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Monday, December 14, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (Dec 7 – Dec 14 2015)

SpaceX Shooting for a Dec. 19 Falcon Return-to-flight Launch

Elon Musk said SpaceX will launch its Falcon 9 rocket late next week on its first mission since a June launch failure.
Musk, in a tweet early Thursday, said a static fire test of the Falcon 9 is scheduled for Dec. 16 and, if successful, launch would take place “about three days later.”
There had been rumors that SpaceX was planning to launch Dec. 19, but no official word from the company. The launch, when it does occur, will place 11 Orbcomm satellites into orbit on the first flight of the upgraded “full thrust” Falcon 9.

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Inmarsat and Turksat Enter Collaborative Partnership

U.K.-based Inmarsat and Turkish state-owned satellite operator Turksat have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore opportunities through the formation of a strategic partnership, initially focused on the defense and aviation sectors.
Under the MoU, Inmarsat would be Turksat’s preferred mobile satellite communications provider. Inmarsat expects Turksat’s strong links across the Caucasus and Central Asia will enable the operator to increase its penetration in this region of the world.

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Japan Seeks To Become Full Partner with U.S. in Space

WASHINGTON — As American and Japanese officials praised the strong relationship the two countries share in civil and military space activities, one Japanese officials at a recent forum said he sought to elevate his country’s role in that partnership.
In a speech at a Dec. 10 event here on the U.S.-Japan alliance in space organized by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, Takeo Kawamura, a member of the House of Representatives of the National Diet of Japan with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said his country should become “equal partners” with the U.S. in space.
“The main idea I have here is to move from dependency to coexistence with the U.S.,” said Kawamura, speaking through an interpreter. “That’s my challenge today, to establish a more equal relationship.”

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Inmarsat and EM Solutions to develop world’s first MilSatCom/GX maritime terminal

Inmarsat has announced a new partnership with EM Solutions to develop the world’s first combined MilSatCom/Global Xpress (GX) maritime satcom terminal. The new terminal is scheduled to receive full Inmarsat accreditation during Q2 2016 and will be submitted for Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) certification.
The new terminal, which is initially being created for an Australian Government customer, will contain a number of innovative features, including tracking via monopulse technology and easy switching between GX and MilSatCom systems. The terminal will also be substantially lighter, lower cost and faster than any comparable MilSatCom device.

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Soyuz Spacecraft Crew Lands on Earth After 141 Days on Space Station

Three space station crewmembers made a rare nighttime return to Earth on Friday (Dec. 11), safely landing in Kazakhstan after 141 days in orbit.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) touched down at about 8:12 a.m. EST (1312 GMT or 7:12 p.m. local time) on board their Russian Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft. The parachute and thruster-assisted landing put the trio down northeast of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan about two hours after sunset.
The return marked only the sixth time that a Soyuz crew came home from the International Space Station at night, after more than 40 such landings. The returns are usually targeted for daylight to assist in recovery operations but a change in the launch schedule for an upcoming upgraded Russian cargo ship resulted in the post-sunset timing.

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Spectacular Video Shows Test Launch of New Earth-Return Capsule

A small rocket carried four technology experiments to suborbital space last month, and onboard cameras captured the flight in breathtaking detail.
The rocket, built by Denver-based UP Aerospace, launched Sunday (Nov. 6) from Spaceport America in New Mexico carrying four separate payloads, including a capsule called Maraia that NASA is developing to return science gear from the International Space Station to Earth. You can watch an amazing video of the rocket launch and Maraia deployment, courtesy of UP Aerospace.
The video includes footage of the rocket — which reached a maximum altitude of 75 miles (120 kilometers) — separating from the Maraia capsule, and then the capsule returning to Earth. The cameras were mounted on the launch vehicle and in the rocket's nose fairing.

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Orbital ATK Looks Ahead as Cygnus Arrives at ISS

WASHINGTON — As the first Cygnus mission launched on an Atlas rocket arrived at the International Space Station, Orbital ATK was already looking ahead to the second such mission, as well as resuming flights in 2016 of an updated version of the company’s own Antares launch vehicle.
The Cygnus spacecraft, flying a mission designated OA-4, arrived at the ISS early Dec. 9, two and a half days after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The station’s robotic arm grappled the spacecraft and berthed it to the Unity module, where it will remain until January.
Cygnus brought to the station more than 3,500 kilograms of cargo, such as crew supplies, space parts for the station, and experiments that include satellites that will later be deployed from the ISS. That is the most cargo ferried to the station since commercial cargo missions by Orbital and SpaceX began in 2012.

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Get ready for Li-Fi, a technology 100 times faster than Wi-Fi

In the next few years we might be hearing a lot more about LiFi (sometimes also called “Li-Fi”), an alternative to Wi-Fi in some circumstances that uses light as the transmission medium, and is supposedly capable of 1 Gbps speeds. That’s much faster than the average Wi-Fi speed that most of us have today. With such high throughput, it would be possible to download content such as movies in a fraction of the time it takes now.
LiFi (which in fact stands for Light Fidelity) is a two-way communication technology that sends data using light, via LED bulbs which flicker on and off at a frequency not even noticeable to our eyes. The technology was invented in 2011 by Harald Haas and has supposedly already been demonstrated (in lab conditions) at an amazing 224 Gbps. LiFi is now an international standard, opening the door for lots of new and exciting products in the near future.
LiFi has also recently been put to practical use outside the lab, being trialled in offices in Tallinn, Estonia, where speeds did indeed reach 1 Gbps.  “We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilise the VLC (visible light communication) technology,” Deepak Solanki, CEO of Estonian firm Velmenni recently told IBTimes UK.

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