August 7 – August 11, 2017

NASA Tests Autopilot Sensors During Simulations

A model of a satellite aft end on a robot for simulated, controlled rendezvous at the Space Operations Simulation Center. Image Credit: NASA

August 7, 2017 – Inside a large, black-walled facility outside Denver, NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) team successfully completed the latest testing of three rendezvous and proximity operations sensors used for satellite servicing applicatons and beyond. These sensors are needed for autonomous rendezvous of spacecraft, which is a vital technology for robotically servicing a satellite. Read More

Sunshield Layers Fully Integrated On NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

The first layer of the Webb telescope sunshield installed at Northrop Grumman’s clean room in Redondo Beach, California. Image Credit: Northrop Grumman Corp.

August 7, 2017 – The five sunshield layers responsible for protecting the optics and instruments of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope are now fully installed. Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach, California who designed the Webb telescope’s optics and spacecraft bus for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, integrated the final flight layers into the sunshield subsystem. The team is now folding and stowing the layers, in preparation for deployment tests in August. Read More

Business-Friendly Legislation And Policy Helps Expand Small Satellite Industry In Colorado

August 7, 2017 – Colorado’s emergence in the small satellite industry will take center stage this week at the industry’s premier conference and exhibition—the 31st Annual Conference on Small Satellites, through Aug. 10. The Colorado Space Coalition and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade will jointly tout how Colorado is capitalizing on growth opportunities in this emerging sector. Read More

SwRI-Built CYGNSS Satellites Gathering Unprecedented Hurricane Data

This map shows the ocean surface wind measurements made by one of the eight SwRI-built spacecraft in the CYGNSS constellation over approximately 6 hours on February 14, 2017. The blue values indicate relatively low wind speeds, while the yellow, orange, and red values indicate increasingly higher wind speeds. The highest wind speeds in this image (orange and red) are associated with a powerful extratropical cyclone along the East Coast of North America. Image Credit: NOAA/NASA/University of Michigan

August 7, 2017 – NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) is peering down through clouds to get an unprecedented view of this year’s hurricane activity. Already this season, five tropical storms have formed over the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean has had 20 tropical storms, five hurricanes, and two typhoons. Read More

Lockheed Martin Begins Modernizing Receivers For U.S. Air Force’s GPS Signal Monitoring Stations

Gen. David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, listens to 1st Lt. Mark Skinner, 2nd Space Operations Squadron GPS mission commander, explain current 2 SOPS activities during his visit at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. Goldfein toured various squadrons across the base during his visit, receiving in-person briefings and engaging with Airmen. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt

August 7, 2017 – Three of six new Lockheed Martin developed, state-of-the-art receivers are now deployed to help the U.S. Air Force maintain the accuracy of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals. Read More

TSIS Shipped To Kennedy Space Center For Upcoming Launch

TSIS-1 is shown here inside a clean room at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Credit: LASP/Tom Sparn

August 7, 2017 – A solar instrument package designed and built by CU Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and considered a key tool to help monitor the planet’s climate has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a targeted November launch. Read More

Lockheed Martin Will Build New Space Instrument Focused On Vegetation Health And Carbon Monitoring

GeoCARB’s infrared data will deliver better information about our planet’s health to scientists and decision-makers around the globe. Image Credit: NASA

August 8, 2017 – Scientists will get a better understanding of our planet’s carbon cycle and vegetation health through a first-of-a-kind NASA instrument built by Lockheed Martin. The Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB) mission will use an advanced infrared spectrograph hosted on a commercial geosynchronous satellite. The project is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Berrien Moore at the University of Oklahoma. Read More

SAGE III Completes Commissioning, Begins Science Mission

SAGE III collected this preliminary data over the western desert of Iraq from its perch on the exterior of the space station. The instrument measured ozone levels from the mesosphere, stratosphere and through most of the troposphere, as clouds permitted. The relative smoothness of the profile line reflects the quality of the data. Image Credit: NASA

August 8, 2017 – An ozone-measuring instrument that launched to the International Space Station in February has completed commissioning and is now collecting atmospheric data. The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III, which was developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center and built by Ball Aerospace of Boulder, Colorado, collected the preliminary data pictured above over the western desert of Iraq from its perch on the exterior of the space station. Read More

RAVAN CubeSat Measures Earth’s Outgoing Energy

Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes, or RAVAN, is a 3-unit CubeSat that successfully demonstrated new technologies for measuring the amount of reflected solar and thermal energy that is emitted into space. These observations have the potential to improve spaceborne measurements of Earth’s energy imbalance. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

August 9, 2017 – An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth’s climate. Read More

Harris Corporation Delivers Navigation Payload For Third Lockheed Martin GPS III Satellite

Harris navigation payloads already are integrated in the second GPS III space vehicle, now in environmental testing, and the first GPS III satellite (pictured here), expected to launch in 2018. Image Credit: Business Wire

August 9, 2017 – Harris Corporation has delivered the third of 10 advanced navigation payloads to Lockheed Martin, which will increase accuracy, signal power and jamming resistance for U.S. Air Force GPS III satellites. Read More

Day To Night And Back Again: Earth’s Ionosphere During The Total Solar Eclipse

During the total solar eclipse, the Moon will turn off the ionosphere’s source of extreme ultraviolet radiation: The ionosphere will go from daytime conditions to nighttime conditions. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Katy Mersmann

August 10, 2017 – On August 21, 2017, the Moon will slide in front of the Sun and for a brief moment, day will melt into a dusky night. Moving across the country, the Moon’s shadow will block the Sun’s light, and weather permitting, those within the path of totality will be treated to a view of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona. Read More

More News:

Mines Team Wins CASMART Student Design Challenge
Source: Colorado School of Mines

A team from Colorado School of Mines took first place in the 2nd CASMART Student Design Challenge for its deployable Mars orbit habitat design and model. Ares Advanced Apartments, or A³, was one of four Mines teams to participate in the competition. Teams presented their designs at the ASM International 2017 Conference on Shape Memory and Superelastic Technologies May 15-19 in San Diego.

China To Build First Mars Simulation Base

China will establish the country’s first Mars simulation base, in Northwest China’s Qinghai province, the local government said Tuesday. The base will be in the red cliff region in Da Qaidam (also known as Dachaidan) district in the Mongolian-Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Haixi.

Atmos Celebrates State Climatologist Nolan Doesken’s Retirement
Source: Colorado State University

Former department members and National Weather Service employees joined the department and Colorado Climate Center today to celebrate Nolan Doesken’s 40 years of service to CSU, 11 of those as Colorado’s State Climatologist. Department Head Jeff Collett recognized Nolan for his dedication and passion for climatology, and guests shared memories of everything from recording the coldest day in Colorado to Nolan’s basketball prowess.

Lt Gen Jay Silveria Takes Command Of Air Force Academy
Source: U.S. Air Force Academy

The new superintendent of the Air Force Academy said preparing cadets for the mental and physical rigors of modern warfare in a complex global environment is his top priority, Aug. 11. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transferred command of the Academy from Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson to Silveria in front of the Cadet Wing, Academy staff and hundreds of Johnson’s and Silveria’s friends and family members.

Hughes Selects Space Systems Loral To Build Next-Generation Ultra High Density Satellite
Source: EchoStar

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, announced it has signed a contract with Space Systems Loral (SSL) to build its next-generation JUPITER™ 3 Ultra High Density Satellite (UHDS), to be designated EchoStar XXIV. The new satellite is targeted at key markets across the Americas and will increase the Hughes Ka-band capacity in the region by two to three times. Powered by the next-generation JUPITER System, the new satellite will enable significant increases in service performance, with speeds of 100 Mbps.

The Case For Space Resources
Source: George Sowers

Here are the charts for the seminar I gave today at Colorado School of Mines. The timing was good given that Mines has just announced the first ever graduate program in space resources.

AMERGINT Technologies, Inc. Announces inSIGHT
Source: AMERGINT Technologies

AMERGINT announces inSIGHT, a problem-solving tool for engineers and operations. Working in conjunction with your ground system equipment, inSIGHT uses data analytics to create a composite picture of satellite links, showing how the data moves through modems, networks, and control centers.

Join A Once-in-a-Lifetime Solar Eclipse Experience At The Discovery Center Aug. 21
Source: Space Foundation

Around noon on Monday, Aug. 21, Colorado Springs and the Front Range region will experience a total solar eclipse, with 90 percent of the Sun darkened by the Moon. To celebrate this astronomical event, the Space Foundation Discovery Center, which is typically closed on Mondays, will open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Aug. 21 for a Solar Eclipse Party.

Charlie Sobeck Talks About Kepler, Troubleshooting, Transits And Eclipses
Source: NASA

A conversation with Charlie Sobeck, Kepler mission manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

NASA Program Gives Students Access To Astronauts
Source: NASA

On June 23, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer spoke with 22 Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, while he was aboard the International Space Station. More than 400 people attended the event, with many more watching live footage online.

Orion Supplier Readies Shipment Of Orion Astronauts’ Windows On The Universe
Source: NASA

When the first crew of astronauts flies aboard the Orion spacecraft, they will be able to look through a window and view the moon and Earth from their deep-space vantage point. The window panel that will provide that view is ready for shipment to NASA. AMRO Fabricating Corp., of South El Monte, California, has completed a section of the Orion pressure vessel, or underlying structure of the spacecraft that will send astronauts farther than humans have ever traveled before on Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2).

The Geometry Of Success: Archinaut Project Conducts First Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing Build In Space-Like Environment
Source: NASA

Archinaut, a NASA Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) project developing cutting-edge technology to build and assemble complex hardware and supersized structures on demand in space, achieved an unprecedented milestone this summer.

SHIIVER Tank Arrives At NASA’s Marshall Center For Spray-On Foam Insulation
Source: NASA

A technical challenge that NASA is working to solve is how to maintain very cold liquid propellants to be used as fuel for deep space missions. Heat intercept concepts such as advanced insulation blankets, foam insulation and vapor-based cooling will be evaluated with the Structural Heat Intercept Insulation Vibration Evaluation Rig or SHIIVER, which arrived Aug. 10 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for application of its first round of insulation.

TRAPPIST-1 Is Older Than Our Solar System
Source: NASA

Scientists now have a good estimate for the age of one of the most intriguing planetary systems discovered to date — TRAPPIST-1, a system of seven Earth-size worlds orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star about 40 light-years away. Researchers say in a new study that the TRAPPIST-1 star is quite old: between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years. This is up to twice as old as our own solar system, which formed some 4.5 billion years ago.

NASA Selects Proposals To Study Galaxies, Stars, Planets
Source: NASA

NASA has selected six astrophysics Explorers Program proposals for concept studies. The proposed missions would study gamma-ray and X-ray emissions from clusters of galaxies and neutron star systems, as well as infrared emissions from galaxies in the early universe and atmospheres of exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system.

NASA’s Webb Telescope Summertime Deep-Freeze Continues
Source: NASA

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope began a nearly 100-day cryogenic test in a giant chamber in Texas in mid-July. Components of the Webb have previously endured similar tests to ensure they would function in the cold environment of space. Now all of those components are being tested together in the giant thermal vacuum known as Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA Studies Tethered CubeSat Mission To Study Lunar Swirls
Source: NASA

A novel mission concept involving two CubeSats connected by a thin, miles-long tether could help scientists understand how the Moon got its mysterious “tattoos” — swirling patterns of light and dark found at more than 100 locations across the lunar surface.

New Clues To Universe’s Structure Revealed
Source: NASA

What is our universe made of, and has its composition changed over time? Scientists have new insights about these fundamental questions, thanks to an international collaboration of more than 400 scientists called the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Three scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are part of this group that is helping to further our understanding of the structure of the universe.

Frontiers eBook On Coronal Magnetometry Now Available For Free Download
Source: HAO/UCAR

Our recently coordinated Frontiers Research Topic on Coronal Magnetometry was designed to provide a forum for comparing and coordinating these research methods, and for discussing future opportunities. We are pleased to announce that the Frontiers Research Topic eBook: “Coronal Magnetometry” has been compiled and is now available online.

The PI’s Perspective: The Heroes Of The DSN And The ‘Summer Of MU69’
Source: JHUAPL

The New Horizons spacecraft is in good health and flying farther each day. In fact, we’re hightailing it through the Kuiper Belt, the third zone of our solar system, at a rate of about 1 million kilometers every day. Science never sleeps!

New Mission Going To The Space Station To Explore Mysteries Of ‘Cosmic Rain’
Source: NASA

A new experiment set for an Aug. 14 launch to the International Space Station will provide an unprecedented look at a rain of particles from deep space, called cosmic rays, that constantly showers our planet. The Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass mission destined for the International Space Station (ISS-CREAM) is designed to measure the highest-energy particles of any detector yet flown in space.

Something New Under The Sun
Source: JILA

Stars like the Sun have to get rid of the heat generated by thermonuclear reactions in their centers. The Sun’s secret is vigorous convection, particularly in the outer third of the Sun closest to its surface. Like a pot of boiling water, hot fluid moves upward and cooler fluid moves downward, carrying heat outwards toward the surface of the star. Many astrophysicists haven’t actually understood how this aspect of the Sun worked –– until JILA former senior research associate Nick Featherstone and senior research associate Brad Hindman set the record straight.

Watch Martian Clouds Scoot Thanks To NASA’s Curiosity
Source: NASA

Wispy, early-season clouds resembling Earth’s ice-crystal cirrus clouds move across the Martian sky in some new image sequences from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. These clouds are the most clearly visible so far from Curiosity, which landed five years ago this month about five degrees south of Mars’ equator. Clouds moving in the Martian sky have been observed previously by Curiosity and other missions on the surface of Mars, including NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander in the Martian arctic nine years ago.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Watches A Sunspot
Source: NASA

On July 5, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) watched an active region — an area of intense and complex magnetic fields — rotate into view on the Sun. The satellite continued to track the region as it grew and eventually rotated across the Sun and out of view on July 17.

How Does NASA’s Webb Telescope Stay Cool In Chamber A?
Source: NASA

Objects in a vacuum, like the Webb telescope inside of Chamber A, primarily cool through a heat-transfer process called radiation. For an object to radiatively cool, it must be in view of another, colder object. The heat from the warmer object (the telescope) transfers to the colder object (the surrounding shrouds) without the need of a medium (such as air).

25 Years Of Global Sea Level Data, And Counting
Source: NASA

NASA recently marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of a revolutionary ocean research vessel — a space “ship.” As the NASA/CNES Topex-Poseidon satellite ascended into orbit, it ushered in a new era of oceanography with the first highly accurate, global measurements of sea levels. That mission and its three successors, all named Jason, have continuously mapped global ocean currents and tides; opened our eyes to the global reach of El Niño and other climate events; created a quarter-century-long, extraordinarily precise record of global and regional sea level rise; and enabled improved forecasts of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods and droughts.