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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SpaceX, Roscosmos and China National Space Administration (CNSA) news.

Space Force more receptive to reusable rockets as it continues to review SpaceX missions

SpaceX on June 30 is scheduled to make its first attempt to recover the Falcon 9 booster after launching a military satellite. WASHINGTON — SpaceX’s Falcon 9 to date has performed 86 launches, in 47 of which the rocket’s first stage landed back on earth. While rocket landings have become the norm for SpaceX launches, none has been done yet in a national security mission. SpaceX is about to make its first attempt to recover the booster after la..

MDA to build robotic arm for lunar Gateway

WASHINGTON — The Canadian Space Agency announced June 26 it plans to award a contract to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) to build a robotic arm that will be Canada’s contribution to the lunar Gateway. The deal covers development of what the agency calls Canadarm3, which is an overarching robotic system for the Gateway rather than a single robotic arm. It features one arm 8.5 meters long as well as a smaller but more dexterous second ar..

Northrop Grumman receives $222 million contract to update aging missile-warning satellites

The contract would keep the Defense Support Program early-warning satellites in service until 2030. WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $222.5 million contract for technology upgrades to the Defense Support Program, a constellation of early warning satellites that has been in operation since the 1970s. The contract announced on June 26 by the Space and Missile Systems Center would add another decade of service life to the DSP const..

Boeing reshuffles space program management

WASHINGTON — Boeing announced late June 19 several changes in management of its work on the International Space Station and CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle. In a memo to employees of Boeing Space and Launch, Jim Chilton, senior vice president in charge of the division, announced that Mark Mulqueen will retire from the company July 2. Mulqueen had, since 2015, been program manager for the company’s work on the International Space Statio..

Commerce Department hopes study will free up funding for space traffic management work

WASHINGTON — Two years after a space policy directive gave it responsibility for space traffic management, the Commerce Department says it is making progress on implementing that policy as it continues to seek additional funding from Congress. On June 18, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited the headquarters of Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI) outside of Philadelphia for a briefing on its commercial space traffic management (STM) efforts. AGI op..

Planting the seeds of technology for the future Space Force

A conversation with Col. Eric Felt, director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate The U.S. Space Force is small in size but big on technology. To stay ahead of rivals that are trying to compete with U.S. military might, the Space Force needs a research-and-development organization that brings a broad pipeline of ideas. That essentially is the role of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, Col. Eric Felt explained during ..

Spaceflight Industries completes rideshare divestiture

WASHINGTON — Spaceflight Industries has completed the sale of its satellite rideshare business, Spaceflight Inc., to a pair of Japanese companies following a U.S. regulatory review and the modification of an Intelsat loan. Spaceflight Industries said the sale to Mitsui & Co., in partnership with Yamasa Co., closed June 12, roughly four months after it was announced. The Spaceflight Inc. rideshare business will remain in Seattle, with Curt Blake..

On This Day in Space! June 13, 2013: China’s spacecraft docks with space lab

On June 13, 2013, China's crewed Shenzhou 10 spacecraft made its successful docking with the Tiangong-1 space lab, marking the country's second mission to the mini-space station. This kicked off 12 days of docked operations for Shenzhou 10's three-person crew, which included Wang Yaping – China's second woman to fly in space. The astronauts performed many technological, physical and scientific experiments while on board, inclu..

SpaceX launches 58 Starlink satellites, three Planet SkySats on Falcon 9

WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its ninth bulk Starlink launch June 13, a mission that included a rideshare customer for the first time. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:21 a.m. Eastern, carrying 58 Starlink broadband satellites instead of the usual 60. The rocket carried slightly fewer Starlink satellites to make room for three remote-sensing SkySat satellites for Planet. SpaceX deployed ..

Rocket Lab launches NRO, university payloads

WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket successfully launched a set of payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office and two universities June 13 on a mission delayed two and a half months by the coronavirus pandemic. The Electron lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 1:12 a.m. Eastern. The company confirmed a little more than an hour later that all five payloads on the rocket had been successfully deployed in a “p..

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