June 29, 2017

United Launch Alliance Wins Competitive Contract Award To Launch The USAF STP-3 Mission

Image Credit: ULA

June 29, 2017 – The United States Air Force announced today that United Launch Alliance (ULA) was awarded a contract to launch the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission. This contract resulted from a competitive award under the Air Force’s Phase 1A procurement strategy. Read More


Lockheed Martin Ventures Announces Investment In Terran Orbital

June 29, 2017 – Lockheed Martin Ventures is making a strategic investment in Terran Orbital, an expert in nanosatellite design, development, manufacturing, testing and launch. The investment will create opportunities for the companies to share their expertise and customer relationships to advance this emerging technology. Read More


NASA Celebrates International Asteroid Day With Special Broadcast

Image Credit: NASA

June 29, 2017 – NASA will mark the worldwide observance of International Asteroid Day at 10:00 a.m. MDT Friday, June 30, with a special television program featuring the agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and other projects working to find and study near-Earth objects (NEOs). The program will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Read More


Small Wonders

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

June 29, 2017 – This montage of views from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows three of Saturn’s small ring moons: Atlas, Daphnis and Pan at the same scale for ease of comparison. Read More


Atlas V Rocket For TDRS-M Mission Begins Prelaunch Checkouts

At Port Canaveral in Florida, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V first stage booster and Centaur upper stage are about to be transported from the company’s Mariner ship to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

June 29, 2017 – The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that will provide a boost for the next in NASA’s constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites has arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company’s Mariner cargo ship delivered the rocket’s first stage and Centaur upper stage to the Army Wharf at Port Canaveral on Monday afternoon. Read More


More News:

Garth Brooks Meets One Of His Biggest Fans -— In Outer Space
Source: People

Preparing for his first space flight in April, astronaut Jack Fischer tweeted that his favorite song, Garth Brooks‘ hit “The River,” was the first on his pre-launch playlist. On Thursday, Fischer got to meet and talk with the country music superstar—while in space.


There’s A Fried-Chicken Sandwich Floating In The Stratosphere
Source: The Atlantic

A fried-chicken sandwich was carried by a giant balloon to the stratosphere on Thursday, where it will float for the next four days, reaching altitudes of 50,000 to 80,000 feet. The flight is part publicity stunt, part launch test.


The Tiny Satellites Ushering In The New Space Revolution
Source: Bloomberg

Planet Labs and other companies are sending hundreds of low-cost satellites into orbit. We’re only beginning to understand how that will change life on Earth.


Future Commercial Astronauts Will Train Using This New Facility’s Super Deep Pool
Source: TechCrunch

The UK is getting a new commercial astronaut training facility, called “Blue Abyss,” which will include a pool with a depth of 50 meters, Engadget reports. That’s 164 feet, which tops (or undercuts, rather) NASA’s own 12 meter buoyancy lab, and it’ll help prepare paid private astronauts for the rigors of spaceflight, along with other features of the facility, including hypobaric and hyperbaric champers, and a centrifuge for simulating high-G flight.


Aerojet Rocketdyne Advocates Solar Electric Propulsion As Central Element Of Deep Space Exploration
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne

Aerojet Rocketdyne, the nation’s premiere propulsion provider and a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., advocates Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) as a central element of America’s deep space architecture. Aerojet Rocketdyne is currently working on three separate high-power electric propulsion systems for NASA.


Japan Plans To Land Astronauts On Moon Around 2030
Source: The Ashahi Shimbun

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) revealed its ambitious plan for a Japanese astronaut to set foot on the moon around 2030. According to the outline presented June 28 at an education ministry committee meeting, JAXA wants to investigate the possible presence of deposits of water or ice around the moon’s south pole.


The Sharpest Laser In The World
Source: Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt (PTB)

No one had ever come so close to the ideal laser before: theoretically, laser light has only one single color (also frequency or wavelength). In reality, however, there is always a certain linewidth. With a linewidth of only 10 mHz, the laser that the researchers from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have now developed together with US researchers from JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado Boulder, has established a new world record.


Ruag Space Doubles Swedish Factory Size
Source: SpaceNews

Swiss satellite and rocket component supplier Ruag Space opened a new factory June 27 at its Linköping, Sweden location, doubling its production capacity.


Battered Falcon 9 Booster Pulls Into Port Canaveral After Second Flight & Recovery
Source: Spaceflight 101

Badly bruised but still standing, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage from last week’s high-energy delivery with Bulgaria’s first telecommunications satellite pulled into Port Canaveral on Thursday, six days after managing to survive the most challenging Drone Ship Landing to date.


JPSS-1 Gives Meteorologists Hope
Source: Weatherboy

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS for short) is a joint venture between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA.). Though there are many goals and uses for this particular satellite, for the meteorological community, the most important factor will be the ability to acquire advanced and numerous types of vertical data from the top of the atmosphere all the way down to the surface of the Earth twice a day over every single location on Earth.


Video: Patrick Cullis And Chance Sterling Of The Ozone And Water Vapor Group
Source: Harry Dove-Robinson

Patrick Cullis and Chance Sterling of the Ozone and Water Vapor Group (OZWV) show us how ozonesondes are used to create vertical profiles of ozone concentration in the atmosphere. The OZWV works within the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, CO.


#JPSS1 Social Takes Boulder By Storm
Source: NOAA

Three months ahead of launch, NOAA and NASA hosted an event for social media gurus to showcase the JPSS-1 spacecraft and instrumentation. Twenty-five writers, bloggers, videographers, teachers, artists and meteorologists attended the JPSS NASA social on June 19, 2017 in Boulder, Colorado.


Turn Basin Prepped For Space Launch System Core Stage Arrival
Source: NASA

When the core stage for NASA’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket departs the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, it will be shipped by barge to the Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to be integrated with other hardware in preparation for its first launch, known as Exploration Mission-1. Modifications are underway to upgrade the wharf and prepare for the arrival of the core stage.


An Algorithm Helps Protect Mars Curiosity’s Wheels
Source: NASA

There are no mechanics on Mars, so the next best thing for NASA’s Curiosity rover is careful driving. A new algorithm is helping the rover do just that. The software, referred to as traction control, adjusts the speed of Curiosity’s wheels depending on the rocks it’s climbing.


LISA Pathfinder To Conclude Trailblazing Mission
Source: ESA

After sixteen months of science operations, LISA Pathfinder will complete its mission on 30 June, having successfully demonstrated the technology to build ESA’s future space observatory of gravitational waves.


NASA Wallops Rocket Launch Lights Up The Mid-Atlantic Coast
Source: NASA

July 4 fireworks came early when a NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket was successfully launched at 4:25 a.m., Thursday, June 29, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. During the 8-minute flight, 10 canisters about the size of a soft drink can were ejected in space, 6 to 12 miles away from the 670-pound main payload. The canisters deployed blue-green and red vapor that formed artificial clouds visible from New York to North Carolina.


Ariane 5 Launch Proves Reliability And Flies New Fairing
Source: ESA

An Ariane 5 carrying two telecom satellites inside a new lighter fairing lifted off on the fourth mission from Europe’s Spaceport in two months.


2017 AGU Section And Focus Group Awardees And Named Lecturers
Source: Eos

Seventy-five distinguished scientists receive accolades from groups representing their disciplines within the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest Earth and space science society.


BTU #104 – Scott Washburn: Submarines To PhD & Astronaut Finalist
Source: Beyond the Uniform

Dr. Scott Washburn is a Radiation Effects Engineering Manager at SEAKR Engineering. He started out at the University of Colorado, Boulder, after which he served in the Navy as a Submarine Officer for five years. When he first left the Navy he worked as a Thermal and Project Engineer at SSL (Space Systems Loral), after which he returned to the University of Colorado Boulder for his Masters, and then his PhD in Aerospace Engineering. Since then he has worked as Chief Engineer at Geryon Space Technologies, as well as a research engineer at NASA. Scott was also one of the 50 finalists of the astronaut selection program.