Tag: NASA JPL

NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission Completes Design Milestone as Cost Rises

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Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (Credit: NASA/AMA Studios)

Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (Credit: NASA/AMA Studios)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Following a key program review, NASA approved the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) to proceed to the next phase of design and development for the mission’s robotic segment. ARM is a two-part mission that will integrate robotic and crewed spacecraft operations in the proving ground of deep space to demonstrate key capabilities needed for NASA’s journey to Mars.

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Smallsat 2016: NASA Program & Mission Updates

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Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

NASA officials have been providing updates this week on agency programs and missions during the 2016 Small Satellite Conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it. I have pulled together summaries of their presentations drawn from Twitter.  Information has come from the following Tweeters:

  • Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust
  • David Hurst ‏@OrbitalDave
  • Hanna Steplewska ‏@spacesurfingirl
  • Augie Allen ‏@AugieAllen
  • RITSpaceExploration ‏@RITSPEX

Enjoy!
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NASA Tests Pop-up PUFFER Rover in Mojave Desert

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The PUFFER team hiking to Rainbow Basin to identify areas for field testing. Examples include overhung rocks (top inset), incline with prototype (middle), and a large region for general mobility testing (bottom). (Credit: NASA)

The PUFFER team hiking to Rainbow Basin to identify areas for field testing. Examples include overhung rocks (top inset), incline with prototype (middle), and a large region for general mobility testing (bottom). (Credit: NASA)

By Denise M. Stefula
NASA

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots technology, or PUFFER, is readying a prototype for field testing in Southern California’s Mojave Desert through this summer and into the fall.

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Deep Space Optical Communications

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A NASA JPL artist imagines a group of satellites around Mars providing navigation and communication for robots and humans down on the Red Planet, while a larger spacecraft ensures the Mars-Earth connection. (Credit: NASA)

A NASA JPL artist imagines a group of satellites around Mars providing navigation and communication for robots and humans down on the Red Planet, while a larger spacecraft ensures the Mars-Earth connection. (Credit: NASA)

By Denise M. Stefula

In May 2016, the Game Changing Development Program’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) project completed TRL 6 milestone testing on its key deliverable, an integrated deep-space flight laser transmitter assembly. Proposed on several Discovery missions, the technology undergoes a transition review in June and is expected to advance to NASA’s Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) program.

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

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Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.

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Juno Approach Movie of Jupiter and the Galilean Moons

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Video Caption: NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a unique time-lapse movie of the Galilean satellites in motion about Jupiter. The movie begins on June 12th with Juno 10 million miles from Jupiter, and ends on June 29th, 3 million miles distant.

The innermost moon is volcanic Io; next in line is the ice-crusted ocean world Europa, followed by massive Ganymede, and finally, heavily cratered Callisto. Galileo observed these moons to change position with respect to Jupiter over the course of a few nights.

From this observation he realized that the moons were orbiting mighty Jupiter, a truth that forever changed humanity’s understanding of our place in the cosmos. Earth was not the center of the Universe. For the first time in history, we look upon these moons as they orbit Jupiter and share in Galileo’s revelation. This is the motion of nature’s harmony.

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Jupiter

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Juno team members celebrate after they received confirmation from the spacecraft that it has successfully entered orbit of Jupiter, Monday, July 4, 2016 in mission control of the Space Flight Operations Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. The Juno mission launched August 5, 2011 and will orbit the planet for 20 months to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Juno team members celebrate after they received confirmation from the spacecraft that it has successfully entered orbit of Jupiter, Monday, July 4, 2016 in mission control of the Space Flight Operations Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. The Juno mission launched August 5, 2011 and will orbit the planet for 20 months to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 8:53 p.m. PDT (11:53 p.m. EDT) Monday, July 4.

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Ringing in the Fourth of July with Juno at NASA JPL

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Fourth_of_July_firework
Happy Fourth of July!

I’m at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory today where the space agency will attempt to put the Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter this evening.

NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. (Credit: NASA)

Mission commentary begins at 7:30 p.m. PDT. A 35-minute main engine burn is set to begin at 8:18 p.m. and conclude at 8:53 p.m. Watch the proceedings live at www.nasa.gov.

I’m be Tweeting @ www.twitter.com/spacecom

Please follow along.

Juno to Enter Orbit Around Jupiter on July 4

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NASA's Juno Spacecraft Enters Jupiter's Magnetic Field NASA's Juno spacecraft obtained this color view on June 28, 2016, at a distance of 3.9 million miles (6.2 million kilometers) from Jupiter. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)
NASA’s Juno spacecraft obtained this color view on June 28, 2016, at a distance of 3.9 million miles (6.2 million kilometers) from Jupiter. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)MISSION STATUS REPORT

As of noon (Pacific time) today, July 2, NASA’s Juno mission was 1.79 million miles (2.88 million kilometers) from Jupiter — and closing. The solar-powered spacecraft will cross the orbit of the outermost Galilean moon, Callisto, on July 3 at about 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT). The orbits of Ganymede, Europa and Io (the other Galilean moons), will be crossed on July 4 at about 4 a.m. PDT (7 a.m. EDT), 10:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. EDT) and 2:15 p.m. PDT (5:15 p.m. EDT) respectively. These four largest moons of Jupiter are named the Galilean moons because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1609.

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Orbital ATK Celebrates Success of Dawn Mission

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Artist's concept of Dawn above Ceres around the time it was captured into orbit by the dwarf planet in early March. Since its arrival, the spacecraft turned around to point the blue glow of its ion engine in the opposite direction. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of Dawn above Ceres around the time it was captured into orbit by the dwarf planet in early March. Since its arrival, the spacecraft turned around to point the blue glow of its ion engine in the opposite direction. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

DULLES, Va., 30 June 2016 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today celebrates the achievements of NASA’s Dawn deep space exploration spacecraft as it successfully completes its primary mission. Designed and built by Orbital ATK, Dawn is in the ninth year of its historic journey, which is advancing human understanding of planetary formation and revealing new mysteries of the solar system.

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Dawn Completes Primary Mission on Asteroid Day

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This false-color rendering highlights differences in surface materials at Ceres, one of the targets of the Dawn mission. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA)

This false-color rendering highlights differences in surface materials at Ceres, one of the targets of the Dawn mission. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — On June 30, just in time for the global celebration known as Asteroid Day, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft completes its primary mission. The mission exceeded all expectations originally set for its exploration of protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.

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NSRC Day 3 Summary

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Test flights will eventually take place on Masten Space Systems' Xaero vehicle. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Test flights will eventually take place on Masten Space Systems’ Xaero vehicle. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference finished up today in Colorado. There were provider presentations from Masten Space Systems and Virgin Galactic. Three researchers also presented results from suborbital microgravity flights.

Below are summaries of the sessions based on Tweets.
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NIAC Focus: Precise Extremely Large Reflective Telescope

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General APERTURE concept, before and after deployment (write head moves along the curved arm, while the curved arm rotates about the center axis). (Credit: M. Ulmer)

General APERTURE concept, before and after deployment (write head moves along the curved arm, while the curved arm rotates about the center axis). (Credit: M. Ulmer)

Further Development of Aperture: A Precise Extremely Large Reflective Telescope Using Re-configurable Elements
NASA Innovative Advance Concepts Phase II Award

Melville Ulmer
Northwestern University

One of the pressing needs for space ultraviolet-visible astronomy is a design to allow larger mirrors than the James Webb Space Telescope primary. The diameter of the rocket fairing limits the mirror diameter such that all future missions calling for mirrors up to 16 m in diameter or larger will require a mirror that is deployed post-launch.

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Caltech Names Michael Watkins as Next JPL Director

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Michael Watkins

Michael Watkins

PASADENA, Calif. (Caltech PR) — Michael M. Watkins, the Clare Cockrell Williams Centennial Chair in Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Space Research at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and vice president at Caltech, the Institute announced today.

Watkins will formally assume his position on July 1, 2016. He succeeds Charles Elachi, who will retire as of June 30, 2016, and move to the Caltech faculty.

Watkins is an internationally recognized scientist and engineer. Prior to assuming his current position at The University of Texas in 2015, he worked at JPL for 22 years, where he held leadership roles on some of NASA’s highest-profile missions. Watkins served as mission manager and mission system manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover; led review or development teams for several missions including the Cassini, Mars Odyssey, and Deep Impact probes; and was the project scientist leading science development for the GRAIL moon-mapping satellites, the GRACE Earth science mission, and the GRACE Follow-On mission, scheduled for launch in 2017. He last served at JPL as manager of the Science Division, and chief scientist for the Engineering and Science Directorate.

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NIAC Focus: Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments

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niac_aree_sauder

Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE). (Credit: NASA JPL)

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is a proposal submitted by Jonathan Sauder of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE)

Jonathan Sauder
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Venus, with its sulfuric acid clouds, temperatures of over 450′, and surface pressure of 92 bar, is one of the most hostile planetary environments in the solar system. Only a handful of Soviet Venera and Vega landers have successfully reached the surface of Venus. Even these robust probes only survived for 23 to 127 minutes before the electronics failed in the hostile environment.

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