“Cold Neptune” And Two Temperate Super-Earths Found Orbiting Nearby Stars

Artist’s concept of GJ229Ac, the nearest temperate super-Earth to us that is in a system in which the host star has a brown dwarf companion. Top Right Image: An artist’s concept of GJ180d, which is the nearest temperate super-Earth to us that is not tidally locked to its star, making it more likely to be able to host and sustain life. Illustrations are by Robin Dienel, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Washington, DC (Carnegie Institution for Science PR) — A “cold Neptune” and two potentially habitable worlds are part of a cache of five newly discovered exoplanets and eight exoplanet candidates found orbiting nearby red dwarf stars, which are reported in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series by a team led by Carnegie’s Fabo Feng and Paul Butler.

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NASA Selects First Mode and ASU to Develop Marathon Moon Rover, Intrepid

A preliminary CAD model of Intrepid, a novel Lunar Rover being developed in support of the NASA Planetary Mission Concept Study program. (Credit: First Mode)

SEATTLE (First Mode PR) — First Mode, a system design and engineering firm, has been selected by NASA to develop a pioneering lunar mission concept with Arizona State University (ASU). The effort will be funded through NASA’s Planetary Mission Concept Study program.

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NASA to Provide Live Coverage of SpaceX Crew Dragon In-flight Abort Test

Crew Dragon abort static test (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch escape demonstration, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with U.S. companies to launch American astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil.

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Watch ESA Director General’s Press Briefing on Wednesday

ESA Director General Jan Woerner opens the ESA-RAL Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory on Harwell Campus, UK. (Credit: STFC-S.Kill)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Follow the ESA Director General’s start-of-the-year press briefing at 08:30 GMT (09:30 CET) on 15 January 2020. 

This briefing, with DG Jan Wörner and ESA Directors, will lay out plans for the new budget committed to by Member States at Space19+ and look ahead at 2020.

In particular this year, we are looking forward to the launches of Solar Orbiter and ExoMars 2020, key missions in Science and Exploration, as well as Sentinel-6A, and the return to flight of Vega. We will welcome back Luca Parmitano from his Beyond mission, and continue to prepare for future exploration in low Earth orbit and at the lunar Gateway. Our new Space Safety Programme will be of vital importance as we monitor and mitigate threats in space and from space.

Space19+ also reinforced our belief that climate change and environmental monitoring are of paramount importance to our Member States. Other space applications are becoming more important by the day such as satellites for 5G and the Internet of Things, as well as new navigation applications, and downstream use of space data to improve life on Earth.

Watch the press briefing on ESA Web TV.

Video: Back to the Moon with ESA

Video Caption: The first flight of the Artemis programme, which will see humans return to the Moon, is scheduled to begin soon.

The lunar spacecraft consists of NASA’s Orion crew module and the European Service Module, or ESM. Developed by ESA and building on technology from its Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the ESM will provide propulsion, life support, environmental control and electrical power to Orion.

The Artemis 1 spacecraft modules are undergoing thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference tests in the world’s largest space simulation vacuum chamber at the Glenn Research Centre’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, USA.

Learn more about Orion: http://bit.ly/ESAOrion

Roscosmos Allocates More Funding for Oryol Spacecraft Development

Ergonomic testing has been conducted for the new Oryol spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Sputnik reports that Roscosmos will devote more than 8 billion rubles ($130.7 million) in additional funding for development of the Oryol (Eagle) beginning next year.

The contract with Energia would fund the construction of two Oryol spacecraft. They are designed to replace the Soyuz transport that has been in use since 1967 and allow cosmonauts to perform lunar and deep space missions. The spacecraft was formerly known as Federatsiya (Federation).

An Oryol mockup would be launched on the Angara A5 heavy booster in 2023, Sputnik reported. A flight test to the International Space Station is planned for 2025, followed by a lunar flyby in 2029 and a landing on the surface the following year.

The additional funding will also be used for the testing of the Yenisei super-heavy booster in 2028, Sputnik said.

TriSept Secures Dedicated Rideshare Mission Aboard Orbex Prime Booster

CHANTILLY, Virginia and FORRES, Scotland, January 14, 2020 (TriSept/Orbex PR) – TriSept Corporation, a leading provider of launch integration, management and brokerage services for commercial and government missions, today announced it has procured a full mission aboard an Orbex Prime launch vehicle set to lift off in the fall of 2022 from the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland.

With its expansion into the UK space market already underway, TriSept is building a multiple spacecraft manifest for a dedicated rideshare mission aboard the reusable Orbex Prime small satellite launcher. TriSept is a long-time go-to launch integration provider in the US space market, enabling the launch of more than 200 satellites on 70 different missions aboard 20 different launch vehicles from 13 launch sites across the globe. TriSept announced last month it will have a full-time presence at the Harwell Space Campus in Oxford, England beginning this year.

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Virgin Galactic Announces Date for Fourth Quarter, Full Year Financial Results

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR)–Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“VG” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace company, today announced that it will report its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2019 following the close of the U.S. markets on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. VG will host a conference call to discuss the results that day at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

A live webcast and replay of the conference call will be available on the Company’s Investor Relations website at investors.virgingalactic.com.

About Virgin Galactic Holdings

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. is a vertically-integrated aerospace company pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers. It believes the commercial exploration of space represents one of the most exciting and significant technology initiatives of our time. It is embarking on this commercial exploration journey with a mission to put humans into space and return them safely to earth on a routine, consistent and affordable basis. Using its proprietary and reusable technologies, and supported by a distinctive, Virgin-branded customer experience, it is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day experience culminating in a spaceflight that includes several minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth from space. It is in the final stages of development, having already completed multiple crewed flights of its vehicle into space, and anticipates initial commercial launch in 2020.

ECMWF Starts Assimilating Aeolus Wind Data

Aeolus is a polar-orbiting satellite which sends laser light into the atmosphere and measures the backscatter to obtain information on winds in the direction perpendicular to the satellite’s path. (Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab)

https://www.ecmwf.int/en/about/media-centre/news/2020/ecmwf-starts-assimilating-aeolus-wind-data

READING, England (ECMWF PR) — The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF ) started assimilating wind data from the European Space Agency’s ground-breaking Aeolus satellite operationally on 9 January 2020 after tests showed that they significantly improve weather forecasts.

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Success: 3D Bioprinter in Space Prints With Human Heart Cells

The 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) is the first 3D printer capable of manufacturing human tissue (including, someday, organs) in the microgravity condition of space. (Credit: Techshot)

GREENVILLE, Ind., January 7, 2020 (Techshot PR) — A 3D bioprinter privately owned by an American company has successfully printed with a large volume of human heart cells aboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Owned by Techshot Inc., a commercial operator of microgravity research and manufacturing equipment, the 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) was developed in partnership with nScrypt, a manufacturer of industrial 3D bioprinters and electronics printers. The tissue-like constructs return to Earth this week inside a SpaceX capsule.

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SpaceX, NASA Gear up for In-Flight Abort Demonstration

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX are preparing to launch the final, major test before astronauts fly aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The test, known as in-flight abort, will demonstrate the spacecraft’s escape capabilities — showing that the crew system can protect astronauts even in the unlikely event of an emergency during launch. The uncrewed flight test is targeted for 8 a.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 18, at the start of a four-hour test window, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

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This Week on The Space Show: Me

I’m going to appear on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 from 9:30-11 AM PST (11:30 AM-1 PM CST, 12:30-2 PM EST, 1730 GMT). We’ll be talking about the latest news and updates. You can listen in live here.

The full schedule for the week is below.

1. Monday, Jan. 13, 2020; 7 PM PST (9 PM CST; 10 PM EST) No special programming today.

2. SPECIAL TIME: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020: 6 PM PST (8 pm CST; 9 PM EST): We welcome JANELLE WELLONS of JPL to discuss future Titan settlement prosects and space mission instrument and related engineering topics.

3. Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, Pre-recorded Hotel Mars Program with John Batchelor. See Upcoming Show on The Space Show website for details.

4. Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020: 7-8:30 PM PST (9-10:30 pm CST; 10-11:30 PM EST): No special program today.

5. Friday, January 17,, 2020; 9:30-11 AM PST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST; 12:30-2 PM EST. We welcome back DOUG MESSIER of Parabolic Arc for news and updates.

6. Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): We welcome our OPEN LINES program. All calls welcome. Talk to other callers too.

exactEarth, Hisdesat Announce Multi-Year Contract with European Maritime Safety Agency

CAMBRIDGE, ON and MADRID , Jan. 13, 2020 (exactEarth/Hisdesat PR) — exactEarth Ltd. (“exactEarth” or the “Company”) (XCT:TSX) and Hisdesat announce that in partnership they have been selected by the European Maritime Safety Agency (“EMSA”) to provide satellite-AIS data services for a four-year period. All financial terms are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

Hisdesat, as prime contractor, will provide EMSA with exactView RT, exactEarth’s second-generation real-time satellite-AIS data service. Actual revenues under this framework contract will be determined by the task orders placed by EMSA, which is at their sole discretion, but based on their prior service expenditure history, exactEarth estimates that it could generate revenues of between $5.0 – $7.0 million for the Company over the life of the contract.

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First Spacebus Neo Satellite Set for Launch

The Konnect satellite is placed within the fairing for launch aboard Ariane 5. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first satellite developed under an initiative to help European industry deliver competitive satellites for the commercial telecommunications market has entered its final phase before launch.

Konnect will provide broadband services for Europe and Africa, and was built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, its commercial operator, under an ESA Partnership Project.

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