Washington, Aug 25 (Canadian-Media): Media are invited to join NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, astronaut Megan McArthur and several special guests, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, for a Women's Equality Day event Monday, Aug. 26 at NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, NASA reports said.
NASA's Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, will host Call to Leadership: A Celebration of Women Leaders, an event organized by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to mark Women's Equality Day on Aug. 26, 2019. Credits: NASA
Call to Leadership: A Celebration of Women Leaders, organized by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, will open at 1:30 p.m. PDT with remarks from Bridenstine, who will talk about NASA’s mission to put the first woman on the Moon with its Artemis program.
This event kicks-off the Leadership Group’s year-long series of women celebrations, and will include two panel discussions: Women in Innovation and Leaders Across Generations.
NASA aerospace research engineer Wendy Okolo will join Revathi Advaithi, CEO of Flex; Hannah Gordon, chief administrative officer and general counsel for the San Francisco 49ers; and Zoe Cruz, strategic advisor at Ripple and founder and CEO of EOZ Global, along with other panelists from the public and private sector to share their experiences and best practices. The afternoon will culminate in a ‘fireside chat’ with Pelosi and Eshoo.
U.S. media who would like to attend this event should contact Karen Northon at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.
Media must arrive at Ames no later than 11:45 a.m. Aug. 26, with at least one form of government-issued photo identification, to allow time for security screening. Media who do not arrive in time for screening will not be allowed into the event.
Bridenstine and McArthur will be available for media interviews before and after the event.
Made In Space Tour
Media also are invited to join Bridenstine at 10:30 a.m. for a tour of Made In Space’s Moffett Field facility, followed by a question-and-answer session with the administrator and Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush on how technologies the company is developing could support NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach. To attend this event, media must contact Clare Skelly at email@example.com. Spots are limited.
Since establishing their first 3D-printing lab at Ames in 2011, Made In Space has tested their manufacturing technologies on NASA-funded suborbital rocket launches and flown 3D printers onboard the International Space Station. In July, NASA awarded Made In Space a contract to demonstrate the ability of a small spacecraft to 3D print and assemble components in low-Earth orbit.
Washington, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): SciGirls viewers from New York will have an opportunity on Monday, Aug. 19, to talk live with NASA astronaut Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station. The Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA television and the agency’s website, NASA reports said.
Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan and Christina Koch are photographed during Robotics Virtual Reality (VR) training in the VR Lab prior to launches to the International Space Station. Credits: NASA
Koch will answer questions beginning at 10:55 a.m. EDT from girls ages 8 to 14 participating in the SciGirls in Space program. SciGirls is a PBS Kids television show, website and educational outreach program engaging more than 14 million girls in STEM learning and careers. The SciGirls in Space program includes partners and girls in six states who will participate in the event, which will take place at the Challenger Learning Center of Ramapo, 225 Route 59, Airmont, New York. Media interested in covering the event should contact Rita Karl at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-229-1490.
Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).
Through NASA’s Artemis program, the agency will send astronauts to the Moon by 2024 and then on to Mars. Inspiring the next generation of explorers – the Artemis generation – ensures America will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.
#NASA; #AsteroidBennusSurface; #OSIRIS-RExTeam
Washington, Aug 12 (Canadian-Media): After months grappling with the rugged reality of asteroid Bennu’s surface, the team leading NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission has selected four potential sites for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft to “tag” its cosmic dance partner, NASA reports said.
Since its arrival in December 2018, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has mapped the entire asteroid in order to identify the safest and most accessible spots for the spacecraft to collect a sample. These four sites now will be studied in further detail in order to select the final two sites – a primary and backup – in December.
The team originally had planned to choose the final two sites by this point in the mission. Initial analysis of Earth-based observations suggested the asteroid’s surface likely contains large “ponds” of fine-grain material. The spacecraft’s earliest images, however, revealed Bennu has an especially rocky terrain. Since then, the asteroid’s boulder-filled topography has created a challenge for the team to identify safe areas containing sampleable material, which must be fine enough – less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) diameter – for the spacecraft’s sampling mechanism to ingest it.
“We knew that Bennu would surprise us, so we came prepared for whatever we might find,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “As with any mission of exploration, dealing with the unknown requires flexibility, resources and ingenuity. The OSIRIS-REx team has demonstrated these essential traits for overcoming the unexpected throughout the Bennu encounter.”
Pictured are the four candidate sample collection sites on asteroid Bennu selected by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Site Nightingale (top left) is located in Bennu’s northern hemisphere. Sites Kingfisher (top right) and Osprey (bottom left) are located in Bennu’s equatorial region. Site Sandpiper (bottom right) is located in Bennu’s southern hemisphere. In December, one of these sites will be chosen for the mission’s touchdown event.
Credits: NASA/University of Arizona
The original mission schedule intentionally included more than 300 days of extra time during asteroid operations to address such unexpected challenges. In a demonstration of its flexibility and ingenuity in response to Bennu’s surprises, the mission team is adapting its site selection process. Instead of down-selecting to the final two sites this summer, the mission will spend an additional four months studying the four candidate sites in detail, with a particular focus on identifying regions of fine-grain, sampleable material from upcoming, high-resolution observations of each site. The boulder maps that citizen science counters helped create through observations earlier this year were used as one of many pieces of data considered when assessing each site’s safety. The data collected will be key to selecting the final two sites best suited for sample collection.
In order to further adapt to Bennu’s ruggedness, the OSIRIS-REx team has made other adjustments to its sample site identification process. The original mission plan envisioned a sample site with a radius of 82 feet (25 m). Boulder-free sites of that size don’t exist on Bennu, so the team has instead identified sites ranging from 16 to 33 feet (5 to 10 m) in radius. In order for the spacecraft to accurately target a smaller site, the team reassessed the spacecraft’s operational capabilities to maximize its performance. The mission also has tightened its navigation requirements to guide the spacecraft to the asteroid’s surface, and developed a new sampling technique called “Bullseye TAG,” which uses images of the asteroid surface to navigate the spacecraft all the way to the actual surface with high accuracy. The mission’s performance so far has demonstrated the new standards are within its capabilities.
"Although OSIRIS-REx was designed to collect a sample from an asteroid with a beach-like area, the extraordinary in-flight performance to date demonstrates that we will be able to meet the challenge that the rugged surface of Bennu presents," said Rich Burns, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "That extraordinary performance encompasses not only the spacecraft and instruments, but also the team who continues to meet every challenge that Bennu throws at us."
The four candidate sample sites on Bennu are designated Nightingale, Kingfisher, Osprey, and Sandpiper – all birds native to Egypt. The naming theme complements the mission’s two other naming conventions – Egyptian deities (the asteroid and spacecraft) and mythological birds (surface features on Bennu).
#NASA'sJamesWebbSpaceTelescope; #EuropeanSpaceAgency; #CanadianSpaceAgency
Washington, Aug 12 (Canadian-Media): In order to do groundbreaking science, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope must first perform an extremely choreographed series of deployments, extensions, and movements that bring the observatory to life shortly after launch, phys.org.news said.
Following a successful deployment test of NASA Webb's mission-critical secondary mirror, technicians and engineers visually inspect the support structure that holds it in place. Credit: Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn
Too big to fit in any rocket available in its fully deployed form, Webb was engineered to intricately fold in on itself to achieve a much smaller size during transport.
Technicians and engineers recently tested a key part of this choreography by successfully commanding Webb to deploy the support structure that holds its secondary mirror in place. This is a critical milestone in preparing the observatory for its journey to orbit. The next time this will occur will be when Webb is in space, and on its way to gaze into the cosmos from a million miles away.
The secondary mirror is one of the most important pieces of equipment on the telescope, and is essential to the success of the mission. When deployed, this mirror will sit out in front of Webb's hexagonal primary mirrors, which form an iconic honeycomb-like shape. This smaller circular mirror serves an important role in collecting light from Webb's 18 primary mirrors into a focused beam. That beam is then sent down into the tertiary and fine steering mirrors, and finally to Webb's four powerful scientific instruments.
"The proper deployment and positioning of its secondary mirror is what makes this a telescope—without it, Webb would not be able to perform the revolutionary science we expect it to achieve. This successful deployment test is another significant step towards completing the final observatory," said Lee Feinberg, optical telescope element manager for Webb at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Engineers perform inspections of NASA Webb's secondary mirror following a recently successful deployment test at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. Credit: Credits: Northrop Grumman
Though there are many preparations still underway for the full assembly of the James Webb Space Telescope's two halves, the secondary mirror test represents the last large milestone before the integration of Webb into its final form as a complete observatory. This operation was also another demonstration that the electronic connection between the spacecraft and the telescope is working properly, and is capable of delivering commands throughout the observatory as designed.
Webb will be the world's premier space science observatory. It will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
Washington, Aug 10 (CAnadian-Media): As NASA continues the final stage of testing for its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) platform, the agency is inviting media to Corpus Christi, Texas, on Thursday, Aug. 15, to learn more about what it takes to fly drones safely in urban areas, NASA reports said.
Drones in flight in downtown Reno, Nevada, during shakedown tests for NASA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management project, or UTM. The final phase of flight tests, known as Technical Capability Level 4, runs from May through August 2019 and is studying how the UTM system can integrate drones into urban areas.
Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart
This test will focus on drone operations at altitudes between 200 and 400 feet within a dense city environment. Along with larger populations, city landscapes present unique challenges to drone traffic management, including: more obstacles to avoid, specific weather and wind conditions, reduced lines of sight, reduced ability to communicate by radio, and fewer safe landing locations. The Corpus Christi activities will test new ways to address these hurdles using the NASA platform and technologies onboard the participating drones.
Media will have the opportunity to interview NASA researchers and watch drone demonstrations. Members of the media interested in participating must contact Darryl Waller at email@example.com or 650-604-4789 by noon CDT Wednesday, Aug. 14. Details regarding location and arrival time will be sent to participants who make reservations.
Since 2015, NASA has worked to create a research platforms that can manage drone traffic safely. With a long-standing partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration and help from industry partners, the goal is to understand how a nationwide system for drones can safely integrate remotely-piloted aircraft into low-altitude airspace.
Washington, Aug 10 (Canadian-Media): Media are invited to accompany NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Thursday, Aug. 15, on his visit to the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where engineers are preparing to add the final section to the core stage of the rocket that will power NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission, NASA reports said.
This image, taken Aug. 8, 2019, shows the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The core stage is 80% complete and, over the summer, engineers will add the last core stage structure – the engine section – and the four RS-25 engines. This complex stage controls the rocket’s journey for the first eight minutes of flight and produces two million pounds of thrust to send SLS and NASA's Orion spacecraft on their first lunar mission, Artemis 1.
Credits: NASA/Eric Bordelon
Bridenstine will meet with members of the Space Launch System (SLS) program to discuss and view progress on the rocket and take questions from media at 11:10 a.m. CDT in front of SLS’s 212-foot-tall core stage.
U.S. media who would like to attend the event should contact Tracy McMahan at 256-544-0034 or firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, and plan to arrive at Michoud by 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15, with at least one form of government-issued photo identification. Long pants and flat, closed-toe shoes are required.
Assembly of the core stage, the largest and most complex stage NASA ever has built, remains on schedule for completion before the end of the year. Comprised of two liquid propellant tanks and four RS-25 engines, it will produce more than two million pounds of thrust to send NASA’s Orion spacecraft, crew and cargo to the Moon.
NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon on a single mission. The rocket, Orion spacecraft and Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration.
#Europe’sExtremelyLargeTelescope; #mirrorNearlyFortyMetersAcross; #ColumbiaUniversity
New York, Aug 9 (Canadian-Media): When it is finished sometime next decade, Europe’s Extremely Large Telescope will be the largest in the world, with a mirror nearly 40 meters across, ScienceMag.org news reports said.
A space telescope beyond the moon could use Earth’s atmosphere as a lens to magnify the light of distant objects by 22,500 times.
Credit: JAMES TUTTLE KEANE/CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
But one astronomer has proposed an even more powerful space telescope—one with the equivalent of a 150-meter mirror—that would use Earth’s atmosphere itself as a natural lens to gather and focus light. Astronomer David Kipping of Columbia University has worked out that a 1-meter space telescope, positioned beyond the moon, could use the focusing power of the ring of atmosphere seen around the edge of the planet to amplify the brightness of dim objects by tens of thousands of times.
The atmosphere is too variable for a Terrascope, as Kipping calls it, to produce beautiful images to rival those from the Hubble Space Telescope. But it could discover much fainter objects than is now possible, including small exoplanets or Earth-threatening asteroids. Kipping acknowledges that more work is needed to prove the idea, but the necessary technology already exists. “None of this is reinventing the wheel, it just needs to be pushed a bit harder,” he says.
Astronomers who read the paper Kipping posted last week on arXiv were both delighted and cautious. Matt Kenworthy, of Leiden University in the Netherlands, says he was “blown away by how much work and thought he had put into it” but wants more evidence that it will work. “I’d want to sit down and do a more realistic model,” he says. Bruce Macintosh of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, adds: “It’s an interesting thought experiment, but there are a lot of details to think through.”
Kipping is well known for leading searches for moons in other planetary systems and he revealed a strong contender for the first exomoon last year. He says the germ of the Terrascope idea came 13 years ago when he was studying a rare atmospheric phenomenon called the green flash, which appears just as the sun sets below the horizon, when refraction and scattering in the atmosphere work together to momentarily select green from the sun’s light. He realized that, from the right vantage in space, you might see an entire green ring, when the sun passed behind Earth and its light was refracted by the ring of air around the planet’s circumference.
Kipping was also inspired by the idea that the sun itself could be used as a lens, with its gravity focusing light toward a space-based detector. Such a solar lens would magnify light 1 million billion times, potentially bringing the surfaces of exoplanets into view. The idea led to the Fast Outgoing Cyclopean Astronomical Lens mission, proposed to the European Space Agency in 1993. But it never gained traction because the detector would have to be positioned 550 times the Earth-sun distance out in space, nearly 20 times farther away than Neptune—a distance that would require a century for a spacecraft to reach.
But Terrascope could be much closer to home, Kipping says. He calculated that surface-skimming light from an object directly behind Earth is deflected to a focus 85% of the distance out to the moon. Light reaching that focal point is likely to encounter clouds and a lot of turbulence as it passes through the lower atmosphere. But move the detector 1.5 million kilometers away, to a focus four times farther than the moon, and it would sample light that has passed through the much calmer and cloud-free stratosphere at an altitude of 13.7 kilometers.
A 1-meter telescope at that distance, observing for a whole night, would see an object boosted to 22,500 times its original brightness, he calculates—the equivalent of using a 150-meter telescope. The Terrascope’s powerful amplification means it would excel in detecting very faint objects or discerning very slight changes in brightness, Kipping says, enabling it to scan the sky for very small and dim asteroids or measure the tiny dips in brightness as small exoplanets pass in front of bright stars.
To avoid being dazzled by the bright disk of Earth, the telescope would need a mask, known as a coronagraph, to block it out. Kipping also says he has yet to consider the impact of “airglow,” a dim light emitted in the upper atmosphere by luminescence and other processes. But he notes that the glow could conceivably be removed with filters or digitally, taking advantage of the fact that it is steady while objects of interest are constantly changing. The Terrascope concept could be tested, he says, with a cheap toaster-size CubeSat mission.
Kenworthy says the atmosphere’s variability might seriously degrade Terrascope’s image quality. To assess the impact, he says, “The next step would be ray tracing with a realistic Earth atmosphere model,” he says. Ideally, the giant lens should focus light to a spot. “In reality, you’ll probably get a pattern of blobs.”
Macintosh agrees. “Earth’s atmosphere is a pretty nonideal lens so it produces very blurry images,” he says. But it may find a role studying brightness changes in very faint objects, exploiting its role as a huge magnifying “light bucket.”
If nothing else, Kipping has got astronomers talking about the idea. “I wouldn’t launch a satellite on this paper alone,” Kenworthy says. “But it’s an excellent first step.”
#ImpactOfUSWildfires&AgriculturalFiresOnAirQuality&Climate; #FIREX-AQ; #DC8flyinglaboratory
Washington, Aug 7 (Canadian-Media): Media are invited to a behind-the-scenes look at the second phase of a major field campaign to study the impacts of U.S. wildfires and agricultural fires on air quality and climate. The media event will take place Tuesday, Aug. 20, in Salina, Kansas, NASA reports said.
The second phase of the FIREX-AQ airborne campaign will focus on the effects of smoke from agricultural fires in the southeastern United States, such as those shown in this March 2018 image from NASA’s Aqua satellite. Actively burning areas are shown as red dots.
Smoke from wildfires in the western U.S. and agricultural fires in the southern U.S. has become an increasingly significant air quality issue affecting the public. The Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) airborne campaign, jointly led by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), brings together scientists to collect measurements from aircraft, satellites and ground-based instruments of emissions from wildfires and prescribed fires.
The second part of FIREX-AQ will look at smoke from agricultural burns in the South with flights from the Salina Regional Airport beginning in late August. There are hundreds of agricultural fires every year near population centers, but their relatively small size means they often go undetected by satellites that provide the basis for estimates of smoke emissions. The first part of the campaign began in July with flights from Boise, Idaho.
Scientists will use data from FIREX-AQ to understand how fuel and fire conditions at the point of ignition influence the chemistry of smoke, what happens to smoke as it enters the atmosphere, and how the chemical transformation of smoke affects air quality and – to a lesser extent – weather downwind.
The media event will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. CDT at Salina Regional Airport, Hangar 600, 2720 Arnold Ct. in Salina. Highlights include a briefing by NASA and NOAA mission scientists, as well as a tour of NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory, with an opportunity to meet the pilots. Immediately following the media event, there will be a FIREX-AQ open house for the local community.
Media interested in attending must contact Joe Atkinson no later than 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 757-864-5644 or email@example.com. International journalists must submit a photo copy of their passport, the name of their media organization, and a point of contact to confirm their affiliation.
Washington, Aug 2 (Canadian-Media): NASA has selected a space-based instrument under its Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) portfolio that will make observations of coastal waters to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity, NASA reports said.
NASA's Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument will collect high-resolution observations of coastal ecosystems in such areas as the northern Gulf of Mexico, shown in this image with phytoplankton blooms stretching from the Texas and Louisiana coast (left) across the Mississippi River delta (center) toward Florida (far right). Credits: NASA
NASA has selected a space-based instrument under its Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) portfolio that will make observations of coastal waters to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity.
The selected Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument, led by principal investigator Joseph Salisbury at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, will provide unique observations of ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico, portions of the southeastern United States coastline, and the Amazon River plume – where the waters of the Amazon River enter the Atlantic Ocean.
“This innovative instrument from the University of New Hampshire, selected by NASA, will provide a powerful new tool for studying important ecosystems,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Its findings also will bring economic benefits to fisheries, tourism, and recreation in the coastline area.”
The instrument was competitively selected from eight proposals considered under NASA's fifth EVI solicitation released in 2018, with an award of $107.9 million. This is the largest NASA contract award in the history of the University of New Hampshire. Salisbury and his team have proposed the instrument as a hosted payload, for which NASA will provide access to space.
“This award boosts New Hampshire’s profile as a leader in research, academia and innovation, and makes us all immensely proud,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. “Congratulations to the entire team at UNH for winning this highly-coveted contract. I’m excited to see the technology developed through this award. It’s critical that we closely monitor the health of our oceans and assess risks for coastal communities to protect both our environment and our economy. Securing federal resources that invest in scientific research and exploration have been and will continue to be top priorities for me as the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee tasked with funding these important programs.”
Coastal ecosystems support humanity in many ways, but they are under increasing pressure from the effects of land use activities, population growth, extreme weather events, and climate change. These pressures can give rise to more frequent, expansive and harmful algal blooms, as well as create areas where dissolved oxygen is severely depleted – both of which are detrimental to tourism, fisheries, and human health.
GLIMR will be integrated on a NASA-selected platform and launched in the 2026-2027 timeframe into a geosynchronous orbit where it will be able to monitor a wide area, centered on the Gulf of Mexico, for up to 15 hours a day. From this vantage point, the hyperspectral ocean color radiometer will measure the reflectance of sunlight from optically complex coastal waters in narrow wavebands. GLIMR will be able to gather many observations of a given area each day, a critical capability in studying phenomena such as the lifecycle of coastal phytoplankton blooms and oil spills in a way that would not be possible from a satellite in a low-Earth orbit. Given its unique spatial and temporal resolution, GLIMR will be highly complementary to other low-Earth orbit satellites that observe the ocean.
“With GLIMR, scientists can better understand coastal regions and develop advanced predictive tools for these economically and ecologically important systems,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. “As part of NASA’s commitment to Earth Science, I am thrilled to include this instrument in our portfolio as we keep an eye on our ever-changing planet for the benefit of many.”
EVI investigations are small, targeted science investigations that complement NASA's larger Earth-observing satellite missions. They provide innovative approaches for addressing Earth science research with regular windows of opportunity to accommodate new scientific priorities. The investigations are cost-capped and schedule constrained. The missions are managed by the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program office at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for the Earth Science Division under the Science Mission Directorate.
The first two Earth Venture Instruments were launched in 2018 and are operational on the International Space Station. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is measuring the vertical structure of forests, canopy heights, and their changes – on a global scale – providing insights into how forests are affected by environmental change and human intervention. The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is measuring the temperature of plants – information that will improve understanding of how much water plants need and how they respond to stresses such as drought.
NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future.
#NationalOceanicandAtmosphericAdministration; #NASA; #NOAA’sGeostationaryOperationalEnvironmentalSatellite
Washington, Aug 2 (Canadian-Media): A Mishap Investigation Board appointed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has identified the most likely cause for an instrument issue aboard NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-17 satellite that launched March 1, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA reports said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-17 satellite, which launched March 1, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, is pictured with its large solar array deployed in a clean room at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado. Credits: Lockheed Martin
During postlaunch testing of the satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), teams discovered the instrument’s infrared detectors could not be maintained at the required temperatures during some orbital conditions, which resulted in a partial loss of three of the instruments 16 bands during certain times of the year.
The ABI is GOES-17’s primary instrument for imaging Earth’s weather, oceans, and environment. It views the Earth with 16 spectral bands including two visible, four near-infrared, and 10 infrared channels.
The mishap board was tasked with gathering and analyzing information, and identifying the proximate causes, root causes, and contributing factors related to the ABI performance issues. It concluded the most likely cause of the ABI cooling issue is a blockage in the instrument’s loop heat pipes, which transfer heat from the ABI electronics to its radiator. The blockage restricted the flow of coolant in the loop heat pipes, causing the ABI to overheat and reducing the sensitivity of infrared sensors.
NOAA and NASA have adjusted the instrument operations, and are working to improve the quality of the data in order to reduce the impact of the cooling issue.
GOES-17, in the GOES-West position, is helping forecasters track weather from torrential rain events to wildfires and other environmental hazards throughout the U.S. western region, including California, Alaska and Hawaii. Also, GOES-17 is monitoring typhoons in the eastern Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii.
GOES-17 is one in a series of NOAA’s next generation geostationary weather satellites which include GOES-16, 18 and 19. The advanced instrument technology used on these satellites will result in more timely and accurate forecasts and warnings. It will improve support for the detection and observations of meteorological phenomena. The GOES-R Series program is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between NOAA and NASA to develop, launch and operate the geostationary weather satellites.