November 9, 2017

The Road To Orion’s Launch

An artist’s impression of the Orion crew capsule with ESA’s service module. Image Credit: ESA–D. Ducros

November 9, 2017 – NASA’s Orion spacecraft aims to send humans further into space than ever before, and ESA’s European Service Module will provide the essentials for keeping the astronauts alive and on course. Read More


Small Businesses In Manufacturing Find Success With Small Manufacturer’s AdvantEdge Program

November 9, 2017 – Small Manufacturer’s AdvantEdge (SMA), a program designed to assist small businesses in Colorado’s manufacturing industry, has seen great success in its initial two years of programming. Economic development numbers released this week show that companies who have participated in the program have not only increased sales but also created and retained jobs as well. Read More


Harris Corporation Completes Development Of Fully Digital Navigation Payload For Future GPS III Satellites

Harris navigation payloads are already integrated in the second GPS III space vehicle, pictured here, and the first GPS III satellite, declared available to launch in 2018. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

November 9, 2017 – Harris Corporation has completed development of the company’s fully digital Mission Data Unit (MDU), which is at the heart of its navigation payload for Lockheed Martin’s GPS III satellites 11 and beyond. Read More


Sierra Nevada Corporation Opens Doors To Second Colorado Springs Airport Hangar

November 9, 2017 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) last month celebrated the opening of its newest facility at the Colorado Springs Airport. The 60,000-square-foot aircraft hangar is the second SNC location at the airport. The company also has plans to construct facilities for its subsidiary, Sierra Completions. The hangar is part of SNC’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) business area. Read More


NASA Moves Up Critical Crew Safety Launch Abort Test

NASA will test Orion’s launch abort system in high-stress ascent conditions during an April 2019 test called Ascent Abort-2. Image Credit: NASA

November 9, 2017 – NASA’s Orion spacecraft is scheduled to undergo a design test in April 2019 of the capsule’s launch abort system (LAS), which is a rocket-powered tower on top of the crew module built to very quickly get astronauts safely away from their launch vehicle if there is a problem during ascent. Read More


Ready For Launch, Ball Aerospace Completes Prep For JPSS-1 Satellite

Artist’s concept of the JPSS 1 satellite. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

November 9, 2017 – NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) is encapsulated inside the fairing (nose cone) of a United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle ready for lift off from Space Launch Complex-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on November 14, 2017 at 2:47 a.m., MST. JPSS-1 is a collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA. Read More


More News:

UNOOSA And UAE Space Agency Sign MOU For Increased Cooperation
Source: UNOOSA

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency have committed to increased cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo and UAE Space Agency Director General Mohammed Al-Ahbabi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for this cooperation today.


a.i. solutions Honored With NASA 2017 Group Achievement Award
Source: a.i. solutions

a.i. solutions is part of a team of companies that received a NASA group Achievement Award, one of the 2017 Agency Honor Awards, on October 25, 2017. The NASA Group Achievement Award is a prestigious NASA certificate awarded to any combination of government and/or non-government individuals for an outstanding group accomplishment that has contributed substantially to NASA’s mission. a.i. solutions is receiving this award for their work as part of NASA Headquarters Emergency Management Team.


Public Star Night 17 Nov 2017 – “The Great American Eclipse 2017 – Revisited”
Source: Little Thompson Observatory

The first solar eclipse in 99 years to traverse the United States from coast to coast was truly amazing. It was so amazing we think it’s worth reliving at least one more time. If you were not able to see it in its glorious full totality, or even if you did, we’d like to share the experience with you. LTO volunteers, John Ensworth, John Hiatt, Mark Rennert and junior volunteer, Ian Bolinger will share photos, videos, results of solar experiments and their stories with you. We’d like to hear about your experiences as well.


Using Shape-Memory Alloys To Enhance Small Satellite Reliability
Source: The Aerospace Corporation

Ideally, every critical mechanism on a spacecraft would be thoroughly tested before flight. In practice, that’s not always possible — especially for CubeSats and other small spacecraft. For example, many satellites employ an actuating mechanism known as a meltwire, which uses an electrically heated wire or resistor to melt through a restraining element, thereby releasing a deployable element such as a solar array or instrument boom. Thanks to their low development cost and simplicity, they are commonly used on small spacecraft — but they have some significant drawbacks.


Remembering Elliot Pulham
Source: Space Foundation

All of us at the Space Foundation are saddened at the passing of Elliot Pulham, former Chief Executive Officer. Over his many years of service Mr. Pulham made significant contributions to the Space Foundation and to the global space industry.


Comet’s First Passage Through Solar System Reveals Unexpected Secrets
Source: NASA

Comets are our most direct link to the earliest stages of the formation and evolution of the solar system. Only every few years is a new comet discovered that is making its first trip to the inner solar system from the Oort Cloud, a zone of icy objects enveloping the solar system. Such opportunities offer astronomers a chance to study a special class of comets.


NASA Team Studies CubeSat Mission To Measure Water On The Moon
Source: NASA

A team of NASA scientists wants to draw a more complete picture of where water exists on the Moon and whether it migrates across the lunar surface, including in the permanently shadowed regions that haven’t seen sunlight in perhaps a billion years or more.


NASA CubeSat To Test Miniaturized Weather Satellite Technology
Source: NASA

Behind every weather forecast—from your local, five-day prediction to a late-breaking hurricane track update—are the satellites that make them possible. Government agencies depend on observations from weather satellites to inform forecast models that help us prepare for approaching storms and identify areas that need evacuating or emergency first responders.


Space Launch System Booster Separation Tested In Wind Tunnel
Source: NASA

Lift off at the end of the countdown is just the first phase in a launch. Two minutes in, booster separation occurs ­– a critical stage in flight, with little room for error. Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are doing their part to support NASA’s new deep space rocket, the Space Launch System, or SLS. The rocket will be capable of sending the Orion crew vehicle and other large cargos on bold new missions beyond Earth orbit. To understand the aerodynamic forces as booster separation motors fire and push the solid rocket boosters away from the rocket’s core, Langley engineers are testing a 35-inch SLS model in Block 1B 105-metric ton evolved configuration in the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel using a distinct pink paint.


The Loss Of The Martian Atmosphere Over Its Lifetime
Source: Science Trends

The current atmosphere of Mars is tenuous, with a surface pressure only about 3% of Earth’s, and consisting mostly of carbon dioxide. Almost no liquid water is present on Mars, although the polar caps contain frozen water and carbon dioxide (dry ice). However, evidence exists from the rocks studied by NASA’s rovers, including the Mars Curiosity Rover, as well as images of dry river beds made by orbiting observatories such as NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, that the Martian atmosphere 3.5 billion years ago was denser and warmer due the Greenhouse effect and supported the presence of liquid water at the surface.


Space Reforms Coming: 2018 NDAA Drops Legislative Bombshells On U.S. Air Force
Source: SpaceNews

For the military space world, the big headline from Capitol Hill Wednesday was that the final version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act does not, at least for now, require the Pentagon to create a new “space corps.” This might seem like a victory for the Air Force. Senior leaders had fought back the House space corps provision that would have effectively taken away from the Air Force its ownership of military space. It’s a hollow victory, however. The 2018 NDAA is big on Pentagon reforms, across the board, but it hammered the Air Force especially hard.


SLS Managers Rally The Troops To Avoid EM-1 Slip Into 2020
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

With the Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) launch date now officially set for the end of 2019, Space Launch System (SLS) managers have been sending out memos to the workforce rallying them to protect that latest target. With a “risk informed” date of June 2020 also cited, managers are insisting that will only come to pass if they “do nothing” to mitigate the schedule risk.


Jupiter’s Stunning Southern Hemisphere
Source: NASA

See Jupiter’s southern hemisphere in beautiful detail in this new image taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The color-enhanced view captures one of the white ovals in the “String of Pearls,” one of eight massive rotating storms at 40 degrees south latitude on the gas giant planet.


First SLS/Orion Launch Slips To December 2019, At Best
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

NASA revealed today that the first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) with an uncrewed Orion spacecraft, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), is slipping by at least a year. In 2014, NASA committed to a date of November 2018. Now it is shooting for December 2019 although its review concluded that June 2020 was the likely date taking into account possible manufacturing and production risks. The head of NASA’s human spaceflight program, Bill Gerstenmaier, will testify to a House subcommittee tomorrow (Thursday) about the program’s status.


Hubble Movie Shows Movement Of Light Echo Around Exploded Star
Source: NASA

Voices reverberating off mountains and the sound of footsteps bouncing off walls are examples of an echo. Echoes happen when sound waves ricochet off surfaces and return to the listener. Space has its own version of an echo. It’s not made with sound but with light, and occurs when light bounces off dust clouds.


No Space Corps In Final FY2018 NDAA
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

House and Senate negotiators have completed their work on the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). One of the major space policy issues was whether to adopt a House provision requiring that a Space Corps be created within the Air Force analogous to the Marine Corps within the Department of the Navy. The answer is no, but other significant changes were made to DOD and Air Force management of space programs.


Dawn Explores Ceres’ Interior Evolution
Source: NASA/JPL

Surface features on Ceres — the largest world between Mars and Jupiter — and its interior evolution have a closer relationship than one might think. A recent study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, analyzed Ceres’ surface features to reveal clues about the dwarf planet’s interior evolution. Specifically, the study explored linear features — the chains of pits and small, secondary craters common on Ceres.