“Anomaly” forces Arianespace to delay satellite launch
The company said early Tuesday that an “anomaly” took place prior to the Ariane 5’s rollout to the launch pad.
The unspecified anomaly involved a fluid connector between the vehicle’s upper stage and the launch table.
Arianespace said it will announce a new launch date for the mission, carrying the EchoStar 18 and BRIsat commuincations satellites, “very soon.” [Arianespace]
Patti Grace Smith, the former head of the FAA’s commercial space transportation office, has passed away. Smith died Sunday of cancer, to the surprise and shock of much of the industry. Smith served as FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation for 11 years, guiding the office through developments such as reusable launch vehicles, suborbital spacecraft and new spaceports. After retiring in 2008, she worked as a consultant and served on a number of committees, including the NASA Advisory Council and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. [SpaceNews]
Roscosmos confirmed Monday that the next Soyuz mission to the station will be delayed. The state space corporation said that Soyuz MS-01 launch, previously scheduled for June 24, has been pushed back to July 7 to allow for additional tests of the spacecraft’s software. Earlier Russian media reports said there were concerns the spacecraft would start rolling uncontrollably during docking because of a software flaw. The delayed launch won’t affect the return of a Soyuz from the station next week, or two commercial cargo missions slated for launch in July. [SpaceNews]
Two key House members are asking NOAA why a commercial remote sensing license has been delayed for years. Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the full House Science Committee and its space subcommittee, sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Monday asking about delays in a license for infrared imagery from DigitalGlobe’s Worldview-3 satellite. The company said last month that it has been waiting more than three years on a license to sell high-resolution infrared imagery from the satellite. [SpaceNews]
Weather is not looking good for Thursday’s scheduled Delta 4 Heavy launch.Forecasts estimate a 40 percent chance of acceptable weather for the launch of a National Reconnaissance Office payload, scheduled for 1:59 p.m. Eastern. If the rocket does not launch Thursday, the next launch opportunity is Saturday, with an 80 percent chance of favorable weather. [Florida Today]
Defense Secretary Ash Carter plans to meet with Elon Musk on Wednesday.Peter Cook, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said at a Monday briefing that the two would meet to “find out what’s going on in the world of innovation.” The Pentagon did not disclose additional details about the meeting, which is private. [SpaceNews]
NASA’s Glenn Research Center has a new deputy director. Marla E. Pérez-Davis, formerly the deputy director for research and engineering at the center, will be the center’s overall deputy director, NASA announced Monday. She fills the position previously held by Janet Kavandi, who became center director earlier this year. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
A satellite communications company is facing new allegations from the Indian government. India’s Enforcement Directorate notified Devas Multimedia that more than $85 million in foreign investment it took may not have complied with conditions set by the Indian government, including that the agreements between the company and foreign investors be subject to Indian law. Devas has been in a long-running dispute with Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, over transponder leases, and won a $672 million award from an international arbitrator last year. [The Hindu]
India’s prime minister paid his respects at the space shuttle Columbia memorial Monday at Arlington National Cemetery. Narendra Modi, on a visit to the United States, visited the memorial with family members of Indian-born Kalpana Chawla, a NASA astronaut who died on the STS-107 mission in 2003. Also in attendance was NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, who said cooperation between NASA and Indian space agency ISRO has “never been stronger.” [India Times]