News Notes - 2016
- 2016 DEC 15 - GALILEO IOC
The European Commission today declared Inital Operational Capability (IOC) for their Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System, with 18 satellites in orbit. When complete the system will provide greater positioning accuracy to civilian users than does the US GPS.
- 2016 NOV 29 - GOES-16 IN ORBIT
- The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), which was launched from Cape Canaveral on the 19th was successfully placed in geostationary orbit. GOES-16 is the first of the next generation of GOES satellites that will provide increased sensitivity and resolution of terrestrial meteorological conditions and also monitor various aspects of space weather. It carries a dedicated lightning sensor to improve forecasting of severe weather conditions.
- 2016 OCT 05 - SECOND NBN SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- NBN-Co IB (Skymuster II) was successfully launched to geosynchronous orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket from the French Guiana Spaceport. The second of two satellites constructed for the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) company by Space Systems Loral, the satellite has 101 spot beams at Ka band to provide national broadband internet service to remote Australian localities. Maximum data throughput is 80GB/s. NBN-Co IA was launched 30 September 2015.
- 2016 APR 28 - FIRST LAUNCH FROM NEW RUSSIAN SPACEPORT
A Soyuz 2.1A was the first rocket launched from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia.
- 2016 MAR 14 - EUROPE-RUSSIAN MISSION TO MARS
A Proton M / Briz-M vehicle launched the Euro-Russian
ExoMars mission. This is phase one of a two mission. Phase one includes the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) which will attempt to discover the source of methane in the Martian atmosphere. It also includes a small entry, descent and landing module (EDM).
Arrival at Mars is expected in October this year.
- 2016 MAR 02 - LONGEST ISS MANNED MISSION RETURNS TO EARTH
Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko returned from the International Space Station (ISS) after a 340-day mission.
This is the longest-ever continuous stay by astronauts at the station. Kelly also set the record for the longest stay of an American in orbit.
- 2016 FEB 12 - FIRST DETECTION OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVES ANNOUNCED
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) consortium announced the first ever detection of gravitational waves. The detection event, on 14 Sep 2015, was believed to be due to the merger of two black holes, located at a distance of about 1350 million light years from the Earth.
- 2016 JAN 11 - US PLANETARY DEFENSE OFFICE
NASA has opened a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) to
formalise the scope of its planetary defense work. This will not only include
the detection and tracking of near Earth asteroids but also research into
ways to mitigate the threat posed by any potentially hazardous objects.
The office is headed by Lindley Johnson who was the first to coin the
term 'planetary defense'.