Second Launch Doubles Size of Iridium Next FleetIridium Communications announced the successful second launch of its next-generation network, Iridium Next. This payload of 10 satellites deployed into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) approximately one hour after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, June 25. With this launch complete, there are now 20 Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit, establishing the infrastructure for technologies such as Iridium Certus and Aireon’s space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) aircraft tracking and surveillance service.
This launch has increased the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 20 with another 55 destined for space in a series of six additional launches planned for the next twelve months. Aireon’s technology will provide real-time global air traffic surveillance and tracking, which will bring aircraft visibility to all regions of the planet.
SpaceX launches Bulgarian satellite on reused first stageA SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a Bulgarian communications satellite June 23, a mission that marked the second time the company reused the rocket’s first stage.
The Falcon 9 carrying BulgariaSat-1 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:10 p.m. Eastern, one hour into a two-hour launch window. SpaceX said additional pre-launch ground tests prompted the delay. The spacecraft separated from the Falcon 9’s second stage 35 minutes after liftoff.
FCC Grants Approval for OneWeb MegaconstellationAjit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, released a statement this week confirming that the FCC has approved OneWeb’s petition to enter the U.S. market with its planned constellation of 720 satellites.
According to OneWeb, its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation will make broadband access available to individuals across the world who have limited or no access today. When fully deployed, OneWeb’s system will support a variety of services in the U.S. and globally, including cellular backhaul, mobility services, community and residential internet access, and emergency communications.
ESA kickstarts Prometheus reusable engine with first funding trancheThe European Space Agency began funding a reusable rocket engine anticipated to be ready for a test-fire demonstration in 2020, the same year as the first launch of the future Ariane 6 rocket.
ESA and Airbus Safran Launchers, the 50-50 joint venture between Airbus and Safran that is rebranding as ArianeGroup, signed a contract to develop Prometheus, a liquid- oxygen-and-methane-fueled engine that would cost 1 million euros ($1.1 million) per copy, or a tenth of what Ariane 5’s Vulcain 2 first-stage engine costs to produce. ArianeGroup is working on Prometheus in parallel with development of Ariane 6, which will initially rely on the expendable Vulcain 2.1 engine.
Russia studying dedicated space tourism missions using its Soyuz spacecraftGlavkosmos, under the support of the Roscosmos state corporation, provides orbital flights on board the Soyuz spacecraft, with docking at the International Space Station (ISS), for space tourists, Glavkosmos Director General Denis Lyskov told reporters on Tuesday.
"Tourism is potentially possible, but at this stage we do not link it to the ISS program. In other words, we can prepare only a separate mission for space tourists, in which one our professional cosmonaut and two tourists will fly. This is a separate mission, but docking at the ISS is possible," he said.
Spain’s Coastal Authority Uses Spot Trace for Search and Rescue TrainingGlobalstar announced that Spain’s coastal authority, Salvamento Maritimo, has chosen Spot Trace to help train its search and rescue teams as well as oil spill disaster recovery crews.
Salvamento Maritimo attaches small Spot Trace units to human-like dummies that are placed in the ocean to simulate emergency search and rescue situations. By capturing and analyzing the tracking data from Spot Trace as the dummy moves in the water, Salvamento Maritimo can determine how far a person in water might drift due to ocean waves, currents and winds using the Search and Rescue Model and Response System (SARMAP) application. By accurately predicting the movement of victims in the ocean, Salvamento Maritimo can refine and enhance its rescue procedures and life-saving operations.
Roscosmos, ESA and NASA to play leading roles in lunar orbital station projectRussian state aerospace corporation Roscosmos, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will likely be the main partners in Deep Space Gateway lunar orbital station project, Roscosmos Director General Igor Komarov told reporters at Le Bourget 2017 aerospace show.
"I think NASA, ESA and Roscosmos will be the most active of all participants in this project and the concrete roles will get contours later," he said. "It’s too early yet to speak about the details of participation and contributions.
Apart from these three agencies a big number of other participants is also engaged in the project of the lunar orbital station.
Inmarsat's European short-haul wifi spacecraft launchesA new Europe-wide wifi service for aeroplanes came a step closer on Wednesday night with the launch of a key satellite from French Guiana.
Airline passengers will soon be able to connect to the internet either through this spacecraft or a complementary system of cell towers on the ground.
The company behind the so-called European Aviation Network is Inmarsat, the UK's biggest satellite operator.