A consortium that includes an American aerospace company wants to develop a spaceport in the Scottish Highlands.

The consortium, which includes the U.K. division of Lockheed Martin, wants to develop a launch site on the A’Mhoine peninsula in northern Scotland for launches of vehicles carrying small satellites.

The consortium has met with local officials and submitted a proposal to the U.K. Space Agency, with a goal of having the facility operational by 2020. [The Scotsman]

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Intelsat refinanced more than 10 percent of the company’s debt last week at a higher interest rate. The company completed a debt swap July 5 that replaces $1.5 billion in senior notes due in 2019, at an interest rate of 7.25 percent, with notes due in 2025 at an interest rate of 9.75 percent. The deal, an analyst says, helps “de-risk” part of the company’s $14.5 billion in debt in anticipation of declining transponder pricing and increasing interest rates. Intelsat had hoped to eliminate part of its debt through a merger with OneWeb and investment by Softbank, but that fell through when Intelsat could not work out terms with bondholders. [SpaceNews]

Russian officials have confirmed the crew that will fly to the International Space Station later this month. The officials, as expected, gave their approval Monday to the crew of Sergey Ryazansky of Russia, Randy Bresnik of the U.S. and Paolo Nespoli of ESA to fly to the station on the Soyuz MS-05 mission. That spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Baikonur July 28. [TASS]

A Soyuz rocket will launch 72 smallsats, including spacecraft for four U.S. companies planning constellations, on Friday. The smallsats will fly as secondary payloads on the mission, whose primary payload is the Kanopus-V-IK remote-sensing satellite. Among the secondary payloads are 48 satellites for Planet, which will complete that company’s initial constellation. Also on board are eight satellites for Spire, three for GeoOptics and two for Astro Digital. [SpaceNews]

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will get a close-up look at Jupiter’s Great Red Spot tonight. The spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter for more than a year, will make its next close approach to the planet late this evening, passing about 10,000 kilometers above the planet’s giant, long-lived storm. The flyby will be the closest by any spacecraft to the Great Red Spot and will be studied by the spacecraft’s scientific instruments and camera. [NPR]

Chinese students sealed themselves into a simulated space station Sunday to test life support technologies. The four students from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics will spend 200 days in the LunarPalace-1 lab in a demonstration of closed-loop life support systems. The test is part of Chinese plans for eventual human missions to the moon by the mid-2030s. [Reuters]

Israel and India signed three space-cooperation agreements during a meeting of the countries’ leaders last week. The agreements, signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cover areas of space technology cooperation, including atomic clocks used in navigation satellites. One such clock system has failed in an Indian navigation satellite, requiring the upcoming launch of a replacement. Other agreements cover work on electric propulsion and optical communications links. [SpaceWatch Middle East]

Ghana’s first satellite is in orbit after deployment from the ISS last week. GhanaSat-1, a 1U cubesat, was delivered to the station last month on a Dragon cargo spacecraft and deployed Friday along with several other cubesats. The satellite was built by students at All Nations University in Ghana and will take photos as well as broadcast the country’s national anthem and other independence songs. [teleSUR]

Vice President Mike Pence apologized for touching a piece of hardware marked with a “Do Not Touch” sign at the Kennedy Space Center. Photos from Pence’s tour of KSC Thursday showed him touching a metal Orion component right next to a sign advising people not to touch the item. The photos stoked both outrage and humor on social media Friday. Pence, in a tweet Friday afternoon, jokingly blamed the incident on Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who accompanied Pence on the tour. NASA said that Pence didn’t damage the hardware, which would have been cleaned anyway prior to installation on the spacecraft. [Politico]

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...