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Friday, January 15, 2016

This Week in Satellite News! (Jan 11 – Jan 18 2016)


Inmarsat Achieves Global Coverage with New High Speed Wireless Network

Inmarsat plc has confirmed that its Global Xpress constellation achieved global commercial service introduction in December last year.
Global Xpress is a worldwide high-speed wireless network that delivers broadband connectivity on land, at sea, and in the air. The Global Xpress constellation is formed of three Ka-band, high-speed mobile broadband communications satellites. Each I-5 satellite is expected to have a commercial life of 15 years. Together, the three satellites provide the coverage required to deliver global GX services.
In 2010, Inmarsat awarded a contract to Boeing to build a constellation of three Inmarsat-5 satellites as part of Global Xpress. Inmarsat 5-F1, the first satellite launched in December 2013, entered commercial service in July 2014. The second satellite was launched in February 2015, followed by the third in August 2015.

satellite-693222_1280
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First British Space Station Astronaut Takes 'Electrifying' Spacewalk Today

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake will take venture outside the International Space Station on a spacewalk today (Jan. 15) to repair one of the station's eight vital power channels.
Peake is the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station, and this will be his first spacewalk. Kopra, who has flown once before, went on a spacewalk with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly in December. This is his third spacewalk.  You canwatch the spacewalk live here beginning at 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT), courtesy of NASA TV. The two spacewalking Tims are expected to exit the station by about 7:55 a.m. EST (1255 GMT).

Astronaut, Spacewalk, Space, Spacecraft, Tools, Suit
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SpaceX to Attempt Another Rocket Landing Sunday

SpaceX is planning to try another epic rocket landing during a satellite launch Sunday (Jan. 17), according to media reports.
The private spaceflight company aims to bring the first stage of its two-stageFalcon 9 rocket back for a soft touchdown on an uncrewed ship in the Pacific Ocean during Sunday's launch of the Jason-3 Earth-observation satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The news was first reported by space journalist Charles Lurio via Twitter, and subsequently confirmed by NBC News.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Attempts Landing at Sea
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Orbital, Sierra Nevada, SpaceX Win NASA Commercial Cargo Contracts

WASHINGTON — NASA awarded contracts valued at several billion dollars Jan. 14 to three companies, including one newcomer, for commercial cargo deliveries to the International Space Station through 2024.
The agency announced it awarded Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contracts to Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX for cargo missions to and from the ISS starting in late 2019. The contracts, which run through 2024, include at least six missions for each company.
Orbital and SpaceX offered versions of their Cygnus and Dragon vehicles, respectively, that currently support the station. NASA said that Orbital offered three versions of Cygnus, two to transport pressurized cargo to the station and one for unpressurized cargo. Those missions would launch on either Orbital’s own Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, or a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Challenger Space Shuttle, Launch, Mission, Astronauts
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NASA Safety Panel Worries about Schedule Pressure on Exploration Programs

WASHINGTON — An independent safety panel warns that “a continuing and unacknowledged accretion of risk” in NASA’s human space exploration programs, caused by schedule pressures and flat funding, could put crews on future missions in jeopardy.
NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), in its annual report published Jan. 13, stated it has growing concerns about a variety of issues in the development of the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft that result in “an apparent erosion of safety” in those programs.
“Over the past year, the Panel has noted a continuing and unacknowledged accretion of risk in space flight programs that we believe has the potential to significantly impact crew safety and the safe execution of human space missions,” the report stated. “The Panel’s concern is not the result of singular action but the accumulated impact of decisions made and risks assumed — either explicitly or tacitly, in small or large steps — that have mounted up and led to an apparent erosion of safety.”

Engineers developing Orion’s thermal protection system have been improving the spacecraft’s heat shield design and manufacturing process since the vehicle successfully traveled to space for the first time last year. Credit: NASA
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Philae lander fails to respond to last-ditch efforts to wake it

Farewell, Philae. The space lander that touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (and in our hearts) in November 2014 has not responded to a last-ditch attempt to wake it, and it now looks almost certain that the lander is permanently sleeping.
Comet 67P is moving away from the sun, and in just a few weeks will become too cold and dim for the lander to survive. It has not been heard from since July 2015. Last night, mission managers at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne sent a signal to Philae commanding it to spin its internal flywheel, a risky and unpredictable manoeuvre that could dislodge it from its shady landing spot in the hope of getting more sunlight on its solar panels. It didn’t work.
“We did not hear anything,” says lander manager Stephan Ulamec. In the best-case scenario, Philae may have received the command and moved, but be unable to respond due to a damaged transmitter. It is more likely that the signal was not received.

Philae lander fails to respond to last-ditch efforts to wake it
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David Kagan Becomes Globalstar President and COO

Globalstar appointed David Kagan as the company’s new president and Chief Operating Officer (COO) effective Jan. 13. Kagan is responsible for all functions in support of the company’s revenue growth and will report to Jay Monroe, chairman and CEO.
Immediately before joining Globalstar, Kagan was president of ITC Global. He also served as president and CEO of Globe Wireless for three years, and as president and CEO of MTN — now part of EMC — for 12 years. He has 19 years of leadership experience in the international satellite industry, having held various board, CEO/president, COO and CFO positions since 1997.

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U.S. Air Force’s First GPS 3 Satellite Passes Key Test

WASHINGTON – The long-delayed first satellite in the U.S. Air Force’s next generation of positioning, navigation and timing satellites has passed a key test, a top Lockheed Martin executive said Jan. 13.
Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, tweeted that the first GPS 3 satellite has “successfully completed” its thermal vacuum test.
In an email to SpaceNews, Chip Eschenfelder, a Lockheed Martin spokesman, said the thermal vacuum test “is the most comprehensive and perceptive test performed at the spacecraft level.” The test is used to validate that the satellite can operate in extreme temperatures comparable to the space environment, Eschenfelder said.


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