Latest News

March 5, 2017 – March 11, 2017

I’m currently traveling and will be gone until early April. I have very limited internet access, so will not be posting news until I return.


Lafayette’s Centaurus Students Get Another Chance To Send Project To Space
Source: Boulder Daily Camera

A team of engineering students at Lafayette’s Centaurus High School are getting a second chance to send a micro-gravity research project to the International Space Station.


ExoMars: Science Checkout Completed And Aerobraking Begins
Source: ESA

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has completed another set of important science calibration tests before a year of aerobraking gets underway.


ESA’s Jupiter Mission Moves Off The Drawing Board
Source: ESA

Demanding electric, magnetic and power requirements, harsh radiation, and strict planetary protection rules are some of the critical issues that had to be tackled in order to move ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer – Juice – from the drawing board and into construction.


NASA Budget Would Cut Earth Science And Education
Source: Washington Post

President Trump’s first federal budget seems to make good on his campaign promises to shift NASA’s focus away from Earth and toward space.


JPSS And GOES Fare OK In Trump Budget Request, But Polar Follow On Uncertain
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

The Trump Administration’s FY2018 budget request for NOAA maintains support for the two major weather satellite programs, JPSS and GOES, but expects savings from the Polar Follow On program according to a copy of the document posted by the Washington Post.


Trump Budget Request Kills ARM, Supports SLS/Orion And Public Private Partnerships
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

The Trump Administration’s FY2018 budget blueprint proposes $19.1 billion for NASA, less than a one percent cut according to a copy of the document posted by the Washington Post.


ADAPT Welcomes New Member Big Metal Additive
Source: ADAPT

ADAPT, the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies, a research consortium focused on developing technologies to accelerate the certification and qualification of 3D printed metal parts, welcomes their most recent member, Big Metal Additive, a new company that specializes in larger build metal additive manufacturing.


Delta 4’s Military Launch Bumped By Commercial SpaceX Flight, But Good Weather Expected
Source: Spaceflight Now

With the SpaceX scrub earlier this week and the time needed to convert the Eastern Range over to the Delta 4, liftoff of that rocket carrying an internationally-purchased military communications satellite for the Air Force has been bumped to Saturday evening.


Orbital ATK CRS-7 Launch Targeted For March 24
Source: NASA/ULA

NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance (ULA) now are targeting launch of Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station at 9 p.m. EDT Friday, March 24. An option exists to move the launch earlier to March 23, if the Eastern Range becomes available.


Experiments Show Titan Lakes May Fizz With Nitrogen
Source: NASA/JPL

A recent NASA-funded study has shown how the hydrocarbon lakes and seas of Saturn’s moon Titan might occasionally erupt with dramatic patches of bubbles.


Videos: Delta IV / WGS-9 Pre-Launch Processing
Source: Spaceflight101.com

The ninth Wideband Global Satcom Satellite is encapsulated in its protective payload fairing and placed atop a Delta IV launch vehicle in preparation for a March 2017 liftoff to join the U.S. military’s worldwide high-capacity communications system keeping deployed troops connected.


Commercial Space Industry Can Deliver Agility And Innovation For Better Space Resilience
Source: SpaceNews (Sponsored ai-solutions, Inc.)

On February 14, 2017, an Indian Space Research Organization rocket launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre carrying a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit. These satellites have now joined more than 22,000 additional objects in space that are tracked by the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), where they are cataloged and screened for possible collisions with other space objects.


Mutants In Microgravity
Source: NASA

Bacteria may mutate more rapidly in space and scientists theorize patterns of those mutations could help predict how pathogens become resistant to antibiotics. Such predictions could, in turn, be used to develop new drugs to use against those pathogens.


Chemical Engineers Tapped For New NASA Research Institute
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

NASA has named CU Boulder as a partner in a first-of-its-kind $15 million research institute developing superstrong, lightweight materials for use in space exploration vehicles.


SpaceNews To Produce Official — And Only — Show Dailies For 33rd Space Symposium
Source: SpaceNews

SpaceNews is producing the official Show Daily for all three exhibit days of the 33rd Space Symposium happening April 3-6 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.


NASA’s Webb Telescope Ghostly ‘Lights Out’ Inspection
Source: NASA

What happens when the lights are turned out in the enormous clean room that currently houses NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope?


42 Is The Answer
Source: ESA

Forty-two is the answer, but what is the question? Scientists from the University of Zurich wanted to probe how immune cells adapt to weightlessness so they sent an experiment to the International Space Station with ESA.


Relativistic Electrons Uncovered With NASA’s Van Allen Probes
Source: NASA

Earth’s radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet, were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, new observations from NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought.


Year In Space Mission Wins 2017 Space Achievement Award
Source: Space Foundation

When they returned to Earth on March 1, 2016, (March 2 Kazakhstan time) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko had spent nearly a year in space. Their record-setting 342 days in space is expected to help pave the way for human spaceflight to Mars and other distant destinations.


Lockheed Martin Says Mars Base Camp Possible By 2028
Source: Florida Today

While NASA evaluates how soon it can send astronauts on a loop around the moon in an Orion capsule, Lockheed Martin is promoting a concept that would send crews on a three-year trip around Mars in just over a decade.


Explosion & Parachutes: Slowing Down Orion
Source: 90.7 WMFE

Brian Anderson has a tough job. He has to make a 20,000 pound spacecraft traveling at 300 miles per hour slow down and safely splash down in the ocean.


SpaceX Awarded Contract For GPS III-3 Launch Services
Source: USAF/Los Angeles Air Force Base

The Air Force announced today the award of the second competitively sourced National Security Space (NSS) launch services contract in more than a decade. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) was awarded a contract for Global Positioning System (GPS) III Launch Services.


CU Engineering Lands Three Top 20 Grad Programs
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science landed three top 20 grad programs today in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Graduate Schools across the country.


NASA Announces Teams For 2017 Human Exploration Rover Challenge
Source: NASA

Ready for a race? Nearly 100 high school and college teams from across the globe will put their skills to the test March 30 to April 1 during NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


NASA Selects In-Situ Resource Utilization SBIR Phase II Projects
Source: Parabolic Arc

NASA has selected two proposals related to in-situ resource utilization for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.


Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Ceramics
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Dr. Johannes Homa, CEO, Lithoz GmbH will give a seminar on additive manufacturing of high-performance ceramics. The seminar will be held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, on Thursday, March 16 at 4:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public.


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

Farewell To Mimas
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

In its season of “lasts,” NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its final close approach to Saturn’s moon Mimas on January 30, 2017. At closest approach, Cassini passed 25,620 miles (41,230 kilometers) from Mimas. All future observations of Mimas will be from more than twice this distance.


Mars Rover Tests Driving, Drilling And Detecting Life In Chile’s High Desert
Source: NASA

Due to its extreme dryness, the Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the most important environments on Earth for researchers who need to approximate the conditions of Mars.


Image Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Stretched Loops
Source: NASA/SDO

When an active region rotated over to the edge of the sun, it presented us with a nice profile view of its elongated loops stretching and swaying above it (March 8-9, 2017).


Combining With MDA — Hitting The “Go Fast” Button For The DigitalGlobe
Source: DigitalGlobe

Our recent agreement to combine with MDA is a “go fast” button for the DigitalGlobe that will allow us to move faster and go bigger than ever before.


High Winds Keep Falcon 9 Rocket Grounded
Source: Spaceflight Now

Rain showers and gloomy clouds blew through NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Monday evening, but it was high winds that prevented liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket early Tuesday …


Cassini Sees Heat Below The Icy Surface Of Enceladus
Source: NASA/JPL

A new study in the journal Nature Astronomy reports that the south polar region of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is warmer than expected just a few feet below its icy surface.


ULA Won’t Say If Local Layoffs Coming
Source: DecaturDaily.com

United Launch Alliance isn’t saying whether a planned round of layoffs this year will impact its 800-employee plant in Decatur and isn’t confirming or denying reports that the company is considering a name change.


Star Discovered In Closest Known Orbit Around Likely Black Hole
Source: Chandra X-ray Center

Astronomers have found evidence for a star that whips around a black hole about twice an hour. This may be the tightest orbital dance ever witnessed for a likely black hole and a companion star.


Here’s How You Can Profit From The Race To Mars
Source: Yahoo Finance

The next space race is officially on, and author Stephen Petranek is betting Tesla’s billionaire CEO Elon Musk will win.


This Bud’s For Mars
Source: Budweiser

39 million miles away, the next generation of space exploration awaits its first pioneers. And while life on the Red Planet is still in the near – yet distant – future, Budweiser just unveiled its own ambitious commitment, to create microgravity beer for when we make it to Mars.


The Origins Of Water Ice On Mercury
Source: ZME Science

The nearest planet to the sun is the last place one would expect to find water — or anything — frozen. The universe, however, is always full of surprises.


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

Seasonal Flows On Warm Slopes
Source: NASA

Recurring Slope Lineae (called “RSL”) are seasonally-repeating dark flows that are active at the warmest times of the year. Some of these grow from the top of the steep slope downwards as expected for liquid or granular flows.


Agencies Team Up To Accelerate Earth System Prediction
Source: NOAA

Goal is improved short and long-term prediction of weather, climate, ocean and sea ice conditions.


Boeing Tests Starliner Parachute System
Source: Boeing

Boeing test teams reached a significant milestone for the CST-100 Starliner program by testing the parachute system Starliner will use on its return to Earth.


EchoStar XXIII Mission
Source: SpaceX

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver EchoStar XXIII, a commercial communications satellite for EchoStar Corporation, to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).


NASA Studying Shared Venus Science Objectives With Russian Space Research Institute
Source: NASA

A team of NASA-sponsored scientists will meet with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute (IKI) next week to continue work on a Joint Science Definition Team study focused on identifying shared science objectives for Venus exploration.


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

The Big One
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Mimas’ gigantic crater Herschel lies near the moon’s limb in this Cassini view. A big enough impact could potentially break up a moon. Luckily for Mimas, whatever created Herschel was not quite big enough to cause that level of disruption.


NASA Awards Contract For SOFIA Science, Mission Operations Support
Source: NASA

NASA has selected Universities Space Research Association of Columbia, Maryland, to provide the agency with science and mission operations support for its Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program.


Space Station Partners Release Latest Updates To Docking Standards
Source: NASA

The International Space Station Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) has approved a major update to the station docking system standard. First released in 2010, the docking standard established a common standard to enable spacecraft of multiple types to dock to the space station and with one another in space.


Surrey Satellite’s Martin On UK Firm’s Expansion Into US Market
Source: Defense & Aerospace Report

Clare Martin, the chief operating officer of Surrey Satellites, discusses the UK firm’s expansion into the US market with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the Satellite 2017 tradeshow in Washington March 6-9, 2017.


Air Force Takes Step Toward Allowing Contractors To Run Space Ground Systems
Source: National Defense Magazine

The Air Force is kicking off a pilot program that may lead to contractors taking over day-to-day operations of some of its satellite systems.


EchoStar 23 Set For Launch Atop SpaceX Falcon 9 At KSC
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

SpaceX is set to launch its second Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Liftoff is targeted for the beginning of a 2.5-hour long window that opens at 1:34 a.m. EDT (05:34 GMT) March 14, 2017.


Inside NASA’s Daring $8 Billion Plan To Finally Find Extraterrestrial Life
Source: Ars Technica

Soon, they will start sniffing for any hint of life on this most alien and mysterious of worlds in the Solar System: the Jovian moon Europa.


Upper Stage Arrives For NASA’s Big SLS Rocket
Source: Florida Today

The upper stage for NASA’s next big exploration rocket has arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.


Perils And Discoveries Lie Ahead For Long-Lived Saturn Orbiter
Source: Spaceflight Now

Scientists are bracing for a blitz of discoveries in the last six months of Cassini’s mission at Saturn, when the plutonium-powered robot will repeatedly ram through an unexplored gap in the planet’s famous rings, then make a destructive plunge into the atmosphere in September.


Rocket Issue Delays Orbital ATK’s Next Cargo Launch For NASA
Source: Space.com

The launch of an Orbital ATK cargo ship to deliver nearly 4 tons of NASA to the International Space Station this month has been delayed by at least two days due to a rocket glitch.


Boeintg Tests Starliner Parachute
Source: Parabolic Arc

Boeing test teams reached a significant milestone for the CST-100 Starliner program by testing the parachute system Starliner will use on its return to Earth.


News from March 5, 2017 – March 11, 2017