August 3, 2017

SwRI Part Of International Team Identifying Primordial Asteroids

Astronomers have identified the oldest asteroid families and, by process of elimination, the oldest intact asteroids in the main belt. A team including SwRI scientists developed a technique to identify ancient asteroid families that have drifted apart. Asteroid surfaces heat up during the day (as illustrated by this image) and cool down at night, giving off radiation that can act as a sort of mini-thruster. This force can cause asteroids to drift widely over time, making it difficult to identify families of fragments leftover after asteroid collisions eons ago. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC

August 3, 2017 – Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) was part of an international team that recently discovered a relatively unpopulated region of the main asteroid belt, where the few asteroids present are likely pristine relics from early in solar system history. The team used a new search technique that also identified the oldest known asteroid family, which extends throughout the inner region of the main asteroid belt. Read More

Lockheed Martin Closes In On Shrinking The Telescope

Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

August 3, 2017 – Lockheed Martin today revealed the first images from an experimental, ultra-thin optical instrument, showing it could be possible to shrink space telescopes to a sliver of the size of today’s systems while maintaining equivalent resolution. Read More

Primary Mirror Delivered To Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is under construction on the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii. The site was chosen out of a world-wide search due to the exceptional “coronal sky.” Since DKIST will be observing the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, the sky above the telescope needs to be as free of dust, aerosols and pollutants as possible. The isolated islands of Hawaii provide optimal conditions for clear, coronal skies. DKIST is funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by the National Solar Observatory. Image Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF

August 3, 2017 – The primary mirror for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) — the heart of this sophisticated instrument — was successfully delivered August 2 to its destination atop Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii. Read More

New Horizons’ Next Target Just Got A Lot More Interesting

One artist’s concept of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons mission. This binary concept is based on telescope observations made at Patagonia, Argentina on July 17, 2017 when MU69 passed in front of a star. New Horizons theorize that it could be a single body with a large chunk taken out of it, or two bodies that are close together or even touching. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

August 3, 2017 – Could the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft actually be two targets? New Horizons scientists look to answer that question as they sort through new data gathered on the distant Kuiper Belt object (KBO) 2014 MU69, which the spacecraft will fly past on Jan. 1, 2019. That flyby will be the most distant in the history of space exploration, a billion miles beyond Pluto. Read More

NOAA’s GOES-S And GOES-T Satellites Coming Together

The GOES-S satellite in a clean room at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado, during a test deployment of the Antenna Wing Assembly (AWA). Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

August 3, 2017 – Progress continues on the development of NOAA’s GOES-S and GOES-T spacecraft being built by Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado. Read More

Delta IV Heavy Booster Cores Arrive For Parker Solar Probe

Framed by a series of cabbage palms, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy common booster core is transported by truck to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 37 Horizontal Processing Facility after arriving at Port Canaveral. The Delta IV Heavy will launch NASA’s upcoming Parker Solar Probe mission. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

August 3, 2017 – Launch preparations are beginning to get off the ground for NASA’s upcoming Parker Solar Probe mission, scheduled to lift off in summer 2018 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. Read More

After-School Rocketry Program Takes Flight

Image Credit: University of Colorado Boulder

August 3, 2017 – Jaquelyn Romano and Lucas Droste are going through a pre-launch checklist, looking over the rocket, its payload, and ground station equipment. The University of Colorado Boulder aerospace seniors are preparing for a key mission: STEM Education. Read More

Lockheed Martin Invests $350 Million In State-Of-The-Art Satellite Production Facility

Lockheed Martin’s new satellite integration facility will make its Waterton Canyon campus one of the largest space technology centers in the country, with 3.5 million square feet of research, engineering, test and office space. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

August 3, 2017 – Preliminary construction is underway on a new, $350 million Lockheed Martin facility that will produce next-generation satellites. The new facility, located on the company’s Waterton Canyon campus near Denver, is the latest step in an ongoing transformation, infused with innovation to provide future missions at reduced cost and cycle time. Read More

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Jupiter Storm Of The High North
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

A dynamic storm at the southern edge of Jupiter’s northern polar region dominates this Jovian cloudscape, courtesy of NASA’s Juno spacecraft. This storm is a long-lived anticyclonic oval named North North Temperate Little Red Spot 1 (NN-LRS-1); it has been tracked at least since 1993, and may be older still.

Nationally Recognized Internship Program To Reach More Students Than Ever

SOARS, which stands for Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science, tends to get rave reviews from its nearly 200 alumni — about 80 percent of whom have gone on to graduate school and/or careers related to science or math. In just more than two decades, the research and mentoring program led by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has helped cultivate a new and diverse generation of leaders in the geosciences. As part of its new five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program is now working to partner with SOARS alumni at universities and develop a network of satellite programs.

Research: 2004 TT357: A Potential Contact Binary In The Trans-Neptunian Belt

We report photometric observations of the trans-Neptunian object 2004 TT357
obtained in 2015 and 2017 using the 4.3 m Lowell’s Discovery Channel Telescope. We derive a rotational period of 7.79 ± 0.01 h and a peak-to-peak lightcurve amplitude of 0.76 ± 0.03 mag. 2004 TT357 displays a large variability that can be explained by a very elongated single object or can be due to a contact/close binary. The most likely scenario is that 2004 TT357 is a contact binary.

Monitoring Frequent Change With Sentinel-2 Data On GBDX
Source: DigitalGlobe

With the introduction of Sentinel-2 data on GBDX, a variety of insights to our ever changing planet can be gained. Land features like reservoirs, agriculture, glaciers, etc. can all be monitored and examined using the publicly available 10 meter resolution imagery collected by Sentinel-2. Also, as a result of its potential five day revisit rate, the frequent changes that occur in our environment can be quickly detected; for example, flooding that occurred in Sri Lanka was captured before the storm surge receded.

3 Trends That Will Shape Satellite Facilities Of The Future
Source: Rick Ambrose

Nearly 60 years ago, Lockheed Martin engineers in Sunnyvale, California began work on the top secret Corona program to build the nation’s first intelligence satellites. And it’s pretty amazing to think about how they did it. Using slide rules and hard-copy drawings, the team designed satellites that would take photos on giant reels of film and drop them in shielded buckets with parachutes to be snatched out of the air by C-130 aircraft equipped with large metal hooks.

Vector Successfully Launches First Ever Rocket From Spaceport Camden
Source: PR Newswire

Vector, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced the successful suborbital flight of its B0.002 test vehicle, a full-scale prototype of the company’s Vector-R launch vehicle.

The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across The Universe
Source: New York Times

In the early spring of 1977, Larry Zottarelli, a 40-year-old computer engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, set out for Cape Canaveral, Fla., in his Toyota Corolla. A Los Angeles native, he had never ventured as far as Tijuana, but he had a per diem, and he liked to drive.

From Humble Start, NASA Engineer Uplifts Herself And Others
Source: VOA News

When astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon 48 years ago this month, the scene transfixed a small girl in Costa Rica watching on a neighbor’s TV. Since seeing that 1969 event, Sandra Cauffman has watched rockets roar into space carrying the Mars-orbiting MAVEN satellite and other exploratory equipment she has worked on while leading or supporting teams as a NASA engineer.