February 6, 2018

Hubble Probes Atmospheres Of Exoplanets In TRAPPIST-1 Habitable Zone

This artist’s concept appeared on the Feb. 23, 2017 cover of the journal Nature announcing that the nearby star TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-sized planets orbiting it. Two of the planets were discovered in 2016 by TRAPPIST (the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope) in Chile. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and several ground-based telescopes uncovered five additional ones, increasing the total number to seven. The TRAPPIST-1 system is located about 40 light-years from Earth. Image Credit: Artist’s Concept: NASA and JPL/Caltech. Science: NASA, ESA, J. de Wit (MIT), H. Wakeford (University of Exeter/STScI), and N. Lewis (STScI)

February 6, 2018 – Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have conducted the first spectroscopic survey of the Earth-sized planets (d, e, f, and g) within the habitable zone around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. This study is a follow-up to Hubble observations made in May 2016 of the atmospheres of the inner TRAPPIST-1 planets b and c. Read More


Deputy Secretary Of Defense Visits AFSPC, NSDC

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, right, commander of Air Force Space Command, welcomes Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, left, to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Feb. 5, 2018. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force/Dave Grim

February 6, 2018 – Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan visited the National Space Defense Center and Air Force Space Command units February 5 to discuss military space operations with DoD, National Reconnaissance Office and AFSPC leaders and to receive mission and training updates. Read More


Webb Telescope Parts Arrive In California

The Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea (STTARS), a specially designed shipping container that held the optical telescope and integrated science instrument module (OTIS) of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, is unloaded from a U.S. military C-5 Charlie aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Feb. 2, 2018. Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Febuary 6, 2018 – The two halves of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now reside at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, where they will come together to form the complete observatory. Webb’s optical telescope and integrated science instrument module (OTIS) arrived at Northrop Grumman February 2, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it successfully completed cryogenic testing. Read More


Contrasting Crescents

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

February 6, 2018 – In this view, Saturn’s icy moon Rhea passes in front of Titan as seen by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Some of the differences between the two large moons are readily apparent. While Rhea is a heavily-cratered, airless world, Titan’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere is even thicker than Earth’s. Read More


AMERGINT Technologies, Inc. Announces Product Compatibility With Innoflight, Inc.’s Software Defined Radio And Cybersecurity Products

February 6, 2018 – AMERGINT and Innoflight announce the two companies have worked closely together over the last year to ensure turn-key compatibility between their product lines. Customers making use of Innoflight products on their satellites and AMERGINT products in their ground systems can be assured of on-orbit RF link performance. Read More


More News:

Cassini’s Grand Finale
Source: LASP

In this public lecture on February 7, Larry Esposito will talk about NASA’s Cassini orbiter, which ended its 13-year exploration of the Saturn system on September 15, 2017, burning up in the planet’s atmosphere as planned. LASP designed, built, tested, and operated Cassini’s UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS). Even though the mission has ended, team members worldwide will continue to interpret instrument observations and publish results in scientific journals for years to come.


Two Small Asteroids Safely Pass Earth This Week
Source: NASA/JPL

Two small asteroids recently discovered by astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) near Tucson, Arizona, are safely passing by Earth within one lunar distance this week.


NASA Tests Atomic Clock For Deep Space Navigation
Source: NASA

In deep space, accurate timekeeping is vital to navigation, but not all spacecraft have precise timepieces aboard. For 20 years, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has been perfecting a clock. It’s not a wristwatch; not something available in a store. It’s the Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC), an instrument being built for deep space exploration.


The Size Of A Cereal Box: ESA’s First Satellite Of 2018
Source: ESA

ESA’s first mission of the year was launched: GomX-4B is the Agency’s most advanced technology-tester yet, featuring a hyperspectral camera and tiny thrusters to manoeuvre thousands of kilometres from its near-twin to try out their radio link.


Scientists Find Massive Reserves Of Mercury Hidden In Permafrost
Source: AGU

Researchers have discovered permafrost in the northern hemisphere stores massive amounts of natural mercury, a finding with significant implications for human health and ecosystems worldwide. In a new study, scientists measured mercury concentrations in permafrost cores from Alaska and estimated how much mercury has been trapped in permafrost north of the equator since the last Ice Age.


NASA Tech Aims To Track Tomorrow’s Supersonic Airliners
Source: Aerospace America

NASA plans two flight tests this year of an enhanced ADS-B radio-and-GPS device that could help a new generation of supersonic commercial jets meet an FAA mandate that will soon be imposed on aircraft in most controlled airspace.


Rick Ambrose, Lockheed Space Systems EVP, Selected To 2018 Wash100 For Initiatives And Leadership Around Organizational Structure
Source: GovCon Exec

Executive Mosaic is pleased to introduce Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s space systems segment, as an inductee into the 2018 edition of the Wash100 — Executive Mosaic’s annual selection of influential leaders in the government contracting arena–for his executive project management of innovations in improving intelligence technology initiatives.


Observations From -369.7 Degrees Fahrenheit
Source: NASA

Taken from inside Chamber A at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in September 2017 while the combined optical and science instrument element of the James Webb Space Telescope was undergoing cryogenic testing, the temperature at the time this image was taken was approximately 50 kelvins (about -369.7 degrees Fahrenheit/-223.2 degrees Celsius). The camera that captured this image was placed inside the chamber to measure the telescope’s alignment, but engineers also used it to monitor the black DuPont™ Kapton® covering that outlines Webb’s primary mirror. Engineers used this and other images to assess the material’s slack as the telescope shrank ever so slightly in the extreme cold of the chamber.


NASA iTech Selects Top Three Teams In Innovation Competition
Source: NASA

NASA iTech has selected the top three teams out of a group of 10 finalists for their innovative technology projects and ideas that may improve future deep space exploration and life on Earth. NASA iTech is a collaborative effort to find and foster innovative solutions that aim to solve problems on Earth, and also advance technologies necessary to achieve NASA’s strategic objectives. The winning teams of entrepreneurs presented their proposed solutions to tough space technology challenges and were evaluated by NASA’s chief technologists, space industry leaders and potential investors.


Where No Mission Has Gone Before
Source: ESA

Living near a star is risky business, and positioning a spacecraft near the Sun is a very good way to observe rapidly changing solar activity and deliver early warning of possibly harmful space weather. ESA is now looking at doing just that.


NanoRacks Adds Thales Alenia Space To Team Up On Commercial Space Station Airlock Module
Source: NanoRacks

NanoRacks announced today that Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has been chosen as the latest partner in its commercial airlock program. Thales Alenia Space will produce and test the critical pressure shell for NanoRacks’ Airlock Module, which is targeting to be launched to the International Space Station late 2019, and will be used to deploy commercial and government payloads.


Is The Tesla Roadster Flying On The Falcon Heavy’s Maiden Flight Just Space Junk?
Source: Space.com

The maiden flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster, slated to launch tomorrow (Feb. 6), comes factory-equipped with a Tesla Roadster as a part of the payload/ballast, and is meant to be hurled toward a solar orbit that could take it as far out as the orbit of Mars. But what’s the point of sending a car into space? Is it bound to become just more space junk?


New Studies Of Clay Formation Provide Clues About Early Martian Climate
Source: SETI Institute

The climate on early Mars has presented an enigma for planetary scientists because surface features such as valley networks indicate abundant liquid water was present and the clay minerals found in most ancient surface rocks need even warmer temperatures to form, while atmospheric models generally support a cold climate on early Mars. This new study led by Janice Bishop of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley has addressed this question by investigating the conditions needed for the formation of the ancient surface clays.


LISA Pathfinder — The Quietest Place In Space
Source: Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

The final results from the ESA satellite LISA Pathfinder (LPF) have been published today. Using data taken before the end of the mission in July 2017, the LPF team – including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover and Leibniz Universität Hannover – significantly improved first results published in mid 2016. LPF now has exceeded the requirements for key technologies for LISA, the future gravitational-wave observatory in space, by more than a factor of two over the entire observation band. LISA is scheduled to launch into space in 2034 as an ESA mission and will “listen” to low-frequency gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes in the entire Universe and tens of thousands of binary stars in our Galaxy.


New NASA Space Sensors To Address Key Earth Science Questions
Source: NASA

Why is the Arctic warming faster than the rest of the planet? Does mineral dust warm or cool the atmosphere? NASA has selected two new, creative research proposals to develop small, space-based instruments that will tackle these fundamental questions about our home planet and its environment.


Lockheed Martin Partners With Girls In Tech To Fuel STEM Education And Careers Across Asia
Source: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin today announced a year-long partnership with Girls in Tech – a global non-profit organization focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology – to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers across Asia.


Featured Image: Revealing Hidden Objects With Color
Source: AAS Nova

Stunning color astronomical images can often be the motivation for astronomers to continue slogging through countless data files, calculations, and simulations as we seek to understand the mysteries of the universe. But sometimes the stunning images can, themselves, be the source of scientific discovery.


Announcing The DigitalGlobe GBDX For Sustainability Challenge Winners
Source: DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar Technologies company, with support from Amazon Web Services, is pleased to announce the winners of the GBDX for Sustainability Challenge. From over 70 submissions, these are the top five teams proposing bold ideas using geospatial big data in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Each team will have two months to build out their respective projects, and our judges will select an overall winner in April.


A Ball Aerospace Focus — SmallSats — Single Answers Or Tools For Greater Solutions? Yes!
Source: SatMagazine

The small satellite (smallsat) market continues to grow — in interest, investment, capability and potential impact. There is an opportunity for new uses including Earth imaging, space science, weather and climate, biology research, growing security threats and communications.


SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon Heavy
Source: SpaceNews

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy successfully launched on its inaugural flight here Feb. 6, placing a demonstration payload into orbit and boosting the company’s interplanetary ambitions. The Falcon Heavy lifted off at 3:45 p.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 39A here, after more than two hours of delays due to high upper-level winds.