#NASA; #Artemis; #MikePence; #JimBridenstine; #LangleyResearchCenter
Washington, Feb 20 (Canadian-Media): Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the National Space Council, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine got a glimpse Wednesday into how NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia is at the forefront of space exploration and has been vital to missions from Apollo to Artemis, NASA news reports said.
Vice President Mike Pence gives the 14-by 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel fan blade a push start during a tour stop with Frank Quinto, facility manager of the wind tunnel.
Image Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman
It’s an honor to be among men and women who will play a decisive role when in four years’ time we return American astronauts to the Moon and make sure the first women and the next man on the moon will be Americans,” Pence told employees during his remarks.
The visit from the vice president and NASA administrator showcased Langley’s contributions to the Artemis program on the heels of the message that the president’s 2020 budget amendment supports accelerated plans to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
“We have the highest budget request in the history of NASA on the table right now,” Bridenstine said. “Having the vision is one thing but giving us the resources to achieve it is another.”
It was also a celebration of African American History Month, as Pence recognized Langley’s hidden and modern figures including Katherine Johnson, represented by daughters Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore; Christine Darden; Vanessa Wyche, deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center; and astronaut Stephanie Wilson.
“It’s an honor to be here at Langley Research Center, walking through wind tunnels, talking about flights to the Moon and Mars, seeing the technology come together — it’s been truly inspiring,” Pence said. “You’ve led the nation and the world in your eagle-eyed mission, and approached and broke the sound barrier and the color barrier as well, and all of America celebrates. You’ve led us to dominance in the sky and space and toward a more perfect union.”
Langley plays a critical role in NASA’s plans for deep space with Artemis and human exploration of Mars.
“We’re proud of the work we do every day,” said Clayton Turner, Langley's center director. “NASA makes the impossible possible and we're a proud member of the NASA family.”
The most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, the Space Launch System, was thoroughly tested in Langley’s wind tunnels.
“The first step in Artemis is having to get from the ground to space. We have a suite of facilities that cover that entire spectrum, from low speed up to 10 times the speed of sound,” said Frank Quinto, facility manager of the 14-by 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel, during the tour for Pence and Bridenstine.
Pat Troutman, space architect, second from left, shows off how Langley is using virtual reality to plan Moon and Mars missions. Looking on from the right is Clayton Turner, Langley center director; Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator; Vanessa Wyche, deputy director NASA's Johnson Space Center; Vice President Mike Pence; and Betsy Davos, education secretary.
Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman
Langley also leads the development of the Launch Abort System for the Orion spacecraft and has tested Orion and commercial crew modules from SpaceX and Boeing at the Landing and Impact Research Facility.
Researchers are working on concepts and technologies to land safely on the Moon and Mars. They're also working with commercial partners to make in-space assembly and manufacturing, an important facet of a sustainable presence on the Moon, a reality.
“Think of all those things our Artemis crews will need when they arrive – solar array panels for power, habitats, landing pads, communication poles. We are developing the capabilities to build, to assemble, to offload from the landers everything we need to sustain our crew on the surface of the Moon,” said Deborah Tomek, acting director of space technology and exploration at Langley.
Pence touted Langley’s legacy, citing John Houbolt and his lunar orbit rendezvous mission concept, astronaut training facilities and the hidden figures who made Apollo a success. Langley then went on to lead the Viking Project, landing on Mars for the first time, and contributed to the development of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, which marks 20 years of continuous human habitation later this year.
“Innovation never happens in a vacuum, Langley’s been proving that for more than a century,” he said. “I’m here today to encourage you to bring your renewed energy to our new mission. We’re going to the Moon and on to Mars and Langley Research Center is going to get us there. Thank you for what all of you are doing for this renewed mission for American leadership in space. Keep up the great work, we’re going and we’re counting on all of you.”
Netherlands, Feb 18 (Canadian-Media): Using the Dutch-led Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope, astronomers have discovered unusual radio waves coming from the nearby red dwarf star GJ1151, phys.org/news reports said.
Artist impression of a red-dwarf star’s magnetic interaction with its exoplanet.
Image Credit: Danielle Futselaar (artsource.nl)
The radio waves bear the tell-tale signature of aurorae caused by an interaction between a star and its planet. The radio emission from a star-planet interaction has been predicted for over thirty-years but this is the first time astronomers have been able to discern its signature.
This method, only possible with a sensitive radio telescope like LOFAR, opens the door to a new way of discovering exoplanets in the habitable zone and studying the environment they exist in.Red dwarfs are the most abundant type of star in our Milky Way, but much smaller and cooler than our own Sun.
This means for a planet to be habitable, it has to be significantly closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun. Red dwarfs also have much stronger magnetic fields than the Sun, which means, a habitable planet around a red dwarf is exposed to intense magnetic activity. This can heat the planet and even erode its atmosphere. The radio emissions associated with this process are one of the few tools available to gauge the potency of this effect.
"The motion of the planet through a red dwarf's strong magnetic field acts like an electric engine much in the same way a bicycle dynamo works. This generates a huge current that powers aurorae and radio emission on the star." says Dr. Harish Vedantham, the lead author of the study and a Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) staff scientist.
Thanks to the Sun's weak magnetic field and the larger distance to the planets, similar currents are not generated in the solar system. However, the interaction of Jupiter's moon Io with Jupiter's magnetic field generates a similarly bright radio emission, even outshining the Sun at sufficiently low frequencies.
"We adapted the knowledge from decades of radio observations of Jupiter to the case of this star" said Dr. Joe Callingham, ASTRON postdoctoral fellow and co-author of the study. "A scaled up version of Jupiter-Io has long been predicted to exist in the form of a star-planet system, and the emission we observed fits the theory very well."
The group is now concentrating on finding similar emission from other stars. "We now know that nearly every red-dwarf hosts terrestrial planets, so there must be other stars showing similar emission. We want to know how this impacts our search for another Earth around another star" says Dr. Callingham.
The team is using images from the ongoing survey of the northern sky called the LOFAR Two Metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) of which Dr. Tim Shimwell, ASTRON staff scientist and a co-author of the study, is the principal scientist. "With LOFAR's sensitivity, we expect to find around 100 of such systems in the solar neighborhood. LOFAR will be the best game in town for such science until the Square Kilometre Array comes online." says Dr. Shimwell.
The group expects this new method of detecting exoplanets will open up a new way of understanding the environment of exoplanets. "The long-term aim is to determine what impact the star's magnetic activity has on an exoplanet's habitability, and radio emissions are a big piece of that puzzle." said Dr. Vedantham. "Our work has shown that this is viable with the new generation of radio telescopes, and put us on an exciting path."
New York, Feb 16 (Canadian-Media): From an emissions-reducing model jet that looks like something from a sci-fi movie to electric aircraft and sustainable fuel, the aviation industry is ramping up efforts to go green as consumer pressure grows, phys.org/news reports said.
The Singapore Airshow was powered by solar panels. Image credit: phys.org/news
In an era when teen climate activist Greta Thunberg opts to travel on an eco-friendly boat and "flight-shaming" is all the rage in her native Sweden, air travel's reputation has never looked as dire.
Aviation accounts for three percent of climate-damaging carbon emissions globally, according to the European Environment Agency, and the world is experiencing record heatwaves, wildfires and storm surges made worse by rising seas.
"Sustainability" was the buzzword last week in Singapore at Asia's biggest air show—which was powered by solar panels—with manufacturers and airlines trying to outdo one another on vows to become more sustainable.
Some environmentalists however have criticised such pledges as "greenwash", PR stunts that will do little to mitigate the damage caused by the vast quantities of jet fuel burnt every year.
"Aviation is under significant pressure to improve its sustainability image," Paul Stein, chief technology officer for engine maker Rolls-Royce, told AFP.
Airlines are "working with us to find pathways to increase the availability of sustainable fuels, look at how electrification can impact them... and also looking to more and more efficient engines and airframes".
The aviation industry has been under pressure to do more on sustainability
The aviation industry has pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050 compared with 2005 levels, and the British sector went further this month with a vow to achieve net zero emissions by the same date.
At the Singapore Airshow, European plane maker Airbus unveiled a model of a futuristic new jet that blends wings with body and has two rear-mounted engines.
The demonstrator model's sleek design is meant to reduce aerodynamic drag, and the manufacturer says it has the potential to cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to current single-aisle aircraft.
Dubbed Maveric, the 2.2-metre-long (7.2-foot) model had its first test flight in June last year.
Franco-Italian manufacturer ATR was meanwhile keen to highlight that its turboprop aircraft—popular for short hops, particularly in parts of Asia with poor infrastructure—burns 40 percent less fuel compared with a jet of the same size.
European plane maker Airbus has unveiled a model of a futuristic jet dubbed Maveric (right) which it says has the potential to cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to current single-aisle aircraft"It is a trade-off between fuel consumption and speed," ATR chief executive Stefano Bortoli told AFP.
"You can gain five, 10 minutes with a faster jet but in terms of pollution, it is more damaging."
There have also been steps towards producing electric planes. The world's first fully electric aircraft—designed by engineering firm magniX—made its inaugural test flight in December in Canada.
Swiss company Smartflyer is developing a hybrid-electric aircraft for four people and is aiming for a maiden flight in 2022. As well as reducing emissions, the aircraft is less noisy and cheaper to operate due in part to lower fuel costs.
But Aldo Montanari, the company's head of avionics and user interface, cautioned such projects would not be quick.
"The pressure is quite big... and I think the industry has understood but they need time to react, they cannot do it in one year," he said. "It has to be safe."
Biofuels are touted as a major route for the aviation industry to cut carbon emissions, and several airlines have in recent years operated commercial flights using them.
But prices remain higher than regular fuel, and they represent just a tiny proportion of jet fuel used globally.
Despite the efforts, environmentalists accuse the aviation industry of moving too slowly as more evidence emerges of the devastating impacts of climate change.
"It will take a long time for airlines to become sustainable," Dewi Zloch, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace, told AFP.
"Technological solutions will take decades."
#NASA; #NorthropGrummanMission; #BoneLoss; #MicrogravityInSpace; #BetterTissue; #CellCulturing; #CygnusNG-13Spacecraft; #MobileSpaceLab
Washington, Feb 16 (Canadian-Media): A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with about 7,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, NASA news reports said.
A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Image Credits: NASA
The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station at about 4:05 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 2:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Expedition 62 astronaut Andrew Morgan of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus, and NASA’s Jessica Meir will monitor telemetry during rendezvous, capture, and installation on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port. The spacecraft is scheduled to stay at the space station until May.
This delivery, Northrop Grumman’s 13th cargo flight to the space station, the second under its Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract with NASA and designated NG-13, will support dozens of new and existing investigations.
Included in the scientific investigations Cygnus is delivering to the space station are:
Better Tissue and Cell Culturing in Space
Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell-culturing facility, offers investigators a quick-turnaround platform to perform sophisticated microgravity biology experiments. Such experiments are critical for determining how microgravity affects human physiology and identifying ways to mitigate negative effects.
A Close-up View
The Mochii investigation provides an initial demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope with spectroscopy. Mochii will demonstrate real-time, on-site imaging and measurements of micro- and nanostructures aboard the space station. This capability could accelerate answers to many scientific inquiries and mission decisions and serve the public as a powerful and unique microgravity research platform.
Examining Bone Loss in Microgravity
Astronauts experience bone loss in orbit, stemming from the lack of gravity acting on their bones. OsteoOmics investigates the molecular mechanisms that dictate this bone loss by examining osteoblasts, cells in the body that form bone, and osteoclasts, which dissolve bone. A better understanding of these mechanisms could lead to more effective prevention of astronaut bone loss during space missions.
Fighting Bacteria with Phages
Phage Evolution examines the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure on phage, viruses that destroy bacteria without harming human cells, and bacterial host interactions, including phage specificity for a bacterial host and host resistance to specific phages. A better understanding of the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on bacteriophages and hosts could result in significant developments for phage technology, ultimately helping protect the health of astronauts on future missions.
(Do Not) Light My Fire
The Spacecraft Fire Experiment-IV (Saffire-IV) investigation examines fire development and growth in different materials and environmental conditions, fire detection and monitoring, and post-fire cleanup capabilities. Saffire-IV contributes to fire safety efforts in similar environments on Earth, from submarines to mines, and helps improve general understanding and modeling of fire phenomena.
These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars through NASA’s Artemis program.
This is the second time two Cygnus spacecraft will be in flight at the same time, as the NG-12 vehicle remains in orbit after departing from the station on Jan. 31. The Cygnus spacecraft will remain at the space station until May before it disposes of several thousand pounds of trash through its fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
The Cygnus NG-13 spacecraft for this space station resupply mission is named in honor of U.S. Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence, the first African American astronaut selected by any program, specifically chosen for the Air Force’s Manned Orbital Laboratory Program in June 1967. Lawrence died in an F-104 Starfighter aircraft accident at Edwards Air Force Base, California six months later at the age of 32.
#NASA; #4DiscoveryPrograminvestigations; #StudySolarSystem
Washington, Feb 14 (Canadian-Media): NASA has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for new missions. Although they’re not official missions yet and some ultimately may not be chosen to move forward, the selections focus on compelling targets and science that are not covered by NASA’s active missions or recent selections. Final selections will be made next year, NASA news release reports said.
Artist concept of the solar system. Image credits: NASA
NASA’s Discovery Program invites scientists and engineers to assemble a team to design exciting planetary science missions that deepen what we know about the solar system and our place in it. These missions will provide frequent flight opportunities for focused planetary science investigations. The goal of the program is to address pressing questions in planetary science and increase our understanding of our solar system.
“These selected missions have the potential to transform our understanding of some of the solar system’s most active and complex worlds,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. “Exploring any one of these celestial bodies will help unlock the secrets of how it, and others like it, came to be in the cosmos.”
Each of the four nine-month studies will receive $3 million to develop and mature concepts and will conclude with a Concept Study Report. After evaluating the concept studies, NASA will continue development of up to two missions towards flight.
The proposals were chosen based on their potential science value and feasibility of development plans following a competitive peer-review process.
The selected proposals are:
DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus)
DAVINCI+ will analyze Venus’ atmosphere to understand how it formed, evolved and determine whether Venus ever had an ocean. DAVINCI+ plunges through Venus’ inhospitable atmosphere to precisely measure its composition down to the surface. The instruments are encapsulated within a purpose-built descent sphere to protect them from the intense environment of Venus. The “+” in DAVINCI+ refers to the imaging component of the mission, which includes cameras on the descent sphere and orbiter designed to map surface rock-type. The last U.S.-led, in-situ mission to Venus was in 1978. The results from DAVINCI+ have the potential to reshape our understanding of terrestrial planet formation in our solar system and beyond. James Garvin of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator. Goddard would provide project management.
Io Volcano Observer (IVO)
IVO would explore Jupiter’s moon, Io, to learn how tidal forces shape planetary bodies. Io is heated by the constant crush of Jupiter’s gravity and is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Little is known about Io’s specific characteristics, such as whether a magma ocean exists in its interior. Using close-in flybys, IVO would assess how magma is generated and erupted on Io. The mission’s results could revolutionize our understanding of the formation and evolution of rocky, terrestrial bodies, as well as icy ocean worlds in our solar system, and extrasolar planets across the universe. Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson is the principal investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland would provide project management.
Trident would explore Triton, a unique and highly active icy moon of Neptune, to understand pathways to habitable worlds at tremendous distances from the Sun. NASA’s Voyager 2 mission showed that Triton has active resurfacing—generating the second youngest surface in the solar system—with the potential for erupting plumes and an atmosphere. Coupled with an ionosphere that can create organic snow and the potential for an interior ocean, Triton is an exciting exploration target to understand how habitable worlds may develop in our solar system and others. Using a single fly-by, Trident would map Triton, characterize active processes, and determine whether the predicted subsurface ocean exists. Louise Prockter of the Lunar and Planetary Institute/Universities Space Research Association in Houston is the principal investigator. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, would provide project management.
VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy)
VERITAS would map Venus’ surface to determine the planet’s geologic history and understand why Venus developed so differently than the Earth. Orbiting Venus with a synthetic aperture radar, VERITAS charts surface elevations over nearly the entire planet to create three-dimensional reconstructions of topography and confirm whether processes, such as plate tectonics and volcanism, are still active on Venus. VERITAS would also map infrared emissions from the surface to map Venus’ geology, which is largely unknown. Suzanne Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, is the principal investigator. JPL would provide project management.
The concepts were chosen from proposals submitted in 2019 under NASA Announcement of Opportunity (AO) NNH19ZDA010O, Discovery Program. The selected investigations will be managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as part of the Discovery Program. The Discovery Program conducts space science investigations in the Planetary Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, guided by NASA’s agency priorities and the Decadal Survey process of the National Academy of Sciences.
Established in 1992, NASA’s Discovery Program has supported the development and implementation of over 20 missions and instruments. These selections are part of the ninth Discovery Program competition.
#ESA; #PlanetaryDefenceTeam; #Astronomy; #SolarOrbiter
Italy, Feb 12 (Canadian-Media): Last night, European Space Agency (ESA)'s Planetary Defence team observed the rare moment in which an object escaped our planet's gravity, in contrast to their normal objects of study—potentially hazardous rocks that could strike it, phys.org news release reported.
Credit: European Space Agency
At 19:15 UTC (20:15 CET) on 10 February, just over 20 hours after the launch of Solar Orbiter, the team took the opportunity to capture this sequence of observations using the Schmidt telescope at Calar Alto, Spain.
The clip covers a timespan of about 10 minutes, and is made up of 36 observations each 10 seconds long.
At the time it was taken, Solar Orbiter was roughly 310,000 km away from Earth and traveling to Venus for its first gravitational assist around Christmas day this year. Still within the Moon's orbit—just—it was already a faint object in the sky, shining as bright as a magnitude 19.5 star (250 000 times fainter than we can see with the naked eye).
The Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre, based at ESA's Centre for Earth Observation in Italy, coordinates and contributes to the observation of small Solar System bodies, in order to evaluate and monitor the risk they pose.
These observations of Solar Orbiter were made based on a proposal by Gerhard Holtkamp, a keen amateur astronomer who works on site guiding public tours of ESA mission control.
#NASA; #SolarOrbiter, #ESA; #VenusGravity; #ESA-NASAMission; #Ulysses; #SoloHI; #NASAHeliophysics
Washington, Feb 10 (Canadian-Media): Solar Orbiter, a new collaborative mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA to study the Sun, launched at 11:03 p.m. EST Sunday on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA news release reported Feb 10.
Launch of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission to study the Sun from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Feb. 9, 2020. Credits: Jared Frankle, NASA Solar Orbiter Social Participant
At 12:24 a.m. Monday, mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, received a signal from the spacecraft indicating that its solar panels had successfully deployed.
In the first two days after launch, Solar Orbiter will deploy its instrument boom and several antennas that will communicate with Earth and gather scientific data. Solar Orbiter is on a unique trajectory that will allow its comprehensive set of instruments to provide humanity with the first-ever images of the Sun's poles. This trajectory includes 22 close approaches to the Sun, bringing the spacecraft within the orbit of Mercury to study the Sun and its influence on space.
“As humans, we have always been familiar with the importance of the Sun to life on Earth, observing it and investigating how it works in detail, but we have also long known it has the potential to disrupt everyday life should we be in the firing line of a powerful solar storm,” said Günther Hasinger, ESA director of Science. “By the end of our Solar Orbiter mission, we will know more about the hidden force responsible for the Sun’s changing behavior and its influence on our home planet than ever before."
Solar Orbiter will spend about three months in its commissioning phase, during which the mission team will run checks on the spacecraft's 10 scientific instruments to ensure they are working properly. It will take Solar Orbiter about two years to reach its primary science orbit.
Solar Orbiter combines two main modes of study. In-situ instruments will measure the environment around the spacecraft, detecting such things as electric and magnetic fields and passing particles and waves. The remote-sensing instruments will image the Sun from afar, along with its atmosphere and its outflow of material, collecting data that will help scientists understand the Sun's inner workings.
During the mission's cruise phase, which lasts until November 2021, the spacecraft's in-situ instruments will gather scientific data about the environment around the spacecraft, while the remote-sensing telescopes will focus on calibration to prepare for science operations near the Sun. The cruise phase includes three gravity assists that Solar Orbiter will use to draw its orbit closer to the Sun: two past Venus in December 2020 and August 2021, and one past Earth in November 2021.
Following its Earth gravity assist, Solar Orbiter will begin the primary phase of its mission – leading up to its first close pass by the Sun in 2022 – at about a third the distance from the Sun to Earth. Throughout its mission, Solar Orbiter will use successive Venus gravity assists to draw its orbit closer to the Sun and lift it out of the ecliptic plane.
Solar Orbiter’s unique orbit will bring the spacecraft out of the plane that roughly aligns with the Sun's equator where Earth and the other planets orbit. Spacecraft launched from Earth naturally stay in this plane, which means that telescopes on Earth and telescopes on satellites have limited views of the Sun's north and south poles.
A previous ESA-NASA mission, Ulysses, launched in 1990, achieved an inclined orbit giving scientists their first measurements of the space around the Sun in this critical region. Unlike Ulysses, Solar Orbiter carries cameras that will provide the first-ever images of the Sun's poles. This vital information will help scientists fill in the gaps in models of the Sun's magnetic field, which drives the Sun's activity.
"Solar Orbiter is going to do amazing things. Combined with the other recently launched NASA missions to study the Sun, we are gaining unprecedented new knowledge about our star," said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for Science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Together with our European partners, we’re entering a new era of heliophysics that will transform the study of the Sun and help make astronauts safer as they travel on Artemis program missions to the Moon."
ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands manages the development effort. The European Space Operations Center in Germany will operate Solar Orbiter after launch. Solar Orbiter was built by Airbus Defense and Space. The spacecraft contains 10 instruments. Nine were provided by ESA member states and ESA. NASA provided one instrument, the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI), and an additional sensor, the Heavy Ion Sensor, which is part of the Solar Wind Analyzer instrument suite.
Solar Orbiter complements a fleet of NASA Heliophysics spacecraft observing the star we live with and its effects on the space we travel through.
Washington, Feb 8 (Canadian-Media): NASA astronaut Christina Koch will participate in a post flight news conference at 3:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 12, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The 30-minute news conference will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, NASA news release of Feb 7 reported.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 after logging 328 days in space --- the longest spaceflight in history by a woman --- as a member of Expeditions 59-60-61 on the International Space Station. Image Credits: NASA
This will be Koch’s first news conference after returning to Earth from a 328-day mission aboard the International Space Station, the longest spaceflight ever for a woman.
To attend the briefing in person, U.S. media must request credentials from the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than noon Wednesday, Feb. 12. To ask questions by phone, media must call the Johnson newsroom no later than 3:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #AskNASA.
Koch launched in March 2019 with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. She landed Feb. 6 with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexader Skvortskov. On her first flight into space, Koch participated in experiments that will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman. This will directly benefit the agency’s plans to land the first woman and next man on the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.
Koch’s mission spanned 5,248 orbits of the Earth – a journey of 139 million miles -- roughly the equivalent of 291 round trips to the Moon. She conducted six spacewalks during her 11 months on orbit, including the first three all-woman spacewalks, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station. She also supported the arrivals and departures of more than a dozen Soyuz and cargo resupply spacecraft from the U.S., Japan, and Russia. Her mission was the second longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut after retired astronaut Scott Kelly, placing her seventh on the list of American space travelers with the most time in space.
#NASA; #historicalRecordOfWoman'sLongestSingleSpaceFlight; #ESA
Washington, Feb 6 (Canadian-Media): After setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth Thursday, along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA news release reported today.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Koch returned to Earth after logging 328 days in space --- the longest spaceflight in history by a woman --- as a member of Expeditions 59-60-61 on the International Space Station. Skvortsov and Parmitano returned after 201 days in space where they served as Expedition 60-61 crew members onboard the station.
Image Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The trio departed the International Space Station at 12:50 a.m. EST and made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 4:12 a.m. (3:12 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
Koch’s extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return humans to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.
Koch launched March 14, 2019, alongside fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Her first journey into space of 328 days is the second-longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut and also places her seventh on the list of cumulative time in space for American astronauts with one or more missions.
Supporting NASA’s goals for future human landings on the Moon, Koch completed 5,248 orbits of the Earth and a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She conducted six spacewalks during 11 months on orbit, including the first three all-woman spacewalks, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station. She witnessed the arrival of a dozen visiting spacecraft and the departure of another dozen.
For Parmitano and Skvortsov, this landing completed a 201-day stay in space, 3,216 orbits of Earth and a journey of 85.2 million miles. They launched last July with NASA’s Andrew Morgan. Morgan also is participating in an extended duration mission on the orbiting laboratory and will return to Earth April 17.
Completing his second mission, Parmitano now has logged 367 days in space, more than any ESA astronaut in history. During his time in space for Expeditions 60 and 61, Parmitano conducted four spacewalks, totaling 25 hours and 30 minutes. He has now conducted six spacewalks in his career, totaling 33 hours and 9 minutes. Parmitano was commander of Expedition 61.
Skvortsov completed his third mission and a total of 546 days in space, placing him 15th on the all-time spaceflight endurance list.
Following post-landing medical checks, the crew will return to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, aboard Russian helicopters. Koch and Parmitano will board a NASA plane bound for Cologne, Germany, where Parmitano will be greeted by ESA officials for his return home. Koch will continue home to Houston. Skvortsov will board a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft to return to his home in Star City, Russia.
The Expedition 61 crew contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development, including improvements to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in an effort to extend its life and support its mission of looking for evidence of dark matter and testing 3D biological printers to print organ-like tissues in microgravity.
With the undocking of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft with Koch, Skvortsov, and Parmitano aboard, Expedition 62 officially began aboard the station, with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Morgan as flight engineers and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos as station commander. They will remain on board as a three-person crew until early April, when NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin will launch to the station.
#NASA; #Nasa'sMission; #StennisEvent
Washington, Feb 6 (Canadian-Media): NASA centers across the country are opening their doors Monday, Feb. 10, to media and social media for “State of NASA” events, including a televised program featuring remarks from Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-4) and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the agency’s mission to go to the Moon, Mars, and worlds beyond, NASA news release reported Wednesday.
NASA. Image credit: Twitter handle
Events at NASA centers, which coincide with the White House’s release of NASA’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget, will include media tours and presentations on the agency’s exploration goals, innovative technologies developed and under development, scientific discoveries made as NASA explores Earth and our universe, and advancements in next-generation air travel.
Bridenstine will speak to the agency’s workforce at 1 p.m. EST from Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. His remarks will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website.
At Stennis, media and social media will have an opportunity to attend the administrator’s address and visit center facilities, including the A and B Test Complexes and Aerojet Rocketdyne Engine Assembly Facility. Other NASA centers also will host media and social media tours following Bridenstine’s remarks.
Media interested in attending the Stennis event should contact Lacy Thompson at 228-688-3749 or email@example.com no later than 4 p.m. CST Thursday, Feb. 6. Attending media must arrive at INFINITY Science Center no later than 7:30 a.m. Feb. 10 with one form of government-issued photo identification for badging, security clearance, and group transport onto Stennis.
At 5 p.m. EST Feb. 10, NASA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer will host a teleconference to brief media on the agency’s FY 2021 budget proposal. This briefing will stream live on the agency’s website. To participate in this briefing, media must contact Karen Northon at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 3 p.m. Feb.10.