Displaying items by tag: space

Rocket Lab launches satellites into orbit from New Zealand

Written on Sunday, 28 January 2018 11:19

New Zealand has trumped Australia in the space race. American-New Zealand aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab successfully reached orbit with the test flight of its second Electron orbital launch vehicle, ‘Still Testing’, on January 21. Electron lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand.

Following successful first and second stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. We’re thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch,” said Rocket Lab CEO and founder from New Zealand Peter Beck. “Our incredibly dedicated and talented team has worked tirelessly to develop, build and launch Electron. I’m immensely proud of what they have achieved today.”

Beck added, “Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket program is almost unprecedented. Rocket Lab was founded on the principal of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it. Today we took a significant step towards that.”

Unlike big companies like Elon Musk's Space X, which use government launch sites, Rocket Labs claims to be the first company to launch its own rocket from its own launch pad. There are reportedly similar plans afoot in Australia, with a launch site allocated in the Northern Territory and tests expected in a year.

In the coming weeks, Rocket Lab engineers will analyze the data from the launch to inform future launches. Rocket Lab currently has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018. At full production, Rocket Lab expects to launch more than 50 times a year, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times a year, more than any other commercial or government launch provider in history.

‘Still Testing’ was carrying a Dove Pioneer Earth-imaging satellite for launch customer Planet, as well as two Lemur-2 satellites for weather and ship tracking company Spire. Rocket Lab’s commercial phase will see Electron fly already-signed customers including NASA, Spire, Planet, Moon Express and Spaceflight.

Published in Satellite Industry

One of Australia’s leading telecommunication companies has announced that it will launch a new IoT lab which has been described as a ‘game changer’ for the country’s IoT ecosystem. Telstra Corporation Limited - is one of Australia’s largest and most successful telecommunications and media organizations.

It formally disclosed details regarding the launch of its IoT lab in Melbourne, after months of speculation surrounding the project. Telstra CTO, Hakan Eriksson outlined his vision for the project, and said that he hopes university students, start-ups and multinational companies can work with some of the best equipment and minds in this industry in order to bring their IoT solution to life.

According to Eriksson the IoT lab in Melbourne will be a public space which will allow anyone with the opportunity to create, test and prototype IoT solutions which shared the goal to improve the overall IoT ecosystem in Australia.

The lab seeks to enable those in the IoT sector to assess how their IoT applications and services will work on Telstra’s network through stringent testing in a controlled environment. In addition to this, the Australian telecommunications company stressed that the new facility was the latest phase in its overall ‘Innovation Lab initiative’ which included both software and hardware for testing.

Telstra’s CTO conceded that from their standpoint, they’re experts from a network perspective, but not in relation to applications in areas such as agriculture, power distribution and logistics. He told The Financial Review, “We’re experts in the network part of it, but not in all the applications that run on top such as agricultural applications, power distribution applications or logistics applications… and they are not experts in networks, so we needed a meeting place.”

Eriksson suggested that innovators will also want to gain access to the lab in order to utilize Telstra’s infrastructure, experts, community engagement, facilitators, and extensive 4G network. He also disclosed that Telstra plan to bring in a 5G test network in 2018, as the organization ramps up its effort to implement the revolutionary technology by 2020. He said: "We will start doing trials in 2018 with 5G, so it will be very natural to bring some of that into the lab.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Two of Europe’s leading satellite firms, France-based Eutelsat and Luxembourg-based SES, announced they are in a high state of readiness for imminent launches.

Eutelsat’s 172B satellite is in the final stages of preparation, according to the company, at the Airbus Defense and Space facility in Toulouse. The satellite will be boarded onto a special flight to French Guiana on March 20. Weighing 3.5 tons, it is the first European-built high-power all-electric satellite, scheduled for an Arian launch on April 25 from the European Spaceport.

The purpose of Eutelsat’s 172B satellite is to deliver increased capacity for fast-growing applications that include video distribution. The satellite will be located at 172° East, which will provide key coverage for Asia Pacific over land and sea, from Alaska to Australia.

The new satellite will replace the previous 172A satellite to provide service continuity and improved performance via C and Ku-band payloads connected to a range of footprints. It will feature an additional new Ku-band multi-beam payload delivering 1.8Gbps of throughput to serve the world’s fastest-growing region (Asia Pacific) with in-flight entertainment and connectivity services.

Meanwhile, the SES-15 satellite has reportedly arrived at the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, in preparation for its launch by a Soyuz vehicle in April this year. The new satellite was designed and manufactured by Boeing. It will carry a hybrid payload, with additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku- as well as Ka-band high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity.

SES’s new satellite will feature an electric propulsion system for orbit-raising and in-orbit maneuvers. It is the company’s first hybrid satellite to be launched and will be equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders (36MHz equivalent) and also a 10GHz high throughput payload. The all-electric satellite in contrast to Eutelsat will cover the new orbital position of 129° West and will serve North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Published in Satellite Industry

Private rocket company SpaceX successfully launched a rocket into space carrying a cargo ship for the International Space Station following a delayed take-off on February 18 due to technical difficulties. The launch was made from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States.

According to reports, the rocket booster touched down successfully on land nine minutes after taking off. This routine is part of SpaceX’s strategy to return rockets to earth so they can be reused rather than jettisoning them in the ocean after a single launch.

The SpaceX Dragon supply ship reached orbit just moments after the rocket booster touched down, which prompted cheers inside the SpaceX Mission Control room, BBC reported. The cargo will make its way to the International Space Station.

SpaceX resumed its flight activities on January 14 by launching a Falcon 9 vehicle from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on the coast of California. The company had to halt its activities after one of its vehicles exploded on the launch pad in September 2016.

The company’s high-profile founder, Elon Musk, aims for SpaceX to be the leader among several companies striving to deploy satellite-based internet services over the next few years. SpaceX also has companies queuing up for a ride to orbit, such as America’s civil space agency (NASA), the US military and some in the commercial sector. 

Published in Satellite Industry