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Friday, April 17, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (Apr 10 – Apr 17 2015)


SpaceX Rocket's First Stage Crashes During Landing Attempt | Video

Those of you who wanted to see the explosive last seconds of SpaceX's daring rocket-landing attempt Tuesday (April 14) are in luck.

A new video shows the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket crashing and burning after nearly pulling off an unprecedented touchdown on an unmanned "drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean. The booster stage attempted the landing after successfully launching SpaceX's robotic Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station on a cargo mission for NASA.

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On Mars, Liquid Water Appears at Night, Study Suggests

Liquid water lurks just below the surface of Mars on cold winter nights, according to new research.

The Mars Curiosity rover has found evidence that when temperatures drop on cold winter nights, trace amounts of water from the atmosphere can turn to frost, which can then be absorbed into the upper layers of the Martian soil and liquefied. The liquid water evaporates back into the atmosphere after sunrise, when temperatures start to go up again.

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SES Satellite Chosen To Host NASA Solar Science Payload

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES on April 13 said it would fly a U.S. solar-science mission as a hosted payload on the company’s SES-14 satellite to launch in 2017 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Luxembourg-based SES said its Government Solutions division of Reston, Virginia, had contracted with the University of Colorado to fly NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) sensor aboard the SES-14, which will be stationed at 47.5-48 degrees west in geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers over the equator.

The contract is for five years, a period that apparently starts now and includes a University of Colorado payment to offset SES’s satellite construction, launch and orbit-raising, plus two years of operations. The contract includes options to extend the mission on an annual basis.


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ULA’s Next Rocket To Be Named Vulcan

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — United Launch Alliance’s next rocket will be named Vulcan. The name was selected from an online vote that ULA said  received more than a million ballots.

“As the company currently responsible for more than 70 percent of the nation’s space launches, it is only fitting that America got to name the country’s rocket of the future,” Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and chief executive, said April 13 during a press conference coinciding with the start of the 31st Space Symposium.

ULA employees from across the United States submitted more than 400 names. ULA opened voting on the vehicle, currently known as the Next Generation Launch System, March 23 and received more than one million votes online through April 6.

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General: Russian, Chinese Launches Demonstrate Growing Space Threat

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Russia has launched two satellites in the last year, including one “a few weeks ago,” that are viewed as suspicious and potentially threatening, a senior U.S. Air Force officer said.

These launches, coupled with China’s launch in July of what U.S. military officials said was an antisatellite missile, are hard indicators that the threat to U.S. satellites is only increasing, said Lt. Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command’s 14th Air Force and of Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space.

Speaking April 14 at a luncheon here at the 31st Space Symposium, Raymond said the growing threats revalidate several national imperatives including enhancing U.S. space domain awareness, more closely integrating U.S. military and intelligence space operations, and strengthening space-related ties with U.S. allies and commercial space operators.

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Spacewalk Sights and Sounds Captured By GoPro | Video

NASA astronaut Terry Virts took a GoPro camera with him on an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) outside the International Space Station on February 25th, 2015. The spacewalk was necessary to prepare the Space Station for the installation of two International Docking Adapters.

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Globalstar Unveils New Satcom Antenna for Experimental Aviation Market

Globalstar announced its new aviation antenna is now available for use with Experimental Category Aircraft (STC for Part 23 aircraft approval pending), offering pilots fast and affordable satellite communication. Paired with the Globalstar Satellite Phone (GSP-1700) or the Globalstar Sat-Fi satellite hotspot, the new aviation antenna allows for voice and data communication while in-flight and completely independent of cellular coverage. Currently, the GSP-1700 is free with select airtime plans.

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California Senate Votes to Honor Astronaut Sally Ride with Statue in US Capitol

A statue of the late astronaut Sally Ride, the United States' first woman in space, could stand in the Capitol, if a lawmaker's proposal continues to advance.

The California State Senate on Monday (April 13) narrowly passed Joint Resolution 4, a "measure [memorializing] the Congress of the United States to place a statue of Sally Ride next to the statue of former President Ronald Reagan in the Congressional collection representing California."

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