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#SpaceWatchGL Column: Dongfang Hour China Aerospace News Roundup 5 April – 11 April 2021

As part of the partnership between SpaceWatch.Global and Orbital Gateway Consulting we have been granted permission to publish selected articles and texts. We are pleased to present “Dongfang Hour China Aerospace News Roundup 5 April - 11 April 2021”. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Dongfang Hour China Aero/Space News Roundup!

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Northrop Grumman extends Intelsat 10-02’s life in orbit

Paris, 14 April 2021. – Northrop Grumman and Intelsat succeeded with an in-orbit docking of a life extension module to one of Intelsat’s commercial satellites, the companies said. Northrop Grumman’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics, successfully completed the docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 to the Intelsat 10-02 commercial communications satellite.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Toward a decision-intelligent process to assess collision risks in space

Many of us were made aware of an alleged near-miss between two satellites in low earth orbit, one operated by SpaceX and the other by OneWeb. With the growing number of participants in the space domain, the issues of coordination and planning of space activities, as well as the development of common space operation practices, protocols, or norms of behavior are increasingly critical. 

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Marlink got green light to acquire ITC Global

Paris, 13 April 2021. – The Norwegian network provider Marlink Group can close the acquisition of ITC Global, the company said. Backed by Apax Partners, Marlink obtained final regulatory approvals to acquire 100% of ITC Global from Panasonic, the group said. Marlink and ITC Global are preparing for a swift closing of the transaction in the coming weeks, the company said.

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Exolaunch offers ‘green’ space tug system

Paris, 13 April 2021. – The rideshare provider Exolaunch launched a new “environmentally responsible” space tug system, the German new space company said. The program dubbed Reliant features a new line of orbital transfer vehicles (OTV) that bring satellites into their custom orbits are that Exolaunch considers “fully sustainable” – “the first of its kind in the OTV industry.”

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Space Hero to cast reality show candidate into space

Paris, 13 April 2021. – Looking for another hero: Space Hero, “the World‘s first ever global casting show” for a trip to the International Space Station (ISS), signed an agreement with NASA for a feasibility study of a such a mission, Space Hero said. The agreement was signed at a significant date in human history, Space Hero said, as April 12, 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin.

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OneWeb and Starlink came “dangerously close”, The Verge reports

Two satellites from the OneWeb and Starlink constellations came dangerously close – as close as 60 meters – last week but could avoid a collision, The Verge reported. The Verge quoted representatives from the US Space Force and OneWeb who said that two satellites from the fast-growing constellations of OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink dodged a dangerously close approach with one another in orbit last weekend.

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NASA postpones Ingenuity’s maiden flight on Mars

Not yet: NASA rescheduled Mars helicopter Ingenuity’s maiden flight to “no earlier than April 14”, the agency said. Based on data from the Ingenuity Mars helicopter that arrived late Friday night from a high-speed spin test of the rotors, NASA has chosen to reschedule the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s first experimental flight, NASA said.

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Emirates name first female Arab astronaut

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) named its first female astronaut, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said. “Today we announce two new Emirati astronauts, among them the first female Arab astronaut. We congratulate them and count on them to raise the name of the UAE ever higher in space.”

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U.S. investment firm pays hefty 52% premium for Orbcomm

Going private: The IoT specialist Orbcomm agreed to be acquired by the U.S. investment firm GI Partners, valuing the company at $1.1 billion, Orbcomm said. The Nasdaq-listed firm, a global provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, said it entered into a "definitive agreement" to be acquired, in an all-cash transaction, by GI Partners, a private investment firm based in San Francisco.

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