May 8, 2017

MQT Graduates First Official Class Of Space Operators

The first Mission Qualification Training graduation class Airmen stand together for a photo May 4, 2017, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. MQT is the secondary part of training that all of Buckley AFB’s space operators receive to become certified and familiarized with the base’s specific weapon system. Image Credit: USAF/Airman Jacob Deatherage

May 8, 2017 – Sixty Airmen from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, had the honor of being the first official graduating class of Mission Qualification Training May 3, 2017. Read More

Senate Confirms Wilson As Air Force Secretary

Heather Wilson was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Air Force by the Senate May 8, 2017. Image Credit: USAF/Scott M. Ash

May 8, 2017 – Heather Wilson will be the next secretary of the Air Force, following her confirmation by the Senate May 8, 2017. Read More

Aerojet Rocketdyne Completes Critical Design Review For AR1 Engine

AR1 engine on track for certification in 2019. Image Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc.

May 8, 2017 – Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., successfully completed its Critical Design Review (CDR) for AR1, a 500,000 lbf thrust-class, liquid-fueled rocket engine. Read More

Hail The Hexagon

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

May 8, 2017 – Saturn’s hexagonal polar jet stream is the shining feature of almost every view of the north polar region of Saturn. The region, in shadow for the first part of the Cassini mission, now enjoys full sunlight, which enables Cassini scientists to directly image it in reflected light. Read More

James Webb Space Telescope Arrives At NASA’s Johnson Space Center

The James Webb Space Telescope is pushed into the clean room of Building 32. Building 32 houses Chamber A, the thermal vacuum chamber where the telescope will have its final thermal vacuum testing. Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

May 8, 2017 – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has arrived at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where it will undergo its last cryogenic test before it is launched into space in 2018. Read More

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X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle-4 Lands At Kennedy Space Center
Source: U.S. Air Force

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 (OTV-4), the Air Force’s unmanned, reusable space plane, landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility May 7, 2017.

First Contract Under Booster Propulsion Technology Maturation BAA Complete
Source: U.S. Air Force/Los Angeles Air Force Base

The first of ten contracts awarded under the Booster Propulsion Technology Maturation Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) was recently completed. Moog Inc. successfully completed a “Non-Destructive Evaluation, Standards, and Testing” project, March 13.

Draft Bill Would Give Commerce, Not FAA, “Mission Authorization” Function

A draft bill being circulated for discussion would assign to the Department of Commerce (DOC) responsibility for registering non-government space activities to ensure, among other things, compliance with U.S. treaty obligations.

Escape For The Slow Solar Wind
Source: AAS Nova

Plasma from the Sun known as the slow solar wind has been observed far away from where scientists thought it was produced. Now new simulations may have resolved the puzzle of where the slow solar wind comes from and how it escapes the Sun to travel through our solar system.

First Science Results From Juno Show Surprises In Jupiter’s Atmosphere And Interior
Source: AmericaSpace

There has been a lot of attention given to the Cassini mission at Saturn lately, but meanwhile, NASA’s Juno probe also continues to be busy studying the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. Juno is now revealing more of the giant planet’s secrets, and the first science results have now been published, which were presented last week at the European Geosciences Union meeting.

NOAA Cuts Target Future Polar Weather Satellites
Source: SpaceNews

While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received full funding for its ongoing weather satellite programs, the agency is looking at options after a cut to a program for future polar-orbiting weather satellites.

Announcing The First-Ever SETI Institute Fellows
Source: SETI Institute

At its first annual gala fundraiser, held on April 22nd, the SETI Institute recognized three dedicated individuals, universally respected for their exceptional contributions to scientific research and STEM education and outreach. Director of Education, Edna DeVore, Senior Astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak and Senior Scientist Mark Showalter, were honored as the first “Fellows of the Institute” at a special VIP ceremony.

Seasonal Flows In Valles Marineris
Source: NASA

Recurring slope lineae (RSL) are seasonal flows on warm slopes, and are especially common in central and eastern Valles Marineris, as seen in this observation by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This image covers a large area full of interesting features, but the enhanced color closeup highlight some of the RSL.

Space Weather Model Simulates Solar Storms From Nowhere
Source: NASA

Our ever-changing sun continuously shoots solar material into space. The grandest such events are massive clouds that erupt from the sun, called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. These solar storms often come first with some kind of warning — the bright flash of a flare, a burst of heat or a flurry of solar energetic particles. But another kind of storm has puzzled scientists for its lack of typical warning signs: They seem to come from nowhere, and scientists call them stealth CMEs.

Going Back To Pluto? Scientists To Push For Orbiter Mission

Humanity’s first up-close look at Pluto was so intriguing that some researchers want to go back and spend a lot more time studying the icy world.

Caltech Chemical Engineer Explains Oxygen Mystery On Comets
Source: Caltech

A Caltech chemical engineer who normally develops new ways to fabricate microprocessors in computers has figured out how to explain a nagging mystery in space—why comets expel oxygen gas, the same gas we humans breathe.

5,000 Days in Space! ‘Astronomy Robot’ Spitzer Space Telescope Keeps Scanning | Video

Learn how the space telescope autonomously scans targets. The NASA space telescope launched on Aug. 25, 2003 and reached the 5000 day mark on May 3, 2017.

ESA Astronauts Tour NASA’s Orion Spacecraft
Source: Airbus Defence and Space

ESA Astronauts Tim Peake, Matthias Maurer and Luca Parmitano visit NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

Race To Replace RD-180 At Critical Juncture
Source: AerospaceDaily

The rocket engine battle between the 500,000-lb.-thrust class Aerojet Rocketdyne AR1 and Blue Origin BE-4 is heating up, with the AR1 moving through a critical design review and the BE-4 due to conduct a full-scale hot-fire …