Space docking first gives commercial satellites a new lease of
26 February 2020
Two unmanned commercial satellites have docked in orbit for the
first time. On February 25, Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension
Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) linked up with the Intelsat 901 (IS-901)
communication satellite at an altitude of 22,416 mi (36,076 km)
above the Earth as part of a project to extend the service life
of satellites that are running low on propellants.
The building and launching of satellites is extremely expensive,
so it's more than just frustrating when a perfectly good
spacecraft has to be disposed of or abandoned simply because it
has run out of the propellants needed to keep it in its proper
orbit and pointed at Earth. There have been a number of solutions
proposed for this problem – in this case Northrop's MEV-1 is
designed to match orbits with aging satellites, dock, and take
over the job of maintaining orbit and attitude.
MEV-1 was launched on October 9, 2019, and then executed a series
of orbital maneuvers to rendezvous with IS-901, 180 mi (290 km)
above geosynchronous orbit. Northrop says the target
communication satellite was removed from service last December
after over 19 years of service and its customers transferred to
MEV-1 approached the stern of IS-901 and used a drogue mechanism
to capture the satellite and pull itself in to dock over the
satellite's now-inoperative main thruster. The combined
spacecraft is currently undergoing system checks before MEV-1
takes over attitude and orbital maintenance in March.
If the test is successful, MEV-1 will remain docked for five
years before sending IS-901 into its final decommissioning
trajectory. MEV-1 will then undock and proceed to another aging
satellite. In all, MEV-1 is expected to remain in service for 15
years. Meanwhile, MEV-2 is slated to launch in March 2020 and
rendezvous with another Intelsat.
Eventually, Northrop and its subsidiary SpaceLogistics LLC plan
to send up a fleet of such maintenance craft to not only extend
satellite service life, but also for refueling, servicing, and
robotic assembly of spacecraft.
"Our Mission Extension Vehicle provides an innovative, satellite
life extension service," says Tom Wilson, president,
SpaceLogistics LLC. "Together, Northrop Grumman, SpaceLogistics
LLC, and Intelsat have taken the first step in pioneering
in-space logistics services for both commercial and government
China Vows to Retaliate Against US Over Limits on Chinese State
3 March 2020
WASHINGTON - China is threatening to retaliate against the United
States over its decision to limit the number of state media
personnel allowed to work in the U.S.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday a cap on
citizens from five Chinese state-owned outlets — Xinhua News
Agency, China Global Television Network (CGTN), China Radio
International, China Daily Distribution Corp., and Hai Tian
Development USA, Inc. The reductions, which take effect March
13, will limit the number of Chinese nationals working at these
outlets from 160 to 100.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in
Beijing Tuesday that the government strongly opposes the Trump
administration's decision. Zhao says the move effectively expels
the journalists, and warned that China "reserves the right" to
respond and take further measures.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, issued a
far more ominous warning on her Twitter feed, saying "Now the US
kicked off the game, let's play."
Chinese citizens working for other media organizations in the
U.S. are not affected by the cap.
The five entities are determined by the U.S. as "explicit
propaganda organs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)" and had
been previously designated by the State Department as foreign
missions of the Chinese government.
"Our goal is reciprocity," said Secretary Pompeo in a statement.
"As we have done in other areas of the U.S.-China relationship,
we seek to establish a long-overdue level playing field. It is
our hope that this action will spur Beijing to adopt a more fair
and reciprocal approach to U.S. and other foreign press in
A senior State Department official said even after this cap is
implemented, the five Chinese state media groups continue to
employ more Chinese personnel in the U.S. than foreign reporters
at all U.S. media outlets in China, combined.
The U.S. has issued 3,000 I-1 visas to Chinese nationals working
in the United States since 2015, said another senior Trump
administration official. "By contrast, U.S. news outlets have
only about 75 American or other non-Chinese citizens working for
them inside of mainland China."
I-1 visas are issued by the U.S. government for representatives
of foreign media to work in the United States.
The visas that the U.S. issues to Chinese journalists have no
duration of stay. In contrast, Beijing currently imposes duration
of stay on all foreign reporters in China, some as short as 30
days. After 30 days, some foreign reporters in China have to
reapply for an extension.
The U.S. decision comes after the Foreign Correspondents' Club of
China (FCCC) published its annual media freedoms report,
"Control, Halt, Delete: Reporting in China Under Threat of
Expulsion," an in-depth examination of media freedoms in China in
"The U.S. is taking this action in order to clearly communicate
the severity of our concerns about the abusive, unfair and
non-reciprocal treatment of international press in China," said a
senior State Department official on Monday.
The FCCC report finds Chinese authorities have weaponized visas
against the foreign press, issuing truncated press credentials to
a dozen journalists in 2019, and expelling four correspondents
from China since August 2019.
A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry said the FCCC report
was "inappropriate," and that China does not recognize the
The U.S. announcement Monday also comes after China expelled
three Wall Street Journal reporters, a move seen as a punishment
for a recent opinion piece published by the U.S. newspaper.
In the past few weeks, Chinese citizen journalists who have been
chronicling the coronavirus outbreak and seen as defiant to the
Beijing government were said to have "disappeared."
On Feb. 28, outspoken Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai and two
prominent opposition politicians were charged with illegal
assembly over a pro-democracy gathering in 2019. Lai, who has
made financial contributions to Hong Kong's pro-democracy
demonstrators, was later released on bail.
On Feb. 24, China sentenced book publisher Gui Minhai, a Swedish
citizen who disappeared in 2015 and was believed to have been
abducted by Chinese agents in Thailand, to 10 years on charges of
"providing intelligence" overseas.
"We're witnessing an assault on free speech inside of China that
goes even beyond what it was a decade ago," said a senior Trump
administration official on Monday.
The five Chinese state media groups' U.S. operations will have to
disclose their personnel rosters, as well as hiring and firing
decisions, according to the State Department. In addition, they
are required to register properties that they rent or own in the
China Daily is an English-language newspaper published by the
Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Hai Tian Development USA
distributes the People's Daily, the official newspaper of CCP's
U.S. officials have said there is "an awakening" to what they
call Chinese propaganda outlets operating on U.S. soil. For
example, CGTN, formerly known as China Central Television America
(CCTV America), was once warmly welcomed to the State Department
in an event in 2013, but now faces scrutiny as a Chinese foreign
At the State Department podium, Ma Jing, director general of CCTV
America, touted CCTV as a bridge between the U.S. and China to
promote knowledge and understanding.
We want to start this post off by thanking all of you heavily!
We expected maybe 1 or 2 people would listen and send in a report and maybe
they’ll also send feedback … we didn’t expect the amazing response we
received! To all of you who wrote in with suggestions, nice comments and
feedback, we can’t thank you enough, it brightens our day when we read them!
We’ll start with a final summary of RNEI #1 and then a very exciting
announcement for RNEI #2 (hint, it involves TIAMS!)
We received over 40 emailed reception reports which was
unexpected and loads of them had wonderful and encouraging comments. We had
people in Japan staying up until the early hours of the morning to hear RNEI,
a Canadian catching us on their receiver in Newfoundland and so many more
listeners than we could have ever predicted. Thank you for all of your
The MFSK 64 was a half-success, most people got some of it
which isn’t bad!
Here are some of the decodes people managed to get and send in:
The song list for show #1 was:
Track 1: SeeB & Julie Bergan with Kiss Somebody
Track 2: Anna of the North with My Love
Track 3: Evelina with Hitaasti
Track 4: Aron Can + Friðrik Dór with Hingað þangað
Track 5: Eviør with Í tokuni
Track 6: Thomas Stenström with Nån Annan
Track 7: Jonathan Floyd with Ække Meg
Track 8: Smith & Thell with Goliath
Track 9: The Prodigy with Omen
Now for the exciting news!
Radio Northern Europe International has worked with
This is a Music Show to make a broadcast consisting of 30
minutes of RNEI and 30 minutes of TIAMS, that’s 1 hour of great music!
We really love what TIAMS has made for us and we can’t wait to share it with
Radio Northern Europe International show #2 will have music from Iceland,
Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland this month, I really love the
music we are playing and we hope to introduce you to some new music this
Songs 4,5 and 6 are my favourites this show!
We have good news to those of you not in Europe and those of you nearer the
transmitter, multiple times throughout the month! RNEI #2 will broadcast 5
times on 6070KHz at the following times:
Saturday the 7th of March 2020, 10-11UTC
Saturday the 7th of March 2020, 19-20UTC
Friday the 13th of March 2020, 11-12UTC
Saturday the 21st of March 2020, 19-20UTC
Sunday the 29th of March 2020, 01-02UTC (this time is very experimental!)
In RNEI Show #2 the final song will have the MFSK32 embedded into it. This
time: text, Emoji and some Icelandic art! (Note, an app like TIVAR shows the
TIAMS’ contribution will contain some MFSK64 text and an MFSK64 image!
Many thanks to one of our listeners for suggesting our final MFSK song!
This show Daz has been working hard making an audio processor to try and
expand the audio range of RNEI! We have decided on trying to broadcast a flat
signal to combat the noise floor. This means that the highs might come across
a bit too bright and the bass might feel bit lacking.
Don’t worry, a little bit of EQ on the receiver should
reverse it ending up with a better frequency range than before! Most
standalone radios should already apply a high frequency reduction however SDRs
can omit this!
You can send your reception reports, feedback and suggestions for RNEI to email@example.com!
Wishing you good reception conditions and all the best,