Summary: 17 Jan 2021 - 21 Jan 2021

LAUNCHES

New 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. >>>

LauncherOne reaches orbit (part II)
18 Jan 2021 - On its second (and first successful) flight, Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne deployed nine smallsats into approx. 492 km x 516 km x 60.69 degrees orbits. The confirmation came two and a half hours after the rocket was launched from a plane over the Pacific Ocean. >>>

LauncherOne reaches orbit
17 Jan 2021 - Rocket: LauncherOne; Payload: ELaNa-20 (nine experimental CubeSats); Date: 17 January 2021, 1939 UTC; Launch site: Mojave Air and Space Port, California. Virgin Orbit said the LauncherOne rocket reached a preliminary orbit after releasing from its Boeing 747 carrier aircraft. Further details – especially a confirmation of payload separation – were not available at the time of writing this. >>>

Final SLS test ends in failure for yet unknown reason
17 Jan 2021 - NASA conducted a hot fire of the core stage for the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will launch the Artemis I mission to the Moon. The hot fire, supposed to be the final test of the Green Run series, ended prematurely after a "major component failure" with the fourth engine on the vehicle. >>>

ArianeGroup and CNES sign agreement on Prometheus testing
17 Jan 2021 - Following the visit to the ArianeGroup site in Vernon by President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, and Minister for Overseas France Sébastien Lecornu, ArianeGroup CEO André-Hubert Roussel and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall signed an agreement preparatory to the testing of the new Prometheus rocket engine at the Vernon site in Normandy. >>>

Momentus selects Redwire to develop robotics systems
17 Jan 2021 - Redwire has been selected by Momentus, a commercial space company offering in-space infrastructure services, to develop robotics systems for their next generation Vigoride in-space transportation vehicle. >>>

SATELLITES

New 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. >>>

New 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. >>>

New 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). >>>

COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation becomes operational
18 Jan 2021 - The in-orbit testing phase of the first COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG) satellite has been completed. The spacecraft has entered the operational phase, which will ensure the operational continuity of the entire COSMO-SkyMed mission and increase its overall capabilities. >>>

Orion spacecraft is ready for its Moon mission
17 Jan 2021 - Lockheed Martin has completed assembly and testing of the Orion Artemis I spacecraft and has transferred possession to NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) team. Assembled at Kennedy Space Center, the EGS team will then perform final preparations on the spacecraft for its mission to the Moon later this year. >>>

OneWeb satellites now equipped with DogTags
17 Jan 2021 - Voyager Space Holdings subsidiary, Altius Space Machines has achieved a significant milestone: a successful first launch of the company's DogTags universal grapple fixtures into space aboard OneWeb's satellites. >>>

BUSINESS

OneWeb secures investment from SoftBank, Hughes
17 Jan 2021 - OneWeb announced that it has secured additional funding from SoftBank Group Corp. and Hughes Network Systems LLC, bringing OneWeb's total funding to US$1.4 billion. >>>

FEEDS & LINKS

New 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

New '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. >>>