Trace Gas Orbiter Concludes Aerobraking ahead of Final Orbit Trimming, Science Operations

ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter circling Mars since October 2016 this week finished a delicate aero-braking campaign of nearly one year that moved the spacecraft from a highly elliptical orbit into a nearly circular Low Mars Orbit in preparation for a final set of trimming maneuvers and the start of a highly anticipated science mission.

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Chinese Long March 2D Launches Earthquake Research Satellite & Six MicroSatellites

China launched a Long March 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday carrying a group of seven satellites from China, Italy, Argentina and Denmark including an innovative experiment to study the ionospheric precursors of Earthquakes to evaluate whether forecasting of strong Earthquakes will be possible from an orbital vantage point.

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2017 Space Launch Statistics

The year 2017 saw a total of 90 known orbital launch attempts from seven nations and space ports in eight different countries. 2017 had the second most orbital launch attempts of any year in the current century, short of 92 launches in 2014 and showing a slight increase from 2016 that had 85 known launch attempts.

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Soyuz MS-05 with Three-Nation Crew Targets Thursday Landing in Freezing Kazakh Steppe

Three International Space Station crew members from Russia, Italy and the U.S. are on the verge of closing out a four-and-a-half month space flight, set for a parachute-and-rocket assisted touchdown in the Kazakh steppe on Thursday aboard their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.

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Ariane 5 Closes 2017 with Four-Satellite Delivery for European Galileo Navigation System

Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the Guiana Space Center on Tuesday on its second mission in support of the Galileo Navigation Satellite System, aiming to add the next four members to the growing constellation set to reach operational strength in 2018 to begin offering global navigation services.

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Photos: Ariane 5 Rolls Out for Liftoff with Four Galileo Navigation Satellites

Europe’s Ariane 5 workhorse launch vehicle rolled to the ELA-3 launch pad at the Guiana Space Center on December 11, 2017 in preparation for launch with the second group of four Galileo satellites to take the navigation system one step closer to reaching its fully operational capability.

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NASA Awards Launch Contracts for Sentinel-6A & Landsat 9 to SpaceX & ULA

NASA announced a pair of new launch contracts this week for the Landsat 9 mission and the joint U.S.-European Sentinel-6A satellite, set to launch in 2020/21 atop Atlas V and Falcon 9 rockets, respectively.

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Sentinel-5P Atmospheric Monitoring Satellite Rides into Orbit atop Converted Ballistic Missile

A Russian ICBM-turned-space-launch-vehicle lifted off from a remote Cosmodrome north of Moscow on Friday, boosting into orbit a satellite joining the world’s largest environmental monitoring constellation.

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Vega Rocket Successfully Lifts Israeli-Built Earth-Watching Satellites for Science & Reconnaissance

The tenth Vega rocket blasted off from French Guiana Tuesday night, lighting up the edge of the Amazon before swinging to the north to dispatch a pair of Israeli-built satellites into two different orbits via a complex multi-burn mission by the launcher’s upper stage.

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Video: Vega ups to 10/10 with successful Nighttime Launch from French Guiana

Europe’s Vega rocket lifted off from the ZLV Launch Site at the Guiana Space Center at 1:58:33 UTC on August 2, 2017 – heading off on a multi-orbit mission with a pair of Israeli-built satellites.

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