News Notes - 2010
- DEC 29 - KOREAN GEOCOMMSAT LAUNCHED
- KOREASAT 6 was launched from Kourou on an Ariane 5 rocket to replace Koreasat 3 at 116 degrees east. It has 30 Ku-band transponders for telecommunications and direct-to-home TV transmissions, including HD and 3D programs.
- DEC 26 - EUROPE'S FIRST Ka BAND ONLY COMMSAT
- KA-SAT was launched from Baikonur on a Proton rocket. It has 82 Ka-band spot beams to provide 70 Gbit/s of capacity across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Each of its beams can handle up to 900 Mbit/s of two-way communications traffic. It will be located at 9 degrees east.
- DEC 17 - CHINESE NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- BEIDOU IGSO 2 was launched from Xichang on a Long March 3A rocket. This adds another satellite to the Chinese GNSS constellation expected to be operational by 2012.
- DEC 15 - SOYUZ TAKES 3 CREW TO ISS
- A Russian Soyuz-TMA 20 launched from Baikonur on a Soyuz rocket. The manned craft carried a Russian cosmonaut, an Italian astronaut, and a NASA astronaut and docked with the International Space Station (ISS) at the Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1) Nadir port on the 17th.
- DEC 08 - SPACEX LAUNCHES NINE, RECOVERS ONE
- A SPACEX Falcon 9 rocket launched nine satellites from Cape Canaveral:
DRAGON C1 capsule conducted a series of orbital demonstrations as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program in support of the International Space Station, and then reentered the Earth's atmosphere splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the USA, marking the first time a commercial organization has recovered a spacecraft from orbit.
QBX1 and QBX2 are triple unit CubeSat nanosatellites for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Colony-1 program. They will be used to test technologies in orbit.
SMDC ONE will be used to develop a small experimental communications satellite constellation for the US Army. Its mission objectives are to: (1) demonstrate the ability to rapidly design and develop militarily relevant low cost spacecraft; (2) receive packetized data from multiple Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) and transmit that data to ground stations within the SMDC-ONE ground track; (3) provide real-time voice and text message data relay to and from field-deployed tactical radio systems; and, (4) demonstrate an operational lifetime of 12 months or longer.
Perseus 000, 001, 002, 003 are four nanosatellites.
Mayflower/Mayflower-Caerus is a triple unit CubeSat built as a joint mission by Novaworks of Northrop Grumman and the University of Southern California as a technology mission. Mayflower is a 2U CubeSat-sized module built by Novaworks as a next-generation CubeSat Flight Testbed. Caerus is a 1U CubeSat structure used as the payload module of the spacecraft. USC built the module based on a Pumpkin 1U CubeSat kit.
- NOV 26 - INTELSAT 17 LAUNCHED
- Launched from Kourou on an Ariane 5 rocket it will
be placed at 66 degrees east, eventually replacing Intelsat 10. With 24 C-band and 25 Ku-band high power transponders it will serve Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Asia.
- NOV 26 - EUROPEAN ADAPTABLE BROADBAND SAT IN ORBIT
- HYLAS 1 (Highly Adaptable Satellite) was launched from Kourou by an Ariane 5 rocket with Ku- and Ka-band transponders to bring high-speed broadband services to remote rural areas across Europe. It will broadcast from goesynchronous orbit at 33.5 degrees west.
- NOV 22 - AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR SPACE ENGINEERING RESEACH
- The Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) was established at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) by the former US astronaut Jan Davis. The centre aims to increase Australian capabilities in the space industry.
- NOV 20 - MULTIPLE SATELLITES LAUNCHED FROM ALASKA
- Eight separate satellites were launched by a Minotaur rocket from Kodiak, Alaska:
STPSAT 2/USA 217, a USAF technology demostrator carried two main payloads, the Space Phenomenology Experiment (SPEX) to evaluate sensor compatibility for the space environment and the Ocean Data Telemetry MicroSatLink (ODTML) to provide two-way data relay from terrestrial sensors to users (stand-alone or internet).
RAX/USA 218(Radio Aurora Explorer) is a three unit CubeSat that will be used to conduct studies of the ionosphere, receiving radar signals from ground stations. It is a joint effort of the University of Michigan and SRI International.
O/OREOS/USA 219 (Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses) is a NASA nanosatellite three unit CubeSat that weighs 5.5 kg and carries two biological experiments. One will test live microorganisms and the other inanimate organic samples as they react to space conditions such as radiation and extreme temperature. It will also test the use of deployable Mylar panels to increase its orbital decay rate thus reducing the time it remains in orbit as debris.
FASTSAT-HSV01 (Fast Affordable Science and Technology Satellite) is a NASA microsatellite expected to operate for 180 days testing a Threat Detection System and a Miniature Star Tracker for the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). It carries several other experiments and will also deploy another satellite. NanoSail-D2, that will replace the failed NanoSail-D, will be released seven days after launch. NanoSail-D2 is a three-unit CubeSat, measuring 30 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, and will deploy a solar sail with an area of ten square meters. The spacecraft will use an S-Band transponder to communicate with Earth, and also carries a beacon broadcasting at 437.270 MHz. The following atmospheric experiments are carried on-board the satellite:
TTI (Thermosphere Temperature Imager) will measure the temperature of the Earth's thermosphere, and study the densities of oxygen and nitrogen there.
MINI-ME (Miniature Imager for Neutral Ionosphere Atoms and Magnetospheric Electrons) will study plasma in the outer atmosphere.
PISA (Plasma and Impedance Spectrum Analyzer) will investigate electrons in the ionosphere, and attempt to demonstrate a new technique for measuring their temperature and density.
FALCONSAT 5/USA 221 is a technology demonstration satellite built at by the USAF Academy. It carries four experiments:
SPCS (Space Plasma Characterization Source) will use a cold gas ammonia thruster and a Hall Effect ion thruster to study their effects on the space environment.
WISPERS (Wafer-Integrated Spectrometer) will be used to compare its plume to theoretical data. The Hall Effect thruster will serve as an ion source for the Wafer-Integrated Spectrometer.
SmartMESA (Smart Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer) will study the temperature and ion density of the ionosphere. d.
RUSS (Receiver UHF/VHF Signal Strength) will study the effects of the ionosphere on radio signals.
FAST 1/USA 222/FASTRAC (Formation Autonomy Spacecraft with Thrust, Relnav, Attitude and Crosslink), built by students at the University of Texas at Austin, consists of two satellites that will be launched together. SARA-LILY will study the use of a Micro-Discharge Plasma Thruster (MDPT) for formation flying with EMMA. It will also carry a GPS navigation experiment. EMMA will carry an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which will be used to determine the distance between the two satellites.
BALLAST A and BALLAST B are two mass simulators used to test the launch vehicle (Minotaur) ability to deploy multiple spacecraft into different orbits.
- NOV 14 - L-BAND COMMSAT FOR US 4G PHONE NETWORK
- SKYTERRA 1 was launched from Baikonur on a Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage. SkyTerra 1 will supplement terrestrial cell networks to form a fourth-generation cellphone system for the US by 2016, providing coverage in remote areas. Its 22-m diameter L-band antenna is the largest commercial space antenna reflector ever built. It will be located at 101.3 degrees west.
- NOV 06 - US LAUNCHES ITALIAN RADAR IMAGING SATELLITE
- SKYMED 4/COSMO 4 (Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean Basis Observation) was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The 4th and last satellite in the constellation, its X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) can produce 450 images/day through cloud.
- NOV 04 - CHINESE WEATHER SATELLITE IN POLAR ORBIT
- FENGYUN 3B was launched from Taiyuan on a Long March 4C rocket into a low Earth orbit at 836 km altitude with an inclination of 98.75 degrees. Eleven instruments will provide global multispectral 3D observations, and space environment monitoring.
- NOV 02 - HIGH INCLINATION RUSSIAN MILCOMMSAT LAUNCHED
- MERIDIAN 3 was launched from Plesetsk by a Soyuz 2-1a rocket into a highly-inclined elliptical (Molniya) orbit to provide coverage of high latitude polar regions of Russia.
- OCT 31 - CHINESE NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- BEIDOU-G4 was launched from Xichang on a Long March 3C rocket.
- OCT 28 - NEW GEOCOMMSAT OVER INDONESIA
- BSAT 3b, launched from Kourou by an Ariane 5 rocket will be located at 110 degrees east broadcasting on 8 Ku-band channels.
- OCT 19 - SIX NEW RUSSIAN COMMSATS
- GLOBALSTAR M079, M074, M076, M077, M075, and M073 were launched from Baikonur by a Soyuz 2-1A rocket. These satellites have 16 transponders operating on L, S and C bands. They are part of a 24 satellite constellation to provide mobile voice and data communications from geosynchronous orbit.
- OCT 07 - NEW ISS CREW
- SOYUZ-TMA 1M carried one NASA astronaut and two Russian Cosmonauts from Baikonur on a Soyuz FG rocket to the International Space Station increasing the ISS crew to six.
- OCT 06 - TWO MORE CHINESE TEST SATELLITES LAUNCHED
- SHIJIAN 6G/SJ 6G and SHIJIAN 6H/SJ 6H were launched from Taiyuan on a Long March 4B rocket, and will monitor the space environment.
- OCT 01 - SECOND CHINESE LUNAR SATELLITE MISSION
- CHANG'E 2, launched from Xichang by a Long March 3C rocket, will orbit the moon and image the surface for at least 6 months with a maximum resolution of 10 m at a minimum altitude of 15 km, mapping candidate landing sites for the next phase of the sinoselene project.
- SEP 30 - RUSSIAN EARLY WARNING MILSAT LAUNCHED
- COSMOS 2469 was launched from Plesetsk by a Molniya-M rocket. The satellite will be part of the US-KS/Oko constellation, together with Cosmos 2430 and Cosmos 2446.
- SEP 26 - USAF SPACE SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE IN ORBIT
- SBSS (Space Based Space Surveillance) was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base by a Minotaur 4 rocket. SBSS 1 is designed to track and detect spacecraft in orbit, as the space segment of the US Strategic Command Space Surveillance Network. Equipped with an 11.8-inch telescope and 2.4-megapixel focal plane camera, SBSS will provide images to monitor satellites and space debris for conjunction assessment and other threats.
- SEP 22 - TWO CHINESE EXPERIMENTAL PICOSATS LAUNCHED
- ZHEDA PIXING 1B and ZHEDA PIXING 1C were launched from Jiuquan on a Long March 2D rocket. Developed by Zhejiang University, they will test microelectronics systems using MEMS devices (accelerometer, micro-gyros and infrared sensors).
- SEP 22 - CHINESE REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- YAOGAN 11 was launched from Jiuquan by a Long March 2D rocket.
- SEP 11 - NEW JAPANES NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- QZS 1/MICHIBIKI, launched from Tanegashima by an H-2A rocket, is the first QZSS (Quazi-Zenith Satellite System)
satellite. This is a constellation designed to provide navigational services to Asian users in deep valleys or streets surronded by high-rise buildings. QZS 1 is a demonstrator with a 45 degree inclination orbit at 32,000 km altitude.
- SEP 08 - RUSSIANS ORBIT THREE COMMSATS
- Two Cosmos military satellites and a Gonets civilian communication satellite were launched from Plesetsk on a Rokot launcher. The Gonets satellite is designed to store and relay messages.
- SEP 04 - CHINESE GEOSYNCHRONOUS COMMSAT LAUNCHED
- Chinasat 6A, launched from XiChang by a Long March 3B rocket, carries 1 S-band, 24 C-band, and 8 Ku-band transponders and will provide radio and television services from a location over Indonesia.
- SEP 02 - THREE NEW CLONASS SATELLITES LAUNCHED
- Cosmos 2464 (Glonass 736), Cosmos 2465 (Glonass 737), and Cosmos 2466 (Glonass 738) are Russian navigational satellites launched from Baikonur by a Proton rocket, bringing the constellation strength to 23.
- AUG 24 - NEW CHINESE MAPPING SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- TIANHUI 1 was launched from Jiuquan by a Long March 2D rocket for scientific research, mapping and land resource surveys. It includes a 3-D survey camera, a CCD camera capable of a ground resolution of 5 m at a camera angle of 25° and a multi-spectrum camera with a ground resolution of 10 m. The cameras will image 60 km wide swaths from a 500-km high orbit.
- AUG 14 - FIRST USAF EHF SATELLITE IN ORBIT
- AEHF 1 (Advanced Extremely High Frequency), the first of four US Air Force EHF satellites was launched from Cape Canaveral by an Atlas rocket, and will provide highly secure
high data rate tactical communications, hardened against
nuclear detonation radiation effects.
- AUG 09 - CHINESE REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- Yaogan 10 was orbited from Taiyun by a Long March 4C rocket.
- AUG 04 - TWO AFRICAN COMMSATS LAUNCHED
- RASCOM QAF 1R and NILESAT were launched from Kourou by an Ariane 5 rocket to provide television, radio, telephone and internet services to Africa and the Middle East. Nilesat
carries 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka band transponders at 7 degrees west. Rascom carries 12 C-band and 8 Ku-band transponders at 2.85 degrees east.
- JUL 31 - FIFTH CHINESE NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- BEIDOU IGSO 1 was launched from Xichang on a Long March 3A rocket. It will operate in a circular orbit at
35800km altitude with an inclination of 55 degrees.
- JUL 12 - INDIAN ROCKET LAUNCHES FIVE SATELLITES
- An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched five satellites into orbit from Sriharikota.
Cartosat 2B, an Indian Earth observation satellite, carries a panchromatic, high spatial resolution, stereoscopic vision camera, with a resolution of 0.8 m.
STUDSAT(STUDent SATellite), was developed by Indian sudents at Engineering Colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad to image the Earth at a resolution of 90m. The satellite lifetime is expected to be 6 months.
AISSat 1 (Automatic Identification System) is a Norwegian satellite that relays AIS signals from maritime vessels for tracking purposes.
Alsat 2A is a remote-sensing Algerian satellite, the first of a dual satellite system to provide the country with high quality images for a variety of purposes.
TISat 1 is a Swiss student Cubesat with several materials science experiments.
- JUN 26 - SOUTH KOREAN MULTIROLE SATELLITE LAUNCHED
Together with Arabsat 5A, COMS 1 (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite) was launched by an Ariance 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. This multi-mission satellite has three payloads: one for meteorology, one for ocean observation and one for communications. It will provide meteorological and oceanographic data as well as experimental communication services in the Ka-band, from a geosynchronous orbit at 128°E.
- JUN 22 - NEW ISRAELI IMAGING MILSAT IN ORBIT
- OFEQ 9 was boosted into orbit by a Shavit rocket from the Palmachim air base on the Mediterranean coast south of Tel Aviv.
- JUN 21 - GERMAN DIGITAL ELEVATION MEASUREMENT SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- TANDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) was launched by a Dnepr rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It is a radar mapping satellite that will fly in close formation with the TerraSAR-X to gather precise elevation data. The satellite will provide homogenous 3D elevation models of the Earth.
- JUN 15 - SWEDISH PRISMA EXPERIMENT IN SPACE
- PRISMA (Prototype Research Instruments and Space Mission Advancement) was launched on a Dnepr rocket from the Dombarovsky Missile Base near Yasny, Russia as a two satellite (Mango and Tango) mission to test technologies for rendezvous and formation flying in space.
- JUN 15 - FRENCH SOLAR SCIENCE SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- PICARD was launched on a Dnepr rocket from the Dombarovsky Missile Base near Yasny and will measure the absolute total and spectral solar irradiance, the diameter and shape of the Sun and study Sun's interior through helioseismology. These objectives will be achieved by Picard's 11 cm imaging telescope, called SODISM and the SOVAP and PREMOS sensors.
- JUN 15 - CHINESE RESEARCH/TEST SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- Shijian 12/SJ 12 (Practice) was launched from Jiuquan on a Long March 2D rocket to conduct technology and environmental experiments.
- JUN 04 - SPACEX LAUNCH DRAGON
- Dragon, a flight test satellite was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. It remained attached to the upper stage of the rocket.
- JUN 02 - FOURTH CHINESE NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- Beidou 4 (Compass G3) was launched from Xichang on a
Long March 3C rocket. This satellite will be part of a
constellation of 35 satellites in a mix of geosynchronous
and medium altitude orbits that will form the Chinese
Compass navigation system.
- JUN 02 - JAPANESE RELIABILITY VERIFICATION SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- The SERVIS 2 (Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System) satellite was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia with a Eurorockot Rockot. It is a demonstration technology satellite and will evaluate the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment. It is intended to operate for a year in a Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit at 1,200 km altitude with an inclination of 100.4°.
- MAY 28 - NEW GPS SATELLITE
- Navstar 65/GPS 2F-1/USA 213, was launched by a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral. This is a new type of satellite with higher accuracy, enhanced internal clocks, longer life and reprogrammable on-board processors able to evolve with future needs. It will be placed in the Plane B, Slot 2 GPS orbit (currently held by GPS 2A-27).
- MAY 21 - GERMAN MILCOMMSAT LAUNCHED
- COMSATBw 2 was launched from Korou on an Ariane 5 rocket. This satellite and its predecessor will provide a secure broadband network to provide uninterrupted communications between the German government, military authorities and armed forces deployed around the world. It will be located 13.2° E longitude.
- MAY 20 - THREE SMALL JAPANESE SATELLITES LAUNCHED
- These three satellites were launched by an H-2A rocket from Tanegashima.
Waseda-Sat2, built by students of Waseda University has a camera for Earth observation.
Negai is a CubeSat built at Soka University, to test advanced information processing system using a commercial FPGA.
K-Sat is a CubeSat developed by Kagoshima University
for the observation of atmospheric water vapor distribution, Earth imagery, high-speed communications and basic communications for positioning nanosats.
- MAY 20 - SOLAR SAIL TO VENUS
The Japanese IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) satellite will be the first solar-powered sail craft employing both photon propulsion and thin film solar power generation during its interplanetary cruise. IKAROS will be sent into a Venus transfer orbit with Akatsuki and after separation will spin up to 20 rpm, deploying the thin membrane solar sail within several weeks. Acceleration and navigation using the solar sail will then be demonstrated within half a year.
- MAY 20 - VENUS CLIMATE ORBITER LAUNCHED
- Also known as Akatsuki and Planet-C, this Japanese satellite will study the planet's atmosphere from orbit. It will observe low-altitude cloud patterns, chart the distribution of water vapor and carbon monoxide, and map the surface of Venus with a goal of finding active volcanoes. It will also look at the super-rotating cloud structures in the upper atmosphere and hunt for lightning.
- MAY 14 - STS-132 LAUNCHES TO ISS
- The space shuttle Atlantis STS 132 launched from Cape Canaverak and docked with the International Space Station on 16th. The shuttle had six astronauts and carried the Russian Mini-Research Module 1 to be attached to the Zarya module of the ISS. Atlantis also carried maintenance supplies and spare parts on an integrated cargo carrier. Atlantis landed back at Cape Canaveral on May 26th.
For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- MAY 12 - GALAXY 15 PROBLEM
- On April 5 the Galaxy 15 satellite in geosynchronous
orbit refused to respond to commands, and its controller,
Intelsat, effectively lost control of the vehicle.
However, the transponders remained on and continued to
transmit. Without station keeping, a geosat will drift
in longitude due to gravitational perturbations of a
non-spherical Earth. The builder of the satellite, Orbital
Sciences Corp, considers that the problem may have been
due to inclement space weather.
It is expected that Galaxy 15 will
drift within the station-keeping volume of the AMC-11
commsat by the end of May, and as the two satellites use
the same frequency spectrum, this may result in significant
interference to AMC-11 ground stations. Both satellites are
used extensively by cable TV rebroadcasters in the USA.
- Apr 22 - USAF LAUNCHES MINI SPACE PLANE
- The OTV 1 Orbital Test Vehicle was launched into
low Earth orbit by an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Carnaveral.
This reusable small space plane can make an autonomous
return to Earth and horizontal landing. It is expected
to remain in orbit for a few months, but less than 270
days. Also known by the
United States Air Force as X-37B, its purpose is to test
ways to make space access more routine, affordable and
- Apr 21 - AUSTRALIA OKAYS HAYABUSA RETURN
- The Australian Government has officially given the
okay for a landing of the Japanese Hayabusa asteroid sample
return capsule at the Woomera Prohibited Area in South
Australia on June 13. This will be the first time that a
piece of an asteroid has been brought back to Earth by a
spacecraft (although meteorites have been bringing us
samples throughout history, albeit contaminated by reentry
through the Earth's atmosphere). An extensive effort
employing ground and airborne sensors will be mounted to
monitor this return. For more
- Apr 15 - PRESIDENT OBAMA NASA ADDRESS
- President Obama addressed NASA employees and other
invited guests at the Kennedy Space Center on his new
vision of the role of NASA in space exploration. This
view appears to see NASA as an enabling organisation rather
than one that develops hardware, particularly in the manned
space flight arena. The aerospace industry has generally
not reacted well to the President's ideas, and the US
Congress may well request changes and modify the final
outcome of this drastic revision of US space policy which
goes well beyond the boundaries of NASA itself.
- Apr 08 - EUROPEAN ICE MONITORING SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- Cryosat 2 was launched from Baikonur on a Dnepr
rocket. This ESA satellite will monitor floating
sea ice the polar ice caps using a synthetic aperture
- Apr 05 - STS-131 LAUNCHES TO ISS
- Space Shuttle Discovery carried seven astronauts,
supplies and hardware to the International Space Station.
The mission delivered a load oif equipment racks from the
Italian built MultiPurpose Logistics Module (MPLM), and
returned some experimental equipment to Earth for analysis.
Discovery touched down at Kennedy Space Center on 20
April following a delay due to weather. For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- Apr 02 - SOYUZ LAUNCHES THREE TO ISS
- A Soyuz TMA18 passenger craft,
launched from Baikonur, carried two Russian
cosmonauts and one US astronaut to the International
Space Station. It docked at the Poisk module on 4 April.
- Mar 05 - CHINESE LAUNCH THREE MORE YAOGAN SATELLITES
- Yaogan 9A, 9B and 9C, observation (remote sensing)
satellites were launched from Jiuquan by a Long March 4C
- Mar 04 - GOES 15 LAUNCHED
- The 15th Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite was launched on a Delta 4 rocket from Cape
Carnaveral. This satellite has terrestrial meteorological
sensors as well as a Solar X-ray Imager and a Space
Environmental Monitor for space weather monitoring and
- Mar 01 - RUSSIA LAUNCHES THREE MORE GLONASS SATELLITES
- A Russian Proton-M rocket launched from Baikonur has
put three more satellites of the Global Navigation
Satellite System in orbit. The total number of active
GLONASS satellites is now 18 (the complete constellation
will have 24).
- Feb 11 - SOLAR DYNAMICS OBSERVATORY IN ORBIT
- After much delay, the SDO is finally in orbit. This
spacecraft will essentially replace the SOHO vehicle.
It will be placed in a geosynchronous orbit with an
inclination of 28.5 degrees. It will provide massive
amounts of solar data and images at many different
wavelengths. It was placed in geosynchronous orbit,
rather than at the Sun-Earth Lagrange point (SOHO) because
of the very large downlink bandwidth needed to handle
the data. A ground station in White Sands, New Mexico,
will downlink the SDO data 24 hours a day.
SDO has on board three main instruments, the Helioseismic
and Magnetic Imager (HMI), the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly
(AIA) and the Extreme-ultraviolet Variability Experiment
(EVE). For more information see SDO.
- Feb 10 - INAUGURAL MEETING OF SPACE COUNCIL
- The Space Industry Innovation Council, headed by
Dr Rosalind Dubs, held its first meeting in Canberra to
develop a strategic roadmap for the future direction of
the council. For more details see
- Feb 08 - STS-130 LAUNCHES TO ISS
- The Space Shuttle Endeavour took off from Cape
Carnaveral to the International Space Station with six
astronauts aboard. As well as carrying supplies, hardware
and experiments, it delivered the Italian built Tranquility
node and its seven window cupola. This was installed on
the side of the unity node. This launch is expected to be
the last night launch of a shuttle. Endeavour landed
back at the Cape on 22 February. For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- Feb 01 - NASA TO ABANDON MANNED SPACEFLIGHT?
- Exactly seven years after the Space Shuttle Colombia
disaster, President Obama announced that he wanted NASA
to abandon ongoing manned spaceflight hardware efforts,
and that space shuttle flights would cease at the end
of this year. In return he would make more money
available for private enterprise to develop manned
- Jan 16 - THIRD CHINESE NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- Beidou 3 (Compass G1) was launched from Xichang on a
Long March 3C rocket. This satellite will be part of a
constellation of 35 satellites in a mix of geosynchronous
and medium altitude orbits that will form the Chinese
Compass navigation system. Beidou 3 is destined for