DMSP-19 Weather Satellite Dead After Air Force Ends Recovery EffortWASHINGTON — The Air Force has stopped trying to recover a two-year-old weather satellite after operators lost the ability to command the spacecraft last month, an Air Force spokesman said March 24.
Operators at the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado have “ceased all recovery efforts” of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19 satellite, Andy Roake, a spokesman for Air Force Space Command, said in a March 24 email to SpaceNews.
NOAA satellite operators unexpectedly lost the ability to command the Air Force’s DMSP Flight 19 satellite on Feb. 11. The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, is used to help weather forecasters predict fog, thunderstorms and hurricanes that could impact military operations. Launched in April 2014, the spacecraft is the Air Force’s newest weather satellite on orbit and had a five-year design life.
In the last week, Gen. John Hyten, the head of Air Force Space Command, ordered the creation of a safety investigation board to look into the incident, Roake said. Further investigations are still possible.
Lockheed Martin Space Fence Test Facility Opens in New JerseyLockheed Martin has established a test site in New Jersey for the U.S. Air Force‘s Space Fence to validate hardware, firmware and software for detection, tracking, and cataloging of orbital objects more than 1.5 million times a day. The test site will also provide early lessons learned on installation of the S-band ground-based radars, support maintenance training and allow engineers to test verification procedures.
Lockheed Martin is using Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials within the Space Fence radar design. According to the company, GaN provides significant advantages for active phased array radar systems, including higher power density, greater efficiency and improved reliability over previous technologies.
Globalstar wins certification for light aircraft antennaThe general aviation market can now, for the first time, access affordable in-flight voice and data services for recreational and business communications
COVINGTON, La., March 24, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Globalstar Inc. (NYSE MKT:GSAT) announced today the awarding of a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA for its Part 23 Light Aviation Aircraft Antenna. The issuance of the STC validates that all quality and safety requirements of the FAA for the product have been met through rigorous testing and evaluation which took place over the past year. The initial issuance was obtained on a Beechcraft Baron with an additional 700 models expected to be added to the Approved Model List (AML). A market consisting of hundreds of thousands of General Aviation Pilots can now practically and affordably make calls, send emails and text messages and browse the internet from the cockpit, without the need for cellular access.
Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft Reaches International Space StationOrbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, launched March 22 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket, rendezvoused and berthed with the International Space Station (ISS) on March 26. Cygnus will remain at the ISS for approximately two months before departing with approximately 4,400 pounds (2,000 kilograms) of disposable cargo.
Following departure from the ISS, Cygnus will conduct three payload mission objectives. Using a NanoRacks-provided deployer, the spacecraft will place five CubeSats into orbit to conduct their own autonomous missions. Onboard Cygnus, the Spacecraft Fire Experiment-I (Saffire-I) will intentionally light a large-scale fire that will grow and advance until it burns itself out. The final experiment is the Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR). The ISS crew will install the REBR experiment on Cygnus as they pack the spacecraft with disposal cargo. REBR will measure and record data during Cygnus’ safe, destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
ULA confirms engine issue on latest Atlas launchWASHINGTON — The upper stage of the Atlas 5 that launched a Cygnus cargo spacecraft March 22 fired for more than a minute longer than planned, apparently to compensate for the premature shut down of the rocket’s first stage engine.
United Launch Alliance confirmed March 24 that the Centaur upper stage used on the launch of the Cygnus OA-6 mission burned for longer than scheduled, although the company did not provide a reason for the extended engine firing.
“The Centaur burned for longer than planned,” ULA spokeswoman Lyn Chassagne said in a statement provided to SpaceNews. “The team is evaluating the occurrence as part of the standard post-flight data analysis.” She later said that burn lasted about 60 seconds longer than planned.
Rocket Lab plans to begin launches mid-yearWASHINGTON — Rocket Lab, the U.S.-New Zealand company developing the Electron small launch vehicle, now plans to begin launches in the middle of this year after completing qualification tests of the vehicle’s main engine.
The company announced March 22 that it has completed qualification tests of the Rutherford engine, allowing it to be used in flights of the Electron vehicle. A video released by the company showed the engine firing on a test stand for more than two and a half minutes.
The first launch is planned for the middle of this year, company spokeswoman Catherine Moreau-Hammond said March 23, with the overall flight test program running through the second half of the year. Those launches are planned from a site the company is developing on New Zealand’s North Island.
ULA’s Vulcan Centaur Rocket Passes Preliminary Design ReviewUnited Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle with dual Blue Origin BE-4 engines. The PDR confirms that the design meets the requirements for handling a diverse set of missions for commercial and government customers. The ULA team plans to build upon this milestone to refine and test key elements of the design while executing a busy manifest of 14 launches in 2016.
The Vulcan Centaur rocket design conflates features from the Delta 4 and Atlas 5 launch vehicles while introducing new technologies. ULA intends to replace the Delta 4 and Atlas 5 rockets with the more competitive Vulcan Centaur.
Thuraya Releases IP Commander Broadband Data TerminalThuraya has announced the launch of the IP Commander, a voice and data terminal purpose-built for military, government, civil defense and emergency response teams. The new terminal enables mission-critical voice and data connectivity in minutes.
SRT is the exclusive designer of the Thuraya IP Commander, which is upon a single board solution that offers every service on Thuraya’s network. Independently tested, IP Commander is certified to IK10 and IP66 standards, making it the most durable and dependable product in Thuraya’s portfolio of satellite communication
Thales Alenia Space Qualifies Plasma Thruster Power Unit for All-Electric SatellitesThales Alenia Space Belgium has qualified its new PPU Mk3 power supply units for plasma thrusters on upcoming all-electric satellites. The recently qualified PPU Mk3 will provide electrical power to the plasma thrusters used for handling orbital positioning and station-keeping on all-electric versions of new telecom satellites.
Thales Alenia Space Belgium developed the new units to reflect customer feedback and changing market requirements. The Belgian subsidiary of French-Italian company Thales Alenia Space developed a new avionics system for satellite power management, improving performance, flexibility and lightness.