February 3 – February 9, 2020

Pluto’s Icy Heart Makes Winds Blow

Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this global view of Pluto. The images, taken when the spacecraft was 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) away from Pluto, show features as small as 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers). Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

February 7, 2020 – A “beating heart” of frozen nitrogen controls Pluto’s winds and may give rise to features on its surface, according to a new study. Read More


Maxar Selected By NASA To Deliver Robotic Arm For Lunar Lander

Maxar has been selected by NASA to deliver SAMPLR, a robotic arm that will be used to explore the Moon. Image Credit: Maxar Technologies

Feburary 7, 2020 – Maxar Technologies has finalized a contract with NASA to deliver a robotic arm called Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering and Probing of Lunar Regolith (SAMPLR). The arm, which will be built in Pasadena, California, and has a contract value of $5 million, will be used to explore Earth’s Moon by acquiring samples and determining the geotechnical properties of lunar regolith. Maxar will provide a complete robotic system including all avionics, mechanical systems and operational support while on the lunar surface. Read More


Officials Provide Details On Building The Space Force, Its Structure, And Operating Imperatives

February 7, 2020 – Senior officials from the Department of Defense and U.S. Space Force provided the most specific details to date February 5 for how the newly born Space Force is constructed, its structure and the philosophy guiding decisions for bringing the first new military service since 1947 into full reality. Read More


NASA Astronaut Col. Nick Hague Visits Schriever Airmen

Colonel Nick Hague, NASA Astronaut for space expeditions 57/58 in October 2018 and expedition 59/60 in March 2019, visited Schriever AFB Colorado 5 February, 2020 to discuss his experiences as a member of the NASA team and USAF officer. Hague was invited to SAFB and hosted by 50th Space Wing Vice Commander and fellow astronaut, Colonel Jack Fischer who flew aboard the International Space Station on expedition 51/52 in April 2017. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force/Dennis Rogers

February 7, 2020 – Col. Nick Hague, NASA astronaut for space expeditions 59 and 60 last year, visited Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, February 5, 2020. Read More


SwRI-Led Team Identifies Low-Energy Solar Particles In The Near-Sun Environment

Using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, an SwRI-led team identified low-energy particles, the smoking gun pointing to interactions between slow- and fast-moving regions of the solar wind accelerating high-energy particles from beyond the orbit of Earth. Using Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (IS☉IS) instrument data, they measured low-energy particles in the near-Sun environment that had likely traveled back toward the Sun, slowing against the tide of the solar wind while still retaining surprising energies. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

February 6, 2020 – Using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP), a team led by Southwest Research Institute identified low-energy particles lurking near the Sun that likely originated from solar wind interactions well beyond Earth orbit. PSP is venturing closer to the Sun than any previous probe, carrying hardware SwRI helped develop. Scientists are probing the enigmatic features of the Sun to answer many questions, including how to protect space travelers and technology from the radiation associated with solar events. Read More


MAVEN Explores Mars To Understand Radio Interference At Earth

Graphic illustrating the MAVEN spacecraft encountering plasma layers at Mars. Image Credit: NASA Goddard/CI lab

February 6, 2020 – NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft has discovered “layers” and “rifts” in the electrically charged part of the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) of Mars. The phenomenon is very common at Earth and causes unpredictable disruptions to radio communications. However, we do not fully understand them because they form at altitudes that are very difficult to explore at Earth. The unexpected discovery by MAVEN shows that Mars is a unique laboratory to explore and better understand this highly disruptive phenomenon. Read More


Maxar Technologies Will Build Next-Generation Intelsat Epic Geostationary Communications Satellite With NASA Hosted Payload

Maxar has been selected to build the Intelsat 40e geostationary communications satellite and integrate NASA’s TEMPO payload with it. Image Credit: Maxar Technologies

February 6, 2020 – Intelsat has selected Maxar Technologies to manufacture Intelsat 40e, a next-generation geostationary communications satellite scheduled to launch in 2022. Maxar will integrate NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) payload with the Intelsat 40e satellite. Read More


More News

Rosetta And The Chameleon Comet
Source: ESA


All About The Laser (And Microphone) Atop Mars 2020, NASA’s Next Rover
Source: NASA/JPL


Drones Go Underground In High Stakes Competition
Source: University of Colorado Boulder


Iran’s Simorgh Rocket Fails To Loft Zafar-1 Into Orbit
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com


Japan Launches Optical Spy Satellite
Source: Spaceflight Now


Lockheed Martin Delivers New GPS Satellite Schedule For April Launch Aboard Falcon 9
Source: SpaceNews


Cygnus Launch To ISS Scrubbed As NASA Considers Schedule Changes For Future Cargo Missions
Source: SpaceNews


Space Force Making Measured Efforts In Absorbing New Personnel
Source: U.S. Department of Defense


Last Year’s Billion-Dollar Disasters Show Crucial Link Between NOAA Satellites And Emergency Managers
Source: NOAA NESDIS


Space Station To Forge Ultra-Fast Connections
Source: ESA


Record-Setting Astronaut, Crewmates Return From Space Station
Source: NASA


NASA Safety Panel Calls For Reviews After Second Starliner Software Problem
Source: SpaceNews


NASA: Software Errors Almost Led To Loss Of Starliner Twice
Source: Parabolic Arc


SpaceX Winds Contract To Launch NASA’s PACE Earth Science Mission
Source: Spaceflight Now


A Detailed View Of Our Second Interstellar Visitor
Source: AAS Nova


A Perfect Blur — First Image By Exoplanet Watcher Cheops
Source: ESA


OneWeb Successfully Launches 34 More Satellites Into Orbit
Source: OneWeb


How ESA-NASA’s Solar Orbiter Beats The Heat
Source: NASA


One Small Grain Of Moon Dust, One Giant Leap For Lunar Studies
Source: Field Museum


NASA Astronaut’s Record-Setting Mission Helps Future Science
Source: NASA


Rocket Lab Kicks Off Busy Year With NRO Launch
Source: SpaceNews


Upper Stage RL10s Arrive At Stennis For Upcoming SLS Launches
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com


Showing How The Tiniest Particles In Our Universe Saved Us From Complete Annihilation
Source: Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe


UNH Researchers Find Clues To How Hazardous Space Radiation Begins
Source: University of New Hampshire