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Joshua Faleti

Astrobotic Peregrine Mission 1 Re-enters Earth

Peregrine mission one

Following a successful launch and separation from the ULA Vulcan Centaur rocket on Jan. 8, 2024, Peregrine experienced a loss of propellant. Not only did that prevent any soft landing on the Moon, but the valve connecting helium to oxidizer had caused flooding and ruptured the tank. The spacecraft was now a flying hazard that could potentially create more debris in cislunar space or lunar orbit. After analysis and recommendations from NASA and the space community, Astrobotic determined the best option for minimizing risk and ensuring responsible disposal of the spacecraft would be to maintain Peregrine's trajectory toward Earth for atmospheric re-entry and burnup.

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JAXA Lands on the Moon Albeit with Limited Power Supply

JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced the successful soft-landing of its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft on the moon, on January 20, 2024, at 0:20 am (JST). This feat makes Japan the fifth country to soft-land on the moon, joining the USA, China, the former Soviet Union, and India. Despite the historic landing, however, JAXA may not achieve full operationalization of the spacecraft as its solar cells are currently not generating power. 

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Viasat Demonstrates UK Sovereign Satellite Navigation Overlay

Viasat

Viasat, Inc. has demonstrated a UK satellite-based augmentation system (UK SBAS) for the first time, showing how highly accurate GPS data can maximize safety and improve efficiency. The test flight, from Cranfield Airport using the National Flying Laboratory Centre's Saab 340B aircraft showcased a UK-based SBAS that delivers more precise, reliable navigation data.

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MeerKAT Aids Discovery of Mysterious Astronomical Object

MeerKAT

An international team of astronomers, led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, have used the MeerKAT radio telescope to discover an intriguing object of an unknown nature in the globular cluster NGC 1851. The massive object is heavier than the heaviest neutron stars known and yet simultaneously lighter than the lightest black holes known and is in orbit around a rapidly spinning millisecond pulsar

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Caltech Successfully Concludes SSPD-1Mission

Caltech's Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1) has reached its end, having successfully demonstrated the ability to beam power wirelessly in space. The mission also measured the efficiency, durability, and function of various types of solar cells in space; and gave a real-world trial of the design of a lightweight deployable structure to deliver and hold the aforementioned solar cells and power transmitters.

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Axiom Space Launches Third Commercial Astronaut Mission

Axiom Space and SpaceX have successfully launched the Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) to the International Space Station (ISS). AX-3 is Axiom Space's third commercial astronaut mission and it features an all-European crew. The mission launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center aboard SpaceX's Dragon Freedom spacecraft. The Scientists and crew will subsequently engage in technology demonstrations, student outreach, and experiments ranging from medical research to materials science to benefit life here on Earth. 

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L3Harris Wins SDA Contract for SDA’s T2TL Program

SDA

L3Harris Technologies has received a contract with a potential value of up to $919 million to design and build 18 infrared space vehicles for the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 2 (T2) Tracking Layer program that will provide near-global missile warning and tracking coverage. Furthermore, the company’s technology will also support preliminary fire control capability for the SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA).

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John Deere Partners SpaceX for Rural Farming Connectivity

Global Internet Satellite Communication. Credit Starlink/Space Foundation

Deere & Company has announced an agreement with SpaceX to provide cutting-edge satellite communications service to farmers. Utilizing the industry-leading Starlink network, this solution will allow farmers facing rural connectivity challenges to fully leverage precision agriculture technologies. This partnership will subsequently enable John Deere customers to be more productive, profitable, and sustainable in their operations as they continue to provide food, fuel, and fiber for their communities and a growing global population.

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