Category Archives: Space Systems

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Nov.29.2019

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

** How NASA will bake in space for the first time and why that’s a BIG deal!

On November 2nd, 2019, Northrop Grumman launched a Cygnus Cargo Ship on a resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. On board was just over 3,700 kg of science experiments, vehicle hardware, crew supplies, and other important space stuff. But included on this flight was a space first. An oven. And not just any oven, but a custom zero g oven developed by Nanoracks, a leading provider of commercial access to space, that will be used to bake the first food in space – the DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie. So today, I thought we should do a history of space food, figure out why we haven’t ever baked anything in space before, and learn from the experts on how DoubleTree by Hilton, the sponsor of this video, will actually bake their cookies on the International Space Station. Article version here – https://everydayastronaut.com/cookies…

** Expedition 61 Thanksgiving Message

Right now, half of the crew members on board the International Space Station are American astronauts who are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, and they have a message for us. Check in with NASA’s Christina Koch, Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan, to learn more about what the holiday means to them and get a look at what Thanksgiving in space will be like in 2019.

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Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Nov.22.2019

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

** AskNASA┃ What is the International Space Station?

NASA’s Jacob Keaton answers questions about the International Space Station. He highlights building this home off Earth and what astronauts do while aboard. Research and other lessons learned from the space station will help us send humans to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for Mars.

** Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Repair Spacewalk #2, Nov. 22, 2019

Astronauts Andrew Morgan of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) will venture outside the International Space Station starting at ~7:05 a.m. EST to continue repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) instrument. This is the second in a series of repair spacewalks – the most complex of this kind since the servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. AMS is attached to the outside of the space station, where it has been operating since 2011. It is a particle physics experiment working to help us understand dark matter and the origins of the universe.

** Science Launching On SpaceX CRS 19

The 19th SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) contract mission for NASA carries a variety of cutting-edge scientific experiments to the International Space Station. Learn more about some of the scientific investigations riding on Dragon to the orbiting laboratory on CRS-19: https://go.nasa.gov/2qZGYBd Learn more about the research being conducted on Station: https://www.nasa.gov/iss-science Follow Twitter updates on the science conducted aboard the space station: https://twitter.com/iss_research

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Nov.17.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** EdgeCube to go to ISS on SpaceX Cargo Dragon in December. The cubesat, built by a collaboration of student teams at Sonoma State, Santa Clara Univ., and Morehead State Univ. in Kentucky, will be deployed into orbit from the ISS in January: Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit the Earth – The Community Voice

Sonoma State received funding for EdgeCube in June 2016, after physics and astronomy professor Lynn Cominsky wrote a proposal to NASA. The proposal called for monitoring the “red edge” of the chlorophyll spectrum in large patches of homogeneous vegetation using a CubeSat or a small satellite. Since then, approximately 30 students have worked on the project from Sonoma State, Santa Clara University and Morehead State. Professor Matt Clark from SSU’s Department of Geography and Environmental Planning was the originator of the idea to measure the “red edge,” hence the name “EdgeCube”. 

More at Edgecube – sonoma state university ~ Santa clara university ~ Morehead State university.

EdgeCube components view. From FCC application (pdf)

**  Virginia Tech inspireFly team wins SEDS SAT-2 contest. SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space),  Astranis, and NanoRacks sponsored the competition. The winning team will receive a free ride to the ISS for their CubeSat, which will then be deployed into orbit.

From the SEDS announcement:

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the largest student-run space and science advocacy organization in the world, today announced that Virginia Tech’s inspireFly team is the winner of the Astranis SEDS SAT-2 competition. Astranis, a manufacturer and operator of small geostationary satellites, contributed to the cost of the launch, while competition co-sponsor Nanoracks, a leading provider of commercial access to space, will launch and deploy the winning CubeSat on the International Space Station in the next two to three years.

Open to U.S. SEDS chapters, the competition tasked teams with submitting a design for a novel 1U CubeSat. The competition kicked off at SpaceVision in November 2018, where interested teams had the opportunity to attend an Astranis/Nanoracks workshop on designing, building, and integrating a CubeSat for low Earth orbit.

Thirteen chapters from across the country entered the competition and submitted proposals. The judging panel included members of the SEDS-USA Board of Advisors and Directors, as well as employees from Astranis and Nanoracks. Proposals were judged on their technical merits, the non-technical capabilities of the team to develop and support the design, the professionalism of proposal, the novelty of the proposed CubeSat mission, and the demographic makeup of the design team and their mentors.

Virginia Tech’s team was selected as the winner for its ContentCube project, a selfie-stick for space that will take pictures of an external LCD screen–featuring publicly-submitted photos–with Earth in the background.

inspireFly Mission Profile – Credits: inspireFly at Virginia Tech

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-321 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Happy 45th Birthday AMSAT-OSCAR 7!
  • 19th Anniversary of ARISS Operations
  • PO-101 (Diwata-2) QSLs Available
  • IARU Update Regarding Amateur Satellite Allocations
  • AMSAT Member Dhruv Rebba, KC9ZJX, Youth Excellence Award
  • G4BAO 23cm-45 W-PA Available as Public Domain
  • Changes to AMSAT TLE Distribution for November 14, 2019
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Videos: “Space to Ground” report – Nov.15.2019

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

** Expedition 61 AMS Overview Briefing – November 12, 2019

At the Johnson Space Center, space station operations integration manager Kenny Todd and Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) project manager Ken Bollweg discuss the activities aboard the International Space Station and the science of the AMS in a briefing on Nov. 12 ahead of a series of spacewalks to repair the particle physics experiment on the outside of the space station. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano are to conduct all of the complicated spacewalks that are set to begin November 15th.

** Expedition 61 AMS Spacewalk Briefing – November 12, 2019

At the Johnson Space Center, Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) spacewalk repair project manager Tara Jochim, spacewalk flight director Jeff Radigan, and lead spacewalk officer John Mularski discuss the preparations and procedures behind a series of spacewalks to repair the particle physics experiment on the outside of the space station during a briefing on Nov. 12. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano are to conduct all of the complicated spacewalks that are set to begin November 15th.

** Suiting Up for a Spacewalk

On Friday International Space Station commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA’s Andrew Morgan start a series of spacewalks to upgrade the cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Each of those spacewalk days will start with the lengthy process of getting into the spacesuits that support them as they float in the vacuum of space. Want to see what that looks like? Here’s an accelerated view of the process, taken from an October 2019 spacewalk in which Parmitano helped Morgan and astronaut Christina Koch get ready for their spacewalk.

** Christina Koch and Jessica Meir in-flight interviews from ISS

ISS Expedition 61 In-Flight Interviews with the Kelly Clarkson Show and Elle Magazine’s Digital News Platform with NASA Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.

** Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Repair Spacewalk #1, Nov. 15, 2019 – Video of Friday’s spacewalk:

Astronauts Andrew Morgan of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) will venture outside the International Space Station starting at ~7:05 a.m. EST to begin repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) instrument. This is the first in a series of repair spacewalks – the most complex of this kind since the servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. AMS is attached to the outside of the space station, where it has been operating since 2011. It is a particle physics experiment working to help us understand dark matter and the origins of the universe.

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The

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Nov.12.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** The Phoenix CubeSat built by Arizona State Univ. students successfully reached the ISS via the recent launch of the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft. It will be deployed into orbit in January: ASU Students Launch NASA-Funded CubeSat To Study Urban Heat Island – KJZZ

ASU Phoenix CubeSat team

Students from Arizona State University have launched a small, NASA-funded research satellite to study the urban heat island in seven U.S. cities, including Phoenix.

The Phoenix CubeSat is one of seven nanosatellites selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, which supports projects designed, built and operated by students, teachers and faculty, as well as NASA centers and nonprofit organizations.

An interdisciplinary group of around 100 ASU undergraduates took part in the effort, which will use an off-the-shelf thermal infrared camera to study changes in the heat properties of cities across the U.S. over time.

The term “urban heat island” describes an urban area that experiences warmer conditions than its surroundings due to human activities, the thermal properties of building materials and other related factors.

** Univ. Minnesota SOCRATES smallsat reaches the ISS on the same Cygnus.

The cube satellite, Signal Opportunity CubeSat Ranging and Timing Experiment System (SOCRATES), is the first small satellite created by the University sent into space by NASA. The satellite is equipped with high energy X-ray sensor detectors that can help with “deep space navigation” when GPS is not available. SOCRATES will also collect data related to electronic accelerations in sun flares to help research on solar anomalies.

The project is a collaboration between University faculty and students of different disciplines, like aerospace engineering, physics and astrophysics. SOCRATES is currently on the International Space Station and is expected to be released back into Earth’s orbit in January 2020.

See also

** India sponsoring competition for high school student CubeSat projects to fly on high altitude balloon:

The National Design and Research Forum (NDRF) has invited student teams from high schools across the country to take part in its National Space Challenge 2020 contest of flying small or cube satellites on a balloon.

Teams of five students from class 8 to class 12 can send in innovative proposals by November 25, the Bengaluru-based engineering research and development promotion body said in a release.

** EdgeCube built by students at Sonoma State, Santa Clara Univ., and Morerhead State to go to ISS on upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 Cargo Dragon mission: Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit earth and collect data on vegetation health | SSU News

A student-built satellite about twice the size of a Rubik’s Cube has passed a series of tests to travel to space this December as part of a NASA-funded project involving three universities including Sonoma State. Built in partnership with Santa Clara University and Morehead State University in Kentucky, the “EdgeCube” satellite is scheduled to fly aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket on its way to the International Space Station. From there it will be boosted into orbit 500 kilometers above the Earth to collect data on vegetation health in ecosystems around the globe.

** “Are CubeSats the future of space exploration” – TMRO.tv program about CubeSats.

This week Kevin DeBruin, Author of ‘To NASA and BEYOND: Perseverance to Achieve the Impossible [Amazon ad commission link]‘, talks about lessons from AeroCube-10, TeamXc at JPL and the use of CubeSats for outreach and education. Do you think CubeSats are the future of space exploration or are they better suited to education/student purposes?

**  TEPCE (Tether Electrodynamics Propulsion CubeSat Experiment) to test electrodynamic tether propulsion for CubeSats: A Space Tether May Solve Space Debris Problem | Asgardia – The Space Nation.

Built at the U.S. NRL (Navel Research Laboratory), the smallsat was launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy last June. The spacecraft is expected to soon separate into two parts connected by the 1 kilometer long tether.

Electrodynamic propulsion works on electromagnetic principles similar to an electric motor. The magnetic field in an electric motor attracts an electric current that flows through the windings of the armature causing the armature to spin. In space, the Earth has a naturally occurring magnetic field and for TEPCE, the tether wire serves the purpose of the armature. By inducing an electric current to flow along the tether, a mutual attraction between the Earth’s magnetic field and the tether will occur. This electromagnetic attraction can propel TEPCE to higher altitudes or to change the orientation of its orbit.

“U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Tether Electrodynamic Propulsion CubeSat Experiment‘s CubeSat split into two and connected by a tether.” Credits: Cameron Crippa/U.S. NRL.

More at

** HEPTA-Sat program teaches Smallsat engineering to students around the world:

HEPTA-Sat (Hands-on Education Program for Technical Advancement) is a hands-on study of small satellite design and engineering over several days of intensive practical lessons. HEPTA-Sat hand-on course puts it focus on establishing the knowledge of system engineering by going through the whole process of system integration. During the course student will learn how the system is broken down into different subsystem (requirement), how to integrate those different subsystem (requirement) into a fully functioning system, and how to test/debug it once it has been integrated. HEPTA-Sat teaching methods are designed to be implemented in existing universities anywhere. The program is supported by a vibrant instructor community and is open to people of any educational or professional background.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-314 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • HuskySat Paving the Way for Cooperation
  • WRC-19 Debates Satellite Allocations
  • Electron Booster on the Pad for Rocket Lab’s 10th Mission
  • 2020 Cubesat Developers Workshop Call for Papers
  • Second Batch of 50th Anniversary “Friends of 50” Certificates Sent
  • AMSAT Seeks Digital Communications Team Members
  • NO-83 (BRICSAT-P) Nears Re-Entry
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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