Space debris experts at the European Space Agency said March 4 that they have concluded the explosive breakup of a U.S. Air Force weather satellite last month does not present a threat to nearby ESA spacecraft.
The British government March 3 trimmed a list of potential sites for a commercial spaceport to six, although the public corporation that operates two airports on the list says it is not interested in pursuing a spaceport.
Although the U.S. Air Force hasn’t concluded its investigation of the Feb. 3 incident that caused a 20-year-old military weather satellite to strew debris, experts say the public details are consistent with a catastrophic battery failure.
United Launch Alliance intends to phase out all but the heavy-lift version of its Delta 4 rocket as early as 2018 as it seeks to sharpen its competitiveness in the face of a challenge by SpaceX.
Iridium Communications has pushed back the inaugural launch of its second-generation constellation to October, saying payload-software issues need more time to validate.
In April 2004, a 13-year-old Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft dubbed DMSP-F11 experienced a similarly catastrophic failure that produced 56 pieces of cataloged space debris.
A company with offices in the U.S. and New Zealand announced March 2 that it closed a new round of funding to allow it to complete development of a small low-cost launch vehicle by 2016.