September 13, 2016

$250 Billion to Manufacture & Launch 1,450 Satellites Over Next Ten Years (Source: SpaceRef)
According to the 19th edition of the report Satellites to be Built & Launched (over the next ten years), Euroconsult anticipates that 145 satellites with launch mass over 50kg will be launched on average each year by 2025 for government agencies and commercial organizations worldwide. When including satellites smaller than 50kg and the two mega constellations of OneWeb and SpaceX, the total would grow precipitously to 9,000 units (vs. 1,480 launched in the past ten years). Click here. (9/13)

Top Takeaways From Presidential Candidates’ Views on Science (Source: National Geographic)
The great presidential science quiz is over, and while the overall results aren’t exactly shocking, the candidates did deliver a few surprises.

The 2016 election is the third in which has compiled a questionnaire in an effort to get the U.S. presidential candidates to focus on pressing issues in science and engineering, from climate change to space exploration. is a coalition of 56 science organizations and 10 million voters collectively, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences. Click here. (9/13)

Presidential Science Debate Offers Candidate Comments on Space (Source: Science Debate)
There is a political debate over America’s national approach to space exploration and use. What should America's national goals be for space exploration and earth observation from space, and what steps would your administration take to achieve them? Click here. (9/13)

ILS Plans Smaller Proton Variants (Source: Space News)
International Launch Services unveiled two new versions of its Proton rocket Tuesday designed to launch smaller satellites. The Proton Medium and Proton Light are two-stage versions of the Proton that do not use the second stage on the existing Proton version, but keep the Breeze M upper stage. The Proton Light is designed for geostationary orbit satellites weighing up to 3.5 metric tons, while the Proton Medium is for such satellites weighing up to 5 metric tons. The Medium version is scheduled to enter service in 2018 and the Light version in 2019. (9/12)

Virgin Galactic Gains Australian Customer for Satellite Launches (Source: LA Times)
Virgin Galactic announced a contract Monday for four launches of satellites for a planned communications constellation. The contract, with Australian company Sky and Space Global, covers launches of multiple satellites on each of four LauncherOne missions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Virgin Galactic has previously offered LauncherOne missions for less than $10 million each. The launches will be the first LauncherOne missions to go into low-inclination orbits, with the rocket's carrier aircraft, a Boeing 747, taking off from an airport not disclosed in the announcement. (9/12)

Arianespace Wins Launch Contract for Indian Satellite (Source: Arianespace)
Arianespace announced a contract Monday to launch an Indian communications satellite. An Ariane 5 will launch the GSAT-11 communications satellite for the Indian space agency ISRO in 2017. ISRO has regularly used Arianespace to launch satellites heavier than can be accommodated on India's own launchers, including the GSAT-18 satellite scheduled for launch on an Ariane 5 next month. (9/12)

China Plans New Small Satellite Launcher (Source: People's Daily)
China is seeking to enter the smallsat launch market with a new version of its Kuaizhou launch vehicle. A spinoff of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC), CASIC Rocket Technology Co. Ltd., plans to launch the Kuaizhou-11 rocket next year. It is based on the Kuaizhou rocket launched in 2013 and 2014, and designed for rapid launches of small satellites. The rockets will be built at a new facility in Wuhan, China, that could be able to produce up to 50 launch vehicles and 140 satellites by the end of the decade. (9/13)

China's CASIC Plans Satellite Constellation (Source: China Daily)
CASIC is also planning a communications satellite constellation. The Hongyun Project will start with a demonstration satellite scheduled for launch this year, with four more to follow by 2018. A full constellation of 156 satellites would be in orbit by 2021 under the company's plan. CASIC said the Hongyun satellites would provide broadband data services from low Earth orbit. The company did not disclose how much the system would cost or how it would be financed, although it says it was exploring "cooperation opportunities" with several major Chinese companies. (9/13)

A Tale of Two Launchers (Source: Space Review)
As SpaceX continued to investigate a mysterious pad accident that destroyed a Falcon 9, United Launch Alliance flawlessly launched another NASA mission last week. Jeff Foust reports on those developments and their implications for both companies. Click here. (9/12)
An Interview with Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES (Source: Space Review)
Formerly the head of Arianespace, Jean-Yves Le Gall currently runs the French space agency CNES and soon will take over the presidency of the International Astronautical Federation. Théo Pirard interviews Le Gall about his priorities at both CNES and the IAF. Click here. (9/12)
Selecting From the Flight Demonstration Spectrum (Source: Space Review)
An aerospace flight demonstrator can help prove technologies and business cases for full-scale vehicles, if they’re selected properly. Steve Hoeser describes the various types of flight demonstrators and how they should best be used to further a vehicle development effort. Click here. (9/12)

Launch of SBIRS Missile Warning Sat Postponed (Source: SMC)
The launch of the next SBIRS missile warning satellite is being postponed. In a tweet late Saturday, Air Force Lt. Gen Samuel Greaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, said that the SBIRS-3 launch planned for Oct. 3 was being postponed because of an unspecified issue with another, non-SBIRS satellite. He did not elaborate. The SBIRS satellites are built by Lockheed Martin, which also builds the MUOS communications satellites; MUOS-5 suffered a propulsion problem while raising its orbit after launch in June. (9/12)

Boeing Wins Contract to Build GiSAT (Source: Boeing)
Boeing has won a contract to provide a communications satellite to serve Africa. The company said early Monday it has signed a contract to build the GiSAT communications satellite for Global IP, a company based in the Cayman Islands. Global IP plans to use the satellite, scheduled for launch in 2019, to provide communications services for sub-Saharan Africa. Global IP was founded by executives formerly with Hughes Network Systems and STM, a VSAT company. (9/12)

ISS RapidScat Instrument Goes Offline (Source: NASA)
An Earth sciences instrument on the International Space Station in currently offline after a power anomaly. The RapidScat instrument lost power Aug. 19 because of a problem in the station's Columbus module that affected several payloads on the station. While power was restored to those other payloads, RapidScat remained offline when an electrical outlet overloaded. It's not clear if the problem is with RapidScat or with the power system on the Columbus side of the interface. RapidScat, flown to the ISS two years ago, is designed to provide ocean surface wind data. (9/12)

Groups Unite to Urge Legislators to Oppose Spaceport Camden (Source: 100 Miles)
Today, a coalition of national, regional, and Georgia-based conservation organizations announced their shared opposition to proposed construction of a spaceport at the mouth of the Satilla River in Camden County, Georgia. Led by the Georgia coastal conservation group One Hundred Miles, the coalition includes the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), Georgia ForestWatch, GreenLaw, and the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club.

If built, Spaceport Camden would be the only launch facility in the United States to launch rockets over private property and congressionally-designated wilderness in a national park. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the average failure rate of manned and unmanned rocket launches is as high as 6%, and unmanned rockets have ten times the failure of those carrying humans. Most launches leaving from Spaceport Camden would be unmanned. Click here. (9/12)

Why Bezos’ Rocket is Unprecedented—and Worth Taking Seriously (Source: Ars Technica)
We can say this much for Jeff Bezos, he does not lack ambition. Now he plans to self-fund a New Glenn rocket that is nearly as tall as the Saturn V launch vehicle and more than half as powerful. As wild as Bezos' idea sounds, Blue Origin might be able to get the job done. And if Bezos and Blue Origin can fly their massive orbital rocket in the next three to four years, it would be a remarkable, unprecedented achievement in a number of ways that could radically remake spaceflight.

First, a few words about why this might really be viable. It is true that all Blue Origin has flown so far is a propulsion module, powered by a single BE-3 engine, and a capsule on a suborbital flight. The company's New Shepard spacecraft is designed to carry six passengers on 10- to 15-minute hops up to about 100km before bringing them back down to Earth. This is not dissimilar to the first Mercury flights in the early 1960s, hence the moniker New Shepard, named after pioneering astronaut Alan Shepard.

But as simple as the New Shepard system appears, everything in it is designed to scale into New Glenn. The rockets are shaped similarly. The BE-4 engine is a progression from the reusable BE-3 engine. Both New Shepard and New Glenn are designed to have a flight life of at least 25 missions. And here’s the crazy thing about Bezos—he thinks the bigger New Glenn rocket will be easier to land. Click here. (9/12)

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