NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft Nearing the End as Fuel Runs Low

This artist’s concept depicts select planetary discoveries made to date by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. (Credit: NASA/W. Stenzel)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Trailing Earth’s orbit at 94 million miles away, the Kepler space telescope has survived many potential knock-outs during its nine years in flight, from mechanical failures to being blasted by cosmic rays. At this rate, the hardy spacecraft may reach its finish line in a manner we will consider a wonderful success. With nary a gas station to be found in deep space, the spacecraft is going to run out of fuel. We expect to reach that moment within several months.

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NASA Announces Ninth Round of Candidates for CubeSat Space Missions

Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 small research satellites from seven states and Puerto Rico to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The selections are part of the ninth round of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. CubeSats are a type of spacecraft called nanosatellites, often measuring about four inches on each side and weighing less than three pounds, with a volume of about one quart. CubeSats are built using these standard dimensions as Units or “U”, and are classified as 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in total size.

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Updates From Blue Origin, Space Angels, Exos Aerospace & More

New Shepard booster fires its engine just over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference was held in Colorado earlier this week. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks tweeted the sessions:

Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News
Laura Seward Forczyk @LauraForczyk

Below are summaries of a number of talks based on their tweets.  The talks included Erika Wagner of Blue Origin, Dylan Taylor of Space Angels, John Quinn of Exos Aerospace, Tim Lachenmeier of Near Space Corporation, Lewis Groswald of the University of Colorado Boulder, and Alain Berinstain of Moon Express.

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CU Boulder to Partner with UAE on Mars Mission

UAE Mars mission science objectives. (Credit: UAE Space Agency)
UAE Mars mission science objectives. (Credit: UAE Space Agency)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU Boulder PR) — A mission to study dynamic changes in the atmosphere of Mars over days and seasons led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) involves the University of Colorado Boulder as the leading U.S. scientific-academic partner.

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CU-Boulder Antibiotic Experiment to Fly to ISS on Cygnus

Cygnus berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)
Cygnus berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU-Boulder PR) — NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s commercial Cygnus spacecraft on Tuesday, Jan. 7 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, which will be carrying two University of Colorado Boulder payloads to the International Space Station.

The two CU-Boulder payloads — a biomedical antibiotic experiment and an educational K-12 experiment involving ant behavior in microgravity — are slated to be launched aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket at 11:55 a.m. MST. Both experiments were designed by BioServe Space Technologies, a NASA-funded center in CU-Boulder’s aerospace engineering sciences department.

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ISS Astronaut Remotely Controls Rover on Earth in Preparation for Lunar Exploration

The K10 rover on NASA's Roverscape in California. The robot has just been manipulated by an astronaut in space to roll out an antenna film that CU-Boulder researchers would like to deploy on the far side of the moon. (Credit: Jack Burns)
The K10 rover on NASA’s Roverscape in California. The robot has just been manipulated by an astronaut in space to roll out an antenna film that CU-Boulder researchers would like to deploy on the far side of the moon. (Credit: Jack Burns)

BOULDER, Colo. (UC Boulder PR) — An astronaut orbiting Earth in the International Space Station has remotely directed a NASA rover in California to unfurl an “antenna film” that scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder are developing for use on the unexplored far side of the moon.

When astronaut Chris Cassidy used a Space Station computer to pilot the robot across a mock lunar surface at NASA’s Ames Research Center on June 17, he demonstrated for the first time that an astronaut in an orbiting spacecraft could successfully control a robot in real time on a planetary surface. The technique could have future applications for humans visiting Mars, an asteroid or the moon.

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