January 23, 2018

NASA Media Call Previews Upcoming Mission To Explore Atmospheric Border

The lowest reaches of space glow with bright bands of color called airglow in this image captured from the International Space Station. NASA’s new GOLD mission observes airglow to research this dynamic region of space and how it interacts with the upper atmosphere. Image Credit: NASA

January 23, 2018 – NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. MST Wednesday, January 24, to discuss the upcoming launch of the agency’s mission to study where Earth’s atmosphere meets space. The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission is NASA’s first science mission to fly as a hosted instrument aboard a commercial communications satellite launching from French Guiana. The launch window opens at approximately 3:20 p.m. MST Thursday, January 25. Read More

What Scientists Can Learn About The Moon During The January 31 Eclipse

The Moon takes on a reddish hue during a lunar eclipse. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

January 23, 2018 – The lunar eclipse on January 31 will give a team of scientists a special opportunity to study the Moon using the astronomer’s equivalent of a heat-sensing, or thermal, camera. Three lunar events will come together in an unusual overlap that’s being playfully called a super blue blood moon. Read More

LGS Innovations Develops Free Space Optical Modem For NASA Satellite Communications

January 23, 2018 – LGS Innovations, a technology company providing specialized mission-critical communications research and solutions, has been selected to support the NASA Integrated Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) User Modem and Amplifier (ILLUMA) project. For this pathfinder program, LGS will develop a free space optical modem that will fly aboard the International Space Station as the first demonstration of a fully operational, end-to-end optical communications system. The ILLUMA modem will leverage LGS Innovations’ rich heritage in free space laser communications and fiber laser technology. Read More

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EXOS Aerospace Prepares For Launch From Spaceport America
Source: Parabolic Arc

Spaceport America, America’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of suborbital reusable space launch vehicles based in Caddo Mills, Texas, announce significant progress towards launch of their newest vehicle, the Suborbital Active Rocket with GuidancE, or SARGE. EXOS has completed the design and build of their latest platform and completed a fully integrated hot fire testing in December.

InSight Array Testing: Next Stop – Unfurling On Mars!
Source: Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space

NASA’s next Mars mission is reaching “ship and shoot” status, a lander geared this year to start probing the Red Planet’s deep interior and even eavesdrop on rumbling Marsquakes.

NASA Astronauts Wrap Up First Spacewalk Of 2018
Source: NASA

Expedition 54 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Scott Tingle of NASA completed the first spacewalk this year at 2:13 p.m. EST, lasting 7 hours, 24 minutes. The two astronauts replaced a Latching End Effector (LEE) on the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2.

Outer Space Laws And Legislation: Regulating The Province Of All Mankind
Source: E&T Magazine

Outer space is governed by international law. That means all countries and parties need to work together to develop effective space legislation for future needs. One-hundred-and-seven countries are party to the constitution of international space law, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. This means that virtually every nation that plans to undertake space exploration agrees to follow and implement the Outer Space Treaty through its own regulations and enforcement procedures.

Quick Turnaround On SBIRS Launch Tests Flight Team
Source: The Aerospace Corporation

This past Friday night, on a chilly Florida evening (we don’t get to say that very often), an Atlas V rocket with one strap-on solid rocket motor, successfully launched the SBIRS-GEO Flight 4 mission into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This flight required the team to make a quick turnaround, coming just seven days after a Delta IV national security launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

New Avionics System Takes First Ride On Delta IV
Source: The Aerospace Corporation

A little more than six months ago, the booster for a Delta IV security agency mission was erected on-pad at SLC-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since then, the combined United Launch Alliance (ULA), Air Force, and Aerospace team have done a tremendous amount of work to ensure the rocket would be ready to fly successfully. But the story doesn’t end there, because in addition to the standard set of mission assurance activities for any national security satellite, this mission was especially challenging due to it being the first flight to use the new Common Avionics suite on the Delta IV vehicle.

Does Cloud Seeding Really Work? An Experiment Above Idaho Suggests Humans Can Turbocharge Snowfall
Source: Science

Cloud seeding—sowing clouds with small particles to make them rain or snow—has a reputation as dodgy as the weather. That’s because even though scientists have been seeding clouds since the 1940s, there was precious little proof the technique worked. Now, researchers flying two small planes through a bank of clouds in Idaho have shown, for the first time outside the lab, that humans can artificially turbocharge snowfall.

Bill Possel – “Cassini Mission at Saturn”
Source: Little Thompson Observatory

On February 16, Bill Possel from Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and space Physics (LASP) will be the guest speaker at Little Thompson Observatory’s public star night. The topic of his talk will be “the Cassini Mission at Saturn – An Epic Ending to an Epic Mission”. Bill Possel will describe the history of Cassini as well as the planning and execution of the Grand Finale. The University of Colorado at Boulder’s LASP built and operated Cassini’s UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) instrument.

Esri Releases World’s First Complete Utility GIS Platform
Source: Esri

Esri, the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology and spatial analytics, today announced that it is releasing advanced network capabilities for utilities as part of the company’s ArcGIS platform. The ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension, which delivers the new utility network, lets users create, manage, and share complete data about networks from source to demand, such as residential meters for electric, water, wastewater, gas, district heating, and telecommunications companies.

Explorer 1: The Beginning Of American Space Science
Source: NASA/JPL

Sixty years ago next week, the hopes of Cold War America soared into the night sky as a rocket lofted skyward above Cape Canaveral, a soon-to-be-famous barrier island off the Florida coast. The date was Jan. 31, 1958. NASA had yet to be formed, and the honor of this first flight belonged to the U.S. Army. The rocket’s sole payload was a javelin-shaped satellite built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Explorer 1, as it would soon come to be called, was America’s first satellite.

Lockheed’s Rick Ambrose Nominated For 2017 Satellite Executive Of The Year Award
Source: GovCon Executive

Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s space systems business, has been named one of the nominees for the Via Satellite magazine’s 2017 Satellite Executive of the Year award. Via Satellite said the nomination seeks to acknowledge Ambrose’s ability to advance innovation in the company’s operations, bring new business opportunities and expand the firm’s industry presence.

The Beauty Of Webb’s Mirrors
Source: NASA Visualization Explorer

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s gold-plated, beryllium mirrors are beautiful feats of engineering. From the 18 hexagonal primary mirror segments, to the perfectly circular secondary mirror, to the slightly trapezoidal tertiary mirror, each reflector went through a rigorous refinement process before it was ready to mount on the telescope. This critical formation process had to be flawless. Webb will use the mirrors to peer far back in time to capture the first luminous objects and the creation of the first stars and galaxies. Watch the video to see how Webb’s mirrors were made.

EOS & Space Weather Feature McIntosh Archive Project
Source: NCAR/High Altitude Observatory

The McIntosh Archive project gets double billing: it’s the subject of a recent highlight by EOS spotlight, which profiles a feature article for the journal Space Weather by Webb et al. and again it is described in graphic form, by HAO’s Don Kolinski, appearing on the cover of Space Weather—the McIntosh Archive “snake” stackplot of Solar Cycle 23.

XPRIZE Confirms No One Will Win Google’s Millions For Commercial Moon Landing
Source: GeekWire

The organizers for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition acknowledged today that the award for a commercially funded lunar landing will go unwon, despite a decade’s worth of work. Word of the program’s end came in a statement from Peter Diamandis, the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE foundation, and XPRIZE CEO Marcus Shingles.

CubeSats For Hunting Secrets In Lunar Darkness
Source: ESA

Imagine sending a spacecraft the size of an airline cabin bag to the Moon – what would you have it do? ESA issued that challenge to European teams last year, and two winners have now been chosen. The Lunar Meteoroid Impact Orbiter, or Lumio for short, would circle over the far side of the Moon to detect bright impact flashes during the lunar night, mapping meteoroid bombardments as they occur. The other, the Lunar Volatile and Mineralogy Mapping Orbiter, or VMMO, would focus on a permanently shadowed crater near the lunar south pole, searching out deposits of water ice and other volatiles of interest to future colonists, while also measuring lunar radiation.

NASA, Challenger Center Collaborate To Perform Christa McAuliffe’s Legacy Experiments
Source: NASA

NASA and the Challenger Center will collaborate to conduct several legacy lessons designed by Christa McAuliffe for the space shuttle Teacher in Space Mission later this year aboard the International Space Station. Astronauts Joe Acaba, who is currently aboard the space station, and Ricky Arnold who will launch in March, will film the lessons in orbit as part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, which takes advantage of the continuing presence of astronaut educators in orbit in 2018.

Video: Going For GOLD: Exploring The Interface To Space
Source: NASA Goddard

GOLD stands for Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk. It will inspect the dynamic region of near-Earth space where space and Earth’s uppermost atmosphere meet. Historically difficult to observe, this is a little understood region that responds both to the lower atmosphere below and the tumult of space weather from above. Joining us are NASA scientists Sarah Jones and Alex Young and SES director of hosted payloads, Todd Gossett. They will share details of GOLD’s mission and why they’re excited about this particular launch.