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NASA Social Participants To Learn About GOLD Mission At CU Boulder

The GOLD instrument (the gray and white object located on the front right corner of the top deck) is shown here on the SES-14 spacecraft in preparation for a scheduled January 2018 launch date. Image Credit: Airbus

December 15, 2017 – NASA is inviting social media users to apply for credentials to attend a tour and activities at the University of Colorado Boulder. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Read More


Aerion And Lockheed Martin Join Forces To Develop World’s First Supersonic Business Jet

AS2 design advances with new engine configuration. Aerion has refined the aircraft design.
Previously, three engines were grouped in the rear. The refined configuration still incorporates 3 engines, however the two outboard engines are now pulled forward, under the wing, while the 3rd remains in the tail. This configuration with 18,000-pound thrust turbofan engines, improves weight, balance, systems layout, maintainability, and simplifies some certification requirements. Image Credit: PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin

December 15, 2017 – Two leaders in supersonic technology, Aerion and Lockheed Martin announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to define a formal and gated process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of the world’s first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2. Over the next 12 months, the companies will work together to develop a framework on all phases of the program, including engineering, certification and production. Read More


Harris Corporation Delivers Fourth GPS III Satellite Navigation Payload; Establishes Full Production Cadence

The third Harris navigation payload has been fully integrated onto GPS III Space Vehicle #3, pictured here, and the fourth payload was delivered Oct. 29. Image Credit: Business Wire

December 15, 2017 – Harris Corporation delivered the advanced navigation payload for the fourth GPS III Space Vehicle (SV04) to Lockheed Martin on October 29 – establishing a proven and reliable production cadence. Harris delivered two payloads in 2017 and is committed to delivering four more in 2018. Read More


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NASA Laser Communication Payload Undergoing Integration And Testing
Source: NASA

NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission has begun integration and testing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The mission will demonstrate how a transition from radio to laser communications will exponentially improve the way we connect with astronauts and spacecraft.


NASA Sends New Research To Space Station Aboard SpaceX Resupply Mission
Source: NASA

An experiment in space manufacturing and an enhanced study of solar energy are among the research currently heading to the International Space Station following Friday’s launch of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at 10:36 a.m. EST. Dragon lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with more than 4,800 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the space station.


W.M. Keck Observatory Awarded NSF Grant To Boost Performance Of Adaptive Optics System
Source: Maxar Technologies Ltd.

Adaptive optics (AO) measures and then corrects the atmospheric turbulence using a deformable mirror that changes shape 1,000 times per second. Initially, AO relied on the light of a star that was both bright and close to the target celestial object. But there are only enough bright stars to allow AO correction in about one percent of the sky. In response, astronomers developed Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics using a special-purpose laser to excite sodium atoms that sit in an atmospheric layer 60 miles above Earth.


MDA Advances Innovative Robotics And Rovers For Space Exploration And To Support On-Going Operations Of The ISS
Source: Maxar Technologies Ltd.

MDA, a business unit of Maxar Technologies (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.), today announced that it has signed four contracts with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) with a total value at approximately CA$53.75 million.


Space Industry Pioneer, Entrepreneur And Inventor Announces Ultra-Small Satellite Enterprise
Source: AST&Science

Abel Avellan, who built Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) from a start-up to a global leader in the satellite communications space, has launched a venture to manufacture a new generation of ultra-small satellites.


Beijing To Launch Constant Satellite Surveillance Over Disputed South China Sea
Source: Sputnik International

The strategic South China Sea is becoming so important to the Chinese government that Beijing plans to launch as many as 10 satellites into space over the next three years to maintain non-stop surveillance on the waterway.


Spy Satellites Reveal Ancient Lost Empires In Afghanistan
Source: Space.com

Spy satellite imagery is revealing lost Silk Road outposts and the traces of vanished empires in the forbidding desert regions of Afghanistan, new research reveals.


Rhea Retrospective: Cassini Probe’s Last View Of Battered Saturn Moon
Source: Space.com

Rhea, an icy cratered moon that provided the first direct evidence of an oxygen atmosphere in the Saturn system, shines in its final image by the Cassini spacecraft.


Visitor From Beyond Our Solar System Probed For Signs Of Life. So Far, It’s Silent
Source: The Washington Post

Our solar system has a visitor. It’s cylindrical, dark and reddish, a quarter-mile long. The object won’t be staying. This fall, astronomers announced that the thing came blazing into our neck of the galaxy at speeds of up to 196,000 mph. It is now headed away as quickly as it came.


MSU Researcher To Develop New Technologies For Tiny NASA Spacecraft
Source: Michigan State University

A Michigan State University scientist will help create artificial “brains” for tiny spacecraft that will mine asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, as part of NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program. The spacecraft are so small, some weighing only a few pounds, that antennae typically used for remote control won’t fit – thus, the need for their own brains, said Chris Adami, MSU professor of physics and astronomy, and microbiology and molecular genetics, who was selected by NASA.


More Planets In The Hyades Cluster
Source: AAS Nova

A few weeks ago, Astrobites reported on a Neptune-sized planet discovered orbiting a star in the Hyades cluster. A separate study submitted at the same time, however, reveals that there may be even more planets lurking in this system.


NASA Is Trying To Make The Space Launch System Rocket More Affordable
Source: Ars Technica

NASA has said that one of the strengths of its Space Launch System rocket is that the massive booster, in part, uses legacy hardware. These proven technologies, such as the space shuttle’s main engines and the side-mounted rocket boosters, provide the agency with confidence that when it finally flies, the SLS will be reliable. However, one problem with legacy hardware, built by traditional contractors such as Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne, is that it’s expensive.


Solar Radiation Instruments Bound For Space Station
Source: Aerospace America

The latest instruments to gauge the energy Earth receives from the sun reached orbit Dec. 15 en route to the International Space Station. Scientists say data from the mission could be more important than any other in understanding not only the sun’s effects on Earth’s climate but people’s influence on it as well.


He Kept His Star Wars Legacy A Secret In Boulder For Decades. At 85, The Sci-Fi Pioneer Is Ready To Step Out
Source: The Denver Post

Unsung genius of design, tech embraces comic-con scene.


A Model Of Mars-Like Protoplanets Shed Light On Early Solar Activity
Source: Siberian Federal University

A scientist from Siberian Federal University (SFU) and his colleagues from Austria and Germany constructed a physical and mathematical model of Mars- and Venus-sized planet formation. The team concluded that Mars had no chances to develop a thick atmosphere and biosphere. In the case of Venus it depended on solar activity: according to the scientists, it managed to keep its atmosphere due to the fact that young Sun was not very active.


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