Space 

The end of SBIRS: Air Force says it’s time to move on

Air Force is seeking a “survivable missile warning capability by the mid-2020s.” WASHINGTON — The Air Force will develop a new constellation of missile warning  satellites amid worries that the current system is vulnerable to attack and not a good return on investment. In the budget proposed for fiscal year 2019, the Air Force accelerates the development of the next-generation of missile warning satellites. It provides $643 million for the program and eliminates funding for vehicles 7 and 8 of the Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS. Funding for further…

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Space 

Air Force to acquire new jam-resistant GPS satellites

Air Force Secretary Wilson: “The GPS 3 that we are moving toward is intended to be able to operate in a contested environment.” WASHINGTON — The Pentagon plans to spend $2 billion over the next five years on a new constellation of Global Positioning System satellites that will be hardened to withstand electronic interference from hostile nations. In a solicitation for bids posted Feb. 13, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announced it will “conduct a full and open competition” for the production of 22 GPS 3 satellites…

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Space 

JWST optics and instruments arrive in California

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — The optics and instruments for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have arrived at the California factory where they will be integrated later this year with the rest of the spacecraft for launch next year. The Optical Telescope and Integrated Science instrument module, or OTIS, arrived at a Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California, late Feb. 2 after being flown on a U.S. Air Force C-5 cargo plane from Ellington Field, Texas, near the Johnson Space Center. The OTIS unit, which consists of the telescope’s optics and…

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Space 

SpaceX launches GovSat-1 with previously flown Falcon 9 booster

WASHINGTON — SpaceX conducted its second mission of the year Jan. 31, launching the GovSat-1 satellite for fleet operator SES and the government of Luxembourg on a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket. The launch took place at 4:27 p.m. Eastern from the recently opened Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. GovSat-1 separated from the Falcon 9’s upper stage 33 minutes after liftoff. SES, which was the first to trust one of its satellites to a previously flown Falcon 9 booster, has now gone that route…

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Space 

The James Webb Space Telescope finally takes shape

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 15, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine. Last January, at the 229th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in suburban Dallas, astronomers were growing increasingly excited about the progress the James Webb Space Telescope was making towards a launch then expected in late 2018. A town hall session about the mission spent only a little time on the assembly and testing of the spacecraft, focusing much more on planning for the initial rounds of observations it will perform. “We’re in the phase of…

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Space 

Boeing satellite workers keeping busy with commercial orders while awaiting defense work

WASHINGTON — Boeing is striving to keep a core of 4,000 to 4,500 workers busy at its El Segundo, California, satellite manufacturing plant to prevent losing highly experienced workers during a slow down in commercial and government satellite orders. Marc Johansen, Boeing Government Operation’s vice president of satellites and intelligence programs, said the company’s resurgence in the commercial sector has helped keep Boeing workers busy while it waits out U.S. Defense Department decisions on next-generation military satellites. “We are working very hard at the factory to ensure that our engineers…

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Science 

‘After YEARS of delays’ sudden breakthrough allows Tesla blast Roadster to MARS ‘in weeks’

In the static test, Falcon Heavy fired all 27 of its Merlin engines at the Kennedy Space Center while secured to the launch platform to stop it taking off. Elon Musk said: “Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good. “Generated quite a thunderhead of steam. Launching in a week or so.” The test lasted 12 seconds and created a huge cloud of steam and exhaust. Its collection of 27 engines generated five million pounds of thrust which will be used to send a Tesla Roadster into an orbit around…

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Science 

SpaceX Keeps U.S. Air Force’s Confidence After Satellite’s Loss

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from the Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California on December 22, 2017. SpaceX blasted off a re-used Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 satellites into orbit, its fourth launch toward a $3 billion upgrade to Virginia-based Iridium’s mobile, voice and data network. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) More The U.S. Air Force command that certified Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for military missions says it remains confident in the company’s…

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Space 

Space industry hit hard by military spending downturn

Pentagon spending on space activities has shifted from actual products — like rockets and satellites — to launch services. WASHINGTON — The defense spending downturn that started in 2010 was tough on the space sector, according to a new study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Pentagon contracts for space systems dropped from nearly $10 billion in 2009 to just over $6 billion in 2016. Especially steep were cutbacks in space research and development contracts — from $6 billion to about $3 billion. When the Budget Control Act’s across-the-board spending…

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Top Stories World 

US Government shutdown threatens nuclear stealth bomber production amid WW3 fears

The US Government is set to shutdown in just hours after the Senate failed to pass a vital federal funding bill, meaning many services will stop and employees will go unpaid until a solution can be passed. The Senate has failed to gain the 60 “yes” votes it needed to pass the bill in the US Senate leaving the government without funding. The freeze will begin at midnight (EST) in Washington DC (5am GMT). Matthew Donovan, the Under Secretary of the Air Force, on Thursday warned that if the US…

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