On Thursday, the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) launched the GSAT-6A, the country's most powerful communications satellite to date, into orbit. Yesterday, the organization confirmed that it had lost contact with the satellite, possibly due… Engadget RSS Feed
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. It's Friday, and we're celebrating the FCC's approval of SpaceX's satellite internet plan. Also, we've got all the new Apple updates and a new Westworld trailer from HBO. Engadget RSS Feed
Europe plans to exclude the UK from its GPS-like Galileo satellite program because of Brexit, and Britain isn't happy about it. In a letter to the UK government, Europe said that UK businesses may no longer be able to bid on the project and the UK mi… Engadget RSS Feed
Last month SpaceX launched a couple of satellites to test plans for a global internet provider (you can watch another non-internet satellite launch tonight), and now the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) said it will perform a test of… Engadget RSS Feed
While the U.S. and Russia often steal the scene when it comes to wondrous space missions, in Europe the U.K is launching a new satellite that is sure to surprise its international partners. The Eutelsat Quantum satellite, built by the firm Airbus, will be the first commercial satellite equipped to shapeshift while in orbit. Operators will be able to reconfigure the satellite in real time, modifying elements such as its frequency and the areas of the earth it covers.
Speaking with Phys.org, Yohann Leroy, deputy CEO of French satellite operator Eutelsat, said that“what is really new is the level of flexibility that the satellite will provide […] thanks to a combination of technologies that we will put on board the satellite.”
The satellite, set to launch in 2019, will have a 15-year lifespan — with an additional three years taken into consideration for building — and will use its ability to reconfigure to keep up with changing market conditions and differing regulatory parameters. Instead of satellite makers having to predict the market or have their satellites become obsolete fast, the Eutelsat Quantum satellite boasts an extreme flexibility that will keep it ahead of the game.
To give one example of how a hyper-flexible satellite like this might be beneficial, take the marine industry. To track a terminal’s journey across an ocean, you would typically have to use multiple beams from various satellites to cover all of the different regions across the water. Using this tech, a single beam from this one satellite would do the job.
Additionally, traditional satellites are often custom produced, which makes them unique but less adaptable. This satellite, however, would be built following a reproducible standard, which means it could be mass produced. While this may give pause to those concerned about space pollution, it would definitely improve access to satellite technology.
It’s unclear yet whether or not such flexibility will become mainstream in the future, but the new model’s capabilities are promising. What is sure is that the U.K. is making headway in this ambitious niche of the space industry.
Sorry, folks, you'll have to wait a while longer before SpaceX's satellite internet launch takes place. With hours to go, SpaceX has delayed the liftoff from its February 17th target to 9:17AM Eastern on February 21st. According to the company, the… Engadget RSS Feed
For years, Elon Musk has been talking about his plans to launch thousands of low-orbiting satellites that will be able to provide high speed internet to people around the globe. While the details of those satellites have been kept largely under wraps… Engadget RSS Feed
Last May, NASA launched a small, bread loaf-sized satellite into orbit around Earth. Dubbed IceCube, the satellite's mission was to measure cloud ice in our planet's atmosphere — a challenging task that researchers have previously only been able to… Engadget RSS Feed
Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) made history on Saturday, February 3, by using the smallest rocket ever to launch a satellite into orbit. The agency modified an SS-520 sounding rocket with an extra third stage in the nose cone to give the micro-satellite, a 3-kg (6.6-lb) TRICOM-1R, its final boost into orbit.
The launch seems to have gone off without a hitch. JAXA lists the satellite’s status as being in the “nominal” or observation phase, according to the Verge.
JAXA has no plans at this juncture to complete regular flights with its smallest rocket, yet there is a trend in the spaceflight industry that is leading to an uptick in interest for such launches. New Zealand’s Rocket Lab has been working on developing a smaller rocket to fill the gap in the need for smaller-scale trips into space.
SpaceX is clearly the industry leader in terms of satellite launches and International Space Station resupply missions, yet institutions looking to launch smaller satellites are exploring cheaper alternatives to buying a spot on a massive SpaceX launch. Rocket Lab and JAXA are among the first to show much progress in this sector.
JAXA’s achievement will stand in stark contrast to SpaceX’s next milestone, the eagerly awaited launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. This massive launch will stand at the opposite end of the spectrum as the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. SpaceX has been issued an official launch license for a February 6 takeoff.
The future of space travel has room enough for the entire spectrum of launch technology, from the mini-rocket all of the way up to the Falcon Heavy-scale goliaths. Space is a virtually untapped resource holding an abundance of knowledge and utility for those willing to reach out and grab it.