October 25, 2017

Squiggles In Hellas Planitia

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

October 25, 2017 – At around 2,200 kilometers in diameter, Hellas Planitia is the largest visible impact basin in the Solar System, and hosts the lowest elevations on Mars’ surface as well as a variety of landscapes. This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO) covers a small central portion of the basin and shows a dune field with lots of dust devil trails. Read More


Educators: Apply By Feb. 1 For The 2018 Alan Shepard Technology In Education Award

October 25, 2017 – Educators who have demonstrated a commitment to inspiring students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) may apply now to receive the 2018 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. Read More


Thruster For Mars Mission Breaks Records

Scott Hall makes some final adjustments on the thruster before the test begins. Image Credit: NASA

October 25, 2017 – An advanced space engine in the running to propel humans to Mars has broken the records for operating current, power and thrust for a device of its kind, known as a Hall thruster. Read More


More News:

CU Boulder Student Awarded Prestigious Astronaut Scholarship
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Christine Reilly, a senior aerospace engineering major, has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF).


Spots On Supergiant Star Drive Spirals In Stellar Wind
Source: Royal Astronomical Society

A Canadian-led international team of astronomers recently discovered that spots on the surface of a supergiant star are driving huge spiral structures in its stellar wind. Their results are published in a recent edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


NanoRacks Successfully Deploys First Customer Microsatellite From ISS
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

Early this morning, NanoRacks successfully deployed the Kestrel Eye IIM (KE2M) microsatellite via the Company’s Kaber Microsatellite Deployer (Kaber) from the International Space Station. This is the largest satellite that NanoRacks has deployed to date, and the first deployed from the Kaber deployer.


Tom Young Hones In On JWST Delay At CAA Meeting
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

The National Academies’ Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) was briefed today on the recently announced 6-9 month delay to the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Eric Smith, JWST Program Director at NASA Headquarters, gave a presentation similar to one last week to an internal NASA advisory committee, but this audience — and therefore many of the questions — were different.


Colorado Women’s Hall Of Fame Announces Their Class Of 2018
Source: Denver7

An astronaut, four nonprofit leaders and activists, a university chancellor, a former Colorado Lt. Governor, a journalist and suffragette, an educator of the deaf, and a community builder and cattle owner comprise the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Class of 2018.


Minotaur-C Scheduled For Vandenberg Launch On October 31
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

Six SkySat imaging satellites are now set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this coming Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 2:37 p.m. PDT (21:37 GMT). The launch will utilize an Orbital ATK Minotaur-C rocket.


Minotaur-C Scheduled For Vandenberg Launch On October 31
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

Six SkySat imaging satellites are now set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this coming Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 2:37 p.m. PDT (21:37 GMT). The launch will utilize an Orbital ATK Minotaur-C rocket.


Complex Designs Can Slash The Weight Of Spacecraft Parts, But May Carry Hidden Costs
Source: SpaceNews

By combining additive manufacturing with advanced processing power, companies now can print the optimal design for many spacecraft parts. No longer angular or boxy, the new parts “look sexy for the first time,” said Franck Mouriaux, RUAG Schweiz AG aerospace structures general manager said Oct. 19 at the Additive Aerospace conference here. Engineers are learning, though, that the hardest part of this process known as topology optimization is figuring out exactly what features make a part optimal.


NOAA Reschedules Next Round Of Commercial Weather Data Program To 2018
Source: SpaceNews

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will wait until next spring to begin a second round of a commercial satellite weather data pilot program as it wraps up the analysis of the program’s initial round. Karen St. Germain, director of the Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning at NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, said Oct. 23 that responses to a draft request for proposals (RFP) released earlier this year and market research led NOAA to push back the release of a formal RFP for the second round of the agency’s Commercial Weather Data Pilot program.


China To Freely Share Data From Weather, Carbon Satellites: Official
Source: China Daily

China will freely share data from its new-generation weather satellite Fengyun-4 as well as its first carbon monitoring satellite TanSat with international users, a Chinese official said here Tuesday. Yang Jun, director general of the National Satellite Meteorological Center, part of the China Meteorological Administration, made the remarks at the China Day event during the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) week 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Revealing Galactic Secrets
Source: ESO

Captured using the exceptional sky-surveying abilities of the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, this deep view reveals the secrets of the luminous members of the Fornax Cluster, one of the richest and closest galaxy clusters to the Milky Way. This 2.3-gigapixel image is one of the largest images ever released by ESO.


Crew Access Arm Arrives As SLS Mobile Launcher Takes Shape
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

The huge Mobile Launcher (ML) for the Space Launch System (SLS) is gaining more of its array of appendages as it prepares to host the Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) launch. Although this first SLS mission won’t involve astronauts, the Crew Access Arm (CAA) is making its journey on the back of a large transporter to the ML for installation.


Hydrazine Ban Could Cost Europe’s Space Industry Billions
Source: SpaceNews

The European Union might ban the use of the toxic satellite propellant hydrazine as early as 2021, which would present a major setback for the block’s space industry. Priya Fernando, head of the Propulsion Design Group at Airbus Defence and Space, said even if the space sector gets an exemption to continue using hydrazine, the cost of the fuel would double in Europe, which would seriously handicap EU space manufacturers.