Seradata’s recommended space stories – June 2024

by | Jun 17, 2024 | History, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News

We are cutting through the orbital debris for you. In other words, we’re keeping an eye on space news on the web so you don’t have to.
Here is our round-up of the most important, and interesting, space news stories of June (space orders can be found in another post):

Anomalies and Space Debris:

Tianlong-3 first stage static fire test goes wrong and accidentally launches – watch here

Long March 2C launches Sino-French SVOM astronomy mission, but rocket stage falls onto village

As expected, a Florida family is suing NASA over damage a re-entry surviving NASA battery pack did to its house

Meanwhile, several incidents have been reported where SpaceX Dragon ‘Trunks’ have survived re-entry. No serious damage so far.

Russian Resurs P1 spacecraft partly breaks up creating over 100 pieces of debris

The Hubble Space Telescope is now down to just a single gyro

After SpaceX admitted that it has a fault on 100 of its early satellites and was deorbiting them as fast as it can, military space trackers are to keep public informed on Starlink satellite reentries 

Future Launches and Delays:

Dream Chaser doesn’t make the date so ULA to fly second Vulcan certification flight with a dummy

Amazon admits that its Kuiper constellation is delayed with beta services to start in 2025

Space News reports that the first satellites in China’s G60 comsat constellation will launch in August 2024.

Human Spaceflight

In a significant diplomatic move between the US and India, the ISS will soon have an Indian astronaut

While NASA hires SpaceX to deorbit ISS (see our story here), its planned smaller commercial successor space station Starlab is getting support from MDA and Palantir

As China plans its human lunar missions it selects ten more space travellers

In the same way that China has a separate office for human space exploration, so South Korea has chosen to do the the same as it throws its hat into the space race.

Keeping the historical evidence of the Apollo Moon landings remains a key issue according to Payload Space’s article Preserving History On the Moon—and Beyond. This excerpt sums it up well: “Any agreements also must overcome the natural tension between historians’ desire to preserve the sites untouched, scientists’ desire to keep parts of the lunar surface pristine for study, and commercial companies’ desire to have unfettered access to the Moon to turn a profit.”

Spaceflights Are Safer For Women Than Men: New Study Reveals  – a good data nugget: “Since 1961, around 680 astronauts have travelled to space, only 78 of whom were women. Despite their achievements, women have historically faced gender biases and underrepresentation in the field of space exploration.”

Space diplomacy and military space

Western space analysts noted the proximity operations of China’s CSSHQ-1 spaceplane, on its third flight, with a small released spacecraft

The Artemis Accords momentum continues, with Armenia and Lithuania joining as the newest members

Ukraine does not have many space assets, but the one it has got – an Iceye radar sat – is successfully being used to target Russian military assets in Ukraine. The country has also mounted a successful missile strike on a Russian Deep Space Network ground station

Space companies and money

While the commercial space industry is in good health – SIA reports more record growth, some firms are struggling or being forced to cut costs. Space observation firm Planet has laid off 17% of its workforce. Likewise, imaging firm Satellogic has added to its own previously announced layoffs.

Cash strapped rocket and spacecraft propulsion firm Astra is concentrating all its activities at its AlAmeda, California HQ.

In a possible ruse to stay in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Virgin Galactic increased the dollar value of its stock by exchanging old shares for fewer new ones.

While not exactly cash-strapped, Airbus had the embarrassment of taking a charge of nearly US$1 billion due to costs and delays on its satellite programmes

Other firms are doing better. Space servicing and debris removal company Astroscale has seen its stock soar in value after its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Firefly Alpha chooses to launch from Wallops Island instead of Cape Canaveral and will also launch from Esrange in Sweden. Adding to its Vandenberg polar/sun-synch launch operation.

Other firms that were successful in raising investment funds included:

Meanwhile, Thales, Spire and ESSP have agreed to develop air traffic surveillance constellation

Obituaries

As his beloved Voyager 1 spacecraft begins returning science data again from the the edge of the solar system, its main scientist, Ed Stone, passes away at 88

On a lighter note

ESA Made LEGO Space Bricks From Meteorite Dust Intending To Build A Moon Base

Slingshot Aerospace mentions:

Slingshot Aerospace unveils its ‘Agatha’ AI system for detecting/predicting satellite movements, anomalies, villainy

Slingshot Aerospace notes that Russian GEO snooping sat Luch 2 is on the move again with Intelsat10-02 its likely next target

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