Vega Launch – Europe’s Newest Satellite Launcher

Tomorrow, 13th February 2012 will see the launch of Europe’s newest satellite launch vehicle, Vega, from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Spaceport at Kourou, weather permitting. This first test flight Vega launch will carry 9 payloads – seven Cubesat satellites plus two Italian Space Agency satellites.

The video above provides an extremely interesting overview of the Vega programme. The project is controlled and managed from ESA’s ESRIN Centre for Earth Observation at Frascati, just south of Rome. An idyllic location, given it is at the heart of some of Italy’s finest vineyards. [Read more…]

WGS-4 Military Communications Satellite Launch

ULA Launch of Boeing WGS-4 Satellite

ULA Launch of Boeing WGS-4 Satellite

Boeing has received the first on-orbit signals from the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite it is delivering to the U.S. Air Force. The signals indicate that WGS-4, the first in the Block II series, is healthy and ready to begin orbital manoeuvres and operational testing.
Further detailed information can be found on Boeing’s website here.

WGS-4 launched on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV vehicle on 19th January 2012 at 7:38 p.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Controllers confirmed initial contact with the spacecraft 58 minutes later at 8:36 p.m. Eastern time at a ground station in Dongara, Australia. Boeing’s Mission Control Centre in El Segundo, California confirmed that the satellite is functioning normally.

The dramatic launch video, photographs and further information can be found on ULA’s website here.

WGS-4 is an extremely advanced satellite operating at the established X-Band and the high frequency Ka-Band. It uses phased array, shaped beam, steerable spotbeams to provide coverage to support coalition forces [Read more…]

Watch the Mars Science Lab (MSL) Launch Here