August 20, 2019
Mission Reports

Rocket Lab launch fulfills initial block of BlackSky Earth-imaging satellites

August 19, 2019

The fourth and last spacecraft in BlackSky’s initial flock of commercial Earth-imaging microsatellites successfully launched Monday aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket with three other payloads, setting the stage for the final assembly and launch of at least 20 more BlackSky orbiting surveillance platforms starting later this year.

  • Launch providers announce rideshare missions large and small

    August 19, 2019

    SpaceX and Arianespace recently announced plans to launch rideshare missions to sun-synchronous and geostationary orbit, dedicating big rocket capacity for small satellites as the U.S.-based launch broker Spaceflight committed to using a new Indian microsatellite launcher set to debut later this year.

  • ULA’s second launch of the month scheduled for Thursday

    August 19, 2019

    Weather forecasters expect a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at Cape Canaveral for liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket Thursday with a GPS navigation satellite, marking the last flight of the Delta 4’s single-core variant after 29 flights since 2002.

  • China’s Jielong 1 smallsat launcher successful on first flight

    August 17, 2019

    A solid-fueled small satellite launcher named Jielong 1 fired into orbit Saturday on its first flight from northwestern China, debuting a new rocket developed by a spinoff of China’s state-owned launch vehicle manufacturer using a “commercial business model.”

  • NASA directs Alabama space center to manage lunar lander program

    August 16, 2019

    Despite protests from Texas lawmakers, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will manage the agency’s plans to build a lunar landing system that will carry the next man and the first woman to the surface of the moon in 2024, agency Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Friday.

  • Live coverage: Rocket Lab launches four satellites

    August 16, 2019

    Three days after high winds scrubbed a launch attempt Friday, Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket with four satellites from New Zealand at 1212 GMT (8:12 a.m. EDT) Monday.

  • Smallsat companies teaming up on deorbit experiment

    August 15, 2019

    TriSept Corp. has announced plans for a commercial technology demonstration mission set for launch next year on a Rocket Lab Electron vehicle to test a deployable conductive tape, made by Tethers Unlimited, that could help small satellites more quickly fall out of orbit at the end of their missions.

  • Photos: Atlas 5 blasts off with U.S. Air Force communications payload

    August 15, 2019

    A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 8 with the U.S. Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite, the second launch from Florida’s Coast in a span of less than 35 hours.

  • ICEYE releases first sub-meter radar imagery from a microsatellite

    August 14, 2019

    ICEYE, a Finnish company that builds and operates a growing fleet of commercial Earth-observing spacecraft, has released the first radar image from a microsatellite with a resolution of less than 1 meter, showcasing advances in tech miniaturization that could aid environmental monitoring, military surveillance, and the exploration of other planets.

  • Sierra Nevada selects ULA’s Vulcan rocket to launch Dream Chaser missions

    August 14, 2019

    Sierra Nevada Corp. has booked at least six launches on United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket to carry Dream Chaser supply ships into orbit on cargo runs to the International Space Station beginning in 2021, becoming the first confirmed customer for ULA’s next-generation launcher.

  • ExoMars parachute failures could jeopardize 2020 launch date

    August 13, 2019

    The European Space Agency has confirmed a parachute for the ExoMars rover mission set for launch next July failed during a test over Sweden earlier this month, the project’s second parachute test accident since May.

  • Photos: Falcon 9 rocket takes off with the Amos 17 satellite

    August 13, 2019

    These photos taken Aug. 6 show the liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Israeli-owned Amos 17 communications satellite, backdropped by dreary skies after thunderstorms passed through Cape Canaveral earlier in the day.

  • Rocket Lab to begin booster recovery experiments later this year

    August 12, 2019

    Rocket Lab’s next launch from New Zealand, set for Friday, will carry a data recorder to measure the aerothermal environments encountered by the Electron launcher’s first stage during descent back into the atmosphere, information engineers say is crucial to successfully achieving the company’s newly-announced plan to recover and reuse the booster.

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