Space 

Pentagon budget funds ‘small launch services’ to gain greater access to space

Defense budget establishes a “small launch” program with a dedicated funding line of $192.5 million over five years WASHINGTON — It’s been widely reported that the U.S. military views its satellites in space as prime targets of enemy aggression. But opinions diverge over how to deter and defeat potential attacks. One school of thought is that satellites could be made less attractive targets if the military were able to launch new ones into orbit at will, within minutes or hours of an attack. This approach appears to be gaining traction…

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Space 

Viasat says ViaSat-2 business plan intact despite antenna glitch

WASHINGTON — Fleet operator Viasat’s newest satellite could lose around 15 percent of its intended throughput due to an antenna problem discovered after launch. Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s Chairman and CEO, told investors Feb. 8 that the 6,400-kilogram ViaSat-2 satellite launched in June on an Ariane 5 rocket will likely have a maximum capacity of 260 gigabits per second, rather than 300 Gbps or more as initially hoped. Viasat and satellite manufacturer Boeing are continuing to work on solutions to the antenna problem, Dankberg said, but cannot conclude whether any prospective…

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Space 

FCC chairman urges approval for SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation. In a statement released just days before SpaceX launches its first two prototype satellites, Pai urged support of the company’s application within the FCC, saying Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX can help reach rural and isolated parts of the country with high-speed Internet. “To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S.…

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Space 

SoftBank interested in more satellite, OneWeb-related investments

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — SoftBank is actively considering future investments in the satellite industry, including investments related to low-Earth orbit broadband startup OneWeb, the head of SoftBank’s merger and acquisition and corporate finance division said today. Alex Clavel, executive vice president at SoftBank, said the Japanese tech giant, which in December 2016 invested $1 billion in OneWeb, is “very actively looking at new opportunities for OneWeb,” as well as “new opportunities throughout the smallsat space, and advances in manufacturing and communications.” OneWeb is building a first-generation constellation of 900 high-throughput,…

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Space 

Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom complete European Aviation Network

WASHINGTON — British satellite operator Inmarsat and mobile network operator Deutsche Telekom have finished building the ground infrastructure for the hybrid satellite and cellular European Aviation Network (EAN). The companies announced Feb. 5 that the network’s 300 LTE towers are set up across the 28 European Union member states, along with Switzerland and Norway, forming the air-to-ground half of the pan-European inflight entertainment and connectivity network. That ground network pairs with an S-band satellite called Inmarsat S EAN, which launched in June on an Ariane 5 rocket. Built by Thales…

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Space 

NASA to be part of Ariane 5 anomaly investigation

WASHINGTON — NASA, whose James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch on an Ariane 5 next year, will be included in the European investigation into an anomaly suffered by the rocket on its most recent launch. Arianespace announced Jan. 26 the formation of an “independent enquiry commission,” to be chaired by the European Space Agency’s inspector general, that will study the anomaly during the Jan. 25 launch that placed two communications satellites into the wrong orbits. Both satellites will be able to achieve their desired geostationary orbits, but later…

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Space 

Satellites placed into incorrect orbits by Ariane 5 can be recovered, owners say

WASHINGTON — Two satellites placed into incorrect orbits by an Ariane 5 that suffered an anomaly during its Jan. 25 launch can be recovered and placed into their desired orbits, their operators said Jan. 26. Arianespace of Evry, France, in a statement released Jan. 26, blamed a “trajectory deviation” for the break in communication with the rocket, which stopped sending telemetry 9 minutes and 26 seconds after liftoff, seconds after the rocket’s second stage engine ignited. The Ariane 5 lifted off from Europe’s Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, South…

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Space 

Breaking: Ariane 5 loses contact with ground control after upper stage ignition

Updated at 8:49 p.m. Eastern.  WASHINGTON — Two satellites launched Thursday evening on an Ariane 5 are in orbit following a harrowing lapse of communication between ground teams and the launcher within 10 minutes of liftoff. The Ariane 5 lifted off at 5:20 p.m. EST from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana carrying the SES-14 and Al Yah 3 communications satellites. About 27 minutes after liftoff, Arianespace’s live webcast of the launch indicated separation of the first satellite, SES-14. The second satellite, Al Yah 3, riding in the rocket’s…

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Science 

Arianespace launch live stream: Watch Ariane Flight VA241 online here TONIGHT

How to watch the rocket launch The Ariane 5 ECA rocket is due to launch from Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, between 10.20pm and 11.05pm on Thursday January 25. The entire launch sequence will be available to view for free using the video link above.  The stream will begin at 10.05pm GMT, according to Arianespace, and will be available on all computers, consoles and mobile devices.  Arianespace’s signature Ariane 5 rocket will carry a payload of two communications satellites into orbit. Its mission description reads: “For its first…

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Science 

Arianespace launch: When is Ariane Flight VA241? Date, time and how to watch the launch

When is the Arianespace launch? The Ariane 5 ECA rocket is due to launch between 10.20pm and 11.05pm on Thursday January 25. Carrying two communications satellites as its payload, the rocket will blast off from Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.  Its mission description reads: “For its first launch of 2018, Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana to launch the SES-14 and Al Yah 3 satellites for operators SES and Yahsat (Al Yah Satellite Communications Company). “With this 295th mission…

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