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Satellite


— Space

Planet Labs raises $52 million for fleet of satellites

By - December 18, 2013 12 Pictures
Space and analytics firm Planet Labs has secured US$52 million in new funding, bringing it to within touching distance of launching a fleet of Earth imaging satellites in early 2014. The new investment brings the company’s total raised to over $65 million, and will help in its aim to generate imagery of and data about Earth, which will be openly accessible for both commercial and humanitarian purposes. Read More
— Space

SpaceX launches first geostationary payload

By - December 3, 2013 12 Pictures
Three’s a charm, they say. On Monday, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) met success with its third attempt at launching the SES-8 satellite into geosynchronous orbit. At 5:41 PM EST, the Orbital Sciences GEOStar-2 commercial telecommunications satellite lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida atop an upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This marks SpaceX’s first geostationary transfer mission. Read More
— Space

Curtain falls on GOCE gravity probe mission

By - October 21, 2013 32 Pictures
ESA announced on Monday that its Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has ended its extended mission to map the Earth’s gravitational field. Orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 224 km (139 mi), the unmanned probe, known as the “Ferrari of space” because of its streamlined shape, has run out of fuel for the ion engine that kept it in orbit and is expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere within two weeks. Read More
— Space

Cost-effective laser-based asteroid defense system pitched to NASA

By - October 2, 2013 3 Pictures
Last year, the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow put forward the idea of using fleets of laser-toting satellites to deflect potentially dangerous objects away from Earth. Now, Dr. Richard Fork, principal investigator for the Laser Science and Engineering Laboratory at the University of Alabama and his team have refined the idea, saying that it’s not only feasible, but could handle anything up to the size of a comet. Read More
— Space

SpaceX launches improved Falcon 9

By - September 30, 2013 6 Pictures
If you saw a UFO over South Africa on Sunday, it was (probably) SpaceX’s improved Falcon 9 going into orbit. The commercial launch vehicle lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California at 9:00 AM CDT on a demonstration flight of the upgraded booster and a new engine cluster configuration. Read More
— Space

First Swarm satellite heads to launch site

By - September 18, 2013 5 Pictures
The first of three satellites designed to undertake a comprehensive study the Earth’s magnetic field left Munich airport on Tuesday aboard an Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft bound for Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. This first Swarm satellite will be followed by two identical craft and more than 60 tons of support equipment before all three are launched into polar orbit in November. Read More
— Space

Rubbish removal satellite to be launched from an A300 jetliner

By - September 16, 2013 8 Pictures
Back in the 1970s, there was a short-lived sitcom called Quark about an outer space rubbish collector. What was played for laughs back then may soon be a reality with the announcement that Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss Space Systems (S3) have formed a partnership to launch the CleanSpace One satellite into orbit to collect space debris using a launch system that promises to be cheaper than using conventional techniques. Read More
— Space

How do you put a big antenna on a tiny satellite? Make it inflatable

By - September 9, 2013
CubeSats are certainly in the process of revolutionizing the satellite industry. They can serve many of the same functions as full-sized satellites, but at a size of 10 x 10 x 10 cm (3.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 in) and a mass of under 1.33 kg (2.9 lb), they’re much cheaper to build and get into orbit. With that smaller overall size, however, comes smaller onboard antennas. These severely limit CubeSats’ communications range, restricting them to fairly low orbits. That may be about to change, though, as MIT is developing larger, inflatable antennas. Read More
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