Momentus Announces Service Agreement for GP Advanced Projects FEES satellites

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

SANTA CLARA, Calif., September 22nd, 2020 (Momentus PR) – Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a commercial space company providing in-space satellite transportation and infrastructure services, and GP Advanced Projects, an Italian startup helping non-space companies to enter the space sector, today announced a launch service agreement for GP Advanced Projects FEES2 Picosatellite to fly on Vigoride’s second demo mission in April 2021.

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OneWeb to Begin Launching Satellites Again as Early as December

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and OneWeb will resume launch operations to continue the deployment of the OneWeb constellation.

The next Soyuz launch is planned as soon as December 2020 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Pursuant to an amended launch contract with OneWeb, the London-based communications company, Arianespace will perform 16 more Soyuz launches from three spaceports (Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny) beginning in late 2020 and continuing through 2022. These launches will enable OneWeb to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites by the end of 2022.

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UK-built Nanosatellites Ready for Launch

Four shoebox-sized, British-funded satellites will join a global fleet in orbit in the next two months

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Government-backed ‘nanosatellites’ – built in Glasgow – will launch later this month, joining a fleet of more than 100 objects in low Earth orbit that predict global trade movements.

Two of four nanosatellites, made by Spire Global UK and backed by over £6 million of Government investment, will take off on the Russian Soyuz launcher on 24 September. The other two nanosatellites will be aboard an Indian PSLV launcher, due for launch on 1 November.

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Exolaunch & Glavkosmos Announce Soyuz Launch Campaign for 15 Small Satellites

Rideshare mission (Credit: Exolaunch)

Exolaunch’s small satellite cluster of 15 microsatellites and cubesats ,“Wanderlust, Desire To Travel”, will launch on Soyuz as soon as September 2020.

Berlin, August 17th, 2020 – Exolaunch, a Berlin-based rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, and Glavkosmos, a single operator of foreign commercial activities of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos, have initiated a launch campaign for 15 international small satellites onboard a Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with a Fregat upper stage. As soon as September 2020, Soyuz-2 will deliver a cluster of small satellites into orbit as rideshare payloads on a Roscosmos mission.

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Exolaunch to Deliver Kepler’s Next-Generation Satellites into Orbit

Kepler 6U XL satellite in orbit. (Credit: Kepler Communications)

Kepler signs a launch agreement with Exolaunch to deliver the first two of its next-generation satellites into orbit on Soyuz in September 2020.

TORONTO, August 18th, 2020 – Kepler, a developer of next-generation satellite communications technologies, and Exolaunch, a rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a launch agreement for two of Kepler’s 6U XL satellites. Under the contract, Exolaunch will provide launch, mission management, integration and deployment services to Kepler’s satellites on a Soyuz rideshare mission, targeted for launch in September, 2020. With Exolaunch providing a quick turnaround for launch and deployment, Kepler now continues its rapid constellation development ahead of its 2020 launch plans.

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Roscosmos Plans to Fly One Cosmonaut & Two Tourists on Soyuz Flights

Surrounded by medical personnel, seated from left to right are spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte, Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Michael Barratt.They had landed minutes before at 12:32 a.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz capsule near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009.

Editor’s Note: With the success of the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, Russia will soon no longer be able to charge the United States more than $90 million per seat to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

To make up for the lost revenues, Roscosmos will resume flying tourists to ISS, a program that was suspended on 2009. Instead of flying two professionals and one tourist as it did during the 2000’s, Roscosmos wants to fly one cosmonaut and two tourists. The press release below, translated from Russian, describes the efforts to fly the missions safely.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In special classes with the participation of cosmonauts from Roskosmos, instructors of the Yu.A. Gagarin and representatives of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia named after S.P. Korolev (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), studies were carried out to identify the features that are possible during the implementation of the training program for the control of a manned spacecraft “Soyuz” by one cosmonaut. Subsequently, based on all comments and suggestions, a conclusion will be drawn up to organize the process of this preparation.

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Russian Progress Resupply Ship Docks to Station After Two Orbits

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — An uncrewed Russian Progress 76 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 1:45 p.m. EDT, a little more than three hours after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:26 a.m. (7:26 p.m. Baikonur time). At the time of docking, the spacecraft were traveling about 250 miles over Earth.

The cargo spacecraft is delivering almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the Expedition 63 crew members who are living and working in space to advance scientific knowledge, demonstrate new technologies, and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth.

Progress 76 will remain docked at the station for more than four months, departing in December for its deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA Television to Air Space Station Cargo Ship Launch, Docking

Progress 75 supply ship. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft delivering almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) beginning at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 23.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 76 is scheduled to launch on a Soyuz rocket at 10:26 a.m. (7:26 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Rendezvous and docking coverage will begin at 1 p.m., with the Progress spacecraft expected to automatically link up to the Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 1:47 p.m.

Progress 76 will remain docked at the station for more than four months, departing in December for its deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.

For almost 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 240 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries.

Learn more about the International Space Station activities online, and by following @space_station and  @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook  and ISS Instagram accounts.

Russian Cargo Ship Leaves, Crew Tests Dragon’s Comfort Factors

The Expedition 63 crew has expanded to five members with the arrival of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. (From left) Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft departed the International Space Station today leaving four spaceships from the U.S., Russia and Japan parked at the orbital lab. It will be replaced in two weeks when the Progress 76 arrives to replenish the crew.

The 74P undocked today at 2:23 p.m. EDT after seven months attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-packed resupply ship will descend into Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise. The 76P will take its place when it launches on July 23 at 10:26 a.m. and docks just three-and-a-half hours later to Pirs.

Four out of the five Expedition 63 crew members assessed comfort factors inside the docked SpaceX Crew Dragon today. This is a demonstration of the Crew Dragon’s habitability ahead of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission planned for later this year.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who piloted the Crew Dragon, will be joined by station Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin for the one-hour habitability test. The crew will arrange the cabin to suit the four space residents and report their comfort levels to engineers on the ground.

While they were setting up Crew Dragon for the test, the three NASA astronauts also had time for ultrasound eye scans, microfluid studies and orbital plumbing work. The two cosmonauts, including Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner, juggled a variety of Russian space research and tested Soyuz crew ship communications gear.

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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Soyuz Booster Launches Defense Satellite from Plesetsk

PLESETSK, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on May 22, 2020 at 07:31 UTC the Russian Aerospace Forces operational crew successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a Ministry of Defense spacecraft onboard.

The launch and injection into orbit went as planned. In two minutes after the launch the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre automated complex acquired the Soyuz 2.1b rocket track.

At the designated time, the spacecraft was injected into the final orbit and acquired by the ground control means of the Russian Aerospace Forces. The satellite maintains stable telemetry connection, all the onboard systems function as planned.

This is the third Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 2020. The Soyuz-2 space rocket complex flight tests at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome began on November 8, 2004. For the last 16 years 45 launches Soyuz-2 carrier rockets of various types have been performed from the site.

Congress Seeks Answers on Sudden Resignation of NASA Human Spaceflight Head

Douglas Loverro (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics says she wants answers following the abrupt resignation of NASA’s head of human spaceflight, Douglas Loverro, on the eve of a crucial human flight test of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

“I am deeply concerned over this sudden resignation, especially eight days before the first scheduled launch of US astronauts on US soil in almost a decade. Under this Administration, we’ve seen a pattern of abrupt departures that have disrupted our efforts at human space flight,” tweeted Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.)

“The bottom line is that, as the Committee that oversees NASA, we need answers,” she added.

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NASA Completes Negotiations for Extra Soyuz Seat

Luca Parmitano during Soyuz redocking (Credit: ESA/NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — To ensure the agency keeps its commitment for safe operations via a continuous U.S. presence aboard the International Space Station until commercial crew capabilities are routinely available, NASA has completed negotiations with the State Space Corporation Roscosmos to purchase one additional Soyuz seat for a launch this fall.

The agency received no responses from U.S. suppliers to a synopsis issued in the fall of 2019 for crew transportation in 2020. Boeing and SpaceX are in the final stages of development and testing of new human space transportation systems that will launch astronauts from American soil, including NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission scheduled for launch no earlier than May 27.

In case you missed it, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shared why the Demo-2 mission is essential.

Editor’s Note: SpaceNews reports the price is $90.25 million.

Video: ESA Astronauts Discuss Landing in Soyuz Spacecraft

Video Caption: Take a break with ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst, Samantha Cristoforetti, Luca Parmitano and Thomas Pesquet as they discuss living and working in space. In this video, our astronauts talk about their experiences of landing in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft upon returning from the International Space Station.

During a shared coffee break, Luca compares his first landing to his most recent landing – the second of which he found much softer than the first. Thomas finds humour in his experience of landing horizontally, while Alex describes a particularly high gravitational load on his return to Earth.

This clip is part of a series of four filmed in February 2020, following Luca’s return from the ISS mission on 6 February. It was filmed in the crew quarters of the German Aerospace Center DLR’s :envihab facility next to ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

For more about Luca’s Beyond mission and other ESA astronaut-related content, visit the Exploration blog: https://blogs.esa.int/exploration/