Greg Clark, business secretary in the British government, said this week that “we want our companies and universities to continue participating in key EU space programs” such as Copernicus.
Such participation would have to be negotiated as part of the U.K.’s Brexit talks with the EU.
The comments came at an event to mark the completion of the latest Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-5P, at an Airbus factory in the U.K. [BBC]
Planet has won a second contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to provide satellite imagery. The company received a one-year contract valued at $14 million this week after a seven-month, $20 million pilot contract ended. NGA, in its statement about the award, said no other company could provide global imagery with a high revisit rate for both humanitarian and intelligence needs. The images are considered complementary to the high-resolution images the agency acquires from DigitalGlobe. [SpaceNews]
NASA is continuing to study a spacecraft processing mishap that could delay next month’s launch of a communications satellite. NASA said Thursday it was working with spacecraft manufacturer Boeing on a plan to replace an S-band omnidirectional antenna on the TDRS-M satellite, which was apparently damaged during final closeout work late last week. The satellite is scheduled to launch Aug. 3 on an Atlas 5, and NASA said that date remains under review. TDRS-M is the third in the latest series of satellites that provide communications for the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit spacecraft. [SpaceNews]
Gogo and two satellite operators are in a heated debate about whether it’s better to lease satellite capacity or own it. Gogo, which provides airline inflight connectivity services, has argued that its approach, where it leases capacity on satellites from companies such as Intelsat and SES, gives it access to more satellites and more capacity than Inmarsat and ViaSat, who own the satellites that provide competing services. Executives with Inmarsat and ViaSat take issue with those claims, stating that their systems have more than enough capacity to support inflight services as well as other customers. [SpaceNews]
A Trump administration nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank could be on his way out. White House officials are reportedly considering dropping the nomination of Scott Garrett as head of the bank given growing opposition to him from industry and members of the Senate, who must confirm the nomination. Garrett was critic of the bank when he was a member of the House. Garrett was one of two people nominated by President Trump earlier this year for open seats on the Ex-Im Bank’s board, which current lacks a quorum needed for approving large deals such as financing for commercial satellites and launches. [Politico]
A Progress spacecraft undocked from the ISS Thursday and reentered several hours later. The Progress MS-05 spacecraft undocked from the station at 1:46 p.m. Eastern and reentered about three hours later. The spacecraft had been at the station since February, and its departure clears a docking port for a launch of Soyuz spacecraft with three new crewmembers next week. [TASS]
Plans for an apartment building near SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, have come under criticism from the company. The Hawthorne Planning Commission approved plans this week for the six-story apartment building with 300 units that will be built on industrial land adjacent to SpaceX’s headquarters and factory. The head of the city’s chamber of commerce said more than 700 company employees have expressed an interest in leasing apartments there. However, SpaceX executives are opposed to the building, citing growth of its “industrial manufacturing footprint” around the factory. The Hawthorne City Council will vote on the proposal next month. [Daily Breeze]
Jeff Bezos offered an aerial view of Blue Origin’s rocket manufacturing plant in Florida. Bezos, in his first post on the social network Instagram, released a video showing the exterior of the factory nearing completion outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center. The video zooms in to Bezos, sitting on the factory’s roof holding a sign saying “Rocket Factory Coming Soon.” The factory will build Blue Origin’s New Glenn rockets. [The Verge]
You can now tour the ISS using Google Street View. Google unveiled the new feature of Street View, typically used to provide ground-level views from streets as part of Google Maps. The Street View images of the ISS were taken by astronauts on the station earlier this year. [GeekWire]
An Apollo 11 lunar sample bag sold at auction Thursday for $1.8 million, falling short of expectations. Sotheby’s, the auction house that held the auction for the sample bag and other space artifacts, had expected the bag to sell for $2 to 4 million. The sale price, though, still set a record for the most valuable American space artifact sold to date. The bag was purchased for $995 by a Illinois woman in 2015 after the U.S. Marshals Service accidentally consigned it for auction. [collectSPACE]