Hayabusa2 blasts Ryugu, SpaceX test fires Falcon Heavy

Blast on Ryugu! (JAXA)

Ryugu is a little bit smaller after a controlled explosion was set off on its upper limb this morning. Hayabusa2’s detachable camera DCAM3 captured the image while the larger probe was safely on the far side of the asteroid.

Falcon Heavy’s launch of ArabSat-6A slipped to “not earlier than” Tuesday 9 April, even as a successful static test concluded at the Kennedy Space Centre. Weather reports indicate a probable delay to Wednesday.

Not much to see at Boca Chica, 5 April 2019 (Credit: SPadre.com)

Meanwhile, at the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas, the Starship “Hopper” testbed was obscured by fog as watchers waited for it to fire a second time after its dramatic 3 April lighting.

CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques spoke in French and English to FIRST Robotics students in Qu├ębec this afternoon, amid preparations for his first spacewalk scheduled for Monday morning alongside Anne McClain.

Also, yesterday SpaceIL’s Beresheet probe completed its insertion into lunar orbit. If you’d like to check its progress, there’s a nice website where you can view its current and historical trajectory, as it counts down a little more than 6 days to a lunar landing.

Progress and o3b reach orbit

April 4 saw two orbital missions, one space probe milestone, and a rocket ground test.

The Progress MS-11 resupply mission reached the International Space Station at 1422 UT, following two orbits and a launch from Baikonur on a Soyuz-2 rocket at 1101. The capsule delivered 3.4 t of spare parts, fuel, and consumables. The successful mission is another sign that life is returning to normal on the station, which returned to a full crew of six astronauts after Soyuz MS-12 arrived three weeks ago.

Soyuz VS22 carries 4 o3b commsats to MEO (Arianespace)

At 1704, Arianespace launched four commsats for SES/o3b on Soyuz mission VS22. Much like the existing o3b fleet, the new satellites will operate at a 8000-km medium-earth orbit, and provide high-speed internet through targetable spot-beams. Though other firms are building low-earth orbit Internet constellations, for the moment o3b is the highest-performance option among systems that are fully operational. It is also relatively expensive and mainly filling an enterprise backhaul role for ISPs and wireless providers, rather than a direct-to-consumer model.

Continue reading “Progress and o3b reach orbit”

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