[ Update: “What’s Up” for November 2019 from NASA JPL:
Highlights of the November sky include how to watch as Mercury transits the Sun on Nov. 11, plus how to observe the regular dimming and brightening of the “Demon star,” Algol, with your own eyes. Additional information, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at https://go.nasa.gov/34hp376 . Algol animation is licensed as CC-BY-SA 3.0. Video credit NASA-JPL/Caltech.
In November, hunt for the fainter constellations of fall, including Pisces, Aries, and Triangulum. They will guide you to find several galaxies and a pair of white stars. Stay tuned for space-based views of spiral galaxy M74 and the Triangulum Galaxy, which are shown in visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light.
** What’s in the Night Sky November 2019 – Alyn Wallace
LISA, an Italian-based company specialist for over 25 years in the use and development of advanced additive manufacturing technologies and materials, has collaborated with the Laboratoire InterUniversitaire des Système Atmosphérique (LISA) of Universite Paris-est Creteil (UPEC) on the construction of a nano-satellite that is a 3U CubeSat formfactor.
The project was carried by students under CNES and Space Campus University supervision. The goal was to develop a demonstrator that can be flight-ready in Low Earth Orbit. The engineering team at LISA and CNES decided to rely on CRP Technology and its Windform Top-Line family of high-performance materials for the manufacturing of the nano-satellite.
Students like [Cal Poly San Luis Obispo physics undergrad Michael] Fernandez have benefited from the proliferation of CubeSats—small, standardized, low-cost satellites that often hitch rides to space with larger payloads. CubeSats have the same basic needs as any other space mission—things like communications, power, and attitude control—which makes them an ideal way for students to get real-world space mission experience.
“The LightSail 2 mission has done more than just demonstrate a new technology—it has provided valuable training opportunities,” said Planetary Society Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Vaughn. “We’re excited that our spacecraft is helping to prepare a new generation of scientists and engineers for future missions.”
“The student members of the LightSail 2 flight team play a critical role in mission operations,” said David Spencer, LightSail 2 project manager. “They do a lot of the heavy lifting of day-to-day operations, and perform key analyses that we rely upon to understand the mission performance.”
Cal Poly students will now be helping the United States Strategic Command track more than 23,000 small objects orbiting Earth in the first university partnership of its kind.
“This first-of-its-kind partnership will allow current and future Cal Poly students to gain hands-on experience working with our four CubeSats currently in orbit and how they affect, and are affected by, other satellites in orbit,” President Jeffrey Armstrong said in the news release.
Cal Poly has a long history of working with Vandenberg Air Force Base. In the late 1990s, emeritus aerospace engineering professor Jordi Puig-Suari teamed with Stanford professor Bob Twiggs to develop the CubeSat standard — a small satellite that could ride aboard government and commercial space launches, according to the news release.
In the past two decades, hundreds of CubeSats have been launched. The Cal Poly CubeSat Laboratory is currently preparing its 12th CubeSat to launch in the next few months, Bellardo said.
“The EU is helping us with training and capacity building, by sending experts to train our local teams. There are 12 Lebanese universities participating; all have faculties of engineering or science. We have 42 of their brightest students taking part in eight teams, each led by their professor,” Abdallah said.
He said it was still early days and the teams were still developing their skills, but added that as a result of the initiative, the EU had renewed the TAF program for Lebanon and sent experts to train the local teams.
“The latest team to arrive was from the U.S. – two senior trainers, retired members of the Air Force labs and NASA, who delivered 12 days of training, eight hours a day, on how to manage a space program,” Abdallah said. “We haven’t been sitting around idle; we have already implemented a ground station in Mansourieh that can communicate with any nanosatellites in orbit,” he added. Expert training teams are also expected from Turkey, Spain and Italy.
The Irvine CubeSat Program is composed of six public high schools from the Tustin and Irvine School Districts. All schools are given specific roles and functions for each CubeSat Mission, to include Avionics, Communication, Propulsion, Power, BioTech, and Prime Contractor.
Mimicking a real-world engineering firm approach to large, complex projects, each team is responsible for communicating their plans and achievements to the rest of the group to ensure that the overall mission is successful.
Scientists and engineers from nearly a dozen Polish universities have teamed up with Poland-based satellite company SatRevolution and Sir Richard Branson’s small satellite launch company Virgin Orbit to establish a new consortium to design and carry out the world’s first dedicated commercial small satellite mission to Mars. The parties established the consortium at a formal signing ceremony during the Impact Mobility’19 rEVolution conference in Katowice, Poland.
The consortium will jointly develop the first in a series of up to three Mars missions, with the initial launch expected as early as three years from now.
At the core of the consortium are many of the top technical universities in Poland. AGH University of Science and Technology, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Poznań University of Technology, Gdańsk University of Technology Lódz University of Technology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, and Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences have each signed on to take part in the collaborative program. Leadership from these universities see the consortium and the missions it will conduct as an unprecedented opportunity for growth and development across many technical disciplines, in addition to creating opportunities for commercialization.
** University of Tokyo’s AQT-D: AQUA Thruster-Demonstrator was delivered to the ISS in the HTV-8 cargo module launched by a H-IIB rocket on Sept.24th. The student built CubeSat will be deployed from the station later this year. The goal is to demonstrate the AQUARIUS (AQUA ResIstojet propUlsion System) water micro-propulsion system, which is suitable for smallsats.