December 1, 2017

The twin Voyager spacecraft are celebrating 40 years of continual operation in August and September 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

December 1, 2017 – If you tried to start a car that’s been sitting in a garage for decades, you might not expect the engine to respond. But a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use. Read More

NASA’s Webb Telescope Emerges From Chamber A

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope emerged from Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Dec. 1, 2017, to prepare for its upcoming move to California. Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

December 1, 2017 – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope emerged from Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on December 1 to prepare for its upcoming move to California. The telescope’s combined science instruments and optical element recently completed about 100 days of cryogenic testing inside Johnson’s Chamber A, a massive thermal vacuum testing chamber at the center. Read More

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Orbital ATK Achieves Major Development Milestone For Joint Polar Satellite System Program
Source: Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced significant progress on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft program. The JPSS-2 spacecraft will host instruments that provide essential operational space-based weather observations for NOAA, extending the successful 50-year NOAA/NASA partnership into the next two decades.

2017 Colorado Space Round-Up, Dec. 6, 2017, Denver, CO

The 2017 Colorado Space Round-Up, co-sposored by the Secure World Foundation (SWF), will take place on December 6, 2017 from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm Mountain Standard Time (MST) at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO.

Colorado School Of Space Mining

Since the 1990s, the Colorado School of Mines has been a leading institution for the study of space resources and in situ resource utilization (ISRU). It has also become a destination for space scientists and engineers, government agencies, aerospace companies, entrepreneurs, the mining and minerals industry, financial and legal experts, and policy makers to discuss all topics related to space resources.

‘First In Space’ Soldiers Provide Space-Based Services And Products
Source: U.S. Army

“First in Space” is a common phrase at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. This phrase is a well-earned source of pride that emphasizes the Army’s role in the first successful U.S. satellite launch in 1958.

EU Exempts Fuel For ExoMars Mission From Anti-Russian Sanctions
Source: Sputnik International

The ExoMars 2020 mission is the first joint program between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation. “On November 30, 2017, the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2017/2214 in order to permit certain operations concerning hydrazine (CAS 302-01-2) in concentrations of 70 % or more, which is included in the Common Military List of the European Union,” the Council of the European Union’s regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union reads.

CitizenSky Project
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

CitizenSkyView is an app for iOS and Android that allows anyone with a smartphone to participate in crowdsourced image data gathering. It was designed by the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Technology to help gather data for NASA cloud and solar energy forecasting science.

A Shifting Shield Provides Protection Against Cosmic Rays
Source: AAS Nova

The Sun plays an important role in protecting us from cosmic rays, energetic particles that pelt us from outside our solar system. But can we predict when and how it will provide the most protection, and use this to minimize the damage to both piloted and robotic space missions?

Air Force: Budget Uncertainty Threatens Cape Canaveral Rocket Launches
Source: Florida Today

Before a rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a system drenches the launch pad with water to cool it down from the gas and flames bellowing out of engines firing with a million pounds of thrust or more.

Guidance Error Reportedly Led To Russian Launch Failure
Source: Spaceflight Now

Russian officials could complete their investigation of a rocket failure Tuesday by mid-December, and multiple Russian news reports suggest the probe has narrowed to focus on the guidance computer on the Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage.

NASA Has Never Gone This Long Without A Formal Administrator
Source: Ars Technica

Four-time astronaut Charles Bolden resigned as NASA administrator on January 20, 2017, leaving the space agency after more than seven years on the job. Since then, a former director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, Robert Lightfoot, has served as interim director. He has held this post now for 315 days, or nearly 11 months.

Asteroid Mining Is The Key To Our Future Expansion Into Space
Source: Planetary Resources

Asteroid mining is the key to our future expansion into space. Planetary Resources is conducting the first commercial exploration of resources on near Earth asteroids. The first resource that we’re interested in is water.

Thales Alenia Space To Develop Space Rider
Source: Air & Cosmos – International

Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) and European Launch Vehicle (ELV) have signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the engineering and preliminary development of the automated reusable Space Rider transportation system. Space Rider is designed for deployment into low Earth orbit (LEO) by the upgraded Vega C light launcher, which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2019. It is being hailed by Thales Alenia Space as a major step forward in the reentry vehicle roadmap.

Staying Safe In Space With SNC’s Deputy Director Of Project Engineering
Source: Sierra Nevada Corporation

We spent the day with SNC Deputy Director of Project Engineering, Angie Wise, as she shared behind-the-scenes access to Safety & Mission Assurance (S&MA) for the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Study Sheds Light On Turbulence In Astrophysical Plasmas
Source: MIT News

Plasmas, gas-like collections of ions and electrons, make up an estimated 99 percent of the visible matter in the universe, including the sun, the stars, and the gaseous medium that permeates the space in between. Most of these plasmas, including the solar wind that constantly flows out from the sun and sweeps through the solar system, exist in a turbulent state. How this turbulence works remains a mystery; it’s one of the most dynamic research areas in plasma physics.

Rosetta: A Comet’s List Of Ingredients
Source: Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research

The dust that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko emits into space consists to about one half of organic molecules. The dust belongs to the most pristine and carbon-rich material known in our solar system and has hardly changed since its birth. These results of the COSIMA team are published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Pluto’s Secrets Revealed
Source: Scientific American

As the clock neared 9 P.M. on July 14, 2015, I stood with then NASA administrator Charles Bolden and others in our mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. Within about a minute we were due to receive the first signals from the New Horizons spacecraft, some three billion miles away, after its daring, one-shot flyby of Pluto and its system of five moons.