Inmarsat facing legal challenge to plans to provide internet on flights in Europe
ViaSat, Eutelsat and Panasonic are seeking an injunction from the European Court of Justice to block Inmarsat from offering those services with its new Inmarsat S EAN satellite launched last week.
Those companies claim Inmarsat’s original license for that S-band spectrum required it to be used for rural broadband, with most users on the ground.
Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce dismissed the claims, saying his competitors were “just making mischief.” [The Telegraph]
Another last-second glitch aborted a Falcon 9 launch attempt Monday night. As with Sunday’s attempt, computers stopped the launch of the Intelsat 35e satellite 10 seconds before launch. SpaceX did not disclose a reason for the problem, which took place at the end of the launch window and scrubbed the launch for the day. SpaceX decided to forego a launch attempt Tuesday to study the problem, but as of early Wednesday had not confirmed plans for its next launch attempt. [CBS]
DARPA is considering launching an experimental small satellite on an Indian rocket. At a conference last week, a DARPA program manager said the agency was looking into launching its EXperiment for Cellular Integration TEchnologies, or EXCITE, satellite on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in the first half of fiscal year 2018. U.S. government payloads require approvals to launch on non-U.S. vehicles, but DARPA believes “that challenge is surmountable.” EXCITE is a 155-kilogram satellite designed to test the use of smaller buses called satlets to meet the needs of a variety of missions. [SpaceNews]
A new ground station for the Australian military will be obsolete as soon as it is completed, one official warned. Air Vice Marshall Andrew Dowse of the Australian Defence Force said last week that a ground station designed to support the country’s use of Wideband Global Satcom satellites is so far behind schedule it will need to be upgraded to support IP-enabled communications as soon as it is completed. Australia funded the WGS-6 satellite in exchange for a share of the bandwidth on that and other satellites in the U.S.-led system. Dowse said that the country was studying future investments in satellite communications that will be linked to the ongoing analysis of alternatives for post-WGS systems by the Pentagon. [SpaceNews]
The failure of a Chinese Long March 5 rocket on Sunday is likely to delay some key upcoming missions. Chinese officials have offered no new details on the cause of the failure on the second launch of the heavy-lift rocket, which resulted in the loss of an experimental communications satellite. The rocket’s next mission was scheduled for November, carrying the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission, and the rocket was also scheduled to launch modules for the country’s first space station. Those missions may be on hold for an extended period as China investigates the launch failure. [AP]
An organic compound detected streaming from a moon of Saturn is not a sign of life there. Astronomers used a ground-based radio telescope to observe Enceladus, an icy moon of Saturn thought to have a subsurface ocean, and detected traces of methanol in plumes emitted from its surface. However, astronomers believe that, based on the extent of methanol detected, it is likely produced by chemical reactions after being ejected into space. [Cosmos]
The fastest stars in the Milky Way may be runaways from another galaxy. Astronomers had previously noted that about 20 such “hypervelocity” stars were all located in the same area of the sky, which would not be expected if such stars are the result of binary systems torn apart by the intense gravity of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Instead, astronomers think this cluster of hypervelocity stars could have been ejected from the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud after supernova explosions there. [Science]
What’s the perfect companion for your Lego Saturn 5? A Lego launch tower. That’s the hope, at least, of a pair of designers who developed the Saturn 5 model that Lego selected for production. The launch tower, built at the same scale as the Saturn 5, would require nearly 3,000 pieces, 50 percent more than the Saturn 5, and include cranes and umbilical arms that move. The designers have submitted the plan to the Lego Ideas website, which they also used to win support for their Saturn 5 model. [collectSPACE]