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Topic: CubeSat

NASA RainCube Weather Satellite mission comes to an end

 

Pasadena, CANASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationAfter nearly 2 1/2 years in orbit, a shoebox-size weather satellite phoned home one last time before plunging into Earth’s atmosphere and burning up on December 24th, 2020. RainCube (Radar in a CubeSat) was a technology demonstration meant to show that shrinking a weather radar into a low-cost, miniature satellite called a CubeSat could provide science-quality data.

RainCube was deployed on July 13th, 2018, from the International Space Station and had a primary mission of three months.

Fleets of miniature satellites like RainCube could one day study the rapid development and evolution of storms like this supercell thunderstorm over Nebraska. (Mike Coniglio/NOAA NSSL)

Fleets of miniature satellites like RainCube could one day study the rapid development and evolution of storms like this supercell thunderstorm over Nebraska. (Mike Coniglio/NOAA NSSL)

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NASA’s Dione CubeSat mission to study Earth’s Upper Atmosphere, Space Weather

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA has selected a new pathfinding CubeSat mission to gather data not collected since the agency flew the Dynamics Explorer in the early 1980s.

The new mission, called Dione after the ancient Greek goddess of the oracles, will carry four miniaturized instruments to study how Earth’s upper atmospheric layers react to the ever-changing flow of solar energy into the magnetosphere — the enveloping bubble of magnetic field around Earth that deflects most of the particles that erupt from the Sun. Earth’s upper atmosphere is where most low-Earth-orbiting satellites reside, and their orbits are strongly affected by sudden density changes created by space weather.

Dione will gather data not collected since NASA’s dual-spacecraft Dynamics Explorer mission launched in the early 1980s. (NASA)

Dione will gather data not collected since NASA’s dual-spacecraft Dynamics Explorer mission launched in the early 1980s. (NASA)

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NASA to use CubeSat with Infrared Lasers to search the Moon’s Craters for Ice

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As astronauts explore the Moon during the Artemis program, they may need to make use of the resources that already exist on the lunar surface. Take water, for instance: Because it’s a heavy and therefore expensive resource to launch from Earth, our future explorers might have to seek out ice to mine.

Once excavated, it can be melted and purified for drinking and used for rocket fuel. But how much water is there on the Moon, and where might we find it?

This artist's concept shows the briefcase-sized Lunar Flashlight spacecraft using its near-infrared lasers to shine light into shaded polar regions on the Moon to look for water ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows the briefcase-sized Lunar Flashlight spacecraft using its near-infrared lasers to shine light into shaded polar regions on the Moon to look for water ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Researches to use Fluid Lensing to map Ocean Floor

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – NASA says that whenever you look through a substance, whether it’s the water in a pool or a pane of old, rippled glass, the objects you see look distorted.

For centuries, astronomers have been mapping the sky through the distortions caused by our atmosphere, however, in recent years, they’ve developed techniques to counter these effects, clearing our view of the stars.

If we turn to look at the Earth instead of the skies, distorted visuals are a challenge too: Earth scientists who want to map the oceans or study underwater features struggle to see through the distortions caused by waves at the surface.

Researchers flying the FluidCam instrument during a field deployment in Puerto Rico. (NASA)

Researchers flying the FluidCam instrument during a field deployment in Puerto Rico. (NASA)

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Rocket Lab gets NASA Contract to Launch CubeSat to Moon from Virginia

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected Rocket Lab of Huntington Beach, California, to provide launch services for the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat.

Rocket Lab, a commercial launch provider licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, will launch the 55-pound CubeSat aboard an Electron rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. After launch, the company’s Photon platform will deliver CAPSTONE to a trans-lunar injection.

Part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Launch Complex 2 is Rocket Lab’s second launch site for the Electron rocket. Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat mission to the Moon from the Virginia launch site in early 2021. (Rocket Lab)

Part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Launch Complex 2 is Rocket Lab’s second launch site for the Electron rocket. Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat mission to the Moon from the Virginia launch site in early 2021. (Rocket Lab)

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NASA’s small ASTERIA CubeSat goes silent

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission operators at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have lost contact with the ASTERIA satellite, a briefcase-sized spacecraft designed to study planets outside our solar system.

The last successful communication with ASTERIA, short for Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics, was on December 5th; attempts to contact it are expected to continue into March 2020.

ASTERIA belongs to a category of satellites called CubeSats, which vary in size but are typically smaller than a suitcase.

Left to right: Electrical Test Engineer Esha Murty and Integration and Test Lead Cody Colley prepare the ASTERIA spacecraft for mass-properties measurements in April 2017 prior to spacecraft delivery ahead of launch. ASTERIA was deployed from the International Space Station in November 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Left to right: Electrical Test Engineer Esha Murty and Integration and Test Lead Cody Colley prepare the ASTERIA spacecraft for mass-properties measurements in April 2017 prior to spacecraft delivery ahead of launch. ASTERIA was deployed from the International Space Station in November 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Artemis Lunar Program moves full speed ahead

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing, the most historic moment in space exploration, while also making significant progress toward putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program.

Through America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, Artemis gained bipartisan support this year among members of Congress, the U.S aerospace industry, as well as with international partners, including Canada, Australia, and Japan, and member states of the European Space Agency.

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NASA Pathfinder CubeSat to orbit Moon in same orbit projected for Gateway

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has awarded a $13.7 million contract to Advanced Space of Boulder, Colorado, to develop and operate a CubeSat mission to the same lunar orbit targeted for Gateway – an orbiting outpost astronauts will visit before descending to the surface of the Moon in a landing system as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) is expected to be the first spacecraft to operate in a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon.

Highly elliptical, a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon takes advantage of a precise balance point in the gravities of Earth and the Moon and creates a stability that is ideal for long-term missions like Gateway. (Advanced Space)

Highly elliptical, a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon takes advantage of a precise balance point in the gravities of Earth and the Moon and creates a stability that is ideal for long-term missions like Gateway. (Advanced Space)

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NASA’s TEMPEST-D satellite takes a look inside Hurricane Dorian

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new view of Hurricane Dorian shows the layers of the storm, as seen by an experimental NASA weather satellite that’s the size of a cereal box. TEMPEST-D reveals rain bands in four layers of the storm as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida on September 3rd, 2019.

The multiple vertical layers show where the strongest convective “storms” within the hurricane are pushing high into the atmosphere, with pink, red and yellow corresponding to the areas of heaviest rainfall.

Hurricane Dorian off the coast of Florida, as seen by the small satellite TEMPEST-D at 2 a.m. EDT on Sep. 3, 2019 (11 p.m PDT on Sept. 2, 2019). The layers in the animation reveal slices of the hurricane from four depths, taken at different radio wavelengths. The vertical view of Dorian highlights where the storm is strongest in the atmosphere. The colors in the animation show the heavy rainfall and moisture inside the storm. The least-intense areas of rainfall are shown in green, while the most intense are yellow, red and pink. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Hurricane Dorian off the coast of Florida, as seen by the small satellite TEMPEST-D at 2 a.m. EDT on Sep. 3, 2019 (11 p.m PDT on Sept. 2, 2019). The layers in the animation reveal slices of the hurricane from four depths, taken at different radio wavelengths. The vertical view of Dorian highlights where the storm is strongest in the atmosphere. The colors in the animation show the heavy rainfall and moisture inside the storm. The least-intense areas of rainfall are shown in green, while the most intense are yellow, red and pink. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA has several Instruments, Spacecraft observing Hurricane Dorian

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has several instruments and spacecraft with eyes on Hurricane Dorian, capturing different types of data from the storm.

NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), aboard the Aqua satellite, senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth. The information is used to map such atmospheric phenomena as temperature, humidity, and cloud amounts and heights.

Three images of Hurricane Dorian, as seen by a trio of NASA's Earth-observing satellites Aug. 27-29, 2019. The data sent by the spacecraft revealed in-depth views of the storm, including detailed heavy rain, cloud height and wind. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Three images of Hurricane Dorian, as seen by a trio of NASA’s Earth-observing satellites Aug. 27-29, 2019. The data sent by the spacecraft revealed in-depth views of the storm, including detailed heavy rain, cloud height and wind. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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