Archives

June 2012


Space Propulsion Group, Inc. (SPG) today successfully completed a major technology development test of its 22-inch-diameter, Liquid Oxygen/paraffin-based advanced hybrid rocket motor. This cutting-edge hybrid propulsion technology has practical applications for numerous space-related industries, including transportation, defense, suborbital research and tourism.

Space Propulsion Group, Inc. (SPG) today successfully completed a major technology development test of its 22-inch-diameter, Liquid Oxygen/paraffin-based advanced hybrid rocket motor. This cutting-edge hybrid propulsion technology has practical applications for numerous space-related industries, including transportation, defense, suborbital research and tourism.


In This Week at NASA Senator Barbara Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, was joined by officials from NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation and others at the Wallops Flight Facility for an update of Orbital's Antares rocket and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's new pad, from which the vehicle will launch and more.


China is celebrating the safe return of three astronauts, who successfully completed a mission that included the country's first manual docking in space and the first Chinese woman astronaut. Live television images of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft's return were broadcast around China Friday.

With the impending solar maximum expected to bring heightened rates of flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), putting at risk an ever-increasing human presence in space, Oh et al. designed and assessed a prediction system to keep astronauts safe from these solar storms.


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) NASA has released this video montage of highlights. From Kennedy's speech, Glen's Friendship 7 flight, the Apollo years, unmaned launches, the Shuttle era and through to the transformation of KSC for the next era of U.S. human spaceflight, watch it all.

New NanoRacks' Software Platform Speeds Space Customer Payloads to International Space Station

"A new software platform designed to ease the passage of payloads from earth to space was announced today at the AAS Space Station Research and Development Conference by NanoRacks, LLC, the leading company for space utilization. Payload TrackerTM is the first ever user-friendly tool that is specifically designed to allow customers, government officials, launch providers and others to track individual payloads through the myriad NASA safety and procedural requirements involved in launching customer project to the International Space Station."

The sun "peeking" through a solar array panel on the International Space Station caught the attention of one of the Expedition 31 crew members aboard the International Space Station. The thin blue line of Earth's atmosphere is visible in the background. ISS031-E-112645 (6 June 2012) --- high res (1.4 M) low res (85 K)

Photo: Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) Flying Inside the Space Station

"Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station."

Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-140672 (22 June 2012) --- high res (1.6 M) low res (91 K)

Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-140672 (22 June 2012) --- high res (1.6 M) low res (91 K)

An Expedition 31 crew member aboard the International Space Station, flying approximately 240 miles above Earth, recorded a series of images of the current wild fires in the southwestern United States. These particular fires, of unknown cause, are burning at the south end of the Wyoming Range in southwestern Wyoming, and have affected 17,000 acres.

Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed Saturn's moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell.

Scullion & Wedemeyer-Boehm (2012); NASAScullion & Wedemeyer-Boehm (2012); NASA

The super tornadoes - which are thousands of times larger and more powerful than their earthly counterparts but which have a magnetic skeleton - spin at speeds of more than 6,000 mph at temperatures in millions of centigrade in the Sun's atmosphere.

In a press conference at the California Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission - SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping. The Foundation leadership and technical team include some of the most experienced professionals in the world to lead this effort.


In a press conference at the California Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission - SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping.


An international team of astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected significant changes in the atmosphere of a planet located beyond our solar system. The scientists conclude the atmospheric variations occurred in response to a powerful eruption on the planet's host star, an event observed by NASA's Swift satellite.

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For the first time a clever new technique has allowed astronomers to study the atmosphere of an exoplanet in detail -- even though it does not pass in front of its parent star. An international team has used ESO's Very Large Telescope to directly catch the faint glow from the planet Tau Booetis b.

Extremely Little Telescope Discovers Pair of Odd Planets

"The KELT team scans those bright stars, and watches to see if the starlight dims just a little -- an indication that a planet has crossed in front of the star. The technique is called the "transit method," and takes advantage of situations such as the recent transit of Venus across the face of the Sun in our own solar system. It's a low-cost means of planet-hunting, using mostly off-the-shelf technology; whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000."


Though the KELT North telescope in southern Arizona carries a lens no more powerful than a high-end digital camera, it's just revealed the existence of two very unusual faraway planets.

Mauritania as photograph by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers on 10 May 2012 using a Nikon D2Xs. Larger image

Functional Cargo Block, FGB, Zarya. The oldest part of the Station. In space since 1998. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

Functional Cargo Block, FGB, Zarya. The oldest part of the Station. In space since 1998. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

During each nighttime pass we can see many lightning flashes. This one over West Africa. This photo was taken on June 4, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D3S. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image

MESSENGER completed its 1,000th orbit of the planet closest to the Sun at 11:22 p.m. EDT on 22 June 2012. "Reaching this milestone is yet another testimony to the hard work and dedication of the full MESSENGER team that has designed, launched, and operated this highly successful spacecraft," says the mission trajectory lead Jim McAdams of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.