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Daily archives "August 13, 2016"

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SpaceX JCSAT-16 mission update

Official SpaceX JCSAT-16 mission patch. Credit: SpaceX

Official SpaceX JCSAT-16 mission patch. Credit: SpaceX

The countdown for the launch of the JCSAT-16 satellite, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, continues to progress towards a projected T-0 of 1:26am EDT (5:26am UTC) on August 14, 2016. Currently, weather stands at 80% ‘GO’, with the primary concerns for violating weather constraints being cumulus and thick clouds. Should a 24-hour delay be necessary, weather favorability drops to 70% ‘GO’ with the same primary concerns.

Though the primary mission is the launch of the JCSAT-16 satellite, many – if not more – people are interested in the mission’s secondary mission: the landing and recovery of the Falcon 9’s first stage. Due to the satellite’s orbital parameters, the landing attempt will be on the automated drone ship Of Course I Still Love You rather than back on land. While rocket watchers are less enthusiastic about the offshore landing, residents near KSC/CCAFS are likely pleased with prospect of not having their slumber interrupted by the triple sonic boom of the returning stage.

As has been the case as of late, SpaceX will carry both a hosted and a technical feed for the launch. Check back with The Liftoff Report for the latest news and information.

Which will be the first company to mine an asteroid…and will it be legal?

Artist's depiction of a DSI spacecraft harvesting resources from the surface of an asteroid. Credit: DSI

Artist’s depiction of a DSI spacecraft harvesting resources from the surface of an asteroid. Credit: DSI

In what many believe to be one of the next logical steps in broadening space as a commercial market, Deep Space Industries (DSI) has announced its plan to send the world’s first commercial mining spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid. To that end, the company’s Prospector-1 spacecraft is slated to launch before the close of the decade and will rendezvous with, and explore, one of the many asteroids inhabiting our planetary neighborhood.

Intelligent enough to operate without guidance from DSI’s mission control, the small spacecraft will be capable of analyzing the composition of the asteroid, via both visual light and infrared imaging, in order to determine the target’s water content. Water is a critical resource for off-Earth ventures, and finding a relatively easy source from which to extract it is an essential goal of DSI.

Read MUCH more in my full piece on SpaceFlight Insider.