The German spacecraft manufacturer OHB System has been awarded a €816 million ($1.1 million) contract to build three satellites for the German government. The contract was signed on 2 July between OHB AG and the Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) for the development and integration of the SARah satellite-based radar reconnaissance system.
Archive | July, 2013
NASA said goodbye to its successful GALEX – Galactic Evolution Explorer spacecraft which performed a survey of 100,000 galaxies in the sky by imaging light the UV spectrum and making spectroscopic measurements was finally retired on 28 June 2013, ten years after its launch in April 2003. The mission exceeded its design life by more than seven years.
Analysis: NASA may have lost its nerve over TiME but ESA’s TALISE still has a chance to paddle on Titan’s seas (Updated)
While NASA gained plaudits for its most excellent and innovative sky crane landing technique that successfully dropped its Mars Curiosity Rover onto the planet Mars, we do note that since choosing that mission, NASA appears to have become more risk averse, and, dare we say it, a little more boring in its mission choices.
Flightglobal’s Hyperbola column/blog recently pointed out that instead of choosing fly a rocket powered glider in the Martian atmosphere, NASA had instead chosen a little more conventional, if uninspiring, Mars orbiter mission called MAVEN for its funding.
Another example of perhaps a loss of NASA nerve, the administration failed to chose a very exciting and innovative mission called TiME which would have used a boat to make nautical exploration of Titan. Instead, the administration elected to send a lower risk landing mission to Mars (yes – yet another mission to that planet).
The first satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, IRNSS-R1A, was launched at 1811 GMT on 1 July from the Sriharikota launch site in India using the PSLV-XL (PSOM-XL) launch vehicle. The 1425kg IRNSSI-R1A is the first of seven satellites in the series. The spacecraft uses the I-1K (I-1000) developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The satellite transmits L-band navitation signals to users. The spacecraft is to be place into a 24 hour period geosyncronous Earth orbit located at 56 degrees East longitude and with a 29 degree inclination.
In the latest disaster to beset Russian space industry, a Russian Proton M rocket went out of control shortly after its launch from the Baikonur launch site, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan at 0238 GMT on 2 July. Three Glonass navigation satellites meant for the Russian equivalent of the GPS navigation constellation were destroyed in the subsequent explosion and impact with the ground. The cause of the failure is as yet unknown though a first stage engine shutdown was reported. Footage of the crash of the Proton M/Blok DM-03 was played on Russian Television.
The UK-based manufacturer, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) which is part of EADS, and JV Ghalam LLP. a joint venture between JSC “National Company Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary” (KGS) and EADS Astrium, have agreed to jointlly develop the “SSTL-50KZ” platform and payload equipment including an SSTL EarthMapper payload designed for global commercial wide-area imaging.
While spaceflight’s previous connection with the online paymnet firm Paypal was that SpaceX CEO and self-taught rocket scientist, Elon Musk.made most of his fortune (since invested in rockets and electric cars) via his interest in the firm, now it seems that Paypal itself is also looking to the stars. In a public relations coup, the Paypal announced that it is now officiallly working with SETI (Searth for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), the Space Tourism Society, and former Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin,under its Paypal Galactic project to work out a secure payment and cash system for space travellers – presumably of all species. We wish them the best of luck.
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- Launch failure: Zi Yuan 1-3/CBERS 3 imaging satellite is launched by Long March 4B but it did not enter stable orbit
- Proton M Breeze M launches Inmarsat 5F-1 comsat successfully
- Chang’e 3 enters orbit around Moon – but some moan about crashing rocket debris
- NRO L-39 payload is thought to be a radar satellite
- Space Insurance market is likely to fall into loss for 2013
- Bill on India’s unmanned Mars mission announcement causes backlash
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