SPACE JUNK: HOW CLUTTERED IS THE FINAL FRONTIER? - Since the dawn of Sputnik in 1957, space-faring nations have been filling Earth's orbital highways with satellites: GPS, weather forecasting, telecommunications.
Decades later, orbital debris is a growing problem.
Orbital debris, commonly known as "space junk," exists at all levels of orbit, but is especially concentrated in low Earth orbit. Space junk has the potential to damage working satellites and crewed spacecraft, including the International Space Station. More
(Source: NPR - Jan 14)
TWO NEW SATELLITES WILL LAUNCH THIS YEAR TO TRACK EARTH'S RISING OCEANS - Two new satellites will provide more detailed information about rising sea levels and other ocean changes on Earth.
Launching in November, the Sentinel-6/Jason Continuity of Service mission (Jason-CS) will be the longest-running Earth observation mission dedicated to studying the rising oceans. The spacecraft will provide the most sensitive water level measurements as it reveals details about rising oceans, helping to build nearly 40 years of sea level records. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 13)
SPACEX TESTS ROCKET FOR CRITICAL CREW DRAGON IN-FLIGHT ABORT LAUNCH ON JAN. 18 - SpaceX has fired up the booster that will fly the company’s upcoming in-flight abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft. The uncrewed mission will test a vital safety system designed to protect astronauts during flight.
SpaceX plans to use its Crew Dragon capsule to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, but before that can happen, the company needs to prove that the spacecraft has what it takes to keep those astronauts safe in the event of a catastrophic rocket failure. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 13)
SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS HARVEST ENERGY FOR NEAR-TOTAL GLOBAL COVERAGE - Think of it as a celestial parlor game: What is the minimum number of satellites needed to see every point on Earth? And how might those satellites stay in orbit and maintain continuous 24/7 coverage while contending with Earth's gravity field, its lumpy mass, the pull of the sun and moon, and pressure from solar radiation?
In the mid-1980s, researcher John E. Draim proposed what is generally considered to be the ideal solution: a four-satellite constellation. More
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 11)
SPACEX TESTS BLACK SATELLITE TO REDUCE “MEGACONSTELLATION” THREAT TO ASTRONOMY - The aerospace company SpaceX launched 60 of its Starlink broadband Internet satellites into orbit on 6 January — including one, called DarkSat, that is partially painted black. The probe is testing one strategy to reduce the brightness of satellite ‘megaconstellations’, which scientists fear could interfere with astronomical observations.
Various companies plan to launch thousands of Internet satellites in the coming years; SpaceX, of Hawthorne, California, aims to launch 24 batches of Starlinks this year. More
(Source: Scientific American - Jan 11)
AUSTRALIA'S DEADLY WILDFIRES IN PHOTOS: THE VIEW FROM SPACE - Fueled by a lengthy and intensifying drought, an early kickoff to fire season in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales began in September 2019 and continued into early 2020. Upwards of 100 wildfires have devastated Australia's southeast coast, killing at least 17 people.
Satellites from NASA and other agencies are tracking the deadly wildfires from space. Scroll down to photos of Australia's wildfires from space. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 11)
SPACEX PLANS TO BLOW UP A ROCKET OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN NEXT WEEK (AND YOU CAN WATCH IT LIVE) - SpaceX and NASA are working together to blow up a rocket over the Atlantic Ocean. The experiment, called an in-flight abort test, will likely lead to the destruction of a Falcon 9 rocket in what SpaceX is referring to as “rapid scheduled disassembly.”
That test was supposed to happen this week but has since been pushed to January 18 to allow “additional time for spacecraft processing,” NASA said earlier this week. More
(Source: TNW - Jan 10)
NASA MAY MAKE BOEING REDO FAILED TEST FLIGHT TO SPACE STATION - NASA is opening an independent investigation with Boeing over a software glitch that prevented its unmanned astronaut capsule from reaching the International Space Station in December, the agency said on Tuesday.
Boeing's CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule had a successful launch for its first unmanned test mission, but what has been described as an automated timer error prevented the spacecraft from attaining the correct orbit for it to rendezvous and dock with the space station. More
(Source: CBC.ca - Jan 10)
NEXT SPACE STATION RESUPPLY MISSION SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH FROM WALLOPS FEBRUARY 9 - The next Northrup Grumman Antares launch to the International Space Station is scheduled for February 9 at the Wallops Flight Facility. The scheduled lift off will be at 5:39 pm from pad 0A. This will be the 13th resupply mission to the ISS to launch from Wallops. This resupply mission will transport the following experiments to the space station. More
(Source: Shore Daily News - Jan 10)