President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 18 federal budget proposal – released on May 23 – includes a few surprises for NASA. While much has been made of the many cuts to social programs in the president’s budget, NASA’s funding remains largely unchanged – with a few notable exceptions. Continue reading
Two years ago, Forecast International published a blog post about a trend toward decreasing launch mass in commercial communications satellites. Since that post has remained popular, we think our readers will be interested in an updated look at trends in launch mass and the commercial satellite industry. Continue reading
Accion Systems is developing an electric propulsion system for small satellites. As the number of small satellites built and launched increases each year, Accion sees a growing opportunity for propulsion systems to guide those spacecraft once they reach orbit around Earth.
International Launch Services (ILS) recently announced that it will introduce a new Proton launch vehicle variant with a larger payload fairing – a clear sign that flexibility is now a key differentiator in the launch vehicle market.[i] Continue reading
On the morning of February 15, 2017, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (designated PSLV-C37) launched the 714-kilogram Cartosat-2 Series Satellite and 103 co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The launch – which marked the 38th consecutively successful PSLV mission out of 39 flights – was one for the record books.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative John Culberson (TX-07) have introduced a bill in Congress to require NASA to develop plans for the future of U.S. human space exploration, with the goal of landing an astronaut on Mars. The plan is called the Mapping a New and Innovative Focus on our Exploration Strategy (MANIFEST) for Human Spaceflight Act. According to a statement released by Senator Cornyn’s office, the plan is based on recommendations of a 2014 National Academies report. Continue reading
Recent Decline Continued, but Stage Set for Renewed Activity in 2017
The year 2016 saw 85 launches into Earth orbit (this count excludes the Falcon 9 that exploded in September, since the explosion occurred during the pre-launch phase). Launches were carried out by nine countries, utilizing 22 different launch vehicle families, built by 13 different manufacturers or organizations. Continue reading
United Launch Alliance (ULA) has announced a new website that enables customers to shop for launch services and sets standard price transparency. It also provides insight into reliability, schedule assurance, and performance of the Atlas V launch vehicle. Continue reading
SpaceX has officially filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build and operate a massive network of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. According to documents submitted to the FCC, the satellite constellation will consist of 4,425 operational satellites along with in-orbit spares. The satellites will operate in 83 orbital planes, at altitudes ranging from 1,110 to 1,325 kilometers. They will operate in Ku- and Ka-bands. Continue reading
After dominating the commercial launch market for years – along with the Ariane 5 – the Proton is seeing a loss in appeal to commercial operators, along with a decline in sales. As a result, ILS has reduced staff and expenses to support only two to three launches per year, rather than its typical seven or eight. Continue reading