Latest Space News
Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0100
At a ceremony today at ESO's Headquarters four contracts were signed for major components of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that ESO is building. These were for: the casting of the telescope's giant secondary and tertiary mirrors, awarded to SCHOTT; the supply of mirror cells to support these two mirrors, awarded to the SENER Group; and the supply of the edge sensors that form a vital part of the ELT's huge segmented primary mirror control system, awarded to the FAMES consortium. The second...
Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0100
On the heels of a successful launch of the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites on Saturday, January 14th, Aireon announced today that it has signed a data services agreement with Isavia, the Icelandic Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP). Isavia will deploy Aireon's space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) service throughout the Reykjavik Oceanic Control Area (OCA). In addition to providing enhanced redundancy to existing terrestrial surveillance resources in the southern p...
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:30:00 +0100
The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will launch the next Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite on Jan. 19 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch window is between 7:46 and 8:26 p.m. EST. SBIRS GEO Flight 3 was designed and built at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California, as the next in a series of Air Force satellites that provide multi-mission surveillance in the areas of missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awa...
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:00:00 +0100
New images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed otherwise invisible details of our Sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted centre of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth. The images are the first ever made of the Sun with a facility where ESO is a partner. The results are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star. The ALMA antennas had been careful...
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0100
Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) reached another milestone in developing the U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System Next-Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX, with the completion of the Factory Qualification Test of the Launch and Checkout System (LCS). GPS OCX will unleash dramatically increased performance and security of the GPS system that benefits millions of people worldwide. Raytheon tested 74 OCX segment requirements at its Aurora, Colorado, factory in a cyber-hardened enviro...
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...
Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100
The report, now available on ASDReports, "Aerospace Robotics Market by Type (Scara, Cylindrical, Articulated, Catesian), Component (Controller, Processor, End Effector, Drive, Sensor) Technology (Traditional, Collaborative), Application and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", The aerospace robotics market is projected to grow from USD 1.81 Billion in 2016 to USD 4.54 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 16.55% during the forecast period. Factors such as increasing use of robots for efficient aircraft...
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...
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