Science 

British EU space police axed by Brexit, moving to Spain

FILE PHOTO: A hologram of the ‘Galileo’ satellite is projected inside a dome during a European Space Expo, running under the auspices of the European Commission in Athens’ Syntagma Square, March 28, 2015. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis More BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A security centre for the European Union’s Galileo navigation satellites will be moved from Britain to Spain because of Brexit, the EU executive said on Wednesday after a meeting of its commissioners. With Britain already losing 1,000 jobs as the EU’s medicines and banking agencies quit London for the continent, the…

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Science 

Europe's space agency braces for Brexit fallout

The European Space Agency has successfully launched a series of satellites as part of its ambitious Copernicus project tracking the Earth’s changing land cover and pollution (AFP Photo/Stephane CORVAJA) More Paris (AFP) – The European Space Agency (ESA) is drawing up contingency plans for projects, commercial deals, and staffing that may be adversely affected by Brexit, senior officials said Wednesday. Programmes throw in flux by Britain’s pending departure from the European Union (EU) include the Copernicus satellite constellation to monitor environmental damage, and the Galileo satellite navigation system. “It is…

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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 

Op-ed | An argument for space fission reactors

This op-ed originally appeared in the Dec. 12, 2017 of SpaceNews magazine. America’s space program has long held a special place in the public’s imagination, but NASA missions are limited by budget constraints. NASA must use its funding wisely to implement balanced, cost-efficient programs to develop enabling technologies, such as technologies to power future NASA missions. Speaking as the former project manager of three successful missions — Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini — and the canceled Prometheus-Icy Moons Orbiter, I have a unique perspective to share. Space nuclear power has long…

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Space 

Some good news for GPS 3, but trouble looms

First GPS 3 satellite on track for launch in 2018. But there are long-term challenges such as software integration into user equipment. WASHINGTON — As 2017 winds down, the GPS 3 constellation finally has a string of victories for the Air Force to celebrate. The first satellite is on track for a 2018 launch. The digital navigation payload has been fixed after earlier setbacks, and units are in production. And the ground-control software is starting to recover from years of schedule delays. To top it off, the Government Accountability Office…

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Space 

Germany picks Ariane 5 for Heinrich Hertz launch

WASHINGTON — German satellite builder OHB Systems has secured a slot for the experimental Heinrich Hertz communications satellite on what could be one of the last Ariane 5 missions before Ariane 6 is expected to take over. The launch, arranged on behalf of the German space agency DLR, is slated for late 2021 or early 2022 — a  transitional period during which Arianespace plans to launch a mix of Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 rockets while the newer vehicle gains acceptance. The first flight of the Ariane 6 is scheduled…

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Science 

Could NASA probe Voyager 1 be the last? World running out of plutonium to power spacecraft

Plutonium-238 is the essential radioactive isotope powering the planet’s spacecraft from the two Voyager craft, the Mars Rover, the Pioneer spacecraft and more recently the Cassini Saturn probe, New Horizons Pluto launch. But the world has almost run out with one official suggesting there is enough to last “until the end of the decade”. Natural Plutonium-238 is forged in the heart of supernovae and extremely rare – manufactured Plutonium-238 is extremely difficult, extremely expensive and results in extremely small quantities. Even US stocks of Plutonium-238 are below 40lbs – and…

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Space 

Ariane 5 launches four Galileo satellites in year-end Arianespace mission

WASHINGTON — Arianespace performed its eleventh and final launch of the year today, sending four Galileo European navigation satellites into medium Earth orbit. The launch, which took place at 1:36 p.m. Eastern from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, brings the Galileo constellation to 22 satellites, though four are not currently in use. Arianespace used an upgraded version of the Ariane 5, called “Evolution Storable” or Ariane 5 ES, modified further to support the deployment of Galileo, including enhancements for a nearly four hour long “ballistic” or non-propulsive transport…

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Science 

WATCH LIVE: EU to send four satellites into orbit to bolster its Galileo navigation system

The four satellites will be launched from the ESA’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and will kick off at 18.36 GMT (15.36 local time). Approximately nine minutes after launch, the four satellites will separate from the main rocket where they will continue on their journey into orbit. According to a statement from the ESA, the upper part of the rockets carrying the satellites “will fly in ballistic configuration for three hours and eight minutes, after which a second upper stage firing will place it into circular separation orbit. “Once stabilised…

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