Archived posts from category ‘Space’

19.05.13 What Happened to the Pentagon’s Formation-Flying Satellite?

The U.S. military has cancelled a seven-year, $200-million effort to develop a new kind of satellite — one comprising groups of small, formation-flying craft orbiting in tight-knit formations and sharing data wirelessly.

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Danger Room: After $200 Million, Darpa Gives Up on Formation-Flying Satellites

Space News broke the story of F6′s cancellation today. Brad Tousley, the new director of Darpa’s Tactical Technology Office, told the trade publication he killed off the program after a recent review of research programs. Tousley told Space News he based his decision on schedule delays, technical and management problems and the Pentagon’s lack of interest in F6.

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22.01.13 Satellites Observe Mali War

Commercial satellite operator GeoEye sends along these images of the week-old, French-led intervention in Islamist-controlled northern Mali.


Linguistic Roots of China’s January Surprise

Rumor is China will conduct its third major anti-satellite missile test in six years on Jan. 11. Not coincidentally, the two previous tests also occurred on Jan. 11 in 2007 and 2010. China also flew its J-20 stealth fighter prototype for the first time on Jan. 11, 2011.

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Danger Room: Secret Space Plane Set to Launch on Mystery Mission Today

After a delay of nearly two months owing to a technical glitch, the Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane is set to blast off again from Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop an Atlas rocket on Tuesday.

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Pacific Standard: A Great Leap Forward

On a Monday afternoon in June, belated history was made 213 miles above the Earth’s surface. At 2:07 p.m. Beijing time, the Chinese Shenzhou-9 space capsule, carrying three astronauts, plugged into a 31-inch-wide receptacle on China’s unoccupied Tiangong-1 space station. At the moment the two vehicles connected, by way of a yellow-painted latch, China became only the third nation, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union, to dock two spacecraft in orbit.


Danger Room: Air Force’s Secret Space Plane Prepped for New Launch

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane is now readying for its third space mission, slated to begin in October. And perhaps not surprising for the hush-hush orbital drone, the third time into space remains as secretive as the first two. Next month, the X-37B will blast off again aboard an Atlas 5 [...]

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Danger Room: Syrian Tanks Pummel Rebel City as Satellites Watch

Three successive overhead snapshots by orbiting civilian satellites provide the best, unclassified, big-picture view to date of the more than two-month-old battle for one of Syria’s key cities. Since late July troops loyal to embattled Syrian president Bashar Al Assad have waged a relentless air and ground campaign against rebels in Aleppo, a city of two million near the border with Turkey.

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Danger Room: Nowhere to Hide: Secret Spy Sat Agency Plans Unblinking Array

The U.S. has a vast constellation of spy satellites in orbit. But these surveillance spacecraft have traditionally only been able to gaze down on a few small areas of the planet at a time, like flashlights probing the dark. And this, only with careful advance planning by human operators on the ground. America’s satellites helped monitor and map bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan compound, but had to be told where to look by intel agents who gleaned key information from detained terror suspects and al-Qaeda couriers they were tracking.

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Danger Room: Spy Satellite Companies Form Space Monopoly

Earlier this year, the spy satellite industry was hit hard by defense budget cuts. For the top two commercial satellite companies, which survive largely by providing imagery to the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, the cuts left only enough money for one to survive. Now budget austerity has forced the companies to merge together and create a new space monopoly with control over what we see from orbit.

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Axe on Stop Imperialism

Listen as I discuss Special Operations Forces in Africa and North Korea plus the Chinese space program with Eric Draitser at Stop Imperialism.

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Danger Room: Video: Secret Space Plane Shatters Orbital Record as Chinese Rival Looms

The second copy of the Air Force’s X-37B robotic space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California early Saturday morning, ending a record-breaking 469-day orbital mission that began atop an Atlas rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on March 5, 2011. The safe landing of Orbital Test Vehicle 2 after more than 15 months in space is an indisputable triumph for the U.S. military and space industry. Much less certain is the X-37′s future. Budget cuts, labor woes and the looming specter of a Chinese rival could blunt the diminutive robo-shuttle’s orbital edge.

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