# FeaturedB Space Stuff and Launch Info

1. Aug 22, 2016

### 1oldman2

This is a very impressive project, thanks for post. The virtual VLBI system is intriguing to say the least and I'm curious to see just how far this technology can be pushed, I would also like to say thanks for the link to the site, it was new to me and you can be sure its in my bookmark folder now.
After reading the article I naturally have a lot of new questions and will likely be returning to comment your post in the near future as I get to look into the subject a little more thoroughly, for example the term "Active galactic nuclei" is new to me and the first thought that comes to mind is, is this a new name for a Quasar or what ?
If missions proceed as planned I believe the next 20 to 30 years of next generation space based telescopes along with the projects in the Atacama as well LISA etc. are going to give us resolution to spare, as well as a challenging amount of data to process.

2. Aug 22, 2016

### rollete

It's just the center of an active galaxy. Quasars are the most powerful AGNs.

I'm no expert; I just scavenge stuff from Wikipedia.

3. Aug 22, 2016

### 1oldman2

Cool, that's pretty much my situation also.

4. Aug 22, 2016

### 1oldman2

This is an excellent example of the "out of box" thinking going on in Aerospace currently. If it
can be done practically the benefits are obviously going to change the way we look at long term
missions in general.
From,http://www.satellitetoday.com/nexts...-conversion-rocket-upper-stages-leo-habitats/
The Ixion Team proposes demonstrating this low-cost concept via the conversion of a Centaur
rocket upper stage, which will be attached to the International Space Station (ISS). The Ixion Team
will leverage the habitat as a proving ground for a variety of private-sector activities.

This is a big improvement in solar power generation from the people who supplied Juno with its solar cells.
From, http://www.satellitetoday.com/publi...es-new-high-efficiency-spacecraft-solar-cell/
[Via Satellite 08-02-2016] Boeing
subsidiary Spectrolab has created a new
space solar cell achieving an energy
efficiency of 30.7 percent. This efficiency-
the metric for how much sunlight a cell
can convert into usable energy - is higher
than any other comparable model
currently available, according to the
company.

Spectrolab has started manufacturing the
solar cell, known as XTJ Prime, with first
delivery expected later this year. The cells
are designed to benefit aerospace
customers seeking to produce lower mass
and lower cost satellites.

It appears the market for small satellite launching is about to hit a growth spurt.
https://www.rocketlabusa.com/

5. Aug 23, 2016

### 1oldman2

A "lost and found" story.

December 11, 2015
On Oct. 1, 2014, NASA mission operations lost communication with one of
the two spacecraft of the Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory,
or STEREO, mission, just as the spacecraft was about to orbit around
the other side of the sun. Though they haven’t heard from the Behind
spacecraft, also known as STEREO-B, in over a year, the spacecraft has
finally emerged into a region where it can once again receive radio
signals. Scientists have a plan to get it back-and their chances
only get better with time...

Fast forward

From, http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasa-establishes-contact-with-stereo-mission

On Aug. 21, 2016, contact was reestablished with
one of NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations
Observatories, known as the STEREO-B spacecraft,
after communications were lost on Oct. 1, 2014. Over
22 months, the STEREO team has worked to attempt
contact with the spacecraft. Most recently, they have
attempted a monthly recovery operation using
NASA's Deep Space Network, or DSN, which tracks
and communicates with missions throughout space.

The DSN established a lock on the STEREO-B
downlink carrier at 6:27 p.m. EDT. The downlink
signal was monitored by the Mission Operations team
over several hours to characterize the attitude of the
spacecraft and then transmitter high voltage was
powered down to save battery power. The STEREO
Missions Operations team plans further recovery
processes to assess observatory health, re-establish
attitude control, and evaluate all subsystems and
instruments.

Communications with STEREO-B were lost during a test
of the spacecraft’s command loss timer, a hard reset
that is triggered after the spacecraft goes without
communications from Earth for 72 hours. The STEREO team
was testing this function in preparation for something
known as solar conjunction, when STEREO-B’s line of
sight to Earth-and therefore all communication -
was blocked by the sun.

STEREO-A continues to work normally.

6. Aug 23, 2016

### D H

Staff Emeritus
That image shows the remnants of a type IA supernova, several thousand years after the supernova occurred. Another way to put it: The light from the supernova itself reached the Earth several thousand years ago.

7. Aug 23, 2016

### 1oldman2

Thanks, my education continues.

8. Aug 23, 2016

### 1oldman2

A little info on the upcoming OSIRIS mission Due for launch on 9/8/16
From, http://spaceflight101.com/osiris-rex/

The study of an asteroid and the return of sample material was deemed a critical goal for space
exploration because asteroids can be considered time capsules from the birth and early formation
of the Solar System. The ancient Carbon-containing material on Bennu and other early bodies of
the solar system was a key in the formation of organic molecules delivered to Earth by
bombardment of meteorites.

The acronym OSIRIS references the Egyptian mythological god Osiris,
the lord of the dead roaming the underworld. This name was chosen
for the mission as asteroid Bennu is a potential Earth-impactor
capable of bringing vast destruction and death. Rex is the Latin
word for king.

The prime goal of the mission is the collection of a sample by making
contact with the asteroid and acquiring anywhere between 60 grams and
2 kilos of material to be returned to Earth in a Sample Return Capsule.
Prior to sample collection, OSIRIS-REx is tasked with a remote sensing
campaign lasting over a year during which the remaining objectives of
the mission will be assessed.

I though I'd throw this in also.
How does one degauss a spacecraft in orbit?

A probe swinging around Earth through the Van Allen radiation belts was able
to pick out near-light-speed electrons following a powerful geomagnetic
storm, providing a rare look into the interaction between the belts and the
space weather event. A new NASA video explores the shocking phenomenon.

The probe witnessed the aftermath of what NASA called "the greatest
geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade," when the sun expelled a burst
of charged particles, called a coronal mass ejection, toward Earth in 2015.
The interplanetary zap hit Earth's radiation belts right when a NASA probe
was passing through, offering a rare glimpse of the event's impact.

The spacecraft observed a pulse of electrons energized to near-light speed
as the coronal mass ejection slammed into the Earth's magnetic field. The
initial energy event lasted only a few minutes, but while both probes found an
increased population of high-energy electrons in the belts days later, only one
caught the initial effects of the solar storm.

Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
9. Aug 23, 2016

### rollete

Eyes on ESO's press conference tomorrow. There's been a lot of talk about a potentially exciting discovery. Hopefully it's true.

10. Aug 24, 2016

### rollete

Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1629/

"Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us — and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the Solar System."

Might be tidally locked, though. Breakthrough Starshot may get a new boost, nonetheless.

Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
11. Aug 26, 2016

### 1oldman2

Another "Space veteran" gets a mission extension, It appears as if Spitzer wil try and "hang in there" until JWST is in the commission phase.

Please pardon the shameless cut and paste approach, it's just that I'm not able to "one up" the quality of writing in the article so I don't try and improve it.
From, http://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/spitzer-space-telescope-begins-beyond-phase
"Spitzer is operating well beyond the limits that were set for it at the beginning of the mission,"
said Michael Werner, the project scientist for Spitzer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena, California. "We never envisioned operating 13 years after launch, and scientists are
making discoveries in areas of science we never imagined exploring with the spacecraft."

NASA recently granted the spacecraft a two-and-a-half-year mission extension. This Beyond
phase of the Spitzer mission will explore a wide range of topics in astronomy and cosmology, as
well as planetary bodies in and out of our solar system.

Because of Spitzer's orbit and age, the Beyond phase presents a variety of new engineering
challenges. Spitzer trails Earth in its journey around the sun, but because the spacecraft
travels slower than Earth, the distance between Spitzer and Earth has widened over time. As
Spitzer gets farther away, its antenna must be pointed at higher angles toward the sun to
communicate with Earth, which means that parts of the spacecraft will experience more and
more heat. At the same time, Spitzer's solar panels point away from the sun and will receive
less sunlight, so the batteries will be under greater stress. To enable this riskier mode of
operations, the mission team will have to override some autonomous safety systems.

Spitzer, which launched on Aug. 25, 2003, has consistently adapted to new
scientific and engineering challenges during its mission, and the team expects
it will continue to do so during the "Beyond" phase, which begins Oct. 1.
The selected research proposals for the Beyond phase, also known as
Cycle 13, include a variety of objects that Spitzer wasn't originally planned
to address such as galaxies in the early universe, the black hole at the center of
Milky Way and exoplanets.

"We never even considered using Spitzer for studying exoplanets when it launched,"
Carey of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. "It would have seemed
ludicrous back then, but now it's an important part of what Spitzer does."

Spitzer’s exoplanet exploration

Spitzer has many qualities that make it a valuable asset in exoplanet science,
including an extremely accurate star-targeting system and the ability to control
unwanted changes in temperature. Its stable environment and ability to observe
stars for long periods of time led to the first detection of light from known Lensing
Experiment (OGLE) were used together to find one of the most distant
exoplanets in 2005. More recently, Spitzer’s Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) has
been used for finding exoplanets using the "transit" method -- looking for a dip
in a star's brightness that corresponds to a planet passing in front of it. This
brightness that corresponds to a planet passing in front of it. This brightness
change needs to be measured with exquisite accuracy to detect exoplanets.
IRAC scientists have created a special type of observation to make such measurements,
using single pixels within the camera.

Another planet-finding technique that Spitzer uses, but was not designed for, is called
microlensing. When a star passes in front of another star, the gravity of the first star can
act as a lens, making the light from the more distant star appear brighter. Scientists are
using microlensing to look for a blip in that brightening, which could mean that the foreground
star has a planet orbiting it. Spitzer and the ground-based Polish Optical Gravitational
Lensing Experiment (OGLE) were used together to find one of the most distant planets known
outside the solar system, as reported in 2015. This type of investigation is made possible
by Spitzer’s increasing distance from Earth, and could not have been done early in the mission.

Peering into the early universe

Understanding the early universe is another area where Spitzer has broken ground. IRAC was
designed to detect remote galaxies roughly 12 billion light-years away -- so distant that their
light has been traveling for roughly 88 percent of the history of the universe. But now, thanks to
collaborations between Spitzer and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, scientists can peer even
further into the past. The farthest galaxy ever seen, GN-z11, was characterized in a 2016 study
using data from these telescopes. GN-z11 is about 13.4 billion light-years away, meaning its
light has been traveling since 400 million years after the big bang.

"When we designed the IRAC instrument, we didn't know those more distant galaxies existed,"
said Giovanni Fazio, principal investigator of IRAC, based at the Harvard Smithsonian Center
for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The combination of the Hubble Space
Telescope and Spitzer has been fantastic, with the telescopes working together to determine
their distance, stellar mass and age."

Closer to home, Spitzer advanced astronomers' understanding of Saturn when scientists using
the observatory discovered the planet's largest ring in 2009. Most of the material in this ring --
consisting of ice and dust -- begins 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Saturn and
extends about 7.4 million miles (12 million kilometers) beyond that. Though the ring doesn't
reflect much visible light, making it difficult for Earth-based telescopes to see, Spitzer could
detect the infrared glow from the cool dust.

The multiple phases of Spitzer

Spitzer reinvented itself in May 2009 with its warm mission, after the depletion of the liquid
helium coolant that was chilling its instruments since August 2003. At the conclusion of the
"cold mission," Spitzer’s Infrared Spectrograph and Multiband Imaging Photometer stopped
working, but two of the four cameras in IRAC persisted. Since then, the spacecraft has made
numerous discoveries despite operating in warmer conditions (which, at about minus 405
Fahrenheit or 30 Kelvin, is still cold by Earthly standards)

"With the IRAC team and the Spitzer Science Center team working together, we've really
learned how to operate the IRAC instrument better than we thought we could," Fazio said.
"The telescope is also very stable and in an excellent orbit for observing a large part
of the sky."

Spitzer's Beyond mission phase will last until the commissioning phase of NASA's James Webb
Space Telescope, currently planned to launch in October 2018. Spitzer is set to identify targets
that Webb can later observe more intensely.

12. Aug 26, 2016

### Hoophy

I was thinking about the the Breakthrough Starshot program when I heard of this also! I am very excited to see if this recent development will help bring more funding and faster development to the Starshot initiative. Does anybody have any idea how long it is expected to take before the lasers And everything is 'ready to go'? This has certainly made my day! (And maybe distracted me from school just a bit.) :D

13. Aug 26, 2016

### rollete

I don't know when or if the project will be realized, but sure hope it will.

14. Aug 27, 2016

### 1oldman2

A breakthrough for Breakthrough Starshot, that's the only way to look at it. Proxima B is turning out to be great for PR on the subject, everywhere I look they are talking about exo-planets. As for when the project is going to launch, a quick Wiki check mentions some of the tech hurdles that need to be addressed, the one Gigawatt laser being somewhat of an issue etc. I would bet the bank that this mission will take place as soon as the tech is available, It's one of the best chances we will have for studying an alien planetary system in the foreseeable future and there's no way mankind will sit on its hands and wonder why we didn't give it a try.
( I couldn't help but wonder what C. Sagan would think of the overall mission and recent discovery of Proxima B)

http://nexsci.caltech.edu/sagan/

Here is a little more relative media on the subject.

https://palereddot.org/
https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/
https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1377/nasas-next-planet-hunter-will-look-closer-to-home/
As the search for life on distant planets heats up, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey
Satellite (TESS) is bringing this hunt closer to home. Launching in 2017-2018, TESS will
identify planets orbiting the brightest stars just outside our solar system using what’s
known as the transit method.

TESS will be able to learn the sizes of the planets it sees and how long it takes them to
complete an orbit. These two pieces of information are critical to understanding whether a
planet is capable of supporting life. Nearly all other planet classifications will come from
follow up observations, by both TESS team ground telescopes as well as ground- and
space-based observations, including NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launching in 2018.

Compared to the Kepler mission, which has searched for exoplanets thousands to tens of
thousands of light-years away from Earth towards the constellation Cygnus, TESS will
search for exoplanets hundreds of light-years or less in all directions surrounding our solar
system.

Among the stars TESS will observe, small bright dwarf stars are ideal for planet
identification, explained Joshua Pepper, co-chair of the TESS Target Selection Working
Group. One of the TESS science goals is to find Earth- and super-Earth-sized planets.
These are difficult to discover because of their small size compared to their host stars, but
focusing TESS on smaller stars makes finding these small planets much easier. This is
because the fraction of the host star's light that a planet blocks is proportional to the
planet’s size.

Scientists expect TESS to observe at least 200,000 stars during the two years of its
spaceflight mission, resulting in the discovery of thousands of new exoplanets.

While the search for transiting exoplanets is the primary goal of the mission, TESS will
also make observations of other astrophysical objects through the Guest Investigator (GI)
Program. Because TESS is conducting a near all-sky survey, it has the capability to
perform interesting studies on many different types of astronomical target.

"The goal of the GI Program is to maximize the amount of science that comes out of
TESS," said Padi Boyd, director of the Guest Investigator Program Office at NASA’s
Goddard Space Flight Center. "Although TESS was designed to be capable of detecting
planets transiting in front of stars, its unique mission characteristics mean that the
potential science TESS can do includes far more than just exoplanets." According to
Boyd, the broad range of objects TESS could detect as part of the GI Program include
flaring young stars, binary pairs of stars, supernovae in nearby galaxies, and even
supermassive black holes in distant active galaxies. "We hope the broader science
community will come up with many unique science ideas for TESS, and we hope to
encourage broad participation from the larger community," she said.

Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
15. Aug 27, 2016

### 1oldman2

16. Aug 29, 2016

### 1oldman2

Regarding post #17, worth reading.

From, http://spaceflight101.com/mozi-quantum-science-satellite-initiates-test-program/

China’s Quantum Science Satellite Mozi (Micius), recently launched atop a Long
March 2D rocket, has begun the first tests of quantum communications between itself
and stations on the ground - the first test of this kind performed in a space mission.

Mozi lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on August 15 as the first
satellite capable of engaging in quantum communications by creating entangled
photon pairs over great distances to test the feasibility of this type of communication
technology for operational application.

The 640-Kilogram satellite is set for a test mission of at least two years and is likely to
be followed by a global constellation of operational satellites once the principles behind
satellite-based quantum communications are proven.

17. Aug 31, 2016

### 1oldman2

Another EVA on September 1st, this time it involves retracting a thermal radiator panel as well as installing the first HD service cam on the exterior of the ISS, http://spaceflight101.com/iss-us-eva-37-preview/
More info on the HD system can be found here,
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20140009959
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20140009959.pdf

SpaceX will launch the AMOS-6 on September 3rd, good luck with the landing.

The first previously flown F9 core will be recycled for a launch later this year.
From, http://spaceflight101.com/ses-10-to-use-flown-falcon-9-booster/
Telecommunications giant SES decided t
launch the company’s SES-10 satellite on
a previously flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
in the fourth quarter of 2016.

SES is the first large telecommunications
provider to commit to flying on a ‘used’ or
rather ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 rocket that
flew to the edge of space and back in an
operational mission before.

While we are on the subject of Falcon 9's I see there are a total of 10 more launches planned for this year and the December test flight of the heavy has been bumped to early 2017.

A little farther from home Chandra is coming up with some interesting "stuff"
From, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/record-breaking-galaxy-cluster-discovered.html

A new record for the most distant galaxy cluster has been set using NASA’s Chandra X-ray
Observatory and other telescopes. This galaxy cluster may have been caught right after birth,
a brief, but important stage of evolution never seen before.

The galaxy cluster is called CL J1001+0220 (CL J1001 for short) and is located about 11.1 billion
light years from Earth. The discovery of this object pushes back the formation time of galaxy
clusters - the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity - by about 700 million
years.

"This galaxy cluster isn’t just remarkable for its distance, it’s also going through an amazing growth
spurt unlike any we’ve ever seen," said Tao Wang of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic
Energy Commission (CEA) who led the study.

The core of CL J1001 contains eleven massive galaxies - nine of which are experiencing an
impressive baby boom of stars. Specifically, stars are forming in the cluster’s core at a rate that is
equivalent to over 3,000 Suns forming per year, a remarkably high value for a galaxy cluster,
including those that are almost as distant, and therefore as young, as CL J1001.

18. Sep 1, 2016

### 1oldman2

A very bad day for rocket launches...