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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
SPACEX SUCCESSFULLY CARRIES 10 IRIDIUM NEXT SATELLITES INTO ORBIT IN RETURN TO FLIGHT MISSION
Monday, January 16, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off

Source: NASA


A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off

Source: NASA


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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Ten new Iridium NEXT satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on January 14 at 9:54 a.m. PST (5:54 p.m. UTC; 12:54 p.m. EST). Iridium NEXT is the company's next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe.

Iridium reported the following day that all 10 satellites had been deployed and are functioning nominally. The ten satellites are now undergoing testing and validation in preparation for the future satellite replacement process known as a "slot swap." Overall, this testing and replacement phase will be completed in an approximately 90-day timeframe, after which the second launch of ten Iridium NEXT satellites will be cleared to proceed.

The launch also marks the return-to-flight mission of SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle following an explosion during routine pre-launch tests on September 1, 2016. While loading super-cooled fuel into the rocket, composite structures on the Falcon 9 were weakened, causing an explosion. SpaceX has changed its fueling methods and is exploring upgrades to the Falcon 9 structure to ensure that the failure does not happen again.

SpaceX has ambitious plans to revolutionize the launch industry by significantly lowering the cost to launch spacecraft into orbit. However, it has suffered some setbacks as it has not been able to maintain a rapid launch rate. The company also experienced two explosions causing the loss of a Falcon 9 rocket each time. Despite these setbacks, SpaceX remains committed to carrying out its plans. The company plans to conduct a launch every two weeks in 2017. It will also reuse first stages, which it successfully started to land in 2016, and introduce the larger Falcon Heavy this year.

Source:  Iridium
Associated URL: http://investor.iridium.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1007978
Source Date: January 16, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 01/16/2017

 
 
MEXICAN NAVY LAUNCHES ARM MONTE ALBAN COASTAL PATROL VESSEL
Monday, January 16, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

A Tenochtitlan class patrol vessel

Source: Secretaría de Marina y Presidencia de México


A Tenochtitlan class patrol vessel

Source: Secretaría de Marina y Presidencia de México


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TAMPICO, Mexico - In a ceremony on January 12, the Mexican Navy officially launched the ARM Bonampak (PC-339). The ceremony was held in Tampico, Tamaulipas at the Astimar Number 1 shipyard.

The launching ceremony was chaired by Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberon Sanz, Secretary of the Navy and Dr. Ximena Puente De La Mora, Commissioner of the National Institute for Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data. They were accompanied by various other people, including Francisco Javier García Cabeza Of Vaca, Governor of the State of Tamaulipas political leaders, and naval, civil, and military authorities. Dr. Ximena Puente De La Mora, who was also the godmother of the ship, cut the ribbon that opened the launching maneuvers.

The Bonampak is part of Tenochtitlan class which is based on the Dutch Damen Stan Patrol 4207 vessels. The ships weigh in at 208 tons and are 42.8 meters long. Two Caterpillar 3516B DI-TA engines propel the ships at speeds up to 26 knots. Each ship is equipped with two 12.76 mm main guns and two 7.62 mm MGs. They have a crew of 18 and can stay at sea for 14 days.

Bonampak is the ninth ship in the Tenochtitlan class that the Tampico shipyard is building under contract. In January 2016, Mexico ordered three more ships from Damen, raising the total count in the class to 10. Some reports indicate that Mexico will eventually order up to 20 ships.

Source:  Mexican Navy
Associated URL: http://www.gob.mx/semar/prensa/la-secretaria-de-marina-armada-de-mexico-realiza-
Source Date: January 16, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 01/16/2017

 
 
JAPANESE SS-520 ROCKET FAILS TO DELIVER PAYLOAD TO ORBIT IN INAUGURAL LAUNCH
Monday, January 16, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

The SS-520 miniature launch vehicle

Source: JAXA


The SS-520 miniature launch vehicle

Source: JAXA


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UCHINOURA SPACE CENTER, Japan - According to a statement released by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) the inaugural launch of its SS-520 has ended in failure. The SS-520 lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture carrying a miniature Earth observation satellite on January 15 at 8:33 a.m. JST (January 14 at 11:33 p.m. UTC; 6:33 p.m. EST).

While the first stage operated nominally, the launch was aborted after JAXA was unable to receive telemetry data from the second stage of the launch vehicle, and therefore made the decision to halt ignition of the system.

The SS-520 is the smallest launch vehicle that can carry a payload into orbit. Based on JAXA sounding rockets, the launch vehicle has a height of 10 meters (35 feet) and a diameter of 50 centimeters (20 inches). The two-stage rocket can carry a 140 kilogram payload up to an 800 kilometer altitude. It is part of JAXA's efforts to lower launch costs.

For the January mission, the SS-520 was carrying the TRICOM 1 satellite. Developed by the University of Tokyo, TRICOM 1 is a 3U CubeSat with a launch mass of 3 kilograms that was planned to collect Earth observation data.

Source:  JAXA
Associated URL: http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2017/01/20170115_ss-520-4_j.html
Source Date: January 16, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 01/16/2017

 

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