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 

Kepler confirms health of LEO Ku-band cubesat

WASHINGTON — Kepler Communications, a Canadian startup designing a low-Earth-orbit constellation for satellite connectivity, says its first satellite is performing as expected following a Jan. 19 launch on China’s Long March 11 rocket. Kepler’s cubesat satellite was one of six satellites that China Great Wall Industry Corp. launched from China’s oldest spaceport, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. Nicknamed Kipp after a robot in the 2014 sci-fi movie “Interstellar,”  the 30-centimeter by 10-centimeter by 10-centimeter nanosatellite is the first of two demonstration satellites Scotland’s Clyde Space built for Kepler,…

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Space 

Foust Forward | Riding a big wave of small rockets

“Foust Forward” appears in every issue of SpaceNews magazine. This column ran in the Jan. 15, 2018 issue. On Jan. 11, Rocket Lab announced it plans to carry out another launch attempt for its Electron vehicle in a nine-day window that opens Jan. 19. The company had tried in December to launch the small rocket for the first time, after a partially successful first launch in May, but was stymied by poor weather and technical glitches. If successful, though, Rocket Lab says they’ll be ready to begin commercial missions immediately thereafter. That development is…

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Top Stories World 

Collapse of US spy network in China leads to arrest of ex-CIA officer accused of betrayal

Jerry Chun Shing Lee was arrested following an intensive investigation which began in 2012 as a number of US informants were identified by China. An FBI inquiry into how the names of CIA spies were falling into Chinese hands led investigators to Mr Lee. Mr Lee, 53, was arrested at Kennedy Airport and charged with unlawfully retaining national defence information. He had been living in Hong Kong after leaving the agency in 2007 and was arrested by US authorities who learned he was returning to the United States. After a…

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Top Stories World 

China launch new satellite into space to ‘look after earth’ as bid to match US military

The move comes as China looks to expand its military with the aim of having the best army in the world by 2030. The Long March 2D booster was sent into space from China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert. According to the dictatorship, the satellite is designed for remote-sensing of land resources, and the technology will analyse vegetation, water, impervious surfaces, nutrients, and soil. However, the launch comes just after two other space missions launched over the past few days. Two SuperView-1 Earth-observation satellites and a Long…

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Space 

ISRO launches PSLV return to flight mission with 31 satellites

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully returned to flight Thursday night. The PSLV lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 10:59 p.m. Eastern and placed into orbit a Cartosat 2 imaging satellite and 30 secondary payloads. Among the secondary payloads were four Dove cubesats for Planet, four Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire, a prototype broadband smallsat for Telesat and the first synthetic aperture radar smallsat for Finnish company Iceye. The launch was the first for the PSLV since an August mission that failed when the rocket’s payload fairing did…

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Science 

Space news: China sending insects and seeds to Moon to set up conditions for life

Potatoes will be among the first veggies sent on a two-stage mission to the Moon and they will be joined by silkworms in an attempt to create a simple sustainable ecosystem. Chang’e 4, the latest mission in the ambitious Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP),  will use a Long March 4C rocket to put an initial satellite in orbit around the Moon in June this year. Six months later a Moon lander and rover will follow – and, more importantly, so will the seeds and insects of the mini eco-system. The…

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Space 

Morocco satellite launch could accelerate Spanish space efforts

WARSAW, Poland — Morocco’s launch of its Mohammed 6-A satellite last November could accelerate Spain’s work on its SeoSat/Ingenio optical Earth-observation satellite, which is expected to launch in late 2019 or early 2020. Morocco and Spain have struggled to boost their satellite observation capacities since the Perejil Island crisis in 2002 when Spain could not acquire satellite images of the island following reports of its occupation by the Moroccan Navy. Mohammed 6-A was developed by a consortium formed by Thales Alenia Space, which acted as the prime system contractor, and…

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Science 

China Plans Far Side of the Moon Landing for 2018 in World First

For more than a decade, China has set its sights on the far side of the Moon. This year, they want to take two more big steps toward reaching that goal with the Chang’e 4 project, two satellites that are currently expected to launch later this year. The culmination of the project will be a mission that lands on the far side of the Moon. But before that spacecraft takes off, China needs to send a communications satellite to hang out above the far side of the Moon and pass signals…

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Science 

This Is How China Is Slowly Creeping into Latin America

Sean Kelly Security, Latin America A Long March-2C rocket carrying the Yaogan-30 01 satellites lifts off from the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province, China More Beijing has discovered a slick and sophisticated way to increase its influence in the region.  This Is How China Is Slowly Creeping into Latin America As China’s 19th Party Congress consolidates Xi Jinping’s position as the country’s most ambitious leader since Deng Xiaoping or possibly Mao Zedong, China and the United States are engaging in a global rivalry that echoes…

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