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Archive for the ‘satellites’ category

Apr 1, 2020

U-M leads $62M ‘largest radio telescope in space’ to improve solar storm warnings

Posted by in categories: particle physics, satellites


ANN ARBOR—The most violent solar weather—coronal mass ejections—can flood space with high-energy particle radiation that would harm astronauts and damage spacecraft in its path..

A new $62.6 million NASA mission led by the University of Michigan aims to provide better information on how the sun’s radiation affects the space environment that our spacecraft and astronauts travel through.

The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, or SunRISE, consists of miniature satellites called cubesats that form a “virtual telescope” in space to detect and study the radio waves that precede major solar events. The waves can’t be detected on Earth’s surface due to interference from the region of Earth’s upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere.

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Mar 30, 2020

Stars and Starlink

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, satellites

Astronomers may have one less (satellite) constellation to worry about.

Late Friday, OneWeb announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a New York court. In a statement, the company said it had been in “advanced negotiations” since the beginning of the year to raise a new round of funding needed to complete its broadband satellite constellation. The company said it was close to completing that deal, but “the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19” kept it from closing the deal.

OneWeb had just started large-scale deployment of its constellation, with Soyuz launches in early February and again March 21 each placing 34 satellites into orbit. Future launches are now on hold—launch services provider Arianespace was the largest single unsecured creditor identified in OneWeb’s bankruptcy, at $238 million—and may never resume, depending on who buys the company’s assets in a planned sale and their intentions for them.

Mar 29, 2020

This Engine Could One Day Save Us From Planetary Disaster

Posted by in category: satellites

Didymos, a 2,650-foot-wide asteroid, has an atypical cosmic companion— a 535 foot-wide satellite named Didymoon (10). These new two celestial bodies are not making a dangerous rendezvous with Earth, but they do provide an interesting opportunity for an apocalyptic dress rehearsal. NASA and ESA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will head to Didymos, to knock Didymoon off course. Along with its six picture-snapping Italian Space Agency cubesats, the mission will also send a follow-up ESA spacecraft named Hera to definitively answer if we can manipulate the trajectory of Earth-bound asteroids.

Mar 28, 2020

SpaceX going to the Moon with NASA

Posted by in categories: astronomy, complex systems, disruptive technology, Elon Musk, satellites, space, space travel
Orion and Dragon XL near the Lunar Gateway Credit: NASA

By Bill D’Zio, Originally posted on www.westeastspace.com March 28, 2020

NASA may have sidelined the Lunar Gateway for a return mission to the Moon, but it is not stopping the momentum. NASA has awarded several contracts for the Lunar Gateway including the most recent one to SpaceX. This demonstrates the growing capabilities of New Space companies to capture contracts and complete missions.

This contract award is another critical piece of our plan to return to the Moon sustainably. The Gateway is the cornerstone of the long-term Artemis architecture and this deep space commercial cargo capability integrates yet another American industry partner into our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for a future mission to Mars.NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press release statement about the award to SpaceX.

NASA Awarded SpaceX the first Artemis Gateway Logistics Services (GLS) contract. The award for resupply services to the Gateway will require delivery of goods to a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). Not sure what a NRHO orbit is? A NRHO is a highly elliptical orbit that takes about 7 days for each orbit. Want some more details, just click here: Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). There are a few options for NRHO orbits, but NASA is leaning towards the L2 9:2 lunar synodic resonant southerly Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) which would be the likely location of the lunar Gateway. A simplification of the orbit is shown below.

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Mar 27, 2020

New satellite views show impact of coronavirus on emissions, China’s night lights

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, satellites

Satellites are studying the impacts on pollution and night lighting of measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mar 24, 2020

Space in uncertain times

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, satellites, sustainability

Last month, even as the coronavirus epidemic was ravaging China and making inroads in other nations, the space industry’s concerns were elsewhere. There were debates about a NASA authorization bill in the House that would reshape NASA’s Artemis program even as the agency sought more money for it, the ongoing review into the flawed test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, renewed concerns about orbital debris after a close call between two defunct satellites, and discussions about the viability and sustainability of satellite constellations like OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink as both moved into full-scale deployment.

Those were the days. In the last couple of weeks, and especially in the last week, those issues have largely disappeared as what is now a pandemic takes hold in the United States and many other nations. But while many parts of the economy have ground to a halt, like retail and tourism, the effects on the space industry have been uneven. Some parts of it have also effectively halted, yet others continue ahead at essentially full speed—at least for now.

The first clear signs of the effects of the pandemic on the industry was bringing the circuit of conferences and other events to a standstill. On March 9, the Satellite 2020 conference got underway in Washington despite growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, including the first cases diagnosed in the city. Conference organizers plowed ahead even as some major companies, like satellite operator SES, bowed out, saying only about 10 percent of attendees as 12 percent of exhibitors had cancelled their plans.

Mar 22, 2020

DARPA is Building a Robotic Space Mechanic to Fix Satellites in Orbit

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, military, robotics/AI, satellites

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that’s responsible for developing emerging technologies for the U.S. military, is building a new high-tech spacecraft — and it’s armed. In an age of Space Force and burgeoning threats like hunter-killer satellites, this might not sound too surprising. But you’re misunderstanding. DARPA’s new spacecraft, currently “in the thick of it” when it comes to development, is armed. As in, it has arms. Like the ones you use for grabbing things.

Armed robots aren’t new. Mechanical robot arms are increasingly widespread here on Earth. Robot arms have been used to carry out complex surgery and flip burgers. Attached to undersea exploration vehicles, they’ve been used to probe submerged wrecks. They’ve been used to open doors, defuse bombs, and decommission nuclear power plants. They’re pretty darn versatile. But space is another matter entirely.

Mar 18, 2020

Space startup Lynk uses satellite to send text message to unmodified Android phone

Posted by in categories: internet, mobile phones, satellites

An aerospace startup that plans to launch thousands of satellite “cell towers” into space says it has successfully sent a text message to a common Android smartphone using one of its satellites in orbit. The company claims it’s the first time a text message has ever been sent to an unmodified mobile phone from space, and it demonstrates the technology needed to provide global cellphone connectivity from orbit.

The company behind the breakthrough space text is called Lynk, which used to go by the name UbiquitiLink. Lynk is one of several space companies at the moment planning on building a constellation of thousands of satellites to provide some kind of connectivity to individuals on the ground. But rather than provide broadband internet coverage, Lynk is focused on providing cell service for the average mobile phone with its satellites, without the need for customers to provide any extra hardware.

Mar 16, 2020

These space surveillance satellites just got an upgrade

Posted by in categories: satellites, surveillance

According to SOPS, this was one of the most significant upgrades to the system since it became operational in 2015. The ground system upgrade will also be important as the Space Force expands the constellation later this year, said 1st SOPS engineer Capt. Zachary Funke.

The first two satellites in the constellation launched in 2014, with two more satellites joining them on orbit in 2016. The Space Force is slated to launch the fifth and sixth GSSAP satellites in the fourth quarter of 2020 aboard an Atlas V rocket.

Operating near the geosynchronous belt, the four GSSAP satellites can provide data on other man-made objects in space without being interrupted by the weather or atmospheric conditions that impact ground-based space situational awareness systems. GSSAP satellites can also perform rendezvous and proximity operations, approaching other space vehicles to provide attribution or enhanced surveillance on objects of interest to United States Space Command.

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Mar 14, 2020

SpaceX readying for Sunday’s sixth Starlink launch, first fifth booster flight

Posted by in category: satellites

SpaceX is preparing its Falcon 9 to launch the Starlink V1.0 L5 mission, although the launch date has been moved to Sunday. This mission will be the first Starlink launch from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center, and the first from the pad since the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort Test in January 2020. The first stage is B1048.5 – marking the first time a Falcon 9 core flies for the fifth time. The launch is now scheduled for 9:22 AM Eastern on March 15.

Lead Image by Mike Deep Starlink launch:

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