Domestic space launches planned

The federal government hopes to have domestic commercial space launch facilities within the next three years. “For many years, Canadian satellites have launched from sites in other countries,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra explained January 20, adding that the government would begin developing the regulatory requirements, safety standards and licensing conditions. He also said the government is ready to approve private-sector launches in the interim on a case-by-case basis. [node:read-more:link]

Satellite imagery firm being sold

Colorado-based Maxar Technologies, a publicly-traded company which supplies satellite imagery to U.S. national security agencies, has announced a $6.4-billion takeover by Advent International, a Boston private equity firm. Both sides say the takeover would benefit Maxar in the long term but a previous acquisition, of the British aerospace company Cobham in 2020 eventually saw it sold off in pieces within 18 months. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. allies limited in space cooperation

The head of U.S. military space policy is trying to untangle a knot of security classifications makes it hard to share key operational information with its friends. John Plumb says that while the “asymmetric advantage” afforded by having allies is something that neither China nor Russia can match, “it’s only true if we actually find a way to train and fight with them at the operational level.” [node:read-more:link]

Space Command restructured

U.S. Space Command has been restructured in a bid to streamline its operations. The announcement effectively formalizes a proposal signed off last year by its commander, General Commander Jim Dickinson. He says “the alignment of task forces and operational centers under one commander will provide . . . a command-and-control structure that enables rapid action to deliver agile and responsive space effects in support of integrated deterrence.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada in upcoming Space Flag exercise

The Department of National Defence confirmed November 17 that three members of 7 wing (Space) will participate alongside Australian and British personnel in a U.S. Space Force exercise next month. Space Flag 23-1 is the latest in a series of exercises which began in 2017 under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force before Space Command was established and it now incorporates more cyber and intelligence personnel. [node:read-more:link]

New Canadian space commander outlines priorities

Brigadier General Mike Adamson, commander of 3 Canadian Space Division, says replacing Canada’s space tracking satellite is “the most important” priority for the new organization which was stood up in July. He says it would emphasize that space is central to “everything that we do” and would align Canada with its allies. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese rocket sparks international fireworks

NASA says the uncontrolled plunge into the southern ocean today of Chinese rocket booster was irresponsibly risky because its counterpart yet again failed to share trajectory information. “It is critical that all spacefaring nations are responsible and transparent in their space activities and follow established best practices, especially . . . debris that could very well result in major damage or loss of life.” [node:read-more:link]

New Space Force commander

Gen Chance Saltzman was sworn in as head of the U.S. Space Force November 2, succeeding Gen Jay Raymond, who had led since its inauguration in December 2019. “A resilient, ready and combat capable Space Force is indispensable to deterrence,” he said, adding that “in the worst case, if deterrence fails, the Space Force will be an indispensable component of our joint force at war.” [node:read-more:link]

Military and space programs trouble Boeing

Reporting a third-quarter loss of nearly US$3.3 billion, Boeing said October 26 that a charge of nearly $1.2 billion on its 737-based KC-46A Pegasus tanker as well as “unfavourable performance” in other military programs were key factors. Another significant cost was a $2.8 billion against its National Aeronautics & Space Administration commercial crew program. [node:read-more:link]

NASA changes asteroid orbit

The U.S. National Aeronautics & Space Administration says it did succeed in changing a 160-metre asteroid’s orbit around a larger body by ramming a spacecraft into it in late September. “NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us,” the agency’s administrator said October 11. [node:read-more:link]

China endangering safety in space?

Sharing information about space traffic is generally acknowledged as a critical international safety issue but a recent international meeting in Hawaii was told that China is uncooperative. “They’re just simply not sharing information,” said Richard DalBello of the U.S. National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration, echoed by a European Commission delegate. “We cannot safely operate in space if a major space participant isn’t actively engaged.” [node:read-more:link]

France unveils its “war economy”

Following up on a commitment this summer by Defence Minister Sebastian Lecornu, the French government today unveiled a €43.9-billion defence budget for 2023 in a move toward a “war economy.” That total would amount to a 7.2 per cent increase from 20220 and would be 36 per cent higher than in 2017. Equipment would account for €38 billion of next year’s budget but there also would be increase spending on cyber, space and seabed defence. [node:read-more:link]

NASA scrubs moon launch

After months of tests, troubleshooting and repairs, NASA's long-overdue Artemis-1 moon launch with an uncrewed capsule was scrubbed early today due to problems with one of the massive launch vehicle’s rockets. “This is a very complicated … system and all those things have to work,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “You don't want to light the candle until it's ready to go.” That now is expected to be September 2 at the earliest. [node:read-more:link]

Europe looking for new satellite launcher

Having lost access to Russia’s space launch facilities in neighbouring Kazakhstan, the European Space Agency has begun discussions with SpaceX and potentially other service providers. about using their facilities. “There are two and a half options that we're discussing,” ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher has confirmed. The other prospects include Japan and India but he considers the U.S. company “more operational.” [node:read-more:link]


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