October 9, 2017

Satellite Transmissions Cease, No Impact To Weather Mission

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19 provided thousands of hours of weather imagery while operation, most recently imagery of Hurricanes Jose and Maria as depicted in this photo. The satellite ceased transmitting weather data this month. (Courtesy Photo)

October 9, 2017 – The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19 ceased transmitting weather data after nearly three and a half years of operational service to Department of Defense and civilian agencies. Read More

Project Mars Art, Film Competition Seeks Creative Interpretations Of Martian Journey

ASA is studying its deep space gateway concept for potential future collaborations. Project Mars invites artistic submissions that envision a Martian voyage. Image Credit: NASA

October 9, 2017 – Early career professionals and college students are invited to submit a poster or short film to the Project Mars International Art and Film Contest. Entries should creatively envision what astronauts may experience when traveling to Mars. Read More

Circles And Hexagons

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

October 9, 2017 – Saturn’s cloud belts generally move around the planet in a circular path, but one feature is slightly different. The planet’s wandering, hexagon-shaped polar jet stream breaks the mold — a reminder that surprises lurk everywhere in the solar system. Read More

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Successful Launch, H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 36 Encapsulating MICHIBIKI No. 4
Source: JAXA

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA successfully launched H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 36 (H-IIA・F36) which encapsulates MICHIBIKI No. 4, Quasi-Zenith Satellite System; at 7:01:37a.m., 2017 (JST) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center. The launch and flight of H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 36 proceeded as planned. So did the separation of MICHIBIKI No. 4, which was confirmed at approximately 28 minutes and 20 seconds after liftoff.

CSU Team Joins Nobel-Winning International Hunt For Gravitational Waves
Source: Colorado State University

When scientists announced last year that they’d detected gravitational waves from the distant collision of two black holes, they confirmed Albert Einstein’s 100-year-old theory that gravity, packaged in waves, travels across space and time. The 900-member global science team responsible for the discovery, honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics Oct. 3, is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration. Earlier this year, LIGO added new members from Colorado State University.

And, The Answer Is … Still Round
Source: JILA

Is the electron completely round, or is it ever so slightly egg-shaped because it has electric dipole moment? The Ye and Cornell groups are looking for the answer to this fundamental question with a sophisticated trapped-ion apparatus that includes a rotating electric field.

JILA Spinning Method Confirms Electron Still Seems Round
Source: NIST

JILA physicists have for the first time used their spinning molecules technique to measure the “roundness” of the electron, confirming the leading results from another group and suggesting that more precise assessments are possible.

18th Space Control Squadron: Keeping Watch Up Above
Source: Peterson Air Force Base

While the everyday activities of life continue down below, what is taking place overhead doesn’t usually warrant a thought. The 18th Space Control Squadron located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, is a geographically separated unit of the 21st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, Colorado. The squadron provides situational awareness on thousands of items filling the skies while life moves along for those on Earth’s surface.

AFSPC Unveils Space Fence Model
Source: Peterson Air Force Base

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner, Deputy Commander of Air Force Space Command, accepts a model of the Space Fence radar site at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Sep. 29, 2017. Greg Larioni (left), Vice President and General Manager of Radar and Surveillance Systems at Lockheed Martin, presented the model, which will be displayed at AFSPC Headquarters.

“Rosetta Mission: How To Catch A Comet”
Source: Little Thompson Observatory

The guest speaker for October’s Public Star Night is Dr Eric Schindhelm from Ball Aerospace and the title of his talk is: “The Rosetta Mission: How to Catch a Comet.” Eric Schindhelm worked at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) as a liaison between scientists on NASA’s UV spectrograph (Alice) team and ESA’s Mission & Science Operations teams. He is currently a senior engineer working in the Civil Space New Business Group at Ball Aerospace.

Modeling Climate And Habitability On Earth-Like Exoplanets
Source: The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Researchers have used the Community Atmosphere Model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to better understand how the climates of Earth-like planets evolve over time under a range of stellar fluxes. When studying habitability in the habitable zone of distant stars, astronomers focus on planets where abundant liquid water can persist at the surface for long periods of time. However, water interacts with solar and thermal radiation to produce climatic feedbacks that affect the entire planet. Therefore, understanding the habitable zone of stars requires models that take into account the hydrological cycle of a planet over geological time scales.

Solar Scientist Wins Top Goddard Space Science Award
Source: NASA

Dr. Natchimuthuk Gopalswamy has long been curious about the way the Sun’s energy sustains life on one hand and presents hazards on the other. Over the last three decades, that curiosity has led him to several notable discoveries and prestigious accolades — the most recent being the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award, the highest honor for space science at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

TMT Communications And Information System Ready To Enter Preliminary Design Phase
Source: Thirty Meter Telescope

The TMT CIS system encompasses the TMT Observatory network infrastructure, IT systems and internet connection. In short, it implements the communications backbone between all TMT systems: telescope enclosure and telescope structure, science instruments, the adaptive optics system, various facility infrastructures, and the technical and science operations headquarters. The TMT CIS also integrates an industry standard cyber-security model into the TMT infrastructure, enabling secured production, storage, and distribution of scientific data by the TMT Observatory.

Study Illuminates Public Perceptions Of Climate Engineering
Source: CIRES

Many people expressed serious concerns when presented with the idea of deliberately manipulating Earth’s climate, according to a small, focus-group study conducted in four places around the world. But despite those negative feelings, they remained open about “geoengineering” or climate intervention ideas, in the face of a changing climate and uncertain future.

Sentinel-5P Poised For Liftoff
Source: ESA

With four days to liftoff, the next Sentinel satellite is now on the launch pad at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The rocket will be fuelled two days before launch, set for Friday at 09:27 GMT (11:27 CEST).

Video: Building The Most Powerful GPS Satellite Ever – GPS III
Source: Lockheed Martin

In 2018, the U.S. Air Force is expected to begin launching the most powerful GPS satellites ever designed and built – GPS III. Today, GPS III satellites are in full production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, a $128 million, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, itself designed in a virtual reality environment to maximize satellite production effectiveness and efficiency.

Successful Third Launch Brings 10 More Aireon(SM) Payloads To Orbit
Source: Aireon

Aireon announced today the successful launch and deployment of the third batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, carrying its space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) payloads. Conducted from Vandenberg Air Force Base with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:37 a.m. PDT, this launch has increased the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 30, with another 45 destined for space in a series of five additional launches planned over the next ten months.

Luxembourg Hosts The First European Edition Of The NewSpace Conference
Source: Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy

The Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy and the US Space Frontier Foundation partner to organize the inaugural European edition of the NewSpace Conference, “NewSpace Europe”, that takes place in Luxembourg City on November 16 and 17, 2017. This is the first time that one of the leading events in the emerging commercial space industry is organized outside of the US.

World View Successfully Executes First Multi-Day Stratolite Mission
Source: World View

World View, the stratospheric exploration company, today announced it has successfully executed its first multi-day development flight of the high-altitude Stratollite™ vehicle. After five days in the stratosphere, this milestone clearly demonstrates the viability of the world’s first-ever, long-duration, navigable stratospheric payload vehicle for commercial applications with global impact.

Time Inc. And PBS Win A 2017 News & Documentary Emmy Award For A Year In Space
Source: Time Inc.

Time Inc. and PBS won a 2017 News & Documentary Emmy ® Award in the Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary category for A Year in Space, adapted from TIME’s original digital video series about astronaut Scott Kelly’s 12-month stay on the International Space Station. The 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy ® Awards were presented last night at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

Complexity And Challenge: Dawn Project Manager Speaks Of Difficult Voyage To Vesta And Ceres
Source: AmericaSpace

A decade of operations in deep space is no longer a unique understanding, as we have seen in recent weeks, as Cassini ended 13 years of spectacular science at Saturn and the international Dawn mission celebrated ten years exploring the asteroid belt—which lies between Mars and Jupiter—and became the first emissary from Earth to enter orbit around two dwarf planets, Vesta and Ceres. Running such complex spacecraft for long periods of time, with all instruments fully operational, is notoriously difficult. Added to the mix is the complexity of co-ordinating between several nations and tackling technical obstacles far from home.

Chinese Long March 2D Launches VRSS-2
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

China launched the second remote sensing satellite for Venezuela using a Long March-2D (Chang Zheng-2D) launch vehicle on Monday. This was the first use of the CZ-2 rocket after a mishap occurred in December 2016 with the first Gaojing mission. The failure caused major distruption to the Chinese launch schedule.

Students Get Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience Aboard SOFIA, NASA’s Flying Infrared Observatory
Source: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The world’s largest flying observatory wowed students, faculty and staff at the university’s Daytona Beach Campus during a week-long stay and its first-ever mission from the U.S. East Coast.

UW Awarded $12.5 Million To Study Astrophysical Plasma Here On Earth
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $12.5 million to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to develop an integrated facility that will expand the frontier of astrophysical plasma research.

ASRC 3D Prints Fuel Injector Prototype For RD-180 Successor
Source: SpaceNews

ASRC of Beltsville, Md., has test fired a subscale propellant injector built via additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, paving the way for a version that could support whichever engine United Launch Alliance chooses to replace the Russian-built RD-180 on the Atlas 5 rocket.

DARPA Awards Aerojet Rocketdyne Contract To Develop Hypersonic Advanced Full Range Engine
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne

Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., has entered into an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and ground test an innovative propulsion system under the agency’s Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program.

New Reports: Commercial Space Transportation; Challenges Ahead For Nuclear-Energized Spacecraft
Source: Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space

Two new space reports have been issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), one on nuclear power and future spacecraft missions. The other focuses on moving the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

Industry And Government Differ On Future Of FAA Commercial Space Office
Source: SpaceNews

While much of industry would like to see an office that licenses commercial spaceflight activities moved out of the Federal Aviation Administration, a new report finds little support for doing so within government itself.

Atlas V Rocket Rolls Back After Three Back-To-Back Launch Scrubs
Source: Spaceflight101

ULA’s Atlas V rocket carrying the classified NROL-52 satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office has been forced to move back into its Integration Facility after suffering three consecutive launch scrubs earlier in the week. A new launch date will be established once repairs on the launch vehicle can be completed and coordination can be made with the Air Force-operated Eastern Range.

ULA Atlas V Requires Telemetry Transmitter Fix Ahead Of NROL-52 Launch
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

United Launch Alliance’s clandestine Altas V launch in support of the US National Reconnaissance Office is still waiting for a launch date after failing to dodge bad weather and then a telemetry transmitter issue. Liftoff of NROL-52 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is now waiting for a new launch date, following the latest delay on Saturday.

American Mint Introduces New Coin To Celebrate 50 Years Of U.S. Space Exploration
Source: American Mint LLC

American Mint, LLC President Kevin Sacher proudly announced that the company is releasing a new collection of sculpted medallions dedicated to special 2017 anniversaries. The first offering is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of U.S. space exploration.