December 13, 2017

Next-Generation GRACE Satellites Arrive At Launch Site

A crate containing one of the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites is offloaded from an air freighter at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base Dec. 12 following a transcontinental flight from Germany. GRACE-FO is scheduled for launch next spring. Image Credit: USAF

December 13, 2017 – A pair of advanced U.S./German Earth research satellites with some very big shoes to fill is now at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base to begin final preparations for launch next spring. Read More

Major Space Mystery Solved Using Data From CU Student Satellite

The CSSWE REPTile instrument is a telescope designed to measure energetic electrons and protons. The instrument consists of a stack of four solid-state silicon detectors. Higher energy particles penetrate deeper into the detector stack and, as they do, they generate electron-hole pairs in the silicon. Image Credit: LASP

December 13, 2017 – A 60-year-old mystery regarding the source of some energetic and potentially damaging particles in Earth’s radiation belts is now solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by University of Colorado Boulder students at LASP. Read More

U.S. Air Force’s First GPS III Satellite Receives Commands From Next-Generation OCX Ground Control Segment

The U.S. Air Force’s first GPS III satellite, GPS III Space Vehicle 1 (GPS III SV01), has finished all space vehicle functional testing and been placed into storage ahead of its launch. GPS III is in full production, with 10 satellites under contract, at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

December 13, 2017 – The first advanced GPS III satellite successfully established remote connectivity and communicated with the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX), further validating the U.S. Air Force’s modernized Global Positioning System (GPS) is ready to launch its first satellite. Read More

MAVEN Sheds Light On Habitability of Distant Planets

This illustration depicts charged particles from a solar storm stripping away charged particles of Mars’ atmosphere, one of the processes of Martian atmosphere loss studied by NASA’s MAVEN mission, beginning in 2014. Unlike Earth, Mars lacks a global magnetic field that could deflect charged particles emanating from the Sun. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC

December 13, 2017 – How long might a rocky, Mars-like planet be habitable if it were orbiting a red dwarf star? It’s a complex question, but one that NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission can help answer. Read More

Ball Aerospace’s Laura Coyle On-Deck For Optical Society Ambassador

Image Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

December 13, 2017 – Dr. Laura Coyle, an optical engineer at Ball Aerospace, has been selected to serve as one of The Optical Society’s (OSA) 2018 Ambassadors. As an ambassador, Coyle will join an international team of 10 other emerging leaders in optics and photonics from both academia and industry to provide career advice, technical knowledge and mentorship to young professionals. They will serve as traveling lecturers for student chapters and local sections, supporting professional development events at local OSA meetings and engaging with their local communities. Read More

More News:

Millions Allocated For Construction Projects At Fort Carson, Air Force Academy
Source: KRDO

Fort Carson and the U.S. Air Force Academy will be getting millions of dollars for new construction projects as part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law Tuesday by President Donald Trump.

Spanning Disciplines In The Search For Life Beyond Earth
Source: NASA

The search for life beyond Earth is riding a surge of creativity and innovation. Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery over the past two decades, it is time to tackle the next step: determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life.

NASA Television Updates Broadcast Schedule For Cargo Resupply Mission
Source: NASA

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX now is targeting no earlier than 10:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 15, for its 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The launch and post-launch news conference will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Plants, Muscles, Microbes And Cells: NASA Biology Experiments Are Space Station-Bound
Source: NASA

Several bioscience experiments developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley are about to launch to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s 13th commercial resupply services mission for NASA.

NASA Conducts Final RS-25 Rocket Engine Test Of 2017
Source: NASA

NASA engineers capped a year of Space Launch System testing with a final RS-25 rocket engine hot fire on Dec. 13 at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. The 400-second test on the A-1 Test Stand was a “green run” test of an RS-25 flight controller. It marked the eighth RS-25 test of the year and the sixth flight controller to be tested for use on NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle. The engine tested also included a large 3D-printed part scheduled for use on future RS-25 flight engines.

Senate Committee Advances NOAA Administrator Nomination On Party-Line Vote
Source: SpaceNews

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced the nomination of Barry Myers to be the next administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the full Senate despite concerns by the committee’s Democrats about potential conflicts of interest.

Japanese Lunar Exploration Company ispace Raises $90 Million
Source: SpaceNews

A Japanese company planning a series of robotic missions to the moon announced Dec. 13 that it has raised more than $90 million in one of the largest Series A funding rounds for any emerging space venture.

Bright Areas On Ceres Suggest Geologic Activity
Source: NASA/JPL

If you could fly aboard NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, the surface of dwarf planet Ceres would generally look quite dark, but with notable exceptions. These exceptions are the hundreds of bright areas that stand out in images Dawn has returned. Now, scientists have a better sense of how these reflective areas formed and changed over time — processes indicative of an active, evolving world.

Groundbreaking Data Set Gives Unprecedented Look At Future Weather

How will weather change in the future? It’s been remarkably difficult to say, but researchers are now making important headway, thanks in part to a groundbreaking new data set at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Giant Storms Cause Palpitations In Saturn’s Atmospheric Heartbeat
Source: University of Leicester

Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet’s equator, finds the international Cassini mission in a study led by Dr Leigh Fletcher from the University of Leicester. This effect is also seen in Earth’s atmosphere, suggesting the two planets are more alike than previously thought.