January 17, 2017

Eutelsat America’s All-Electric Satellite Enters Service After Seven-Month Journey (Source: Space News)
The second of two all-electric satellites fleet operator Eutelsat gained through its acquisition of Satmex began service Jan. 16 after finishing a seven-month journey to its orbital location, Eutelsat announced. Eutelsat 117 West B launched last June on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with ABS-2A, a similar all-electric satellite Boeing built for Bermuda-based ABS. Both satellites formed the second set in a four-satellite order paired with Falcon 9 dual launches. (1/16)

Global Sea Ice is at Lowest Level Ever Recorded (Source: New Scientist)
It’s a new low point. The area of the world’s oceans covered by floating sea ice is the smallest recorded since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s. That means it is also probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years. The latest observations from the US National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, show how the ice extent has fallen to a new low this year.

In the Arctic, the low in sea ice coverage is a result of both global warming and unusual weather events probably influenced by global warming. The extent of Arctic sea ice should be growing rapidly during the northern hemisphere winter. But not only has the Arctic been warming rapidly, this winter repeated incursions of warm air have pushed temperatures even further above average. (1/16)

Space Coast's Harris Corp. Hosted Payloads Fly With Iridium Satellites (Source: Space Daily)
Launched aboard an Iridium NEXT satellite on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, these hosted maritime payloads are now being commissioned and are expected to be brought into service within the next four months.

The exactView RT system is the result of the agreement signed with Harris Corp. in June 2015 under which Harris deploys and operates the hosted payloads and exactEarth performs the ground-based data processing and has exclusive distribution rights for the data for all markets except the US Government. exactView RT will offer for the first time a continuous, global real-time ship tracking capability, providing an unprecedented view of the world's maritime domain to exactEarth customers. (1/17)

Russia to Swap Crewed Soyuz Spacecraft in Advance of March Launch (Source: Tass)
Russia is swapping the Soyuz spacecraft planned for the next crewed mission to the International Space Station. Roscosmos said Monday that the spacecraft that will be used for the Soyuz MS-04 mission to the ISS, scheduled for launch March 27, will be replaced with an identical version. Roscosmos said the swap was due to the "execution of contracts" involving ISS crew transportation and not a technical issue, but did not elaborate. (1/16)

ULA Postpones Atlas Launch From California Spaceport (Source: Noozhawk)
United Launch Alliance is postponing a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base scheduled for next week because of a vehicle problem. ULA said Monday the launch of the NROL-79 mission on an Atlas 5, previously scheduled for Jan. 26, will be delayed because of an issue with the rocket's second stage uncovered in recent testing. A new launch date for the classified mission has not yet been announced. The delay does not affect Thursday's scheduled launch of another Atlas 5, carrying the SBIRS GEO-3 missile warning satellite, from Cape Canaveral. (1/16)

SpaceX’s Next Act Is A Critical One (Source: Baystreet)
For investors in the next generation of energy and in the emerging next-gen aerospace field, SpaceX’s story is a useful lesson. If SpaceX can return to form and complete a successful launch, questions about the firm will disappear – especially if the firm is able to re-land the rocket upon reentry. If SpaceX suffers more problems, doubts about the firm will grow exponentially though. (1/12)

Senator Targets Alaska Launch Site in Wasteful Spending Report (Source: Space News)
The company that operates an Alaska launch site is critical of the spaceport’s inclusion in a list of pork-barrel spending released last week by a senator. The 2017 edition of the “Wastebook” by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a compendium of projects costing anywhere from tens of thousands to billions of dollars that the senator deemed a waste of taxpayer money, included the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA), previously known as the Kodiak Launch Complex, on Alaska’s Kodiak Island.

The report, released Jan. 10, is specifically critical of a contract worth up to $80.4 million awarded to Alaska Aerospace Corporation by the Missile Defense Agency in 2016. The six-year contract covers flight tests and other services planned for the spaceport. “DOD is sinking more than $80 million into a ‘spaceport’ in Alaska that is not even equipped for the rockets that the Pentagon is planning to launch there,” the report claims. “Derided as ‘space pork,’ Congress forced DOD to build the launch site as part of an illegal kick-back scheme over the objections of the military.”

Craig Campbell, chief executive of Alaska Aerospace Corp., took issue with the report’s focus on the spaceport’s development in the 1990s, including linking it to a scheme where two Army Space and Missile Defense Command employees collected $1.6 million in payments for directing $350 million in funds for various projects, including construction of the Kodiak launch site. (1/17)

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