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Разношерстные новости

June 13, 2011

Orbital Sciences + THAICOM... Build Me Another, Please (Satellite)

Hybrid services for 78.5 degrees East are in this new build...

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) has announced that THAICOM Plc. (SET Index: THCOM) has awarded the company a firm contract for the Thaicom 6 communications satellite.  Based on Orbital’s GEOStar-2™ satellite platform, the Thaicom 6 satellite will be designed, manufactured and tested at Orbital’s satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, VA. The Thaicom 6 satellite is planned to be launched in mid-2013. The Thaicom 6 satellite’s payload will offer hybrid Ku- and C-band services to the South and Southeast Asia and Southern Africa regions.  The satellite will generate approximately 3.7 kilowatts of payload power and will be located at 78.5 degrees East.

The Thaicom 6 satellite is the 34th geosynchronous-Earth orbit communications satellite ordered by Orbital’s customers around the world, 23 of which are in orbit with 11 others in design, production or pre-launch preparations.  It is Orbital’s second order of the year for its commercial communications satellites following the order in February by SES WORLD SKIES for the SES-8 satellite. Orbital’s communications satellites are based on the company’s GEOStar satellite platform, which is able to accommodate all types of commercial communications payloads. The GEOStar design is optimized for satellite missions requiring up to 7.5 kilowatts of payload power.  In most instances, the affordable GEOStar satellite can be built and delivered in 24 months or less. The GEOStar platform can also host separate government-sponsored payloads that take advantage of the satellite’s spare mass, power and communications capacity, as well as its quick launch schedule and demonstrated record of in-orbit reliability. For example, Orbital and SES WORLD SKIES have already teamed with the U.S. Air Force to deploy the experimental Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP), built by Science Applications International Corporation.
Artistic rendition of the Thaicom 6 satellite
TacSat 3, 4 CubeSat=Minotaur-1-20.05.09-3:55 ЛМВ-Wallops Isl
June 07, 2011

ATK... Above + Beyond Life Expectancy (Satellite)

[SatNews] Continuing its hyperspectral imagery missions, this satellite is performing beyond original expectations...

ATK (NYSE: ATK) joins the U.S. Air Force Space Command in observing the two year anniversary on-orbit for the Tactical Satellite-3 (TacSat-3). Originally designed for six months of operation with a one year goal, the spacecraft successfully transitioned from experimental to operational status last year, outliving its design life and surpassing original mission requirements. Launched in May 2009, TacSat-3's mission is to demonstrate capability to conduct hyperspectral imaging that is responsive to the needs of U.S. warfighters. Since then, the spacecraft has delivered [color=yellow]more than 2,100 images[/color] and demonstrated the ability to transmit processed data to a ground station within ten minutes. The spacecraft is a pioneer of the emerging Operationally Responsive Space program, which was designed to meet the growing need of U.S. forces for flexible, affordable and responsive satellite systems.

ATK, as the spacecraft bus prime contractor, provided the complete bus system, which included the onboard command and data handling system, solar arrays, spacecraft bus primary structure, and interfaces to the launch vehicle and payload. Built and designed in just 15 months, ATK's spacecraft bus met the TacSat-3 program goals of being operationally responsive, low-cost and with expected performance. The spacecraft also featured first generation modular bus technology designed to provide flexibility for future small satellite missions. "TacSat-3's longevity and robustness shows that our innovative bus technology was a key factor in the success of this mission," said Tom Wilson, vice president and general manager, Spacecraft Systems and Services, a division of ATK Aerospace Systems. "We are already applying and enhancing our flexible, modular bus platforms for future small satellite missions that include the ORS-1 spacecraft. This technology is also well-suited for commercial and international missions where affordability, high performance, and a short turnaround are necessary."

Like TacSat-3, the Operationally Responsive Space-1 (ORS-1) mission focuses on the quick deployment of small satellites with innovative sensor technologies to provide operationally responsive ISR support to commanders in the battlefield. ORS-1 is due to be launched later this year. The TacSat-3 program is managed by the Air Force Space Command with collaboration from the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and the Army Space and Missile Defense Command
TacSat-3, images courtesy of ATK[/img]
Messenger (Даёшь Меркурий!)

June 09, 2011

Northrop Grumman... A Hot Messenger (Satellite)

Link to the Company homepage[SatNews] Solar arrays deliver power and that cooling sensation...

Key technologies and hardware developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) gave the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury a power system that works to its maximum even in the searing heat that surrounds the planet closest to the sun. The solar array on NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft features advanced triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells and an electrical harness developed and qualified for this mission by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. The company also perfected a fully robotic welding process to assemble the photovoltaic cells before they were bonded to the solar array panel. The work was done under the pressure of meeting a launch window that was so tight that missing it would have meant a year-long wait until the next launch opportunity.

Solar array performance is critical – if it fails, so does the mission. Two single-sided solar panels are MESSENGER's main source of electrical power. They are two-thirds mirrors and one-third solar cells. The mirrors reflect the sun's energy and keep the panels cooler. The panels also rotate away from the sun to get the required power and maintain an operating temperature of about 300 F. Since its launch, MESSENGER has completed one swing past Earth, two Venus flybys and three Mercury flybys. By using the gravity of each planet to gain speed and alter its trajectory, MESSENGER was able to conserve the fuel it will need during its mission orbiting a planet that is only 29 million miles from the sun, about two thirds closer to the sun than Earth. At Mercury's equator, surface temperatures become hot enough to melt lead. The spacecraft's fast, elliptical orbit allows it to approach Mercury, gather data and swing out far into space to cool down.
NASA's MESSENGER satellite, artistic rendition

Northrop Grumman's MESSENGER sollar array, photo courtesy of the company.
Разношерстные новости

June 09, 2011

Boeing...NEXT In Line (Satellite)

Testing and integration are part of this Company's new priorities for this new satellite...

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has received a contract from Thales Alenia Space to provide system integration and testing support for Iridium NEXT. Iridium NEXT is the next-generation satellite constellation being designed, built and launched by Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: IRDM). Thales Alenia is the prime contractor for Iridium NEXT. This long-term contract, extending through 2017, allows Boeing to continue its strong partnerships with both Thales Alenia and Iridium. In July 2010, Iridium also announced that it extended its long-term relationship with Boeing for satellite network operations support for the current Iridium constellation as well as Iridium NEXT. The Iridium satellite network is the world’s farthest-reaching communications network and the largest commercial satellite constellation in existence today. Iridium is the only provider of truly global voice and data communications services. Boeing has maintained the software and managed Iridium satellite operations for more than 10 years. Iridium NEXT will seamlessly transition Iridium customers to the benefits of the company’s planned enhanced satellite services and capabilities. Under this new contract, Boeing will work with Thales Alenia to provide support for the system integration and testing of the Iridium NEXT satellites. Boeing’s Mission Operations group, out of its Chandler, Ariz., and Leesburg, Va., locations, will support this program.
Разношерстные новости

June 10, 2011

Northrop Grumman... Bus'ing In Lower Costs (Spacecraft)

The first of several design, building and delivery steps have now been completed...

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) recently completed a systems requirement review (SRR) for a new spacecraft bus to reduce costs to space operations. Under the Modular Space Vehicle (MSV) program, the successful SRR and future preliminary design reviews and system implementation is part of a contract with National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames in support of the Department of Defense (DoD) Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.  "We are delighted with the progress this team has made since the program kick off last December," said Steve Hixson, vice president, Advanced Concepts – Space and Directed Energy Systems. "Northrop Grumman is focused on supporting the program office and their vision of providing operationally responsive space assets in a manner that gives Joint Force Commanders more access to the outer limits of space."

The systems requirements review (SRR) is a joint meeting with the customer to verify that Northrop Grumman's design approach is consistent with the program budget and schedule. This program milestone also ensures that the contractor and customer share a clear, complete and unambiguous understanding of the system requirements, and are aware of the program's technical risks and management of those risks. "We're progressing toward a mission level systems requirement review which will happen in early summer," said Rick Hayner, MSV program manager. "The team has been totally engaged with our partners to ensure our MSV bus solution meets the capability envisioned by the ORS office. At this point, we're ready to proceed with preliminary design which will culminate in a preliminary design review this fall." Hayner also noted that the MSV is a multi-mission spacecraft bus employing a Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) and using network avionics architecture technology to allow for rapid manufacturing, integration and test.
ASTRA 1N & BSAT-3c = Ariane 5 ECA(VA203) - 7.08.11 02:52

June 13, 2011

Arianespace... Low + High Rider (Launch)

July 1st is the scheduled "move 'em on out" date...

The BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R satellite for Arianespace's next Ariane 5 flight is advancing through its checkout process at the Spaceport in French Guiana, in preparation for a July 1 liftoff on another of the workhorse launcher's dual-payload missions. BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R is a hybrid broadcasting and telecommunications satellite built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems on behalf of B-SAT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. Based on Lockheed Martin's A2100A platform, the spacecraft is to be operated from an orbital position of 110 degrees East longitude, and was designed to meet a required 15-year service life.

BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R will ride as the lower passenger during Arianespace's upcoming mission, to be deployed after its companion payload, ASTRA 1N, which also is undergoing its processing at the Spaceport. The EADS Astrium-built ASTRA 1N is a state-of-the-art Ku-band spacecraft that will deliver pan-European direct-to-home broadcast services for satellite operator SES ASTRA. ASTRA 1N initially will provide interim capacity from an orbital position of 28.2 degrees East following its deployment by Ariane 5. It subsequently will be moved to SES ASTRA's prime location at 19.2 degrees East for primary and backup services.
The BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R satellite is readied to start its final checkout process inside the Spaceport's S5 payload preparation building. Photo courtesy of Arianespace.
Разношерстные новости
June 02, 2011

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates... Critical Downlinking (Imagery

The Company is going to provide crucial data for disaster relief and monitoring....

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA) has revealed that RADARSAT-2 information will be used by the Government of Russia to enhance their ability to provide critical information to support disaster relief, improve the safety of maritime navigation, and increase its ability to monitor, and respond to oil spills, etc. MDA’s deliveries of two RADARSAT-2 ground station solutions to ScanEx Research and Development Centre in Russia, included downlinks from the RADARSAT-2 satellite along with maintenance, training and support, for a contract value of over $4 million (CAD). The ground stations are located at the Samara State Aerospace University and the Northern Arctic Federal University, who will use the RADARSAT-2 data to support their educational and scientific programs.
Разношерстные новости

June 02, 2011

Sea Launch + Intelsat... Sending Off A STAR GEO (Launch)

The satellite, designed for 15 years of service life, will be driven into orbit by a Zenit-3SLB...

Sea Launch AG will launch the Intelsat 18 (IS-18) communications satellite in the second half of 2011 under a contract with Intelsat. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, IS-18 is one of ten STAR GEO communications satellites ordered by Intelsat and will carry a C- and a Ku-band payload and will be located in an orbital slot at 180 degrees East. IS-18 will have a launch mass of 3,200 kg (7,055 lb.) and is designed for 15 years of service. IS-18's C-band payload will serve Eastern Asia, the Pacific and the Western United States and its Ku-band payload will serve French Polynesia, Eastern Australia and the United States. The satellite will be lofted to an optimized geosynchronous transfer orbit using the reliable Zenit-3SLB vehicle launching from Site 45 at the Zenit Launch Complex located within the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. We are most pleased that Intelsat came to Sea Launch to provide the launch solution for IS-18,” said Kjell Karlsen, president of Sea Launch. “This decision reflects our customer’s continued confidence in our renewed capabilities to provide quality launch services on schedule and with maximum flexibility.”
Artistic rendition of the Intelsat-18 satellite, courtesy of Orbital Sciences
Разношерстные новости

June 07, 2011

Nigeria... Peaceful Resolution Request + Lauch Expectations (Satellites)

A request for "peace" between to Nigerian agencies and launch expectations...

Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Mohammed Kaoje Abubakar, who is now leaving this office, has urged officials of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited to close ranks by maintaining the peace between them. The minister spoke in Abuja when he talked with the board of NIGCOMSAT, led by former Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Turner Isoun. In a veiled reference to the bickering and altercations of top officials of the two agencies over supremacy, Prof. Abubakar affirmed his commitment to ensuring that NIGCOMSAT attains a full-fledged parastatal status under the Science and Technology Ministry "to erase doubts as to its legal status" by asking the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dere Awosika, to engage all concerned to ensure that this is achieve' within the shortest possible time. The minister said it was out of place for NASRDA to create the impression that it is the singular authority to launch satellites in Nigeria, adding that this could potentially prevent any smooth enterprise in the sector. He added that the proper thing to do was for NASRDA to seek ways of cooperating with NIGCOMSAT Limited bring into reality the plan for space development and national growth.

Abubakar said he was satisfied with the work of NIGCOMSAT Managing Director, Ahmed Rufai, hence his recommendation for a fresh four-year term to the President in June last year. The minister enjoined the management of both agencies to cooperate and work in harmony, ensuring that both work for the good of Nigeria and asked the NIGCOMSAT Isoun to see that through during his tenure. The minister said he had goodwill towards all the agencies under his command. (Source: TNV (The Nigerian Voice).)

An additional development on the Nigerian space front was the NASRDA announcement regarding the launch of two satellites into the orbit before the end of this month, to complement the existing NigeriaSat-1. Known as NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, the satellites will be launched before the end of June. The agency’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Felix Ale, stated this during a lecture delivered at OSRC Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Akure. Ale said the satellites would provide a high resolution system to map Nigeria once in every four months. According to him, “the satellites would support the National Geospatial Data Infrastructure (NGDI) program of the government by providing high quality data and enhance human resources in the use of satellite data. (Source: Vanguard, by Dayo Johnson.)
Artistic rendition of NigeriaSat2, courtesy of SSTL
ASTRA 1N & BSAT-3c = Ariane 5 ECA(VA203) - 7.08.11 02:52

June 06, 2011

Arianespace... Payloads To Be Prepp'd (Launch)

The dual payloads for the next Ariane 5 mission have now been rec'd...

Both payloads for Arianespace’s fourth Ariane 5 flight of 2011 are now at the Spaceport, following delivery of the BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R relay satellite, which will join its ASTRA 1N co-passenger on the upcoming heavy-lift mission. BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R arrived at Cayenne’s Rochambeau International Airport aboard a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner and was transferred to the Spaceport’s clean room facilities to begin its pre-launch preparations. Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems on behalf of B-SAT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R will serve as a hybrid broadcasting and telecommunications satellite – operating from an orbital position of 110 degrees East. The spacecraft is based on Lockheed Martin’s A2100A platform and was designed to meet a required 15-year service life.

The shipping container with BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R is unloaded from the An-124 cargo airliner at Rochambeau International Airport near the French Guiana capital city of Cayenne. Photo courtesy of Arianespace.

The mission with BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R and ASTRA 1N is scheduled for liftoff on July 1, keeping up Arianespace’s mission pace with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 workhorse. It will follow Arianespace’s three previous launches of 2011: on May 20 with the ST-2 and GSAT-8 payloads; on April 22 to orbit the Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn spacecraft; and on February 16 with the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Johannes Kepler.
[ Закрыто]

May 23, 2011

Lockheed Martin Space Systems... Twins On Their Way (Spacecraft)

[SatNews] Final testing and processing for four months is on the schedule...

NASA’s twin GRAIL spacecraft were delivered by its builder, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on May 20th. The two vehicles will undergo four months of final testing and processing in preparation for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy launch vehicle in early September. The lunar orbiters will fly 30 miles (50 kilometers) above the surface of the moon in precision formation to determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon.

Both of the 440-pound (200 kilograms) spacecraft were transported on an Air Force C-17 transport plane in an environmentally controlled container. The plane departed from Buckley Air Force Base near Denver and touched down at 7:40 p.m. EDT at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. The spacecraft were then transported to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Fla., for final launch processing. The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will fly nearly-identical spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission will also answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon, and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is home to the mission's principal investigator Dr. Maria Zuber. The GRAIL mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
On May 20, 2011, Lockheed Martin shipped NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft from Buckley Air Force Base to Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane
Разношерстные новости

May 19, 2011

GMV + Thales Alenia Space... Dynamics Development (Satellite)

[SatNews] With a lower orbital altitude, this satellite will have faster transmission rates, and this Company will provide the flight dynamics system...

Thales Alenia Space has awarded GMV a contract to supply the flight dynamics system for the O3b satellite constellation that will be set up by O3b Networks Ltd. The constellation, which will comprise 16 satellites in circular orbit along the equator, is designed to improve Internet access in remote areas of the world. The aim is to provide broadband Internet coverage to about 3 billion users (half of the world’s population), almost all of them from emerging countries, thus helping to narrow the “digital divide”. Unlike other communications satellites, the O3b satellites will not be placed in a geostationary orbit (at a height of 36,000 kilometers) but rather at about 8,000 kilometers. This will speed up transmission rates considerably because the distance the signals must be sent is smaller. At this height, the communications latency is reduced fivefold, to about 0.1 seconds.

The flight dynamics system will be based on focusCn, from GMV
Galileo: началось...

May 23, 2011

Arianespace, ESA + The EC... Navigational Nuances (Satellites)

[SatNews] The European GPS initiative is making strides toward October...

Arianespace, the European Space Agency and the European Commission announced that the launch of the first two satellites of Europe's global navigation satellite system is planned to take place on October 20, 2011. This will be the first of a series of Galileo satellite launches to be performed by Arianespace from the CSG, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. The announcement of the date of the first launch follows a detailed assessment review, under the chairmanship of the Director General of the European Space Agency, with the participation of Arianespace and industrial prime contractors. This assessment was held at the end of last week and concluded that the space and ground segment components as well as operations will be ready for a launch in October. The two Galileo satellites will be deployed using a Soyuz launcher. The October launch will mark Soyuz' inaugural flight from its new launch facilities at the CSG.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, pointed out the significance of this launch. "The October launch will be a perfect example of European and international cooperation. On one side, we will have the first operational Galileo satellites in orbit, resulting from the cooperation between the European Union and ESA. On the other side this launch is the first launch of Soyuz from CSG, a program made possible through the cooperation between ESA and Russia."

Arianespace is both proud and honored to be contributing to Galileo, this innovative project, reflecting the innovative technologies that are constantly being developed in Europe for the benefit of all citizens," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace. "After the successful orbiting of the first two qualification satellites of the constellation, Giove A and Giove B, I would like to thank the European Commission and ESA for having chosen us again, which is a further recognition of our market leadership. With this launch, we will also be opening a new chapter in our own history, as we start Soyuz operations from the Guiana Space Center. More than ever, we will be able to deliver the full range of launch services expected by our customers from around the world."

The Galileo program is Europe's initiative for a state-of-the-art global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. The definition phase, the development and In-Orbit Validation phase of the Galileo program were carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) and co-funded by ESA and the European Community. The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo program is managed and fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.
Artistic rendition of a Galileo satellite
ASTRA 1N & BSAT-3c = Ariane 5 ECA(VA203) - 7.08.11 02:52
May 19, 2011

SES... Major Package Arrival (Satellite)

[SatNews] SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) has announced that the ASTRA 1N satellite designed and manufactured by Astrium for SES has arrived at the European space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

This delivery is in preparation for the satellite's launch by an Ariane 5 vehicle early July 2011. ASTRA 1N will deliver DTH services, notably digital and HD TV with pan-European coverage, and is planned to mainly serve the German, French and Spanish markets. The satellite will first provide interim capacity at 28.2 degrees East and will subsequently be moved to19.2 degrees East, its final orbital position. As prime contractor for ASTRA 1N, Astrium has supplied both the payload and the Eurostar E3000 platform for this satellite equipped with 62 transponders in the Ku- frequency band. ASTRA 1N will have a launch mass of 5,350 kg and a spacecraft power of 13 kW at the end of its 15-year design life. Launch and Early Orbit Phase operations will be conducted from the Astrium spacecraft control centre in Toulouse, France. ASTRA 1N will be the fourth Eurostar satellite in the ASTRA fleet following the successful launch of ASTRA 3B in May 2010. Astrium’s Eurostar series has accumulated nearly 400 years of successful in-orbit operations.

Astrium is currently in the process of designing and manufacturing five more satellites for SES, all based on the Eurostar E3000 platform: ASTRA 2E, ASTRA 2F, ASTRA 2G and ASTRA 5B. All are scheduled for launch between 2012 and 2014 and are designed to deliver high quality broadcast, VSAT and broadband services in Europe and Africa for SES; while SES-6 will support SES’ growth in Latin America, offering 50 percent more C-band capacity for the cable community, and retaining the unique capability to distribute content between the Americas and Europe on the same high powered beam.
Operationally Responsive Space-1 (ORS-1)

May 22, 2011

L.A.F.B. / SMC... ORS-1 Is Virginia-Bound (Satellite)

Another major milestone has been met as all get set to ship an important military satellite to its launch site...

The Space Development and Test Directorate, in concert with the Operationally Responsive Space Office, is marking a major milestone May 20, 2011, as the ORS-1 space vehicle is approved to ship to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va., for integration with a Minotaur I launch vehicle. ORS-1 is the first satellite in the DoD’s ORS program designed to support Combatant Command operations as an operational prototype. The payload leverages a SYERS-2 sensor, the primary imaging sensor on the U-2 reconnaissance plane. The ORS-1 payload was built by The Goodrich Corporation, who also served as prime contractor, while the spacecraft bus was built by ATK Spacecraft Systems & Services, Beltsville, Md. It includes an integrated propulsion system as well as other critical subsystems for communications, attitude control, thermal control and command and data handling. ORS-1 will provide crucial battlespace awareness supporting U.S. Central Command.

“This team has just accomplished the impossible by building an operationally relevant satellite in a mere 30 months,” said Col. Carol Welsch, acting director of the Space Development and Test Directorate. “We’re excited to field this important capability to meet a U.S. CENTCOM urgent need.” Added ORS Office Director, Dr. Peter Wegner, "This is a significant accomplishment in driving towards the ORS mission end-state to provide “assured space power focused on timely satisfaction of Joint Force Commanders’ needs,” and I couldn’t be prouder of how the entire ORS Team pulled together this achievement."

The ORS-1 Program is managed and executed by the Space Development & Test Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. SMC/SD is executing the program for the ORS Office, which is a joint initiative of several agencies within the DoD responsible for integrating joint ORS capabilities and applying ORS resources to the development, acquisition and demonstration of capabilities to meet specific responsive space needs as established by global combatant command joint force commanders and users. SMC/SD also led the development and acquisition of the Multi-Mission Space Operations Center round system, which will be used to support ORS-1. Operations will be performed by the 50th Space Wing’s 1st Space Operations Squadron once ORS-1 is on orbit. ORS-1 will complete launch-site testing, vehicle checkout, and launch vehicle integration and closeout at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in preparation for launch early this summer from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a commercial spaceport owned by the Virginia Commercial Flight Authority located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.
Разношерстные новости

May 17, 2011

Ball Aerospace... Victory With Vacuum Testing (Satellite)

A most crucial test has now been passed for this satellite, which will launch later this year...

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing for NASA’s NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite to advance the spacecraft closer to a planned October 25, 2011, launch. The two-month-long test, which concluded on April 27, verified that the NPP spacecraft and five-instrument suite meet requirements to function properly in a space-like environment. Post-environmental performance testing is now underway, to be followed by a pre-ship review. In August, the spacecraft will be delivered to the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, Calif., for launch preparations. The polar-orbiting NPP satellite will continue providing long-term weather forecasting and environmental monitoring that began following launch of the nation’s first weather satellite on April 1, 1960. Since then, both polar and geostationary weather satellites have provided life-saving planning and decision making information for weather and other natural disasters.

“Given the fact that the U.S. has more severe weather than any other country, it’s crucial that decision makers have seamless data from the nation’s next weather satellite to protect the country’s economic stability,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for the Ball Aerospace civil and operational space business unit. “This major milestone puts NPP a step closer to providing those continued observations.” NPP will fly a suite of advanced-technology remote sensing instruments that include:

•The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
•The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS)
•The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)
•The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)
•The Clouds and the Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES)
Under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Ball Aerospace is providing its BCP 2000 spacecraft bus under fixed-price terms for NPP, and as well as the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument. NPP has a seven-year design life, with a five-year mission life and incorporates both MIL-STS-1553 and IEEE 1394 (Fire Wire) data. In addition, NPP’s Common Ground System will be employed for the first time.
Ball Aerospace has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing for the NPP satellite, as it moves closer to a planned October 25, 2011, launch. Photo courtesy of Ball Aerosapce
Разношерстные новости

May 17, 2011

ISRO... R&D Ramp Up + A Trio Planned (Spacecraft + Launch)

The Indian Space Research Organisation plans to set up an advanced R&D center in the field of spacecraft technologies in Karnataka's Chitradurga and rocket sub-systems integration facility near the spaceport of Sriharikota in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said the space agency has acquired 530 acres of land in the science city in Chitradurga, where Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Defence Research and Development Organisation are also building their facilities. "We are developing it (land in the science city) for advanced research and development centre in the area of spacecraft technologies," he told a press conference here.

ISRO Satellite Centre Director T. K. Alex said that with annual production of satellites on the rise at ISRO, the space agency finds that the Bangalore centre is not sufficient. ISRO wants to add new research and production capacities in Chitradurga campus which would be used for its activities in the area of advanced communication and remote sensing. Radhakrishnan said ISRO, IISc, BARC and DRDO have decided to set up common facilities such as hospitals, schools and colleges in Chitradurga science city. He also said ISRO plans to set up near Sriharikota facilities for integration of sub-systems of rockets, currently being done by industries in different parts of the country.

Radhakrishnan said the idea is to bring sub-systems integration activities by industries and ISRO closer to the launch site at Sriharikota. Discussions are on with the Andhra Pradesh government as well as with industries to set up these proposed facilities on 250-300 acres of land near Sriharikota, he added. He said the idea is to take up integration activities closer to the launch site in a controlled quality environment which would result in "better reliability" and cut down on wastage of time and risks involved in bringing such systems from different parts of the country.

Radhakrishnan said ISRO is setting up a multi-mission ground segment for Earth observation satellites at Shadnagar near Hyderabad. He added that a national data base for emergency management for the country is also coming up there. A hypersonic wind-tunnel facility is in final stage of commissioning at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, he said.

[color=yellow] Additionally, the ISRO is lining up three PSLV launches from Sriharikota spaceport by October this year[/color], said Radhakrishnan last Friday. He said PSLV-C17 would launch GSAT-12, equipped with 12 extended C-band transponders, in July. PSLV-C18 and PSLV-C19 would launch Megha-tropiques, an Indo-French joint mission, and microwave remote-sensing satellite, RISAT-1, with synthetic aperture radar during September-October this year.

ISRO officials said India's GSAT-8 satellite is scheduled to be launched by European space consortium Arianespace's Ariane-5 rocket at 0207 hours (IST) on May 20th from French Guiana. Radhakrishnan said GSAT-8, one of the heaviest satellites built by ISRO, weighs 3100 kg at lift-off and is equipped with 24 Ku-band transponders which would augment direct-to-home services.

Meanwhile, ISRO officials said the Failure Analysis Committee, headed by former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair, set up by ISRO following the failure of the GSLV-F06 mission, and the Program Review and Strategy Committee, chaired by K. Kasturirangan, to look into the future of the GSLV programme, have submitted their reports. Reports of these committees are currently being reviewed by eminent national experts. Radhakrishnan said the Space Commission at its meeting scheduled on May 24 would look at the reviews. He refused to give a time-line for India's ambitious human space flight program, saying, "Now, with the state of GSLV (proposed to be used for this mission), first priority is to make the GSLV a reliable vehicle". The GSLV-F06, with GSAT-5P on board, failed on December 25 last year in a set-back to ISRO. Regarding the controversial Antrix-Devas deal (Antrix is the commercial arm of ISRO) Radhakrishnan reiterated that the Government has annulled the contract.

(Source: Press Trust of India)
Разношерстные новости

May 16, 2011

ISRO... SPOT Space Set (Launch)

[SatNews] The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lined up the launch of an image capturing satellite for France in 2012.

The news was disseminated by Parivakkam Subramaniam Veeraraghavan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), a unit of ISRO. “Because of our cost effective technology, many developed nations, including France and the U.S., are willing to launch their satellites with our system. Many smaller and mini satellite launching programs on commercial basis are in offing,” Veeraraghavan said. Recently, the ISRO successfully placed Singapore's first experimental satellite in space. India has, so far, launched 27 foreign satellites and 60 India-made satellites. Currently, it costs $25,000 per kg to launch a satellite. The satellites can weigh 500 to 5,000 kg. Sometimes mini-satellites weighing 15-20 kg are bundled with the rocket and are placed in desired orbits. However, profit realization from a satellite launch is currently lower due to the high cost of fuel and one-time use of the rockets. Veeraraghvan said the ISRO is working on a project to develop reusable satellite launcher. “The reusable spacecraft would minimize the launch= cost by 90 percent. We have set 2030 as deadline to reach this goal,” he said. Over the next five years, ISRO has plans to launch one ASTROSAT, which is a low cost version of Hubble Telescope, one GPS navigation satellite, plus a special satellite that can provide Internet services.

The French satellite SPOT (Satellite Pour l'observation de la Terre) is a high-resolution, optical imaging, Earth observation satellite system. Currently, SPOT 5 is working in space and is expected to be withdrawn by the end of 2013.
SPOT 6 satellite, artistic rendition
Разношерстные новости

May 14, 2011

MDA + Thales Alenia Space... NEXT Up—Antennas (Satellite)

MDA recently announced a new contract with Thales Alenia Space...

The new MDA contract with Thales Alenia Space is worth approximately $40 million (CAD). Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor designing and building the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The contract is for the MDA Communications group to provide a total of 486 high-performance Ka-band cross link and feeder link antennas for the Iridium NEXT satellites. The compact, yet high-performing, antennas developed for Iridium NEXT draw extensively from the technology and know-how developed by MDA on various other programs such as KA-SAT, Viasat-1, Jupiter-1, Hylas-2 and O3b. This clearly demonstrates how our superior technology can be leveraged to produce more competitive solutions.

The MDA antennas will enable Iridium NEXT satellites to communicate with their network gateways, and telemetry, tracking and command/control (TTAC) locations, as well as enable communication between satellites. Each Iridium NEXT satellite will be cross-linked to four other satellites, two in the same orbital plane and one in each adjacent plane. These links will create a dynamic network in space. Traffic will be routed among Iridium satellites without touching the ground, ensuring a reliable connection and nearly eliminating latency. Using MDA’s latest Ka-band antenna technology, Iridium NEXT will enhance and eventually replace the world’s farthest reaching communications network, Iridium. This contract award cements MDA’s position as a leader in this market segment. The first Iridium NEXT satellites are scheduled to be launched in 2015.
Artistic rendition of Iridium NEXT
Разношерстные новости

May 12, 2011

Northrop Grumman + Applied Minds... Mayflower Garners Kudos (Satellite)

[SatNews] There's success revolving around the performance of a test microsatellite...
Artistic rendition of the Mayflower microsatellite

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Applied Minds, LLC have announced the success of a recent launch and orbit of a Mayflower test microsatellite. Data gathered from around the world was analyzed, showing all tested systems functioned correctly including a new, previously unproven advanced solar cell deployment system. While this first flight collected baseline design data, subsequent flights at higher altitudes will demonstrate unique propulsion, communication and orientation capabilities, and novel payloads.

"Microsatellites are an important part of our future in advancing and maturing technologies," said Paul Meyer, vice president and general manager of advanced programs and technology at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We are pleased to be working with Applied Minds to develop the technologies that will make microsatellites successful, and make space mission participation more accessible to nontraditional partners."

This USC-built cubesat unit is part of Mayflower satellite in Earth orbit. Credit: SERC/CAERUS

The satellite, launched on Dec. 8, 2010, was the first commercial cubesat deployed into orbit by SpaceX. A cubesat is a type of miniaturized spacecraft used for research. Mayflower was launched on a Falcon 9 Dragon test mission and successfully injected into an elliptical orbit approximately 285 kilometers above Earth. The system was designed to test a set of microsatellite components in space. Following standard specifications, microsatellites easily combine with one another onto existing rockets, and only require low development costs, making space mission participation more accessible to those outside the industry. Mayflower and other microsatellites are being jointly developed by Applied Minds and Northrop Grumman, expanding the types of payloads on satellites, and consequently, the types of missions completed by satellites.

Built at Applied Minds in 2010, Mayflower and a payload designed by the University of Southern California were integrated and tested at Northrop Grumman, and then integrated into the Falcon 9 Dragon test mission by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Communications from Mayflower were received at numerous locations around the world and collectively analyzed by NovaWorks, an innovation center for development and operations at Northrop Grumman. Mayflower is serving as the technology development forerunner for other space products at NovaWorks.

"This was an exciting mission for us, and we are proud to be SpaceX's first nongovernment customer," said Danny Hillis, co-founder of Applied Minds. "We hope to launch many more satellites with them in the future." Applied Minds invents, designs, creates and prototypes high technology products and services for a broad range of commercial and government applications including aerospace, transportation, education, architecture, distance collaboration, advanced visualization, electronics and software.
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