Latest News

LAUNCH UPDATE: The Atlas V NROL42 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has been delayed to allow the team time to replace a faulty battery on the booster. The rocket and spacecraft are stable. Launch is now scheduled for no earlier than September 23. The mission had been expected to launch at 11:38 p.m. MDT September 21.


Honeybee Robotics Solar Array Deployment System Performs Successfully On NSPO FORMOSAT-5 Mission

Image Credit: Honeybee Robotics

September 21, 2017 – Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corporation today announced that its solar array deployment system has performed successfully on FORMOSAT-5, the most recent Earth observation satellite to be launched by Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO). The 475kg satellite reached sun-synchronous orbit on August 24, 2017. Read More


3-D Design Challenge Seeks Students To Invent Crew Tools

Future engineers encouraged to design crew tools for the International Space Station. Image Credit: Future Engineers

September 21, 2017 – This fall, NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation are challenging students to use their ingenuity to create a helpful tool that combines the functions of two objects being used by crew aboard the International Space Station. Read More


A Global Look At Earth’s Surface Waters

Artistic rendering of the SWOT satellite. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

September 21, 2017 – While Boulder battled temperatures in the high 90’s this summer, CIRES ESOC researcher J. Toby Minear and his team were knee-deep in frigid Alaskan waters—taking calibration ground measurements for a NASA mission that will harness new, state-of-the-art satellite technology to view Earth’s water in incredible detail from space. Read More


GOES-16 Provides Critical Data On Hurricane Maria When Radar Goes Out

GOES-16 geocolor image of Hurricane Maria over Puerto Rico as it made landfall on September 20, 2017. Image Credit: CIRA

September 21, 2017 – Although not yet operational, data from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite proved vital in forecasting operations for Hurricane Maria as it neared Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Radar in San Juan went out at 5:50 a.m. EDT, just before Maria made landfall on the island. Land-based radar is used during storms to provide detailed information on hurricane wind fields, rain intensity, and storm position and movement. With this critical technology disabled and a major hurricane approaching, forecasters were able to utilize data from NOAA’s latest geostationary satellite, GOES-16, to track the storm in real-time. Read More


Ball Aerospace Completes Spectrometer Testing And Verification On NASA’s TEMPO Program

The Ball Aerospace TEMPO air quality sensor for NASA is going to revolutionize how air pollution is monitored across North America. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

September 21, 2017 – The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument, designed and built by Ball Aerospace for NASA, has completed spectrometer testing and verification. Read More


More News:

Abstract Submission Open For Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference
Source: SwRI/Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Abstract submission is now open for the 6th Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2017)! The conference will be at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado on December 18-20, 2017, with a welcome reception the evening of Sunday, Dec 17. Abstracts can be submitted for contributed talks or posters. Topics can include planetary science, atmospheric science, microgravity sciences (fundamental biology and physics), commercial applications, education, public outreach, life sciences, suborbital and commercial markets and policy, plans for human-tended experiments, and REM flight crew training, among others.


Deep Dips: Designing A Mission Orbiter
Source: LASP

The MAVEN mission has been orbiting Mars since 2014, making periodic “deep dips” to sample Mars’ upper atmosphere. Lockheed Martin designed the MAVEN spacecraft and manages mission operations. The spacecraft is based on the flight-proven designs of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Juno spacecraft, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, which has since based the design of NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft on lessons learned from MAVEN. Join Guy Beutelschies, former Lockheed Martin Program Manager for MAVEN and current Vice President of Communications Systems to learn about the challenges engineers face in designing missions like MAVEN for success. This is an online event.


Solar Eruption ‘Photobombed’ Mars Encounter With Comet Siding Spring
Source: Europlanet Outreach

When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometres from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years. However, scientists analysing the data have found that a very powerful Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) launched by the Sun also arrived at Mars 44 hours before the comet, creating significant disturbances in the martian upper atmosphere and complicating analysis of the data.


Hosting An ARISS Contact In The US
Source: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)

A scheduled ARISS contact is a voice-only communication via Amateur Radio between the International Space Station (ISS) crew and classrooms and communities. ARISS contacts allow education audiences to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to work and live in space. These scheduled contact opportunities are offered to formal and informal education institutions and organizations, individually or working together. The radio contacts are approximately 10 minutes in length due to the radio communication window permitted by the logistics of orbital passes of the ISS. During the contact, students interact directly with astronauts and cosmonauts during this communication window using a question and answer format.


CU Engineering Students Shine In Women Forward In Technology Scholarships
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

The inaugural Women Forward in Technology Scholarship awards feature a strong showing from the University of Colorado Boulder, with CU Engineering women earning 7 of the 16 scholarship slots. The scholarship program, created by a group of startup companies, seeks to honor exceptional women and grow their ranks in STEM careers. The call for applications drew more than 200 entries.


Students Study Atmosphere At Arecibo Facility
Source: University of Colorado Denver

In a recent trip to Arecibo Observatory, five students from CU Denver’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) participated in an incoherent scatter radar (ISR) summer school. The electrical engineering students met with students from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Florida, and other schools to learn about the Arecibo facility and the fundamentals of using ISR.


X-Plane Preliminary Design Model Tests Quiet Supersonic Technology
Source: NASA

The QueSST Preliminary Design is the initial design stage of NASA’s planned Low-Boom Flight Demonstration experimental airplane, otherwise known as an X-plane. This future X-plane is one of a series of X-planes envisioned in NASA’s New Aviation Horizons initiative, which aims to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise through innovations in aircraft design that depart from the conventional tube-and-wing aircraft shape.


ASTROSCALE And JAXA Conclude Joint Agreement To Counteract Space Debris
Source: JAXA

ASTROSCALE Japan Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “ASTROSCALE”) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency signed a joint research agreement (“the agreement”) regarding the removal of space debris. Under the terms of the agreement, ASTROSCALE will have access to JAXA’s technologies that examine the methods to approach and capture space debris. The technologies will facilitate ASTROSCALE’s development of ELSA-d, a technology demonstration satellite scheduled to be launched in the first half of 2019.


Hope To Discover Sure Signs Of Life On Mars? New Research Says Look For The Element Vanadium
Source: University of Kansas

A new paper in the journal Astrobiology suggests NASA and others hunting for proof of Martian biology in the form of “microfossils” could use the element vanadium in combination with Raman spectroscopy on organic material as biosignatures to confirm traces of extraterrestrial life.


One Small Teraflop: HPE’s Supercomputer Takes A Giant Leap On The Space Station
Source: GeekWire

The most powerful computer ever sent into space proved its mettle this month by registering a processing speed in excess of a trillion floating-point calculations per second, a measure that’s known as a teraflop.


NASA Center Director: If Trump Pivots To The Moon, We’re “Set Up” To Do It
Source: Ars Technica

Ellen Ochoa is a four-time astronaut who has served as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston since 2013. “If we do see an administration that decides to make a little bit of a turn and focus a little bit more on the Moon, I think we’re very well set up to do it,” Ochoa replied. “It’s not at all incompatible with what we’re doing,” she added.


Diving Into Saturn
Source: Boulder Weekly

I finally arrive on the Caltech campus in Pasadena, California, around 3:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 to bear witness to the final gravitational dance between the Cassini spacecraft and the so-called “Jewel of the Solar System,” the planet Saturn. Hundreds of scientists and engineers whose careers have intersected with Cassini over the years have come from all over the world to pay their last respects to a mission that has touched their lives and brought so many people together.


Microsemi’s New SyncServer S650 SAASM Time And Frequency Server Ensures Improved Immunity From GPS Jamming And Spoofing For Military Systems
Source: Microsemi Corporation

Microsemi Corporation, a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, today announced its new SyncServer S650 SAASM server incorporating a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) to provide a highly secure, accurate and flexible time and frequency platform for synchronizing mission-critical electronics systems and instrumentation applications in the defense market, such as satellite communications and defense operational infrastructure.


Fast Radio Bursts May Be Firing Off Every Second
Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

When fast radio bursts, or FRBs, were first detected in 2001, astronomers had never seen anything like them before. Since then, astronomers have found a couple of dozen FRBs, but they still don’t know what causes these rapid and powerful bursts of radio emission. For the first time, two astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have estimated how many FRBs should occur over the entire observable universe. Their work indicates that at least one FRB is going off somewhere every second.


Meet Two Astronaut Candidates Who Can Help NASA Do Science On Other Worlds
Source: The Planetary Society

Back in June, NASA announced its newest batch of astronaut candidates. Two of the candidates are particularly suited to conduct scientific research on other worlds: Zena Cardman, a geobiologist, and Jessica Watkins, a geologist. I recently spoke with Cardman and Watkins about how their scientific backgrounds apply to their new job, and how significant it is that NASA selected scientists with field experience that can be applied beyond Earth.


New Horizons After 2014 MU69
Source: Centauri Dreams

If New Horizons can make its flyby of Kuiper Belt Object MU69 at a scant 3500 kilometers, our imagery and other data should be much enhanced over the alternative 10,000 kilometer distance, one being kept in reserve in case pre-encounter observations indicate a substantial debris field or other problems close to the object. But both trajectories, according to principal investigator Alan Stern, have been moved closer following a ten-week study period, and both are closer than the 12,500 kilometers the spacecraft maintained in its flyby of Pluto.


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