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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
JIM BRIDENSTINE CONFIRMED AS NASA ADMINISTRATOR
Friday, April 20, 2018
Click image for a larger picture

Jim Bridenstine

Source: Wikipedia / United States Congress


Jim Bridenstine

Source: Wikipedia / United States Congress


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WASHINGTON -- On April 19, 2018, the Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine as the next NASA administrator. Bridenstine, a Republican Representative from Oklahoma's first congressional district since 2013, was nominated by President Donald Trump to take over the role as NASA administrator in September 2017.

It took the Senate over eight months to finally nominate Bridenstine, leaving NASA without a permanent administrator during that time. Bridenstine was considered a controversial pick. Democrats in the Senate took issue with his stance on climate change, while some Republicans disagreed with appointing a former politician, as that would risk politicizing the space agency.

Despite the controversy, Bridenstine was finally confirmed by the Senate on April 19 in a 50-49 vote in the Senate. A last minute change by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Az) led to Bridenstine's victory.

Following the vote, Bridenstine said, "It is an honor to be confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as NASA Administrator. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I once again thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their confidence. I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the President's vision for American leadership in space."

Source:  NASA
Associated URL: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/statements-on-jim-bridenstine-s-senate-confirmation-as-nasa-administrator
Source Date: April 20, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 04/20/2018

 
 
PROTON M SUCCESSFULLY CARRIES RUSSIAN MILITARY PAYLOAD INTO ORBIT
Friday, April 20, 2018
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A Proton launch vehicle lifting off

Source: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016


A Proton launch vehicle lifting off

Source: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016


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BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan - A Proton M booster with a Breeze M upper stage that was launched on April 19, 2018, at 1:12 am Moscow time (April 18, 2018 10:12 p.m. UTC; 6:12 p.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome has successfully delivered a Russian military payload into orbit.

This was the first launch in 2018 and the 417th launch overall of the Proton launch vehicle (including all its modifications starting in 1965).

The Proton was carrying the second in a new series of Blagovest satellites for the Russian military. Blagovest satellites provide communications to Russian armed forces as well as commercial users. It follows the first satellite, which launched in August 2017, also aboard a Proton.

After dominating the commercial launch market for years - along with the Ariane 5 - a confluence of factors has contributed to declining sales of Proton launches. A series of launch failures and changing launch market dynamics have reduced the Proton's appeal to commercial launch operators.

Still, ILS and Khrunichev have not given up on the venerable Proton. ILS and Khrunichev have conducted extensive quality control improvements to the Proton supply chain. ILS will lower the price of Proton launches and offer flexible launch dates. The two companies also plan to introduce upgrades to the Proton line, including a new smaller variant called the Proton Medium and a larger payload fairing for the Proton M.

These changes will allow ILS to compete against new launch vehicles like the Falcon 9 at lower price points to carry smaller satellites. It will also improve competitiveness in the commercial market, enabling Proton production to continue, even without Russian government launches. With these changes to pricing and lineup, Forecast International expects Proton production to continue until the early 2030s.

Source:  ILS
Associated URL: http://www.ilslaunch.com/node/4892
Source Date: April 20, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 04/20/2018

 
 
COPERNICUS ON SOLID FOOTING
Thursday, April 19, 2018
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Artist's rendition of a Sentinel satellite

Source: ESA/ATG medialab


Artist's rendition of a Sentinel satellite

Source: ESA/ATG medialab


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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The Copernicus program is on solid footing. Financing issues are behind it after the EU committed to funding the program in 2013. In 2017, the European Commission gave a positive assessment of the program, indicating it was pleased with the quality of data provided to the scientific community.

The primary source of data for the program is a family of Sentinel satellites. Data is supplemented by commercial satellites and satellites from other governments around the world. Six satellites launched between 2014 and 2017. Forecast International expects six additional satellites to launch by 2024. ESA has signed firm-fixed-price contracts with Airbus and Thales Alenia Space to build the satellites, an arrangement that will protect the agency from cost growth and also ensure that all satellites will be paid for. These satellites include replacements for first generation satellites that started launching in 2014.

Forecast International expects funding for the Copernicus program to continue well into the future. Satellites that are currently being launched have a lifespan of seven to eight years and will eventually need replacement. Contracts to replace Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites have already been signed. Launch intervals of about eight years are most likely. Launches will continue well into the 2030s, even after current contracts are completed.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: April 19, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 04/19/2018

 

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