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      2023 has been another year with a record number of orbital launches

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 November - 23:18

    A solid-fueled Ceres 1 rocket, developed by the Chinese company Galactic Energy, fires away from an ocean-going launch platform in the Yellow Sea on September 5.

    Enlarge / A solid-fueled Ceres 1 rocket, developed by the Chinese company Galactic Energy, fires away from an ocean-going launch platform in the Yellow Sea on September 5. (credit: Chen Xiao/VCG via Getty Images )

    Led by SpaceX and China, the world's launch providers have put more rockets and payloads into orbit so far in 2023 than in any prior year, continuing an upward trend in launch activity over the last five years.

    On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration reported that it screened more than 2.9 million airline passengers making their way through US airports after Thanksgiving. It was the busiest day in history for US airports.

    A few days earlier, the world's spaceports set a new record with the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with another batch of Starlink Internet satellites from Florida. This launch on November 22 was the 180th launch of 2023 to put its payload into orbit, eclipsing the mark of 179 successful orbital launches from last year.

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      A nearly 20-year ban on human spaceflight regulations is set to expire

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 27 July, 2023 - 11:00

    A crew of six passengers, including former professional football player and television anchor Michael Strahan, stroll past the Blue Origin New Shepard booster they rode into space in December 2021.

    Enlarge / A crew of six passengers, including former professional football player and television anchor Michael Strahan, stroll past the Blue Origin New Shepard booster they rode into space in December 2021. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images )

    In 2004, Congress passed a law that established a moratorium on federal safety regulations for commercial astronauts and space tourists riding to space on new privately owned rockets and spacecraft. The idea was to allow time for new space companies to establish themselves before falling under the burden of regulations, an eventuality that spaceflight startups argued could impede the industry's development.

    The moratorium is also known as a "learning period," a term that describes the purpose of the provision. It's supposed to give companies and the Federal Aviation Administration—the agency tasked with overseeing commercial human spaceflight, launch, and re-entry operations—time to learn how to safely fly in space and develop smart regulations, those that make spaceflight safer but don't restrict innovation.

    Without action from Congress, by the end of September, the moratorium on human spaceflight regulations will expire. That has many in the commercial space industry concerned.

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      World’s heaviest commercial communications satellite will launch tonight

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 26 July, 2023 - 22:09

    SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket stands on Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center before the launch of the Jupiter 3 communications satellite.

    Enlarge / SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket stands on Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center before the launch of the Jupiter 3 communications satellite. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann/Ars Technica)

    The heaviest commercial communications satellite ever built is folded up for launch on top of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket Wednesday night from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    This satellite, owned by EchoStar and built by Maxar, tips the scales at about 9.2 metric tons, or more than 20,000 pounds. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will propel the spacecraft on its way toward an operating position in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.

    The action will begin at 11:04 p.m. EDT (03:04 UTC) with the ignition of the Falcon Heavy's 27 main engines on Launch Complex 39A. A few moments later, the Falcon Heavy will climb away from its launch pad and head downrange toward the east from the Kennedy Space Center. You can watch SpaceX's live webcast below.

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