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“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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Despite technical hitch Delta IV Medium launches military communications satellite

Lifting off from Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a Delta IV Medium (5,4) medium launch vehicle carried WGS 9 (Wideband Global Satcom) to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The launch occurred at 0018 GMT, 19 March following a …

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Japanese H-2A rocket carries military radar satellite into orbit

A H-2A medium launch vehicle has launched a radar reconnaissance satellite, IGS-5, for the Japanese government. The mission lifted off from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex Pad 1, part of the Tanegashima Space Center, at 0120 GMT on 17 March, and

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After battling high wind delays Falcon 9 manages to launch telecomms satellite EchoStar 23

A SpaceX Falcon 9v1.2FT expendable rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, at 0600 GMT on 16 March. The launch marks the third launch of the year for SpaceX who are still trying to get back on

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Long delayed PAZ spacecraft for Hisdesat now to launch with SpaceX

Spanish government satellite operator, Hisdesat Strategic Services (Hisdesat), announced (8 March) that it has signed a launch contract with US company SpaceX, for a shared Falcon 9 launch near the end of 2017. Hisdesat originally had a contract – signed …

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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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Vega light launcher completes ninth launch

The SENTINEL-2B Earth-observation spacecraft was carried to low-Earth Orbit (LEO) by a Vega light launcher at 0149GMT on 7 March. The mission was conducted by Arianespace, under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), in service to the European …

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Atlas V to launch second JPSS satellite in 2021

The launch contract for the second Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft was awarded to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) on 3 March by NASA. The mission is scheduled to take place in mid-2021 from Vandenberg Air Base, and will …

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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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Atlas V conducts 70th launch carrying NRO L-79 mission

An Atlas V vehicle, flying in its 401 configuration, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the NRO L-79 mission to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at 1749 GMT on 1 March. The flight marks the 70th Atlas V orbital …

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Falcon 9 launch from former Space Shuttle Pad 39A starts KSC’s “commercial” career but Dragon CRS-10 rendezvous was delayed (Updated)

While its Cape Canaveral Air Station neighbour moved into commercial launches decades ago, the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) was previously solely used for NASA launches, albeit that some Shuttle launches did occasionally carry paying passengers in spacecraft or human form.  …

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SS-520 rocket gets second chance after investigation finds short circuit cause of first orbital launch failure

An investigation has discovered the reason why the first orbital attempt of Japan’s dedicated SS-520-4 cubesat launch vehicle ended in failure. After the launch took place at 2333 GMT on 24 January 2016, from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima, …

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ISRO’s PSLV takes record for launch with most satellites aboard

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its Antrix commercial launch provider subsidiary gained kudos for achieving the first orbital launch with more than 100 payload spacecraft aboard. The PSLV-XL rocket launch carried 104 individual satellites, most of which were …

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Ariane 5 conducts first of its seven planned launches for 2017

The European Heavy-lift rocket, the Ariane 5ECA, carried out is first launch of 2017 at 2139 UTC on 14 February. The mission was an all European industry affair with the launch vehicle and both satellites carried being built in Europe. …

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UK Space Agency provides £10 million seed funding for new small launcher

Grants worth GBP£10 million will be made available by the UK government via the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to help develop commercial launch capability for spaceflight. Science Minister Jo Johnson announced that along with the funding new legislation which will …

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Cracks in their turbopump blades: SpaceX plans a redesign but will fly them as is for now

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US GAO (Government Accounting Office) has disclosed that SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets are suffering from a serious cracking issue to its LOx (liquid oxygen)/kerosene burning Merlin engine turbopump turbine blades. This has …

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China’s Long March 934 may beat SLS Block 2 to orbit and beats its minimum payload as well

While USA has decided to only proceed with the SLS block 1B for the time being, capable of lofting circa 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO), there is, of ocurse, the promise, of a Block 2 version to …

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Soyuz returns to service but Proton flights are delayed by engine quality control investigation

The crisis in quality control at the Russian Voronezh rocket engine manufacturer continues. Following the recent Soyuz-U failure, which was traced to particle contamination in its RD-0110 third-stage engine, a separate investigation into the last Proton rocket launch of Intelsat …

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H-2A launches DSN-2 commercially operated comsat for Japan’s military to use

An H-2A (H-IIA) rocket was launched from the Tanegashima launch site in Japan at 0744 GMT on 24 January 2016. On board the rocket, which flew in the four SRB booster H-IIA 204 configuration using the recently uprated LOX/LH2 upper …

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ULA Atlas V launches SBIRS GEO-3 early warning sat

After a one day delay caused by a faulty fuel line sensor and then an aircraft straying into the launch range, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) operated Atlas V 401 rocket was successfully launched from the Cape Canaveral launch site …

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