An Ariane 5 successfully launched two commercial communications satellites July 30 in the first flight of the rocket in nearly a year, and the first of two missions before it launches a NASA space telescope. SpaceNews
The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied protests July 30 that Blue Origin and Dynetics filed of NASA’s award of a single lunar lander contract to SpaceX. SpaceNews
A startup under contract to the U.S. Space Force is investigating the use of solar-powered vehicles for operations in deep space beyond Earth orbit. SpaceNews
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says he remains confident that Congress will provide NASA with additional funding so it can select a second lunar lander developer but declined to comment on Blue Origin’s proposal to lower its costs to enable a contract. SpaceNews
A Russian module that docked to the International Space Station July 29 started firing its thrusters hours later, briefly knocking the station out of its normal attitude and forcing NASA to delay a commercial crew test flight that was scheduled to launch July 30. SpaceNews
President Biden has nominated John Plumb to be assistant secretary of defense for space policy, the White House announced July 29. SpaceNews
British operator Inmarsat plans to add at least 150 low-Earth-orbit satellites to its global fleet, stepping up competition against OneWeb and others developing megaconstellations for mobility markets. SpaceNews
Op-ed | The costs of extreme weather and climate are soaring. Commercial space data should be a bigger part of the solution
There is no one magic bullet to improving forecasts and reining in the costs of extreme weather and climate. To truly tap into the powerful innovation of the private sector, we must think beyond a few targeted, yet piecemeal commercial data buys. SpaceNews
GeoOptics is planning to deploy of constellation of dozens of smallsats over the next five years to collect weather and other Earth science data for government and commercial customers. SpaceNews
Rocket Lab returned its Electron rocket to flight July 29 with the successful launch of an experimental satellite for the U.S. Space Force. SpaceNews
The Chief Architect Office’s fifth ADE combined three primary pillars toward an agile DoD decision superiority mission architecture: (1) emerging technology and concepts of operation from the Air Force and Space Force, (2) the third Global Information Dominance Experiment and (3) Pacific Iron 2021 Agile Combat Employment exercise.
Intelsat is seeking regulatory permission to hand the JCSAT-RA satellite back to Japan’s Sky Perfect JSAT as a commercial deal between the satellite operators ends. SpaceNews
Space vehicles powered by small nuclear reactors could be used for military missions in deep space, the vice chief of the U.S. Space Force said July 28. SpaceNews
Frank Kendall was administratively sworn in July 28 as the 26th Secretary of the Air Force.