October 10, 2017

U.S. Air Force Declares First Lockheed Martin GPS III Satellite “Available For Launch”

The U.S. Air Force declared the first Lockheed Martin-built, next-generation GPS III satellite “Available for Launch” in 2018. Image Credit: PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin

October 10, 2017 – Ushering in a new era of advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the U.S. Air Force declared the first Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite “Available for Launch.” Read More

DigitalGlobe Selects Raytheon As Satellite Imaging Payload Provider For WorldView Legion Constellation

WorldView Legion. Image Credit: SSL

October 10, 2017 – Raytheon Company was recently selected by DigitalGlobe, Inc. as the next-generation WorldView Legion satellite imaging constellation payload provider. Under the contract, Raytheon will deliver the telescopes, detectors and combined electronics to Space Systems Loral, the WorldView Legion space vehicle integrator. Read More

NASA Announces Briefing On Carbon Mission Science Results

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2. Image Credit: NASA

October 10, 2017 – NASA will hold a media teleconference at 12 p.m. MDT Thursday, October 12, to discuss new research to be published this week on changing global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The research is based on data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission and other satellites. Read More

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Lying In Bed For The Sake Of Science: NASA Co-Sponsors Bed Rest Study In Germany
Source: NASA

Twelve volunteers will arrive this week at the German Space Agency’s (DLR) Institute of Aerospace Medicine’s :envihab facility to lie in bed for a month in the name of science. NASA’s Human Research Program, in partnership with DLR, is sponsoring investigations in this study to observe and analyze the effects of fluid pressure on astronauts’ eyes and optic nerves.

NASA TV To Broadcast Hispanic Heritage Events
Source: NASA

NASA will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the James Webb Auditorium in the agency’s headquarters in Washington on Thursday, Oct. 12, with a discussion of the contributions of Hispanics to NASA’s mission and the importance of Hispanic representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

Colorado Aerospace STEM Magazine
Source: CSBR

The first Colorado Aerospace STEM magazine has been released. View the October issue online. The monthly e-magazine is free for all educators, students, and parents and is just for Colorado.

Asteroid Tracking Network Observes Oct. 12 Close Approach
Source: NASA

On Oct. 12, a small asteroid designated 2012 TC4 will safely pass by Earth at a distance of approximately 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers). This is a little over one-tenth the distance to the Moon and just above the orbital altitude of communications satellites. This encounter with TC4 is being used by asteroid trackers around the world to test their ability to operate as a coordinated international asteroid warning network.

Where Does The Sand Come From?
Source: NASA

This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO) shows one possible place where sand grains are being produced on Mars today. Discovered in images from the Context Camera, this region exhibits dark material that is being eroded from dark layers in the bedrock of a semicircular depression near the boundary of the Southern highlands and the Northern lowlands. Downslope lineations support the notion that these dark sediments are derived locally, and did not accumulate here by coincidence because of the winds.

Op-ed: Building On A Successful Record In Space To Meet The Challenges Ahead
Source: Space News/Tory Bruno

Let’s set the record straight on Russian rocket engines and next-generation American launch vehicles. There’s been a lot of discussion on the timeline for replacing the RD-180, the Russian-made engine for the Atlas 5. A recent report in The Wall Street Journal, “Pentagon Faces Delays in Shift Away From Russian Rocket Engines,” suggested that United Launch Alliance (ULA) – and therefore the United States Air Force – will be “forced to rely on the Russian-made RD-180 through 2024 or 2028.” Those dates are inaccurate.

VIIRS Data Captures Raging Wildfires In California
Source: NOAA

Data from the VIIRS instrument aboard NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite from October 9, 2017 shows the extent of the fires burning in California. This image combines the satellite’s true color imagery along with thermal imagery (in red) that indicates the hot spots associated with the active fires.

FalconSAT Builds Future Space Leaders
Source: United States Air Force Academy

“Learning space by doing space” is the motto of the Air Force Academy’s unique FalconSAT senior capstone engineering program, a program unlike any other undergraduate space program in the world. Each year Astro Department faculty, aided by experts from other departments, NCOs, technicians and contractors, provide cadets with the real hands-on experience of designing, building, testing, and launching and operating satellites for the Air Force.

Luxembourg And The United Arab Emirates To Cooperate On Space Activities With Particular Focus On The Exploration And Utilization Of Space Resources
Source: Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy

Considering their common interest in the exploration, use and application of space for peaceful purposes, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) jointly agreed on the opportunity to cooperate on space activities.

Mystery Stars Found By China’s FAST Telescope
Source: China Daily

Chinese scientists have discovered six new pulsar stars in the Milky Way, by using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the world’s largest radio telescope.

China Launches Remote Sensing Satellite For Venezuela
Source: China Daily

China launched Venezuela’s remote sensing satellite, VRSS-2, into a preset orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi desert at 12:13 on Monday.

Debate Over Mars Exploration Strategy Heats Up In Astrobiology Journal
Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

Current robotic missions to Mars that have not been appropriately cleaned and sterilized must steer clear of designated Special Regions to avoid introducing Earth-borne biological and organic contaminants. However, some experts claim that this strategy is hindering the discovery of martian life forms and ask if planetary protection policies governing Mars explorations should be relaxed in advance of human missions.

Curiosity Mars Rover: Communications, Data Transfer Disruption
Source: Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 1841. Mark Salvatore, a planetary geologist from the University of Michigan in Dearborn, reports that a communications snafu has created an irksome problem in the rover’s performing of scientific duties.

Space Travel’s Existential Question
Source: The Atlantic

Have we become too squeamish about the inevitable human cost of exploration?

Astronauts Stage Second Spacewalk In Five Days
Source: Spaceflight Now

Five days after work to replace the grapple fitting on one end of the space station’s robot arm, commander Randy Bresnik and flight engineer Mark Vande Hei ventured back outside the lab complex Tuesday to lubricate the new arm mechanism, to replace a degraded camera and to carry out a variety of lower-priority chores.

Plutonium Supply For NASA Missions Faces Long-Term Challenges
Source: SpaceNews

While NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have restarted production of a plutonium isotope used to power some space missions, a new report warns of challenges that could threaten its long-term supply.

GOES-16 Tools To Observe And Monitor Fires
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

GOES-16 provides many tools to the Operational Meteorologist, and to National Weather Service Incident Meteorologists (IMETs), to monitor fires when they occur, such as those over Napa and Sonoma Counties in California.

Former Astronaut Shares Space Story With Students
Source: The Herald-Dispatch

It all began in 1983 when as a third-grader in Colorado, Metcalf-Lindenburger watched Sally Ride become the first American astronaut in space. “When I saw Sally Ride go to space, it seemed possible that now a little girl could grow up and be an astronaut,” she said.