January 1 – January 6, 2019

Tiny Satellites Could Be “Guide Stars” For Huge Next-Generation Telescopes

In the coming decades, massive segmented space telescopes may be launched to peer even closer in on far-out exoplanets and their atmospheres. To keep these mega-scopes stable, MIT researchers say that small satellites can follow along, and act as “guide stars,” by pointing a laser back at a telescope to calibrate the system, to produce better, more accurate images of distant worlds. Image Credit: Christine Daniloff, MIT

January 6, 2019 – There are more than 3,900 confirmed planets beyond our solar system. Most of them have been detected because of their “transits” — instances when a planet crosses its star, momentarily blocking its light. These dips in starlight can tell astronomers a bit about a planet’s size and its distance from its star. Read More


Boom Supersonic Closes $100 Million Series B To Develop Overture, Its Revolutionary Mach-2.2 Airliner

Overture Aircraft. Image Credit: Boom Supersonic

January 6, 2019 – Boom Supersonic, the Colorado company building a radically faster commercial aircraft, announced that it has closed a $100 million Series B investment round, bringing total funding to over $141 million. Investors, led by Emerson Collective, include Y Combinator Continuity, Caffeinated Capital, and SV Angel as well as founders and early backers of transformative companies like Google, Airbnb, Stripe, and Dropbox. The proceeds of Boom’s Series B round, which include $56 million in new investment as well as previously-announced strategic investments, allow the company to advance the development of its Mach-2.2 commercial airliner called Overture. Read More


NASA’s New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind Of World

This image taken by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is the most detailed of Ultima Thule returned so far by the New Horizons spacecraft. It was taken at 5:01 Universal Time on January 1, 2019, just 30 minutes before closest approach from a range of 18,000 miles (28,000 kilometers), with an original scale of 459 feet (140 meters) per pixel. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

January 2, 2019 – Scientists from NASA’s New Horizons mission released the first detailed images of the most distant object ever explored — the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule. Its remarkable appearance, unlike anything we’ve seen before, illuminates the processes that built the planets four and a half billion years ago. Read More


New Horizons Successfully Explores Ultima Thule

At left is a composite of two images taken by New Horizons’ high-resolution Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), which provides the best indication of Ultima Thule’s size and shape so far. Preliminary measurements of this Kuiper Belt object suggest it is approximately 20 miles long by 10 miles wide (32 kilometers by 16 kilometers). An artist’s impression at right illustrates one possible appearance of Ultima Thule, based on the actual image at left. The direction of Ultima’s spin axis is indicated by the arrows. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI; sketch courtesy of James Tuttle Keane

January 2, 2018 – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule in the early hours of New Year’s Day, ushering in the era of exploration from the enigmatic Kuiper Belt, a region of primordial objects that holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system. Read More


NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Enters Close Orbit Around Bennu, Breaking Record

Image Credit: Heather Roper/University of Arizona

January 2, 2019 – At 12:43 p.m. MST on December 31, while many on Earth prepared to welcome the New Year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters – and broke a space exploration record. The spacecraft entered into orbit around the asteroid Bennu, and made Bennu the smallest object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Read More


Juno Mission Captures Images Of Volcanic Plumes On Jupiter’s Moon Io

JunoCam acquired three images of Io prior to when it entered eclipse, all showing a volcanic plume illuminated beyond the terminator. The image shown here, reconstructed from red, blue and green filter images, was acquired at 12:20 (UTC) on Dec. 21, 2018. The Juno spacecraft was approximately 300,000 km from Io. Image Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS

January 2, 2019 – A team of space scientists has captured new images of a volcanic plume on Jupiter’s moon Io during the Juno mission’s 17th flyby of the gas giant. On December 21, during winter solstice, four of Juno’s cameras captured images of the Jovian moon Io, the most volcanic body in our solar system. JunoCam, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) and the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) observed Io for over an hour, providing a glimpse of the moon’s polar regions as well as evidence of an active eruption. Read More


More News

Best Wishes From Around The World ‘Beamed’ Toward New Horizons In The Kuiper Belt
Source: NASA/JHUAPL


New Nanosatellite System Captures Better Imagery At Lower Cost
Source: Ben-Gurion University


Will China’s Moon Landing Launch A New Space Race?
Source: Space.com


Space Flag Prepares Airmen For A Real Fight
Source: Air Force Space Command


Eager For Space Experience? ULA Invites K-12 Students To Submit Payloads
Source: Florida Today


Third SLS STA Headed To Marshall As Limited Work Continues During NASA Shutdown
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com


The Mars 2020 Rover Is Unique. And So Is Its Paint Job
Source: Space.com


New Ultima Thule Discoveries From NASA’s New Horizons
Source: NASA/JHUAPL


Dark Matter On The Move
Source: The Royal Astronomical Society


First Meteor Shower Of 2019 Will Be Visible In Colorado
Source: The Gazette


China Just Landed On The Far Side Of The Moon: What Comes Next?
Source: National Geographic


Why DigitalGlobe Is *The* Home For Space Nerds Who Code
Source: Built In Colorado


SpaceX Crew Capsule, Falcon 9 Rocket Roll Out To Pad 39A In Florida For Tests
Source: Spaceflight Now


Chang’e-4 Returns First Images From Lunar Farside Following Historic Landing
Source: SpaceNews


Iridium Open To Rideshares For Spare Satellite Launches
Source: SpaceNews


Government Shutdown Delays Commercial Launch
Source: SpaceNews


General Atomics Awarded Air Force Space And Missile Systems Center Hosted Payload Solutions Satellite Delivery Order
Source: General Atomics


UK Tests Self-Driving Martian Robots
Source: GOV.UK


Occultations Suggest No Rings For Ultima Thule
Source: AP News


Memorable News Satellite Photos Of 2018
Source: AP News


Deep Space Industries Acquired By Bradford Space
Source: SpaceNews


Our Universe: An Expanding Bubble In An Extra Dimension
Source: Uppsala University


Dr. Gladys West, Mathematician And Woman Behind GPS, Inducted Into Air Force Hall Of Fame
Source: KRDO


FIRST UP Satcom | Orbcomm Satellite Breaks Up • OneWeb Denies Russian Investment Talks
Source: SpaceNews


Maxar Technologies Completes U.S. Domestication
Source: Maxar Technologies Inc.