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Monday, July 31, 2017

This Week in Satellite News! (Jul 24 – Jul 31 2017)


SpaceX sets Sept. 30 for third Iridium Next launch

Mobile satellite services operator Iridium announced July 28 that SpaceX will conduct the third launch in its fleet replenishment Sept. 30 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Pacific time, the launch will carry 10 Iridium Next satellites, bringing to 30 the number of satellites orbited for Iridium’s modernized constellation of low-Earth orbit telecommunications satellites.
SpaceX launched the first 10 Iridium Next satellites Jan. 14, followed by the second set of 10 on June 25. Iridium is launching its entire Next constellation on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, with completion expected in mid-2018.

SpaceX Inmarsat Global Xpress launch
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ILS Proton to launch AsiaSat-9 on Sept. 28

Hong Kong-based satellite fleet operator AsiaSat said July 31 that its next satellite will launch Sept. 28 on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The satellite, AsiaSat-9, has been in storage with manufacturer Space Systems Loral since passing its pre-ship review in April, AsiaSat said.
The launch, arranged by International Launch Services, the commercial arm of Proton manufacturer Khrunichev, will be the third commercial Proton launch this year. ILS spokesperson Karen Soriano told SpaceNews July 31 that Hispasat’s Amazonas 5 is ahead of AsiaSat-9 in Proton’s launch queue. She declined to say when the Amazonas-5 launch would occur.

Proton Roscosmos
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Iridium Reports 2 Percent Year-Over-Year Revenue Increase for Q2

In its financial results for the second quarter of 2017, Iridium reported total revenue of $111.6 million, which consisted of $86.6 million of service revenue and $25 million related to equipment sales and engineering and support projects. This is a revenue increase of approximately 2 percent versus the same period a year ago.
Commercial service remained the largest part of the company’s business, comprising 58 percent of total revenue during the second quarter.

Iridium SNOC Next
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New funding round values SpaceX at $21.2 billion

SpaceX has raised more than $350 million in a new funding round that values the company at $21.2 billion, according to data obtained by a financial company.
Equidate, a San Francisco company that operates a market for trading shares in privately-held companies and publishes financial information about them, said that SpaceX had closed a $351 million funding round, designated Series H, in July. News of the funding was first reported by the New York Times, which recently profiled Equidate.

Falcon Heavy at LC-39A
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Soyuz rocket carries 3-man crew to space station

After a picture-perfect launch from Kazakhstan and a problem-free rendezvous, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked at the International Space Station Friday, boosting the lab's crew back to six and, for the first time, giving NASA and the European Space Agency four astronauts devoted to research in the U.S. segment of the complex.
With commander Sergey Ryazanskiy monitoring an automated approach, flanked on his left by NASA flight engineer Randy Bresnik and on the right by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft docked at the Earth-facing Rassvet module at 5:54 p.m. ET.

the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft, carrying a three-man crew, moves in for docking at the International Space Station six hours after launch Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA
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Senate restores funding for NASA Earth science and satellite servicing programs

An appropriations bill approved by a Senate committee July 27 would restore funding for several NASA Earth science missions slated for termination by the administration as well as a satellite servicing program.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a commerce, justice and science (CJS) appropriations bill, along with two other spending bills, during a markup session. The CJS bill, offering $19.529 billion for NASA overall, had cleared its subcommittee July 25.

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Astrobotic to launch first lunar lander on Atlas 5

Astrobotic, a company developing commercial lunar landers, announced July 26 that it will launch its first spacecraft to the moon on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 in 2019.
Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic said it selected ULA to launch its Peregrine lunar lander, carrying 35 kilograms of payloads from a number of customers to the lunar surface. The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal.

astrobotic peregrine lander
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Raytheon under “pressure” after GPS 3 ground control network extension

Following an acknowledgment of another deployment extension for the GPS 3 ground control network, the U.S. Air Force publicly and forcefully called on contractor Raytheon to put the program back on track.
It will take at least another additional nine months to deploy the Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System (GPS OCX), Capt. AnnMarie Annicelli, an Air Force spokeswoman, said July 31.

GPS 3 satellite. Credit: Lockheed Martin
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