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Indian rocket set for liftoff with Brazilian satellite

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Brazil’s Amazonia 1 satellite and 18 co-passengers will rocket into orbit on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle fitted with two strap-on solid rocket boosters. Credit: ISRO

A Brazilian satellite designed to track deforestation in the Amazon rainforest will rocket into orbit on top of an Indian launcher late Saturday (U.S. time).

A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, fitted with two strap-on boosters, is set to fire off the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India’s east coast at 11:54 p.m. EST Saturday (0454 GMT Sunday). Liftoff is scheduled for 10:24 a.m. local time at the launch site in India, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the coastal city of Chennai.

The PSLV will blast off with 1.4 million pounds of thrust from its solid-fueled first stage and solid rocket boosters. The rocket’s navigation system will initially take the vehicle on a trajectory toward the southeast from the launch base, then will turn the PSLV to the south to line up with the mission’s targeted orbit flying over Earth’s poles.

The divert maneuver, also called a dog-leg, will ensure the PSLV does not fly over Sri Lanka and risk scattering debris over populated areas. It’s a standard part of Indian rocket launches heading for polar orbits.

Brazil’s Amazonia 1 satellite is the largest spacecraft on the PSLV mission, which is designated PSLV-C51. Amazonia 1 was built by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research — known as INPE — and will collect imagery of regions around the world, with an emphasis on monitoring environmental conditions in the Amazon rainforest.

The 1,404-pound (637-kilogram) Amazonia 1 spacecraft is the first Earth observation satellite completely designed, integrated, tested, and operated by Brazil, according to INPE, a division of Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The PSLV will deliver the Amazonia 1 satellite to a 467-mile-high (752-kilometer) sun-synchronous orbit. In that type of orbit, Amazonia 1 will fly over different parts of the world at roughly the same time of day, allowing its imager to observe the environment under similar lighting conditions throughout the satellite’s four-year mission.

INPE booked the launch on India’s PSLV through Spaceflight, a U.S. company that specializes in arranging rides to orbit for small satellites. Spaceflight says it purchased the entire capacity of the PSLV for Amazonia 1, the largest satellite it has contracted launch services for to date.

“The deployment of Amazonia 1 will allow us to capture images and monitor the environment and agriculture throughout the Brazilian territory which will help us better understand the expansive terrestrial environment in the region,” said Adenilson Silva, an INPE engineer managing the Amazonia mission.

The Amazonia 1 satellite is the most advanced spacecraft ever built in Brazil, using the homemade Multi-Mission Platform, or MMP, bus. Although the platform uses parts acquired abroad, the program allows Brazil to gain experience in spacecraft manufacturing, testing, integration, propulsion, and deployment mechanisms, according to INPE.

“In addition to the technological achievements of the mission, it also represents the last step of MMP development,” Silva said in a statement. “Spaceflight’s end-to-end launch services gives us confidence that our mission needs are managed and enables our team to fully focus on the satellite we’re preparing to launch.”

Members of the Amazonia 1 team in India. Credit: Spaceflight

The Amazonia 1 satellite carries a wide-angle optical imager with a resolution of 210 feet (64 meters). The imaging instrument will take pictures of an area spanning up to 528 miles (850 kilometers) wide, allowing the satellite to observe a wide swath of the planet on each orbit.

The satellite’s wide viewing area will allow it to revisit the same part of the world every five days, officials said.

It’s the first of three satellites Brazil plans to develop for Amazon deforestation studies. Amazonia 1 will also monitor agriculture in Brazil and other regions around the planet, INPE said.

Amazonia 1 will work in tandem with the CBERS 4 and CBERS 4A satellites developed in partnership between China and Brazil. On those missions, China built and launched the satellites, while Brazil provided instrument hardware.

The 18 smaller payloads riding the PSLV into orbit include 12 tiny SpaceBEE satellites from Swarm Technologies.

The small data relay nodes each weigh less than 2 pounds (1 kilogram). The “BEE” in SpaceBEE stands for Basic Electronic Element.

Swarm, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is developing a low-data-rate satellite communications fleet the company says could be used by connected cars, remote environmental sensors, industrial farming operations, transportation, smart meters, and for text messaging in rural areas outside the range of terrestrial networks.

Each of the SpaceBEEs is about the size of a slice of bread. The launch of 12 new satellites comes a month after SpaceX launched 36 SpaceBEEs for Swarm on a rideshare mission that lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

There is also a CubeSat developed by Mexican university students on the PSLV mission, plus five Indian nanosatellites from academic institutions and the Indian military.

The PSLV’s fourth stage will deploy Amazonia 1 into its 467-mile-high orbit about 17 minutes after liftoff, then reignite its thrusters for two burns to lower its altitude to 317 miles (511 kilometers) for release of the other 18 payloads nearly two hours into the mission.

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Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/02/26/indian-rocket-set-for-liftoff-with-brazilian-satellite/

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Virgin Galactic unveils new spaceship for its growing fleet

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Virgin Galactic has unveiled the company’s first SpaceShip III in its growing fleet, VSS Imagine.

The spaceship showcases Virgin Galactic’s innovation in design and astronaut experience. Imagine also demonstrates progress toward efficient design and production, as Virgin Galactic works to scale the business for the long-term.

VSS Imagine will commence ground testing, with glide flights planned for this summer from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The livery design, finished entirely with a mirror-like material, reflects the surrounding environment, constantly changing colour and appearance as it travels from earth to sky to space.

Leveraging a modular design, the SpaceShip III class of vehicles are built to enable improved performance in terms of maintenance access and flight rate. This third generation of spaceship will lay the foundation for the design and manufacture of future vehicles.

As VSS Imagine begins ground testing, manufacturing will progress on VSS Inspire, the second SpaceShip III vehicle within the Virgin Galactic fleet. The introduction of the SpaceShip III class of vehicles is an important milestone in Virgin Galactic’s multi-year effort that targets flying 400 flights per year, per spaceport.

VSS Imagine is unveiled ahead of VSS Unity’s next test flight, which is planned for May 2021.

Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, commented: “Today we unveiled our SpaceShip III class of vehicles, marking the beginning of the Virgin Galactic fleet. VSS Imagine and Inspire are stunning ships that will take our future astronauts on an incredible voyage to space, and their names reflect the aspirational nature of human spaceflight. Congratulations to our dedicated team who worked so brilliantly to achieve this milestone.”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, added: “Virgin Galactic spaceships are built specifically to deliver a new, transforming perspective to the thousands of people who will soon be able to experience the wonder of space for themselves. As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at, but represents Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of spaceships. All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea. Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet.”

www.virgingalactic.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/virgin-galactic-unveils-new-spaceship-for-its-growing-fleet/

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Hexcel joins ASCEND project

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Hexcel joins ASCEND project

Hexcel has announced its role within the recently launched UK-based project called ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development) that will focus on developing high-rate manufacturing and processing technologies that will accelerate the development of new, lightweight advanced composite materials.

The composites company will join lead partner GKN Aerospace and 13 other project stakeholders in a collaboration across the UK supply chain to develop the technologies and automation equipment required to manufacture lightweight, more fuel-efficient structures for sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive industries.

Hexcel will contribute to the ASCEND project framework, developing a new HexPly fast cure prepreg system that will significantly reduce component processing times compared to existing aerospace prepregs.

In addition to its new fast curing prepreg technology, Hexcel’s range of Liquid Composite Moulding (LCM) products will be incorporated into the ASCEND project work packages. The project will use both HiTape advanced unidirectional dry carbon reinforcements and HiMax multiaxial non-crimp fabrics reinforcements.

The ASCEND project will allow Hexcel to collaborate with Tier 1 companies, engineers, tooling specialists, and production equipment OEMs to deliver both prepreg and liquid composite moulding solutions that meet both the performance targets and satisfy the processing requirements for high-rate automated manufacture.

The technical integration enabled by the ASCEND project partnerships will ensure a complete understanding of customer performance and processing needs, coupled with the opportunity to industrialize new technologies utilizing the extensive capabilities of GKN’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

Paul Mackenzie, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Hexcel, said “We are  proud to be part of the ASCEND program, and we look forward to working with other leading companies as we develop processes and materials that help to make the next generation of sustainable air mobility, aerospace, and automotive vehicles possible. This project offers the perfect platform for Hexcel to collaborate and further develop our HexPly, HiMax, and HiTape technologies.”

The ASCEND partners working alongside Hexcel include Assyst Bulmer, Airborne, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne, Cygnet Texkimp, DES Composites, FAR-UK, Hive Composites, LMAT, Loop Technology, McLaren Automotive, The National Composites Centre, Solvay Composite Technologies, Rafinex, and Sigmatex (UK).

Together, the group looks forward to delivering the material and automation innovations that will power more sustainable mobility solutions of the future.

www.hexcel.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/hexcel-joins-ascend-project/

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes extends landing gear kits contract with Magellan

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes division has extended its component supply contract with Canada-based supplier Magellan Aerospace.

Under this long-term contract, Magellan will continue to supply landing gear kits and structural components for Boeing platforms such as the 737, 767, and 777.

The contract extension also shows that Magellan meets Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ cost, quality and performance requirements.

Magellan business development, marketing and contract vice-president Haydn Martin said: “Securing this major business extension for key Boeing platforms is foundational for our New York and Kitchener facilities as the aerospace industry works to recover from the impact of the global pandemic.

“The confidence that Boeing has placed in Magellan is significant and demonstrates our ability to offer our customers comprehensive and reliable solutions.”

For Boeing, the company is using a vertical integration strategy that leverages global resources in Ontario, New York City, and India.

It has also made significant investments across all its facilities regarding manufacturing technology and the workforce to enhance its competitiveness worldwide.

Magellan will deliver these kits and hardware from its facilities in Kitchener, Ontario and New York City, New York. The company will also produce an extra supply of kits to reduce production risk.

Deliveries will be made directly to Boeing’s assembly facilities in Renton and Everett, Washington, US.

Last month, Magellan signed a five-year renewal agreement with Avio Aero to supply magnesium and aluminium castings.

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/boeing-commercial-aircraft-magellan/

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ZeroAvia raises new funding for hydrogen-electric engine development

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Zero-emission aviation firm ZeroAvia has raised $24.3m in new funding to support the development of a 2MW hydrogen-electric engine.

Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Horizons Ventures, an existing investor, led the latest funding round and was joined by new investor British Airways.

Other investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and SYSTEMIQ, also joined the financing.

The financing takes the company’s total private investment to more than $53m while the total funding raised is close to $74m since its formation.

ZeroAvia’s funding comes a few months after the UK Government, through the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK, announced a $16.3m (£12.3m) grant to deliver a 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft in the market by 2023.

The new funding will accelerate the hydrogen-electric powertrain development for a ten to 20-seater regional aircraft.

ZeroAvia aims to commercialise the engine as early as 2024. The company aims to enter the more than 50-seater commercial aircraft segment by 2026.

The funding will also de-risk the company ambition to power a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030.

ZeroAvia CEO and founder Val Miftakhov said: “This new funding, in conjunction with our other recent milestones, will significantly accelerate our path to zero-emission solutions for larger regional aircraft at a commercial scale.

“With many airlines lining up and ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology.”

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/zeroavia-electric-raising-funds/

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