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Archive for the ‘satellites’ category

Aug 5, 2020

Watch SpaceX launch a South Korean satellite using the same booster that flew NASA astronauts

Posted by in categories: drones, military, satellites

SpaceX is launching South Korea’s first dedicated military communications satellite on Monday, with a target liftoff time of 5 PM EDT (2 PM PDT). The launch window spans nearly four hours, ending at 8:55 PM EDT (5:55 PM PDT), so SpaceX has considerable flexibility in terms of when the launch could actually take place.

The Falcon 9 rocket being used for this mission includes a first-stage booster that flew previously on SpaceX and NASA’s Demo-2 mission — the historic mission that carried astronauts on board a SpaceX rocket for the first time. That launch, which took place on May 30, saw astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley successfully delivered to the International Space Station — where they’re currently preparing to depart on Demo-2’s concluding trip home on August 1.

This mission will include a recovery attempt for the first stage, using SpaceX’s “Just Read the Instructions” drone landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Continue reading “Watch SpaceX launch a South Korean satellite using the same booster that flew NASA astronauts” »

Aug 5, 2020

Space technology is improving our lives and making the world a better place. Here’s how

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats, internet, satellites, sustainability

“We need to go to space to help us here on Earth. Satellites have played an enormous role in improving the state of the world, and will do even more”.


I’m often asked: ‘Why are you building satellites for space when there are so many problems to fix here on Earth?’ It’s a perfectly rational question. The short answer is that we need to go to space to help us here on Earth. Satellites have played an enormous role in improving the state of the world, and will do even more as an explosion of technology innovation enables large new fleets of small satellites to be deployed with radical new capabilities.

Continue reading “Space technology is improving our lives and making the world a better place. Here’s how” »

Aug 4, 2020

Miniature Telescope Demonstration Focuses on Sharpening View of Distant Objects in Space

Posted by in categories: energy, satellites

A recently deployed DARPA CubeSat seeks to demonstrate technology that could improve imaging of distant objects in space and allow powerful space telescopes to fit into small satellites. DARPA’s Deformable Mirror (DeMi) CubeSat deployed from the International Space Station July 13, beginning the technology demonstration of a miniature space telescope with a small deformable mirror called a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) mirror.

DeMi made first contact about a week following launch, demonstrating the expected power from its solar arrays, as well as correct spacecraft pointing and stable temperatures. The team will focus on payload checkout over the coming days.

Deformable mirrors can adjust the shape of their reflective surfaces to correct for the effects of temperature and mechanical changes on a space telescope, improving image quality. The experiment will measure how well a MEMS deformable mirror performs in space, from the rocket launch through its time in orbit experiencing the thermal and radiation environment.

Aug 4, 2020

Parts Come Together This Year for DARPA’s Robotic In-Space Mechanic

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, satellites

Eyeing a launch in 2023, DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program will focus the remainder of this year on completing the elements of the robotic payload. The objective of RSGS is to create an operational dexterous robotic capability to repair satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), extending satellite life spans, enhancing resilience, and improving reliability for the current U.S. space infrastructure.

Earlier this year, DARPA partnered with Space Logistics LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, to provide the spacecraft bus, launch, and operations of the integrated spacecraft. DARPA will provide the payload that flies on the bus, including the robotic arms, through an agreement with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

In 2021, NRL will integrate the robotic arms onto the payload structure, and then is expected to begin environmental tests by the end of same year. After launch in 2023, it will take approximately nine months to reach GEO, and the program anticipates servicing satellites in mid-2024.

Aug 1, 2020

SpaceX says Starlink internet has ‘extraordinary demand,’ with nearly 700,000 interested in service

Posted by in categories: internet, satellites

SpaceX said Starlink, its nascent satellite internet service, has already seen “extraordinary demand” from potential customers, with “nearly 700,000 individuals” across the United States indicating they are interested in the company’s coming service.

Due to the greater-than-expected interest, SpaceX filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission on Friday — asking to increase the number of authorized user terminals to 5 million from 1 million. User terminals are the devices consumers would use to connect to the company’s satellite internet network.

The request comes about a month and a half after SpaceX updated its Starlink website to allow potential customers to “get updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area.” Registering one’s interest in Starlink service meant simply submitting an email address and postal address, with no fee required to receive updates.

Continue reading “SpaceX says Starlink internet has ‘extraordinary demand,’ with nearly 700,000 interested in service” »

Jul 31, 2020

Episode 9 — How ESA’s GAIA Satellite Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Milky Way

Posted by in categories: information science, satellites

Fascinating interview with Dutch astronomer Anthony Brown on ESA’s Gaia satellite and what it’s telling us about our own Milky Way Galaxy.


Dutch astronomer Anthony Brown of Leiden University explains how the European Space Agency’s GAIA satellite is revolutionizing what we know about the Milky Way. This all-sky survey mission revisits each target 70 times over the course of the years-long mission to give astronomers a real 3D map of a large swath of our galaxy. The next big data drop is scheduled by year’s end.

Continue reading “Episode 9 --- How ESA’s GAIA Satellite Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Milky Way” »

Jul 29, 2020

Breakthrough method for predicting solar storms

Posted by in categories: internet, particle physics, satellites

Extensive power outages and satellite blackouts that affect air travel and the internet are some of the potential consequences of massive solar storms. These storms are believed to be caused by the release of enormous amounts of stored magnetic energy due to changes in the magnetic field of the sun’s outer atmosphere—something that until now has eluded scientists’ direct measurement. Researchers believe this recent discovery could lead to better “space weather” forecasts in the future.

“We are becoming increasingly dependent on space-based systems that are sensitive to space weather. Earth-based networks and the electrical grid can be severely damaged if there is a large eruption,” says Tomas Brage, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Lund University in Sweden.

Solar flares are bursts of radiation and charged particles, and can cause on Earth if they are large enough. Currently, researchers focus on sunspots on the surface of the sun to predict possible eruptions. Another and more direct indication of increased would be changes in the much weaker of the outer solar atmosphere—the so-called Corona.

Jul 28, 2020

An asteroid the size of a car just zipped by Earth in close flyby

Posted by in category: satellites

A car-sized asteroid discovered over the weekend made a close flyby of Earth today (July 28), passing our planet at a range that rivals the orbits of some high-flying satellites.

The asteroid 2020 OY4, which was first detected on Sunday (July 26), made its closest approach today at 1:31 a.m. EDT (0531 GMT) when it zipped by Earth at a speed of about 27,700 mph (44,600 km/h), according to the European Space Agency. The asteroid is just under 10 feet (3 meters) wide and posed no impact risk to Earth, but did approach the flight paths of geosynchronous satellites.

Jul 26, 2020

SpaceX official says SpaceX Starlink Private Beta Test is underway

Posted by in categories: internet, satellites

Featured Image Source: SpaceX Starlink

SpaceX aims to offer Starlink broadband internet service worldwide. The aerospace company has deployed 540 internet-beaming satellites into low Earth orbit. The entire network will consist of over 12,000 satellites beaming low latency, high-speed internet down to Earth. When SpaceX reaches 1,440 satellites in orbit, it will commence its commercial service. The company will first offer service in northern portions of the United States and Canada. “With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable,” the company’s website states.

Jonathan Hofeller SpaceX Vice-President of Starlink and Commercial Sales, revealed some details of the Starlink internet network during a satellite conference on Thursday. He shared that SpaceX is ready to start its private Starlink Beta testing phase with employees, friends, and family this Summer. [*The public will also have the opportunity during a Public Beta test, sign up for updates at Starlink.com]

Jul 17, 2020

More Details On NASA’s VERITAS Mission, Which Could Go to Venus

Posted by in categories: alien life, engineering, satellites

Venus has always been a bit of the odd stepchild in the solar system. It’s similarities to Earth are uncanny: roughly the same size, mass, and distance from the sun. But the development paths the two planets ended up taking were very different, with one being the birthplace of all life as we know it, and the other becoming a cloud-covered, highly pressurized version of hell. That cloud cover, which is partially made up of sulfuric acid, has also given the planet an air of mystery. So much so that astronomers in the early 20th century speculated that there could be dinosaurs roaming about on the surface.

Some of that mystery will melt away if a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gets a chance to launch their newest idea for a mission to the planet, the Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topograph, and Spectroscopy (or VERITAS) mission.

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