• How does our Milky Way galaxy get its spiral form?
    on 2019-12-14 at 17:27

    A question that has long puzzled scientists is how our Milky Way galaxy which has an elegant spiral shape with long arms, took this form.

  • Northrop Grumman wins competition to build future ICBM, by default
    by Sandra Erwin on 2019-12-14 at 17:17

    The Air Force will begin a sole-source negotiation with Northrop Grumman in anticipation of a GBSD contract. SpaceNews.com

  • Vector files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-13 at 23:21

    Small launch vehicle company Vector filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dec. 13 as part of an agreement that could see some of its satellite technology assets sold to Lockheed Martin. SpaceNews.com

  • NASA looks for ways to keep Artemis on track regardless of budget outcome
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-13 at 22:12

    As the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process approaches its endgame, NASA leadership says it will find ways to keep efforts to return humans to the moon by 2024 on track even if the agency doesn’t get all the funding it’s requested. SpaceNews.com

  • RIT and IAR observe pulsars for the first time from South America
    on 2019-12-13 at 20:51

    Rochester Institute of Technology and the Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (IAR) have collaborated to make the first pulsar observations from South America.

  • Energy Department emphasizing roles in supporting space industry
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-13 at 17:51

    The Department of Energy, whose interaction with the space industry has largely been in nuclear power systems, is working to broaden its role by emphasizing its overall research capabilities. SpaceNews.com

  • Newfound Martian aurora actually the most common; sheds light on Mars’ changing climate
    on 2019-12-13 at 17:14

    A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere.

  • Finding a killer electron hot spot in Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts
    on 2019-12-13 at 16:54

    JAXA and NASA satellite observations show where killer electrons are generated in the Van Allen radiation belts surrounding Earth.

  • Breathable atmospheres may be more common in the universe than we first thought
    on 2019-12-13 at 16:10

    The existence of habitable alien worlds has been a mainstay of popular culture for more than a century. In the 19th century, astronomers believed that Martians might be using canal-based transport links to traverse the red planet. Now, despite living in an age when scientists can study planets light years from our own solar system, most new research continues to diminish the chances of finding other worlds on which humans could live. The biggest stumbling block may be oxygen—human settlers would need a high oxygen atmosphere in which to breathe.

  • Video: OPS-SAT, the flying laboratory
    on 2019-12-13 at 15:55

    On 17 December, ESA will launch a first-of-its-kind space laboratory, OPS-SAT. The small, low-cost test satellite has been specifically designed for operational experiments in space, and includes the most powerful flight computer on board any current ESA spacecraft.

  • Image: Hubble views galaxy’s dazzling display
    on 2019-12-13 at 15:00

    NGC 3175 is located around 50 million light-years away in the constellation of Antlia (the Air Pump). The galaxy can be seen slicing across the frame in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, with its mix of bright patches of glowing gas, dark lanes of dust, bright core, and whirling, pinwheeling arms coming together to paint a beautiful celestial scene.

  • X marks the spot: NASA selects site for asteroid sample collection
    on 2019-12-13 at 14:51

    After a year scoping out asteroid Bennu’s boulder-scattered surface, the team leading NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission has officially selected a sample collection site.

  • Calling radio amateurs: Help find OPS-SAT!
    on 2019-12-13 at 14:50

    Calling all radio amateurs! ESA is challenging anyone with amateur radio equipment to catch the first signals from OPS-SAT, ESA’s brand new space software laboratory.

  • Researchers estimate the mass of the Milky Way to be 890 billion times that of our sun
    on 2019-12-13 at 14:50

    An international team of researchers has used sophisticated models to calculate the mass of the Milky Way. They have written a paper describing their efforts and results, and have posted it on the arXiv preprint server.

  • Astronomers discover two new galaxy protoclusters
    on 2019-12-13 at 14:00

    Using Keck Observatory in Hawaii, astronomers have detected two new protoclusters of galaxies embedded in primordial superclusters. The research paper presenting the discovery and providing basic information about the newfound objects was published December 3 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

  • An upcoming ESA mission is going to remove one piece of space junk from orbit
    on 2019-12-13 at 13:57

    While working at the NASA Johnson Space Center during the 1970s, astrophysicist Donald Kessler predicted that collisions of space debris would become increasingly common as the density of space debris increases in orbit around the Earth, creating a cascading effect. Since 2005, the amount of debris in orbit has followed an exponential growth curve, confirming Kessler’s prediction.

  • Searching explanations for mysterious structures in protoplanetary disks
    on 2019-12-13 at 13:47

    In the discs of dust and gasses around young stars, mysterious structures occur. Together with professor Ewine van Dishoeck, Ph.D. student Paolo Cazzoletti investigate how we can explain these forms, such as rings, spirals and holes. On 12 December, he will defend his thesis.

  • Download a free copy of the SpaceNews Awards issue
    by SpaceNews Staff on 2019-12-13 at 13:37

    SpaceNews announced the winners of its third annual SpaceNews Awards for Excellence & Innovation at a Dec. 10 awards luncheon in Washington. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and U.S. Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, commanders of U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command, were in attendance to accept government leader of the year awards.   SpaceNews.com

  • Researchers participate in study that adds new detail to merger models
    on 2019-12-13 at 13:30

    Scientists are getting better at modeling the complex tangle of physics properties at play in one of the most powerful events in the known universe: the merger of two neutron stars.

  • NASA’s Juno navigators enable Jupiter cyclone discovery
    on 2019-12-13 at 13:22

    Jupiter’s south pole has a new cyclone. The discovery of the massive Jovian tempest occurred on Nov. 3, 2019, during the most recent data-gathering flyby of Jupiter by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. It was the 22nd flyby during which the solar-powered spacecraft collected science data on the gas giant, soaring only 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) above its cloud tops. The flyby also marked a victory for the mission team, whose innovative measures kept the solar-powered spacecraft clear of what could have been a mission-ending eclipse.

  • NASA selects OSIRIS-REx asteroid sampling site
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-13 at 12:29

    NASA announced Dec. 12 that it has selected the site on a near Earth asteroid where a spacecraft will touch down and collect samples, a task that has become more difficult than mission planners originally expected. SpaceNews.com

  • Mars Express tracks the phases of Phobos
    on 2019-12-13 at 12:14

    ESA’s Mars Express has captured detailed views of the small, scarred and irregularly shaped moon Phobos from different angles during a unique flyby.

  • Video: ESA’s short film, ‘The Burn’
    on 2019-12-13 at 12:13

    ESA’s short film, The Burn, takes us into the heart of Europe’s mission control during a critical moment in the life of a future mission.

  • Image: The galactic dance of NGC 5394 and NGC 5395
    on 2019-12-13 at 12:13

    “Everything is determined by forces over which we have no control… Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper,” Albert Einstein wrote.

  • Finally Taking Major Steps to Rein in Space Debris
    by gregoryrt on 2019-12-13 at 11:16

    The European Space Agency estimates that 60-plus years of space flight has left more than 34,000 objects greater than 10 centimeters in orbit, each one of them moving at around six miles per second. SpaceNews.com

  • Air Force seeking commercial technologies for cislunar space operations
    by Sandra Erwin on 2019-12-13 at 00:10

    On the wish list for the next round of SBIR bids are technologies for operations far beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit, near the moon’s orbit. SpaceNews.com

  • NASA approves Dec. 20 Starliner test flight
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-12 at 22:11

    NASA gave its approval Dec. 12 to proceed with the launch later this month of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station. SpaceNews.com

  • Boeing’s crew capsule declared ready for 1st space flight
    on 2019-12-12 at 21:25

    Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule finally has a launch date for its first test flight to the International Space Station.

  • Interstellar comet 2I/Borisov swings past sun
    on 2019-12-12 at 21:08

    When astronomers see something in the universe that at first glance seems like one-of-a-kind, it’s bound to stir up a lot of excitement and attention. Enter comet 2I/Borisov. This mysterious visitor from the depths of space is the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. We don’t know from where or when the comet started heading toward our Sun, but it won’t hang around for long. The Sun’s gravity is slightly deflecting its trajectory, but can’t capture it because of the shape of its orbit and high velocity of about 100,000 miles per hour.

  • First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star
    on 2019-12-12 at 19:27

    Comet 2I/Borisov is a mysterious visitor from the depths of space — the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. Hubble images capture the comet streaking though our solar system and on its way back to interstellar space. It’s only the second interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

  • Scientists map a planet’s global wind patterns for the first time, and it’s not Earth
    on 2019-12-12 at 19:26

    A new article documents the global wind patterns on any planet for the first time. Remote repogramming of the MAVEN spacecraft and its NGIMS instrument enabled the data collection. The results reveal seasonal stability in circulation patterns on Mars, but high short-term volatility in wind direction and speed. The data also allow researchers to infer the topography below based on waves created by the air mass flowing over features like mountains and canyons.

  • German launch startup raises $17 million with help from Airbus Ventures and an ex-SpaceX employee
    by Caleb Henry on 2019-12-12 at 19:05

    Isar Aerospace, a German startup developing a small launch vehicle, has raised $17 million in a Series A round led by Airbus Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital.  SpaceNews.com

  • Scientists map Mars’ global wind patterns for the first time
    on 2019-12-12 at 19:00

    Today, a paper published in Science documents for the first time the global wind circulation patterns in the upper atmosphere of a planet, 120 to 300 kilometers above the surface. The findings are based on local observations, rather than indirect measurements, unlike many prior measurements taken on Earth’s upper atmosphere. But it didn’t happen on Earth: it happened on Mars. On top of that, all the data came from an instrument and a spacecraft that weren’t originally designed to collect wind measurements.

  • Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-12 at 16:55

    The U.S. Air Force will be the first customer for a Rocket Lab Electron launching in 2020 from a new launch site in Virginia, the company announced Dec. 12. SpaceNews.com

  • NASA’s NICER delivers best-ever pulsar measurements, first surface map
    on 2019-12-12 at 16:44

    Astrophysicists are redrawing the textbook image of pulsars, the dense, whirling remains of exploded stars, thanks to NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), an X-ray telescope aboard the International Space Station. Using NICER data, scientists have obtained the first precise and dependable measurements of both a pulsar’s size and its mass, as well as the first-ever map of hot spots on its surface.

  • Short-lived light sources discovered in the sky
    on 2019-12-12 at 16:41

    A project lead by an international team of researchers use publicly available data with images of the sky dating as far back as the 1950s to try to detect and analyse objects that have disappeared over time. In the project “Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations” (VASCO), they have particularly looked for objects that may have existed in old military sky catalogues from the 1950s, not to be found again in modern sky surveys. Among the physical indicators that they are looking for are stars that have vanished in the Milky Way.

  • Kepler books SpaceX rideshare for LEO satellites
    by Caleb Henry on 2019-12-12 at 16:38

    Kepler Communications on Dec. 11 said it booked 400 kilograms of rideshare capacity with SpaceX  in order to launch an unspecified number of its Internet of Things cubesat next year. SpaceNews.com

  • Newfound Martian aurora actually the most common; sheds light on Mars’ changing climate
    on 2019-12-12 at 15:58

    A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere.

  • Martian aurora offers climate change clues, research reports
    on 2019-12-12 at 15:35

    A newly published study, presented on Dec. 12 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, reveals that a type of Martian aurora originally detected by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is in fact the most common aurora on the Red Planet, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers said.

  • Research group confirm planet-mass objects in extragalactic systems
    on 2019-12-12 at 15:17

    A University of Oklahoma research group is reporting the detection of extragalactic planet-mass objects in a second and third galaxy beyond the Milky Way after the first detection in 2018. With the existing observational resources, it is impossible to directly detect planet-mass objects beyond the Milky Way and to measure its rogue planetary population.

  • Planet-mass objects in extragalactic systems
    on 2019-12-12 at 14:59

    A research group is reporting the detection of extragalactic planet-mass objects in a second and third galaxy beyond the Milky Way after the first detection in 2018. With the existing observational resources, it is impossible to directly detect planet-mass objects beyond the Milky Way and to measure its rogue planetary population.

  • The return to Venus and what it means for Earth
    on 2019-12-12 at 12:58

    Sue Smrekar really wants to go back to Venus. In her office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the planetary scientist displays a 30-year-old image of Venus’ surface taken by the Magellan spacecraft, a reminder of how much time has passed since an American mission orbited the planet. The image reveals a hellish landscape: a young surface with more volcanoes than any other body in the solar system, gigantic rifts, towering mountain belts and temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

  • Saturn Satellite Networks to be first customer of Northrop Grumman’s OmegA
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-12 at 12:56

    Northrop Grumman announced Dec. 12 that Saturn Satellite Networks, a startup satellite manufacturer, will be the customer for the first OmegA launch in 2021. SpaceNews.com

  • House preparing to introduce new NASA authorization bill
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-12 at 10:58

    A House committee is finalizing its version of a NASA authorization bill that will cover many of the same topics as a Senate bill, but do so in different ways. SpaceNews.com

  • NRL-camera aboard NASA spacecraft confirms asteroid phenomenon
    on 2019-12-12 at 08:15

    A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory-built camera mounted on the NASA Parker Solar Probe revealed an asteroid dust trail that has eluded astronomers for decades.

  • NASA to buy more commercial Earth observation data
    by Debra Werner on 2019-12-12 at 05:30

    NASA will seek continued access to Earth observation data gathered by commercial satellite constellations after a pilot program proved the value of those observations. SpaceNews.com

  • Space Force proponents in Congress warn Air Force: ‘We will watch you like a hawk’
    by Sandra Erwin on 2019-12-12 at 00:08

    Reps. Jim Cooper and Mike Rogers were the original proponents of a space service. It was not Trump’s idea. SpaceNews.com

  • National Reconnaissance Office awards imagery contracts to Capella Space, HawkEye 360
    by Sandra Erwin on 2019-12-11 at 22:14

    Pete Muend said the NRO wants to understand the capabilities of a variety of commercial vendors. SpaceNews.com

  • Maxar finishes $291M property sale • Panasonic Avionics signs Eutelsat capacity contract
    by Caleb Henry on 2019-12-11 at 21:51

    Maxar Technologies completed a $291 million property sale in Palo Alto, California. SpaceNews.com

  • Revealing the physics of the Sun with Parker Solar Probe
    on 2019-12-11 at 21:04

    Nearly a year and a half into its mission, Parker Solar Probe has returned gigabytes of data on the Sun and its atmosphere. Following the release of the very first science from the mission, five researchers presented additional new findings from Parker Solar Probe at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Dec. 11, 2019. Research from these teams hints at the processes behind both the Sun’s continual outflow of material—the solar wind—and more infrequent solar storms that can disrupt technology and endanger astronauts, along with new insight into space dust that creates the Geminids meteor shower.

  • Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket makes 12th test flight
    on 2019-12-11 at 20:52

    Blue Origin, the space company owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, launched the 12th crewless test of its New Shepard rocket on Wednesday, pushing the first flights with passengers to 2020.

  • New Shepard sets reusability mark on latest suborbital spaceflight
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-11 at 19:02

    Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle made its first flight in more than seven months Dec. 11 as the company inches closer to flying people to the edge of space. SpaceNews.com

  • ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight
    on 2019-12-11 at 17:43

    Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

  • ALMA spots most distant dusty galaxy hidden in plain sight
    on 2019-12-11 at 17:19

    Astronomers have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

  • U.S. Group on Earth Observations calls for coordination, private sector engagement
    by Debra Werner on 2019-12-11 at 16:26

    SAN FRANCISCO – The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an updated plan for U.S. Earth observation Dec. 9 calling for improved coordination, greater engagement with the private sector and efforts to assess the value of the data. “We really want to emphasize this is a national Earth-observation plan, not a federal SpaceNews.com

  • Engineers pull off daring rescue of OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission
    on 2019-12-11 at 14:34

    On Friday, Oct. 11, the OSIRIS-REx team should have been preparing to point their spacecraft cameras precisely over the asteroid Bennu to capture high-resolution images of a region known as Osprey. It is one of four sites scientists are considering from which the spacecraft can safely collect a sample in late 2020.

  • Water common — yet scarce — in exoplanets
    on 2019-12-11 at 13:26

    The most extensive survey of atmospheric chemical compositions of exoplanets to date has revealed trends that challenge current theories of planet formation and has implications for the search for water in the solar system and beyond.

  • NASA and Boeing look ahead to long-term SLS production
    by Jeff Foust on 2019-12-11 at 10:56

    As NASA marked the completion of the core stage of the first Space Launch System rocket, the agency and the rocket’s prime contractor are in the midst of negotiations for a long-term production contract for additional vehicles. SpaceNews.com

  • NASA Earth Science leaders anticipate low-cost launch options
    by Debra Werner on 2019-12-11 at 00:47

    NASA Earth Science leaders are enthusiastic about the potential for principal investigators to take advantage of new low-cost launch options. SpaceNews.com

  • Barrett: Air Force to ‘move out smartly’ on Space Force
    by Sandra Erwin on 2019-12-10 at 19:48

    Barrett said the Air Force is reviewing the NDAA conference agreement and discussing next steps SpaceNews.com

Close Menu