Latest Space News
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:24:00 +0100
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet completed his first spacewalk last Friday together with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough. The duo spent five hours and 58 minutes outside the International Space Station to complete a battery upgrade to the outpost's power system. The main task was to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries that store electricity from the Station's solar panels with newer lithium-ion batteries that arrived recently aboard Japan's cargo vessel. Thomas and Shane's speed allowed them to p...
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:07:00 +0100
MCLEAN, Va. -  Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced today the successful launch of its first ten Iridium NEXT satellites. The satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54:39 a.m. PST. Iridium NEXT is the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe – the l...
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:37:00 +0100
Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a unique way: by a shadow that is sweeping across the face of a vast pancake-shaped gas-and-dust disk surrounding a young star. The planet itself is not casting the shadow. But it is doing some heavy lifting by gravitationally pulling on material near the star and warping the inner...
Sat, 14 Jan 2017 21:30:00 +0100
Aireon announced today the successful launch and deployment of the first ten satellites hosting its space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) system. Part of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Aireon's space-based ADS-B network will transform air traffic management capabilities, providing real-time air traffic surveillance and flight tracking across 100 percent of the planet. Currently, more than 70 percent of the earth, including oceanic and remote airspace, has no...
Fri, 13 Jan 2017 22:35:00 +0100
NASA has awarded a contract to KBRwyle Technology Solutions, LLC of Columbia, Maryland, for engineering services to support more than 20 NASA exploration missions. The Ground Systems and Missions Operations-2 contract is cost-plus-award fee, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, with a total maximum ordering value of $442 million. The effective ordering period begins March 1 and runs through Feb. 28, 2022. KBRwyle will support a wide range of mission operations, including concept studie...
Fri, 13 Jan 2017 16:52:00 +0100
This week, ESA deep-space radio dishes on two continents are listening for signals from the international Cassini spacecraft, now on its final tour of Saturn. ESA's sensitive tracking antennas at New Norcia, Western Australia, and Malargue, Argentina, are being called in to help with crucial observations during Cassini's last months in orbit, dubbed the 'Grand Finale'. The Cassini-Huygens mission is one of the most successful exploration endeavours ever. Launched in October 1997, the Ca...
Fri, 13 Jan 2017 08:36:00 +0100
Monster black holes sometimes lurk behind gas and dust, hiding from the gaze of most telescopes. But they give themselves away when material they feed on emits high-energy X-rays that NASA's NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission can detect. That's how NuSTAR recently identified two gas-enshrouded supermassive black holes, located at the centers of nearby galaxies. "These black holes are relatively close to the Milky Way, but they have remained hidden from us un...
Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:15:00 +0100
Some of us may be easing ourselves gently into the New Year, but for the team readying Sentinel-2B for liftoff on 7 March it's full steam ahead. On 5 January, the satellite was shipped from ESA's site in the Netherlands - where it had been undergoing testing since June - and arrived safe and sound in French Guiana the following day. The Sentinel-2 mission is designed as two satellites working in tandem - Sentinel-2A has been in orbit since June 2015. Offering 'colour vision' for Europe'...
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 08:39:00 +0100
Sentinel-2B has touched down in French Guiana, bringing the second satellite for Europe’s Copernicus program closer to its early March orbiting by Arianespace on a Vega lightweight launch vehicle. Arriving at Félix Eboué Airport near Cayenne last week, Sentinel-2B was delivered by a chartered Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner. Following its unloading process, the satellite was readied for transfer by road to the Spaceport. As a follow-on to Sentinel-2A – lofted by a...
Tue, 10 Jan 2017 19:30:00 +0100
The U.S. Air Force's next Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite, built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), was encapsulated on Jan. 7 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, where it will launch on Jan. 19 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Encapsulation refers to the sealing of the satellite in a protective launch vehicle fairing-one of the last steps a satellite must undergo before launch. The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite is the latest to join an orbiti...
Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:45:00 +0100
Rocket Crafters, Inc. (RCI) announced today a U.S. patent was granted to co-founder, President & CTO Ronald Jones for a method for designing and fabricating flawless, high-performance, safer handling fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines using additive manufacturing technology (also known as 3D printing) which will allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts. Jones stated that 3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI's e...
Tue, 10 Jan 2017 12:05:00 +0100
Careful sleuthing through decade-old images has enabled ESA's asteroid team to decide that a newly discovered space rock poses little threat of hitting Earth any time soon. Spotting a previously unknown asteroid for the first time always raises the big question: is there a risk it will impact Earth? Yet, upon discovery, analysts often have very little to go on. The initial image from the observatory, survey team or individual backyard astronomer who spotted the rock typically gives only ba...
Mon, 9 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0100
ESO has signed an agreement with the Breakthrough Initiatives to adapt the Very Large Telescope instrumentation in Chile to conduct a search for planets in the nearby star system Alpha Centauri. Such planets could be the targets for an eventual launch of miniature space probes by the Breakthrough Starshot initiative. ESO, represented by the Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, has signed an agreement with the Breakthrough Initiatives, represented by Pete Worden, Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize ...
Mon, 9 Jan 2017 10:18:00 +0100
Interstellar forecast for a nearby star: Raining comets! NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered comets plunging onto the star HD 172555, which is a youthful 23 million years old and resides 95 light-years from Earth. The exocomets — comets outside our solar system — were not directly seen around the star, but their presence was inferred by detecting gas that is likely the vaporized remnants of their icy nuclei. HD 172555 represents the third extrasolar system wher...
Fri, 6 Jan 2017 03:26:00 +0100
Space Systems Loral (SSL), a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced that it will provide a spacecraft platform for a NASA Discovery Mission to explore the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche. SSL will work for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to support Principal Investigator Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of Arizona State University's (ASU) School of Earth and Space Exploration, in a mission to research the 210 km diameter asteroid, which is believed ...
Thu, 5 Jan 2017 18:16:00 +0100
Lockheed Martin has been selected to design, build and operate the spacecraft for NASA's Lucy mission. One of NASA's two new Discovery Program missions, Lucy will perform the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids orbiting the sun in tandem with the gas giant. The Lucy spacecraft will launch in 2021 to study six of these exciting worlds. The mission is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Goddard Space ...
Thu, 5 Jan 2017 11:30:00 +0100
Cobham's products and services contributed to the recent successful deployment of NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS). CYGNSS is comprised of eight Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) micro-satellites and seeks to improve weather prediction by studying the interaction between ocean surface properties, moist atmospheric thermodynamics, radiation, and convective dynamics as it relates to Tropical Cyclones. The NASA team consists of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), University of...
Wed, 4 Jan 2017 19:38:00 +0100
NASA has selected two missions that have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system - a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun. The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively. "Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter's mysterious Trojan asteroids, while Psyche will study a unique metal...
Wed, 4 Jan 2017 12:00:00 +0100
This spectacular new image is one of the largest near-infrared high-resolution mosaics of the Orion A molecular cloud, the nearest known massive star factory, lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. It was taken using the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in northern Chile and reveals many young stars and other objects normally buried deep inside the dusty clouds. The new image from the VISION survey (VIenna Survey In Orion) is a montage of images taken in the near...
Tue, 3 Jan 2017 22:48:00 +0100
NASA has selected a science mission that will allow astronomers to explore, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most extreme and exotic astronomical objects, such as stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars. Objects such as black holes can heat surrounding gases to more than a million degrees. The high-energy X-ray radiation from this gas can be polarized - vibrating in a particular direction. The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission will ...
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