Latest News

February 19, 2017 – February 25, 2017

NASA Seeks University-Designed Solutions To Deep Space Human Exploration Challenges
Source: NASA

NASA is looking for university teams that can develop innovative design solutions for deep space human exploration systems as part of the 2018 eXploration Systems and Habitation (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.


Supernova 1987A: The Dawn Of A New Era For Supernova 1987A
Source: NASA/Chandra X-ray Observatory

Three decades ago, astronomers spotted one of the brightest exploding stars in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987.


MDA To Acquire DigitalGlobe, Creating Industry Leader In End-to-End Space Systems, Earth Imagery And Geospatial Solutions
Source: MDA

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (“MDA”) (TSX: MDA), a global communications and information company providing technology solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide, and DigitalGlobe, Inc. (“DigitalGlobe”) (NYSE: DGI), the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, today announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which MDA will acquire DigitalGlobe for US$35.00 per share in a combination of cash and stock.


World View And Ball Aerospace Demonstrate Persistent Remote Sensing From Stratollite Platform
Source: Ball Aerospace

World View and Ball Aerospace successfully completed a Stratollite mission earlier this month, demonstrating early capabilities for remote sensing applications from the stratosphere, nearly 70,000 feet above Earth. This latest mission is a pathfinder for a commercial offering of low-cost, persistent, high-resolution imagery data from the stratosphere and is part of the collaboration between the two companies.


Dragon Attached To Station’s Harmony Module
Source: NASA

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:12 a.m. EST. February 23.


Plasma Waves Pinpointed At The Site Of Magnetic Reconnection
Source: Eos

Some of the most mysterious physics in all of space occurs tens of thousands of kilometers above the Earth, where the Sun’s magnetic field merges with that of Earth. This region pulses with currents and fields as the two fields tangle and reconnect …


NASA Invites Media to Next Test of Orion Spacecraft Parachutes
Source: NASA

NASA is inviting media to attend a test of the Orion spacecraft’s parachutes on Wednesday, March 8, at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Orion is scheduled for its second airdrop test, in a series of eight, to qualify the parachute system for crewed flights.


A Rainbow View Of NASA’s RS-25 Engine Test
Source: NASA

NASA engineers conducted their first RS-25 test of 2017 on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, on Feb. 22, continuing to collect data on the performance of the rocket engine that will help power the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.


NASA’s New Horizons, IAU Set Pluto Naming Themes
Source: NASA

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) – the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features – has approved themes submitted by NASA’s New Horizons team for naming surface features on Pluto and its moons.


Challenger Summer Schedule
Source: Challenger Learning Center of Colorado

Enroll your kids now in Challenger Learning Center’s exciting and educational summer programs! Choose from a variety of space and science themes that will challenge your kids to learn and explore while having a lot of fun — all in the safe, kid-friendly environment that you would expect from a Challenger Learning Center.


Official Naming Of Surface Features On Pluto And Its Satellites: First Step Approved
Source: International Astronomical Union

The New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its satellites returned a scientific treasure trove of information about these distant and surprisingly complex worlds, showing a vast nitrogen glacier as well as ice mountains, canyons, cliffs, craters and more. Now the categories for official names have been approved and the name proposals can be submitted by the New Horizons team.


Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Camp
Source: Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum

Students ages 8 – 12 will be immersed in aviation and space activities inside a WWII-era Air Force hangar that is filled with over 50 types of aircraft and space vehicles. By designing water rockets, a Martian Settlement, and gliders, campers will learn to troubleshoot some of the challenges tackled by aerospace engineers. Weekly camps will run from June 5th – August 11th, Monday through Friday.


RS-25 Conducts Test For SLS As Team Waits On New Engine Controllers
Source: NASASpaceFlight

The RS-25 team has conducted the latest hot-fire test of development engine 0528 at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Wednesday.


NASA Establishes New Public-Private Partnerships to Advance U.S. Commercial Space Capabilities
Source: NASA

NASA is partnering with eight U.S. companies to advance small spacecraft and launch vehicle technologies that are on the verge of maturation and are likely to benefit both NASA and the commercial space market.


Cislunar Space: The Next 30 Years
Source: Air & Space Magazine

Up to speed and thinking about the future, United Launch Alliance (ULA), the amalgam of Boeing and Lockheed created in 2006 to market launch services on the venerable Delta and Atlas rockets, hosted a unique gathering in Centennial, Colorado last week.


IRISS Researcher Emily Ranquist Selected For Best Student Paper Award
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Emily Ranquist, a PhD student in Dr. Brian Argrow’s lab, was recently selected as the winner of the 2017 ARAM Best Student Paper award by the Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology (ARAM) Committee at the 2017 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting. Her paper, entitled “Exploring the Range of Weather Impacts on UAS Operations,” addressed the ways different weather hazards affect unmanned aircraft systems.


The Long Wait To Send A Probe To Pluto, And What We’ve Found
Source: Ars Technica

Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, started his talk at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting by showing off the Hubble Space Telescope’s best image of Pluto.


Students To Celebrate Engineering Days Friday With Egg Drop, Paper Airplane Contest And Model Rocket Launches
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Looking for a little Friday fun? The College of Engineering and Applied Science is celebrating the annual Engineering Days – free and open to enthusiasts – with some creative and educational activities.


From Rocks In Colorado, Evidence Of A ‘Chaotic Solar System’
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Plumbing a 90 million-year-old layer cake of sedimentary rock in Colorado, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.


NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch Of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star
Source: NASA

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.


NSF To Fund A Nationwide Effort To Capture The Eclipse
Source: National Solar Observatory

The Citizen Continental America Telescopic Eclipse project, or Citizen CATE for short, will be deploying at least 60 identical telescopes across the path of totality thanks to the financial backing of the National Science Foundation.


These Seven Alien Worlds Could Help Explain How Planets Form
Source: nature

Seven alien, Earth-sized worlds bask in the cool, red light of their parent star. The planetary menagerie exists around a star overlooked by other exoplanet hunters, although it is just 12 parsecs (39 light years) from Earth.


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

A New Crater On A Dusty Slope
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image shows a new impact site originally detected by the Context Camera onboard MRO. The crater is on a dusty slope, which also has several dark slope streaks due to dust avalanches.


10 Years Strong With NASA’s THEMIS Mission
Source: NASA

On February 17, 2017, NASA’s Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms, or THEMIS, mission marked its 10th anniversary in space. The spacecraft have now spent a decade discovering how mass and energy move through the near-Earth environment in order to determine the physical processes initiating auroras – and they’re still making new discoveries.


NASA’s Fermi Finds Possible Dark Matter Ties In Andromeda Galaxy
Source: NASA

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.


CubeSats: Shaping Possibilities In Space
Source: NASA

For more than a decade, CubeSats, or small satellites, have paved the way to low-Earth orbit for commercial companies, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. These small satellites offer opportunities to conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations in space in such a way that is cost-effective, timely and relatively easy to accomplish.


SpaceX Dragon Rendezvous And Docking Waved Off For Today
Source: NASA

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft waved off its planned rendezvous with the International Space Station at 3:25 a.m. EST. Dragon’s onboard computers triggered the abort after recognizing an incorrect value in navigational data about the location of Dragon relative to the space station.


Using Next-Gen Geodata For Advanced Network Planning
Source: DigitalGlobe

Today’s network engineers need detailed and accurate 3D geodata that shows all the terrain features, as well as buildings and trees in a digital surface model (DSM) format.


New Lockheed Martin Lab In Silicon Valley “SPARC”s Interest In Space Science
Source: Lockheed Martin

What sounds like science fiction is now reality for a new Lockheed Martin laboratory in Silicon Valley. Technicians from Denmark installed a new linear particle accelerator at the company’s Advanced Technology Center to cap a significant expansion in space instrument testing.


Surprising Dunes On Comet Chury
Source: CNRS

Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI Paris/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) studied the available images and modeled the outgassing of vapor to try to explain the phenomenon.


NASA’s Europa Flyby Mission Moves into Design Phase
Source: NASA

A mission to examine the habitability of Jupiter’s ocean-bearing moon Europa is taking one step closer to the launchpad, with the recent completion of a major NASA review.


Aerospace Manufacturer To Relocate HQ To Coors Technology Center In Golden
Source: Denver Business Journal

NFT Inc., a Golden-based manufacturer of nuclear, aerospace and automation products, will relocate its headquarters to the Coors Technology Center by the end of March.


Why The Man Behind The New Horizons Mission Wants Pluto To Be A Planet Again
Source: IFLScience

The debate over whether Pluto should be called a planet or not has raged for years, coming to a head in 2006 when it was reclassified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Now, that debate is being ignited once again.


To COSI, From Pluto
Source: Columbus Underground

Last Wednesday, Dr. Alan Stern told a sold-out audience at at COSI’s National Geographic Giant Screen Theater how lucky they are.


Cory Gardner Wants To Go To Mars
Source: The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner wants to explore Mars. Maybe not in person, but the Republican authored an amendment to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act, a bill sponsored by Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and passed by the full Senate Friday, February 17, that indicates an interest.


Senate Approves Gardner Space-Related Provisions
Source: Sen. Cory Gardner

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today released the below statement following the Senate’s passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act, which included two Gardner-authored provisions.


Learning To Fly Drones On Campus
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Are you planning to use a drone or quad copter in your next research project? Do you know the rules? CU Boulder’s Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing (IRISS) does, and they can help you fly higher and further than you thought possible.


NASA’s SnowEx Challenges The Sensing Techniques…‘Until They Break’
Source: NASA

A NASA-led team will kick off an ambitious airborne campaign to determine which combination of sensors would work best at collecting global snow-water measurements from space — critical for understanding and managing the world’s freshwater resources.


Megamovie Project To Crowdsource Images Of August Solar Eclipse
Source: UC Berkeley

With only six months to go before one of the most anticipated solar eclipses in a lifetime, the University of California, Berkeley, and Google are looking for citizen scientists to document and memorialize the event in a “megamovie,” and help scientists learn about the sun in the process.


Image Credit: OHB/ESA

Propelling Orion
Source: ESA/OHB

Even the most complex of systems comes down to properly configured wires and cables, such as those pictured here on the Propulsion Qualification Model of the Orion service module.


NASA Authorization Bill Calls For Orion ISS Study
Source: SpaceNews

A NASA authorization bill passed by the Senate Feb. 17 would require NASA to reexamine the feasibility of using the Orion spacecraft to transport crews to and from the International Space Station.


NOAA’s GOES-16 Weather Satellite To Showcase Its Lightning Detection Capabilities
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

NOAA’s new highly advanced GOES-16 (formerly known as GOES-R) weather satellite, which has just completed its third month in space, is expected to provide crucial data necessary to detect the presence of lightning earlier and better than before.


ULA Give Sneak Peek At SLS’ Second Stage Before It Gets Shipped To Florida
Source: Spaceflight Insider

United Launch Alliance (ULA) invited media to their 1.6 million-square-foot (148,645 m2) rocket factory in northern Alabama to get a look at the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) flight hardware prior to it being shipped to Florida.


ARISS Opens Window For Proposals To Host Contacts With Space Station Crew
Source: ARRL

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is seeking proposals from schools and formal or informal educational institutions and organizations — individually or working in concert — to host Amateur Radio contacts next year with ISS crew members.


Skyview Elementary School Students In Windsor Take A Trip To Space With Mobile Planetarium
Source: The Tribune

About 20 Skyview Elementary School fourth-graders gasped when cosmic lights flicked into existence above their heads.


CU Boulder Students Show NASA Their Vision Of Future Space Transport
Source: Boulder Daily Camera

Four University of Colorado juniors are back from NASA’s Langley Research Center, where they competed Wednesday as finalists in that agency’s BIG Idea Challenge.


Larson Awarded Honorary Doctorate For Groundbreaking GPS Research
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Congratulations to CU Boulder aerospace professor Kristine Larson for being awarded an honorary doctorate from the Chalmers University of Technology.


Woodward Announces Appointment Of New Board Member Daniel G. Korte
Source: Woodward Inc.

Woodward, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Daniel G. (“Dan”) Korte (56) to serve on the Board, effective immediately. Mr. Korte will also serve on the Audit Committee of the Board.


Woodward Announces Appointment Of New Board Member Eileen P. Drake
Source: Woodward Inc.

Woodward, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Eileen P. Drake (51) to serve on the Board, effective immediately. Ms. Drake will also serve on the Audit Committee of the Board.


Five New Trustees Join UCAR’s Board
Source: NCAR/UCAR

Five new trustees are taking their seats this week on the board of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).


The Last Man On The Moon
Source: Chautauqua

Director Mark Craig’s documentary combines rare archive material, compelling visuals and unprecedented access to present an iconic historical character on the big screen. Dr. Jack Burns from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy (CASA) will lead a post screening discussion and provide an update on current lunar missions.


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Rays Of Creusa
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

When viewed from a distance with the sun directly behind Cassini, the larger, brighter craters really stand out on moons like Dione. Among these larger craters, some leave bright ray patterns across the moon, calling attention to their existence and to the violence of their creation.


SAGE III Lifts Off To The Space Station
Source: NASA

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III) on the International Space Station lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon spacecraft.


First Flight Hardware Ships To Cape Canaveral
Source: Boeing

Workers at United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Decatur, Ala., will soon ship to Cape Canaveral the Boeing and ULA built second stage propulsion element that will fly on NASA’s Space Launch System’s first flight in 2018.


Image Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Earth Eclipses The Sun
Source: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Several times a day for a few days the Earth completely blocked the Sun for about an hour due to SDO’s orbital path (Feb. 15, 2017). A related video clip shows the ending of one such eclipse.


European Orion Functional Model Arrives In USA For Combined Testing
Source: ESA

Like modern aircraft with fly-by-wire technology, spacecraft depend on reliable electrical systems to calculate scenarios and command hardware to react for a safe and successful journey. For NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will be heading beyond the Moon and back, the avionics have an enormous amount of data to process and hardware to control …


DKIST Solar Physics In Service Of Society
Source: High Altitude Observatory (HAO)

Philip Judge, Senior Scientist at HAO, Claire Raftery, Director of Education and Outreach at NSO HQ in Boulder, and Sarah Jaeggli, Assistant Astronomer at the NSO’s Daniel K Inouye Solar Observatory in Maui were guests on KGNU public radio in Boulder, Colorado. Listen to the complete interview.


A New Era in Astronomy: Amber Straughn Public Lecture
Source: Perimeter Institute

In her Perimeter Public Lecture, Dr. Amber Straughn will provide an update on the progress of building the world’s largest-yet space telescope, and will give an overview of the astronomical questions we hope to answer with James Webb Space Telescope. Enjoy the live webcast of Perimeter Institute Public Lectures from the comfort of your own home.


Beacon Decoder/Forwarder Software Is Coming
Source: University of Colorado Boulder/LASP

James Mason has been working on the beacon decoding software to be publicly distributed so that HAM radio operators around the world can decode some of the data they’ve been hearing squawk over their radios from MinXSS.


NASA Cargo Headed To Space Station Includes Important Experiments, Equipment
Source: NASA

Major experiments that will look into a range of scientific disciplines from human health to atmospheric conditions on Earth are on their way to the International Space Station following liftoff at 9:39 a.m. EST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.


45th SW Supports SpaceX’s CRS-10 Launch
Source: USAF/45th Space Wing Public Affairs

The 45th Space Wing supported SpaceX’s successful launch of a Falcon 9 Dragon spacecraft headed to the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center February 19 at 9:39 a.m. ET. The U.S. Air Force has been breaking barriers since 1947 and with the successful demonstration of a new Autonomous Flight Safety System on this launch, yet another barrier has been broken.


Falcon 9 Lifts Off On First Mission From Kennedy Space Center Pad
Source: SpaceNews

A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off for the first time from a launch site here previously used by Apollo and shuttle missions Feb. 19, placing a Dragon cargo spacecraft into orbit …