September 20, 2017

SAS Manufacturing Unveils Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing Facility In Arvada

SAS Manufacturing unveils new aerospace manufacturing facility in Arvada, Colorado, with Sept. 18 Open House featuring (L to R) Jay Lindell (CO OEDIT), Tim Bulk (SAS Manufacturing CTO), Heather Bulk (SAS Manufacturing CEO), U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, and Arvada Mayor Marc Williams. Image Credit: Special Aerospace Services

September 20, 2017 – SAS Manufacturing LLC yesterday unveiled a new advanced machining facility for design, manufacturing and assembly of aerospace components in Arvada, Colorado. SAS Manufacturing expects to more than double the facility’s workforce of skilled machining technicians, managers and apprentices over the next 24 months. Read More

Space Weather, CubeSat Projects Awarded CU Boulder Grand Challenge Grants

LASP’s involvement in space weather research touches on the many and varied impacts that space weather can have on technological systems. Through a new CU Boulder Grand Challenge initiative that will establish the Space Weather Technology, Research, and Education Center (SWx TREC), LASP will expand its collaborative efforts into this critical field of research. Image Credit: NASA

September 20, 2017 – The cross-campus Grand Challenge initiative this week announced the selection of three new additions to the Grand Challenge portfolio starting this fall. The call for proposals, which was announced in June, funded one large research initiative at approximately $1 million per year and two smaller projects at $250,000 per year, each for at least three years. Read More

Harris Corporation Delivers Navigation Payload For Third Lockheed Martin GPS III Satellite

Harris navigation payloads are already integrated in the second GPS III space vehicle, now in environmental testing, and the first GPS III satellite (pictured here), expected to launch in 2018. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

September 20, 2017 – Harris Corporation has delivered the third of 10 advanced navigation payloads to Lockheed Martin, which will increase accuracy, signal power and jamming resistance for U.S. Air Force GPS III satellites. Read More

EchoStar 105/SES-11 Shipped From Toulouse To The Cape For SpaceX Launch

EchoStar 105/SES-11 Shipped from Toulouse to the Cape for SpaceX Launch. Image Credit: Business Wire/Airbus Defence and Space

September 20, 2017 – EchoStar Corp., SES and Airbus Defence and Space announced today that the new EchoStar 105/SES-11 spacecraft, built by Airbus, has been shipped from the Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for its forthcoming launch by SpaceX in October. Read More

Comet or Asteroid? Hubble Discovers That A Unique Object Is A Binary

This set of Hubble Space Telescope photos reveals two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. These include a bright halo of material, called a coma, and a long tail of dust. The asteroid pair, called 2006 VW139/288P, was observed in September 2016 just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the Sun. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research)

September 20, 2017 – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope helped an international team of astronomers find that an unusual object in the asteroid belt is, in fact, two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. These include a bright halo of material, called a coma, and a long tail of dust. Read More

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Meteorite Tells Us That Mars Had A Dense Atmosphere 4 Billion Years Ago
Source: Tokyo Institute of Technology

Researchers have performed numerical simulations and compared the results to the composition of the ancient Martian atmosphere trapped in an old meteorite. The researchers have concluded that, 4 billion years ago, Mars had a dense atmosphere whose surface pressure was higher than 0.5 bar (50000 Pa). This suggests that the processes to remove the Martian atmosphere, for example stripping by the solar wind, are responsible for transforming Mars into the cold desert world it is today.

First Steps: Returning Humanity To The Moon
Source: ESA

In the first act of lunar exploration, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were major characters. In setting its sights on the Moon, ESA hopes to bring many more actors to this off-world stage. By testing the market for transport services to the Moon, ESA aims to push the limits of technology and create new models of space business.

Video: Atlas V NROL-42 Mission Profile
Source: United Launch Alliance

The mission profile for the Atlas V launch of NROL-42 mission on September 21, 2017.

Responding To The Mexico Earthquake
Source: DigitalGlobe

For the second time in two weeks, a powerful earthquake struck Mexico, collapsing buildings and killing hundreds. Yesterday’s 7.1-magnitude quake that struck 80 miles southeast of Mexico City was about 400 miles from the epicenter of the 8.1-magnitude quake that struck off the southern coast on September 8. DigitalGlobe has mobilized resources within our company to support immediate relief efforts following these major quakes.

Thirty Of The Nation’s Brightest Middle School STEM Students Named 2017 Broadcom MASTERS Finalists
Source: Society for Science & the Public

Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public today announced the selection of 30 finalists in the 7th annual Broadcom MASTERS,® the nation’s most prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) middle school competition. For the second year in a row, there will be an equal number of male and female finalists competing in the Broadcom MASTERS for more than $100,000 in awards. One finalist will represent Colorado.

Aging Star Blows Off Smoky Bubble
Source: ESO

In the faint southern constellation of Antlia the careful observer with binoculars will spot a very red star, which varies slightly in brightness from week to week. This very unusual star is called U Antliae and new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array are revealing a remarkably thin spherical shell around it.

Space Act Agreement To Support Private Space Telescope Project

NASA has signed a Space Act Agreement with a private organization currently raising funds for studies of a space telescope designed to look for habitable planets around a nearby star.

Space Industry Awaits Air Force Decisions On Future Launch Services
Source: SpaceNews

A long-awaited solicitation for industry bids on future space launch services will be out “soon,” said Air Force procurement chief Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch. Much is at stake for the space industry in how the Air Force proceeds with a “launch services agreement” that has been in the works for months.

Lockheed Martin’s Sears On New Family Of Satellite Buses
Source: Via Satellite

Lockheed Martin has invested $300 million to develop a new family of satellite buses that incorporate a range of manufacturing and design enhancements, as well as hundreds of common components to speed production times and reduce costs. According to Kay Sears, Lockheed Martin vice president of strategy and business development, the new buses are a response to growing customer demand for more powerful, versatile and compact assets in orbit.

Momentum Builds For Australian Space Agency Ahead Of International Astronautical Congress
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

In the three-and-a-half years since astronaut Andrew Thomas publicly urged Australia to play a leading role in space tourism, the idea has struggled to get off the ground. Despite prominent calls to develop our own space agency, including from Dr Thomas himself, a federal review into that proposal is not expected to be ready for another six months. But the campaign is likely to get another boost at next week’s 68th International Astronautical Congress, which is being held in Adelaide for the first time.

Trump’s Pick For NASA Lays Out Agenda And Answers Critics
Source: Ars Technica

Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who was nominated to become NASA’s next administrator by the Trump administration on September 1, may get a Senate confirmation hearing as early as next week. The choice of the 42-year-old Republican pilot has raised objections among some of his fellow members of Congress because of his lack of a technical background. Environmentalists have also objected to Bridenstine due to his views on climate change. However, a pre-hearing questionnaire submitted by Bridenstine addresses some of these criticisms and also offers some important clues about where he would like to see the space agency go.

Is The Milky Way An ‘Outlier’ Galaxy? Studying Its ‘Siblings’ For Clues
Source: YaleNews

The most-studied galaxy in the universe — the Milky Way — might not be as “typical” as previously thought, according to a new study. The Milky Way, which is home to Earth and its solar system, is host to several dozen smaller galaxy satellites. These smaller galaxies orbit around the Milky Way and are useful in understanding the Milky Way itself.

Electronic Eavesdropping Satellite Stands Ready For Liftoff Atop Atlas V Rocket
Source: Spaceflight 101

A powerful Atlas V rocket sporting four boosters will light up the night over California late on Thursday, aiming for liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:38 UTC on Friday with the classified NROL-42 satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, believed to be an eavesdropping and missile-tracking spacecraft working from a highly elliptical orbit in a system of orbiting listening posts operated by the U.S.

A Day In The Life: Bioastronautics Student Emily Matula Talks Astronauts, Algae, And Mentoring Adolescents
Source: Science Buffs

When I walked into the Bioastronautics High Bay in the Aerospace Engineering wing at CU Boulder, I could immediately tell that I was not in your standard academic lab. Directly in front of me was an 11-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide, towering silver structure that I later learned is nicknamed the “tin can.” Emily Matula, a Bioastronautics graduate student in the lab, informs me that this is a lunar habitat mockup meant to study different living configurations for astronauts.

China’s Mars Mission ‘Going Smoothly’, Chief Designer Says
Source: China Daily

China is on track to launch its first Mars probe around 2020, with the plan to retrieve soil and rock samples before 2030, according to the mission’s chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao. The nation aims to be the first to conduct orbital and surface explorations of Mars in a single mission, Zhang said on Wednesday at an international forum on lunar and deep-space exploration in Beijing.

A Swimming Pool For Spacefarers
Source: Air & Space Magazine

The town of Bedfordshire, England wants to build the world’s biggest pool for space training.

Innovative Sensor System For The International Space Station Will Keep Astronauts Safe
Source: Canadian Space Agency

Canadians working in the space sector will benefit from new jobs and business opportunities as a result of an $11.9-million contract awarded to Neptec Design Group, an Ottawa-based company specializing in the development of intelligent spaceflight sensors and equipment. As part of the contract, awarded by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Neptec Design Group will develop a state-of-the-art vision system for the International Space Station (ISS).

Nanosat Fleet Proposed For Voyage To 300 Asteroids
Source: Space Mining News

A fleet of tiny spacecraft could visit over 300 asteroids in just over three years, according to a mission study led by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The Asteroid Touring Nanosat Fleet concept comprises 50 spacecraft propelled by innovative electric solar wind sails (E-sails) and equipped with instruments to take images and collect spectroscopic data on the composition of the asteroids. Each nanosat would visit six or seven asteroids before returning to Earth to deliver the data.

Be The Astronaut Exhibit – Grand Opening
Source: Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Made up by a series of interactive games and simulations, Be The Astronaut speaks powerfully to adults and children alike. In order to advance and succeed further into each phase of the exhibition, visitors learn about the challenges and excitement of spaceflight — then apply that knowledge as they fly spaceships, pilot landers, and drive rovers across locations such as Earth’s orbit, the Moon, Mars, Ceres and Jupiter. All spacecraft in Be The Astronaut were designed with assistance and oversight from NASA’s Langley Research Facility.

The Cassini Mission To Saturn
Source: KGNU

In this edition of How on earth, we have two scientists from the Cassini mission team. Dr. Larry Esposito is a Professor at the Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and member of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU. Dr. Carly Howett is a planetary scientist and manager at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. They share with us some of the science from Cassini-Huygens and experiences working on such a long-term and successful space mission.

NROL-42 Classified Surveillance Satellite Set To Launch
Source: Spaceflight Insider

A secretive National Reconnaissance Office satellite, NROL-42, is poised to launch from Space Launch Complex-3 (SLC-3) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Thursday, September 21, 2017. United Launch Alliance (ULA) will provide the launch services using their reliable Atlas V rocket.