November 20, 2017

First Known Interstellar Visitor Is An ‘Oddball’

Image shows artist’s interpretation of ‘Oumuamua as it approaches our Solar System. The object rotates approximately once every 7.4 hours based on the data used in this research. Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF image by Joy Pollard

November 20, 2017 – In October astronomers were surprised by a visitor that came racing into our Solar System from interstellar space. Now, researchers using the Gemini Observatory have determined that the first known object to graze our Solar System from beyond is similar to, but definitely not, your average asteroid or comet. Read More

Harris Corporation Successfully Completes Testing For James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope sits inside Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston after having completed its cryogenic testing on Nov. 18, 2017. This marked the telescope’s final cryogenic testing, and it ensured the observatory is ready for the frigid, airless environment of space. Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

November 20, 2017 – Harris Corporation has partnered with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to successfully complete thermal vacuum testing for the James Webb Space Telescope – validating its ability to operate in the frigid space environment. Read More

Previous Evidence Of Water On Mars Now Identified As Grainflows

This HiRISE image cutout shows Recurring Slope Lineae in Tivat crater on Mars in enhanced color. The narrow, dark flows descend downhill (towards the upper left). Analysis shows that the flows all end at approximately the same slope, which is similar to the angle of repose for sand. Image ​Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/USGS.

November 20, 2017 – Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article published in Nature Geoscience by the U.S. Geological Survey. Read More

Taking A Spin On Plasma Space Tornadoes With NASA Observations

This simulation of the boundary shows how areas of low density plasma, shown by blue, mix with areas of higher density plasma, red, forming turbulent tornadoes of plasma. Image Credit: NASA/Takuma Nakamura

November 20, 2017 – Interplanetary space is hardly tranquil. High-energy charged particles from the Sun, as well as from beyond our solar system, constantly whizz by. These can damage satellites and endanger astronaut health — though, luckily for life on Earth, the planet is blanketed by a protective magnetic bubble created by its magnetic field. This bubble, called the magnetosphere, deflects most of the harmful high-energy particles. Read More

NASA Launches NOAA Weather Satellite Aboard United Launch Alliance Rocket to Improve Forecasts

At Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 2, the Delta II rocket engines roar to life. The 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST), liftoff begins the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, mission. JPSS is the first in a series four next-generation environmental satellites in a collaborative program between NOAA and NASA. Image Credit: NASA

November 20, 2017 – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) for NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on November 18 at 2:47 a.m. MST. The JPSS program provides the nation’s next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, delivering key observations for the nation’s essential projects and services, including forecasting weather in advance and assessing environmental hazards. Read More

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Kepler Planets Tend To Have Siblings Of The Same Size
Source: AAS Nova

After 8.5 years of observations with the Kepler space observatory, we’ve discovered a large number of close-in, tightly-spaced, multiple-planet systems orbiting distant stars. In the process, we’ve learned a lot about the properties about these systems — and discovered some unexpected behavior. A new study explores one of the properties that has surprised us: planets of the same size tend to live together.

Spacesuit Undergoes Zero-G Testing Above Canada To Prepare For Commercial Flights

Next stop, space? A spacesuit from Final Frontier Design did its third round of Canadian flight testing last month in preparation for eventual space tourist flights.

Lockheed Gets $93M Navy Contract Modification For MUOS Satellite Support Services
Source: GovConWire

Lockheed Martin has received a $92.9 million modification from the U.S. Navy to provide engineering and interim logistics services for the Mobile User Objective System. The company will also supply spares and associated material in support of the MUOS military satellite communications system, the Defense Department said Thursday.

VSAT Operators Angry With Satellite Operators Poaching Their Customers
Source: SpaceNews

Network service providers are fed up with satellite operators going around them to sell capacity straight to their customers.

Finnish Startup Iceye To Supply DoD Unit With Airborn Imagery
Source: SpaceNews

The Finnish startup Iceye announced plans Nov. 20 to supply airborne Earth-observation-data services to the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) through its new U.S. subsidiary.

Orion Spacecraft Enjoying Calmer Seas Ahead Of All-Hands Review

Preparations involving the Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) Orion are enjoying a relatively trouble-free processing flow at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Milestones are being reached on all of the crew module elements, ahead of an All-Hands review that will take place in both the US and Italy. The only issue reported of late related to bracket attach hole threaded inserts, highlighting the lack of more pressing problems that Orion has struggled with over the years.

Astronomers Reveal Nearby Stars That Are Among The Oldest In Our Galaxy
Source: Georgia State University

Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy by determining their locations and velocities, according to a study led by scientists at Georgia State University.

Space Dust May Transport Life Between Worlds
Source: The University of Edinburgh

Life on our planet might have originated from biological particles brought to Earth in streams of space dust, a study suggests.

Next Generation Astronomical Survey To Map The Entire Sky
Source: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V), directed by Juna Kollmeier of the Carnegie Institution for Science, will move forward with mapping the entire sky following a $16 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020.

Nation’s Futuristic Space Plan Aims High
Source: China Daily

Chinese space scientists are developing the Long March 8 medium-lift carrier rocket and Long March 9 superheavy rocket, and will design a series of futuristic vehicles to allow space tourism, exploitation of asteroid resources and space-based solar power stations.

Khrunichev Space Center: Successful Hot-Fire Test Of Angara 1.2 Service Module Conducted
Source: International Launch Services (ILS)

The propulsion system of the light-weight Angara 1.2 Launch Vehicle Service Module, manufactured by the Khrunichev Space Center (part of ROSCOSMOS State Corporation), completed successful hot-fire testing at the Federal State Enterprise “Rocket & Space Industry Research & Test Center” (RSI RTC) test facility (Peresvet, Moscow Region).

STRATCOM Chief Hyten: ‘I Will Not Support Buying Big Satellites That Make Juicy Targets’
Source: SpaceNews

Asked to rate the seriousness of threats to U.S. military spacecraft, Air Force Gen. John Hyten gave it a “five but moving to 10 quickly.” As head of U.S. Strategic Command, Hyten is responsible for the global command and control of the nation’s nuclear forces, and the possibility that U.S. satellites could come under attack worries him considerably.

UK To Clear The Way For US Space Rocket Launches In Britain
Source: The Telegraph

Britain could soon launch US rockets into space as trade negotiators are striking regulatory deals to remove barriers to trade, even before the UK leaves the EU.

‘Science On A Sphere’ Brings Real-Time Data From Around The World
Source: The Times Of India

Nagpur: Imagine being able to see the Earth revolve around your eyes. Not just a model painted in blue and brown, but a live globe depicting just about everything happening over Earth at that moment. From seeing the weather of a region to the number of flights in an area, Raman Science Centre’s new facility ‘Science on a sphere’ will have you thrilled.

2017 AAAS Fellows Recognized For Advancing Science
Source: AAAS

American Association for the Advancement of Science has awarded the distinction of Fellow to 396 of its members for 2017 in recognition of their contributions to science and technology, scientific leadership and extraordinary achievements across disciplines.

Raytheon’s Ground System, Space Sensor Critical To NOAA’s Newest Polar Satellite’s Mission
Source: Raytheon

NASA launched NOAA’s next-generation polar satellite, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, into space. Two Raytheon weather programs are mission-critical components of the satellite’s mission: the JPSS Common Ground System and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensor.

Hughes Selected For Complex Commercial SATCOM Solutions (CS3) Contract Vehicle From GSA
Source: EchoStar Corporation

CS3 is a dedicated contract vehicle for government agencies to procure global satellite communications networks and solutions.