreement, the UK’s participation in the:

  • Galileo satellite navigation and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program will end;
  • Copernicus Earth observation satellite program will continue, contingent upon a further agreement to be worked out next year; and
  • EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) program will end, although the Britain will continue to receive data as a non-EU country.
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Russia Launches Advanced Glonass K Satellite

A Soyuz-2 rocket launches a Glonass K navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Oct. 25, 2020. (Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense)

PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — On Sunday, October 25, 2020, at 22:08 Moscow time from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, the combat crew of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces launched the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket developed by the Progress RCC (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) with a new generation spacecraft of the GLONASS system. The launch of the carrier rocket and the insertion of the spacecraft into the calculated orbit took place in the normal mode.

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Antares Flies, Falcon 9 Stays

An Antares rocket lifts off with the Cygnus resupply ship on Oct. 2, 2020. (Credit: NASA)

Update: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted the Falcon 9 launch was aborted due to an “nexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator. No word on when they will try launching again.

A Cygnus resupply ship carrying nearly 8,000 lb of cargo for astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was blasted into orbit by an Antares rocket on Friday night.

The Northrop Grumman booster lifted off on time at 9:16 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island in Virginia. The flight followed a scrubbed launch on Thursday due to a software problem with ground equipment.

Cygnus, which is also a Northrop Grumman vehicle, is scheduled to arrive at the ISS early Monday morning.

Results were not as good on Friday night for SpaceX, which suffered its second Falcon 9 abort of the week in Florida. The countdown from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was halted two seconds prior to a planned 9:43 p.m. EDT liftoff for an unknown reason.

The rocket is carrying the GPS IIII SV-04 navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System.

On Thursday morning, the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink broadband satellites from nearby Kennedy Space Center was halted with 18 seconds left in the count due to an out family reading from a ground sensor.

Soyuz Booster Launches Glonass-M Navigation Satellite

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On March 16, 2020, at 18:28 UTC a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket equipped with a Fregat booster manufactured by NPO Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos) launched successfully from Plesetsk cosmodrome carrying a Glonass-M navigational satellite manufactured by ISS Reshetnev company. The satellite separated routinely from the booster after three Fregat booster service propulsion unit burns.

Glonass-M satellites make up the base of the GLONASS system orbital group. They transmit navigational information and time data to the ground, maritime, air and space customers.

Fregat booster ensures injecting one or several spacecraft into Earth’s orbit or into deep space. The whole injection process is carried out autonomously. A highest reliability and almost ideal injection accuracy make the booster unmatched by the world’s competitors. This launch was the 80th for the booster.

L3Harris Technologies Passes Preliminary Design Review for Experimental Satellite Navigation Program

U.S. Air Force’s Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) satellite. (Photo: L3Harris Technologies)
  • Defines design baseline for U.S. Air Force’s Navigation Technology Satellite-3
  • Demonstrates ability to move quickly for rapid acquisition prototype programs
  • Allows L3Harris to continue development of newly named Air Force vanguard program

MELBOURNE, Fla. (L3Harris Technologies PR) — L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) has reached a major milestone in the U.S. Air Force’s Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) project – passing the preliminary design review that defines the spacecraft’s path to delivery and allows the program to move to the next phase of development.

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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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Soyuz Rocket Gets Hit by Lightning After Launch, Keeps on Soyuzing

Courtesy of Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. The Twitter translation into English reads:

Congratulations to the command of space troops, the combat calculation of the cosmodrome Plesetsk, the collectives of the “Progress” (Samara), the NGO named after S. A. Lavachkina (Khimki) and the ISS named after Academician M. F. Reshetnev (Zheleznogorsk) with the successful launch of the SPACECRAFT GLONASS! Lightning you don’t hindrance

Twitter might want to work on its translation program.

The Soyuz booster successfully orbited a GLONASS-M navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

The Saturn V taking the Apollo 12 to the moon in 1969 was also struck by lightning after launch. The rocket was fine; the guidance system was deep inside the rocket. However, the electronics in the spacecraft were knocked out. Flight controller John Aaron said to flip the SCE switch to AUX. When Alan Bean did so, the spacecraft came back online.

Mission Control fretted about whether to send the crew to the moon. Everything seemed fine aboard the spacecraft, but there was one crucial system they couldn’t check: the parachutes. Controllers realized that in the unlikely event the lightning strike had fried the parachute deployment system, the crew would die anyway. Might as well send them to the moon.