The Weekly Space Recap: October 1 – Oct7,2023

SpaceX Gets First Space Force Contract – Oct 2, 2023

spacex falcon 9 spacex
Credit: SpaceX

On October 2, 2023, SpaceX secured its first contract with the United States Space Force for its Starshield satellite constellation, valued at $70 million for one year.

While specific details about Starshield remain limited, SpaceX has indicated that it will leverage the same broadband technology as the Starlink satellite constellation for government purposes, particularly for the U.S. military and associated agencies.

The project aims to support national security efforts through Earth observation, communications, and hosting demanding customer payload missions.

Starshield is expected to provide higher levels of cybersecurity and the ability to communicate with existing Starlink satellites via laser communication systems, potentially enhancing its capabilities.

SpaceX has already launched over 5,000 Starlink satellites, with plans to deploy 30,000 more.

World Space Week is Upon Us – Oct 4, 2023

world space week association poster
Credit: World Space Week Association

World Space Week 2023 is taking place from October 4th to October 10th, celebrating its 24th annual event with the theme “Space and Entrepreneurship.”

This initiative, initiated by the United Nations in 1999, commemorates the launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.

The World Space Week Association (WSWA) collaborates with the UN to organize educational space activities in nearly 100 countries each year.

The focus of this year’s event is to highlight the contributions of private companies to the growing low Earth orbit (LEO) economy.

The theme underscores the significance of the commercial space industry and the opportunities it offers for space entrepreneurship and innovative space-related products.

Over 375 events are planned for WSC 2023, encouraging groups and individuals to host their own space-related activities and register them with WSWA to contribute to the global celebration.

The event aims to inspire interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and business among students while providing a platform for discussions on the entrepreneurial future of Low Earth Orbit.

Amazon Launches Prototype Satellites – Oct 6, 2023

amazon rocket launch credit - ula
Credit: ULA

On October 6, 2023, Amazon’s Project Kuiper is set to launch its first two prototype satellites, Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2, on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The launch is scheduled within a two-hour window at 2 p.m. EDT, with a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions.

The satellites will be deployed into a 311-mile-high orbit about 18 minutes after liftoff.

Project Kuiper plans to build a broadband mega constellation in low Earth orbit (LEO), initially consisting of 3,236 satellites, to provide internet service, competing with SpaceX’s Starlink constellation.

Amazon aims to have at least half of the initial constellation operational by July 2026, with service to customers by late 2024.

Spanish Aerospace Company PLD Launches First Rocket – Oct 7, 2023

pld space miura 1 launch
Credit: PLD Space

On October 7, 2023, PLD Space’s Miura 1 suborbital rocket launched from Spain’s El Arenosillo Test Center, falling short of its 50-mile altitude target by reaching 28.6 miles.

Despite this, it marked a successful first test flight for the rocket. Miura 1 is a single-stage rocket capable of carrying a 220-pound payload to suborbital space.

The mission carried out a German experiment to study microgravity conditions and photos of company employees. The rocket splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.

PLD Space aims to gather valuable data for the development of Miura 5, an orbital launcher expected to launch by 2025.

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