Tag Archives: satellite

China Sends Remote-Sensing Satellite into Orbit

By on Monday, August 18th, 2014

China on Saturday successfully launched a Long March 4C carrier rocket with the Yaogan XX satellite, Xinhua news agency reported.

The carrier lifted off at 1:45 p.m. local time (05:45 GMT) from the launch pad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country’s northwestern Gobi desert.

The satellite is expected “to conduct scientific experiments, carry out land surveys, monitor crop yields and aid in preventing and reducing natural disasters,” according to Xinhua.

The agency said that it was the 190th launch of the nation’s Long March rocket family.

In December 2013, China’s high-resolution Ziyuan I-03 satellite, developed by Chinese and Brazilian experts, failed to enter the orbit after its launch from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in the northern Shanxi Province due to a malfunctioning rocket.

China’s space program dates back to October 1956, when the country’s first rocket research institution-the fifth Academy of the Ministry of National Defense was established. By 2020, China plans to build its own space station to operate in orbit and create a space laboratory.

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China, Russia to cooperate in satellite navigation

By on Friday, July 11th, 2014

China and Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to cooperate in developing navigation satellite systems. The document was signed on Monday by the China Satellite Navigation Office and Russian Federal Space Agency on the sidelines of the on-going China-Russia expo in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said he hopes that the two countries will take this opportunity to establish a working mechanism, make clear the direction of cooperation, select good cooperative programs and create working plans.

Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said the two countries plan to build monitoring stations in each other’s territory, which will promote the integration of the two satellite navigation systems and improve their performance.

“Our cooperation in the field of satellite navigation never targets a third party,” he said, adding that the integration of multiple satellite navigation systems must be the trend ahead internationally.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the two systems can complement each other and Russia is also looking forward to cooperating with China in other aerospace fields, such as the exploration of the Moon and Mars.

China’s homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System began providing initial positioning, navigation and timing operational services to China and its surrounding areas in December 2011.

The Beidou system is compatible and interoperable with the world’s other major global navigation satellite systems, including Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System, the U.S. GPS system and the EU’s Galileo Positioning System.

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Russia loses its last early warning satellite

By on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper claims citing a source in the Russian Defense Ministry that the last satellite of the Oko-1 ballistic missile attack early warning system has been lost.

In April, the 71XC satellite codenamed Cosmos-2479 stopped sending signals and became de-facto unmanageable, the source said, adding that attempts to reanimate it had failed. The same month the ministry ordered the satellite to be removed from combat duty.

The press service of the Lavochkin Research and Production Association, Russia’s key satellite maker, declined comment, saying it was not authorized to discuss military programs. The spokespersons for the Russian Space Forces, when reached by the Kommersant, refused to elaborate on the satellite’s current condition.

According to the newspaper, the satellite is worth more than 1.5 billion rubles, took about two years to create and had the expected service life of five-to-seven years. So far, of the eight early warning satellites launched by Russia since 1991, only two, Cosmos-2224 and Cosmos 2379, lasted longer than five years, the Kommersant says.

The previous 71X6 satellite (Cosmos-2440), launched in June 2008, went wrong in February 2010, the newspaper recalls. The loss of the satellites means that the Oko-1 system cannot function properly, the Kommersant concludes.

Oko-1 currently has two 73D6 satellites in high-elliptic orbits. They are operating normally. But the system requires six satellites to be able to fully perform its mission. As things stand now, it can only do it three hours a day, the source acknowledged.

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Fully qualified Flash Memory optimizes Satellite Data Storage

By on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

The flash memory Solid-State Recorder (SSR) products of Airbus Defense and Space have passed all NASA space qualification test requirements successfully. In addition, the company’s flash-based SSR has exceeded 20 months of operation in orbit onboard SPOT 6, the first commercial satellite to deploy this technology.

The Electronics Business Line of Airbus Defense and Space is the only company with a commercially available SSR with flash technology certified for space applications. For US customers, Airbus Defense and Space flash memory is qualified in accordance with NASA GSFC Parts Document EEE- INST-002.

“Flash Solid-State Mass Memory provides far greater storage capacity at a lower operating cost than SDRAM. The advantages have been confirmed on SPOT 6 where our flash SSR has a flawless track-record in an Earth observation mission,” explains Tim Pike, Product Manager for Payload Data Handling at Airbus Defense and Space Electronics.

“Achieving both NASA and ESA qualification standards assures customers worldwide that our flash technology is a viable choice for their next mission.”

Flash memory offers significant reduction in SSR size, weight and power consumption as well as substantial cost savings.

Compared with previous SSR generations based on SDRAM technology, SSR units based on flash technology typically provide 60% higher storage capacity with 2.5 times less mass and 5 times less size, while consuming 3.5 times less power.

The new NEMO SSR (on display at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from May 19-22, 2014) provides 0.5Tbit storage capacity in only 6.5Kg while consuming less than 10W in simultaneous record and replay operation. Since flash technology is non-volatile, the unit can be completely powered down while retaining the stored data.

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Russian Proton rocket carrying advanced satellite crashes

By on Friday, May 16th, 2014

A Russian Proton rocket with an advanced satellite on board crashed outside of Kazakhstan’s territory after lift-off, RIA Novosti cited a source as saying.

There are so far no reports of damage or casualties.

The rocket could have crashed over the Altai Mountains or the Pacific Ocean, a source told RIA Novosti.

All other launches of Proton-type rockets will be halted at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan until the reason for the crash is determined, a source told RIA Novosti.

There was an emergency engines shutdown on the 540th second following the launch, the Russian Federal Space Agency said, as quoted by Itar-Tass.

The Proton-M rocket, carrying an advanced Express-AM4R satellite, was launched on schedule from Baikonur on Friday. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite.

The spacecraft weighed 5.8 metric tons and had 63 transponders providing X-band, C-band, S-band, L-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band capacity along with 10 antennas installed.

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Israel launches cutting-edge satellite to spy on Middle East adversaries

Israel’s Defense Ministry has successfully launched Ofek 10, a next-generation satellite that will provide highly-targeted surveillance of specific locations – such as Iran’s nuclear sites.

“We continue to increase the vast qualitative and technological advantage over our neighbors,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at the launch at a test site in central Israel, Israeli media reported.

“Our ability to continuously reach new levels of accomplishment, as with this launch, is what allows us to live a productive and prosperous life. Blessed is the state, and its people.”

Ofek 10 is the seventh Israeli satellite currently in space, and the first launched by the Defense Ministry since its predecessor, Ofek 9, four years ago.

But it functions in a fundamentally new way – instead of automatically sweeping through vast swathes of territory with its cameras, it can momentarily switch between different locations.

This is due to the fact that its operators can alter the orbit of the 330 kilogram satellite between 400 kilometers and 600 kilometers from the Earth’s surface in its 90-minute circumnavigation of the planet, while zooming in to take high-resolution images of objects as small as 18 inches across.

“The satellite has exceptional photographic ability,” said Ofer Doron, CEO of the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Space Division, which was responsible for developing the satellite. “It’s designed to deliver very precise, high quality images under all conditions.”

Apart from Israel, other countries that operate surveillance satellites include the US, Russia, China, France, Italy, Britain, South Korea, India, Japan, Ukraine and Iran.

Of these nations, Iran poses the greatest threat to security in the eyes of Israeli officials, who have repeatedly insisted that Tehran is on the verge of developing a prototype nuclear weapon. Israel also says it plans to use the new satellite to monitor hostile militant groups, presumably such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

In fact, for security reasons, Israel launches its satellites to the west, and not to the east, sacrificing payload, but making sure that no technologically sensitive debris fall on the territory of its rivals, particularly if any satellite fails to reach orbit and plunges to Earth.

But Ofek 10 avoided this fate, and has already begun relaying visuals and information from orbit. It is expected to become fully operational within three months.

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Russian Lawmakers Approve Satellite Navigation Hub in Nicaragua

By on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Russian lawmakers have endorsed draft legislation to allow the country to set up a satellite navigation monitoring system in Nicaragua, a Cabinet committee said Tuesday.

“The agreement is aimed at creating an organizational and legal framework for mutually beneficial partnership between Russia and Nicaragua in terms of exploring and using space for peaceful purposes,” the official statement explained.

Under the agreement, Russia would set up a network of land-based control stations in the Latin American country to monitor and augment the accuracy of navigation satellites in Earth orbit.

It is hoped the system will boost Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system, the only current alternative to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS) to feature global coverage and comparable accuracy.

The Nicaragua accords also propose to establish a more general cooperation program on space exploration between the two nations, including the allotment of intellectual property rights and procedures for customs controls.

In 2010, Russia finished the deployment of the full GLONASS constellation of 24 satellites, enabling complete global coverage. Since that time, the design of the satellites has undergone several upgrades, with billions of dollars spent on supporting the system.

Above all, the Russian government expects the agreement to require no additional funding. “All costs of setting up and equipping protected sites where technological knowledge can be tested in total security will be covered by partner organizations,” the legislative committee that drafted the bill said.

The draft law has been passed on to the government and is set to be debated in the near future.

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