LIVE REAL TIME SATELLITE TRACKING AND PREDICTIONS: SPACE STATION

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ASTRONAUTS CAPTURE SPACEX CARGO CAPSULE WITH ROBOT ARM FOR FINAL TIME – For the final time, a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule approached the International Space Station Monday for capture with the research lab’s robotic arm, delivering more than 4,300 pounds of food, experiments and spare parts. Future Dragon resupply missions will use a new spaceship design to automatically dock with the space station. The unpiloted cargo freighter completed a two-day pursuit of the space station Monday with an automated approach to the orbiting research outpost. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now – Mar 10)

OLYMPIC ORBITER: ‘GUNDAM SATELLITE’ HITCHES RIDE TO ISS TO PROMOTE 2020 GAMES – A microsatellite carrying model robots from the popular science fiction anime “Mobile Suit Gundam” was successfully launched to promote the Olympics, organizers said Saturday. The so-called G-Satellite, which contains two figurines from the animated series, hitched a ride to the International Space Station on Friday aboard a SpaceX/Dragon cargo flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It will reach the ISS on Monday at 8 p.m. Japan time. More
(Source: The Japan Times – Mar 8)

THE DSCOVR EARTH AND SPACE WEATHER SATELLITE IS BACK ONLINE AFTER A MONTHS-LONG GLITCH – A disabled satellite that tracks space weather is back online after nine months of efforts to get it communicating with Earth, according to a U.S. government update. The nearly five-year-old Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) went into a safe mode lockdown on June 27, 2019, due to issues with the attitude control system that keeps it properly oriented in space to receive commands and send data. More
(Source: Space.com – Mar 8)

SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS – A crowd at Mecca’s Grand Mosque and the Kaaba on Feb. 14, 2020 (top) and a much smaller group of visitors on March 3, 2020, a day before fears over the novel coronavirus led to the the suspension of the “umrah” pilgrimage. Satellite images released on March 5, 2020 by Maxar Technologies reveal the impact of coronavirus on activities around the world. More
(Source: USA TODAY – Mar 7)

ROCKET ISSUE DELAYS LAUNCH OF UAE’S FALCON EYE 2 SATELLITE FOR A MONTH: REPORT – A sharp-eyed satellite’s launch has been pushed back from its expected Thursday (March 5) launch date until no earlier than April due to a rocket problem, according to a media report. Arianespace, which will be providing the launch from French Guiana, has not disclosed a reason for the delay. Nor did it release a new launch date for Falcon Eye 2, which is a high-performance optical observation satellite for commercial and military users in the United Arab Emirates. More
(Source: Space.com – Mar 7)

SPACEX LAUNCHES CARGO TOWARD SPACE STATION, ACES 50TH ROCKET LANDING – SpaceX successfully launched an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft for NASA today (March 6), sending fresh supplies toward the International Space Station (ISS) — and also sticking another rocket landing, the 50th for the company overall. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket used in today’s flight is a veteran; its first stage also lofted the previous Dragon cargo mission, in December 2019. The rocket blasted off from Pad 40 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:50 p.m. EST (0450 GMT on Saturday, March 7), illuminating the skies above Florida’s Space Coast. More
(Source: Space.com – Mar 7)

ROCKET LAB TO SEND CAPELLA RADAR SATELLITE TO MID-INCLINATION ORBIT – Capella Space will send a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite into a mid-inclination orbit later this year on a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle, the two companies announced March 5. “It will be the first commercial SAR satellite in a mid-inclination orbit,” Payam Banazadeh, Capella Space CEO, told SpaceNews. “Customers want to monitor areas around Korea, the Middle East, some portions of Europe and North America. Putting a satellite in a 45-degree-inclination orbit allows you to have good coverage of those areas.” More
(Source: SpaceNews – Mar 6)

ISRO POSTPONES LAUNCH OF GEO IMAGING SATELLITE GISAT-1 DUE TO TECHNICAL REASONS – The launch of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Gisat-1, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed due to technical reasons. Isro said that a new launch date for Gisat-1 will be announced in due course. The launch of Gisat-1 was scheduled for March 5 from the second launchpad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. More
(Source: India Today – Mar 5)

DARPA PICKS NORTHROP GRUMMAN AS ITS COMMERCIAL PARTNER FOR SATELLITE SERVICING PROGRAM – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency selected Northrop Grumman as its commercial partner for the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program, the company announced March 4. The announcement comes on the heels of Northrop Grumman’s successful operation of its first satellite servicing Mission Extension Vehicle. The MEV-1 launched in October 2019 and last month docked in-orbit with an Intelsat communications satellite in an effort to keep the spacecraft in operation for an additional five years. More
(Source: SpaceNews – Mar 5)

AUSTRALIA DEVELOPING SATELLITE TO PREDICT BUSHFIRE DANGER ZONES – Australian scientists are developing the country’s first satellite designed to predict where bushfires are likely to start, following months of devastating fires. The Australian National University said Wednesday a team is creating a “shoebox-sized” satellite that will measure forest ground cover and moisture levels using infrared detectors. It is hoped the data will help determine where bushfires are likely to start and where they may be difficult to contain. More
(Source: Phys.org – Mar 5)

EXPANDING, AND EVENTUALLY REPLACING, THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION – Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), humanity has managed to maintain an uninterrupted foothold in low Earth orbit for just shy of 20 years. There are people reading these words who have had the ISS orbiting overhead for their entire lives, the first generation born into a truly spacefaring civilization. But as the saying goes, what goes up must eventually come down. The ISS is at too low of an altitude to remain in orbit indefinitely, and core modules of the structure are already operating years beyond their original design lifetimes. More
(Source: Hackaday – Mar 4)

YOUR PHONE MAY SOON RECEIVE 4G SERVICE . FROM SPACE! – In the United States it’s easy to take cell reception for granted. With few exceptions, you can use your phone to text, call, and get online from pretty much anywhere in the country. Yet about 2 billion people around the world live in areas that lack mobile coverage, mostly far from major cities, which makes building a network of terrestrial cell towers to connect them prohibitively expensive. If you built a cell network in space, it could plug the gaps in global mobile coverage by raining 4G service from satellites to users on the ground. More
(Source: WIRED – Mar 4)

AFTER LAST-MINUTE ABORT, DARPA LAUNCH CHALLENGE ENDS WITHOUT A WINNER – Astra engineers scrubbed a launch attempt Monday at Kodiak Island, Alaska, to assess troubling data from a guidance, navigation and control sensor on the company’s new small satellite launcher, ending a bid to win up to $12 million in prize money from a U.S. military research agency. Monday’s countdown was aborted on the final day of a 15-day window set by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which offered Astra a $2 million prize if it successfully placed three small CubeSats into orbit. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now – Mar 3)

SPACEX TEST-FIRES ROCKET, PREPS FOR FINAL FLIGHT OF FIRST-GENERATION DRAGON CAPSULE – The Falcon 9 booster for SpaceX’s next mission fired up briefly on a Cape Canaveral launch pad Sunday in a routine pre-flight test before a scheduled launch Friday night to kick off the final flight of the first version of the company’s Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station. Nine Merlin 1D main engines at the base of the Falcon 9 booster fired up at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) Sunday at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now – Mar 3)

NITROGEN DIOXIDE POLLUTION OVER CHINA PLUMMETS IN NEW SATELLITE IMAGES – The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has caused widespread alarm, travel bans, and the quarantine of multiple cities across the world. But there’s also been an unexpected effect on the environment, in the form of a notable drop in nitrogen dioxide emissions levels across China. Data collected from the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on ESA’s Sentinel-5 satellite shows a significant drop of nitrogen dioxide – a gas mainly emitted by cars, trucks, power plants and some industrial plants – between January 1 and February 25. More
(Source: ScienceAlert – Mar 2)

NASA WANTS YOU TO PHOTOGRAPH STARLINK SATELLITES WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE – SpaceX and others plan to launch thousands of new satellites into low-Earth orbit, creating streaks that cut through astronomers’ images. Now educators at NASA are asking citizen scientists to help document the problem. Over the coming years, Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company, SpaceX, will launch thousands of small satellites as part of an effort to provide global, space-based internet. More
(Source: Discover Magezine – Mar 1)

CHINA TO COMPLETE ITS ANSWER TO GPS WITH BEIDOU NAVIGATION SATELLITE LAUNCHES IN MARCH, MAY – China will launch Beidou navigation satellites in March and May this year, completing a constellation designed for an array of civil and military applications. A Long March 3B rocket arrived at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center Feb. 14, according to China News Service. The Beidou satellite for the launch has also arrived at Xichang, the report states. Both missions will launch single satellites to geosynchronous transfer orbits using enhanced hypergolic Long March 3B rockets. More
(Source: SpaceNews – Feb 29)

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION RESUPPLY MISSION TO CARRY NEW ARISS HAM RADIO GEAR – The scheduled March 7 SpaceX CRS-20 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will include the initial Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Interoperable Radio System (IORS) flight unit. The IORS is the foundation of the ARISS next-generation amateur radio system on the space station. The ARISS hardware team built four flight units, and the first will be installed in the ISS Columbus module. More
(Source: ARRL – Feb 29)

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