June 22, 2017

NASA Announces Independent Review Panel Members For Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope

NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), illustrated here, will carry a Wide Field Instrument to capture Hubble-quality images covering large swaths of sky, enabling cosmic evolution studies. Its Coronagraph Instrument will directly image exoplanets and study their atmospheres. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Conceptual Image Lab

June 22, 2017 – NASA has convened an independent, external technical, management and cost review of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) at the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Recommended by NAS review panels in 2014 and again in 2016, this independent review is composed of leaders in space science, including senior engineers, scientists and project managers who are neither affiliated with the mission nor NASA federal employees. The panel will take a close look at WFIRST — now in phase A — ensuring its scope and cost at this early stage in the life cycle of the mission remain aligned. Read More

DigitalGlobe And Metis Team Up To Give Bootcamp Students Access To Satellite Imagery And Business Problems

June 22, 2017 – DigitalGlobe and Metis have joined together on an initiative called the Metis/DigitalGlobe Data Challenge to grant Metis bootcamp students the opportunity to use DigitalGlobe satellite imagery and labeled training data to solve real business problems. In this collaboration, Metis bootcamp students apply to work with DigitalGlobe’s high-accuracy, high-resolution, multi-spectral satellite imagery as they develop their capstone “passion project.” Read More

Lockheed Martin Gives $1 Million Grant To Metropolitan State University

MSU Denver students like Rubi Solis (right) will benefit from Lockheed Martin’s $1 million grant to harness new manufacturing technology for space programs. Rubi will soon join former MSU Denver co-ops like Driss Aba (left) as a full-time employee working at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

June 22, 2017 – Lockheed Martin will announce today a $1 million grant to Metropolitan State University of Denver during the inauguration of the school’s new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building. The grant and work there will shape the workforce of the future in manufacturing affordable, capable, innovative spacecraft. Read More

EchoStar Mobile And Thales Partner On Mobile Satellite Connectivity For Public Protection And Disaster Relief

June 22, 2017 – EchoStar Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation, and Thales, a global technology leader for the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets, today announced that they are collaborating to jointly develop advanced mobile satellite voice and data services to meet the growing public safety needs of security forces and first responders dealing with emergency situations in France and throughout Europe. Read More

The White Cliffs Of ‘Rover’

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

June 22, 2017 – This image was acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on April 18, 2017, at 14:04 local Mars time. It reminded the HiRISE team of the rugged and open terrain of a stark shore-line, perhaps of the British Isles. A close-up in enhanced color produces a striking effect, giving the impression of a cloud-covered cliff edge with foamy waves crashing against it. Read More

CEI Expands Leadership Team, Prepares To Increase Impact

June 22, 2017 – The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) has appointed two new members to the organization’s leadership team, President and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Holmes announced this week. “We are sharpening our focus and readying for a new strategy that will deepen the role we play in accelerating improvement and innovation in Colorado’s schools and districts,” Holmes said. Read More

Astronomers Without Borders Launches STEM Program To Build On Eclipse Excitement

June 22, 2017 – As the United States prepares for the first total solar eclipse to race across the entire continental United States in 99 years, on August 21, 2017, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is launching a major new nationwide initiative that will have a significant, long‐lasting impact on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. This educational campaign, sponsored by Google, is open to all across the US, with a special emphasis on underserved communities who may not otherwise have the opportunity of leveraging the rare natural laboratory of a solar eclipse to learn about the importance of the sun and its light. Read More

NASA Wallops Successful Launch Rocks With Student Experiments

Image Credit: NASA

June 22, 2017 – A NASA suborbital sounding rocket carrying multiple student experiments was successfully launched at 5:30 a.m. EDT, Thursday, June 22, from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The mission carried experiments built by undergraduate students from universities and community colleges across the country through the RockOn! and RockSat-C programs. Read More

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Air Force Leaders Continue To Emphasize Air And Space Priorities On Capitol Hill
Source: U.S. Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein briefed congressional leaders on the Senate’s Defense Appropriations Committee on the future of air and space power during testimony on Capitol Hill June 21.

CU Boulder Rocket Scientists Meet New Challenge
Source: 9news.com

New safety standards bring in new challenges for the CU Boulder team.

Jupiter’s Bands Of Clouds
Source: NASA/JPL

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Juno acquired the image on May 19, 2017.

Aerospace Collaboration Launched In South Metro Area
Source: Highlands Ranch Herald

Collaboration within the aerospace industry could launch Colorado’s already booming space economy into new heights, and a new startup is setting the platform for liftoff. NovaSpace officially launched on June 8 with a panel of experts talking about the future of the aerospace industry.

NASA Preparing Letter To Congress To Explain EM-1 Slip
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

As NASA’s Exploration Systems Development (ESD) prepares for the upcoming review of its plans for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), program management is preparing to formally notify Congress of the delay from late 2018 while continuing work to refine a new target launch date sometime in 2019.

A Partly Cloudy Exoplanet
Source: AAS Nova

Direct imaging of exoplanets was once only possible for the brightest of planets orbiting the dimmest of stars — but improving technology is turning this into an increasingly powerful technique. In a new study, direct-imaging observations of the Jupiter-like exoplanet 51 Eridani b provide tantalizing clues about its atmosphere.

Finally Understanding How The Sun’s Spicules Are Made
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

For the first time, researchers have built a model that accurately explains the formation of abundant jets of plasma in the Sun’s atmosphere, called spicules. The researchers’ results not only resolve the long-standing mystery of how these entities form, but should also help scientists understand how plasma above the surface of the Sun is heated to such high temperatures.

Dutch Astronomers Discover Recipe To Make Cosmic Glycerol
Source: Astronomie.nl

A team of laboratory astrophysicists from Leiden University (the Netherlands) managed to make glycerol under conditions comparable to those in dark interstellar clouds. They allowed carbon monoxide ice to react with hydrogen atoms at minus 250 degrees Celsius.

Sub-Surface Mars Scanner Concept Gets Boost From Western University Expertise
Source: Western University

A Western planetary researcher will lead a study under a contract awarded to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) by the Canadian Space Agency to explore using a leading-edge radar technology to search for ice on Mars.

Satellite Technology Could Help Agricultural Producers More Accurately Measure Subsurface Moisture
Source: Purdue University

Agricultural producers could, in the future, make use of better forecasts to more efficiently irrigate their fields using a Purdue-developed technology that could more accurately sense soil moisture below the surface through measuring the reflections of communication satellite signals.

NASA’s Webb Telescope Gets Freezing Summertime Lodging In Houston
Source: NASA

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was placed in Johnson Space Center’s historic Chamber A on June 20, 2017, to prepare for its final three months of testing in a cryogenic vacuum that mimics temperatures in space. Engineers will perform the test to prove that the telescope can operate in space at these temperatures.

Laser-Targeting A.I. Yields More Mars Science
Source: NASA/JPL

Artificial intelligence is changing how we study Mars. A.I. software on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has helped it zap dozens of laser targets on the Red Planet this past year, becoming a frequent science tool when the ground team was out of contact with the spacecraft. This same software has proven useful enough that it’s already scheduled for NASA’s upcoming mission, Mars 2020.

Research: MinXSS-1 CubeSat On-Orbit Pointing And Power Performance: The First Flight Of The Blue Canyon Technologies XACT 3-Axis Attitude Determination And Control System
Source: arXiv.org

The Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) is a 3 Unit (3U) CubeSat designed for a 3-month mission to study solar soft X-ray spectral irradiance. The first of the two flight models was deployed from the International Space Station in 2016 May and operated for one year before its natural deorbiting. This was the first flight of the Blue Canyon Technologies XACT 3-axis attitude determination and control system — a commercially available, high-precision pointing system.

Building A Supersonic Successor To Concorde
Source: BBC News

When Concorde first flew in the late 1960s it seemed to herald a new age of supersonic travel, yet when it was retired in 2003 it seemed supersonic travel ended too. But now Boom Supersonic is planning a successor and says it will have a supersonic demonstrator ready next year.

NASA’s Infrared And Radar Eyes In Space Cast On Tropical Storm Cindy
Source: NASA

NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed Tropical Storm Cindy in infrared light to identify areas of strongest storms and the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM satellite found locations of heaviest rainfall as Cindy was making landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast states.

UA Scientists And The Curious Case Of The Warped Kuiper Belt
Source: The University of Arizona

The plane of the solar system is warped in the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research from the UA.

ESA To Develop Gravitational Wave Space Mission With NASA Support
Source: NASA

ESA (the European Space Agency) has selected the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) for its third large-class mission in the agency’s Cosmic Vision science program. The three-spacecraft constellation is designed to study gravitational waves in space and is a concept long studied by both ESA and NASA.