Archive: Space


Air Force Eyes Autonomous Flight Safety For All Space Launches

The U.S. Air Force says it plans to implement an autonomous flight safety system (AFSS) for all of its space launches in the next five years to make its operations more efficient. During traditional Air Force launches, a flight termination system uses various sensors, including telemetry, radars, optics and command destruct antennas, to allow operators […]

President Donald Trump. Photo: White House.

Trump Tells NASA To Return Humans To The Moon

President Donald Trump signed a directive Dec. 11 instructing NASA to send American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission 45 years ago. At a White House signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive-1, Trump said that “long-term exploration and use” of the Moon will restore U.S. leadership in space […]

The sunshield for the James Webb Space Telescope. (Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman)

Webb Telescope’s Launch Slips To 2019

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which was scheduled for October 2018, will be delayed five to eight months because integration and testing are taking longer than expected, a NASA official said Dec. 6. The liftoff of the $8.8 billion, Northrop Grumman [NOC]-built observatory is now expected to occur sometime between March and June […]

Lockheed Martin employees encapsulate the Air Force's SBIRS GEO 3 satellite before its launch. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

New Missile-Warning Satellites Must Be Easier To Defend Than Current Ones, General Says

The U.S. Air Force should make its next generation of missile-warning satellites easier to defend than the existing spacecraft due to growing threats from potential enemies, according to the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). The current Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) missile-warning satellites “are not easy to defend, and that is a significant problem […]

The International Space Station. Photo: NASA

NASA Finalizing Plan To Promote Commercial Human Spaceflight In Low Earth Orbit

NASA is putting the finishing touches on a congressionally mandated plan to increase commercial human activity on the International Space Station (ISS) and other potential low-Earth-orbit platforms, an agency official said Nov. 29. The plan, which is due to Congress Dec. 1, is required by the NASA transition authorization act of 2017, which President Donald […]

Technicians work on the the U.S. Air Force’s third GPS III satellite. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Air Force Nears Final RFP For GPS III Follow-On Production

The final request for proposals for building the next batch of Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites will be released on or near Dec. 7, the U.S. Air Force announced last week. The Air Force had previously indicated that it would issue the final RFP for “follow-on production” sometime in the current quarter. The service […]

A Delta 2 rocket lifts off with the JPSS-1 satellite. (Credit: NASA)

NASA, NOAA Launch JPSS-1 Weather Satellite On ULA Rocket

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have launched the first of four Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites, which are designed to provide more accurate weather forecasts than existing polar-orbiting satellites. JPSS-1 lifted off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:47 […]

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS)-5 satellite at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, Calif. satellite manufacturing facility before its May 2016 launch. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin Hands Control Of MUOS-5 Satellite To Navy

Lockheed Martin [LMT] and the U.S. Navy’s Communications Satellite program Office handed over operational control of the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) communications satellite to the Naval Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC) on Oct. 11 following an earlier propulsion problem, the company said Thursday. The handover was the last obstacle and now allows for Army […]

A LauncherOne rocket leaves a Virgin Orbit factory. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

DoD Buys Ride On Virgin’s New Satellite Launcher

The U.S. Department of Defense has purchased its first flight on LauncherOne, Virgin Orbit’s new satellite-launching rocket, the company said Nov. 16. Under an other-transaction-agreement (OTA) award from the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), the launch will occur as early as January 2019, Virgin said. The […]

JPSS-1 Satellite Launch Delayed Again

High winds at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California postponed the Nov. 15 launch of the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1), according to NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA). A new launch date has not yet been announced. “The team is working to establish a new launch opportunity,” ULA tweeted. The delay is the […]