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

Anti-war groups take aim at Space Force, ICBMs, missile defense

Progressive groups want to restrict the hiring of defense industry executives for top DoD posts and reduce the number of support contractors in the Pentagon. WASHINGTON — A group of progressive and anti-war organizations in a memo to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team ask the incoming administration to make deep cuts to military budgets, and specifically target the U.S. Space Force, the next-generation ICBM and missile defense prog..

Maxar taps MDA for robotic satellite servicing technologies

SAN FRANCISCO – MDA signed multiple contracts with its former owner Maxar Technologies to provide hardware and software for the Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER), a technology demonstration planned for NASA’s On‑orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) mission. “These contracts position MDA for continued success in the commercial space robotics market, an emerging business area forecast to generate global revenues in e..

Human error blamed for Vega launch failure

WASHINGTON — Arianespace executives said Nov. 17 that the failure of a Vega launch the previous day was caused when the rocket’s upper stage tumbled out of control due to incorrectly installed cables in a control system. In a call with reporters, Roland Lagier, chief technical officer of Arianespace, said the first three stages of the Vega rocket performed normally after liftoff from Kourou, French Guiana, at 8:52 p.m. Eastern Nov. 16. The Avum ..

Spaceflight announces Sherpa tug with electric propulsion

WASHINGTON — Rideshare launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. announced a new version of its Sherpa tug Nov. 12 equipped with electric propulsion that can send smallsats to high orbits or cislunar space. Spaceflight announced the first flight of its Sherpa-LTE orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) will take place in mid-2021. The vehicle is based on the next-generation Sherpa-FX tug announced in the summer, but equipped with the Apollo Constellation ..

Independent panel recommends delaying Mars Sample Return missions

WASHINGTON — An independent review panel created by NASA to examine its plans to return samples from Mars endorsed the overall campaign, but recommended that the agency delay two upcoming missions to provide a more realistic development schedule. NASA established the Independent Review Board (IRB) in August to provide an outside assessment of its overall Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign, which started with the launch of the Mars 2020 mission in..

Changing NASA requirements caused cost and schedule problems for Gateway

WASHINGTON — The initial elements of NASA’s lunar Gateway are facing cost overruns and delays primarily because NASA has changed the requirements of the program since awarding contracts last year. A Nov. 10 report by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded that delays to the program, created by changes NASA made to its plans for the development of the Gateway, make it unlikely that the Gateway will be available to support the agency’s..

India back in action with launch of Earth observation satellite, nine rideshare small sats

HELSINKI — The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully carried out its first launch since the COVID-19 outbreak Saturday sending the EOS-1 Earth observation satellite and nine smaller payloads into orbit. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C49 (PSLV-C49) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on the Indian island of Sriharikota at 4:42 a.m. Eastern Nov. 7 after a short weather delay. The PSLV-DL variant used for the mission includes ..

Chinese rocket firm Galactic Energy succeeds with first orbital launch, secures funding

HELSINKI — Chinese rocket firm Galactic Energy successfully sent a small satellite into orbit Saturday with the first launch of its Ceres-1 launch vehicle. The Ceres-1 four-stage solid rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near the Gobi Desert at 2:12 a.m. Eastern Saturday. First indications of launch came from spectators posting footage on Chinese social media. Chinese state media announced launch success around 30 minutes..

Maxar eyes September 2021 launch for WorldView Legion satellites

SAN FRANCISCO – Maxar Technologies plans to launch its first two WorldView Legion satellites as early as September 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. “We continue to make progress on the integration, assembly and test of all six spacecraft and instruments, and we expect to go into environmental testing early next year,” Dan Jablonsky, Maxar president and CEO, said during a Nov. 5 earnings call. “This i..

News Analysis | Telesat’s deliberate pace to LEO broadband

“We will sell no wine before its time” — Paul Masson, 1978 Compared to the rapid-fire tempo of SpaceX Starlink and OneWeb’s upcoming return to launch operations in December, Telesat’s pace to build a global LEO broadband constellation is glacial. It still hasn’t selected a satellite manufacturer, a task it expected to complete over a year ago and now may do by the end of this year, CEO Dan Goldberg said las week. Why the delays? “A competitive ..

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