December 23 – December 29, 2019

NASA’s Astronaut Candidates To Graduate With Eye On Artemis Missions

NASA will honor the first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program at 8:30 a.m. MST Friday, January 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Image Credit: NASA

December 26, 2019 – NASA will honor the first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program at 8:30 a.m. MST Friday, January 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After completing more than two years of basic training, these candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars. Read More

Astronomers Uncover New Type Of World Unlike Anything Found In The Solar System

This illustration depicts the Sun-like star Kepler 51, and three giant planets that NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovered in 2012-2014. These planets are all roughly the size of Jupiter but a tiny fraction of its mass. This means the planets have an extraordinarily low density, more like that of Styrofoam rather than rock or water, based on new Hubble Space Telescope observations. The planets may have formed much farther from their star and migrated inward. Now their puffed-up hydrogen/helium atmospheres are bleeding off into space. Eventually, much smaller planets might be left behind. The background starfield is correctly plotted as it would look if we gazed back toward our Sun from Kepler 51’s distance of approximately 2,600 light-years, along our galaxy’s Orion spiral arm. However, the Sun is too faint to be seen in this simulated naked-eye view. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/L.Hustak, J. Olmstead, D. Player and F. Summers

December 26, 2019 – When astronomers look around the solar system, they find that planets can be made out of almost anything. Terrestrial planets like Earth, Mars, and Venus have dense iron cores and rocky mantles. The massive outer planets like Jupiter and Saturn are mostly gaseous and liquid. Astronomers can’t peel back their cloud layers to look inside, but their composition is deduced by comparing the planet’s mass (as calculated from its orbital motion) to its size. The result is that Jupiter has the density of water, and Saturn has an even lower density (it could float in a huge bathtub). These gas giants are just 1/5th the density of rocky Earth. Read More

SNC’s Kavandi Earns Presidential Rank Award

Janet Kavandi, senior vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area, has been recognized with the Presidential Rank Award (PRA), the nation’s highest civilian career federal leadership award. Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

December 26, 2019 – Global aerospace and national security contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced that Janet Kavandi, senior vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area, has been recognized with the Presidential Rank Award (PRA), the nation’s highest civilian career federal leadership award. The White House selected the 2019 awardees and they were recognized earlier this month at the PRA Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Read More

NASA Awards Launch Service Contract For GOES-T Mission To ULA

December 26, 2019 – NASA selected United Launch Services LLC (ULS) of Centennial, Colorado, to provide launch services for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) mission, which will provide advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment, real-time mapping of total lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather. Read More

X Marks The Spot: NASA Selects Site For Asteroid Sample Collection

This image shows sample site Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s primary sample collection site on asteroid Bennu. The image is overlaid with a graphic of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to illustrate the scale of the site. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

December 23, 2019 – After a year scoping out asteroid Bennu’s boulder-scattered surface, the team leading NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission has officially selected a sample collection site. Read More

Newfound Martian Aurora Sheds Light On Mars’ Changing Climate

Conceptual image depicting the early Martian environment (right) – believed to contain liquid water and a thicker atmosphere – versus the cold, dry environment seen at Mars today (left). Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

December 23, 2019 – A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere. Read More

Lockheed Martin Delivers Mars 2020 Rover Aeroshell To Launch Site

The aeroshell for the Mars 2020 rover was designed and built at Lockheed Martin Space near Denver and is comprised of two parts, the heat shield and the backshell. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

December 23, 2019 – The capsule-shaped aeroshell that will protect NASA’s Mars 2020 rover was delivered to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida. yesterday. Built by Lockheed Martin, the aeroshell will encapsulate and protect the Mars 2020 rover during its deep space cruise to Mars, and from the intense heat as the entry system descends through the Martian atmosphere to the surface of Mars. Read More

York Space Systems Continues Rapid Growth With Addition Of Washington D.C. Office

December 23, 2019 – York Space Systems, an aerospace company specializing in turn-key space segment customer solutions and the manufacturer of standardized spacecraft for rapid deployment, announced earlier this month it has opened its office in Washington D.C. The new office is unique to the Washington D.C. area, offering standard government relations, national and commercial systems business development, satellite mission planning, and in-orbit tasking capabilities. Besides allowing customers to task in-orbit satellites prior to purchasing, this office will allow York Space Systems to demonstrate real-time mission operations to senior military and government officials. Read More

More News

The Citizen Scientists Who Helped Map Bennu
Source: Planetary Science Institute

Russia Launches Geostationary Weather Satellite
Source: Spaceflight Now

Long March 5 In Critical Return To Flight Mission

NASA Mission To Track Near Earth Objects Takes Shape
Source: SpaceNews

Lasers Learn To Accurately Spot Space Junk
Source: American Institute of Physics

Hello, Venus! Parker Solar Probe Makes Second Planetary Flyby

Boeing Announces Leadership Changes
Source: Boeing

A Decade Of Change On Earth Captured From Space 2010-2019
Source: Maxar Technologies

NASA’s Moon To Mars Plans, Artemis Lunar Program Gets Fast Tracked
Source: NASA

With The Stroke Of A Pen, U.S. Space Force Becomes A Reality
Source: Secretary Of The Air Force Public Affairs

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches The Boeing Starliner Spacecraft On The Orbital Flight Test
Source: United Launch Alliance

Starliner Suffers Mission-Shortening Failure After Successful Launch

Trump Signs Defense Bill Establishing U.S. Space Force: What Comes Next
Source: SpaceNews

Following Standup Of U.S. Space Force, Air Force Bases Could Be Renamed As Space Bases
Source: SpaceNews

NASA’s Juno Navigators Enable Jupiter Cyclone Discovery
Source: NASA/JPL

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Explains Bennu’s Mysterious Particle Events
Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Two Rovers To Roll On Mars Again: Curiosity And Mars 2020
Source: NASA/JPL

NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Completes Its First Drive
Source: NASA/JPL