The attempt by SpaceIL, a private non-profit organization, to land the Beresheet craft softly on the Moon last week went awry just a few minutes before it was to set down onto the surface. Initial results of an investigation into what went wrong were released today:
Here are the findings of the preliminary investigation of #Beresheet’s landing maneuver: It appears that during the landing process a command was entered that led to a chain reaction, which caused the main engine to switch off and prevented it from being reactivated.
The Arch Lunar Library contains 100GB, or 30 million pages of text and pictures, literally embedded in 25 nickel disks in the tiniest type you can possibly imagine. You don’t need anything more specialized than a microscope to read it, and the etchings should survive for billions of years.
This library was supposed to be delivered to the surface of the moon — specifically, the Sea of Serenity — by Israel’s Beresheet Mission last week. The bad news: After a glitch that turned its engine off and on again at the worst possible moment, the Beresheet lander smashed into the moon at 300 miles per hour.
The good news: Those disks were designed to be indestructible. And the Arch Foundation is all but certain its payload survived the crash.
“We have either installed the first library on the moon,” says Arch Mission co-founder Nova Spivack, “or we have installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon.”
In a giant leap for Virginia Tech, the first satellite built by undergraduate students is scheduled to be launched into space on April 17, 2019.
One small step closer to reaching space, a group of Virginia Tech undergraduate students recently delivered their small satellite to Houston to be incorporated into NanoRacks’ commercially developed CubeSat deployer. Virginia Tech’s satellite, along with two satellites from other Virginia universities, is scheduled to launch on the payload section of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket and then will be headed to the International Space Station.
Back in January we started crowdfunding on the Patreon platform and by the end of November the amount of donations has reached more than $1,100 per month. This amount has increased particularly after the aforementioned article in Quartz magazine.
Moreover, since November we have a donor-organization in the Kyrgyz space program — the Internews organization will donate sufficient amount of money that will cover expenses on building, testing and launching two (!) nanosatellites.
This does not mean that we no longer need patrons — there are quite a few unforeseen crazy ideas (for example, to test a prototype of the satellite in the mountains of the Issyk-Kul region), the costs of which are not included in the Internews grant, but are necessary to make the satellite launch happen.
** Canada’s Western University and Nunavut Arctic College will build a CubeSat to test
a novel imaging system for the engineering technology demonstration with the potential to provide virtual reality-ready images. This imagin system has future applications in the Earth observation and space exploration.
Eu:CROPIS – DLR – “The launch of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Eu:CROPIS satellite on 3 December 2018 marked the beginning of DLR’s mission with the same name, in which a satellite equipped with two greenhouses – each containing a symbiotic system consisting of bacteria in a biofilter, tomato seeds, single-celled algae and synthetic urine – orbits the Earth. The aim of the mission is to determine whether biological waste can be recycled in space and used to grow fresh food. Astronauts on long-duration missions would benefit from fresh vegetables, but so too would people in extreme terrestrial habitats. The two greenhouses will operate for a total of 62 weeks – one under Martian gravitational conditions, and the other under lunar gravitational conditions, which will be simulated by adjusting the satellite’s rotation rate.”
A team of students in the Viterbi School of Engineering have taken one small step toward space and made one big leap for their careers.
Early in March, these students finished building and delivered USC’s third CubeSat satellite, which is about the size of a breadbox. David Barnhart, a research professor in the astronautics department, led the students selected from the Space Engineering Research Center through the year-long building process of the satellite.
The team has successfully delivered the satellite to its customer, Vector Space Systems, a start-up developing satellites and launch vehicles. Vector will use this newly built satellite to test its technology in space and ensure it works before selling it to customers.
Grant McSorley, project manager of the CubeSat project at UPEI, said the group of over 20 undergraduate and graduate students have been designing the satellite since September, and now, they’re putting the final touches on their first set of prototypes.
UPEI’s satellite, called SpudNik-1, will be used for what McSorley calls “precision agriculture” that will capture photos and monitor the state of farm fields across P.E.I.
“The idea is to take photos from space that researchers and farmers can use in order to decide where to apply fertilizer, where to apply water in a more efficient way than they’re doing right now,” McSorley said.
On March 14, a group of Yale students learned some stellar news — NASA selected their satellite to be launched into space. The announcement marks the first time a Yale undergraduate group will launch a spacecraft.
The team — which consists of members of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association — received the launch grant through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative competition. Over the course of four years, students designed a satellite called BLAST, which stands for Bouchet Low-Earth Alpha/Beta Space Telescope.
SeaHawk-1 is a 3U CubeSat (size 30x10x10cm and weight 5kg) designed and built by AAC Clyde Space and launched in December 2018 aboard SpaceX Falcon 9. SeaHawk-1 CubeSat was one of the 64 satellites included in the Spaceflight SSO-A Small Sat Express: their first dedicated ride-share mission for small satellites.
SeaHawk-1 is also the first 3U CubeSat specifically designed to carry an ocean color instrument payload (HawkEye). The goal of this proof-of-concept mission is to provide free high-spatial resolution images of Earth’s coastal regions. HawkEye, designed by Cloudland Instruments, is an 8-band multispectral instrument similar to SeaWiFS (one of the most successful ocean color missions to date).
It differs in that: it was miniaturized (10x10x10cm) to fit inside the CubeSat, band 7 was modified to improve atmospheric correction, all bands were designed not to saturate over land, and the entire sensor was built with low-cost, off-the-shelf materials.
The Space Systems Division is preparing to launch the first fully student-funded Canadian satellite into orbit. The small satellite, or cubesat — about the size of a loaf of bread — will carry a biological payload and will analyze the behavior of bacteria in space with the aim of assessing the risk of infections during a long-term space mission.
The team has a busy summer ahead: they’ll be testing the accuracy of the sensors on the cubesat, running hundreds of hours of electronics tests and conducting thermal tests to ensure their satellite’s components can withstand the extreme temperatures it will experience in orbit, between -40 and 80 degrees C.
The cubesat is scheduled to launch on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in January 2020.
** More about the Hampton University students developing CubeSat software in a project sponsored by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium:
Hampton University is part of a collaborative project of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium where students from three Virginia universities delivered small satellites to NanoRacks in Houston, to be integrated into a CubeSat deployer (NRCSD), which will be launched into space on April 17, 2019. Four undergraduate Hampton University students worked on the project by developing software to perform analysis on the data that will be received from the satellites.
“Hampton University has always been on the forefront of innovation. The work our students are doing is being recognized and utilized by industry leaders, and we are excited to be part of this collaboration,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
The satellites will communicate data to ground stations at Virginia Tech, University of Virginia and Old Dominion University for subsequent analysis using an analytical tool being developed by Hampton University students from the Atmospheric and Planetary Science Department.
More than 140 undergraduate students have been hard at work on the mission since June 2016 as a cross-institutional team. Undergraduate student leaders and team members from physics, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and computer science disciplines have worked together to make the mission a reality. The students have been coached by faculty advisors and have benefitted greatly from advice from NASA, industry and academic advisors, and NanoRacks, the world’s leading commercial space station company.
An inflatable space antenna designed by University of Arizona students is one of 16 small research satellites from 10 states NASA has selected to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
CatSat is the size of a large cereal box. When fully deployed, the inflatable expands in a bubble gum fashion, forming a sphere three feet across that sticks out from one side of the box. An aluminized spot inside the inflated sphere is used as the communication antenna to beam data back to the Earth. Since Catsat will be in low Earth orbit, the data can be downloaded using a ground station located at the UA.
CatSat is mainly a technology demonstration mission to mature this inflatable concept in Earth orbit. The ultimate goal is to fly such an antenna on an interplanetary mission that Reddy wants to lead to explore small bodies in the solar system.
College students from all around Virginia, including in Hampton, are working on a major project that will analyze data of tiny satellites sent into space.
Four undergrad students from Hampton University are working with students from three other state universities to deliver small satellites to NanoRacks in Houston, Texas to be integrated into a CubeSat deployer (NRCSD).