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With a small network of satellites around Mars, rovers could navigate autonomously
An artist's concept for a smallsat constellation around Mars for polar exploration. Credit: Serena Molli

When it comes to "on the ground" exploration of Mars, rovers make pretty good advance scouts. From Pathfinder to Perseverance, we've watched as these semi-autonomous robots do what human explorers want to do in the future. Now, engineers are studying ways to expand rover exploration on Mars. One thing they're thinking about: communication satellite constellations for Mars surface navigation.

The current generation of Mars rovers landed in easily accessible places. Other Martian regions, such as the poles, or Valles Marineris, remain pretty much untouched. That's partly because they're difficult to reach and their present challenges. The poles hold a lot of clues to the Martian climate system. Although one cap is known to be mostly water ice, both caps could contain (or be hiding) additional water either in underground lakes or frozen beneath the caps.

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BlueWalker 3, an enormous and bright communications satellite, is genuinely alarming astronomers
Trail from BlueWalker 3 above Kitt Peak telescope in Arizona. Credit: KPNO/NOIRLab/IAU/SKAO/NSF/AURA/R. Sparks

The night sky is a shared wilderness. On a dark night, away from the city lights, you can see the stars in the same way as your ancestors did centuries ago. You can see the Milky Way and the constellations associated with stories of mythical hunters, sisters and journeys.

But like any wilderness, the night sky can be polluted. Since Sputnik 1 in 1957, thousands of satellites and pieces of space junk have been launched into orbit.

For now, satellites crossing the night sky are largely a curiosity. But with the advent of satellite constellations—containing hundreds or thousands of satellites—this could change.

The recent launch of BlueWalker 3, a prototype for a satellite constellation, raises the prospect of bright satellites contaminating our night skies. At 64 square meters, it's the largest commercial communications satellite in low Earth orbit—and very bright.

Pollution of the night sky

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Cognitive Space, a startup based in Houston, Texas, announced Dec. 1 that retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Aaron Prupas has joined the company as a strategic advisor.

The post Cognitive Space hires retired general as strategic advisor appeared first on SpaceNews.

AST SpaceMobile plots $86 million share sale

Thursday, 01 December 2022 13:23
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AST SpaceMobile said Nov. 30 it could raise more than $86 million from selling a chunk of shares as the company looks to accelerate its direct-to-smartphone constellation plans.

The post AST SpaceMobile plots $86 million share sale appeared first on SpaceNews.

China ready to implement moon landing project

Thursday, 01 December 2022 11:35
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Jiuquan, China (XNA) Dec 01, 2022
China has made breakthroughs in the development of the new-generation crewed spaceship, new-generation manned carrier rocket, moon lander, and moon landing spacesuit, stepping closer to its moon landing goal, according to the China Manned Space Agency on Monday. China has completed key technology research and validation of the manned lunar exploration project, forming a moon landing implem
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London, UK (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
Pulsar Fusion, a UK rocket company that has seen its advanced space engines tested in the UK and Switzerland earlier this year, has been awarded funding from the UK Space Agency to develop 'Integrated nuclear fission-based power systems for electric propulsion' The project will be supported by Southampton and Cambridge Universities and Nuclear AMRC. Pulsar Fusion, based in Bletchley, Buck
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Houston TX (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
The Artemis I mission management team met to review the overall status of the flight test and polled "go" for Orion to depart from its distant retrograde orbit, where it has been since Nov. 25. Orion will conduct a burn to depart the orbit at 3:53 p.m. CST Thurs., Dec. 1 and begin its trek back toward Earth. "We are continuing to collect flight test data and buy down risk for crewed flight
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Beijing (XNA) Dec 01, 2022
The six Chinese astronauts from the Shenzhou XIV and Shenzhou XV missions marked a historic moment on Wednesday as they met inside the country's Tiangong space station. It was the first time that six Chinese were in a space station at the same time and the first in-orbit gathering of two Chinese crews. After about two hours of preparatory work following the docking of the Shenzhou XV
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Paris, France (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) (Paris:ETL) has selected Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67 % and Leonardo 33 %) to build a next-generation highly flexible, software-defined satellite (SDS). The Flexsat (for flexible satellite) will be based on Thales Alenia Space's cutting-edge 'Space Inspire' (INstant SPace In-orbit REconfiguration) product line, enabling seamless reconfigurati
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Boston MA (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
In May 2022, the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) payload onboard a small CubeSat satellite was launched into orbit 300 miles above Earth's surface. Since then, TBIRD has delivered terabytes of data at record-breaking rates of up to 100 gigabits per second - 100 times faster than the fastest internet speeds in most cities - via an optical communication link to a ground-based receiver in Califo
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Vilnius, Lithuania (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
French aerospace lab ONERA (Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales) has signed a contract with NanoAvionics, a space mission integrator and satellite manufacturer, for the procurement of two 8U and 6U nanosat platforms, dedicated to ONERA 's FlyLab mission. The contract includes the supply of all the components necessary for the operation of the satellites, but also the in
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West Lafayette IN (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
Michelle Thompson is a geologist. But while "geo" means earth, she studies things that are decidedly unearthly, or at least extraterrestrial: the moon and asteroids. "I study space weathering: how space environments affect tiny mineral particles on planetary surfaces," said Thompson, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences in Purdue University
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Lafayette CO (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
Kayhan Space, a leading provider of spaceflight safety solutions, has been awarded the largest in the latest series of advanced industry grants from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to accelerate development of coordinated autonomous satellite collision avoidance capabilities for its Pathfinder Max software platform. Kayhan Space has been awarded
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New York NY (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
at AWS re:Invent 2022, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it successfully ran a suite of AWS compute and machine learning (ML) software on an orbiting satellite, in a first-of-its-kind space experiment. The experiment, conducted over the past 10 months in low Earth orbit (LEO), was designed to test a faster, more efficient method for customers to collect and analyze valuable space data dir
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Midland TX (SPX) Dec 01, 2022
AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTS) has announced the pricing of its previously announced public offering of its Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (the "Class A Common Stock"). The Company has agreed to sell 13,636,364 shares of Class A Common Stock at a price to the public of $5.50 per share. The Company has granted the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to an additiona
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