October 26, 2017

New CU Boulder Aerospace Building Breaks Ground

Image Credit: University of Colorado Boulder

October 26, 2017 – The University of Colorado Boulder broke ground today on a new 144,000-square-foot aerospace engineering building, with spacesuit-clad mascot Chip turning one of the first shovels-full of dirt for the project. Read More

ULA Rocket Coming Together For Boeing’s First Commercial Crew Flight Test

The Atlas V rocket that will launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is coming together inside a United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur, Alabama. Image Credit: United Launch Alliance

October 26, 2017 – The Atlas V rocket that will launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is coming together inside a United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur, Alabama. Read More

Astronomers Discover Sunscreen Snow Falling On Hot Exoplanet

This illustration shows the seething hot planet Kepler-13Ab that circles very close to its host star, Kepler-13A. In the background is the star’s binary companion, Kepler-13B, and the third member of the multiple-star system is the orange dwarf star Kepler-13C. The alien world, called a ‘hot Jupiter,’ is actually six times more massive than Jupiter. Unlike chilly Jupiter, this exoplanet is one of the hottest known of the hot Jupiters, with a dayside temperature of nearly 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Another difference between Jupiter and Kepler-13Ab is that the exoplanet is so close to its star that it is tidally locked. One side keeps a permanent face to the star, and the other side is perpetually dark. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

October 26, 2017 – Astronomers at Penn State have used the Hubble Space Telescope to find a blistering-hot giant planet outside our solar system where the atmosphere “snows” titanium dioxide — the active ingredient in sunscreen. These Hubble observations are the first detections of this “snow-out” process, called a “cold trap,” on an exoplanet. This discovery, and other observations made by the Penn State team, provide insight into the complexity of weather and atmospheric composition on exoplanets, and may someday be useful for gauging the habitability of Earth-size planets. Read More

Rosetta Reveals Dust Jet

A plume of dust from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, seen by the OSIRIS wide-angle camera on ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft on 3 July 2016. The plume originates from the Imhotep region. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

October 26, 2017 – The impressive jets of dust that comets emit into space during their journey around the Sun are not driven solely by the sublimation of frozen water. In some cases further processes augment the outbreaks. Possible scenarios include the release of pressurized gas stored below the surface or the conversion of one kind of frozen water into an energetically more favorable one. This is the result of a study published by a team of scientists headed by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany analyzing a dust jet from Rosetta’s comet 67P/Chruyumov-Gerasimenko that occurred last year. Read More

Sunshield Deployment And Layers Fully Tensioned On NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

At Northrop Grumman highbay facilities in Redondo Beach, California, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s five sunshield layers are fully tensioned for the first time. Image Credit: Northrop Grumman

October 26, 2017 – Northrop Grumman Corporation, which designed NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) optics, spacecraft bus, and sunshield for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, has deployed the sunshield subsystem and fully tensioned the five sunshield layers for the first time. Read More

Ball-Built, Next-Gen Weather Satellite JPSS-1 Readies For Launch

October 26, 2017 – Ball Aerospace and the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) team is currently preparing NOAA’s next-generation polar orbiting weather satellite for launch at 2:47 a.m., MST on November 10, 2017. Read More

More News:

Lockheed Martin CEO Statement On Vice President Pence’s Visit To Waterton, CO Space Facility
Source: Lockheed Martin

“It was an honor to host Vice President Pence, Secretary Wilson and Associate Administrator Zurbuchen at our world-class space technology center in Colorado. We were proud to highlight the exceptional work of our 18,000 Lockheed Martin Space employees, as we seek to advance the mission of the National Space Council …

Astronaut Shares Space Experience With Cadets
Source: U.S. Air Force Academy

In the words of one astronaut Oct. 20, “Absolutely spectacular.” “It’s a vibrant blue and white globe sitting in inky blackness,” said Kjell Lindgren, a 1995 graduate of the Air Force Academy who has 141 days in space under his belt.

Army Deploys Kestrel Eye Satellite
Source: U.S. Army

While the Army has long been considered America’s land force, many of the Army’s Soldiers and civilians depend upon space to perform their missions. One of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s newest prototypes is Kestrel Eye, a small, low-cost, visible-imagery satellite designed to provide near real-time images to the tactical-level ground Soldier. Kestrel Eye, developed by the command’s Technical Center, was deployed into space and activated Oct. 24.

Tom Bowen Joins Bye Aerospace As Chief Engineer
Source: Bye Aerospace

Tom Bowen has joined Bye Aerospace as Chief Engineer and will support the company’s “Sun Flyer” and “StratoAirNet” projects as a business partner. Bowen is an experienced project engineer and operations manager, having recently served as the Chief Operating Officer for Mooney & Lancair International.

Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia And Virgin Announce Partnership On Spaceflight, Satellite Launch And Space Centric Entertainment Industry
Source: Virgin Galactic

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and Virgin Group (Virgin), have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a partnership under which PIF intends to invest approximately $1 billion into Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit, with an option for $480 million of future additional investment in space services.

Stephen Spengler, CEO Of Intelsat, Appears Before The U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science And Transportation To Discuss The Commercial Satellite Services Industry
Source: Intelsat

Intelsat S.A. (“Intelsat” or the “Company”), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network and a leader in integrated satellite communications, announced that Chief Executive Officer Stephen Spengler today appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (the “Committee”), to deliver prepared remarks and answer questions from Chairman John Thune, Ranking Member Nelson and Committee members regarding the commercial satellite industry and next-generation services impacting consumers.

RUAG Space Adapts Organizational Structure To Reflect Product Orientation
Source: RUAG

RUAG Space is newly organized into three major product groups – to mirror its strong focus on customers and products. The division is making this move to proactively address new requirements in the evolving space…

The 15th Anniversary Of CSTPR: Science And Technology Policy Research In A Unique Space
Source: CSTPR

This year, the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) celebrates its fifteenth anniversary since being recognized as an official University center in 2002. In its fifteen years, CSTPR has weathered major political, social and economic changes—not to mention some severe cold snaps. Through it all, the center has been an important bridge between science and policy for all of the faculty and students who have been involved, as well as the many CSTPR collaborators.

Proposed NASA Mission Employs “Lobster-Eye” Optics
Source: NASA

A novel optics system that mimics the structure of a lobster’s eyes would enable a conceptual Explorer-class mission to precisely locate, characterize, and alert other observatories to the source of gravitational waves, which are caused by some of the most powerful events in the universe.

Video: The Birth Of NOAA’s Polar-Orbiting Satellites: A Brief History
Source: NOAA

In the 1950s, at the advent of the space race, scientists around the globe believed that satellites held tremendous potential for forecasting the weather more than 24 hours in advance. This video tells the story of some of the scientists who worked to realize that potential, and the development of the United States’ first polar-orbiting weather satellites–the precursors to the satellites of today’s Joint Polar Satellite System spacecraft.

Video: CU Boulder Breaks Ground On New Aerospace Engineering Building
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder broke ground ton a new $82.5 million aerospace engineering building complete with an indoor flight environment for unmanned aircraft that will ensure the nationally ranked program continues to drive innovation into the future. The state of Colorado is a hub of the nation’s aerospace industry, and the new 144,000-square-foot facility aims to put CU Boulder’s Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the center of that innovation.

Alien Atlantis? Extraterrestrial Life May Be Hiding In Subsurface Oceans Of Distant Planets
Source: Newsweek

It sounds like something out of the brain of George Lucas: If there is lots of life in the universe, some of that life must have built civilizations, and some of those civilizations must have built empires. Instead, that’s the question that got stuck in the mind of Enrico Fermi, a Nobel Prize–winning Italian physicist from the first half of the 20th century who specialized in neutrons and built the first nuclear fission plant on a squash court in Chicago.

First SAGE III Atmospheric Data Released For Public Use
Source: NASA

The first wave of atmospheric data from the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III), a NASA instrument that launched to the International Space Station earlier this year, is now available for public use.

Small Asteroid Or Comet ‘Visits’ From Beyond The Solar System
Source: Institute for Astronomy – University of Hawaii

A small, recently discovered asteroid – or perhaps a comet – appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first “interstellar object” to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

Scientists Detect Comets Outside Our Solar System
Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Scientists from MIT and other institutions, working closely with amateur astronomers, have spotted the dusty tails of six exocomets — comets outside our solar system — orbiting a faint star 800 light years from Earth.

Hubble Discovers “Wobbling Galaxies”
Source: ESA/Hubble

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that the brightest galaxies within galaxy clusters “wobble” relative to the cluster’s center of mass. This unexpected result is inconsistent with predictions made by the current standard model of dark matter. With further analysis it may provide insights into the nature of dark matter, perhaps even indicating that new physics is at work.

16th SPCS Defenders Of Critical Satellite Communications
Source: 45th Space Wing

More than 1,800 unclassified spacecraft are being tracked as they orbit earth, according to Space-tracl.org, the public data base for such items. They are communicating with receivers on the ground as well as each other. Who is watching to make sure none of those signals are nefarious, aimed at disrupting communications between the satellites and the warfighters in various theaters who rely on those signals to conduct their missions?

Dawn Finds Possible Ancient Ocean Remnants At Ceres
Source: NASA/JPL

Minerals containing water are widespread on Ceres, suggesting the dwarf planet may have had a global ocean in the past. What became of that ocean? Could Ceres still have liquid today? Two new studies from NASA’s Dawn mission shed light on these questions.

Falcon 9 Static Fire Test Clears Way For Monday Liftoff With KoreaSat 5A
Source: Spaceflight 101

SpaceX successfully completed the Static Fire Test of a Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday atop the company’s Kennedy Space Center launch pad in preparation for the rocket’s 16th launch of the year, continuing to lead the field of the world’s launch vehicle families for the number of missions performed in 2017.

UChicago Astrophysicists To Catch Particles From Deep Space On NASA Balloon Mission<
Source: Space Daily

A team led by Prof. Angela Olinto was awarded NASA funding to fly an ultra-long duration balloon mission with an innovative ultra-sensitive telescope to pick up cosmic rays and neutrinos coming from deep space. Planned for launch in 2022, the Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon is a major step toward a planned mission to send a probe to space.

Pope Calls Space, Takes Small Step For Vatican-Russian Ties
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette

Pope Francis took a small step toward improved Vatican-Russian relations Thursday when he chatted with Russian cosmonauts and praised their understanding of love during a call with the International Space Station.

‘Mesmerizing’: Watch Formation Of ‘The Big Dark,’ A 5,000-Mile River Of Storms Over The Pacific
Source: The Seattle Times

While stretches of weather systems that cross the North Pacific are not uncommon during the fall and winter, the atmospheric river that opened Seattle’s rainy season — dubbed “The Big Dark” by the National Weather Service in Seattle — was notably long.