Summary: 09 Apr 2021 - 15 Apr 2021

LAUNCHES

Astrobotic selects Falcon Heavy for Griffin Viper moon mission
13 Apr 2021 - Astrobotic announced its selection of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch its Griffin lunar lander to the Moon in late 2023. Griffin will be carrying NASA's water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER). >>>

DARPA selects performers for Phase 1 of DRACO programme
13 Apr 2021 - The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded contracts for the first phase of the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) programme. >>>

RS-68A completes final acceptance test for ULA Delta IV Heavy
13 Apr 2021 - The world's most powerful hydrogen-fuelled rocket engine built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, the RS-68A, has completed its final hot-fire acceptance test for use on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle on the B-1 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. >>>

Little progress on Soyuz Sea Launches
11 Apr 2021 - The Rocket and Space Center Progress continues talks on launching the Soyuz rocket from the Sea Launch floating space port but no specific arrangements have been reached so far, CEO of the company Dmitry Baranov was quoted as saying. >>>

China launches third Shiyan 6 satellite
09 Apr 2021 - Rocket: Chang Zheng 4B; Payload: Shiyan 6-03; Date: 8 April 2021, 2301 UTC; Launch site: Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, China. The satellite was deployed into a 990 km x 1,002 km x 99.51 degrees Sun-synchronous orbit. >>>

Soyuz vessel arrives at ISS three hours after launch
09 Apr 2021 - Rocket: Soyuz-2.1a; Payload: Soyuz MS18; Date: 9 April 2021, 0742 UTC; Launch site: Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The crewed vessel safely reached the International Space Station in about three hours and a half, using a two-orbit scheme. >>>

Rocket Lab to recover Electron booster on next mission
09 Apr 2021 - Rocket Lab announced that on its next mission the company will attempt to bring a rocket back from space, slowing the Electron launch vehicle down from speeds of Mach 8 as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere before splashing the rocket down in the ocean. The complex mission is the next major step toward making Electron the first orbital-class reusable small launch vehicle, enabling rapid-turnaround launches for small satellites. >>>

SATELLITES

New Carbon Mapper launches satellite programme
15 Apr 2021 - Carbon Mapper, a new nonprofit organisation, and its partners – the State of California, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL), Planet, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University (ASU), High Tide Foundation and RMI – announced a pioneering programme to help improve understanding of and accelerate reductions in global methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In addition, the Carbon Mapper consortium announced its plan to deploy a ground-breaking hyperspectral satellite constellation with the ability to pinpoint, quantify and track point-source methane and CO2 emissions. >>>

New Thales Alenia Space wins key contract for Galileo Second Generation
15 Apr 2021 - Thales Alenia Space, as prime contractor for Galileo First Generation's Ground Mission Segment, has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 Satellite Navigation Program (HSNAV), to develop the Advanced Orbit Determination and Time Synchronisation (ODTS) Algorithms Test Platform (A-OATP). This new contract will support the implementation and experimentation of the navigation algorithms that will be used for Galileo Second Generation. >>>

ArianeGroup to supply new-generation antenna reflectors for Airbus
13 Apr 2021 - Airbus has selected ArianeGroup as the supplier of the satellite antenna reflectors for OneSat, its new satellite product which is fully reconfigurable in orbit. >>>

MEV-2 docks with Intelsat-902
12 Apr 2021 - Northrop Grumman Corporation and the company's wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC, have successfully completed the docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) to the Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) commercial communications satellite to deliver life-extension services. >>>

Exolaunch introduces space tug programme
12 Apr 2021 - Exolaunch introduced its space tug programme, featuring a new line of orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) that will launch satellites to custom orbits. The company's space tug testing and flight qualification will begin in 2022 on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rideshare missions. >>>

Spiral Blue partners with SatRevolution
12 Apr 2021 - Australian startup Spiral Blue has announced it will partner with Polish satellite manufacturer SatRevolution to host Spiral Blue's Space Edge Zero (SEZ) computers onboard 2 satellites - STORK-4 and STORK-5. >>>

BUSINESS

New ICEYE opens new spacecraft production facility in California
15 Apr 2021 - ICEYE announced that it has opened a new manufacturing facility in Irvine, California. >>>

FEEDS & LINKS

Roskosmos plans to provide space communications across Russia by 2024
11 Apr 2021 - Russia's state space corporation Roskosmos plans to provide space communications and broadband Internet across the entire country in a span of three years, Roskosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying. >>>

LAW & ORDER

Roskosmos lost launch contracts due to 'mean' U.S. sanctions
13 Apr 2021 - The Russian State Space Corporation Roskosmos has lost several potential contracts for launching foreign satellites due to U.S. sanctions, Roskosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying. >>>