Category Archives: Space participation

Videos: Night sky highlights for October 2020

[ Update:

** What’s Up: October 2020 Skywatching Tips from NASANASA JPL

What are some skywatching highlights in October 2020? Not one, but two, full moons; Mars at opposition; and finding the Andromeda galaxy. Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at….


** Tonight’s Sky: OctoberSpace Telescope Science Institute

Crisp, clear October nights are full of celestial showpieces. Find Pegasus, the flying horse of Greek myth, to pinpoint dense globular star clusters and galaxies, and keep watching for space-based views of M15, NGC 7331, and the Andromeda Galaxy.

** What to see in the night sky: October 2020BC Sky at Night Magazine

What can you see in the night sky tonight? Astronomers Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel reveal their stargazing tips for October 2020, and show you the best things to see in the night sky this month.

** What’s in the Night Sky October 2020 #WITNS | Halloween Moon | Meteor Showers – Alyn Wallace

** Skywatch: What’s happening in the heavens in October – The Washington Post

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Stellaris: People of the Stars

Artists commissioned to create paintings on sides of Blue Origin New Shepard rockets

Uplift Aerospace is a company that

provides exclusive products forever transformed by their travel beyond our atmosphere in the realm of the stars. Our products symbolize humanity’s boundless capability and commitment to exploration.

One of Uplift’s projects is to use Blue Origin‘s New Shepard vehicles as canvases for original art pieces:

Uplift Aerospace is Using Rockets in Space as a New Platform
for Evolutionary Artwork

Uplift Aerospace is exploring the limits of evolutionary art by painting commissioned pieces on the exterior of a Blue Origin spacecraft and launching them to space and back on an upcoming New Shepard mission. Internationally renowned artists are collaborating with Uplift Aerospace and the heavens to create this historic artwork.

By painting the vehicle that humanity has used to explore the stars, the artwork will both symbolically and physically represent our search for knowledge and connection. Small details of the painting will transform throughout the journey to and from space as the artwork experiences the phases of a rocket launch from the ground, through the air at Mach speeds, in the vacuum of space, and landing back on Earth. Testing by Uplift Aerospace has ensured that adhesion, integrity, and relative coloration of the paints will endure the rigors of space travel.

“The Mona Lisa would not move today’s viewer quite so poignantly without the telltale signs of its now centuries-old story and its emergence from the brush of a Renaissance master. Journey and story will also leave a unique and indelible mark on Uplift Aerospace’s first artwork to return from space travel,” says Dakota Bradshaw, Museum Professional.

Artists Jeff Hein, recognized as a “living master” by the Art Renewal Center, and Mark R. Pugh, a master of surrealist painting, are working closely with engineers and material experts to ensure the highest retention of their artistic craftsmanship throughout the journey. Both artists have paintings in prestigious private and public galleries around the world and look forward to having their work forever transformed by the journey past Earth’s atmosphere:

“I’ve always felt that creativity is uniquely human. The things we make define us individually and collectively. It is thrilling to have an expression of my humanity propelled into outer space, far from our world, and toward infinite others. After 18 years of painting, I have been fortunate to show my work all over the world, but I’ve never shown in space. It’s truly amazing,” says Hein.

These unique pieces will inspire a new era of artistic collaboration. Not only will outer space wield its brush to put the final touches on the paintings, but the beautiful form of the rocket shows how world-class engineering is an art itself. This partnership represents humanity’s endless capacity for bringing together different frontiers, in this case technology and fine art, in novel and astonishing ways. Mark R. Pugh describes his involvement in this historic collaboration:

“I like to create art as a mix of traditional imagery with modern elements. Painting with a classical approach on the side of a rocket is an exciting way to merge the traditional with the modern. So much creativity goes into engineering these incredible machines, so to be able to have a piece of them displayed as an element in a work of art, particularly one that has spent time directly exposed to elements outside the Earth’s atmosphere, makes this truly a valuable piece of history, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

After its mission, the artwork will be curated and delivered to its patrons, who will own a piece of art and aerospace history.

“The idea that the artwork will be lit by distant galaxies, with earth as a backdrop, is a beautiful visualization, and I think this characteristic will allow viewers a closer connection with the cosmos and the precious planet we call home,” says Josh Hanes, owner of Uplift Aerospace.

Uplift Aerospace is currently accepting bids for these unique murals. See the links below for media contact and additional information.

Additional Links for Media:

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A Chesley Bonestell Space Art Chronology

Night sky highlights for September 2020

** What’s Up: September 2020 – Skywatching Tips from NASA JPL

What are some skywatching highlights in September 2020? Spot the Moon together with Mars and Venus, along with the flickering star Fomalhaut, which had itself a planet…until it didn’t! Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at… .

** Tonight’s Sky: SeptemberSpace Telescope Science Institute – YouTube

In September, Pegasus becomes increasingly prominent in the southeastern sky, allowing stargazers to locate globular star clusters and a nearby double star, Alpha Capricorni. Keep watching for space-based views of densely packed, spherical collections of ancient stars in visible and X-ray light.

** What’s in the Night Sky September 2020 Aurora Borealis | Harvest Moon – Alyn Wallace – YouTube

** What to see in the night sky, September 2020BBC Sky at Night Magazine – YouTube

What can you see in the night sky? Astronomers Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel reveal their stargazing tips for September 2020. In 2020 we’re celebrating 15 years of our Virtual Planetarium:…

** Skywatch: What’s happening in the heavens in September – The Washington Post

For September’s night sky, scan the southern heavens to see bright Jupiter and a dim Saturn. You can’t miss these large planets near the constellation Sagittarius.

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Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Aug.8.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Down to Earth – All in This Together – NASA Johnson

In this episode of Down to Earth – All in This Together, NASA Astronaut Jessica Meir recalls her recent time living and working aboard the International Space Station, “I never appreciated how fragile and beautiful and special the Earth was… we have one planet and we are all inhabitants of the same home.” #SpaceStation20th

**  It’s A Great Day to be Alive – NASA Johnson

From 250 miles above the Earth, Expedition 63 is very much aware of the hard times which exist in the neighborhoods of the world rotating below. Even amid the uncertainty and difficulties of battling through these challenging times, we encourage everyone to be the best “crewmates” & take care of each other. Cherish the people you love. – Commander Chris Cassidy

** Expedition 63 Inflight with the Center for the Advacement of Science in Space – August 7, 2020

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA discussed life and work aboard the orbital laboratory as he answered pre-recorded questions Aug. 7 from students affiliated with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Melbourne, Florida. Cassidy is in the midst of a six-and-a-half month mission on the outpost.

** Note: A special event with the Girl Scouts and the ISS is coming up next weekNASA Astronaut Aboard Space Station to Answer Girl Scouts’ Questions | NASA

Girl Scouts from across the nation will pose questions next week to NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy aboard the International Space Station. The educational downlink event will air live at 10:55 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 11, on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Cassidy will answer prerecorded questions selected from the 1.7 million girls who are members of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Girl Scouts works to provide girls in grades K-12 with engaging opportunities that increase their interest in STEM, including space science badges, training, and events that inspire them to explore space science.

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PongSat Flight Program to fly a million student projects to edge of space

An announcement from JP Aerospace:

PongSat Flight Program Aims to Fly
1 Million Student Experiments to the Edge of Space

Rancho Cordova, CA August 4, 2020 – An organization in California is planning to fly a million ping pong balls to the edge of space. Over 18,000 have already flown.

A view of the PongSat flight on October 6th, 2019. Credits: PongSat Flight Program

All the world’s space programs combined have not flown as many student experiments as a little-known California aerospace company, JP Aerospace. Now, after 18 years, the program called the PongSat Flight Program has become its own nonprofit, setting its sights on flying a million student projects to the edge of space, all inside ping pong balls.

What is a PongSat?

A PongSat is an experiment that fits inside of a ping pong ball. These ping pong ball “satellites” are carried to the edge of space by high altitude balloon. There the PongSats experience the space environment: cosmic rays, vacuum, extreme cold and even zero gravity on the descent.

The PongSats stay with the balloon platform. After landing, they are returned to the students. Students get excited about science and engineering by actually doing it.

“We have 7th graders with more mission experience than adult researchers in the field,”

says John Powell, President of the PongSat Flight Program.

PongSat is a completely free program, open to anyone.

A PongSat with electronics. Credits: PongSat Flight Program

PongSats give students the chance to thrive during COVID. With science classrooms closed, PongSat is more important than ever. We have been able to conduct safe flights with a minimum team all masked up and social distancing. PongSats made at home can be the inspiration to keep science education alive and to even thrive.

PongSats can be as simple or as complex as the student wants. Whether carrying a marshmallow to see if it puffs up in the vacuum of near space or an entire sophisticated satellite in miniature, PongSats create motivation, drive and passion in their creators. There are endless possibilities for experiments that can fit inside a ping pong ball. PongSat have carried seeds to see if exposure to cosmic rays affect their growth (it does!). They have also carried cameras, sensors, GPS’s and even LEGO mini-figures.

Over 80,000 students have participated in PongSat, flying over 18,000 unique experiments.

For more background on PongSats, here’s a link to “The PongSat Story”.

JP Aerospace, a volunteer-based space program, created the PongSat program in 2002. It started out with 14 students. Excitement about the program exploded. Every month tens of thousands of requests to fly are received. With new PongSat nonprofit organization we aim to fly them all.

July 12, 2020 Away 130 mission was the first PongSat flight of the year. Credits: PongSat Flight Program

PongSat as its own nonprofit entity has a stronger foundation. It means we can fly more PongSats , do outreach to more students and continue to hurl humanity toward space, one ping pong ball at a time.

“I’m convinced that the first person to walk on Mars is out there and they will already have flown a PongSat”,

declares Powell.

PongSat Flight Program ( is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

The millionth PongSat may go far. Credits: PongSat Flight Program