International Satellite to Track Impacts of Small Ocean Currents

SWOT’s solar panels unfold as part of a test in January at a Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes, France, where the satellite is being assembled. SWOT will measure elevations of Earth’s ocean and surface water, giving researchers information with an unprecedented level of detail. (Credits: CNES/Thales Alenia Space)

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission will explore how the ocean absorbs atmospheric heat and carbon, moderating global temperatures and climate change.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Though climate change is driving sea level rise over time, researchers also believe that differences in surface height from place to place in the ocean can affect Earth’s climate. These highs and lows are associated with currents and eddies, swirling rivers in the ocean, that influence how it absorbs atmospheric heat and carbon.

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Webb’s Coldest Instrument Reaches Operating Temperature

MIRI, the mid-infrared camera and spectrograph (left), was installed in the science payload module of the James Webb Space Telescope (right) on 29 April 2013 at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

PARIS (ESA PR) — With help from a cryocooler, Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument has dropped down to just a few degrees above the lowest temperature matter can reach and is ready for calibration.

The James Webb Space Telescope will see the first galaxies to form after the Big Bang, but to do that its instruments first need to get cold – really cold. On 7 April, Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) – a joint development by ESA and NASA – reached its final operating temperature below 7 kelvins (minus 266 degrees Celsius).

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Rogozin on ISS: ‘We’re Outta Here — Details to Follow’

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said Russia will suspend cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) with its U.S., Canadian, European and Japanese partners due to sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How and when was left unspecified.

The announcement throws the future of the decades-old ISS program into uncertainty. Roscosmos and NASA are the two lead agencies in the partnership. Russia launches crews and resupply ships to the station. Its vehicles also boost the station to higher altitudes to counteract the decay in its orbit.

NASA officials have said it would be difficult, not to mention expensive, to keep the station operating without Russian involvement.

Rogozin had given NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) until March 31 to lift sweeping sanctions imposed over the invasion. The United States and Canada have imposed sanctions; ESA is abiding by sanctions imposed by its member states.

Rogozin said cooperation won’t resume until sanctions are ended. He tweeted copies of letters Roscosmos received from its partners. NASA and CSA said they would continue cooperating with Russia on the space station. ESA’s letter said the space agency passed the request on to member nations.

Rogozin said Roscosmos would soon provide details of the nation’s withdrawal from the program.

NASA and its partners have been working toward extending ISS operations from 2026 to 2030. Whether that will be possible in unclear.

Rogozin Demands Lifting of Sanctions or Else…Something

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

TASS reports that Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin has given International Space Station’s partners NASA, European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency until the end of this month to lift what he called illegal sanctions against Russian aerospace companies over the invasion of Ukraine.

“We will wait until the end of March. The lack of response or a negative response would be a basis for our decision,” he said, without specifying what kind of decision it would be….

During an earlier meeting with Russian lawmakers, Rogozin said the work of the International Space Station was no longer effective amid the current geopolitical sitaution. He also said that ‘colossal funding’ will be required to continue ISS operations until 2030, otherwise “the station will fall into pieces.”.

Roscosmos is a state-owned company that owns nearly all of Russia’s space industry. A number of Roscosmos companies have been sanctioned over the Russian invasion of Ukaine. Rogozin has been personally under U.S. sanctions since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

NASA’s Webb Reaches Alignment Milestone, Optics Working Successfully

While the purpose of this image was to focus on the bright star at the center for alignment evaluation, Webb’s optics and NIRCam are so sensitive that the galaxies and stars seen in the background show up. At this stage of Webb’s mirror alignment, known as “fine phasing,” each of the primary mirror segments have been adjusted to produce one unified image of the same star using only the NIRCam instrument. This image of the star, which is called 2MASS J17554042+6551277, uses a red filter to optimize visual contrast. (Credits: NASA/STScI)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Following the completion of critical mirror alignment steps, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team expects that Webb’s optical performance will be able to meet or exceed the science goals the observatory was built to achieve.

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MDA Awarded CAD $269 Million Contract for Next Phase of Canadarm3 Program

An artist’s concept of Canadarm3’s large arm on the Lunar Gateway. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

Phase B preliminary design contract awarded to MDA as market demand for next-generation technology in the global space economy accelerates

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA Ltd. (TSX:MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, today announced that it is receiving $269M [USD $210.76 million] from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the next phase of the Canadarm3 program.

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Revised ISS Flight Plan Brings Change for ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

NASA astronauts and Crew-4 crewmembers Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren stand alongside ESA astronaut and Crew-4 crewmember Samantha Cristoforetti. (Credit: SpaceX)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In May 2021 it was announced that ESA astronaut and Dragon Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti would serve as Commander of International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 68a.

As part of normal vehicle scheduling, the Space Station flight programme was recently updated adjusting the upcoming crew rotation for Crew-4 and Crew-5, resulting in a shorter mission for Crew-4. ISS Expedition 68 will now take place after Samantha’s departure from the Station.

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NASA to Discuss Webb’s Arrival at Final Destination, Next Steps on Monday

Artist rending showing light reflecting off of the primary and secondary mirrors of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, after it has deployed in space. (Credits: NASA/Mike McClare)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Scientists and engineers operating NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will answer questions about the mission’s latest milestones in a NASA Science Live broadcast at 3 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 24, followed by a media teleconference at 4 p.m.

The broadcast will air live online on the NASA Science Live website, as well as YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.

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Canada Announces Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation

Twenty-one Canadian organizations receive funding to make innovative use of Earth observation data

LONGUEUIL, Que., January 20, 2022 (CSA PR) – Satellites provide a unique perspective of our planet, support cutting-edge science, and enable applications and services in many areas critical to the health and well-being of Canadians. For 60 years, Canadian experts have been using satellites to monitor our environment from space.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the release of Resourceful, Resilient, Ready: Canada’s Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation, which describes how Canada will take full advantage of the unique vantage point of space to address climate change and other key challenges of our time. 

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NASA’s Webb Telescope Reaches Major Milestone as Mirror Unfolds

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

BALTIMORE (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team fully deployed its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, successfully completing the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations.

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Aligning the Primary Mirror Segments of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope with Light

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mike McClare

Editor’s Note: This NASA feature from October 2017 describes how engineers aligned the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) mirror segments prior to launch. The telescope completed unfolding and latching its mirrors in space today; engineers will now spend five months aligning the mirrors and calibrating the telescope.

By Eric Villard and Maggie Masetti
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

HOUSTON — Engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston used light waves to align the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror segments to each other, so they act like a single, monolithic mirror in the cryogenic cold of the center’s iconic Chamber A.

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NASA to Host Coverage, Briefing for Webb Telescope’s Final Unfolding

James Webb Space Telescope unfolding sequence. (Credit: NASA)

WASHIINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage and host a media briefing Saturday, Jan. 8, for the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s major spacecraft deployments.

Beginning no earlier than 9 a.m. EST, NASA will air live coverage of the final hours of Webb’s major deployments. After the live broadcast concludes, at approximately 1:30 p.m., NASA will hold a media briefing. Both the broadcast and media briefing will air live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Sunshield Successfully Deploys on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope’s final sunshield deployment and tensioning tests were completed in December 2020. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The James Webb Space Telescope team has fully deployed the spacecraft’s 70-foot sunshield, a key milestone in preparing it for science operations.

The sunshield – about the size of a tennis court at full size – was folded to fit inside the payload area of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket’s nose cone prior to launch. The Webb team began remotely deploying the sunshield Dec. 28, 2021, three days after launch.

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What We Learned from the Space Station this Past Year

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As the International Space Station enters its third decade of continuous human presence, the impact of microgravity research conducted there keeps growing. The months between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 saw publication of more than 400 scientific papers based on studies aboard the orbiting lab.

Here are some highlights of recent results from groundbreaking space station science:

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NASA Announces Extension of International Space Station to 2030

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced today the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to extend International Space Station (ISS) operations through 2030, and to work with our international partners in Europe (ESA, European Space Agency)Japan (JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Canada (CSA, Canadian Space Agency), and Russia (State Space Corporation Roscosmos) to enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory through the rest of this decade.

“The International Space Station is a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration and for more than 20 years has returned enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit humanity. I’m pleased that the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to continuing station operations through 2030,” Nelson said. “The United States’ continued participation on the ISS will enhance innovation and competitiveness, as well as advance the research and technology necessary to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program and pave the way for sending the first humans to Mars. As more and more nations are active in space, it’s more important than ever that the United States continues to lead the world in growing international alliances and modeling rules and norms for the peaceful and responsible use of space.”

Over the past two decades, the United States has maintained a continuous human presence in orbit around the Earth to test technologies, conduct scientific research, and develop skills needed to explore farther than ever before. The unique microgravity laboratory has hosted more than 3,000 research investigations from over 4,200 researchers across the world and is returning enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit people on Earth. Nearly 110 countries and areas have participated in activities aboard the station, including more than 1,500,000 students per year in STEM activities.

Instruments aboard the ISS, used in concert with free-flying instruments in other orbits, help us measure the stresses of drought and the health of forests to enable improved understanding of the interaction of carbon and climate at different time scales. Operating these and other climate-related instruments through the end of the decade will greatly increase our understanding of the climate cycle.

Extending operations through 2030 will continue another productive decade of research advancement and enable a seamless transition of capabilities in low-Earth orbit to one or more commercially owned and operated destinations in the late 2020s. The decision to extend operations and NASA’s recent awards to develop commercial space stations together ensure uninterrupted, continuous human presence and capabilities; both are critical facets of NASA’s International Space Station transition plan.