ILS Proton rocket lifts off carrying Intelsat 31
The Proton M launched at 3:10 a.m. Eastern Thursday(1:10 p.m. local time) after a one-day delay caused by a faulty connector on the launch vehicle. Spacecraft separation will take place more than 15 hours after liftoff.
Intelsat 31, built by SSL and weighing nearly 6,500 kilograms, will operate at 95 degrees west in GEO to provide services for DirecTV Latin America.
The launch marks Reston, Virginia-based International Launch Service’s second Proton mission of 2016. [TASS]
A coalition led by Dish Network is seeking to take spectrum away from OneWeb and SpaceX. The group of terrestrial mobile broadband companies wants the FCC to eliminate priority access by low Earth orbit satellite companies to 500 megahertz of Ku-band spectrum, arguing such satellite constellations are “speculative” and that there is plenty of alternative spectrum for those systems if they are built. Both OneWeb, which is planning to start launches of satellites within the next two years, and SpaceX, whose satellite constellation plans are less certain, filed objections to that proposal with the FCC. [SpaceNews]
The sponsor of the American Space Renaissance Act says he’s pleased with the progress of incorporating the bill’s provisions in other legislation. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) said 10 provisions of the act were included in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, and several others in appropriations bills that fund NASA, NOAA and the FAA. He said it was likely he would seek to add other provisions as amendments to a defense appropriations bill. [SpaceNews]
Weather permitting, a Delta 4 Heavy is scheduled to launch a classified satellite this afternoon. No issues are reported with the launch of a National Reconnaissance Office payload on a mission designated NROL-37. Launch is scheduled for 1:59 p.m. Eastern, although weather forecasts continue to predict only a 40 percent chance of acceptable weather. Satellite observers believe the payload is a signals intelligence satellite equipped with a large antenna. [Florida Today]
Arianespace has rescheduled the launch of an Ariane 5 for next week. The company said Wednesday the launch of the EchoStar 18 and BRIsat spacecraft is now planned for June 16. The launch was scheduled for Wednesday, but postponed to replace a connector between the vehicle’s cryogenic upper stage and launch table. [Arianespace]
Japan and India are considering a joint Earth sciences mission. The proposed satellite would fly a scatterometer to collect data for improving weather forecasting. In one approach, India’s space agency ISRO would provide the instrument and Japanese space agency JAXA the spacecraft, although it’s not clear whether ISRO or JAXA would launch it. [The Hindu]
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden met the King of Jordan Wednesday. The two discussed continued cooperation between NASA and Jordan, including support provided by NASA for the development of the first Jordanian cubesat. The meeting came after Bolden visited Israel and discussed potential cooperation with that country in NASA’s Mars mission plans. [Jordan Times / Israel Hayom]
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has a new space gallery. The museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, opened this week a new building that includes an updated gallery devoted to space. That gallery features a full-sized shuttle trainer and a Titan 4B rocket displayed horizontally. The museum plans to added more smaller artifacts to the new gallery. [collectSPACE]
British astronaut Tim Peake says that, after six months in space, he misses the rain. Peake in an interview from the space station, acknowledged that it might sound “remarkable” he misses the rain. “Perhaps that’s because I haven’t had a shower for six months. The feeling of nice cold drizzle on my face right now actually sounds blissful.” Peake won’t have long to wait to experience that: he is scheduled to return to Earth June 18. [Press Association]