NASA Goes to Great Lengths to Get Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Measurements

NASA Langley employees assembly flight cable harnesses for Mars 2020 mission. (Credit: NASA)

HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are hard at work assembling components for the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) which will collect data during the Mars 2020 mission’s entry through the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

These flight cable harnesses are 30-foot-long groups of electrical wires that will transmit signals for some MEDLI2 sensors. It takes about eight weeks to build and test all of the harnesses. Once complete, they will ship to Lockheed Martin for integration onto the Mars 2020 heat shield.

MEDLI2 will measure pressure, temperature, heat flux and radiation on the capsule that encloses the Mars 2020 rover during Mars atmospheric entry. The data collected will extend the groundbreaking entry data collected by the first MEDLI instrument suite flown aboard the Mars Science Laboratory mission in 2012 and will improve designs of entry systems for future robotic and human missions to Mars, Venus, Titan and the gas giants.

MEDLI2 is a Game Changing Development project led by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate with support from the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Science Mission Directorate. The project is managed at Langley and implemented in partnership with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL manages the Mars 2020 spacecraft development for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Space Memorabilia on Sale

Hi everyone.

I’m selling a bunch of space memorabilia I’ve picked up over the years on eBay. The items include mission patches, lapel pins, buttons, stickers from SpaceX, NASA, Planet, XPRIZE, Yuri’s Night, ESA and more. I’ve got a number of vintage items from the old Space Station Freedom program.

Below are images and links to what’s on sale now. Sales will help me with continuing to provide space coverage on Parabolic Arc. Thanks so much for your support.

FALCON 9 ABS EUTELSAT VEHICLE SPACE MISSION PATCH -- GREAT COLLECTIBLE
FALCON 9 ABS EUTELSAT VEHICLE SPACE MISSION PATCH — GREAT COLLECTIBLE
Item ID: 153184829478

Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Pin -- Great Collectible
Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Pin — Great Collectible
Item ID: 153168651819

NASA Challenger Space Shuttle Mission STS-41B Patch -- with Bruce McCandless
NASA Challenger Space Shuttle Mission STS-41B Patch — with Bruce McCandless
Item ID: 153184864843
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NASA iTech Semifinalists Rethink Terrestrial Technologies for Space


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and 3D printing are just a few of the technology threads pitched during the third cycle of the NASA iTech competition. With an eye on how these promising ideas could benefit space exploration, NASA has selected 25 competition semifinalists.

An initiative by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), iTech aims to find innovative ideas that have the potential to overcome critical technology hurdles facing future exploration of the Moon and Mars, even though many were originally meant to solve important problems here on Earth.

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Rocket Lab Signs Contract to Launch First Satellites for Kleos Space Constellation

Electron rocket on the launch pad. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LUXEMBOURG and HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., 19 September 2018 (Rocket Lab/Kleos Space PR) — US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has signed a contract with Luxembourg-based satellite technology company Kleos Space to launch the scouting mission satellites that will geolocate maritime radio to guard borders, protect assets and save lives.

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RemoveDEBRIS Satellite Net Captures Space Junk in Successful Test

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — RemoveDEBRIS began its experimental phase of its mission on 16 September with the deployment of the net to capture a deployed target cubesat.

The net was developed and supplied by a team of engineers at Airbus in Bremen, Germany.

The RemoveDEBRIS satellite platform was designed and manufactured by SSTL and houses two target cubesats and four debris removal technologies – a net, a harpoon, vision based navigation using cameras and LiDaR, and a de-orbit dragsail. The spacecraft is operated in orbit by SSTL’s engineers from our Spacecraft Operations Centre here in Guildford.

RemoveDEBRIS is a low cost mission funded jointly by the European Commission and 10 partners including Airbus, Surrey Space Centre, Ariane Group, SSTL, ISIS, CSEM, Inria and Stellenbosch University.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement #607099.

Orbital Insight Acquires FeatureX

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 18, 2018 (Orbital Insight PR) — Orbital Insight, the leader in geospatial analytics, announced today that it has acquired FeatureX, a privately-held, Boston-based artificial intelligence company. The acquisition brings new talent to Orbital Insight’s expert team and expands the company’s geographic footprint into Boston.

FeatureX, founded by serial entrepreneur and machine learning expert Gil Syswerda, specializes in computer vision for satellite imagery—specifically, object detection, image enhancement, and deep learning techniques. The acquisition enhances Orbital Insight’s expertise in these areas and strengthens the company’s research initiatives into new, cutting-edge applications.

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Planet and Orbital Insight Expand Satellite Imagery Partnership

SAN FRANCISCO and PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 19, 2018 (Planet/Orbital Insight PR) — Planet, who operates the largest constellation of imaging satellites, and Orbital Insight, the leader in geospatial analytics, announced today a multi-year contract for Orbital Insight to source daily, global satellite imagery from Planet. The contract is an expansion of their previous imagery-sharing agreement.

“Orbital Insight has been a fantastic partner for Planet, and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship as they develop analytics that make our imagery more accessible and actionable for businesses,” said Will Marshall, CEO and co-founder of Planet. “The partnership signals the market’s confidence in the growing number of use cases for insights derived from daily global imagery with advanced analytics.”

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JAXA Reschedules HTV-7 Launch for Saturday

HTV-6 cargo ship approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have updated launch schedule of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7(H-IIB F7) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI7” (HTV7), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS).

Necessity arose to investigate the H-IIB F7 propulsion system, forcing MHI and JAXA to cancel the launch previously rescheduled for September 15, 2018. MHI and JAXA have taken the course of action necessary to identify and deal with the cause that the investigation revealed.

The corrective measures which ensued from the investigation have completed. Accordingly, H-IIB F7 launch schedule updates go as follows:

Launch Date: September 22, 2018
Launch Time: Around 3:15 a.m. (Japan Standard Time, JST) *1
Reserved Launch Period: September 23 through October 31, 2018 *2

*1: Launch time is approximate and subject to change, to coordinate with the latest ISS orbit and operations.
*2: Launch time and date during the reserved launch period are pending, to be determined by the ISS operations and other status.

MHI Launch Services -H-IIA/H-IIB Launch Vehicle-
https://www.mhi.com/products/space/launch_service.html

Reference links for further information:
http://global.jaxa.jp/projects/rockets/h2b/
http://iss.jaxa.jp/en/htv/index.html

NASA’s TESS Shares First Science Image in Hunt to Find New Worlds

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) took this snapshot of the Large Magellanic Cloud (right) and the bright star R Doradus (left) with just a single detector of one of its cameras on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The frame is part of a swath of the southern sky TESS captured in its “first light” science image as part of its initial round of data collection. (Credits: NASA/MIT/TESS)

By Jeanette Kazmierczak
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is now providing valuable data to help scientists discover and study exciting new exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system. Part of the data from TESS’ initial science orbit includes a detailed picture of the southern sky taken with all four of the spacecraft’s wide-field cameras. This “first light” science image captures a wealth of stars and other objects, including systems previously known to have exoplanets.

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ABL Space Systems Signs Lease to Begin Operations in Camden County

ST. MARYS, Ga. (Camden County JDA) — This afternoon, at the site of the former St. Marys airport, ABL Space Systems (ABL), the City of St. Marys, and the Joint Development Authority of Camden County (JDA) agreed to terms on a lease that will allow ABL to begin business in Camden County, Georgia. The ABL lease agreement signals another step toward establishing Camden County as the Commercial Space Center of the United States.

Under the terms of today’s agreement, the Camden County JDA will lease the former St. Marys airport property from the City of St. Marys along with a former aircraft hangar adjacent to the airport from a private owner. The JDA will make minor improvements to the sites and sub-lease both properties to ABL.

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Zeldovich Medal Awarded to Japanese Researcher for ISS Fluid Dynamics Experiments

Taishi Yano (center) receiving medal. (Credit: Yano Yokohama – National University)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — At COSPAR 2018, the scientific assembly of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) held on July 14 – 22 in the US, Dr. Taishi Yano, Assistant Professor of Faculty of Engineering at Yokohama National University, was awarded the Zeldovich Medal. The medals are conferred by the Russian Academy of Sciences and COSPAR to young researchers for their outstanding contribution to space research.

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Trump’s Space Force to Cost $13 Billion to Establish

Defense News reports the U.S. Ar Force has estimated it will cost $13 billion over five years to establish an independent space force.

In a Sept. 14 memo obtained by Defense News and signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the service laid out its proposal to transition its space functions to a sixth branch of the military known as the Space Force.

Notably, the Air Force’s Space Force proposal pushes back on a previous proposal, put forth by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, in several key ways, including advocating for increased integration with the National Reconnaissance Office and objecting to the White House’s plan to install an assistant secretary of defense for space to help guide the transition.

In an exclusive Sept. 17 interview with Defense News, Wilson said her intention was not to hit back at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, but to provide an alternative way to execute President Donald Trump’s direction to create a Space Force….

The proposal put forward by the Air Force would strip all space capability and personnel from the existing services, but even then, there will be additional funding needed to run a new space branch.

NASA Names Holly Ridings New Chief Flight Director

Holly Ridings is at her Flight Director console in the space station flight control room in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Nov. 17, 2008, for day four of the space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-126 mission. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has named Holly Ridings its new chief flight director, making her the first woman to lead the elite group that directs human spaceflight missions from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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NOAA Continues Push Toward Innovative Partnerships with Second Round of Commercial Weather Data Pilot

Radio occultation helps to increase the accuracy of weather prediction models by measuring the refraction of radio signals beamed through Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit; NOAA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NESDIS has awarded contracts to three satellite companies as part of the Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) Round Two.

Awardees Spire, GeoOptics, and PlanetIQ will each provide space-based radio occultation data to NOAA for the purpose of demonstrating data quality and potential value to NOAA’s weather forecasts and warnings.

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Mattel, Inc. Releases Dream Chaser® Spacecraft Matchbox Toy

Mattel Dream Chaser Matchbox® toy. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (Sierra Nevada PR) – America’s next generation spaceplane will soon be available in stores. Mattel, Inc. toymaker is releasing a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft Matchbox® toy, which will be sold in stores starting in September.

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