UCLA Students Launch Project that’s Out of this World

By Rebecca Kendall
UCLA

Five years ago, a group of UCLA undergrads came together with a common goal — to build a small satellite and launch it into space. In the years since, more than 250 students — many of whom are now UCLA graduate students and alumni — have been the mechanical engineers, software developers, thermal and power testers, electronics technicians, mission planners and fabricators of the twin Electron Losses and Fields Investigation CubeSats, known as ELFIN.

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NASA Announces Initiative to Boost Small Science Satellite Efforts

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

LOGAN, Utah — The head of NASA’s science programs unveiled an $100 million per year initiative on Monday focused on the use of small scuebce satellites that includes data buys from three spacecraft constellation operators.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said the funding would go to targeted space science, technology and educational projects. He made the announcement during a keynote address at the annual Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah.

A key element of the initiative is the purchase of Earth science data from companies with satellite constellations in Earth orbit. Zurbuchen announced that the first purchases will be made from DigitalGlobe, Planet and Spire. He did not disclose the amounts of the awards.

Zurbuchen said NASA’s goal is to work with the growing small-satellite industry, not to compete with it. The space agency will invest in early-stage research and development to advance and test new technologies.

Zurbuchen also announced a new opportunity for small-satellite technology demonstrations focused on heliophysics that will be funded at up to $65 million.

“This opportunity will ultimately help deploy #SmallSat technologies to better understand @NASASun science and protect Americans by protecting US technological infrastructure on Earth and in space from the perils of space weather,” he tweeted.

Zurbuchen said NASA plans to provide more launch and rideshare opportunities for small satellites built by government, commercial and international partners.

House Science Committee Passes Revised Space Weather Bill

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved legislation today to better protect lives, property, and infrastructure from the adverse effects of space weather.

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DARPA Seeks 72-hour Space Environment Forecasts with Hourly Updates

An aurora, visible at the Earth’s poles as a result of a geomagnetic storm, can interfere with satellite operations. DARPA’s Space Environment Exploitation program aims to develop precision forecasting of a host of disturbances in the near-Earth space environment. (Credit: DARPA)

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — Models for providing hourly terrestrial weather forecasts anywhere in the world have become increasingly precise—our smartphones buzz or chirp with local alerts of approaching thunderstorms, heavy snow, flash floods, and big events like tornados and hurricanes.

The military relies on accurate weather forecasts for planning complex operations in the air, on ground, and at sea. But when it comes to predicting environmental conditions in specific locations within the vast volume of space, no similar forecasting exists.

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UK to Play Major Role in Space Weather Mission Concept

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — Teams from across the UK will work on a concept for a future European mission to help reduce the global risk of damage caused by space weather.

Space weather occurs when the sun ejects material which can be highly charged, super heated and hazardous to manmade infrastructure and human life in space.

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Senate Appropriators Reject Trump’s Cut to Weather Satellite Budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee has rejected a proposal by the Trump Administration for a significant funding in a key NOAA weather satellite program.

Senate appropriators have provided $419 million for the Polar Follow-on (PFO) program for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018). The program is aimed on developing two Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft to follow two already funded JPSS satellites.  The JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled for launch later this year.

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Space Weather Research & Forecasting Act Introduced in House


WASHINGTON, DC (Ed Perlmutta PR) — Today, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-7) introduced the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act.  This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), is the House companion to S. 141 introduced by Senators Gary Peters, Cory Gardner, Cory Booker, and Roger Wicker which passed the Senate earlier this year.

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Space Weather Blackout Could Cost U.S. $40 Billion Per Day

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)
Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (AGU PR) — The daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study.

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Obama Signs Executive Order on Space Weather

Solar flare and Coronal Mass Ejection from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory.  (Credit: NASA).
Solar flare and Coronal Mass Ejection from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. (Credit: NASA).

By Dr. Tamara Dickinson
Principal Assistant Director for Environment and Energy
White House

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that seeks to coordinate efforts to prepare the Nation for space weather events.

The Executive Order will help reduce economic loss, save lives, and enhance national security by ordering the creation of nationwide response and recovery plans and procedures that incorporate technologies that mitigate the effects of space-weather events.

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Senate Science Committee Approves Space Weather Bill

On June 20, 2013, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this coronal mass ejection (CME). A solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. (Credit NASA)
On June 20, 2013, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this coronal mass ejection (CME). A solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. (Credit NASA)

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has approved a slightly modified version of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, which will fund work on protecting the nation from the effects of solar flares and coronal mass ejections that could fry our energy grid.

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Senators Introduce Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act

On June 20, 2013, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this coronal mass ejection (CME). A solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. (Credit NASA)
On June 20, 2013, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this coronal mass ejection (CME). A solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. (Credit NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today announced they are introducing the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, bipartisan legislation to improve efforts to predict and mitigate the effects of space weather events on Earth and in space. Space weather refers to conditions caused by naturally occurring variations in emissions from the sun, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Space weather events can disrupt the electric power grid, communications networks, GPS, satellites and aircraft operations leading to serious economic and safety consequences.

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ESA Advances on Space Hazards System

The SSA programme is enabling Europe to detect hazards to critical space infrastructure. This artist's impression illustrates how radars, telescopes and networks on the ground can work in unison to detect space hazards including debris in orbit, harmful space weather and near-Earth objects. Credits: ESA - P. Carrill

ESA PR — The European Commission recently set out the EU’s main space priorities, which include protection of Europe’s space assets. The affirmation spotlights the Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Programme as a strategic European necessity and a cornerstone of Europe’s future in space.
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