September 1, 2017

ACE Celebrates 20 Years Of Solar Wind, Cosmic Ray Discoveries

ACE observes particles of solar, interplanetary, interstellar, and galactic origins, spanning the energy range from solar wind ions to galactic cosmic ray nuclei to better understand the formation and evolution of the solar system. ACE also provides near-real-time solar wind information over short periods of time for space weather forecasting. Image Credit: NASA/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

September 1, 2017 – Two decades ago it would have been difficult to imagine just how many pivotal discoveries would be in the cards for NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer, or ACE. After its launch on August 25, 1997, ACE’s first job was to observe what kinds of matter and energy arrive at Earth from the Sun and from across the galaxy. Countless revelations in our understanding of the Sun and solar wind, the Sun’s interactions with Earth and the solar system quickly followed suit. Read More


Kepler/K2 Mission Continues Sky Observation

Image Credit: NASA

September 1, 2017 – Now in the fifteenth observing campaign of its K2 extended mission, the Kepler Space Telescope is studying more than 23,000 objects located in the direction of the constellation Scorpius. The cartoon illustrates some of the objects of interest that Kepler is observing from August 23 to November 20. Read More


OSIRIS-REx To Slingshot Past Earth

This artist’s concept shows the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft passing by Earth. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona

September 1, 2017 – NASA’s asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer), will pass about 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) above Earth just before 10:52 a.m. MDT on Friday, September 22. Using Earth as a slingshot, the spacecraft will receive an assist to complete its journey to the asteroid Bennu. Read More


JPSS-1 Has New Target Launch Date

Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

September 1, 2017 – The launch of JPSS-1 is now scheduled for November 10 at 2:47 a.m. MST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. JPSS-1, built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, is the first in a series of NOAA’s four next-generation operational polar-orbiting weather satellites that will give scientists the most advanced tools to aid in weather forecasting and earth observations. Read More


More News:

In Space, Entrepreneurs See Riches … At A Distance
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Patrick Bahn believes it doesn’t take rocket science to see the potential for riches in space. But he knows reaching for the skies will require rocket engines. Bahn’s company, TGV Rockets & Propulsion Systems of Washington, is developing an electric engine and fuel system that it hopes will become as standard a component in space rockets as microprocessors became in personal computers.


NASA’s Van Allen Probes Survive Extreme Radiation Five Years On
Source: NASA

Most satellites, not designed to withstand high levels of particle radiation, wouldn’t last a day in the Van Allen Radiation belts. Trapped by Earth’s magnetic field into two giant belts around the planet, high-energy particles in the region can batter the spacecraft and even interfere with onboard electronics. But NASA’s Van Allen Probes have been traveling through this hazardous area since Aug. 30 2012 – they are now celebrating their fifth year in space studying this dynamic region.


Equatorial Jet In Venusian Atmosphere Discovered By Akatsuki
Source: Hokkaido University

Observations by Japan’s Venus climate orbiter Akatsuki have revealed an equatorial jet in the lower to middle cloud layer of the planet’s atmosphere, a finding that could be pivotal to unraveling a phenomenon called superrotation.


Intelsat-33e Propulsion Problems To Cut Service Life By 3.5 Years
Source: SpaceNews

Two separate propulsion problems will shorten the expected lifespan of Intelsat’s second high-throughput satellite by an estimated 3.5 years, the company told SpaceNews Aug. 31. Both anomalies are part of a $78 million insurance claim the Luxembourg- and Washington-based satellite operator filed in March, according to Dianne VanBeber, Intelsat’s vice president of investor relations and corporate communications.


Additional CubeSats On July 14 Soyuz Flight Are Unresponsive
Source: SpaceNews

At least eight of the nine cubesats sent by the Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket into a 600-kilometer orbit July 14 alongside a larger spacecraft, the Kanopus-V-IK Russian Earth-imaging satellite, are not responding to commands from their operators.


NASA Completes Welding Of Liquid Oxygen Tank For First SLS Flight
Source: NASA

NASA is another step closer to completing all main structures for the agency’s first launch of the Space Launch System deep space rocket. The liquid oxygen flight tank was recently built in the Vertical Assembly Center robotic welder at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. After the liquid oxygen tank was inspected, it was moved to another area for plug welding to fill the holes left by the friction stir welding process.


Hubble’s Megamaser Galaxy
Source: NASA

Phenomena across the Universe emit radiation spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum — from high-energy gamma rays, which stream out from the most energetic events in the cosmos, to lower-energy microwaves and radio waves. Microwaves, the very same radiation that can heat up your dinner, are produced by a multitude of astrophysical sources, including strong emitters known as masers (microwave lasers), even stronger emitters with the somewhat villainous name of megamasers and the centers of some galaxies.


First Look At The Crew Access Arm For Launch Complex 39A
Source: NASA

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Eric Boe walk down the Crew Access Arm being built by SpaceX for Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The access arm will be installed on the launch pad, providing a bridge between the crew access tower and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon – or Dragon 2 – spacecraft for astronauts flying to the International Space Station on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.


One Small Step For Lunar Commerce
Source: Air & Space Magazine

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic, once considered a frontrunner for Google’s $20 million Lunar XPRIZE until it withdrew from competition last December citing unrealistic deadlines, announced recently that it has chosen United Launch Alliance as its partner for a planned moon landing in 2019—the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.


Joan Burkepile Mentors Middle-School Girls For Over A Decade
Source: High Altitude Observatory (HAO)

For over a decade, Joan Burkepile has participated in the STEM conference for middle school girls called “Expanding Your Horizons,” at CU Boulder. These one-day hands-on workshops are led by women professionals and are designed to be fun and exploratory.


Colorado’s Aerospace Industry: To Infinity and Beyond!
Source: University of Denver

Examine the state’s current space industry, which includes companies building satellites, space telescopes and construction of Orion, a multi-purpose crew vehicle. Conclude the course with an instructor-guided tour of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum to see a Titan missile, an Apollo test capsule, a moon rock from Apollo 15, and a Colorado astronaut display. Come away with a deeper appreciation for the state’s aerospace industry and a better understanding of what the future may hold. 10% discount to Wings members.


Be The Astronaut
Source: Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Opening on October 1st, Be The Astronaut is an engaging and interactive pod-based exhibit that teaches visitors STEM-based content via a fusion of technology and traditional exhibitory. Be The Astronaut focuses on the concepts common to all space flight, using the narrative of a possible future space mission as its framework. Made up by a series of interactive games and simulations, Be The Astronaut speaks powerfully to adults and children alike.


Lockheed Martin Kicks Off Construction Of $350 Million Colorado Satellite Factory
Source: Denver Business Journal

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. today kicked off construction of its $350 million satellite factory sothwest of Denver, calling it an investment in the future and using a robot to deliver a hardhat for the ceremonial dirt shoveling.


Citing Flat Budgets, Boulder’s NCAR Announces Job Cuts, Program Reductions
Source: Boulder Daily Camera

Management at Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research on Wednesday announced program reductions with corresponding reductions in staff, which will result in the elimination of 18 positions that receive base funding from the National Science Foundation. Also announced was the elimination of 18 currently vacant positions, which translate to eight full-time equivalents.


Avantes Eclipse Team Field Report
Source: Avantes

The Avantes Eclipse Team was on hand Monday, August 21st, 2017 at the NCAR/ NASA observation post set up on Casper Mountain, in Casper, Wyoming to witness and study the eclipse from the path of totality. The producers of the award winning PBS science program, Nova were on hand to document the eclipse experiments of scientists like Dr. Steve Tomczyk, Sr. Scientist and Section Head at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Hight Altitude Observatory.