December 18, 2017

NOAA’s GOES-16, Now At GOES-East, Ready To Improve Forecasts

Image Credit: NASA/NOAA

December 18, 2017 – Now in its new GOES-East position, the advanced GOES-16 satellite has officially joined NOAA’s operational observation network, providing forecasters with sharper, more defined images of severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other weather hazards in near real-time 24/7. Read More

Reaction Engines Begins Construction Of High-Temperature Airflow Test Facility In Colorado

December 18, 2017 – Reaction Engines, Inc. has begun construction of a new high-temperature airflow test facility where it plans to validate the performance of its precooler heat exchanger technology, an enabler of its revolutionary SABRETM engine. Located at the Front Range Airport near Watkins, Colorado, the test facility will be capable of exposing the precooler test article (HTX) to high-temperature airflow conditions in excess of 1800°F (1000°C) that are expected during high-speed flights up to Mach 5. Read More

Orion Parachute Tests Prove Out Complex System For Human Deep Space Missions

NASA is testing Orion’s parachutes to qualify the system for missions with astronauts. Image Credit: U.S. Army

December 19, 2017 – When NASA’s Orion spacecraft hurtles toward Earth’s surface during its return from deep-space missions, the capsule’s system of 11 parachutes will assemble itself in the air and slow the spacecraft from 300 mph to a relatively gentle 20 mph for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean in the span of about 10 minutes. As the astronauts inside descend toward the water on future missions, their lives will be hanging by a series of threads that have been thoroughly ruggedized, tested and validated to ensure the parachute-assisted end of Orion missions are a success. Read More

NASA To Name Finalists For Future Solar System Mission

Image Credit: NASA

December 19, 2017 – NASA will announce finalist concepts for a future robotic mission to explore the solar system during a media teleconference at 12 p.m. MST Wednesday, December 20. The mission, targeted to launch in the mid-2020s, would be the fourth in NASA’s New Frontiers portfolio – a series of cost-capped missions led by a principal investigator. Current New Frontiers missions are New Horizons to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, Juno at Jupiter, and the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, now heading to the asteroid Bennu for arrival in 2018. Read More

NASA Solves How A Jupiter Jet Stream Shifts Into Reverse

Image Credit: NASA

December 18, 2017 – Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter’s equator is an east–west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train’s. Now, a NASA-led team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction. Read More

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s New Solar Array Technology Provides 25 Percent More Power In First Flight

SHARC satellite on-orbit over earth after launch from International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA & NanoRacks, LLC

December 18, 2017 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) new Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solar array is operational and already providing 25 percent more power to its host spacecraft than a conventional solar array designed for the same application. Read More

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Virgin Galactic Strikes A Deal To Send Italian Scientist On Suborbital Space Trip In 2019
Source: GeekWire

Virgin Galactic and the Italian Space Agency say they’ve signed a letter of intent to send an Italian payload specialist and scientific experiments on a suborbital space mission in 2019. The deal was announced today during the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Colorado.

Scaled Composites Taxis World’s Largest Aircraft
Source: Scaled Composites

This past weekend, the Scaled test team successfully executed a low speed taxi test of the Stratolaunch aircraft. During this initial taxi test, the aircraft moved down the runway under its own power for the first time. These first test points have demonstrated the fundamental ability to control the aircraft speed and direction on the runway.

Three New Crew Members On Voyage To International Space Station
Source: NASA

Three crew members representing the United States, Russia and Japan are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:21 a.m. EST Sunday (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time).

Public Nominations Process Opens For National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group
Source: NASA

Public nominations now are being accepted from U.S. citizens and organizations for potential membership on an advisory group that will represent the perspectives, interests and expertise of industry and other non-federal entities to the National Space Council.

World View Gives First Ever Look At Imagery Captured From The Stratollite
Source: World View

World View, the stratospheric exploration company, released today the first-ever remote sensing imagery captured from their high-altitude StratolliteTM vehicle. The images were captured from altitudes ranging between 65,000 and 75,000 ft. with an off-the-shelf imaging sensor and show sub-meter resolution capability from the Stratollite.

Ancient Fossil Microorganisms Indicate That Life In The Universe Is Common
Source: University of California – Los Angeles

A new analysis of the oldest known fossil microorganisms provides strong evidence to support an increasingly widespread understanding that life in the universe is common.

A New Approach For Detecting Planets In The Alpha Centauri System
Source: YaleNews

Yale astronomers have taken a fresh look at the nearby Alpha Centauri star system and found new ways to narrow the search for habitable planets there. According to a study led by Professor Debra Fischer and graduate student Lily Zhao, there may be small, Earth-like planets in Alpha Centauri that have been overlooked.