Monday, January 14, 2013

Robotic Refueling, Sapphire, NEOSst, CanX 3a, 3b and CASSIOPE on a Falcon 9

With all the recent changes going on at ground level among corporate and government stakeholders, it's easy to forget that Canada possesses quite the list of currently functioning and ready to launch space based assets.

Here's a short listing of several currently being tracked by the Commercial Space blog.

A NASA Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), scheduled for January 14th - 24th aboard the International Space Station (ISS), will use the Canadian-built Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM or DEXTRE) and NASA’s RRM multifunction tool, to show that space robots controlled from Earth can transfer fuel to satellites which were never designed to be accessed.

According to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) robotic refueling mission website, the mission "marks the first time that Dextre is being used for a research and development project, and illustrates how the space station is increasingly being used as a technology test-bed.

The Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flight C20, currently scheduled for February 14th, 2013 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) after a series of both recent and long-term delays as outlined in the September 12th, 2012 post "Sapphire, NEOSSat, CanX 3A & 3B Standing By...," now looks like it might finally go forward.

NEOSSat architecture c/o eoPortal Directory.
The launch will include the Department of National Defence (DND) Surveillance of Space (Sapphire) satellite, the largest Canadian component of the proposed Canadian Space Surveillance System (CSSS) plus the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) and the CanX-3a BRIght-star Target Explorer (BRITE) and CanX-3b (TUGsat1) micro-satellites, which were designed and built at the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratories (SFL).

The main payload is the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa (SARAL), which is a cooperative altimetry technology mission between ISRO and the French Space Agency (CNES). Also scheduled for launch aboard PSLV flight C20 is the Max Valier micro-satellite and the AAUSAT3 cube satellite.

The Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) small satellite, complete with a scientific experiment package (the enhanced Polar Outflow Probe or ePOP set of eight scientific experiments to collect data on how solar storms effect communications and navigation), plus a broadband commercial communications system (Cascade) to transmit the large quantity of data collected back to Earth, is confirmed for launch aboard a Space-X Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California "sometime in April," according to the January 10th, 2013 "Worldwide Launch Schedule" update on the SpaceFlight Now website.

CASSIOPE is another in the long line of Canadian satellites experiencing ongoing launch delays, according to the June 26th, 2012 article "Canada's CASSIOPE Satellite Nearing Liftoff." Lets hope they all move forward this year.

1 comment:

  1. The question is, of course, what else is actually building towards future launches? Many of these satellites have been in storage for some time awaiting rides so,, now that they all seem to be launching soon, it may give a false impression that there is a continuous stream of activity. Which there isn't of course.


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