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Chinese partnership to create Tianxian SAR satellite constellation

A Chinese state-owned enterprise and a private firm are partnering to establish a 96-satellite SAR constellation, with the first launch set for February 2022.

The 38th institute of the giant state-owned enterprise China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) will work with private satellite manufacturer Spacety to construct a X and C-band synthetic aperture radar constellation named Tianxian. The constellation will consist of 96 small satellites launched into various planes.

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Satellites capture reinvigorated La Palma volcanic eruption

Satellites have captured stunning new images of the intensifying volcanic eruption on the Spain-owned island of La Palma as new streams of lava spilled out over the weekend.

The revitalized volcanic eruption was accompanied by boulders the size of a house rolling out of the Cumbre Vieja volcano’s crater, where part its cone collapsed on Saturday (Oct. 9), as locals reported dozens of Earth tremors up to 3.8 magnitude since Sunday. The reports signal Cumbre Vieja was still far from going to sleep. 

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope arrives in French Guiana ahead of Dec. 18 launch

A cargo ship carrying the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope arrived in French Guiana on Tuesday (Oct. 12), wrapping up a 16-day ocean voyage that covered 5,800 miles (9,300 kilometers), NASA officials said.

The ship, known as the MN Colibri, departed from Seal Beach in Southern California’s Orange County on Sept. 26. It entered the Panama Canal on Oct. 5, moving from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and then made its way to French Guiana, a French territory on South America’s northeastern coast.

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How to watch NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission launch this week online

Lucy — which will study Trojan asteroids, or asteroids that share the orbit of the giant planet — will fly to space from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. With blast-off targeting 5:34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT), live launch coverage will begin at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) on NASA Television, the NASA app, NASA social media channels and here at Space.com.

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Rocket Lab to launch NASA smallsat using SBIR award

Rocket Lab will launch a NASA technology demonstration satellite under an unconventional arrangement as the agency works on a more standardized approach for launching smallsats.

Rocket Lab announced Oct. 6 that NASA selected the company to launch the Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) spacecraft on an Electron rocket. The 12-unit cubesat will test the deployment of a solar sail using composite booms seven meters long. Those booms, which will unspool over the course of 20 to 30 minutes, are designed to be lighter that traditional metallic booms while also being less susceptible to thermal distortion.

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Why a Labrador crater is the perfect training ground for future moon explorers

One of the most iconic moments of the 20th century was the first step by a human on the surface of another planetary body. That first footprint was, of course, made by Neil Armstrong on the moon on July 21, 1969. Like many of you, I was not alive to witness this historic event, and so have spent much of my career dreaming of the time when humans will once again venture beyond the protection of low Earth orbit, back to the moon, and then on to Mars. That day is getting tantalizingly close with the launch of NASA’s Artemis Program. 

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Soyuz delivers cosmonaut and film crew to ISS

A Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station Oct. 5 carrying a cosmonaut as well as an actress and director who will film scenes for a Russian movie. A Soyuz-2 rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:55 a.m. Eastern and placed the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft into orbit. The Soyuz docked with the Rassvet module of the ISS at 8:22 a.m. Eastern after a two-orbit approach. The spacecraft’s commander, Anton Shkaplerov, had to perform a manual docking after a problem with the automated Kurs docking system.

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Automation a Key Enabler of the Future Space Economy

Robotics and automation are playing a huge role across the rapidly evolving new space economy and value chains adjacent to space. The new space economy is being driven by more than billionaires and tourists wishing to go to the great beyond, or governments seeking to commercialize space missions. 

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