August 31, 2017

NASA Television To Air Return Of Three International Space Station Crew Members

Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA float through the Harmony module of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

August 31, 2017 – Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates are scheduled to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth Saturday, September 2. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide complete coverage of their departure and landing. Read More

NASA Scientists Seek To Improve Sea Ice Predictions

Sea ice floes with melt ponds in the Arctic Ocean north of Ellesmere Island, Canada. The floes are consolidated and have large ridges, indicating that the wind and ocean currents have made them converge into each other. This photo was taken during an Operation IceBridge flight on July 25, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/Robbie Russell

August 31, 2017 – Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is in a downward spiral, with summer minimum extents about 40 percent smaller than in the 1980s. But predicting how the sea ice is going to behave in a particular year is tricky: There are still many unknowns about the conditions of the sea ice cover, to say nothing of the difficulties of forecasting weather and ocean behavior over seasonal timescales. Read More

Juno Scientists Prepare For Seventh Science Pass Of Jupiter

Artist’s concept of the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

August 31, 2017 – NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make its seventh science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops on Friday, September 1, at 3:49 p.m. MDT (5:49 p.m. EDT and 21:49 UTC). At the time of perijove (defined as the point in Juno’s orbit when it is closest to the planet’s center), the spacecraft will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Read More

Hubble Delivers First Hints Of Possible Water Content Of TRAPPIST-1 Planets

This artist’s impression shows the view from the surface of one of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. At least seven planets orbit this ultracool dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth and they are all roughly the same size as the Earth. Several of the planets are at the right distances from their star for liquid water to exist on the surfaces. Image Credit: ESO/N. Bartmann/

August 31, 2017 – An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbor substantial amounts of water. This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable. Read More

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The Voyager Spacecraft: 40 Years In Space, Surreal Solar System Discoveries
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

In 1977, two NASA space probes destined to forever upend our view of the solar system launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The identical spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, took off in in August and September 40 years ago and were programmed to pass by Jupiter and Saturn on different paths. Voyager 2 went on to visit Uranus and Neptune, completing NASA’s “Grand Tour of the Solar System,” perhaps the most exhilarating interplanetary mission ever flown. CU Boulder scientists, who designed and built identical instruments for Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, were as stunned as anyone when the spacecraft began sending back data to Earth.

Applications To Join The COSGC Space Grant Teams Will Open September 1st
Source: Red Rocks Community College

Red Rocks Community College recently became a part of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC), a state-wide program that provides Colorado students access to space through innovative courses, real-world hands-on satellite programs, and interactive outreach programs.

Uwingu Delivers Mars Crater Database To Mars One
Source: Uwingu

Between February 26, 2014 and May 15, 2017 people all around the world helped name craters on Uwingu’s Mars map. We hope that the features the public named will become landmarks to future explorers. We have now compiled the entire database and map, with nearly 28,000 crater names, submitted by people from 104 different countries on Earth. As promised, we delivered this archive to our partners at Mars One.

Two-Decade Success Streak Ends With PSLV Launch Failure On IRNSS-IH Mission
Source: Spaceflight101

A streak of 36 successful launches over a period of 18 years ended on Thursday when India’s PSLV rocket suffered an in-flight failure that left its payload – a replacement satellite for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System – in a lower- than-planned orbit and possibly trapped underneath the rocket’s payload fairing.

Angola Enacts Its First Space Strategy For 2016-2025
Source: SpaceWatch Middle East

Angola published its first space strategy in May 2017 containing highly ambitious measures to make use of space technologies, services, and products for the social and economic development of the country and reinforce Angola’s regional and international positioning.

Trump Administration Tees Up National Space Council To Offer Cohesive Strategy, Former Insider Says
Source: SpaceNews

The Trump administration has identified representatives of the various government agencies who will serve on the National Space Council, which is likely to hold its first meeting “very, very shortly,” Greg Autry, the administration’s former NASA liaison, said Aug. 30.

SpaceX In Final Preps For Falcon 9’s First Mission With X-37B

SpaceX is conducting a Static Fire test on a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday, a key milestone ahead of the rocket’s first launch of a U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane for the OTV-5 mission. The secret military spacecraft is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A on the morning of September 7 in what is likely to be – though not yet confirmed – the final mission off Pad-A prior to the resumption of flight operations at neighboring SLC-40.

NASA’s Solar Eclipse Data Stuck On Jets In Post-Harvey Texas
Source: International Business Times

The total solar eclipse offered the perfect opportunity for NASA to study eclipse conditions as well as the sun. The agency conducted more than 10 scientific studies during the eclipse to gather as much information as possible. One of those missions involved flying two airplanes with telescopes on their noses along the path of totality while recording data the entire time. Those airplanes, as well as the data collected by them during the eclipse, are now sitting just outside of Houston, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey has been dropping feet of rain since the weekend.

SLS Core Stage Pathfinder Paves The Way For Mission Success
Source: NASA

NASA’s Space Launch System core stage pathfinder is a full-scale simulator similar in size, shape and weight to the massive SLS core stage. The steel mockup will help handlers validate ground support equipment and practice transporting the 212-foot-long core stage on a variety of terrains with different vehicles. Practicing with pathfinder will reduce risk when people lift and transport one-of-a-kind flight hardware.

DigitalGlobe And NTT DATA Extend Strategic Partnership To Use The DigitalGlobe GBDX Platform To Create AW3D Vector Building Models
Source: DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe, Inc., the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, and NTT DATA Corporation, a global IT services provider, today announced an agreement to extend their strategic partnership to produce large-scale 3D vector building model datasets, called AW3D Metro. This will combine NTT DATA’s elevation expertise with DigitalGlobe’s high-resolution imagery and platform capabilities to create one of the highest resolution 3D datasets that offers significant coverage and rapid delivery timelines.

NASA Concludes Summer Of Testing With Fifth Flight Controller Hot Fire
Source: NASA

NASA engineers closed a summer of successful hot fire testing Aug. 30 for flight controllers on RS-25 engines that will help power the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket being built to carry astronauts to deep-space destinations, including Mars. The space agency capped off summer testing with a 500-second hot fire of a fifth RS-25 engine flight controller unit on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Astronaut Scholarship Available To Colorado State University STEM Majors
Source: Colorado State University

Colorado State University undergraduates majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are now eligible for a merit-based scholarship offered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The award offers top-performing juniors and seniors $10,000 each and provides lifelong opportunities and programs sponsored by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Ultraviolet Light May Be Ultra Important In Search For Life
Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

In everyday life, ultraviolet, or UV, light earns a bad reputation for being responsible for sunburns and other harmful effects on humans. However, research suggests that UV light may have played a critical role in the emergence of life on Earth and could be a key for where to look for life elsewhere in the Universe.

Soil Moisture Satellite Observes Harvey’s Wrath
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Hurricane Harvey has dropped record-breaking amounts of rainfall, particularly around Houston, Texas, since making landfall on August 25, 2017. Yesterday, we showed satellite-based estimates of rainfall, while today’s image shows the storm’s consequences from a different but complementary perspective.

Curiosity Mars Rover: Long Labor Day Duties
Source: Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space

Now performing Sol 1802 duties, NASA’s Curiosity’s Mars rover drove on Sol 1801 bringing it to an excellent location for contact and remote science as part of a 3-sol plan that sets up the robot for a long Labor Day weekend.

Astronomy From 40,000 Feet And 43.5 Degrees South
Source: NASA

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, completed its fourth set of observations from Christchurch, New Zealand. The team spent seven weeks operating from the U.S. Antarctic Program facility at Christchurch International Airport, enabling researchers onboard to observe celestial objects that are best studied from the Southern Hemisphere.

Lockheed Martin Names Stephanie C. Hill Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development
Source: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has appointed Stephanie C. Hill, 52, senior vice president for Corporate Strategy and Business Development and a corporate officer effective September 11, 2017. In her new role, Hill will be responsible for global business strategies and overseeing the corporation’s efforts in identifying, assessing, qualifying, and pursuing new business opportunities.

Hurricane Harvey Response
Source: DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe has mobilized resources within our company to support immediate relief efforts and the long road ahead to rebuild communities in Houston and across the Gulf Coast. As part of our Open Data Program, DigitalGlobe will publicly release pre- and post-event imagery over affected areas to support disaster response. We are currently tasking all five of our satellites over affected communities as part of our FirstLook crisis response program—and are working with partners to incorporate additional sources of data to support relief efforts.

Video: Final RS-25 Engine Test Of The Summer
Source: NASA

On Aug. 30, engineers at our Stennis Space Center wrapped up a summer of hot fire testing for flight controllers on RS-25 engines that will help power the new Space Launch System rocket being built to carry astronauts to deep-space destinations, including Mars. The 500-second hot fire of a flight controller or “brain” of the engine marked another step toward the nation’s return to human deep-space exploration missions.

NASA Working With Partners To Provide Response To Harvey
Source: NASA

NASA is using its assets and expertise from across the agency to help respond to Hurricane Harvey — now Tropical Storm Harvey — which has been a disaster of unprecedented proportions for those who live and work in southeast Texas. With no atmospheric steering mechanism to move the storm once it made landfall, Harvey has been producing rainfall totals measured in feet, rather than inches, presenting exceptional challenges to local, state, and federal emergency managers and first responders.

NASA And Iconic Museum Honor Voyager Spacecraft 40th Anniversary
Source: NASA

NASA and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum will celebrate 40 years of the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft — humanity’s farthest and longest-lived mission — with a public event at 12:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Sept. 5. The observance will take place at the Smithsonian’s museum located at Independence Avenue at 6th street SW in Washington. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website.

Sphero’s New BB-9E Is Like BB-8’s Evil Robot Twin
Source: CNET

BB-9E is a brand-new character in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and I have no idea what role it will play (other than, seemingly, it’s a bad robot). It’s also one of Sphero’s new “Last Jedi”-themed robot toys, along with a brand-new R2-D2. Just like the brilliant little BB-8, BB-9E rolls around and can be remote-controlled using an iOS or Android device, or Sphero’s wearable Force Band.