Bob Zimmerman gives the latest on the sun’s current mediocre performance in the solar cycle: An upbeat wimpy maximum holds on- Behind The Black
Here’s a cool video of the earth and moon taken by the Juno probe as it came it to get its kick to Jupiter from the earth:
When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.
“If Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise said, ‘Take us home, Scotty,’ this is what the crew would see,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio. “In the movie, you ride aboard Juno as it approaches Earth and then soars off into the blackness of space. No previous view of our world has ever captured the heavenly waltz of Earth and moon.”
The Juno Earth flyby movie is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CzBlSXgzqI&feature=youtu.be . The music accompaniment is an original score by Vangelis.
The cameras that took the images for the movie are located near the pointed tip of one of the spacecraft’s three solar-array arms. They are part of Juno’s Magnetic Field Investigation (MAG) and are normally used to determine the orientation of the magnetic sensors. These cameras look away from the sunlit side of the solar array, so as the spacecraft approached, the system’s four cameras pointed toward Earth. Earth and the moon came into view when Juno was about 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) away — about three times the Earth-moon separation.
During the flyby, timing was everything. Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2 rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn’t make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format.
“Everything we humans are and everything we do is represented in that view,” said the star tracker’s designer, John Jørgensen of the Danish Technical University, near Copenhagen.
Also during the flyby, Juno’s Waves instrument, which is tasked with measuring radio and plasma waves in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, recorded amateur radio signals. This was part of a public outreach effort involving ham radio operators from around the world. They were invited to say “HI” to Juno by coordinating radio transmissions that carried the same Morse-coded message. Operators from every continent, including Antarctica, participated.
“With the Earth flyby completed, Juno is now on course for arrival at Jupiter on July 4, 2016,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
The Juno spacecraft was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 5, 2011. Juno’s launch vehicle was capable of giving the spacecraft only enough energy to reach the asteroid belt, at which point the sun’s gravity pulled it back toward the inner solar system. Mission planners designed the swing by Earth as a gravity assist to increase the spacecraft’s speed relative to the sun, so that it could reach Jupiter. (The spacecraft’s speed relative to Earth before and after the flyby is unchanged.)
After Juno arrives and enters into orbit around Jupiter in 2016, the spacecraft will circle the planet 33 times, from pole to pole, and use its collection of science instruments to probe beneath the gas giant’s obscuring cloud cover. Scientists will learn about Jupiter’s origins, internal structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Juno’s name comes from Greek and Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief from his wife, but the goddess Juno used her special powers to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter’s true nature.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
When the first fly-by spacecraft images of Mars were seen in the 1960s, the planet looked as static and frozen in time as the Moon. However, subsequent examinations by orbiting spacecraft and landers in the past couple of decades, Mars has shown itself to be in fact very dynamic and changing. There are dust storms and dust devils (little tornados), changes in the water icecap at the north pole and in the CO2 cap at the south pole, landslides, etc.
On Tuesday, new imagery from the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling and studying Mars since 2006, show just how much the features on Mars vary over time. In particular, there are vivid sequences of images of streaks along the sides of mountains and craters as they change throughout the year.
These images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)
camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show how the appearance of dark
markings on Martian slope changes with the seasons.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed to scientists slender dark markings — possibly due to salty water – that advance seasonally down slopes surprisingly close to the Martian equator.
“The equatorial surface region of Mars has been regarded as dry, free of liquid or frozen water, but we may need to rethink that,” said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, principal investigator for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.
Tracking how these features recur each year is one example of how the longevity of NASA orbiters observing Mars is providing insight about changes on many time scales. Researchers at the American Geophysical Union meeting Tuesday in San Francisco discussed a range of current Martian activity, from fresh craters offering glimpses of subsurface ice to multi-year patterns in the occurrence of large, regional dust storms. Watch televised news briefing.
The seasonally changing surface flows were first reported two years ago on mid-latitude southern slopes. They are finger-like features typically less than 16 feet (5 meters) wide that appear and extend down steep, rocky slopes during spring through summer, then fade in winter and return the next spring. Recently observed slopes stretch as long as 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
McEwen and co-authors reported the equatorial flows at the conference and in a paper published online Tuesday by Nature Geoscience. Five well-monitored sites with these markings are in Valles Marineris, the largest canyon system in the solar system. At each of these sites, the features appear on both north- and south-facing walls. On the north-facing slopes, they are active during the part of the year when those slopes get the most sunshine. The counterparts on south-facing slopes start flowing when the season shifts and more sunshine hits their side.
“The explanation that fits best is salty water is flowing down the slopes when the temperature rises,” McEwen said. “We still don’t have any definite identification of water at these sites, but there’s nothing that rules it out, either.”
Dissolved salts can keep water melted at temperatures when purer water freezes, and they can slow the evaporation rate so brine can flow farther. This analysis used data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars and the Context Camera on the MRO as well as the Thermal Emission Imaging System experiment on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter.
Water ice has been identified in another dynamic process researchers are monitoring with MRO. Impacts of small asteroids or bits of comets dig many fresh craters on Mars every year. Twenty fresh craters have exposed bright ice previously hidden beneath the surface. Five were reported in 2009. The 15 newly reported ones are distributed over a wider range of latitudes and longitudes.
“The more we find, the more we can fill in a global map of where ice is buried,” said Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Ariz. “We’ve now seen icy craters down to 39 degrees north, more than halfway from the pole to the equator. They tell us that either the average climate over several thousand years is wetter than present or that water vapor in the current atmosphere is concentrated near the surface. Ice could have formed under wetter conditions, with remnants from that time persisting today, but slowly disappearing.”
Mars’ modern climate becomes better known each year because of a growing set of data from a series of orbiters that have been studying Mars continually since 1997. That has been almost nine Martian years because a year on Mars is almost two years long on Earth. Earlier missions and surface landers have added insight about the dynamics of Mars’ atmosphere and its interaction with the ground.
“The dust cycle is the main driver of the climate system,” said Robert Haberle of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
One key question researchers want to answer is why dust storms encircle Mars in some years and not in others. These storms affect annual patterns of water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, freezing into polar ice caps in winter and replenishing the atmosphere in spring. Identifying significant variations in annual patterns requires many Martian years of observations.
The data emerging from long-term studies will help future human explorers of Mars know where to find resources such as water, how to prepare for hazards such as dust storms, and where to be extra careful about contamination with Earth microbes.
and those that have not (red). The underlying map is based on the brightness,
or albedo, of the Martian surface.
Launched in 2005, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its six instruments have provided more high-resolution data about the Red Planet than all other Mars orbiters combined. Data are made available for scientists worldwide to research, analyze and report their findings.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the MRO and Mars Odyssey missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built both orbiters. The University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory operates the HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo.
Find a gallery of images also at Science in Motion: Recurring Slope Lineae in Equatorial Regions of Mars – HiRISE
In this panel discussion, the images are narrated and explained:
NASA’s Project Morpheus has moved their vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) vehicle (modeled after Armadillo Aerospace‘s quad vehicles) to Kennedy Space Center, where they can do un-tethered free flights. The first such free flight test took place today:
Here is a post I wrote on NewSpace Watch that was prompted by Rand Simberg’s recent commentary about the impact on the aerospace primes by SpaceX‘s launch of the SES-8 satellite to GEO: A meteor impact on the launch industry + Inmarsat and reliability at any cost (to the taxpayer) - available to non-subscribers.
John Strickland was interviewed recently on two episodes of the Doug Turnbull podcast show about various space development topics, particularly the problems with the SLS/Orion program (see John’s article Revisiting SLS/Orion launch costs – The Space Review):
Rick Boozer, who has also been on the Turnbull show (here and here), has a new op-ed at Space.com: Allow NASA to Do Great Things Again – Space Policy/Space.com.
Check out Rick’s book The Plundering of NASA: an Exposé.
More space policy/politics related links:
- The Sorry State of Planetary Science Funding In One Chart – The Planetary Society
- America’s Seed Corn Crisis – Bonnie Dunbar/SpaceNews.com
- Editorial | Clear the Barriers to Commercial Research on ISS – SpaceNews.com
- The Time is Not Ripe To Tackle Space Property Rights – Michael Listner/SpaceNews.com
- NASA: Some perspective and gratitude – WTOP.com
- Deputy prime minister urges to speed up Vostochny spaceport construction – Russia & India Report
- Lunar Aspirations – Beijing Review
- Loss of Brazil satellite deals setback to China space ambitions – South China Morning Post
- The Sorry State of Planetary Science Funding In One Chart – The Planetary Society
- Gross: Privatized space exploration offers new chance for U.S. to re-enter the race – Iowa State Daily: Opinion
- Space Mission ‘Should Put Woman On Moon’ – SkyNews
- Science minister David Willetts: Britain can help build a moon base and send a manned mission to Mars – Telegraph
This Friday the George C. Marshall Institute will hold an event on Capitol Hill titled:
Date(s) - 12/13/20132:00 pm – 3:30 pm
2325 Rayburn House Office Building
Despite broad popular support for NASA and the importance of America’s efforts in space, the American space program is adrift, uncertain about the future and unclear about the purposes it serves. Policymakers in the White House and Congress have papered over the uncertainty with compromises that sometimes leave NASA working against itself and no one satisfied.
On December 13, 2013 the George C. Marshall Institute will release a new book, America’s Space Futures: Defining Goals for Space Exploration, which responds to this challenge by considering the costs, benefits and risks of different visions for the American space program. In a series of essays, the authors offer out-of-the-box thinking and analyses that lay out a space future that sets priorities to achieve a specific national goal.
The event will include discussion by the book’s authors:
- James Vedda, Senior Policy Analyst at the Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy & Strategy
- Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute and Professor of International Affairs, George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.
- William Adkins, President of Adkins Strategies LLC and former Staff Director of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee.
- Charles Miller, President of NexGen Space LLC and former NASA Senior Advisor for Commercial Space
- Eric Sterner, Fellow at the George C. Marshall Institute and faculty member at Missouri State University Graduate Department of Defense and Strategic Studies.
For reservations, call 571-970-3180 or email email@example.com
Charles Miller tells me that his chapter in the book deals with
why Cheap Access to Space (CATS) should be our nation’s top strategic priority. I also focus on how we can achieve CATS based on lessons learned from recent history and new insights from early aviation.
Felipe Aguilar points me to his short film Spacefaring in which he juxtaposes Indian village life with the country’s space aspirations:
NASA JPL releases a overview of several studies of measurements made by the Curiosity Mars rover during the time since it landed in August of 2012: NASA Curiosity: First Mars Age Measurement and Human Exploration Help – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, the mobile Mars Science Laboratory has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could reveal the building blocks of life. Curiosity team members presented these results and more from Curiosity in six papers published online today by Science Express and in talks at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
This illustration depicts a concept for the possible extent of an ancient lake
inside Gale Crater. The base map combines image data from the Context
Camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and color information
from Viking Orbiter imagery.
Here’s an interesting post about clouds forming in low lying areas on Mars: The Mists of Mars – The Planetary Society
NASA / JPL / Malin Space Science Systems / Bill Dunford
The Clouds of Mars: A composite of global images of Mars taken on
November 29-30, 2013 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Water ice
clouds cling to the summits of the major volcanoes, and fill the
giant canyon of Valles Marineris (the long, horizontal feature in the south).
The Mars Society is pleased to announced the beginning of the 2013-14 Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Field Season, with crew 131 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University arriving earlier today at the Mars hab in southern Utah. A chilly start to the field season has the MDRS facility covered in snow and ice with temperatures well below freezing.
Commander Report (12/07/13)
Crew 131 arrived on Mars today after a long journey from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. Upon arrival the crew immediately began
settling into their rooms, cleaning the Hab and organizing the laboratory and upstairs living area. Two crew members went to get the food and supplies for the crew’s two-week stay on the Red Planet. Once the supplies were brought back, they were inventoried and organized in the upstairs cabinets. Currently, the crew is finishing up making dinner and writing reports.
Tomorrow Crew 131 will be officially entering sim (simulation) after some outdoor orientation activities and a crew photo. The crew will also be making all final preparations for the studies they will be conducting while on Mars. These studies include a usability study on an aeroponics device that was built by students in the Human Factors undergraduate program at Embry-Riddle as well as a usability study on a pair of space suit gloves provided by a private space suit design company called Final Frontier Design.
Additionally, the crew will be conducting an exercise study looking at the effect of exercise on stress and mood as well as a sleep pattern study looking at how the crew’s sleep patterns change when in an isolated and confined environment. Finally, the last study will involve testing out a variety of behavioral questionnaires to determine which are best for monitoring crew function and cohesion. Data collection for these studies will begin on Monday.
Overall, the crew is settling in to their new home for the next two weeks and is excited to begin their research. The crew is also eagerly awaiting the opportunity to explore Mars in their first EVA, which will be on Monday.
The earth observation satellite company DigitalGlobe is holding a contest to selected their top image of the year: Vote For DigitalGlobe’s Best Satellite Photo Of The Year – Popular Science
DigitalGlobe saw many changes in 2013, including our combination with GeoEye in February. The combination grew our constellation to five satellites, adding the capability to collect more than one billion square kilometers of imagery to our archive this year alone!
Dunalley, Australia, Jan. 6, 2013 – fires, false color image (red = healthy vegetation)
Digital Globe Facebook
As 2013 comes to a close, we’re looking back in the archive and choosing our favorite images captured byIKONOS, QuickBird, WorldView-1, GeoEye-1 and WorldView-2. Our DigitalGlobe team members helped to narrow the image selections from trillions of pixels to 20 images. Now we’re looking to you to help us select the top image from these chosen 20.
Please join us in voting for DigitalGlobe’s third annual Top Commercial Satellite Image of the Year contest. To vote, simply go to DigitalGlobe’s Facebook page to see the Top Image Contest – 2013 Top 20 album. You can “like” as many images as you want, but only the five images with the most likes will make it to the final round. You have two weeks to vote, campaign for, and promote the images you want to see in the top five.
On December 17 we will announce the five images with the overall most “likes.” The images will be added to a new album, Top Image Contest – 2013 Top 5 album, where you can “like” your favorite image.
Want additional votes in this final round? Follow DigitalGlobe on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ to retweet, repin, and +1 your favorite images. We will announce the winning image of 2013 in early January 2014.
We want you to be the judge, so join the conversation and vote for the Top Image of 2013!
1. Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back MICHELLE EVANTS for updates regarding X-15 and her book on the subject, The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space.
2. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): We welcome back DR. WENDELL MENDELL. Dr. Mendell is a planetary scientist at NASA JSC. We will be discussing the Moon and much more during this program.
3. Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 9:30-11 AM PST (11:30- 1 PM CST, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EST): We welcome DR. DAVID BRAIN to the program to discuss the MAVEN mission, Mars, and more.
4. Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). We welcome back ERIC LERNER of Focus Fusion. We will be discussion fusion energy updates with our guest.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
Rand Simberg writes about the impact on big aerospace and NASA by SpaceX‘s recent successful launch of the geostationary telecommunications satellite SES-8: The Dinosaurs Of The Launch Industry – Transterrestrial Musings.
BTW: Rand’s new book on spaceflight risk is now available at Amazon: Safe Is Not an Option ”Overcoming the futile obsession with getting everyone back alive that is now killing our expansion into space“.
More space policy links:
- Space Policy Events for the Week of December 9-13, 2013
- The new space race: It’s not just the U.S. and Russia anymore: There are now many space programs, both national and private. And that’s good for science - Louis Freedman/LA Times
- You must watch the US Congress’ hearing on alien life—it’s so good – gizmodo
- The House astrobiology hearing: remarkable or mostly harmless? – Space Politics
- Legislator presents spaceport idea to Black Belt committee – The Selma Times‑Journal
- The ASRG Cancellation in Context – Future Planetary Exploration
- NASA Wants Role In Europe’s Astrophysics Missions – Aviation Week
The forces that keep federal money flowing to the sugar industry are very similar to those that keep $3B per year going to the SLS/Orion boondoggle : Sugar protections prove easy to swallow for lawmakers on both sides of aisle – The Washington Post.
On Tuesday the 10th of December Mars One will announce at a press conference in Washington DC that we contracted Lockheed Martin and SSTL for our first unmanned mission to Mars. The press conference will be followed by a Tweetup.
We’re very excited about contracting Lockheed Martin and SSTL. Lockheed Martin has a distinct legacy of participating in nearly every NASA mission to Mars. SSTL has an impressive track record in small, affordable satellite missions.
Livestream Press conference
The press conference will take place from 10:30am – 12:00pm (EST) in the National Press Club in Washington DC and will be live streamed. Several hours before the conference starts, you’ll find more information on the live stream on this page.
The press conference will be followed by a Tweetup and Q&A. It will start at 1:30 pm and will last until 2:30 pm (EST). We invite anyone interested to join the Tweetup live at the National Press Club in Washington DC, or online using the hashtag #AskMarsOne. You will be able to submit questions on that hashtag and the frequently asked ones will be answered by the Mars One, Lockheed Martin and SSTL panel.
If you’re interested in joining the Tweetup live, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your Twitter handle.
ANS 342 Weekly AMSAT Bulletin – Dec.7, 2013:
* WD9EWK releases videos of working AO-73
* AO-73 added to LoTW list of recognized satellites
* South Africa ZACube-1 Tshepisosat Telemetry Requested
* New Award from The Star Comm Group
* Listening Help Requested for Trailblazer and DragonSat
* CAPE-2 Tracking Information Updated
* Successful Launch of NROL-39 CubeSats
* NASA Enhances ‘Space Station Live’ and Launches New Weekly Web Series
* NASA Education and Virginia Space Grant Opportunities Available
* See What You Are Missing if You Don’t Receive Your Own AMSAT Journal
* ARISS News
* Satellite Shorts From All Over
More about the Chinese Chang’e 3 lunar spacecraft going into orbit around the Moon: Chinese probe arrives in lunar orbit for moon landing – Spaceflight Now.
See also the earlier post here.
The vehicle is expected to land on December 14th.
Here’s a discussion of China’s goals for its lunar program: Why is China targeting the moon — and should NASA as well? – Fox News.
[ Update: Two other NASA cubesat reports:
- NASA Initiative Helps Launch Student-Built Satellites - NASA
- Thinking Inside the Box, Launching into Space - NASA
NASA Ames reports on their latest PhoneSat:
PhoneSat 2.4, NASA’s next generation smartphone cubesat has phoned home. The tiny spacecraft that uses an off-the-shelf smartphone for a brain has completed checkout and sent back data confirming all systems are “go” for the spry spacefarer.
consumer devices can lead to new space exploration capabilities.
PhoneSat 2.4, a cube approximately four inches square, weighs only about 2.2 pounds, and was developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. It is first of the PhoneSat family to use a two-way S-band radio, allowing engineers to command the satellite from Earth. It is confirming the viability of using smartphones and other commercially available electronics in satellites destined for low-Earth orbit.
“It’s great to hear from NASA’s most recent cubesat spacecraft,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “NASA is committed to opening up the high frontier to a new generation of explorers who can take advantage of these sorts of small satellites to do science and technology development at a fraction of the cost of larger, more complex spacecraft.”
In April, NASA successfully demonstrated a one-week mission with PhoneSat 1.0. With an expected orbital lifetime of up to one year, PhoneSat 2.4 will measure how well commercially developed components perform in space over a long period of time. This innovative application of commercially developed technologies for use in space provides for low-cost, low-risk, highly repetitive missions to meet some unique NASA science and exploration needs.
The spacecraft was among 11 agency-sponsored cubesats deployed Nov. 19 by a NASA-built Nanosatellite Launch Adapter System aboard an Orbital Sciences Minotaur 1 rocket for the U.S. Air Force from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
PhoneSat 2.4 also will test a system to control the orientation of the cubesat in space. Like the earlier PhoneSat 1, PhoneSat 2.4 uses a Nexus S smartphone made by Samsung Electronics running Google’s Android operating system. Santa Clara University in California is providing the ground station for the mission.
The smartphone provides many of the functions the satellite needs to operate, such as computation, memory, ready-made interfaces for communications, navigation and power, all assembled in a rugged package before launch. Data from the satellite’s subsystems, including the smartphone, the power system and orientation control system are being downlinked over amateur radio at a frequency of 437.425MHz.
The next PhoneSat, version 2.5, is scheduled to launch in February, hitching a ride aboard a commercial SpaceX rocket. That spacecraft also is expected to perform in Earth orbit for several months and continue testing the two-way radio and orientation systems. The PhoneSat Project is managed by the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
The PhoneSat series of missions are pathfinders for NASA’s next Small Spacecraft Technology mission, the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN). The EDSN mission is composed of eight identical 1.5-unit cubesats, which are each approximately 4 inches by 4 inches by 6 inches in size and weighing about 5.5 pounds, that will be deployed during a launch from Kauai, Hawaii in 2014.
The EDSN mission will demonstrate the concept of using many small spacecraft in a coordinated cluster to study the space environment and space-to-space communications techniques. The eight EDSN satellites each will have a Nexus S smartphone for satellite command and data handling, with a scientific instrument added as a payload on each spacecraft.
During EDSN, each cubesat will make science measurements and transmit the data to the others while any one of them can then transmit all of the collected data to a ground station. This versatility in command and control could make possible large swarms of satellites to affordably monitor Earth’s climate, space weather and other global-scale phenomena.
The PhoneSat Project is one of many development projects within NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program, one of nine programs within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The Small Spacecraft Technology Program develops and matures technologies to enhance and expand the capabilities of small spacecraft, with a particular focus on communications, propulsion, pointing, power, and autonomous operations.
For more information about PhoneSat, the Small Spacecraft Technology Program and NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech
For more information about Ames, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ames
On Nov 24th and 28th, 2013, Kevin Fetter of Brockville, Ontario captured imagery of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane in the night sky. Orbiting Earth for over year, the mission’s purpose and capability is “in the black.” — Read more about the secret mission here: http://goo.gl/A9Tkz9
This article about the Atlas V launch this week of a NRO spysat discusses the tracking of these sorts of secret vehicles by amateur spacecraft observers: Atlas Launch Report | Government spy satellite rockets into space on Atlas 5 – Spaceflight Now
Ted Molczan, an experienced amateur satellite watcher in Canada, believes Thursday’s launch lofted the third radar satellite in the Topaz series.
“Am I convinced? I would say I am 80 percent confident NROL-39 is Topaz,” said Jonathan McDowell, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks global satellite and launch activity.
It is “always possible there is a one-off vehicle in a somewhat similar orbit. Let’s see the amateurs pick it up and get its orbit, then we’ll make a final conclusion,” McDowell said before Thursday’s launch.
Find more about tracking spacecraft in the HobbySpace Satellite Observing section.
At a TED event this week, Prof. Dava J. Newman of MIT spoke about her skin-tight Bio-Suit designs that would allow for much greater freedom of motion and comfort for walkers in space, on a moon, on Mars, etc.:
- A recap of TEDWomen 2013 session 1 | TED Blog
- Meet Dava Newman, the Universe’s Leading Space Fashion Designer – Liz Gannes/AllThingsD
“Behold, a slim-fitting spacesuit to let astronauts move in space.”
Farming in space and on earth: Air, water, energy and food in a nutshell: Space exploration as driver for sustainable robotic agriculture - Robohub
In the final installment in the serialization of the updated version of the book The Rocket Company by Patrick J. G. Stiennon and David M. Hoerr, with illustrations by Doug Birkholz, you can obtain the last four chapters and the two epilogues:
- Updated Forward by David Hoerr (pdf)
- Chapter 24 (pdf)
- Chapter 25 (pdf)
- Chapter 26 (pdf)
- Chapter 27 (pdf)
- Epilogue I (pdf)
- Epilogue II (pdf)
Download these within the next week or so.
See also the electronic version of the updated book is available at The Rocket Company eBook by Patrick Stiennon, David Hoerr, Peter Diamandis, Doug Birkhol: Kindle Store/Amazon.com