October 17, 2015

Russian Satellite Pulls Alongside 3rd Intelsat Craft (Source: Space News)
A mysterious Russian satellite that spent five months parked between two Intelsat satellites left that location in late September and has now cozied up to a third Intelsat satellite. The Russian satellite launched in 2014 and moved to a position directly between the Intelsat 7 and Intelsat 901 satellites, which are located within half a degree of one another in geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator. (10/16)

SpaceX Changes Return-to-Flight Plan (Source: Space News)
SpaceX on Oct. 16 said it had changed its return-to-flight plans and would first launch 11 small Orbcomm messaging satellites into low Earth orbit, and then test reignition of the redesigned second-stage engine during the same flight before launching SES’s heavier telecommunications satellite into higher orbit, a mission that will need the reignition capability.

SES said the company was comfortable with ceding its slot to Rochelle Park, New Jersey-based Orbcomm, especially since SpaceX has said it can launch the SES-9 telecommunications satellite into geostationary orbit in late December. (10/16)

A New Look at Enceladus, Saturn's Most Fascinating Moon (Source: Popular Mechanics)
The Cassini spacecraft has beamed back to Earth excellent pictures of Enceladus over the years, capturing the curious moon of Saturn and its jets blasting water into space, probably from a subsurface ocean that could be an ideal environment for life. But during the first years of the spacecraft's visit to the Saturn system, the north polar region of Enceladus remained shrouded in the darkness.

This week Cassini completed its first flyby of the pole, sending back this collection of pictures of the moon's fascinating pockmarked surface. Enjoy them, because Cassini will make just two more flybys of Enceladus before the mission ends in 2017. Click here. (10/16)

DigitalGlobe Lays Off 40 (Source: Denver Post)
Commercial remote sensing company DigitalGlobe laid off 40 employees Thursday. The company said that the layoffs, which account for about two percent of the company's workforce, were spread across various departments. A company official said that the layoffs are part of an effort to "tighten our costs" while the company continues to grow in other areas. DigitalGlobe laid off 155 people earlier this year. (10/15)

Qualcomm and SpaceX Agree on Satellite Comm Spectrum (Source: FierceWireless)
Qualcomm and SpaceX have reached an agreement regarding a spectrum band SpaceX may use for its future satellite system. The agreement clears the way for Qualcomm to proceed with use of spectrum from 14.0 to 14.5 gigahertz to provide broadband communications for airliners.

SpaceX had raised concerns that the system would interfere with signals in the same frequency range it has proposed using for a low Earth orbit satellite constellation. The companies agreed that Qualcomm's plans would sufficiently limit any interference with SpaceX's satellites. (10/15)

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