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Topic: Mojave Desert

NASA to measure X-59 Quiet Supersonic Flights with ground recorders

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards Air Force Base, CA – For the deserts of Southern California, the major milestones of aviation have long been marked by the unique sights, and sounds, of flight.

From the late Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier in 1947, to the space shuttles’ approach and landing at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden) in Edwards, and through today, one recognizable sound is the sonic boom – a loud, sometimes startling event that we hear on the ground when an aircraft overhead flies faster than the speed of sound, also called supersonic speed.

NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft, or QueSST, is designed to fly faster than the speed of sound without producing a loud, disruptive sonic boom, which is typically heard on the ground below aircraft flying at such speeds. Instead, with the X-59, people on the ground will hear nothing more than a quiet sonic thump – if they hear anything at all. (NASA / Joey Ponthieux)

NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft, or QueSST, is designed to fly faster than the speed of sound without producing a loud, disruptive sonic boom, which is typically heard on the ground below aircraft flying at such speeds. Instead, with the X-59, people on the ground will hear nothing more than a quiet sonic thump – if they hear anything at all. (NASA / Joey Ponthieux)

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NASA’s ECOSTRESS observes Apple Fire in California from Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on International Space Station (ECOSTRESS) captured a birds-eye view of the vast Apple fire raging in Southern California.

The wildfire began on the evening of Friday, July 31st, after two smaller fires merged and rapidly grew in the hot conditions in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents. Air temperatures have soared past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), stressing the vegetation and turning the area into a tinderbox. By Monday, the wildfire had exploded to over 26,000 acres.

This ECOSTRESS temperature map shows the region surrounding the Apple fire that was raging in Southern California on August 1st, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This ECOSTRESS temperature map shows the region surrounding the Apple fire that was raging in Southern California on August 1st, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 mission to use autopilot to maneuver around hazards during landing

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – During the first astronaut landing on the Moon, the view of the Sea of Tranquility rising up to meet Neil Armstrong was not what Apollo 11 mission planners had intended.

They had hoped to send the lunar module Eagle toward a relatively flat landing zone with few craters, rocks and boulders. Instead, peering through his small, triangular commander’s window, Armstrong saw a boulder field – very unfriendly for a lunar module.

So the Apollo 11 commander took control of the descent from the onboard computer, piloting Eagle well beyond the boulder field, to a landing site that will forever be known as Tranquility Base.

NASA's Mars 2020 mission will have an autopilot that helps guide it to safer landings on the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will have an autopilot that helps guide it to safer landings on the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA partners Boeing and SpaceX complete latest round of Parachute Tests

 

Written by Marie Lewis
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationFlorida – Crew safety is paramount in the return of human spaceflight launches from Florida’s Space Coast, and the latest round of parachute testing is providing valuable data to help industry partners Boeing and SpaceX meet NASA’s requirements for certification.

On March 4th, SpaceX performed its 14th overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development. This exercise was the first of several planned parachute system qualification tests ahead of the spacecraft’s first crewed flight and resulted in the successful touchdown of Crew Dragon’s parachute system.

At left, Boeing conducted the first in a series of parachute reliability tests its Starliner flight drogue and main parachute system Feb. 22, 2018, over Yuma Arizona. (NASA)  At right, SpaceX performed its fourteenth overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development March 4, 2018, over the Mojave Desert in Southern California. The test demonstrated an off-nominal, or abnormal, situation, deploying only one of the two drogue chutes and three of the four main parachutes. (SpaceX)

At left, Boeing conducted the first in a series of parachute reliability tests its Starliner flight drogue and main parachute system Feb. 22, 2018, over Yuma Arizona. (NASA) At right, SpaceX performed its fourteenth overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development March 4, 2018, over the Mojave Desert in Southern California. The test demonstrated an off-nominal, or abnormal, situation, deploying only one of the two drogue chutes and three of the four main parachutes. (SpaceX)

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NASA’s twin Voyager Spacecraft helped improve Communications

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft were changing our understanding of the solar system, they also spurred a leap in spacecraft communications.

The mission’s impact is still visible in California’s Mojave Desert. There, at NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, the arcs of antenna dishes peek out over craggy hilltops. Goldstone was the first place where the two Voyagers started to change the landscape. The farther they traveled, the bigger these dishes needed to be so they could send and receive radio waves necessary to track and communicate with the probes.

In order to "talk" with the distant Voyager spacecraft, NASA had to leap forward in space communication technology. In the image above, a 64-meter-wide antenna dish in Goldstone, Calif. is expanded to 70 meters. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In order to “talk” with the distant Voyager spacecraft, NASA had to leap forward in space communication technology. In the image above, a 64-meter-wide antenna dish in Goldstone, Calif. is expanded to 70 meters. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Developing Technology to Land on other Planets with rough Terrain

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Canyons, craters and cracked ice fields on other worlds might be hiding exciting scientific discoveries. But how do we get spacecraft to land on dangerous, uneven terrain?

A new NASA video explains how cutting-edge technologies could help. A system called the CoOperative Blending of Autonomous Landing Technologies (COBALT) is being developed in the Mojave Desert, with participation from several partners, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

A rocket flying several landing technologies was recently flown in the Mojave Desert. These flight tests, coordinated by NASA, are helping to develop technology for precise landings in uneven terrain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A rocket flying several landing technologies was recently flown in the Mojave Desert. These flight tests, coordinated by NASA, are helping to develop technology for precise landings in uneven terrain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft completes voyage between Saturn and it’s Rings

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is back in contact with Earth after its successful first-ever dive through the narrow gap between the planet Saturn and its rings on April 26th, 2017.

The spacecraft is in the process of beaming back science and engineering data collected during its passage, via NASA’s Deep Space Network Goldstone Complex in California’s Mojave Desert.

The DSN acquired Cassini’s signal at 11:56pm PDT on April 26th, 2017 (1:56am CDT on April 27th) and data began flowing at 12:01am PDT (2:01am CDT) on April 27th.

These unprocessed image shows features in Saturn's atmosphere from closer than ever before. The views were captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its first Grand Finale dive past the planet on April 26, 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

These unprocessed image shows features in Saturn’s atmosphere from closer than ever before. The views were captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during its first Grand Finale dive past the planet on April 26, 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA studies Comet P/2016 BA14 as it passes by Earth

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers were watching when comet P/2016 BA14 flew past Earth on March 22nd. At the time of its closest approach, the comet was about 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers) away, making it the third closest comet flyby in recorded history (see “A ‘Tail’ of Two Comets”). Radar images from the flyby indicate that the comet is about 3,000 feet (1 kilometer) in diameter.

The scientists used the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California’s Mojave Desert to track the comet.

These radar images of comet P/2016 BA14 were taken on March 23, 2016, by scientists using an antenna of NASA's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California. At the time, the comet was about 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) from Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)

These radar images of comet P/2016 BA14 were taken on March 23, 2016, by scientists using an antenna of NASA’s Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California. At the time, the comet was about 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) from Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)

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NASA Researchers work on Fuel Additive that could reduce Jet Fuel Volatility

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Airplane accidents are especially dangerous because jet fuel is highly flammable under crash conditions. On impact, jet fuel is dispersed in the air as a fine mist, which triggers a sequence of events that can lead to a fire engulfing an entire plane.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech, have been working on additives that inhibit the formation of this highly flammable mist during collisions. These additives are based on long molecules called polymers.

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NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program reports Asteroid to make close flyby past Earth on February 15th

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On February 15th, 2012  an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth only 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface. There’s no danger of a collision, but the space rock, designated 2012 DA14, has NASA’s attention. It will come closer to the Earth, than any object of it’s since since near earth objects have been monitored.

“This is a record-setting close approach,” says Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL. “Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”

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