February 3 – February 9, 2020

Pluto’s Icy Heart Makes Winds Blow

Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this global view of Pluto. The images, taken when the spacecraft was 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) away from Pluto, show features as small as 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers). Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

February 7, 2020 – A “beating heart” of frozen nitrogen controls Pluto’s winds and may give rise to features on its surface, according to a new study. Read More

Maxar Selected By NASA To Deliver Robotic Arm For Lunar Lander

Maxar has been selected by NASA to deliver SAMPLR, a robotic arm that will be used to explore the Moon. Image Credit: Maxar Technologies

Feburary 7, 2020 – Maxar Technologies has finalized a contract with NASA to deliver a robotic arm called Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering and Probing of Lunar Regolith (SAMPLR). The arm, which will be built in Pasadena, California, and has a contract value of $5 million, will be used to explore Earth’s Moon by acquiring samples and determining the geotechnical properties of lunar regolith. Maxar will provide a complete robotic system including all avionics, mechanical systems and operational support while on the lunar surface. Read More

Officials Provide Details On Building The Space Force, Its Structure, And Operating Imperatives

February 7, 2020 – Senior officials from the Department of Defense and U.S. Space Force provided the most specific details to date February 5 for how the newly born Space Force is constructed, its structure and the philosophy guiding decisions for bringing the first new military service since 1947 into full reality. Read More

NASA Astronaut Col. Nick Hague Visits Schriever Airmen

Colonel Nick Hague, NASA Astronaut for space expeditions 57/58 in October 2018 and expedition 59/60 in March 2019, visited Schriever AFB Colorado 5 February, 2020 to discuss his experiences as a member of the NASA team and USAF officer. Hague was invited to SAFB and hosted by 50th Space Wing Vice Commander and fellow astronaut, Colonel Jack Fischer who flew aboard the International Space Station on expedition 51/52 in April 2017. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force/Dennis Rogers

February 7, 2020 – Col. Nick Hague, NASA astronaut for space expeditions 59 and 60 last year, visited Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, February 5, 2020. Read More

SwRI-Led Team Identifies Low-Energy Solar Particles In The Near-Sun Environment

Using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, an SwRI-led team identified low-energy particles, the smoking gun pointing to interactions between slow- and fast-moving regions of the solar wind accelerating high-energy particles from beyond the orbit of Earth. Using Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (IS☉IS) instrument data, they measured low-energy particles in the near-Sun environment that had likely traveled back toward the Sun, slowing against the tide of the solar wind while still retaining surprising energies. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

February 6, 2020 – Using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP), a team led by Southwest Research Institute identified low-energy particles lurking near the Sun that likely originated from solar wind interactions well beyond Earth orbit. PSP is venturing closer to the Sun than any previous probe, carrying hardware SwRI helped develop. Scientists are probing the enigmatic features of the Sun to answer many questions, including how to protect space travelers and technology from the radiation associated with solar events. Read More

MAVEN Explores Mars To Understand Radio Interference At Earth

Graphic illustrating the MAVEN spacecraft encountering plasma layers at Mars. Image Credit: NASA Goddard/CI lab

February 6, 2020 – NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft has discovered “layers” and “rifts” in the electrically charged part of the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) of Mars. The phenomenon is very common at Earth and causes unpredictable disruptions to radio communications. However, we do not fully understand them because they form at altitudes that are very difficult to explore at Earth. The unexpected discovery by MAVEN shows that Mars is a unique laboratory to explore and better understand this highly disruptive phenomenon. Read More

Maxar Technologies Will Build Next-Generation Intelsat Epic Geostationary Communications Satellite With NASA Hosted Payload

Maxar has been selected to build the Intelsat 40e geostationary communications satellite and integrate NASA’s TEMPO payload with it. Image Credit: Maxar Technologies

February 6, 2020 – Intelsat has selected Maxar Technologies to manufacture Intelsat 40e, a next-generation geostationary communications satellite scheduled to launch in 2022. Maxar will integrate NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) payload with the Intelsat 40e satellite. Read More

More News

Rosetta And The Chameleon Comet
Source: ESA

All About The Laser (And Microphone) Atop Mars 2020, NASA’s Next Rover
Source: NASA/JPL

Drones Go Underground In High Stakes Competition
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Iran’s Simorgh Rocket Fails To Loft Zafar-1 Into Orbit
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

Japan Launches Optical Spy Satellite
Source: Spaceflight Now

Lockheed Martin Delivers New GPS Satellite Schedule For April Launch Aboard Falcon 9
Source: SpaceNews

Cygnus Launch To ISS Scrubbed As NASA Considers Schedule Changes For Future Cargo Missions
Source: SpaceNews

Space Force Making Measured Efforts In Absorbing New Personnel
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Last Year’s Billion-Dollar Disasters Show Crucial Link Between NOAA Satellites And Emergency Managers

Space Station To Forge Ultra-Fast Connections
Source: ESA

Record-Setting Astronaut, Crewmates Return From Space Station
Source: NASA

NASA Safety Panel Calls For Reviews After Second Starliner Software Problem
Source: SpaceNews

NASA: Software Errors Almost Led To Loss Of Starliner Twice
Source: Parabolic Arc

SpaceX Winds Contract To Launch NASA’s PACE Earth Science Mission
Source: Spaceflight Now

A Detailed View Of Our Second Interstellar Visitor
Source: AAS Nova

A Perfect Blur — First Image By Exoplanet Watcher Cheops
Source: ESA

OneWeb Successfully Launches 34 More Satellites Into Orbit
Source: OneWeb

How ESA-NASA’s Solar Orbiter Beats The Heat
Source: NASA

One Small Grain Of Moon Dust, One Giant Leap For Lunar Studies
Source: Field Museum

NASA Astronaut’s Record-Setting Mission Helps Future Science
Source: NASA

Rocket Lab Kicks Off Busy Year With NRO Launch
Source: SpaceNews

Upper Stage RL10s Arrive At Stennis For Upcoming SLS Launches
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

Showing How The Tiniest Particles In Our Universe Saved Us From Complete Annihilation
Source: Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe

UNH Researchers Find Clues To How Hazardous Space Radiation Begins
Source: University of New Hampshire