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NASA implements changes to planetary protection policies for moon and Mars missions

WASHINGTON — NASA announced July 9 two new directives regarding planetary protection for missions to the moon and Mars that implement recommendations of an independent review board last year. The two directives, announced by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a “Moon Dialogs” webinar, are part of an effort by NASA to modernize guidelines that are [...]

NASA implements changes to planetary protection policies for moon and Mars missions2020-07-12T14:08:36-06:00

Loft Orbital satellite to carry experiment for DARPA’s Blackjack program

WASHINGTON — Loft Orbital’s YAM-3 satellite — scheduled to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission — will carry a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency experiment for the Blackjack program. Loft Orbital, a San Francisco-based startup, is working under a contract from Scientific Systems Company Inc. Boston-based SSCI received a DARPA contract to fly [...]

Loft Orbital satellite to carry experiment for DARPA’s Blackjack program2020-07-11T14:09:49-06:00

Eumetsat shifts two tardy satellites to Ariane 6

WASHINGTON — Program delays have forced Eumetsat to reserve a pair of Ariane 6 rockets for two European weather satellites originally anticipated to launch on Ariane 5 rockets.  Eumetsat had signed a contract with Arianespace in 2015 to launch two or three Meteosat Third Generation satellites on Ariane 5 rockets between 2019 and 2023. Of [...]

Eumetsat shifts two tardy satellites to Ariane 62020-07-11T14:09:49-06:00

DoD awards $15 million Defense Production Act contract to LeoLabs

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department announced on July 10 it has awarded LeoLabs, a provider of space surveillance data services, a $15 million contract funded under the Defense Production Act to shore up domestic industries financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. LeoLabs, a startup based in Silicon Valley, tracks satellites and debris in low Earth [...]

DoD awards $15 million Defense Production Act contract to LeoLabs2020-07-10T14:11:50-06:00

Cost growth prompts changes to Europa Clipper instruments

WASHINGTON — Cost overruns on three instruments for NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft led NASA to consider dropping them from the mission and ultimately requiring significant changes to some of them. At a July 9 briefing to the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences of the National Academies, NASA officials said they recently conducted “continuation/termination reviews” [...]

Cost growth prompts changes to Europa Clipper instruments2020-07-10T14:11:51-06:00

Op-ed | U.S. satellites increasingly vulnerable to China’s ground-based lasers

The Defense Intelligence Agency warned in January 2019 that China likely will field in 2020 a ground-based laser weapon that can counter low-orbit space-based sensors. By the mid-to-late 2020s it may field higher power systems that could damage the structures of non-optical satellites. How real is the threat? Analysts have already identified five Chinese laser [...]

Op-ed | U.S. satellites increasingly vulnerable to China’s ground-based lasers2020-07-10T14:11:51-06:00

First launch of Chinese Kuaizhou-11 rocket ends in failure

HELSINKI — Launch of a new Chinese Kuaizhou-11 commercial solid rocket ended in failure Friday resulting in the loss of two satellites. The Kuaizhou-11 lifted off at 12:17 a.m. Eastern from a transporter erector launcher at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, northwest China. Video footage of the launch taken from a delayed stream indicates the [...]

First launch of Chinese Kuaizhou-11 rocket ends in failure2020-07-10T14:11:52-06:00

ESA confirms Ariane 6 delay to 2021

This story was updated July 10 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern to reflect an updated translation of ESA Director of Space Transportation Daniel Neuenschwander’s remarks at a July 9 press briefing.  WASHINGTON — Europe’s Ariane 6 rocket won’t launch until the second half of 2021 at the earliest, a delay of at least six months, the [...]

ESA confirms Ariane 6 delay to 20212020-07-10T14:11:52-06:00

Ex-Im Bank to step up support for space industry challenged by Chinese competitors

WASHINGTON — The Export-Import Bank of the United States is reaching out to the space industry and offering to help exporters take on Chinese competitors, officials said July 9. U.S. companies in the space sector face tough competition from Chinese government-backed companies and the Ex-Im Bank now has a mandate from Congress to help level [...]

Ex-Im Bank to step up support for space industry challenged by Chinese competitors2020-07-10T14:11:53-06:00

Apstar-6D launches on Long March 3B rocket

WASHINGTON — The first satellite for a Chinese company planning a global system of geostationary satellites launched July 9 on a Long March 3B rocket.  Apstar-6D, a high-throughput satellite with a total capacity of 50 gigabits per second, launched at 8:11 a.m. Eastern from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan China. China Great Wall [...]

Apstar-6D launches on Long March 3B rocket2020-07-09T14:10:54-06:00