Summary: 18 Jan 2021 - 24 Jan 2021

LAUNCHES

New Falcon 9 lofts 143 smallsats on Transporter-1 mission
24 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Falcon-9; Payload: Transporter-1 (143 smallsats); Date: 24 January 2021, 1500 UTC; Launch site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, USA. The mission targeted a 520-km Sun-synchronous orbit and was declared a success. >>>

New Northrop Grumman successfully tests GEM 63XL
24 Jan 2021 - Northrop Grumman Corporation recently conducted a validation ground test of an extended length 160-cm [63-inch] diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL). This variation of the company's GEM 63 strap-on booster was developed in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide additional lift capability to the Vulcan Centaur rocket. >>>

Tests prove carbon-fibre fuel tank for Phoebus upper stage
21 Jan 2021 - Recent tests show that lightweight carbon-fibre reinforced plastic is strong enough to replace metal used in upper-stage rocket structures. This is an important milestone in Europe for the development of a prototype of a highly-optimised 'black' upper stage, Phoebus, a joint initiative by MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup, funded by ESA. >>>

Electron launches mystery satellite for OHB
20 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Electron; Payload: GMS-T; Date: 20 January 2021, 0726 UTC; Launch site: Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand. The satellite was placed into a 1,140 km x 1,281 km x 89.94 degrees polar orbit. Lift-off had been delayed four days earlier because of "strange data" from a sensor. >>>

16th batch of operational Starlink satellites in orbit
20 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Falcon 9; Payload: 60 Starlink satellites (16th batch of operational satellites); Date: 20 January 2021, 1302 UTC; Launch site: Kennedy Space Center, USA. This launch brings the total number of v1.0 satellites launched to 953. >>>

China launches new mobile telecommunication satellite
20 Jan 2021 - Rocket: Chang Zheng 3B/G2; Payload: Tiantong 1-03; Date: 20 January 2021, 1625 UTC; Launch site:. Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China. The communications satellite was deployed into a 183 km x 35,821 km x 28.49 degrees geostationary transfer orbit. >>>

Satellogic and SpaceX announce multiple launch agreement
19 Jan 2021 - Satellogic announced a Multiple Launch Services Agreement (MLA) with SpaceX. Through the agreement, SpaceX becomes Satellogic's preferred vendor for rideshare missions. The first launch, scheduled for June 2021, will deliver Satellogic satellites to Low Earth Orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket. >>>

NASA: SLS fire abort caused by 'intentionally conservative' parameters
19 Jan 2021 - The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Green Run team determined that the shutdown after firing the rocket's engines for 67.2-seconds on 16 January was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test. >>>

LauncherOne reaches orbit (part II)
18 Jan 2021 - On its second (and first successful) flight, Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne deployed nine smallsats into approx. 492 km x 516 km x 60.69 degrees orbits. The confirmation came two and a half hours after the rocket was launched from a plane over the Pacific Ocean. >>>

SATELLITES

New Russia to introduce new GLONASS satellites this year
24 Jan 2021 - Russia plans to put five GLONASS navigation satellites into orbit this year, including four next-generation satellites. >>>

EU Commission orders next-gen Galileo satellites from Airbus, TAS
21 Jan 2021 - The EU Commission has awarded two contracts for 12 Satellites (six satellites each) for a total of €1.47 billion, to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) following an open competition. >>>

Novel calibration system delivered for Meteosat Third Generation
21 Jan 2021 - RAL Space has delivered the optical ground support equipment for the Meteosat Third Generation Imager (MTG-I) satellite to TAS France. >>>

Bright Ascension starts development on space software platform
21 Jan 2021 - Bright Ascension has announced the start of development work as part of the partnership with AAC Clyde Space to deliver a multi year xSPANCION project, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). >>>

Key modules for China's next space station ready for launch
19 Jan 2021 - Three major components of China's space station programme have passed technical and quality assessments and are ready for upcoming missions, the China Manned Space Agency said. >>>

Boeing completes software qualification for 2nd Starliner test flight
19 Jan 2021 - Boeing said it recently completed its formal requalification of the CST-100 Starliner's flight software in preparation for its next flight. The autonomous spacecraft will fly to the International Space Station during a second uncrewed flight test, Orbital Flight Test-2, in March, ahead of a first crewed flight with NASA astronauts later this year. >>>

European companies selected to study Space Traffic Management
19 Jan 2021 - The European Commission has selected a consortium of major European launcher and satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, including Telespazio and Telespazio France, as well as policy and legal research centres and institutes to study and provide guidelines and recommendations on Space Traffic Management (STM). >>>

COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation becomes operational
18 Jan 2021 - The in-orbit testing phase of the first COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG) satellite has been completed. The spacecraft has entered the operational phase, which will ensure the operational continuity of the entire COSMO-SkyMed mission and increase its overall capabilities. >>>

FEEDS & LINKS

Gilat's ESA technology demonstrated over Inmarsat's Global Xpress
21 Jan 2021 - Gilat Satellite Networks has announced the successful test of its Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) over Inmarsat's Global Xpress (GX) network. >>>

RESEARCH

'The Space Report' shows 2020 launch activity hit a 20-year high
21 Jan 2021 - In its newly released quarterly issue of The Space Report, Space Foundation announced 2020 Q4 research and analysis findings revealing substantial growth in key areas. >>>