Space 

Telesat to announce manufacturing plans for LEO constellation in coming months

TORONTO — Telesat, with one demonstration satellite for its planned broadband satellite constellation in orbit, expects to announce plans for manufacturing the full system in the coming months as it seeks partners to help fund its development. Speaking at the Canadian SmallSat Symposium here Feb. 15, Erwin Hudson, vice president of Telesat LEO, said the company was currently reviewing proposals for the 117-satellite constellation submitted by a number of major satellite manufacturers. “We’ve spent the last several months digging through” about 5,000 pages of proposal documents, he said. Those reviews…

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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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Top Stories World 

WATCH: Explosive moment Russian rocket takes off for International Space Station

The rocket successfully took off from from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this morning, two days after a failed launch set back the supply mission two days.  Dramatic footage shows Russia‘s huge rocket roaring into the sky in a blaze of flame and smoke.  The Soyuz rocket is carrying a Progress cargo ship, which is unmanned and filled with supplies for the ISS, which is currently home to two Russians, three Americans and a Japanese astronaut.  In total the craft it carrying three tones of food, fuel and other supplies.…

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Science 

Trump Wants to Privatize the ISS—Here's What That Would Look Like

In January, reports leaked that the Trump administration wanted to cut off funding to the International Space Station after 2025, and this weekend, The Washington Post obtained a government document suggesting the station should be completely privatized by 2024. The agency’s fiscal year 2019 budget request is due to be released at noon Eastern time. Turning the ISS over to corporations sounds drastic, but it’s not really all that different from what experts expected, according to John Logsdon, a space policy expert at the George Washington University. He told Newsweek that the budget language…

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Science 

SUPER-FAST Russian rocket to reach International Space Station in RECORD BREAKING time

The rocket, which will launch from Kazakhstan at 8.58am, will arrive at the International Space Station at 12:24pm, completing the mission in a record time of 3 hours and 26 minutes. Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, planned the route from Earth to the International Space Station with its last cargo launch of the Progress 68 spacecraft back in October. However, a last-minute delay forced the space agency to postpone the launch which meant that Roscosmos missed the launch window to try out the new, shorter rendezvous, NASA officials confirmed. “If any…

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Space 

Largest cubesat operators say 25-year deorbit guideline a priority

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Planet and Spire, operators of the two largest commercial cubesat constellations in orbit, say they manage their fleets to prevent retired spacecraft from lingering in space beyond internationally accepted guidelines. Speaking at the SmallSat Symposium here Feb. 7, officials from Planet and Spire said the companies have self-imposed rules to ensure their satellites burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within 25 years of shutting down, as suggested by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination (IADC) committee. Earth-observation company Planet has 200 satellites in low Earth orbit, making its…

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Space 

NASA studying commercial crew contingency plans

WASHINGTON — NASA is beginning to study a contingency option for maintaining access to the International Space Station should commercial crew vehicle development experience delays, one that would turn test flights of those vehicles into operational missions. Speaking at the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference here Feb. 8, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said using the planned crewed test flights as crew rotation missions was one option under consideration should neither Boeing nor SpaceX be certified for regular crew rotation missions by the…

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Space 

ESA awards five smallsat launcher study contracts

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — The European Space Agency on Feb. 8 announced five companies will study potential small launch vehicles for the agency’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). ArianeGroup, MT Aerospace, European Launch Vehicle, Deimos and PLD Space are all proposing “microlaunchers” for dedicated missions to low-Earth orbit that can be “economically viable,” and “commercially self-sustaining” but “without public funding,” ESA said. “A European commercial microlauncher can meet the growing need for dedicated launch services to companies with small satellites,” Jerome Breteau, manager of ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme,” said…

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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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Science 

SpaceX successfully launches the world's most powerful rocket

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — Earth has one less sports car. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off at 3:45 p.m., inaugurating itself as the most powerful launch vehicle in service and sending founder Elon Musk’s Tesla (TSLA) Roadster towards a one-way ride out of Earth orbit. The 230-foot-tall rocket launched at Launch Complex 39A here after a series of delays caused by high winds aloft. As the countdown neared zero and its 27 first-stage engines lit in sequence, clouds of smoke shot out from one side of the pad as the…

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