Round-up of recommended space stories in January

by | Feb 2, 2024 | Launches, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News

We’re keeping an eye on space news, so you don’t have to. Here’s our round-up of the most important, and interesting, space news stories of January from across the web:

Upcoming Missions: New rockets due to fly in 2024 while another lunar landing attempt in February will be made by Intuitive Machines

Human Space (Operations): Unmanned freighter Tianzhou-7 docks with Chinese space station Tiangong as crewed Axiom 3 mission docks with ISS on 20 January

Failures and Anomalies: XRISM spacecraft has an optical filter issue as Oxygen venting is revealed as cause of Starship fire

Orders: Major space orders from SDA as US$2.5 billion order for Tracking Later satellites are awarded by SDA which also gives Rocket Lab a US$515 million order for 18 Transport Layer sats. Meanwhile, India books Falcon 9 launch for  launch of GSAT-20 comsat

Human Space (Orders): UAE to build lunar Gateway space station airlock as Northrop Grumman gets its sums wrong on Gateway module. Meanwhile, as NASA looks for replacement of ISS, Starlab LEO space station gets go-ahead and books flight on Starship as NASA ups funding for prospective new LEO space stations, and Blue Origin and SpaceX start work for NASA on cargo versions of crewed lunar landers

Money: SpaceX is estimated to have made US$8 billion revenues in 2023 …more than ESA’s 2024 budget which rises 10 percent to €7.8 billion but other companies are running out of cash but smaller launch providers will benefit from ESA and EU collaboration on European Flight Ticket initiative

Military Space: Firefly gets launches nod from US DoD, while partial denial of Starlink service to Ukraine fires up Europe’s design for own constellation

Politics: Ructions in Chinese space programme as Head of CALT demoted, as comsat operators agree rules on spectrum

Starlab space station Courtesy: Voyager Space

 

Science & Exploration: ESA gives development go-ahead for Envision Venus mission and LISA science mission while India’s Aditya-L1 solar observatory lives up to its name and goes into a halo orbit around Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point

Technology: Cell/mobile phones/sat constellations merging trend continues as SpaceX trials direct-to-smart-phone comms and as Google and  AT&T join US$155 million AST SpaceMobile investment. Meanwhile Lockheed Martin and Boeing win design contracts for new military narrowband comsats as Impulse develops large kick/transfer stage to GEO

Legal: Elon irks hisworkers…again while US GAO denies L3Harris  protest over contract

Slingshot Aerospace: Slingshot adds key ground based visual tracking element to official US tracking system for spacecraft

On a lighter note: Penguin colonies foundby satellite while the UK’s new space minister has trouble finding the Sun and Mars

 

Our sources include BBC, CNBC, NASA, Orbitaltoday, Payload, Politico, scmp.com and SpaceNews with links provided to each story.

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