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Launch Records Topple in 2024 with Busiest January of Space Age

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 starlink satellites launches from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, Jan. 7, 2024.

Averaging a liftoff every 33 hours and 49 minutes, January’s 22 successful launches to space marked the busiest start to a year since the Space Age dawned in 1957, and put the globe on track for 259 launches in 2024, which would easily eclipse records set in 2023, according to a Space Foundation database. If the pace holds, this year could shatter 2023’s record of one launch every 39 hours, which sped past a record set in 2022 with a launch every 47 hours. Since 1957, January launches have proven to be a key predictor for annual launch numbers, with annual launch figures meeting or exceeding the January pace 93% of the time.

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Iran’s Recent Space Success Could Advance Nuclear Aims, Retired General Says

A Sunday launch that placed three Iranian satellites into orbit could signal the Islamic Republic’s ability to use its launch vehicles to deliver warheads to distant targets, warned retired Air Force Gen. Lance Lord, a former leader of Pentagon space efforts. Announced by Iran’s state news agency IRNA, the Sunday launch was the nation’s second successful space mission in the past month and the first to deliver multiple satellites. The three satellites, Mahda, Keyhan-2, and Hatef-1, were described by Iran as research satellites designed to test a variety of technologies including communications.

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Final Flight of NASA’s Remarkable Mars Helicopter Ends with Rotor Damage

NASA's twin-rotor Ingenuity helicopter was designed for five missions over Mars. It lasted for 72 before a frayed rotor blade grounded the machine. Credit NASA

Rotor damage suffered during a routine Jan. 18 flight grounded the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, after three years exceeding expectations and setting milestones for powered flight on another planet alongside the Perseverance rover, ending the aircraft’s remarkable mission, NASA announced Thursday. 

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Quilty Space 2023 Q4 Transaction Update

In the final financial quarter of 2023, there were seven space-related acquisitions/buy-outs, 36 minority venture/private equity financings totaling approximately $1.2 billion in funding raised, and five public equity financings representing…

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Spy Agency Uses Data from Space, Experience on the Ground to Win Battles, Save Lives with Maps

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency uses maps fused with Intelligence data to give leaders a clearer picture of global events. Credit: NGA

Seizing the high ground to see what lies ahead, a skill as old as warfare itself, has never been more important. Now, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the intelligence community’s mapmakers, are seizing the high ground of commercial space to augment the products they deliver to the military and first responders at disaster scenes.

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Accelerated Launch Pace, Debris and AI Shape the 2024 Space Forecast

At Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, leaders expect to fire off a record 100 launch vehicles in 2024. Credit: NASA

Introduction | Coming off a year that again saw records shattered for the number of launches to space and the number of satellites in orbit, it’s no surprise that some…

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NASA Completes First Laser Communications Beyond Moon

DSOC’s flight laser transceiver shown at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in April 2021, preparing to be installed in its enclosure before integrating with the rest of the Psyche spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Introduction | As scientific instruments get more precise and the private and public sectors work to send humans farther into space than ever before, space data transfers are more important…

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White House Authorization and Supervision Draft Legislation on Collision Course with Hill and Parts of Industry

Courtney Stadd spent more than 40 years as a senior official in the White House, NASA, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Transportation, and as a senior executive with…

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Spacecraft Deployments Grew 23% in 2023 Despite Broadband Cooldown

dia’s first successful lunar lander, Chandrayaan-3, sits in a facility before launch. Even though commercial satellites made up the majority of deployments in 2023, civil government payloads increased most rapidly, growing 74% year-over-year. Credit: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

With record launches for the third year running, it’s no surprise that the number of payloads reaching orbit is also skyrocketing. Spacecraft deployed in 2023 grew 23% to 2,891, bringing approximately 1.4 million kg of equipment to space.

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Making the Case for a U.S. Space National Guard

Major General Laura L. Clellan

American foreign policy is sitting on a razor’s edge. The United States now must walk a tightrope between maintaining global posture and avoiding global conflict.

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