Videos: Night sky highlights for November 2020

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

What are some skywatching highlights in November 2020? Cool autumn evenings are a great time to look for the Pleiades star cluster. You’ll also have a couple of great opportunities to observe the Moon with Jupiter and Saturn. Plus, check out the phenomenon known as Earthshine. 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: NovemberSpace Telescope Science Institute

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 to see in the night sky: November 2020BBC Sky at Night Magazine

What can you see in the night sky tonight? Astronomers Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel guide us through November 2020’s night-sky highlights.

** What’s in the Night Sky November 2020 #WITNS | Leonids Meteor Shower | Lunar EclipseAlyn Wallace

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Videos: “Space to Ground” + Other ISS reports – Oct.30.2020

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

** International Space Station Flyover of Hurricane ZetaNASA

On Wed., Oct. 28, 2020, cameras aboard the International Space Station captured this imagery as the station flew above Hurricane Zeta, seen here moving toward the U.S Gulf Coast.

** #EZ Science: International Space Station – Our Home in Space for 20 YearsNASA

This November, we celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station — an incredible example of international cooperation. In our latest episode of #EZScience, NASA associate administrator for science Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen and National Air and Space Museum director Dr. Ellen Stofan discuss the incredible science that has been conducted on the orbiting laboratory and what’s next for human spaceflight. Learn more about the series:

** International Space Station Expedition 1: The BeginningNASA

In recognition of the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station, listen as Space Foundation board member Jeanne Meserve sits down with the Expedition 1 crew, William Shepherd (NASA astronaut and Commander of Expedition 1), Sergei Krikalev (Russian cosmonaut and Flight Engineer of Expedition 1), and Yuri Gidzenko (Russian cosmonaut and Soyuz Commander of Expedition 1), as they discuss what it was like to be the first ever crewed expedition to the International Space Station. Also joining the conversation are George Abbey, who was director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center at the time, and Ginger Kerrick, the Russian Training Integration Instructor for Expedition 1.

** How does the International Space Station work?Jared Owen

** Journey Into Night : Earth Seen From The International Space Station ISS

See also:

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.28.2020

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

** Embry-Riddle team building EagleCam CubeSat to captures images of the landing on the Moon of the Intuitive Machines Nova-C Lunar Lander: Eagles to Land First Student Project on Moon to Snap Selfie of Lunar Landing | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Intuitive Machines, the company developing the Nova-C, offered Engineering students at Embry-Riddle this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — to design and build a camera system that will deploy from the Nova-C to capture the landing and, in the process, become the first university student project ever to land on the moon. 

Supported by a network of national scientists, Embry-Riddle’s “EagleCam” team — three Engineering professors along with a large interdisciplinary team of students — is designing a camera and communication system, or CubeSat, to launch to the moon and shoot the astronomical selfie. Just before approach, the CubeSat will deploy and freefall 100 feet to the surface to give the world its first glimpse of the spacecraft’s lunar landing. 

See also Bedford student helps create technology to capture first selfie of lunar landing –

** Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) students to build two CubeSats in cooperation with a New Zealand team as part of an effort by the Five Eye (FVEY) signals intelligence alliance to use space technology more efficiently: NPS Supports FVEY Efforts to Streamline Space Technologies – DVIDS

The creation of Space Force has inspired a renewed interest in space systems research and innovation. In August, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) received funding from the DOD to lead a project to streamline space technology among Five Eye (FVEY) countries. The project, headed by NPS professors Giovanni Minelli and Wenschel Lan, involves sending up two CubeSats containing experimental technology created by NPS students and New Zealand researchers. The payloads must be ready to launch into orbit by 2022. Once in space, the payloads will communicate with NPS researchers in the new Radio Frequency (RF) Testing Lab that overlooks the Monterey Bay.

NPS’ Space Labs have also brought elements of space to its students, so they can properly test out their payloads. The CubeSat skeleton is 3D printed, so students don’t have to start completely from scratch. They can carefully create their prototypes, using Raspberry Pi single-board computers in the clean room before testing them out in a variety of situations. For example, students have access to a thermo-pressure chamber and shaking machine that can “shake your teeth out,” according to Lan. They also conduct weather balloon tests to see how payloads respond to orbit-like atmospheric conditions. The goal is to think of everything that could possibly go wrong before actually sending a payload up into space.

** Taiwanese student CubeSat to fly on Momentus’  Vigoride demo mission set for this December: Momentus Announces Service Agreement for Gran Systems NUTSAT – Gran Systems (pdf)

The 2U NUTSAT was designed by the National Formosa University with the backing of the National Space Organization (NSPO) in Taiwan. One of the three NSPO cubesats launching this year, NUTSAT is a systems engineering training education program integrating an ADS-B receiver onto the cubeSat to demonstrate and enhance commercial aviation safety technology. NUTSAT is the first of the three cubesats to go for the launch integration.

** Univ. Colorado CubeSat project among 5 winners of the NGA MAGQUEST contest, which aims to encourage advancements in measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Compact Spaceborne Magnetic Observatory (COSMO) CubeSat (University of Colorado Boulder). A CubeSat specifically designed and tested for magnetic cleanliness and accurate data from a compact form factor. A compact scalar-vector magnetometer designed specifically for CubeSats enables high-quality collection of magnetic field data.

** University of Iowa HaloSat discovers clumpy-ness in the halo of hot gases surrounding the Milky Way : Clumpy, Recycled Gas From Stars Surrounds Milky Way | NASA

The Milky Way galaxy is in the recycling business. Our galaxy is surrounded by a clumpy halo of hot gases that is continually being supplied with material ejected by birthing or dying stars, according to a NASA-funded study in the journal Nature Astronomy.

A halo is a large region filled with hot gas that surrounds a galaxy, also known as a “circumgalactic medium.” The heated gaseous halo around the Milky Way was the incubator for the Milky Way’s formation some 13 billion years ago and could help solve a longstanding puzzle about where the missing matter of the universe might reside.

The new findings come from observations made by a small spacecraft called HaloSat. It is in a class of minisatellites called CubeSats and is roughly the size of a toaster, measuring 4-by-8-by-12 inches (about 10-by-20-by-30 centimeters) and weighing about 26 pounds (12 kilograms). Built by the University of Iowa, HaloSat was launched from the International Space Station in May 2018 and is the first CubeSat funded by NASA’s Astrophysics Division.

While tiny compared to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, HaloSat’s X-ray detectors view a much wider piece of the sky at once and therefore are optimized to doing the sort of wide-area survey needed to measure the galactic halo.

Because of their small size, CubeSats allow NASA to conduct low-cost scientific investigations in space. Six CubeSats to date have been selected in this Astrophysics Division series. 

In the new study, researchers conclude the circumgalactic medium has a disk-like geometry, based on the intensity of X-ray emissions coming from it. 

See also Where Does the Missing Matter of the Universe Reside? Halo of Gas Surrounding Milky Way May Help Solve Puzzle –

An artist’s rendering of the HaloSat in orbit. Credits: Blue Canyon Technologies.

The Iowa Univ. team and its partners, NASA/GSFC ( Goddard Space Flight Center) and JHU/APL (Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory), focused on developing the scientific instruments while Blue Canyon Technologies built the CubeSat hardware: HaloSat – eoPortal Directory – Satellite Missions

Deployment of HaloSat and NASA JPL’s RainCube from the ISS on  July 13th, 2018:

** CU Boulder leads CubeSat project with an innovative UV imaging system to study early universe: New CubeSat will observe the remnants of massive supernovas | CU Boulder Today

Scientists at CU Boulder are developing a satellite about the size of a toaster oven to explore one of the cosmos’ most fundamental mysteries: How did radiation from stars punch its way out of the first galaxies to fundamentally alter the make-up of the universe as it we know it today. 

Those insights will come from the Supernova Remnants and Proxies for ReIonization Testbed Experiment (SPRITE), a NASA-funded mission led by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at CU Boulder. 

Scheduled to launch in 2022, the $4 million SPRITE is the latest in LASP’s line of little-spacecraft-that-could. This “CubeSat” will measure just over a foot in length and will weigh about 40 pounds. It will also collect unprecedented data from modern-day stars and supernovas to help scientists better understand a time in the history of the cosmos called the “Epoch of Reionization”—a period in which the universe’s first stars lived fast and hard, burning out and going supernova in a span of just a few million years. 

“We’re trying to establish what the universe was like when it first formed and how it evolved to where it is today,” said Brian Fleming, a research professor at LASP who is leading the SPRITE mission. 

The team also hopes that SPRITE will show just how much CubeSats can achieve. To date, most of these miniature spacecraft have focused on studying phenomena that are closer to home—such as weather on Earth or flares erupting from the surface of the sun. 

“There has been a perception that to do new astrophysics you need to collect a lot of light so you need something big,” said Fleming, also of the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. “SPRITE is trying to do something different. There’s a lot of science you can do by optimizing your design and using new technologies.”

An artist’s rendering of the SPRITE CubeSat in orbit. Credits: LASP

** Neutron-1 CubeSat studies neutrons in low earth orbit as preparation for the LunaH-Map satellite to use neutrons to study distribution of the lunar surface. The neutron detectors on the satellites are developed by a Arizona State University team.

An ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration professor’s technology for detecting water ice, or hydrogen, on the moon debuted as part of the recently launched Neutron-1 3U CubeSat mission. 

Water ice, or lunar water, is the first evidence that water could exist on the moon and was confirmed to be on the moon by NASA in 2018.

Principal investigator on the project and professor Craig Hardgrove, along with an ASU team, developed a neutron detector that will be integrated with the Neutron-1 3U CubeSat mission led by Lloyd French, a program manager for University of Hawaii at Manoa and co-founder of the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory.

The neutron detector allows researchers to map neutron abundances in low earth orbit as part of the LunaH-Map mission. The detector will also assist in UHM’s mission to study neutrons while testing its own efficacy for its intended mission.

The LunaH-Map satellite will orbit the moon in search of water ice sources on its surface. The CubeSat mission helps pave the way for LunaH-Map’s next year. 

Neutron-1 will be deployed from the ISS late this year. LunaH-Map is currently set to launch in November 2021 and will take about six months to reach the Moon.

More at:

The LunaH-Map CubeSat is in development by an Arizona State Univ. team. It will be the  first NASA mission designed, built and operated on the ASU Tempe campus. Credit: LunaH-Map/ASU

** Ohio State student built Bobcat-1 CubeSat reached the ISS via the recent Antares/Cygnus cargo mission. When deployed from the station, the CubeSat will study

From the Ohio News article:

Measuring approximately 12”x4”x4”, the nanosatellite will be deployed into low-Earth orbit to study Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), like GPS, in an effort to improve the availability and performance of these navigation systems for other satellites and spacecraft. 

The satellite is one of 11 small spacecraft designed at American universities selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch initiative in 2018 to be transported into space. Dr. Sabrina Ugazio, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and four OHIO engineering students developed the nanosatellite and the ground station, located on the Stocker Center roof, that will control and communicate with the spacecraft during its nine-month orbit.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects:

ANS-292 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • ARRL Comments in Orbital Debris Mitigation Proceeding
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for October 15, 2020
  • PREDICT-2.2.7 for Linux, Unix, Android, and Raspberry Pi Platforms
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over
  • Tips for the New Operator

ANS-299 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • AMSAT Virtual Symposium Replay Available on YouTube
  • AMSAT Board of Directors Elects Robert Bankston, KE4AL, President
  • Satellite Acronyms Wiki Established
  • New Satellite Distance Records Claimed
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for October 22
  • FO-29 operation schedule for Nov. 2020
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** 2020 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting:

The 38th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting, held on October 17, 2020 includes updates on AMSAT projects and presentations on amateur satellite technology. For details on presenter names and presentation titles, visit….

AMSAT members can access the Symposium Proceedings at

0:00:00 Welcome
0:02:07 AMSAT GOLF-TEE System Overview and Development Status
0:43:02 GOLF IHU Coordination
1:19:10 GOLF Downlink Coordination
1:50:15 FUNcube Next
2:13:50 LunART – Luna Amateur Radio Transponder
2:45:35CatSat HF Experiment Overview
3:13:30 Neutron-1 CubeSat
3:39:58 Progress and Development of Open Source Electric Propulsion for Nanosats and Picosats
4:15:00 AMSAT Education
5:14:00 ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) / AREx (Amateur Radio Exploration)
6:14:00 AMSAT Engineering
7:21:16 AMSAT Annual General Meeting

** Overview of the NASA TROPICS CubeSat Constellation Mission

Lecture: Overview of the NASA TROPICS CubeSat Constellation Mission Speaker: William Blackwell, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, USA [2020 IEEE GRSS & ISPRS] Young Professionals & Student Consortium Summer Schoo

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The Space Show this week – Oct.26.2020

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, Oct. 26, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT: No special programming.

2. Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT): We welcome back Christopher Richins of RBC Signals.

3. Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020: Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT): No program for today.

5. Friday, Oct. 30, 2020; 9:30-11 am PDT (11:30 am-1 pm CDT, 12:30-2 pm EDT): No program for today.

6. Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): OPEN LINES today. We want to hear from you. All calls welcome with space, science,tech topics. First time callers wanted.

Some recent shows:

** Sunday – Oct.25.2020Dr. Erik Seedhouse talked about “his recent two books. The first of which is a text book on the human factors [and we focused] on a few items such as microgravity, radiation and settlement issues for humans. His second book was a sci fi book which you will want to hear about.

** Friday – Oct.23.2020Tory Bruno, CEO of ULA, discussed “many listener email questions and phone calls on a variety of ULA related topics”.

** Wednesday – Oct.21.2020 – Hotel Mars – Anatoly Zak of spoke with John Batchelor and Dr. David Livingston about “the ISS leak in the Russian Zvezda Service Module plus the possible ten year development plan for an atomic space tug“.

[ Update:


** Tuesday – Oct.20.2020Amanda Dreeschler and Michael Livingston talked about “their highly acclaimed independent film [“We can’t go on“] produced during the most intense days of the pandemic lockdown in Los Angeles plus additional topics“.

** See also:
* The Space Show Archives
* The Space Show Newsletter
* The Space Show Shop

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

The Space Show - David Livingston
The Space Show – Dr. David Livingston

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Space policy roundup – Oct.26.2020

A sampling of links to recent space policy, politics, and government (US and international) related space news and resource items that I found of interest (find previous space policy roundups here):

International space


** Sec. Elaine Chao on the future of commercial space travel – FOX5 Atlanta

** 2020 Free Market Forum – Hillsdale CollegePanel 1: “Space” – Chairman: Roger Butters, Hillsdale College

  • Foreign Relations in Space”, Steven L. Kwast, USAF Lt. Gen. (ret.)
  • The Promise of Space Mining”, Joel C. Sercel, Founder, Trans Astronautica Corporation
  • Space Econ”, Rand Simberg, Author, Safe Is Not an Option

[Click here to go to video page.]

** E38 – Funding Space: Investment Developments and Commercialization Trends (with Karen Jones and Jason Rainbow) – Aerospace Corp – Center for Space Policy & Strategy (CSPS) 

** 86- Space Innovation, Dynamic Ground and OpenSpace – – Constellations Podcast – YouTube

** The Artemis Accords: Principles for a New Era in Space Exploration, Mike Gold, NASA HQ – FISO – July 1, 2020

** STMD Strategic Technology Plan: Advanced PropulsionNASA Video

Hear directly from STMD’s Strategic Technology Plan managers on the goals and needs within their technology area. This video (and the corresponding PPT) about the Advanced Propulsion area is presented by Ronald J. Litchford, Ph.D, P.E., Principal Technologist for Propulsion.

** #NASAatHome Spaceport Series Episode 20: Gateway and Commercial PartnershipsNASA’s Kennedy Space Center

On this episode of the Spaceport Series we chat with NASA’s Gateway Deep Space Logistics’ element architect Dr. Jeffrey Smith, about how the Gateway is key to sustainable deep space exploration; and Mary Faller, Senior Mission Manager for NASA’s Launch Services Program discusses the commercial partnerships necessary to ensure Gateway’s success.

** The Space Show –  Oct. 23.2020 – – Tory Bruno, CEO of ULA, discussed “many listener email questions and phone calls on a variety of ULA related topics”.

** October 20, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

** October 23, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast


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