Archive for June, 2015

Credit: U.S. Air Force

Credit: U.S. Air Force

Just in time for the December release of the next installment of Star Wars.

A new center is being eyed by the U.S. Pentagon and the intelligence community to hone tactics in the event of war in orbit.

That’s the news from reporters at Defense One, based on coverage of Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work’s keynote address at a GEOINT symposium, an annual intelligence conference sponsored by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Credit: Walt Disney Company

The ops center is to be up and running within six months, making use of data from satellites belonging to all government agencies, Defense One reports.

The new center would back up the military’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The center would assist the military and the government to coordinate preparations for and responses to any attack, Defense One explains. This new facility is tied to a $5 billion boost for space security in the Department of Defense 2016 budget request.

Resources

To read the Defense One story, “Pentagon Rushing to Open Space-War Center to Counter China, Russia,” go to:

http://www.defenseone.com/management/2015/06/pentagon-preparing-war-space-russia-china/116101/

 

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work delivers remarks at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (GEOINT 2015) Symposium, Walter E. Washington Convention Center on June 23 , 2015. Credit: DoD/U.S. Army Sgt First Class Clydell Kinchen

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work delivers remarks at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (GEOINT 2015) Symposium, Walter E. Washington Convention Center on June 23 , 2015.
Credit: DoD/U.S. Army Sgt First Class Clydell Kinchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view a video of Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work’s keynote talk this week at the GEOINT symposium, go to:

https://vimeo.com/131619967#at=0

 

Long distance interstellar sailing. Credit: UCSB/Adrian Mann

Long distance interstellar sailing.
Credit: UCSB/Adrian Mann

 

It is tagged as Directed Energy Propulsion for Interstellar exploratioN (DEEP-IN), work that will also chart laser driver elements that require technology development.

Thanks to a grant from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, research is underway to consider using directed energy propulsion for interstellar travel.

 

Directed energy propulsion

The work is underway by the University of California Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Experimental Cosmology Group. They are focused on use of lasers as a means to power a spacecraft. A laser-powered, wafer-thin spacecraft, the UCSB group suggests, could be capable of reaching Alpha Centauri in 20 years.

Explains UCSB physics professor Philip Lubin: “We propose a system that will allow us to take the first step toward interstellar exploration using directed energy propulsion combined with miniature probes.”

UCSB physics professor Philip Lubin is leading a "stellar team" that's locked in on laser propulsion to travel interstellar distances. Credit: UCSB

UCSB physics professor Philip Lubin is leading a “stellar team” that’s locked in on laser propulsion to travel interstellar distances.
Credit: UCSB

Lubin adds that, along with recent work on wafer-scale photonics, “we can now envision combining these technologies to enable a realistic approach to sending probes far outside our solar system.”

Ultimate goal

The UCSB group’s “ultimate goal” is to send small probes to supplement the current long-range remote sensing done by orbital and ground-based telescopes.

The NIAC funding is enabling Lubin’s team to create a more complete roadmap for building a fully functional wafer-scale spacecraft complete with power, laser communications and controllable photon thrusters.

UCSB’s DEEP-IN design keeps the main propulsion driver back in Earth’s orbit (or nearby) – yet still capable of propelling highly integrated spacecraft to speeds vastly higher than anything scientists can currently achieve.

No intrinsic speed limit

According to a UCSB press advisory, the laser photon driver would use photon pressure in the form of streamed energy to power the spacecraft as it travels away from Earth.

With no intrinsic speed limit, this technology allows for the relativistic speeds necessary for interstellar flight, according to the study team.

“We’ve had to radically rethink our strategy in order not to give up our dreams of reaching the stars,” Lubin added. “DEEP-IN posits a technological path forward that, while not simple, is within our technological reach to begin.”

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

 

Following in the wake of the Planetary Society’s LightSail-A mission, another solar sail effort is being readied for a July departure.

Boxed up and delivered to India last month, the DeorbitSail mission is among a number of payloads to be rocketed into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India.

The DeorbitSail project is a collaboration to build a 3 unit (3U) CubeSat-sized satellite with a deployable sail that will demonstrate rapid deorbiting.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Leader of the project is the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey in Guildford, United Kingdom.

Test of rapid deorbiting

DeorbitSail is a small satellite mission that will launch and deploy a roughly 13 foot by 13 foot (four-by-four-meters), four-quadrant sail to showcase rapid deorbiting.

The sail will be able to change the satellite’s orbit through drag and solar radiation pressure.

DeorbitSail will use atmospheric drag as its primary method of deorbitation, but the same design can be effective for solar sailing at higher altitudes.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Top level objectives

Top level objectives of the DeorbitSail Project are to:

— Provide research in the field of deorbiting

— Provide a demonstrated and verified design for deorbiting of satellites and debris

— Provide effective and efficient in-space propulsion technologies based on solar sails

 

Cooperative effort

As detailed by Surrey Space Centre, “Solar sailing” is a method of propulsion that uses the very small force exerted by sunlight to propel a spacecraft. This force, solar radiation pressure, is much smaller than the weight of the sail on the Earth’s surface, even though the sail material is thinner than human hair.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

The DeorbitSail project is a cooperative effort between Surrey Space Centre (UK), Caltech (USA), DLR (Germany), EADS Astrium (France), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), University of Patras (Greece), Athena-SPU (Greece), Middle-Eastern Technical University (Turkey), Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) (UK), and ISIS (Netherlands).

The project is funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program, FP7.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David with the Apollo 11 Command Module. Credit Eric Long/NASM

Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David with the Apollo 11 Command Module.
Credit Eric Long/NASM

 

For all you folks in the South Dakota environs – Rushmore Mall welcomes Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David.

I hope you’ll join us for a special update on our book: “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.”

Credit: National Geographic

Credit: National Geographic

 

 

The book is now in soft cover with a new essay on the future of space exploration. Books will be available for purchase during the event.

We will be visiting Rushmore Mall, on Saturday, July 11.

Aldrin and co-author Leonard David will host a question-answer session followed by a book signing from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

 

 

For more information, go to:

http://www.simon.com/mall/rushmore-mall/stream/rushmore-mall-welcomes-astronaut-buzz-aldrin-3438943

 On February 28, 2015, NASA Astronaut Terry Virts took this picture of the Vulcan salute from the International Space Station as it flew above Leonard Nimoy’s hometown of Boston.  Credit: NASA


On February 28, 2015, NASA Astronaut Terry Virts took this picture of the Vulcan salute from the International Space Station as it flew above Leonard Nimoy’s hometown of Boston.
Credit: NASA

“For the Love of Spock” – a documentary film about Leonard Nimoy is under development by his son – Adam Nimoy.

A Kickstarter campaign has been established to help Adam Nimoy complete the project.

Adam Nimoy is an American television director.

“Last year, just before Thanksgiving, I approached my dad, Leonard Nimoy, about the possibility of working together on a film about Mr. Spock. I had skimmed through some of the books on the making of Star Trek and felt there was so much more to explore about the birth and evolution of Spock. And the timing seemed right, as the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series was not that far away,” Adam Nimoy explains.

Credit: Adam Nimoy

Credit: Adam Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy passed away earlier this year on February 27.

 

 

 

 

To take part in this Kickstarter campaign, view this video prepared by Adam Nimoy.

Go to:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamnimoy/for-the-love-of-spock-a-documentary-film

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, Russian commander Maxim Suraev and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman returned to Earth on November 10, 2014, landing in the Kazakh steppe. Their Soyuz return, landing was in the same Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft that flew them to the International Space Station on May 28, 2014. Credit: ESA–S. Corvaja, 2014

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, Russian commander Maxim Suraev and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman returned to Earth on November 10, 2014, landing in the Kazakh steppe.
Their Soyuz return, landing was in the same Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft that flew them to the International Space Station on May 28, 2014.
Credit: ESA–S. Corvaja, 2014

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, Alexander Gerst, video recorded an inside look at speeding back to Earth onboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.The last leg of the return to Earth from space is one of the trickiest and potentially most dangerous moments in the astronaut’s journey.

Alexander Gerst is Germany’s most high profile astronaut.

Between May and November 2014, Gerst spent six months on the ISS for ESA’s Blue Dot mission.

He became the third German to visit the ISS.

Check out this video “The Astronaut Academy: The ‘rollercoaster ride’ of reentry to Earth” made available by Euronews at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5uYR6Zb8oM

Credit: Orbit Logic Incorporated

Credit: Orbit Logic Incorporated

The folks at Orbit Logic Incorporated have issued a new version of SpyMeSat. It allows smart phone users to task a high resolution imaging satellite to take an image of a user-specified location.

SpyMeSat users can task a high resolution imaging satellite (EROS-B) right from their smartphone to take a new image just for them . . . of any location within the supported regions (western Europe, North America, and Oceania (Australia/New Zealand, etc.).

This new version of SpyMeSat also includes an Apple Watch app as well. That allows the wearer to get notifications and see countdowns to upcoming imaging passes on your Apple Watch.

Sat snaps on demand

Alex Herz, president of Orbit Logic in Greenbelt, Maryland, developers of the SpyMeSat app, adds: “We are making archive imagery and new tasking accessible, responsive and affordable for everyone.”

SpyMeSat users can now order new images from an orbiting high resolution commercial imaging satellite.

Credit: Orbit Logic Incorporated

Credit: Orbit Logic Incorporated

This type of tasking enables industrial and government uses, for real estate and construction purposes. Perhaps you want to take an image of your group or sports team from space?

Prices for new tasking start at $500, an affordable option for high resolution satellite imagery collection.

SpyMeSat users can choose from image sizes ranging from 2km x 2km to 7km x 7km.

Resources

You can find additional information about the new version of SpyMeSat at:

www.spymesat.com

A YouTube demo video for the new version can be viewed at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9udHgYexJkE

This series of 19 images, acquired by the Rosetta orbiter’s Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) on November 12, 2014, shows the Philae lander during its descent towards Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

This series of 19 images, acquired by the Rosetta orbiter’s Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) on November 12, 2014, shows the Philae lander during its descent towards Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

More good news about Europe’s Philae comet lander!

The team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) received data from the Philae lander for the third time on June 19th.

In that time period, Philae sent 185 data packets from the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Night work

After its seven-month hibernation, word from DLR is that the lander is operating at a temperature of zero degrees Celsius. That means that the battery is now warm enough to store energy.

Therefore, Philae will also be able to work during the comet’s night, regardless of solar illumination, observes Michael Maibaum, a systems engineer at the DLR Lander Control Center (LCC) in Cologne and Deputy Operations Manager.

Soaking up the Sun

Engineers have determined that the amount of sunlight Philae is can soak up has increased.

Instrumented Philae comet lander. Credit: ESA/DLR

Instrumented Philae comet lander.
Credit: ESA/DLR

“More solar panels were illuminated…at the end of contact, four of Philae’s panels were receiving energy,” Maibaum said in a press statement.

There were a number of interruptions in the connection, but it was otherwise stable over a longer period for the first time.

“The contact has confirmed that Philae is doing very well,” Maibaum added.

Future operations

Philae has managed to survive the icy temperatures on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – temperature and energy values show that the lander is now operational.

The trajectory of the Rosetta orbiter that deployed the comet lander last year is being modified to optimize the possibility for renewed contact. Doing so would allow the orbiter to act as a relay between Philae and Earth.

Rosetta orbiter. Credit: ESA

Rosetta orbiter.
Credit: ESA

“However, we need a long and stable contact time to conduct research with Philae again as planned,” says Maibaum.

If these conditions are met, the 10 instruments on board Philae could once again be operated from the DLR Lander Control Center.

Liftoff of suborbital space tourism, backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Credit: Blue Origin

Liftoff of suborbital space tourism, backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Credit: Blue Origin

 

There’s a spaceport battle for space tourists.

And it’s Branson versus Bezos – two different approaches to tackle the suborbital space travel business.

“Virgin Galactic and its future base, New Mexico’s Spaceport America, have a serious competitor chomping at their heels from a private spaceport in far West Texas,” reports Bob Martin of KRQE TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“After years of mostly secret research and testing, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is making a big public move on the space tourism market with his personal rocket company, Blue Origin,” explains Martin.

Aerial tour

Sky News 13 Pilot-Reporter Bob Martin takes you on an aerial tour of the secretive and private launch site and test range near Van Horn, Texas.

Check out this highly informative look at the Bezos spaceport, courtesy of Bob Martin who gave permission to Inside Outer Space to post this story.

Go to:

http://krqe.com/2015/06/17/spaceports-battle-for-space-tourists/

Credit: CASC

Credit: CASC

It has been announced that China’s Long March- 7 booster has passed a joint assessment by the China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

The outcome of the appraisal, according to a June 18 report in China’s state-run news output, the People’s Daily Online, is that the technical condition of Long March-7 rocket production has been identified. The next stage focus will be placed on rocket production, assembly and testing of the launcher.

These items mean that the Long March 7 rocket is slated to make its maiden flight in 2016, according to the People’s Daily Online.

Long March-7 has been identified as a new generation of medium-size launch vehicle, striving for a high degree of reliability and security.

The launcher was developed to meet the demand of placing cargo spaceships to China’s manned space station and upgrading carrier rockets for future crewed spacecraft.

Long March stable

Earlier, Chinese news sources reported that, by the end of this year, China hopes to have staged the maiden launch of its Long March-6 rocket, which is designed to be a “high-speed response launch vehicle.”

The Long March-6 will be the latest member of the Long March stable, joining the Long March-7, which will ferry supplies and transport waste from the space station, and China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March-5.

The Long March-5 is to perform its maiden flight next year.

If all goes well, China will launch the core module of its space station in 2018 to test technologies and engineering, and the whole station will become fully operational around 2022, according to Wang Zhaoyao, former director of the China Manned Space Agency.

Griffith Observatory Event