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

SpaceX launches SiriusXM satellite

Updated 10:20 a.m. Eastern with Maxar announcement of post-launch contact with SXM-8. WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully placed into orbit a Maxar-built satellite for for SiriusXM Satellite Radio June 6, six months after the launch of a similar satellite that later malfunctioned in orbit. The Falcon 9 lifted off at 12:26 a.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The rocket’s first stage, which previously lau..

Lockheed Martin gets $1 billion contract for operations of SBIRS ground systems

The five-year sole-source contract is for operations and maintenance of SBIRS ground control centers WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin received a $1 billion contract to operate and maintain the ground control systems of the U.S. military’s Space Based Infrared System geostationary satellites, the U.S. Space Force announced June 4. SBIRS is part of the Defense Department’s missile warning network that detects ballistic missile launches. It incl..

Air Force: Using commercial rockets to deliver supplies not as far-fetched as it sounds

Program manager Greg Spanjers: 'We don't see SpaceX as being the only viable provider of this capability' WASHINGTON — U.S. Air Force officials on June 4 expressed enthusiasm about the possibility that commercial space vehicles one day could be used to ship supplies around the world. “This never really made sense in the past” but now it does, said Greg Spanjers, manager of the rocket cargo program, a new effort to investiga..

Viasat wants FCC to review Starlink’s government funding

TAMPA, Fla. — Satellite operator Viasat is stepping up efforts to stop Starlink’s growing constellation, taking aim at the nearly $900 million of rural broadband subsidies that SpaceX won in December. The operator is asking the Federal Communications Commission to review decisions made around the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), claiming differential treatment and a lack of transparency. In an Application for Review (AFR) filed June 1, V..

Europe picks EuroQCI satellite quantum communications consortium

TAMPA, Fla. — Europe has tasked an Airbus-led group to devise its own quantum communications network as startup Arqit raises $400 million for a space-based system. Airbus said May 31 the European Commission awarded the group a contract to study a quantum technology-powered network, called EuroQCI, to secure critical infrastructure across Europe. The 15-month agreement is worth several millions of euros, Airbus Defence and Space spokesperson Bru..

German startup raises funding for wildfire monitoring satellites

WASHINGTON — A German startup has raised an initial funding round that will enable it to begin launching a constellation of satellites to detect wildfires. Orora Technologies, or OroraTech, announced June 1 it closed a Series A round worth 5.8 million euros ($7.1 million). Findus Venture and Ananda Impact Ventures led the round, with contributions from Apex Ventures, Bayern Kapital and several angel investors. Munich-based OroraTech will use th..

NRO taking advantage of commercial launch options for lower-risk space missions

When choosing launch options, the NRO considers factors like satellite risk tolerance, required launch dates, available launch vehicles and cost. WASHINGTON — The National Reconnaissance Office entrusts the U.S. Space Force to launch most of its spy satellites. But the NRO also is using other types of commercial contracts to send spacecraft to orbit, a practice that likely will continue, the agency said. The NRO builds and operates the U...

South Korea signs Artemis Accords; Brazil, New Zealand likely next

South Korea is the first of three countries expected to sign the Accords in the coming weeks SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea signed the Artemis Accords May 27, becoming the 10th signatory to the pact that governs norms of behavior for those who want to participate in the NASA-led Artemis lunar exploration program. On the same day, South Korea and the United States signed an agreement on “civil global navigation satellite systems cooperati..

Isotropic Systems closing in on multi-orbit antenna offering

TAMPA, Fla. — British startup Isotropic Systems has unlocked more government funding for antennas it believes are timed for the satellite industry’s multi-orbit evolution. Isotropic said May 25 it secured the final third of a previously unannounced 18.5 million euro ($22.5 million) contract from the UK Space Agency to help bring its flat-panel terminals to market early next year. The contract was initially awarded June 2020 through the European..

SpaceShipTwo makes first flight to space from New Mexico

Updated 5:15 p.m. Eastern. WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo made its first flight to space in more than two years May 22, completing the first in a series of four suborbital flights planned by the company over the next several months. The SpaceShipTwo vehicle named VSS Unity, with pilots CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay on board, took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 10:34 a.m. Eastern, carried aloft by its WhiteKnightTwo aircr..

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