Summary: 19 Jan 2021 - 25 Jan 2021

LAUNCHES

New Zeitgeist in orbit
25 Jan 2021 - Exolaunch announced a successful launch of 30 commercial, space agency, and university satellites for its customers from Europe and the U.S. on the first dedicated rideshare mission of SpaceX's SmallSat Rideshare Program. The mission, named "Zeitgeist," lifted off on 24 January at 1500 UTC on Falcon 9 Transporter-1, completing one of the largest and most diverse rideshare missions for Exolaunch. >>>

New Spaceflight successfully deploys 16 payloads on SXRS-3
25 Jan 2021 - Spaceflight Inc. said it successfully launched and deployed 16 payloads, including 15 from its next-generation orbital transfer vehicle (OTV), Sherpa-FX1, aboard the SpaceX Transporter-1 mission. Dubbed SXRS-3 by Spaceflight, the mission launched on 24 January from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It delivered Spaceflight's Sherpa-FX1 to Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit (525 km alt), where it deployed payloads for more than 10 organisations. >>>

New Nanoracks completes first SpaceX rideshare mission Eyries-1
25 Jan 2021 - Nanoracks announced the successful completion of the company's first mission on a SpaceX rideshare launch. Nanoracks brokered the launch and deployment of eight Spire Lemur-2 CubeSats and of an emissions monitoring microsatellite, GHGSAT-C2 ("Hugo"). >>>

New D-Orbit's ION SCV Laurentius rides Falcon 9 to orbit
25 Jan 2021 - Space logistics company D-Orbit said launched another ION Satellite Carrier atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on 24 January. One hour, 16 minutes and 28 seconds after lift-off the vehicle was successfully deployed into a polar orbit. >>>

New Kepler announces successful launch of 8 new GEN1 satellites
25 Jan 2021 - Kepler Communications said it welcomed eight new satellites into their constellation, further expanding the active constellation to 13 satellites in total. These eight satellites, KEPLER-8 through KEPLER-15, were successfully launched via SpaceX's first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission. Once fully operational within the constellation these will significantly increase the capacity of Kepler's Global Data Services offering. >>>

New Two smallsats with Maxwell plasma propulsion launched
25 Jan 2021 - Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster (RFT) for satellite propulsion, announced that two small satellites powered by its flagship Maxwell plasma propulsion engine launched into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Transporter-1 rideshare. >>>

Falcon 9 lofts 143 smallsats on Transporter-1 mission
24 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Falcon-9; Payload: Transporter-1 (143 smallsats); Date: 24 January 2021, 1500 UTC; Launch site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, USA. The mission targeted a 520-km Sun-synchronous orbit and was declared a success. >>>

Northrop Grumman successfully tests GEM 63XL
24 Jan 2021 - Northrop Grumman Corporation recently conducted a validation ground test of an extended length 160-cm [63-inch] diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL). This variation of the company's GEM 63 strap-on booster was developed in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide additional lift capability to the Vulcan Centaur rocket. >>>

Tests prove carbon-fibre fuel tank for Phoebus upper stage
21 Jan 2021 - Recent tests show that lightweight carbon-fibre reinforced plastic is strong enough to replace metal used in upper-stage rocket structures. This is an important milestone in Europe for the development of a prototype of a highly-optimised 'black' upper stage, Phoebus, a joint initiative by MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup, funded by ESA. >>>

Electron launches mystery satellite for OHB
20 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Electron; Payload: GMS-T; Date: 20 January 2021, 0726 UTC; Launch site: Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand. The satellite was placed into a 1,140 km x 1,281 km x 89.94 degrees polar orbit. Lift-off had been delayed four days earlier because of "strange data" from a sensor. >>>

16th batch of operational Starlink satellites in orbit
20 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Falcon 9; Payload: 60 Starlink satellites (16th batch of operational satellites); Date: 20 January 2021, 1302 UTC; Launch site: Kennedy Space Center, USA. This launch brings the total number of v1.0 satellites launched to 953. >>>

China launches new mobile telecommunication satellite
20 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Chang Zheng 3B/G2; Payload: Tiantong 1-03; Date: 20 January 2021, 1625 UTC; Launch site:. Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China. The communications satellite was deployed into a 183 km x 35,821 km x 28.49 degrees geostationary transfer orbit. >>>

Satellogic and SpaceX announce multiple launch agreement
19 Jan 2021 - Satellogic announced a Multiple Launch Services Agreement (MLA) with SpaceX. Through the agreement, SpaceX becomes Satellogic's preferred vendor for rideshare missions. The first launch, scheduled for June 2021, will deliver Satellogic satellites to Low Earth Orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket. >>>

NASA: SLS fire abort caused by 'intentionally conservative' parameters
19 Jan 2021 - The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Green Run team determined that the shutdown after firing the rocket's engines for 67.2-seconds on 16 January was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test. >>>

SATELLITES

New Russia plans gapfiller for Sfera system
25 Jan 2021 - Russia will launch a demo satellite for a broadband Internet system, dubbed Skif, by October 2022, while the entire 12-satellite grouping will be deployed by 2027, according to satellite manufacturer ISS-Reshetnev. >>>

Russia to introduce new GLONASS satellites this year
24 Jan 2021 - Russia plans to put five GLONASS navigation satellites into orbit this year, including four next-generation satellites. >>>

EU Commission orders next-gen Galileo satellites from Airbus, TAS
21 Jan 2021 - The EU Commission has awarded two contracts for 12 Satellites (six satellites each) for a total of €1.47 billion, to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) following an open competition. >>>

Novel calibration system delivered for Meteosat Third Generation
21 Jan 2021 - RAL Space has delivered the optical ground support equipment for the Meteosat Third Generation Imager (MTG-I) satellite to TAS France. >>>

Bright Ascension starts development on space software platform
21 Jan 2021 - Bright Ascension has announced the start of development work as part of the partnership with AAC Clyde Space to deliver a multi year xSPANCION project, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). >>>

Key modules for China's next space station ready for launch
19 Jan 2021 - Three major components of China's space station programme have passed technical and quality assessments and are ready for upcoming missions, the China Manned Space Agency said. >>>

Boeing completes software qualification for 2nd Starliner test flight
19 Jan 2021 - Boeing said it recently completed its formal requalification of the CST-100 Starliner's flight software in preparation for its next flight. The autonomous spacecraft will fly to the International Space Station during a second uncrewed flight test, Orbital Flight Test-2, in March, ahead of a first crewed flight with NASA astronauts later this year. >>>

European companies selected to study Space Traffic Management
19 Jan 2021 - The European Commission has selected a consortium of major European launcher and satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, including Telespazio and Telespazio France, as well as policy and legal research centres and institutes to study and provide guidelines and recommendations on Space Traffic Management (STM). >>>

FEEDS & LINKS

Gilat's ESA technology demonstrated over Inmarsat's Global Xpress
21 Jan 2021 - Gilat Satellite Networks has announced the successful test of its Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) over Inmarsat's Global Xpress (GX) network. >>>

RESEARCH

'The Space Report' shows 2020 launch activity hit a 20-year high
21 Jan 2021 - In its newly released quarterly issue of The Space Report, Space Foundation announced 2020 Q4 research and analysis findings revealing substantial growth in key areas. >>>