Space 

Ariane 5 down to two dozen launches before Ariane 6 takes over

WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace expects to conduct just 23 more Ariane 5 launches before the next-generation Ariane 6 becomes its primary rocket. The final Ariane 5s will launch between 2020 and 2022, overlapping with the first three years of Ariane 6 missions. Arianespace ordered the final 10 Ariane 5 boosters Jan. 9, placing a billion-plus euro contract with ArianeGroup to build the rockets while spinning up the first Ariane 6 rockets. Currently a mainstay of the space launch sector, the Ariane 5 has launched 96 times since debuting…

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Space 

Cambodia to buy Chinese satellite as relations tighten on Belt and Road Initiative

WASHINGTON —  China Great Wall Industry Corp. landed a new satellite order Jan. 11 on the back of a bilateral meeting between Chinese and Cambodian officials that included an agreement to increase trade between the two countries. The Chinese satellite manufacturer inked a “framework agreement” with the Royal Group of Cambodia, an investment firm with companies in transportation, telecommunications and other fields, to build and launch a communications satellite called Techo-1. CGWIC will also provide the launch, ground systems, arrange insurance and facilitate technology transfer for its Cambodian customer. The…

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Space 

In space and cyber, China is closing in on the United States

“China’s satellite manufacturing industry is growing at an alarming rate,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Co. WASHINGTON — It should be no surprise that China is moving to challenge the United States for dominance in space, cyber, artificial intelligence and other key technologies that have wide national security applications. But the question that is still being debated is whether the United States is taking this threat seriously. This may not be a Sputnik moment, but the United States could soon be unpleasantly surprised as China continues to shore up its domestic…

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Space 

Zenit rocket launches Angola’s long-awaited first satellite

MT LAUREL, New Jersey — A Zenit rocket, flying for the first time in two years, successfully orbited Angola’s debut satellite Angosat-1 on Dec. 26. The land-launched Zenit lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on a nearly nine-hour mission to deliver the 1,647-kilogram satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. Russian state corporation Roscosmos confirmed spacecraft separation from the rocket’s Fregat upper stage at 10:54 p.m. Eastern. The Angosat mission is a first for both Angola, the oil-rich African country that gained its first new president…

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Space 

ABS picks Jim Simpson as CEO

WASHINGTON — Jim Simpson, a former Boeing executive who helped arrange an all-electric satellite purchase with fleet operator ABS in 2012, will become ABS’s new chief executive, the company announced today. Simpson joined Bermuda-based ABS on Dec. 18, spokesperson Ivy Lui told SpaceNews, succeeding Tom Choi, the operator’s co-founder, who remains an ABS Board member and shareholder. After a 35-year career at Boeing, Simpson retired, then moved to Aerojet Rocketdyne where he worked for two years as senior vice president for strategy and business development. His focus there included propulsion…

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Space 

SpaceX takes top honors in SpaceNews Awards for Excellence & Innovation

WASHINGTON — SpaceNews established the Awards for Excellence & Innovation to honor the well-known champions and the unsung heroes shaping the global space industry. We endeavored to celebrate headline-grabbing breakthroughs as well as outside-the-limelight innovations.  We made our selections after an open nomination process that concluded with a reader poll. The winners listed below were honored during an awards luncheon held Dec. 19 at the City Club of Washington. The luncheon was organized in partnership with the Washington Space Business Roundtable. A special thanks to Cobham for sponsoring this year’s SpaceNews awards.…

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Science 

SpaceX and NASA: Successful Falcon 9 Launch Is a Historic Moment for Space Travel

SpaceX, the American space technology manufacturer headed by billionaire Elon Musk successfully launched and landed the Falcon 9 rocket Friday morning. The rocked lifted off at 10 a.m. ET, boosting the company’s robotic Dragon capsule on a resupply run to the International Space Station. The launch marks the first successful launch at the SpaceX launch pad in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida since one of the company’s rockets exploded during refueling last year. Today’s launch is also the first time that SpaceX has flown a used rocket for a…

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Space 

FCC begins approval of Orbital ATK satellite-servicing mission for Intelsat-901

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 5 okayed the first part of a satellite-servicing mission Orbital ATK’s Space Logistic subsidiary has with Intelsat, saying the servicing vehicle can execute “rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking with the Intelsat-901” satellite while in a graveyard orbit. Regulatory approvals for the first Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) are proceeding as planned, Joe Anderson, vice president of business development and operations for Space Logistics, told SpaceNews Dec. 12, though the FCC deferred on some of the company’s requests. The commission has, for now,…

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Space 

Registering C-band dishes a costly, cumbersome task for customers, SES says

WASHINGTON — If the U.S. Federal Communications Commission wants a more accurate database of C-band satellite dishes, it should make the process of registering those dishes less expensive and time-consuming, fleet operator SES said Dec. 6. In a letter recounting a Dec. 4, meeting between Luxembourg-based SES and representatives of the FCC, SES argued that its C-band customers have little incentive to register their dishes, since registration is a voluntary process that can cost over $1,000 per site. The FCC is pushing for an updated registry of C-band users to…

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Space 

Orbital ATK ships tardy Al Yah 3 satellite for January launch

WASHINGTON — Satellite manufacturer Orbital ATK on Nov. 28 shipped Yahsat’s long-awaited Al Yah 3 high-throughput satellite to French Guiana for an Ariane 5 launch now scheduled for January. The hybrid satellite, equipped with a chemical propulsion system to reach orbit and electric thrusters for station-keeping once in place, slipped almost a year past its initial completion date, a delay Orbital ATK attributed to Al Yah 3 being the first of its kind. Al Yah 3 is Orbital ATK’s first satellite built on GEOStar-3, the company’s new platform for satellites…

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