May 24, 2017

Cassini Looks On As Solstice Arrives At Saturn

These natural color views from Cassini show how the color of Saturn’s north-polar region changed between June 2013 and April 2017, as the northern hemisphere headed toward summer solstice. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton Univ.

May 24, 2017 – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft still has a few months to go before it completes its mission in September, but the veteran Saturn explorer reaches a new milestone today. Saturn’s solstice — that is, the longest day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of winter in the southern hemisphere — arrives today for the planet and its moons. The Saturnian solstice occurs about every 15 Earth years as the planet and its entourage slowly orbit the sun, with the north and south hemispheres alternating their roles as the summer and winter poles. Read More


A New Look At NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Mission

This artist’s concept depicts NASA’s Mars 2020 rover on the surface of Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

May 24, 2017 – NASA has released a new concept image depicting the Mars 2020 rover on the surface of Mars. The Mars 2020 rover mission is expected to launch in July/August 2020 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is targeted to arrive on Mars in February 2021. Read More


United Launch Alliance Announces Payloads To Fly On World’s Largest Sport Rocket

Image Credit: United Launch Alliance

May 24, 2017 – Sixteen payloads from K-12 schools and educational organizations throughout Colorado have been confirmed to fly on United Launch Alliance’s Future Heavy intern rocket this summer. The 53-foot-tall, high-power sport rocket launch will take place at Spaceport America, New Mexico, on Saturday, June 24, during its annual Spaceport America Cup International Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in association with ESRA the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association. Read More


CLASP Sounding Rocket Mission Opens New Research Window In Solar Physics

NASA and a global science team have used observations from CLASP sounding rocket mission to provide the first ultraviolet polarization measurements of the sun’s outer atmosphere. Image Credit: NAOJ, JAXA, NASA/MSFC; background solar image: NASA/SDO)

May 24, 2017 – A team of NASA scientists and international partners used data from the the high-precision science instrument CLASP — the Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter — to provide the first-ever polarization measurements of ultraviolet light emitted from the sun’s outer atmosphere. Previous polarization measurements were restricted to visible light that is emitted from the sun’s surface. Read More


NASA’s CYGNSS Satellite Constellation Begins Public Data Release

These maps show measurements of ocean surface wind speeds made by four of the eight CYGNSS spacecraft on March 6, 2017, as Tropical Cyclone Enawo approaches landfall on Madagascar. The times of the measurements are, from top to bottom: 1830, 1930, and 2030 UTC (1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. EST). Image Credit: NASA

May 24, 2017 – On May 22, NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) began regular production of its science data products – measurements of ocean surface wind speed and roughness – with public release of these data facilitated by the NASA Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC). The production and distribution is timed to coincide with the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1. Read More


Boeing, DARPA To Design, Build, Test New Experimental Spaceplane

DARPA’s Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program seeks to build and fly the first of an entirely new class of hypersonic aircraft that would break the cycle of escalating launch costs and make possible a host of critical national security options. As the next step toward a future of routine, responsive, and low-cost space access, DARPA has awarded Phases 2 and 3 of the program to The Boeing Company. Image Credit: DARPA

May 24, 2017 – Boeing and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are collaborating to design, build and test a technology demonstration vehicle for the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program. Read More


More News:

Grand Junction Company Lands Contract For Space Project
Source: The Business Times

A Grand Junction company has been awarded a contract to manufacture parts for a spacecraft designed to transport astronauts into deep space, including Mars. Wren Industries will manufacture closeout seal plates for the Orion project.


Colorado Business Roundtable Names Joe Rice To Its ’Inner Circle’
Source: The Colorado Statesman

Joe Rice, the director of government relations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, is the latest addition to the Colorado Business Roundtable’s Inner Circle, a group including some of the state’s leading business authorities.


There’s A Blurry Thing A Billion Miles Past Pluto, And Scientists Hope To Spot Its Shadow From Earth
Source: Colorado Public Radio

Next week dozens of astronomers are being dispatched by NASA to Africa and South America for the rare chance to catch a glimpse of MU69 from Earth. The astronomers won’t actually see the object itself, but hope to spot its shadow as it traverses a distant star. Doug Duncan, director of the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, will be among them.


NOAA’s Polar Follow On Bears Brunt Of Weather Satellite Cutbacks
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

NOAA’s FY2018 budget request shows a sharp decline in spending for its satellite programs. Some of that is due to planned reductions as development programs ramp down, but the Polar Follow On program would suffer a significant cut and plans for new space weather satellites would not materialize.


Championing Inclusion And Diversity in Tech
Source: CU Boulder ATLAS Institute

Come hear Ruthe Farmer, former senior policy advisor for tech inclusion during the Obama administration, speak about her efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in the tech world. Farmer will give a talk, “Championing Change: Lessons from 16 Years of Advocacy for Tech Inclusion,” as part of CU Cafe, a student-run seminar series that focuses on inspiring students from underrepresented backgrounds to be successful academics.


High-Altitude Balloon Experiments Could Enable Hypersonic Flight
Source: CU Boulder Today

Future unmanned hypersonic aircraft may ultimately owe part of their success to University of Colorado Boulder atmospheric research. A consortium of universities led by the CU Boulder Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences has received a five year, $7.5 million Department of Defense grant to investigate the extreme altitudes—80,000 to 120,000 feet—where hypersonic planes would fly.


Student-Made Mars Rover Concepts Lift Off
Source: NASA

Witnessing a rocket launch is a special occasion. Watching a rocket launch with materials you made go up into the sky is priceless. That’s how it felt for researchers from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and students from Virginia Tech and the University of Central Florida as they watched a sounding rocket launch on Tuesday, May 16 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. On board: Mars rover concepts designed by the students.


NASA’s Space Launch System Engine Testing Heats Up
Source: NASA

NASA engineers successfully conducted the second in a series of RS-25 flight controller tests on May 23, 2017, stepping closer to deep-space exploration with the world’s most-powerful rocket.


NASA Moves Up Launch Of Psyche Mission To A Metal Asteroid
Source: NASA

Psyche, NASA’s Discovery Mission to a unique metal asteroid, has been moved up one year with launch in the summer of 2022, and with a planned arrival at the main belt asteroid in 2026 — four years earlier than the original timeline.


Schiaparelli Landing Investigation Completed
Source: ESA

The inquiry into the crash-landing of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module has concluded that conflicting information in the onboard computer caused the descent sequence to end prematurely.


Shooting For Jupiter’s Moon
Source: CU Engineering Magazine

When Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. approached CU Boulder aerospace undergraduates with the idea of modeling a probe that could alight on Europa’s surface (without the aid of landing gear), collect data, transmit information and survive the moon’s 80-hour orbit around Jupiter, all while using very little battery power, Gabe Frank and his classmates had one response: Challenge accepted.