Launch Thread: SpaceX to launch another batch of Starlink V1.5 satellites [U: New launch time]

This week SpaceX is preparing to launch a fresh branch of 48 Starlink satellites on top of its Falcon 9 rocket. This is the second Starlink mission to launch from Florida’s Space Coast since SpaceX completed its original orbital shell on Starlink L28 in May. The name, Starlink 4-3, stands for it being the third launch of the fourth orbital shell of satellites. Although 4-2 hasn’t launched yet, the names are set up well before the launch takes place. This shell will contain 336 satellites at an orbit of 560 km.

Alongside the Starlink satellites will be two BlackSky satellites. We’ve seen plenty of these Earth-observing satellites launch on Rocket Lab’s Electron.

Launch Date: Wednesday, December 2, 6:12 p.m. EST

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Here’s what Rocket Lab’s big Neutron reveal is all about

As promised, Rocket Lab gave us the details on its next generation rocket called Neutron. One thing that’s certain is everything has changed compared to its current Electron launch system.

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Pentagon calls for the end of anti-satellite tests from all nations

During Wednesday’s meeting of the National Space Council (NSpC), the Department of Defense officially came out against the use of anti-satellite (ASAT) tests.

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Space Explored Podcast 37: Elon Musk’s SpaceX Bankruptcy email, and more space news

This week Seth and Derek discuss Elon Musk’s email to SpaceX employees asking for help fixing Raptor development issues back in Hawthorne. They also talk about how this email shows the importance of Starship to the survival of Starlink. Finally, they wrap up with the first National Space Council meeting of President Biden’s term and Neutron’s announcement.


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How satellites help us fight climate change

When most people think of NASA, they might picture the International Space Station, the Apollo Program, or even the Hubble Space Telescope. One oft-overlooked field of study is the space agency’s long history of looking back at our own planet. NASA-conducted climate research serves as the backbone of our current understanding of our changing climate. The space agency’s climate research relies heavily on its fleet of weather satellites, which help researchers develop accurate climate models.

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President Biden sets new role for National Space Council with five new members

On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris chaired her first meeting of the National Space Council (NSpC) of the new administration. Before this meeting, we were unsure how Biden’s NSpC would work, but it’s clear now it will continue the work President Trump forged – but now also climate change.

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Watch Vice President Kamala Harris chair her inaugural National Space Council meeting

Vice President Kamala Harris heads up her first National Space Council meeting since the Biden administration took office in January. Learn more about the meeting here.

SpaceX serving only family living full time on island in Canada with Starlink internet

We regularly witness and document Starlink launches from Florida and California at Space Explored, so it’s nice to see the real-world impact SpaceX’s internet satellite service is having for customers. shares the story of Mike and Georgina Parsons, who are the only full-time residents of Little Bay Islands in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

How much is SpaceX worth?

SpaceX, one of the most valued private companies globally, has exploded in popularity and activity in recent years. This has caused many to wonder how much SpaceX is worth and how/when can you buy its stock?

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Former SpaceX engineers and chef using robot cooks for new ‘Stellar Pizza’ business

Can three former SpaceX engineers and the ex-SpaceX executive chef make a pizza business a cosmic success?

Debris risk to astronauts pushes back planned spacewalk and ISS antenna repair to Thursday

A pair of astronauts planned to conduct a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Tuesday, but NASA delayed the plan to repair a faulty antenna system. The scheduled spacewalk was pushed back due to the risk of debris endangering astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron.

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Starlink on a plane: SpaceX plans to offer in-flight wifi ‘as soon as possible,’ says sales VP

SpaceX is steadily building out its Starlink internet satellite constellation in orbit around the planet, and ground service is already available to customers across several countries. Using Starlink to provide internet access that’s actually reliable on flights has also been a goal of SpaceX for the last year. A new report from Bloomberg today cites a SpaceX VP in saying that the company wants Starlink service on flights to happen “as soon as possible”.

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NASA OIG report outlines precarious future of International Space Station

A new report issued by the NASA OIG voices concerns surrounding ISS decommission. The International Space Station is set to retire soon, and the agency itself doesn’t have a successor in the works.

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SpaceX plans to build ‘several million’ Starlink user terminals per year, V2 satellite launches reliant on Starship

In an internal email seen by Space Explored, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX intends to build “several million [Starlink user terminal] units per year.” In order to have the internet bandwidth to support this goal, SpaceX will need to deploy its V2 Starlink satellites in orbit. It turns out, however, that this goal is entirely reliant on its next-gen Starship rocket that is currently in development in South Texas.

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Elon Musk says SpaceX could face ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ from Starship engine production

In an email sent to SpaceX employees, obtained by Space Explored, Elon Musk addressed the ‘crisis’ of Starship Raptor engine production and said the company could face a ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ if the company is unable to achieve a Starship flight rate of once every two weeks next year.

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Rare look inside the nosecone of SpaceX’s latest rocket [Video]

A leaked video from a SpaceX employee shows inside the nosecone of the company’s latest rocket – Starship.

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Stunning ISS views from SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour flyaround

SpaceX recently brought four astronauts home from the International Space Station who caught some amazing views of the ISS from inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour capsule.

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Kennedy Space Center’s Cyber Monday deal: Free child admission w/ adult ticket

While Kennedy Space Center’s Black Friday deal was a great way to save on annual passes, the Cyber Monday deal brings down the cost of a one-day ticket. Today only, with the purchase of an adult daily-admission ticket to KSCVC, you get a free child daily-admission ticket.

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Roscosmos and NASA in talks about adding commercial docking capability to Prichal

Roscosmos and NASA are in talks about the new Prichal docking module and allowing commercial spacecraft to dock to it, possibly relieving scheduling conflicts.

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NASA’s DART launches, new shiny Electron booster, and more top stories

On this Thanksgiving week we had some major events and updates come from the spaceflight industry. Catch up on what happened below.

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Black Friday Space Deals: Star Wars Lego, Fisher Space Pen, apparel, more

It’s Black Friday! A time to eat leftovers, lounge around the house, maybe find a Christmas tree, and shop Black Friday deals! The deals have been in full swing for a while now, from telescopes to Star Wars legos! Head below for our roundup of space-related deals!

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Black Friday deal takes $300 off eVscope eQuinox smartphone-controlled telescope

Earlier this year, I reviewed the eVscope eQuinox. Now, the smart telescope is $300 cheaper, down to $2,699. It may not be the latest scope from Unistellar, but not much changed between the eQuinox and the eVscope 2, so it may be worth taking this deal. Head below the fold to see if this deal is right for you!

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Russia’s Prichal arrives at the ISS, bringing five new docking ports

On Friday morning, Russian docked its new Prichal module to the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station.

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Best telescope Black Friday deals: Up to 37% off smartphone-guided scopes, deals on equatorial mounts, more

While telescopes may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of Black Friday savings, if you are interested in astronomy there are plenty of deals to help you get a jump start.

Stay tuned as we update this article throughout the week as more telescope deals come to light.

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Kennedy Space Center’s Black Friday deal: Whole month free w/ Atlantis annual pass, today only!

Kennedy Space Center is a worthwhile stop for any space fan in Florida, whether there is a launch going on or not. The Atlantis annual pass is already a great value, at less than the cost of two day tickets, but the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is making the deal even sweeter for Black Friday!

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Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck shows off new shiny Electron, praises reusability

This week, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck shared his thoughts on reusable rockets and shared a new shiny Electron design during a press conference.

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Hardware issue delays launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, slipping closer to Christmas Day [Update: No additional damge]

NASA announced Monday that the launch of its next-generation space telescope would move to December 22 after an issue with one of the adapter clamps caused vibrations to the observatory.

Update: NASA confirmed in a blog post that no additional damage was seen during testing.

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Virgin Galactic announces winner of Omaze sweepstakes

Back in July, after Virgin Galactic flew its founder Richard Branson on its SpaceShipTwo spaceplane, the company announced a sweepstakes to win two tickets to space. On Wednesday, the company announced the winner and who they want to bring with them on the journey.

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Major Neutron announcement coming December 2, says Rocket Lab

The company that disrupted the smallsat launch industry with its dedicated launcher plans to make the jump to a medium-class launcher. Rocket Lab announced the update would take place on December 2. Read below to learn what we know so far about Rocket Lab’s upcoming Neutron launcher.

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Daughter of legendary astronaut, Good Morning America host, & others to fly to space with Blue Origin

Alan Shepard’s eldest daughter Laura Shepard Churchley and Good Morning American co-anchor Michael Strahan will be joining four others on a trip to space on New Shepard next month.

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SpaceX launches DART, Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission for NASA

Late last night SpaceX launched a double asteroid redirection test mission for NASA. The ~1,300 pound spacecraft will slam into Didymos’ moonlet following its 10-month journey.

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How to watch SpaceX launch NASA’s asteroid impactor towards its target

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is set to launch tonight on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch will take place from Vandenberg Space Force Base, just north of Los Angeles. Here is how to watch DART’s launch.

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Rocket vs. Drone: FPV Drone races ARCAspace’s EcoRocket [Video]

On November 12, ARCAspace completed a test of the second stage of its EcoRocket. As the EcoRocket took to the sky, an FPV drone attempted to outpace the water-propelled rocket.

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International Space Station crew gets ready for Thanksgiving with a special message

This week the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. However, while most of us will celebrate around the table, feet firmly planted on the ground, astronauts on the International Space Station will also gather around a table for a truly international celebration.

eVscope 2 review: The next step for the smartphone-connected telescope

Unistellar announced its eVscope 2 back in September. The electronic telescope just needs to be connected to your phone, and then you can start admiring deep-sky objects invisible to the naked eye. It is an intriguing piece of tech, that’s for sure, but does it live up to its eye-watering $4,199 price tag (plus $59 shipping)?

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Astra reaches orbit, Russia endangers the ISS & more top stories

This week we saw a significant milestone for the launch provider Astra but were also reminded how far we are from ensuring safe access to space for everyone. Read the top stores from space below.

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Astra successfully reaches orbit for the first time early Saturday morning

Fourth time’s the charm for Astra! It has successfully reached orbit with its Rocket 3.3 vehicle, serial number LV0007. This mission follows the “powerslide launch” in which an engine failure lead to a terminated flight.

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NASA Shuttle engineering cameras show unique views of what Artemis I’s launch might look like

If the schedule holds, NASA is gearing up to launch its first Artemis mission as soon as February 2022. The “Orange Rocket,” as it is sometimes called, pulls a lot of old hardware and launch sequences from the iconic Space Shuttle.

Blue Origin continues to expand its Florida presence with South Campus Expansion planned

In a new permit application, Blue Origin lays out the foundation for its continued Florida presence long into the future. Blue details near and future improvements to the south campus of its manufacturing facility located in Exploration Park.

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Space Force detachment opens up at US Air Force Academy

The United States Space Force has slowly begun to grow its presence everywhere space is present in the Department of Defense. This includes the Air Force Academy, which has now added a formal detachment there from the new branch.

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Confirmed: Astra to launch from SLC-46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

A new permit application confirms rumors of Astra launching from Launch Complex 46 as soon as late 2021 or early 2022. The previous launch from SLC-46 was the Orion Ascent Abort 2 test for the Artemis program.

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NASA OIG’s recent report predicts a years-long delay to Artemis’ human landing

On Monday, NASA’s Office of Inspector General released a report detailing their finding during an audit of the Agency’s Artemis missions. The results are full of information on Starship and predicted timelines for Artemis I through III.

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Russia has put its own cosmonauts and NASA/ESA astronauts at risk after Anti-Satellite test [Updated: Statements by Nelson and Rogozin]

Monday morning, Russia conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test against one of its satellites, Kosmos 1408. Now the International Space Station is going through multiple debris field passes.

Updated with statements from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin, US Space Command, and the US Department of State.

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NASA Administrator ‘Outraged’ by Russia’s ‘reckless, dangerous’ anti-satellite test

As we reported, on Monday morning, the International Space Station residents quickly retreated to their spacecraft as the station underwent emergency procedures. A Russian anti-satellite test created a massive field of debris in orbit, putting Astronauts and Cosmonauts at risk.

Now, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has released a statement condemning Russia’s actions.

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Starship/Super Heavy Final Environmental Assessment to be released by the year-end

As SpaceX and the FAA work towards closing out the Starship/Super Heavy Environmental Assessment, more details have been released. Transcripts from the two virtual public hearings about the PEA were released along with an estimated timeline for the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment being released. This date is currently December 31, 2021.

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New NASA OIG report shows Starship Orbital Flight Test to take place in Q2 of Fiscal Year 2022

While the report is focused on the management of NASA’s Artemis program missions, the report revealed a lot about SpaceX’s Starship timeline, Including the long-awaited Starship Orbital Flight Test to take place in Q2 of Fiscal Year 2022.

Updated to reflect the date is for the fiscal year of 2022, not the calendar year 2022. Fiscal years are one quarter ahead of the calendar year.

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SpaceX Starlink Group 4-1 early morning launch in photos [Gallery]

SpaceX launched its 128th Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday morning, carrying 53 Starlink satellites. They are destined for a 560 km orbit and will begin the fourth orbital shell of the Starlink constellation. An unusual amount of fog came over the launch pad, making for some great photos.

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Three more NASA Astronauts inducted into US Astronaut Hall of Fame

On Saturday, three NASA astronauts were inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) and recognized former NASA astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pamela Melroy, and Scott Kelly.

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