Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

Following successful first and second-stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

“Rocket Lab was founded on the principle of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it.

Source: Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

SpaceX plans to start launching high-speed internet satellites in 2019

SpaceX hopes to start testing its satellites before the end of this year and continuing through the early months of 2018. If that’s successful, the company plans to launch satellites in phases between 2019 and 2024, after which the system will be at full capacity.

Source: SpaceX plans to start launching high-speed internet satellites in 2019

J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots

Orbital Insight, a venture capital-funded satellite intelligence startup based in Palo Alto, tracks 250,000 parking lots for 96 retail chains across the U.S.

Source: J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots | The Outline

Orbital Insight’s parking lot figures track pretty closely with J.C. Penney’s stock price.

Many eyes on Earth

By contrast, the swarm satellites’ cameras will always be on, photographing everything in their path and, owing to their numbers, will pass over the same points on Earth with a frequency of hours to a few days, depending on latitude.

The biggest customers of conventional commercial imaging satellites are governments, in particular intelligence agencies and the military. Prices can be prohibitive for many other potential users, including researchers,

via Many eyes on Earth : Nature News & Comment.

Because the swarms are still to be launched, scientists have yet to fully assess the quality of the imagery. But the satellites’ spatial resolutions of 1–5 metres are much higher than those of most scientific satellites. Landsat, NASA’s Earth-observation workhorse, for example, has a resolution of 15–100 metres depending on the spectral frequency, with 30 metres in the visible-light range.

Boost Satellite Bandwidth and End Jittery Videos

The tweaked version of TCP being honed by the MIT group and colleagues instead sends mathematical functions describing multiple packets so that a receiving device, such as a satellite terminal, can solve for missing ones without having to refetch them. “You transfer more packets than what you normally would, but you don’t have to retransmit,” Khan says.

via Boost Satellite Bandwidth and End Jittery Videos | MIT Technology Review.

This is a problem streaming in wifi networks with sketchy coverage  as well.  This is similar to a snippet I posted here on 10/25/2012 in reference to this article also from the MIT Technology Review  A Bandwidth Breakthrough

Apparently they’re still working on this TCP retransmission problem.

Deployment of Europe’s Galileo constellation continues

Galileo is Europe’s own global satellite navigation system. It will consist of 30 satellites and their associated ground infrastructure.

via ESA Portal – Deployment of Europe’s Galileo constellation continues.

The four satellites launched during the IOV phase are the nucleus of the constellation that will then be extended to reach its FOC.

Air Force sets first post in ambitious Space Fence project

The Space Fence will use multiple S-band ground-based radars — the exact number will depend on operational performance and design considerations — that will permit detection, tracking and accurate measurement of orbiting space objects. The idea is that the Space Fence is going to be the most precise radar in the space situational surveillance network and the S-band capability will provide the highest accuracy in detecting even the smallest space objects, the Air Force stated. The Fence will have greater sensitivity, allowing it to detect, track and measure an object the size of a softball orbiting more than 1,200 miles in space. Because it is an uncued tracking system, it will provide evidence of satellite break-ups, collisions or unexpected maneuvers of satellites, the Air Force said.

via Layer 8: Air Force sets first post in ambitious Space Fence project.

Tandem satellites probe the Moon’s interior

GRAIL’s two probes, named Ebb and Flow by schoolchildren in a NASA competition, were launched in September 2011 (see ‘Twins to Probe Moon’s Heart’). The first probe began orbiting the Moon on 31 December 2011, with the second joining the next day. By March, they had begun detailed mapping. The two spacecraft exchange radio signals, recording fluctuations in their relative positions that are then used to reveal tiny accelerations and decelerations caused by variations in the Moon’s gravitational field. The average altitude of the primary mission was 55 kilometres —  much lower than the orbit used by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a similar gravity-mapping mission for Earth that has to fly higher to avoid atmospheric friction. Occasionally, the GRAIL operations team brought the craft lower than 20 kilometres to further improve the resolution of the data. “Nothing beats flying low,” says Zuber.

via Tandem satellites probe the Moon’s interior : Nature News & Comment.

Can Android Revolutionize Spacecraft Design?

At first glance, the idea may sound a bit silly. Why would NASA trust the operation of a satellite to a Nexus One? Surely NASA could design their own platform to power these spacecraft?

They could, but the question is, why should they? The PhoneSat program is part of the larger Small Spacecraft Technology Program, which aims to leverage the incredible advances made in consumer technology to create cheaper spacecraft. Ames engineer Chris Boshuizen explains that NASA should embrace the latest consumer technology, rather than constantly reinventing the wheel

via Can Android Revolutionize Spacecraft Design?.