Tuesday, January 19, 2021

FIRST UP | Boeing completes CST-100 software recertification • Today's Starlink launch postponed 24 hours
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A SpaceNews daily newsletter | Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Top Stories

SpaceX has postponed a Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites scheduled for this morning. The company announced Monday night that the launch, which was scheduled for 8:23 a.m. Eastern this morning, has been delayed to 8:02 a.m. Eastern Wednesday to "allow additional time for pre-launch inspections." Weather conditions in the booster recovery zone in the Atlantic prompted a slip from Monday to Tuesday. The launch is the first of two Falcon 9 flights scheduled for this week, with the other the Transporter-1 dedicated smallsat rideshare mission. [Twitter @SpaceX]

Boeing says it has completed a requalification of the software on its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle. Boeing said Monday it had reviewed the software for the spacecraft and verified the processes used to develop and test it. That software was blamed for problems on Starliner's first uncrewed test flight in December 2019 that truncated the mission and prevented a docking with the International Space Station. Boeing is preparing for a second uncrewed test flight, currently set for launch in late March. [SpaceNews]

A startup that collects data on radiofrequency transmissions will launch its first operational cubesat this week. Aurora Insight will fly the Bravo cubesat, built by NanoAvonics, on the SpaceX Transporter-1 launch. The company plans to use data from Bravo and a second cubesat, Charlie, to augment terrestrial sensors that gather data to map  the availability of radio frequency spectrum and wireless infrastructure. The company flew a technology demonstration cubesat, Alpha, in late 2018. [SpaceNews]

Other News

A court will allow a legal challenge to a Scottish spaceport to proceed. A Scottish court ruled that a judicial review of the proposed Space Hub Sutherland spaceport can continue, with a one-day hearing scheduled for April. Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, the largest private landowner in Scotland, sought the review because of what he said were environmental concerns about the proposed spaceport. He is also an investor in a competing spaceport project in the Shetland Islands. [The Herald (Scotland)]

Samples collected by China's Chang'e-5 lunar mission may have a lower density than expected. Chinese scientists said the lower density would explain why the spacecraft returned 1.73 kilograms of material rather than the expected 2 kilograms, even though the spacecraft completed its sampling work ahead of schedule. Officials said they were establishing plans to share samples with other nations, and wouldn't rule out doing so with the United States despite restrictions in U.S. law regarding bilateral cooperation between NASA and Chinese organizations. [Reuters]

ISRO is getting into the merchandise business. The Indian space agency recently announced an opportunity for companies to work with the agency on creating space-themed merchandise involving the ISRO logo or linked to its missions. Such merchandise "can play a game-changing role in creating awareness and kindling interest" by the public in ISRO's missions, the agency said in its announcement. ISRO added that some kinds of merchandise were excluded from any licensing deals, such as doormats, slippers or other items that "might affect the reputation or image of the organisation." [Business Today (India)]

That's… Optimistic

"I commend NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine for his stewardship of NASA and the SLS program. We are still on track to take the first woman to the moon by 2024 and complete a Mars landing by 2029."

– Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, in a statement Saturday after the SLS Green Run static-fire test that ended early, putting plans for a launch of the vehicle later this year in question. NASA has not announced plans for a 2029 Mars landing of any kind.

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