October 27, 2017

Vice President Pence Visits Lockheed Martin, Views InSight

Image Credit: Adam Mattivi

October 27, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence, left, speaks with Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, right, in a clean room facility in Littleton, Colorado, where Lockheed Martin Space Systems is assembling and testing InSight, NASA’s next spacecraft to Mars. Read More


Ball Aerospace Wins Aviation Week Program Excellence Award

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.’s Allison Barto, program manager for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope program. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies

October 27, 2017 – Ball Aerospace has been awarded an Aviation Week Program Excellence Award for their work on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope cryogenic electronics system. The awards honor global aerospace and defense programs and projects, their leaders and their teams for going beyond meeting requirements to exemplify the best in value creation, leadership, adapting to complexity and executing with excellence. Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and optical system design, including the cryogenic electronics system. Read More


NASA Langley Energy Budget Instrument To Launch Aboard NOAA Satellite

JPSS-1. Image Credit: NOAA/Ball Aerospace/NASA

October 27, 2017 – The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Flight Model 6 (CERES FM6), developed by Northrop Grumman and managed by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is scheduled to launch November 10 aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Read More


A Light In The Dark: NASA Sounding Rocket Probes The Dark Regions Of Space

The DEUCE grating, sensitive to ultraviolet, is carefully positioned for bonding into its flight mount. Image Credit: Nicholas Erickson

October 27, 2017 – Though stars and galaxies fill our night sky, most of the matter in the universe resides in the dark voids in between. Spread out over unfathomable distances, this cold, diffuse gas between galaxies — called the intergalactic medium, or IGM for short — hardly emits any light, making it difficult to study. Read More


More News:

Prolific Earth Gravity Satellites End Science Mission
Source: NASA

After more than 15 productive years in orbit, the U.S./German GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite mission has ended science operations. During their mission, the twin GRACE satellites have provided unprecedented insights into how our planet is changing by tracking the continuous movement of liquid water, ice and the solid Earth.


How Does Your Space Garden Grow?
Source: NASA

Early Friday morning, astronauts onboard the International Space Station were busy at work, harvesting three varieties of leafy greens from the Veggie growth chamber and installing the next generation of plant research – the high-tech Advanced Plant Habitat.


September 2017’s Intense Solar Activity Viewed From Space
Source: NASA

September 2017 saw a spate of solar activity, with the Sun emitting 27 M-class and four X-class flares and releasing several powerful coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, between Sept. 6-10. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, while coronal mass ejections are massive clouds of solar material and magnetic fields that erupt from the Sun at incredible speeds. The activity originated from one fast-growing active region — an area of intense and complex magnetic fields — as it travelled across the Sun’s Earth-facing side in concert with the star’s normal rotation. As always, NASA and its partners had many instruments observing the Sun from both Earth and space, enabling scientists to study these events from multiple perspectives.


Video: Pence Visits Mars InSight Facility On This Week @NASA
Source: NASA

On Oct. 26, Vice President Mike Pence joined our Associate Administrator for Science, Thomas Zurbuchen for a close-up view of the agency’s Mars InSight spacecraft, during a visit to the Littleton, Colorado facilities of Lockheed Martin. InSight is being prepped for a May 2018 launch to the Red Planet, with landing targeted for next November. The mission will study the deep interior of Mars, with a primary goal of helping scientists understand how rocky planets – including Earth – formed and evolved. The vice president also visited a Virtual Reality lab that featured demos of the company’s human exploration efforts, including our Orion spacecraft.


JWST In A Vibration-Isolating “Hammock” At Johnson Space Center
Source: Minus K Technology Inc.

In preparation for the Webb telescope’s cryogenic testing, engineers at Johnson have suspended it from the ceiling of the center’s Chamber A. This “hammock” (really, six support rods attached to Minus K Technology’s Negative-Stiffness vibration isolators) is not for relaxation; it’s meant to isolate the telescope from the vibrations Chamber A could produce once the door closes and testing begins, as well as from disturbances that might occur outside the chamber.


With Downsizing Of WFIRST, CAA Asks If Coronagraph Is Really Needed
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

The National Academies’ Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) was briefed yesterday by the co-chairs of a committee that reviewed the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission. Their report already prompted NASA to require the WFIRST project team to downsize the mission. Some CAA members questioned whether removing the coronagraph — an instrument added by NASA after WFIRST was chosen as a priority by the scientific community — could be one of the options.


Vice President Mike Pence Tours Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Promises America Will “Lead In Space Once Again”
Source: The Denver Post

From orbiting around the world to a spot on the White House’s wall, one American flag has had quite a journey. Vice President Mike Pence was presented with a flag originally flown during the first test flight for Orion after he finished a tour of Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Jefferson County on Thursday.


One Small Step For Malta Into The Space Industry
Source: maltatoday.com

The Malta Council for Science and Technology signed a collaboration agreement with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French Space Agency. President Dr Jean-Yves Le Gall, who is also chairman of the council of the European Space Agency, explains the contribution Malta could make in the space industry.


China To Launch More Beidou Satellites In November, Complete Navigation System By 2020
Source: gbtimes.com

China is set to launch more Beidou navigation satellites in November and complete the system by 2020, the head of the main contractor for China’s space programme has said.


One Giant Leap For Reptiles: Chinese Firm Blasts Turtle Into Near Space In Step Towards Trips For Humans
Source: South China Morning Post

A Chinese technology company this week claimed it had successfully launched a live turtle into “near-space”, marking another step forward in the firm’s efforts to sell space tourism to humans.


Winters On Mars Are Shaping The Red Planet’s Landscape
Source: Trinity College Dublin

Researchers based millions of kilometres from Mars have unveiled new evidence for how contemporary features are formed on the Red Planet. Their innovative lab-based experiments on carbon dioxide (CO2) sublimation – the process by which a substance changes from a solid to a gas without an intermediate liquid phase – suggest the same process is responsible for altering the appearance of sand dunes on Mars.


Scientist Devises A Solar Reactor To Make Water And Oxygen From Moon Rocks
Source: SolarPACES

An aerospace engineer has built a machine to make water and oxygen from the lunar regolith, powered by solar energy.


Polar-Orbiting Weather Satellite Joined Up With Delta 2 Rocket In California
Source: Spaceflight Now

The first in NOAA’s new series of polar-orbiting weather satellites has been lifted atop United Launch Alliance’s second-to-last Delta 2 rocket on a launch pad in California, ready for encapsulation and final checkouts ahead of a predawn launch set for Nov. 10.


SpaceX, OneWeb Detail Constellation Plans To Congress
Source: SpaceNews

SpaceX and OneWeb say they are within months of launching the first satellites in their competing megaconstellations of broadband smallsats designed to bring internet to every corner of the globe.