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Author Archive | David Todd

“Les Grevistes” stop Ariane launches at Kourou

Strikers (“les grevistes” in French) and protesters at the Kourou launch site in French Guiana have forced a suspension of all future launches by Arianespace. The Ariane 5 ECA launch of 3,680 kg Koreasat-7 commercial communications and 5,735 kg Brazilian …

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On a sadder note: A tale of two terrorists – one from the present and one from the past

We give our condolences to those who have suffered during the Islamic State-inspired terrorist outrage in London during March. Worryingly, it showed that a religious or sectarian terrorist does not need a Kalashnikov or suicide bomb to kill the innocent …

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“Middle East” airline “Laptop” cabin ban may become a world one which could scupper hopes of satellite operators

The recent security move to end the carrying of laptops and table computers in the cabins of commercial aircraft flying from certain “high risk” middle eastern countries, may become a global ban which has major implications for satellite operators.

The …

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Trump’s plans: NASA avoids major cuts but ARM is broken and global warming mission is curtailed

While Russia is somewhat unrealistically advertising for candidate cosmonauts to go to the Moon (Roscosmos does not currently have a heavy lift rocket to get them there), the prospects for NASA astronauts getting there are increasing. This is after the …

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Dragon CRS-10 cargo craft is unhooked from ISS to re-enter and splash down in the Pacific

Having been unloaded in late February, the SpaceX Dragon CRS-10 (CRS1-10) spacecraft was unberthed from the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 2145 GMT on 18 March after its NASA delivery mission. At 0911 GMT on 19 March DRAGON CRS-10 …

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On a lighter note: Letter from America from your Washington correspondent

Those of use lucky enough to go the Satellite 2017 conference in Washington DC in March of this year were treated to a day of beautiful summer weather, well – until the cold blew in. Still, there were still some …

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Review: The Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum and its ”real McCoy” Space Shuttle

While most people visiting Washington DC will be aware of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, some will not know that there are actually two museums. For there is a second – one that lies at Chantilly, Virginia, near …

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Satellite 2017: Connectivity to the “Internet of Things” is seen as key driver for future satellite traffic

While many have concerns over the Orwellian prospect of being spied on by our own appliances, the “Internet of Things” was viewed as a positive development by the leaders of satellite operators at the Satellite 2017 conference held in Washington …

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Satellite 2017: Jeff Bezos shows off straked New Glenn rocket and announces Eutelsat as first commercial client…then OneWeb joins club

At a presentation at the Satellite 2017 conference in Washington DC in March, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos showed off the latest rocket design to emerge from his Blue Origin rocket company. While significantly similar to past artist’s impressions of the …

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GHGSat contracts to Space Flight Laboratory of UTIAS

Greenhouse gas monitoring satellites GHGSat-C1 and C2 have had their construction contracts awarded to the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies by the Canadian satellite operating firm GHGSat Inc. The spacecraft will utilise …

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GomSpace gets full constellation order from Sky and Space Global

The UK-based constellation operator Sky and Space Global has awarded a full construction contract to GomSpace for its planned 200 satellite nanosat constellation. The contract is valued at EUR€35.0 to 55.0 million over a 4 year period. The order follows …

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China’s small solid-propellant Kaituozhe KT-2A launch vehicle puts technology test satellite into orbit for Chinese military (Corrected)

China’s small solid-propellant Kaituozhe KT-2A launch vehicle was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, China, at 2353 GMT on 2 March 2017. On board the flight was the Tiankong-1 spacecraft, which was built by the China Aerospace and Industry …

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President Trump’s speech to US Congress: Not much mention of Space but defence spending up

After a media backlash against him, President Donald Trump has apparently toned down his combative political style and made a surprisingly conciliatory address to the US Congress. In a very well received speech, he promised to protect jobs and civil …

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SpaceX to launch manned mission around the Moon next year with two paying tourists aboard

SpaceX has agreed to carry two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year, probably with a SpaceX pilot astronaut accompanying them. The unnamed pair have already paid a significant deposit do this moon mission which will …

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On a sadder note: Apollo 13 movie actor Bill Paxton dies from operation complications

The film actor Bill Paxton has died following complications after an operation. He was 61 years old. Paxton is best known by space aficionados for his role in the science fiction action film Aliens (1986) and starring as astronaut Fred …

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Opinion: Shooting the messenger is not good for you or democracy Mr President

US President Donald Trump has decided to ban certain media groups from White House press conferences. These groups include the BBC, the CNN, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the New York Times. President Trump subsequently withdrew from the century-0ld …

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Coleman Aerospace is acquired by Aerojet Rocketdyne from L3

The Orlando, Florida-based ballistic missile target rocket builder, Coleman Aerospace, has been acquired by the rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne. The deal with Coleman Aerospace owner L3 was for US$15 million cash. The move puts the engine maker in the …

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Bookmaker was right: Orion will be next US crewed capsule if first SLS launch carries humans…and Musk does not do it first

A couple of years ago a UK/Irish bookmaker (Paddy Power) was offering odds on which US spacecraft would carry the next humans into space. Its wisdom is now becoming apparent. For instead of choosing commercial crew contractees, Boeing or SpaceX, …

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Review: Hidden Figures fires fitting NASA rocket at white supremacists

As an astronautics student, your correspondent and his mainly white European post-grad classmates were well and truly trounced in the exam results for the highly mathematical science of spacecraft dynamics and control (Euler can go hang!) by the black kid …

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Airbus DS notes its undisclosed construction contracts from last year

While the space effort of Airbus Defence and Space appeared to have a “flat” year at least in terms of revenues (a 3 per cent decline to EUR€3.67 billion), there were a few satellite orders made in 2016 which were …

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