India’s space agency ISRO expects foreign customers to cover half the cost of its next Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission.
That launch, scheduled for next week, will carry only three Indian satellites, including the primary payload, Cartosat-2D.
A total of 104 satellites will fly on the PSLV, including 88 Dove cubesats from Earth-imaging company Planet.
ISRO did not disclose exactly how much revenue the launch will generate from those foreign customers. [PTI]
A tornado damaged NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans Tuesday. The tornado caused damage to at least two buildings, including the main manufacturing building, which suffered roof damage. All 3,500 employees of the center are accounted for, with five suffering minor injuries. Michoud, previously used to build space shuttle external tanks and Saturn 5 first stages, is now being used to support assembly of the Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System core stage. No Orion or SLS hardware at Michoud was damaged by the storm. The facility will remain closed through Wednesday. [SpaceNews]
Orbital ATK has filed suit against DARPA regarding that agency’s satellite servicing program. In the suit, filed Tuesday, Orbital argued that DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program violates national space policy through the government development of a system that competes with private efforts, specifically Orbital’s own Mission Extension Vehicle. DARPA has not made a formal award for the RSGS program yet, but a statement briefly posted by DARPA Mondaysaid that Space Systems Loral had won the competition. [Breaking Defense]
Intelsat has yet to decide if it will file an insurance claim against a new satellite that suffered an engine problem. Intelsat 33e entered service last month through an extended orbit-raising process required when the spacecraft’s main engine malfunctioned after its August launch. Intelsat previously stated that the use of maneuvering thrusters to raise its orbit will likely shorten the spacecraft’s lifetime by 18 months. The company is still considering whether to file a claim for a 10 percent loss of service, valued at $40 million. [SpaceNews]
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) said Tuesday that is supports development of NASA’s SLS. Alan Stern, chairman of the board of the CSF, said in a speech that the organization considers SLS “a resource that benefits commercial spaceflight” and that the CSF wants to be clear to NASA and political leaders that it supports, rather than opposes, the vehicle. Many commercial space advocates have previously opposed the SLS, and two CSF member companies, Blue Origin and SpaceX, are developing their own heavy-lift vehicles projected to be less expensive than the SLS. [SpaceNews]
Japan and the U.S. have successfully tested a next-generation missile defense interceptor. The Standard Missile 3 Block 2A vehicle flew a successful intercept test flight Feb. 4 from a U.S. Navy vessel in the Pacific off Hawaii. The SM-3 Block 2A, jointly developed by the U.S. and Japan, offers increased range over Block 1 versions of the SM-3. [SpaceNews]
An Arizona county will appeal a court ruling voiding an agreement it had with high-altitude balloon company World View. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to appeal a decision by a district court last week that ruled the county’s deal to build a new headquarters for World View violated state law and the Arizona constitution. County commissioners voted along party lines to appeal the ruling, arguing that similar incentive strategies are used elsewhere in the state. [Tucson News Now]
Neil Gehrels, a scientist involved in several missions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, passed away Monday. Gehrels’s health had declined recently while battling pancreatic cancer. Gehrels served as principal investigator on NASA’s Swift mission to study gamma-ray bursts, and worked on several other high-energy astrophysics programs. In addition, he was project scientist for the Wide Field Infrared Surveyor Telescope (WFIRST) mission, currently in its early stages of development. Goddard also marked the passing of Phil Sabelhaus, a longtime Goddard employee who was a manager on several spacecraft programs there, including the James Webb Space Telescope and Landsat 9. [NASA/GSFC]
The voice of Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center is receiving an award. Rob Navias, who has worked in public affairs at JSC since 1993, will receive the 2017 Space Communicator Award from the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation in April. Navias was the lead commentator for many shuttle missions, as well as missions to the ISS and other activities there. [NASA/JSC]