Russia sends ‘Fedor’ its first humanoid robot into space
on 2019-08-22 at 07:07
Russia on Thursday launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.
ULA’s Delta 4 Heavy down to final five missions
by Caleb Henry on 2019-08-22 at 02:47
Gary Wentz, ULA’s vice president of government and commercial programs, said the last Delta 4 heavy mission is currently slated for the second half of 2023. SpaceNews.com
GHGSat, Canadian Foundation plan emissions monitoring campaign
by Debra Werner on 2019-08-22 at 02:10
During the 33-month project scheduled to begin in early 2020, GHGSat will compare emissions data from satellite and aircraft sensors with data collected by terrestrial sensors. SpaceNews.com
Search continues for new NASA human spaceflight leader
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-21 at 21:44
More than a month after he reassigned the longtime head of its human spaceflight division, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Aug. 21 it may be several weeks before he appoints a successor. SpaceNews.com
NASA awards Aerospace Corp. contract worth up to $621 million
by Debra Werner on 2019-08-21 at 21:23
NASA awarded the Aerospace Corp. an engineering, evaluation and testing support contract with a maximum potential value of $621 million over nine years. SpaceNews.com
No near-term satellite orders for ABS • Amazon joins SIA • Speedcast, Australian Space Agency team up
by Caleb Henry on 2019-08-21 at 19:15
Fleet operator ABS expects to wait until 2021 before planning additional satellites. SpaceNews.com
Spaceflight consistently affects the gut
on 2019-08-21 at 16:05
A new study discovered that spaceflight — both aboard a space shuttle or the International Space Station (ISS) — has a consistent effect on the gut microbiome.
Spaceflight consistently affects the gut
on 2019-08-21 at 14:11
A new Northwestern University study discovered that spaceflight—both aboard a space shuttle or the International Space Station (ISS)—has a consistent effect on the gut microbiom
Steam balloon to facilitate satellite launches
on 2019-08-21 at 14:00
Steam balloons could be used to lift space rockets to higher altitude for launch. Launching from high altitude reduces air drag and thus improves efficiency. The researchers present the method in an article published in The Aeronautical Journal.
Spacewalking astronauts add parking spot to space station
on 2019-08-21 at 13:47
Spacewalking astronauts added another parking spot to the International Space Station on Wednesday.
Large cosmological simulation to run on Mira
on 2019-08-21 at 13:40
An extremely large cosmological simulation—among the five most extensive ever conducted—is set to run on Mira this fall and exemplifies the scope of problems addressed on the leadership-class supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory.
A step closer to solving the methane mystery on Mars
on 2019-08-21 at 13:12
Scientists have taken an important step towards revealing the mysterious source of methane on Mars, by refining estimates of the gas in the planet’s atmosphere.
Deployment test of Webb’s secondary mirror
on 2019-08-21 at 13:10
The secondary mirror—visible in the top right corner of the image—is among the most important pieces of equipment on the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and is essential to the success of the mission.
MAXI J1621–501 is a low-mass X-ray binary, study finds
on 2019-08-21 at 13:00
An international team of astronomers has uncovered important insights about the recently discovered transient source known as MAXI J1621–501. Results of new observations conducted with NASA’s NuSTAR spacecraft indicate that the object is a low-mass X-ray binary. The finding is detailed in a paper published August 9 on arXiv.org.
A planet without an atmosphere bolsters concerns about bodies orbiting stars smaller than the sun
on 2019-08-21 at 11:21
Most of the terrestrial planets in the galaxy orbit stars smaller than the sun. Because of their sheer numbers, they would seem to be promising candidates in the search for life elsewhere. But astronomers say they suspect that these bodies—especially ones in close orbit—are vulnerable to losing their atmospheres, necessary to support life. The discovery of one such planet beyond the solar system with no atmosphere at all clouds the prospects for its peers.
Space Council recommendations address exploration and management concerns
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-21 at 01:59
Despite a strong public endorsement of NASA’s efforts to return humans to the moon as a step towards Mars, a series of recommendations approved by the National Space Council Aug. 20 highlight concerns about the agency’s plans to do so. SpaceNews.com
Space Council says NASA’s exploration programs “on track”
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-20 at 22:43
Nearly five months after directing NASA to accelerate its plans to return humans to the surface of the moon, Vice President Mike Pence said Aug. 20 that the agency’s efforts since then were “on track.” SpaceNews.com
U.S. Space Command and National Reconnaissance Office will join forces to defend space
by Sandra Erwin on 2019-08-20 at 20:56
The intelligence community and the DoD agreed to align U.S. Space Command and the NRO into a unified defense structure. SpaceNews.com
Chinese telecommunications satellite hit by anomalies after launch
by Brian Berger on 2019-08-20 at 18:55
A Chinese telecommunications satellite has suffered unspecified anomalies following an apparently successful launch into geosynchronous transfer orbit. SpaceNews.com
Enabling longer space missions
on 2019-08-20 at 17:09
The Hall thruster is a propulsion system that is often used by spacecraft engaged in longer missions. A recent study has shown how the operating lives of these systems can be further extended.
Optus partners with smallsat startup Myriota on Australian IoT service
by Caleb Henry on 2019-08-20 at 16:16
Australia’s largest satellite operator Optus said Aug. 19 it will jointly pursue business connecting sensors and smart devices with Myriota, a startup planning a constellation of around 50 smallsats in low Earth orbit. SpaceNews.com
Enabling longer space missions
on 2019-08-20 at 16:11
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has reignited interest in space travel. However, almost any mission beyond the moon, whether manned or unmanned, will require the spacecraft to remain fully operational for at least several years. The Hall thruster is a propulsion system that is often used by craft involved in long missions. A recent study by Andrey Shashkov and co-workers at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia has shown how the operating lives of these systems can be further extended; their work was recently published in The European Physical Journal D.
Space station’s data rate increase supports future exploration
on 2019-08-20 at 14:20
NASA recently doubled the rate at which data from the International Space Station returns to Earth, paving the way for similar future upgrades on Gateway, NASA’s upcoming outpost in lunar orbit, and other exploration missions. This new data rate will enable the space station to send back more science data faster than ever before.
Stardust in the Antarctic snow
on 2019-08-20 at 14:16
The rare isotope iron-60 is created in massive stellar explosions. Only a very small amount of this isotope reaches the earth from distant stars. Now, a research team has discovered iron-60 in Antarctic snow for the first time. The scientists suggest that the iron isotope comes from the interstellar neighborhood.
Black hole holograms
on 2019-08-20 at 14:16
Researchers show how a holographic tabletop experiment can be used to simulate the physics of a black hole. This work may lead the way to a more complete theory of quantum gravity that harmonizes quantum mechanics and relativity.
Image: Luca installs BioRock
on 2019-08-20 at 14:12
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it is off to work the microbes go.
Physicists design an experiment to pin down the origin of the elements
on 2019-08-20 at 12:01
Nearly all of the oxygen in our universe is forged in the bellies of massive stars like our sun. As these stars contract and burn, they set off thermonuclear reactions within their cores, where nuclei of carbon and helium can collide and fuse in a rare though essential nuclear reaction that generates much of the oxygen in the universe.
A space cocktail of science, bubbles and sounds
on 2019-08-20 at 11:31
The International Space Station was again the stage for novel European science and routine operations during the first half of August. Plenty of action in the form of bubbles and sounds added to the mix in the run-up to a spacewalk and the comings and goings of visiting vehicles.
Ancient Mars was warm with occasional rain, turning cold
on 2019-08-20 at 11:07
Scientists have long known that water was abundant on ancient Mars, but there has been no consensus on whether liquid water was common, or whether it was largely frozen in ice.
Mission to Jupiter’s icy moon confirmed
on 2019-08-20 at 11:00
An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission’s next phase. The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire spacecraft and science payload.
Rocky, Earth-sized exoplanet is missing an atmosphere
on 2019-08-20 at 11:00
Astronomers at MIT, Harvard University, and elsewhere have searched a rocky, Earth-sized exoplanet for signs of an atmosphere—and found none.
How Satellite Closes the Income Gap
by gregoryrt on 2019-08-20 at 08:21
The world is full of sharp disparities between the privileged and those struggling for access: access to good work, to knowledge, to the means to pursue their calling and preserve their communities. Around the world, dedicated people are using technology to close that gap. Technology that is literally out of this world. Building a Better […] SpaceNews.com
SLS contractors expect first launch in 2021
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-20 at 07:38
While NASA has yet to update the schedule for the first flight of its Space Launch System, companies working on the heavy-lift rocket now expect the rocket to launch in early 2021 rather than 2020. SpaceNews.com
Commercial crew providers prepare for fall test flights
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-20 at 06:58
Boeing and SpaceX said Aug. 19 that they expect to carry out critical test flights of their commercial crew systems this fall, with SpaceX still hopeful of launching astronauts to the International Space Station this year. SpaceNews.com
India’s Moon probe enters lunar orbit
on 2019-08-20 at 05:46
India’s Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday, executing one of the trickiest manoeuvres on its historic mission to the Moon.
FAA launch office, with mounting workload, prioritizing reorganization over expansion
by Caleb Henry on 2019-08-20 at 02:39
The Federal Aviation Administration’s space-related workload is growing faster than its workforce, but the agency wants to complete a reorganization focused on efficiency before seeking more personnel. SpaceNews.com
Atlas, Delta rocket factory begins transition to Vulcan Centaur
by Sandra Erwin on 2019-08-19 at 20:59
Vulcan scores two new customers as ULA begins factory upgrades in preparation for the transition to Vulcan production. SpaceNews.com
New planet discovered in orbit of young Milky Way star
on 2019-08-19 at 20:00
A second planet has been discovered circling Beta Pictoris, a fledgling star in our own galaxy offering astronomers a rare glimpse of a planetary system in the making, according to a study published Monday.
How NASA is becoming more business friendly
on 2019-08-19 at 15:33
A new case study demonstrates the steps being taken by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) to make it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to understand its needs and do business with it. The detailed case study, which provides insights on the design, results, and lessons learned from these efforts, is published in New Space: The Journal of Space Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
A second planet in the Beta Pictoris system
on 2019-08-19 at 15:27
A team of astronomers has discovered a second giant planet in orbit around alpha Pictoris, a star that is relatively young (23 million years old) and close (63.4 light years), and surrounded by a disk of dust. The alpha Pictoris system has fascinated astronomers for the last 30 years since it enables them to observe a planetary system in the process of forming around its star.
Scientists complete LSST’s digital sensor array
on 2019-08-19 at 15:05
After 16 years of dedicated planning and engineering, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have completed a 3.2 gigapixel sensor array for the camera that will be used in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a massive telescope that will observe the universe like never before.
Lab-based dark energy experiment narrows search options for elusive force
on 2019-08-19 at 15:00
An experiment to test a popular theory of dark energy has found no evidence of new forces, placing strong constraints on related theories.
Viasat taps Blue Canyon Technologies to build Link 16 satellite
by Debra Werner on 2019-08-19 at 14:15
Viasat selected Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) to design and manufacture a cubesat for a U.S. Air Force test of a military communications terminal in low Earth orbit. SpaceNews.com
Eight new repeating fast radio bursts detected
on 2019-08-19 at 13:00
Using the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope, astronomers have identified eight new repeating fast radio burst (FRB) sources. The finding, reported in a paper published August 9 on arXiv.org, could shed new light on the origin and nature of these mysterious phenomena.
Chinese commercial rocket Smart Dragon-1 reaches orbit with first launch
by Brian Berger on 2019-08-19 at 12:54
A Chinese rocket company launched its first rocket Saturday, successfully sending three commercial satellites into orbit and boosting domestic light-lift competition. SpaceNews.com
Robotic tool operations bring in-space refueling closer to reality
on 2019-08-19 at 12:37
NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) completed an initial set of tool operations, bringing the idea of using water ice or methane from other worlds as fuel for spacecraft one step closer to reality. The ability to store and transfer cryogens (super-cold hydrogen, oxygen and methane) will help spacecraft journey father into our solar system and beyond.
Rocket Lab Electron launches four smallsats
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-19 at 12:27
Rocket Lab launched four small satellites Aug. 19 on a mission that also brings the company one step closer to reusing the first stage of its Electron rockets. SpaceNews.com
Video: Moving on Mars
on 2019-08-19 at 12:25
The ExoMars mission will see Rosalind Franklin the rover and its surface platform Kazachok land on the Red Planet in 2021. From fine-grained soil to large boulders and slopes, the rover has to be able to move across many types of terrain, collect samples with a 2 m-long drill and analyze them with instruments in its onboard laboratory.
Spotting merging galaxies
on 2019-08-19 at 12:25
Over 30 years ago, the Infrared Astronomy Satellite discovered that the universe contained many extremely luminous galaxies, some more than a thousand times brighter than our own Milky Way, but which are practically invisible at optical wavelengths. These galaxies are powered by bursts of star formation buried deep within clouds of dust and gas. The dust absorbs the ultraviolet light while radiating at infrared wavelengths. In many cases the hyperactivity was triggered by a collisional encounter between galaxies that facilitated the collapse of interstellar gas into new stars.
NASA issues call for proposals for Gateway logistics
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-19 at 09:42
NASA formally issued a call for proposals to provide cargo transportation services for its lunar Gateway Aug. 16, offering up to $7 billion in contracts to support operations of the human-tended facility. SpaceNews.com
Scientists detect a black hole swallowing a neutron star
on 2019-08-19 at 08:40
Scientists, including from The Australian National University (ANU), say they have detected a black hole swallowing a neutron star for the first time.
NASA picks Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’ for lunar lander job
on 2019-08-16 at 22:37
NASA picked Alabama’s “Rocket City” on Friday to lead development of the next moon lander for astronauts.
APT Satellite nets $21 million from Apstar-6 insurance claim, next satellite delayed
by Caleb Henry on 2019-08-16 at 21:58
APT Satellite says it has received $21 million in insurance payments for the partial failure of the Apstar-6 communications satellite in May 2018. SpaceNews.com
Marshall selected to lead NASA human lunar lander program
by Jeff Foust on 2019-08-16 at 20:55
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will manage the agency’s efforts to develop a lander needed to achieve the goal of landing astronauts on the moon by 2024, an announcement overshadowed by political wrangling about what center should be responsible. SpaceNews.com
Chandrayaan-2: India’s lunar maneuvers continue
by Caleb Henry on 2019-08-16 at 16:21
India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is scheduled to enter lunar orbit Aug. 20 following a relatively circuitous journey to the moon. SpaceNews.com
Space samples link NASA’s Apollo 11 and Mars 2020
on 2019-08-16 at 14:10
On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 command module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific, fulfilling President Kennedy’s goal to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth. Among the mission’s many firsts was the acquisition and return of the first samples from another celestial body. Findings based on the 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of lunar rock and soil rewrote the textbooks on both the Moon and solar system, and the samples are still being studied today by researchers using new and more sensitive instruments.
Best of both worlds: Asteroids and massive mergers
on 2019-08-16 at 13:51
The race is on. Since the construction of technology able to detect the ripples in space and time triggered by collisions from massive objects in the universe, astronomers around the world have been searching for the bursts of light that could accompany such collisions, which are thought to be the sources of rare heavy elements.
Image: Hubble’s portrait of star’s gaseous glow
on 2019-08-16 at 13:32
Although it looks more like an entity seen through a microscope than a telescope, this rounded object, named NGC 2022, is certainly not algae or tiny, blobby jellyfish. Instead, it is a vast orb of gas in space, cast off by an aging star. The star is visible in the orb’s center, shining through the gases it formerly held onto for most of its stellar life.
Best of both worlds: Asteroids and massive mergers
on 2019-08-16 at 13:24
Researchers are using the Catalina Sky Survey’s near-Earth object telescopes to locate the optical counterparts to gravitational waves triggered by massive mergers.
Air Force soliciting bids for small, medium satellite launch program
by Sandra Erwin on 2019-08-16 at 07:33
OSP-4 is designed to accommodate payloads greater than 400 lbs. The Air Force projects it will procure about 20 missions over nine years. SpaceNews.com