I. INTRODUCTIONThis is a summary of astronautical activity during February 2010
II. SPACE TRANSPORTATION
A. Current Launch Activities11 February 2010: NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) into a geosynchronous orbit which is
not a usual trajectory for an astronomy or solar observation mission which more often go
either into a lower earth orbit or to one of the Lagrange points L1 or L2. The observatory is
designed to acquire detailed images of our star to explain variation in its activity. The three instruments
provide unprecedented precise measurements and images of solar coronas and solar magnetic fields.¶
B. Development Activities3 February 2010: On 3 February 2010, the government of Iran launched the Kavoshgar 3 research sounding-
rocket carrying an announced payload of turtles, worms, and a mouse. The same day, Iran
unveiled a satellite launch vehicle named "Simorgh," designed to carry a 100 kg satellite to an
orbit of 500 km, according to Iranian State Television.¶
19 February 2010: Eutelsat switched this year’s planned launch of its W3B telecommunications satellite from a Chinese Long March vehicle to a European Ariane 5 rocket amid concerns about an insufficient supply of the non-U.S. components that would permit the satellite’s export to China, Eutelsat and W3B prime contractor.¶
19 February 2010: On 4 February in Turin, Italy, Thales Alenia Space Italy and its main
industrial partners presented to ESA the new Intermediate eXperimental
Vehicle (IXV) design baseline, a key milestone in the start of the full
development phase of the IXV, due to make its first flight three years from
23 February 2010: NASA began work on a new kerosene-fueled first-stage rocket engine comparable to Russia’s RD-180¶
26 February 2010: The Space Agency of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) assigned OHB-System AG overall system management for the definition phase (Phase B) of the future German Orbital Servicing Mission (DEOS).¶
26 February 2010: NASA and the Italian Space Agency ASI announced that the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) would be modified into a Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) for ISS. The modifications, to be led by Thales Alenia Space, will ensure safe, long-term operation of the PMM as a storage, logistics and possibly research module, adding 70 cubic metres of volume. Launch of the PMM was planned for the STS 133 mission in November 2010.¶
C. Launch failures and investigations
III. ROBOTIC EARTH ORBITAL ACTIVITIES
B. Remote Sensing24 February 2010: The first calibrated images were delivered by ESA’s SMOS mission.¶
C. Global Navigation Systems16 February 2010: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed introducing the Glonass navigation system throughout the country’s regions and getting it onto "commercial rails."¶
E. Space Debris
IV. HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT
A. International Space Station Deployment and Operations3 February 2010: The Progress M-04M (36P) left the Baykonur Cosmodrome on 3 February 2010, and docked with ISS two days later, bringing 2,686 kg of cargo, fuel and water. On 7 May 2010, 36P undocked from ISS after being loaded with trash and discarded equipment, and stayed in an autonomous orbit until 1 July, when it was safely commanded to a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.¶
8 February 2010: Space Shuttle mission STS 130 began with the launch of Endeavour from KSC on 8 February. The 20A mission’s main purpose was to deliver the Tranquility Node 3 and the Cupola to ISS. Endeavour docked with ISS on 10 February, and during the next 10 days of joint operations, Shuttle crewmembers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick completed three EVAs totaling 18 hours and 14 minutes. During those excursions, they completed power and thermal connections to the newly arrived modules. The Shuttle mission ended on 22 February after a 14-day flight.¶
12 February 2010: Almost exactly two years after the European Columbus laboratory was added to the Space Station, the hi-tech Node-3, also was installed on the ISS during an EVA. ¶
14 February 2010: Astronauts of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and ISS opened the hatches between Node-1 and Node-3 and entered their new module.¶
15 February 2010: Endeavour shuttle astronauts wrapped-up a near six-hour spacewalk early Sunday, installing fluid tubes to the landmark observation deck on the International Space Station.¶
22 February 2010: With commander George Zamka at the controls, space shuttle Endeavour and her crew of six safely landed back at Kennedy Space Centre.¶
B. Other Flight Operations
C. Medical Issues
D. Space Tourism
V. SPACE STUDIES AND EXPLORATION
A. Astronomy and Astrophysics15 February 2010: Through a collaborative effort that involved researchers around the world, NASA learned that water does indeed exist on the moon. Scientists still have to determine just how much water the moon holds and how we can utilize it.¶
18 February 2010: NASA published the first images from its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.¶
18 February 2010: New findings from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have provided a major advance in understanding a type of supernova critical for studying the dark energy that astronomers think pervades the universe.¶
18 February 2010: Dark energy, habitable planets around other stars, and the mysterious nature of our own Sun, have been chosen by ESA as candidates for two medium-class missions to be launched no earlier than 2017.
ESA’s Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved three missions to enter the so-called ’definition phase’.¶
B. Plasma and Atmospheric Physics
C. Space Exploration4 February 2010: NASA has extended the Cassini spacecraft’s mission until 2017, meaning it will get the first detailed look at summer in Saturn’s northern hemisphere¶
D. Space Operations16 February 2010: Mars Express began a series of flybys of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars. The campaign would reach its crescendo on 3 March, when the spacecraft will set a new record for the closest pass to Phobos, skimming the surface at just 50 km. The data collected could help untangle the origin of this mysterious moon. ¶
17 February 2010: NASA’s Stardust-NExT (New Exploration of Tempel) spacecraft fired its engines for 22 minutes 53 seconds to purposely delay its arrival at comet Tempel 1 by 8 hours 21 minutes.¶
VI. TECHNOLOGY - IMPLEMENTATION and ADVANCES
B. Power25 February 2010: NASA’s Space Shuttle Program conducted the final test firing of a reusable solid rocket motor. The flight support motor, or FSM-17, burned for approximately 123 seconds - the same time each reusable solid rocket motor burns during an actual space shuttle launch.¶
C. Spacecraft Design, Technology and Development
D. Materials and Structures26 February 2010: NASA conducted a test to validate an approach that would be used to test the parachutes for the Orion spacecraft.¶
E. Information Technology and Datasets
F. Automation and Robotics
G. Space Research Facilities and Ground Stations
H. Environmental Effects of Space Flight
VII. SPACE AND SOCIETY
A. Education15 February 2010: UNESCO in collaboration with the Science Education Institute (Philippines)
held a Space Education Workshop in the Philippines from February 15-19, 2010. Experts were invited to present their areas of space expertise to University students at 3 different universities in the Philippines touching approximately 500 students. At two of the locations, 100 high school students were invited to launch their own water rockets (activity led by JAXA’s education office).¶
16 February 2010: The International Space University (ISU) symposium, the fourteenth in a series of annual events, addressed space education and outreach in a very broad way. ’Education’ should be seen here as developing the full human potential of the broader population, not just attracting young people into studying mathematics and science for the nation’s technical and economic benefit.¶
B. Public Awareness
C. Cultural Aspects
D. Knowledge Management
VIII. GLOBAL SPACE DEVELOPMENTS
A. Government Programmes2 February 2010: NASA awarded $50 million through funded agreements to further the commercial sector’s capability to support transport of crew to and from low Earth orbit. This step is the first taken by NASA consistent with the president’s direction to foster commercial human spaceflight capabilities.
The Space Act Agreements are designed to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high-tech job growth in engineering, analysis, design and research, and to promote economic growth as capabilities for new markets are created. Funding for these Space Act Agreements will stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities.
All Space Act Agreements are designed to partially fund the development of system concepts, key technologies, and capabilities that could ultimately be used in commercial crew human space transportation systems. The selected teams also proposed matching funds from other sources that would leverage the taxpayer investment.
The selected teams and awards are:
Blue Origin to receive $3.7 million
The Boeing Company to receive $18 million
Paragon Space Development Corporation to receive $1.4 million
Sierra Nevada Corporation to receive $20 million
United Launch Alliance to receive $6.7 million
The signed Space Act Agreements would fund performance milestones beginning in February 2010. The aggregate value of all of the Space Act Agreements is approximately $50 million.¶
11 February 2010: Thales Alenia Space signed a contract with the French and Italian space agencies, CNES and ASI, to develop, construct, test and deliver in orbit a broadband civil and military telecommunicatications satellite.
Arianespace has been selected to orbit the Athena-Fidus satellite within the scope of the contract. An Ariane 5 or Soyuz vehicle is scheduled to launch this spacecraft - which will weigh about 3,000 kg. - from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the second half of 2013.¶
24 February 2010: The number of nations with national space agencies has continued a sharp climb after a pause in the 1990s, rising from 40 in 2000 to about 55 in 2009, according to a survey by Paris-based Euroconsult.
B. Commercial Enterprises4 February 2010: The director of Kennedy Space Center said the spaceport’s two launch pads, mammoth Vehicle Assembly Building and other one-of-a-kind facilities will be upgraded and made available to private space companies after the space shuttle’s retirement. ¶
9 February 2010: NASA announced its selection of United Launch Alliance to participate in its new Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program. NASA created the CCDev Program to develop system concepts and key technologies.¶
25 February 2010: Thales Alenia Space announced it had signed the contract with French Space Agency (CNES) to build the Jason-3 satellite.¶
IX. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND SPACE LAW
A. Global Developments and Organisations4 February 2010: Partner nations of the International Space Station (ISS) agreed to extend the life of the space station until 2020.
5 February 2010: On 21 January 2010, various parts of Gaza witnessed unusually heavy rains and severe flooding, fully swamping some of the region’s agricultural lands, cutting off roads, washing away bridges, and forcing hundreds from their homes and farms. In response to this disaster, and at the request of the UNDP and UNOCHA offices covering Gaza, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER activated the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters and alerted other satellite data providers about this disaster, as well as about the specific needs for post-disaster satellite imagery. Consequently, UNOCHA offered pre-disaster aerial imagery for any imagery-based assessment exercise, and pre and post-event radar satellite images (ALOS/PALSAR, RADARSAT) were soon made available by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as well as the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), both members of the International Charter. The Ukraine Space Research Institute (NSAU), soon to become a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office, also offered to analyze and process the available radar images as a value-added provider, to assist any response or recovery efforts.
6 February 2010: NASA senior managers from the space station programme and counterparts at Russia’s Roscosmos, the European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology met to discuss the implications of continuing station operations and utilization and recently issued a joint statement about the station’s future.
8 February 2010: The forty-seventh session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was held from 8 to 19 February 2010 at the United Nations Office at Vienna, Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria.
B. Europe4 February 2010: The French and German governments said they would jointly build an Earth observation satellite to measure atmospheric concentrations of methane, a contributor to the greenhouse effect linked to global warming, to be launched by 2014.
9 February 2010: The European Commission announced the establishment of a Partners Board to assist it in the overall coordination of GMES. GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) will produce Earth observation data collected from space- and ground-based infrastructure. The Space Component features 5 satellite missions, called the Sentinels, which are being developed by ESA (European Space Agency). The In-Situ Component comprises sensors on the ground, floating in the oceans or carried on aircraft. These facilities already exist and are located both inside and outside the EU.
European Space Agency3 February 2010: In an effort to monitor the behaviour of the world’s oceans, Europe committed to build the next Jason altimeter spacecraft -- a decision that should guarantee the continuation of a remarkable 18-year record of sea-surface shape until late in the decade. The recent steady 3mm per year rise in global sea level has been tracked by the Jason series.
Germany25 February 2010: The National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have confirmed their mutual interest in the development of cooperation in the sphere of data exchange on remote Earth-sensing, primarily in crisis situations
Ukraine25 February 2010: The National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have confirmed their mutual interest in the development of cooperation in the sphere of data exchange on remote Earth-sensing, primarily in crisis situations
United Kingdom6 February 2010: Britain is leading a programme of systematic, wide-area forest monitoring in Indonesia coordinated through the European Space Agency (ESA). SSTL subsidiary DMCii is currently heading up a team that includes members of the University of Leicester and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to show how satellite imagery can be combined with other data and expert knowledge to provide more powerful tools to tackle deforestation
22 February 2010: A panel of government experts, industry chiefs and scientists delivered a 20-year-vision for the United Kingdom’s space industry.
It said that by 2030, 100,000 new jobs could be created by a £40 billion-a-year UK space industry. All that was needed from government was a doubling of the current funding over the next decade to £550 million. If the numbers hold up, then Britain would catapult from 21st in space investment to 10th place in terms of Gross Domestic Product.
South Africa13 February 2010: South African specialist microsatellite company Sun Space & Information Systems (SunSpace), which is based in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, has been negotiating for the past two years with the government over the State buying equity in the company.
On Friday, South Africa’s Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) announced that, in its meeting on February 10, the Cabinet had, in principle, decided to acquire between 55% and 60% of SunSpace, "in order to retain South Africa’s national space capabilities".
Indonesia17 February 2010: The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offered Indonesia’s National Flight and Space Agency (LAPAN) to participate in researches at the International Space Station.
India12 February 2010: India and Russia were to put in place a legal framework for their cooperation in ISRO’s manned space programme, which involves use of Russian Soyuz spaceship.
Kazakhstan17 February 2010: President Tachikawa of JAXA and Chairman Musabayaev of the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazcosmos) signed an agreement "Establishment of Cooperation in the Field of Space Activities for Peaceful Purposes" for the future cooperation between the two agencies in Bangkok, Thailand.
Taiwan3 February 2010: Taiwan will launch FORMOSAT-5 satellite in 2013. The satellite will carry a high-resolution optical remote sensing instrument for earth sensing and earth observation.
E. The Americas
Bolivia11 February 2010: Bolivia said it had created a space agency to build and launch the South American country’s first satellite.
Brazil14 February 2010: Brazil and China postponed their fourth joint satellite launching from 2010 to mid-2011. The two parties held a critical design review meeting and decided to reschedule the date for launching the satellite CBERS-3, said Thyrso Villela, director of satellites, applications and development of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). Brazil and China established in 1988 a joint committee for the construction, launching and operation of satellites under the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) Programme.
23 February 2010: Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced that Brazil’s Amazonian Protection System (SIPAM) will deploy a Gilat SkyEdge II broadband satellite communications network at more than 1000 sites. SIPAM operates a sophisticated network of cartography and telemetry systems that provide information to help manage weather forecasting, security and other public services in the remote Amazonian region.
United States3 February 2010: The White House was proposing major changes of the U.S. government;s
troubled next-generation weather satellites, cutting the NPOESS programme in half and directing NOAA and the Air Force to continue developing their own
NASA8 February 2010: Space Shuttle mission STS 130 began with the launch of Endeavour from KSC on 8 February. The 20A mission’s main purpose was to deliver the Tranquility Node 3 and the Cupola to ISS. Endeavour docked with ISS on 10 February, and during the next 10 days of joint operations, Shuttle crewmembers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick completed three EVAs totaling 18 hours and 14 minutes. During those excursions, they completed power and thermal connections to the newly arrived modules. The Shuttle mission ended on 22 February after a 14-day flight.
F. The Middle East
Iran15 February 2010: Iran revealed the development of a new Simorgh space booster and three new satellites, including an imaging spacecraft that may provide Iran with a space reconnaissance capability.
G. Indian Ocean and the Pacific