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Topic: CubeSats

Commercial CubeRover Test Shows How NASA Investments Mature Space Tech

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationFlorida – Researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently put a new, small robotic rover through its paces inside a 120-ton bin of regolith rock and dust that simulates the lunar surface.

The four-wheeled CubeRover rolled over dunes of abrasive dust, turned in place, and then trundled up and down steep trench walls within the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) laboratory as it performed more than 150 mobility tests. The rover’s creators, from Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, worked alongside Kennedy’s Swamp Works team, assessing the robot’s maneuverability and how its sensor, motor, and power systems operated in the dusty environment.

The Astrobotic CubeRover traverses the terrain in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory regolith bin at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 10, 2020. The regolith bin simulates the mechanical properties of the Moon’s surface. NASA and Astrobotic employees put the CubeRover through a series of more than 150 mobility tests over several days to evaluate and improve wheel design. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The Astrobotic CubeRover traverses the terrain in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory regolith bin at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 10, 2020. The regolith bin simulates the mechanical properties of the Moon’s surface. NASA and Astrobotic employees put the CubeRover through a series of more than 150 mobility tests over several days to evaluate and improve wheel design. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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NASA has Two Heliophysics Missions that will Explore Sun, Earth’s Aurora

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA has approved two heliophysics missions to explore the Sun and the system that drives space weather near Earth. Together, NASA’s contribution to the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission, or EUVST, and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer, or EZIE, will help us understand the Sun and Earth as an interconnected system.

Understanding the physics that drive the solar wind and solar explosions – including solar flares and coronal mass ejections – could one day help scientists predict these events, which can impact human technology and explorers in space.

From the International Space Station’s orbit 269 miles above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia, this nighttime photograph captures the aurora australis, or "southern lights." Russia's Soyuz MS-12 crew ship is in the foreground and Progress 72 resupply ship in the background. (NASA)

From the International Space Station’s orbit 269 miles above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia, this nighttime photograph captures the aurora australis, or “southern lights.” Russia’s Soyuz MS-12 crew ship is in the foreground and Progress 72 resupply ship in the background. (NASA)

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NASA SunRISE mission to use Six Spacecraft to study Giant Solar Particle Storms

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – into planetary space.

Not only will such information improve understanding of how our solar system works, but it ultimately can help protect astronauts traveling to the Moon and Mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment they must travel through.

A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms - giant surges of solar particles that erupt off of the Sun - as depicted in this illustration. Understanding how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. (NASA)

A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms – giant surges of solar particles that erupt off of the Sun – as depicted in this illustration. Understanding how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. (NASA)

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NASA CubeSats will be a big part of Humans returning to the Moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – They might be small, but they’re also mighty. Very small and innovative spacecraft called CubeSats are poised to play a role in NASA’s Artemis program, which will return humans to the Moon by 2024.

Advancements in consumer electronics and miniaturized sensors enable small spacecraft to be powerful tools for space exploration.

“A number of things have coalesced to create what is termed the SmallSat and CubeSat revolution,” says Christopher Baker, Small Spacecraft Technology program executive within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (NASA)

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (NASA)

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NASA reports Seven Student-Made CubeSats Set To Fly Aboard Antares November 2nd from Wallops

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On Saturday, seven small research satellites, or CubeSats, developed by students from eight universities across the nation will fly on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops, Virginia, targeting a launch at 8:59am CDT.

All seven CubeSats were selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and are a part of the 25th Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission. CSLI enables the launch of CubeSat projects designed, built and operated by students, teachers and faculty, as well as NASA Centers and nonprofit organizations.

Montana State University students with RadSat-u CubeSat. (NASA)

Montana State University students with RadSat-u CubeSat. (NASA)

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NASA Tech Missions headed to Space aboard SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA technology demonstrations have launched into space on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket. These missions will look at the space environment around Earth and how it affects us. This could one day could help NASA astronauts to Mars, and science missions, 

The NASA missions – including the Deep Space Atomic Clock and two instruments from NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California – lifted off at 11:30pm PDT (1:30am CDT) Tuesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) launch.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is ready for launch on the pad at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 24, 2019. SpaceX and the U.S. Department of Defense will launch two dozen satellites to space, including four NASA payloads that are part of the Space Test Program-2, managed by the U.S. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is ready for launch on the pad at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 24, 2019. SpaceX and the U.S. Department of Defense will launch two dozen satellites to space, including four NASA payloads that are part of the Space Test Program-2, managed by the U.S. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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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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