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Topic: CubeSats

NASA’s twin E-TBEx CubeSats to study how signals get disrupted in Earth’s Ionosphere

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – In June 2019, the NASA twin E-TBEx CubeSats — short for Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment — are scheduled to launch aboard the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 launch.

The launch includes a total of 24 satellites from government and research institutions.

They will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This visualization shows the relative density of certain particles in Earth's ionosphere. The E-TBEx CubeSats will explore how signals from satellites to Earth can be disrupted as they pass through this region. (NASA)

This visualization shows the relative density of certain particles in Earth’s ionosphere. The E-TBEx CubeSats will explore how signals from satellites to Earth can be disrupted as they pass through this region. (NASA)

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NASA moves closer to launching new Technology aboard SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A new kind of atomic clock, non-toxic propellant system and missions to characterize how space weather interferes with satellites and communication transmissions are one step closer to liftoff. With the second-ever SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch complete, these NASA technologies await the powerful rocket’s next flight.

“We are pleased with the success of yesterday’s Falcon Heavy launch and first-stage landings,” said Acting Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Jim Reuter. “We have important technologies that are ready to fly, and this success helps put us on that path.”

On Thursday, April 11th, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched the Arabsat-6A satellite from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (SpaceX)

On Thursday, April 11th, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched the Arabsat-6A satellite from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (SpaceX)

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Two NASA CubeSats demonstrate Laser Communications Capability

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Two NASA CubeSats teamed up on an impromptu optical, or laser, communications pointing experiment. The laser beam is seen as a brief flash of light close to the center of the focal plane, to the left of Earth’s horizon.

The light originated from the laser communications system onboard one of two Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) spacecraft. The laser flash was recorded by a short-wavelength infrared camera, one of three cameras comprising the CubeSat Multispectral Observation System (CUMULOS) payload, onboard the Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna (ISARA) spacecraft.

A brief laser flash at the center of the frame was part of an experiment conducted by two NASA CubeSats. In it, one small satellite used a laser to send information to the ISARA CubeSat, managed by JPL. (The Aerospace Corporation)

A brief laser flash at the center of the frame was part of an experiment conducted by two NASA CubeSats. In it, one small satellite used a laser to send information to the ISARA CubeSat, managed by JPL. (The Aerospace Corporation)

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NASA to Study Space Weather around Earth from International Space Station

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected a new mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet. Space weather is important  because it can have profound impacts – affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids.

The new experiment will, for the first time, obtain global observations of an important driver of space weather in a dynamic region of Earth’s upper atmosphere that can cause interference with radio and GPS communications.

An image taken from the International Space Station shows orange swaths of airglow hovering in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA’s new Atmospheric Waves Experiment will observe this airglow from a perch on the space station to help scientists understand, and ultimately improve forecasts of, space weather changes in the upper atmosphere. (NASA)

An image taken from the International Space Station shows orange swaths of airglow hovering in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA’s new Atmospheric Waves Experiment will observe this airglow from a perch on the space station to help scientists understand, and ultimately improve forecasts of, space weather changes in the upper atmosphere. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars Cube One goes dark

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Before the pair of briefcase-sized spacecraft known collectively as MarCO launched last year, their success was measured by survival: If they were able to operate in deep space at all, they would be pushing the limits of experimental technology.

Now well past Mars, the daring twins seem to have reached their limit. It’s been over a month since engineers have heard from MarCO, which followed NASA’s InSight to the Red Planet. At this time, the mission team considers it unlikely they’ll be heard from again.

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took these images as it approached Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took these images as it approached Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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NASA tests new high power electric systems for CubeSats

 

NASA Glenn Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCleveland, OH – A new CubeSat, launched Sunday, December 16th, 2018 will test high power electric systems and the use of unique shape memory alloy (SMA) components for the first time.

Completely designed and led by a team of 12 early career scientists and engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the Advanced Electrical Bus, or ALBus, will be the first CubeSat to demonstrate power management and distribution of a 100-watt electrical system. The CubeSat will also employ a custom-built SMA release mechanism and hinges to deploy solar arrays and conduct electricity.

The ALBus CubeSat sits at NASA Glenn with its four solar array deployed. The solar arrays on this high-power CubeSat use a custom-designed shape memory alloy construction allowing for greater design flexibility. (NASA)

The ALBus CubeSat sits at NASA Glenn with its four solar array deployed. The solar arrays on this high-power CubeSat use a custom-designed shape memory alloy construction allowing for greater design flexibility. (NASA)

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NASA MarCo CubeSats communicate with Earth, sends image of Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  NASA’s MarCO mission was built to see whether two experimental, briefcase-sized spacecraft could survive the trip to deep space, and the two CubeSats proved more than able. After cruising along behind NASA’s InSight for seven months, they successfully relayed data back down to Earth from the lander during its descent to the Martian surface on Monday, November 26th, 2018.

Nicknamed “EVE” and “WALL-E” after the stars of the 2008 Pixar film, MarCO-A and MarCO-B used experimental radios and antennas, providing an alternate way for engineers to monitor the landing.

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018. MarCO-B was flying by Mars with its twin, MarCO-A, to attempt to serve as communications relays for NASA's InSight spacecraft as it landed on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018. MarCO-B was flying by Mars with its twin, MarCO-A, to attempt to serve as communications relays for NASA’s InSight spacecraft as it landed on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA InSight Lander touches down on Mars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Mars has just received its newest robotic resident. NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth.

InSight’s two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager, NASA JPL, left, and Sue Smrekar, InSight deputy principal investigator, NASA JPL, react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 inside the Mission Support Area at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager, NASA JPL, left, and Sue Smrekar, InSight deputy principal investigator, NASA JPL, react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 inside the Mission Support Area at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA TV to air Insight Landing on Mars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet at approximately 2:00pm CST November 26th, and viewers everywhere can watch coverage of the event live on NASA Television, the agency’s website and social media platforms.

Launched on May 5th, InSight marks NASA’s first Mars landing since the Curiosity rover in 2012.

This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA will use multiple spacecraft to monitor Insight Landing on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What’s the sound of a touchdown on Mars? If you’re at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it sounds like winning the Super Bowl: cheers, laughter and lots of hollering.

But in the minutes before that, NASA’s InSight team will be monitoring the Mars lander’s radio signals using a variety of spacecraft – and even radio telescopes here on Earth – to suss out what’s happening 91 million miles (146 million km) away.

This image depicts the MarCO CubeSats relaying data from NASA's InSight lander as it enters the Martian atmosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image depicts the MarCO CubeSats relaying data from NASA’s InSight lander as it enters the Martian atmosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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