Tag: NASA JPL

Space Stations With Laser Beams on Them

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NASA_OPALS_on_ISS
by Elizabeth Landau

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

You may know opals as fiery gemstones, but something special called OPALS is floating above us in space. On the International Space Station, the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) is demonstrating how laser communications can speed up the flow of information between Earth and space, compared to radio signals.

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JPL Selects Europa CubeSat Proposals for Study

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Artist's concept of CubeSats near Jupiter's moon Europa. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

Artist’s concept of CubeSats near Jupiter’s moon Europa. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has chosen proposals from 10 universities to study CubeSat concepts that could enhance a Europa mission concept currently under study by NASA. The CubeSat concepts will be incorporated into a JPL study describing how small probes could be carried as auxiliary payloads. The CubeSats would then be released in the Jovian system to make measurements and enhance our understanding of Jupiter’s moon Europa.

CubeSats are small, lightweight and low-cost satellites, often only inches on a side. With support from NASA, JPL is working to include small spacecraft on deep space exploration missions to complement primary spacecraft.

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X Prize Foundation Grosses $1.2 Million from Ansari X Prize Anniversary Tour

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We’re getting our first updates on the exclusive $40,000 per person Ansari X Prize 10th Anniversary trip being lead by X Prize Foundation Founder Peter Diamandis.

It appears as if “about 30″ people signed up for the trip, grossing the X Prize Foundation about $1.2 million. The group includes W. Brett Wilson, whom Canadians will remember as having formerly starred on the CBC show Dragon’s Den, and mining magnate Rob McEwen, whom Canadians will remember as the guy who digs big holes in the ground.

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MAVEN Enters Martian Orbit

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Members of the mission team at the Lockheed Martin Mission Support Area in Littleton, Colorado, celebrate after successfully inserting NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft into orbit around Mars at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21. (Credit:  Lockheed Martin)

Members of the mission team at the Lockheed Martin Mission Support Area in Littleton, Colorado, celebrate after successfully inserting NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft into orbit around Mars at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.

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ISS Instrument to Be Assembled Robotically On Orbit

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RapidScat's two-part payload is shown in the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

RapidScat’s two-part payload is shown in the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

NASA Press Release

NASA’s ISS-RapidScat wind-watching scatterometer, which is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station no earlier than Sept. 19, will be the first science payload to be robotically assembled in space since the space station itself. This image shows the instrument assembly on the left, shrouded in white. On the right is Rapid-Scat’s nadir adapter, a very sophisticated bracket that points the scatterometer toward Earth so that it can record the direction and speed of ocean winds. The two pieces are stowed in the unpressurized trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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NASA Instrument on Rosetta Returns First Scientific Results

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Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 3 August from a distance of 285 km. The image resolution is 5.3 metres/pixel. (Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 3 August from a distance of 285 km. The image resolution is 5.3 metres/pixel. (Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A NASA instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Rosetta orbiter has successfully made its first delivery of science data from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The instrument, named Alice, began mapping the comet’s surface last month, recording the first far-ultraviolet light spectra of the comet’s surface. From the data, the Alice team discovered the comet is unusually dark — darker than charcoal-black — when viewed in ultraviolet wavelengths. Alice also detected both hydrogen and oxygen in the comet’s coma, or atmosphere.

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Cool HD Video of NASA’s LDSD Test Flight

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PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) – NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project successfully flew a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space in late June from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The goal of this experimental flight test, the first of three planned for the project, was to determine if the balloon-launched, rocket-powered, saucer-shaped, design could reach the altitudes and airspeeds needed to test two new breakthrough technologies destined for future Mars missions.

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Flight Opportunities Program Flies Space Technology on Parabolic Flights

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Members of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory team test their grappling tool for small floating objects during a parabolic over-the-top maneuver on NASA's C-9 reduced-gravity aircraft.

Members of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory team test their grappling tool for small floating objects during a parabolic over-the-top maneuver on NASA’s C-9 reduced-gravity aircraft.

NASA PR — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program funded a series of parabolic flights to evaluate eight space-technology experiments conducted by a like number of teams in late July.

Three universities and NASA’s Glenn Research Center tested their experiments in microgravity onboard NASA’s C-9 reduced gravity airplane during the first flights that began on July 22. Eight flights were conducted over a weeklong period out of Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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NASA Seeks Information About Commercial Mars Communications Satellites

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Artist rendering of commercial Mars satellites providing communications back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist rendering of commercial Mars satellites providing communications back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the possibility of using commercial Mars-orbiting satellites to provide telecommunications capabilities for future robotic missions to the Red Planet.

“We are looking to broaden participation in the exploration of Mars to include new models for government and commercial partnerships,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Depending on the outcome, the new model could be a vital component in future science missions and the path for humans to Mars.”

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NASA Declares First LDSD Test Success

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Hours after the June 28, 2014, test of NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator over the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range, the saucer-shaped test vehicle is lifted aboard the Kahana recovery vessel. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Hours after the June 28, 2014, test of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator over the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range, the saucer-shaped test vehicle is lifted aboard the Kahana recovery vessel. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA representatives participated in a media teleconference this morning to discuss the June 28, 2014 near-space test flight of the agency’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which occurred off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

A high-altitude balloon launch occurred at 8:45 a.m. HST (11:45 a.m. PDT/2:45 p.m. EDT) from the Hawaiian island facility. At 11:05 a.m. HST (2:05 p.m. PDT/5:05 p.m. EDT), the LDSD test vehicle dropped away from the balloon as planned and began powered flight. The balloon and test vehicle were about 120,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean at the time of the drop. The vehicle splashed down in the ocean at approximately 11:35 a.m. HST (2:35 p.m. PDT/5:35 p.m. EDT), after the engineering test flight concluded. The test vehicle hardware, black box data recorder and parachute were all recovered later in the day.

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