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Topic: NASA’s Deep Space Network

NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter completes Historic First Flight

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On Monday, April 19th, 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.

The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 5:46am CDT (3:46am PDT).

“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took this shot, capturing its own shadow, while hovering over the Martian surface on April 19th, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took this shot, capturing its own shadow, while hovering over the Martian surface on April 19th, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter set to take Flight, Sunday

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is two days away from making humanity’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.

If all proceeds as planned, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is expected to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater Sunday, April 11th, at 12:30pm local Mars solar time (9:54pm CDT, 7:54pm PDT), hovering 10 feet (3 meters) above the surface for up to 30 seconds.

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7th, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This image was captured by the Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on the following sol, April 8th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7th, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This image was captured by the Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on the following sol, April 8th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports Asteroid Apophis to pass safely past Earth for 100-Plus Years

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The near-Earth object was thought to pose a slight risk of impacting Earth in 2068, but now radar observations have ruled that out.

After its discovery in 2004, asteroid 99942 Apophis had been identified as one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth. But that impact assessment changed as astronomers tracked Apophis and its orbit became better determined.

This image of asteroid Apophis was recorded by radio antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone complex in California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The asteroid was 10.6 million miles (17 million kilometers) away, and each pixel has a resolution of 127 feet (38.75 meters). (NASA/JPL-Caltech and NSF/AUI/GBO)

This image of asteroid Apophis was recorded by radio antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone complex in California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The asteroid was 10.6 million miles (17 million kilometers) away, and each pixel has a resolution of 127 feet (38.75 meters). (NASA/JPL-Caltech and NSF/AUI/GBO)

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NASA reports large Asteroid 2001 FO32 to safely fly past Earth, March 21st

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The largest asteroid predicted to pass by our planet in 2021 will be at its closest on March 21st, providing astronomers a rare opportunity to get a good look at a rocky relic that formed at the dawn of our solar system.

Called 2001 FO32, the near-Earth asteroid will make its closest approach at a distance of about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) – or 5 1/4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. There is no threat of a collision with our planet now or for centuries to come.

This diagram depicts the elongated and inclined orbit of 2001 FO32 as it travels around the Sun (white ellipse). Because of this orbit, when the asteroid makes its close approach to Earth, it will be traveling at an unusually fast speed of 77,000 mph (124,000 kph). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This diagram depicts the elongated and inclined orbit of 2001 FO32 as it travels around the Sun (white ellipse). Because of this orbit, when the asteroid makes its close approach to Earth, it will be traveling at an unusually fast speed of 77,000 mph (124,000 kph). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope finishes Final Tests, Ready for Launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – February marked significant progress for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which completed its final functional performance tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

Testing teams successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory’s internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space. These milestones move Webb closer to being ready to launch in October.

Following the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope's recent milestone tests, engineering teams have confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically, and electronically survive the rigors anticipated during launch. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

Following the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s recent milestone tests, engineering teams have confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically, and electronically survive the rigors anticipated during launch. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover set for Landing on Mars, February 18th

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – With about 2.4 million miles (3.9 million kilometers) left to travel in space, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is days away from attempting to land the agency’s fifth rover on the Red Planet.

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where the mission is managed, have confirmed that the spacecraft is healthy and on target to touch down in Jezero Crater at around 2:55pm CT (12:55pm PT) on February 18th, 2021.

The aeroshell containing NASA’s Perseverance rover guides itself towards the Martian surface as it descends through the atmosphere in this illustration. Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the rover to land on Mars safely on Feb. 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The aeroshell containing NASA’s Perseverance rover guides itself towards the Martian surface as it descends through the atmosphere in this illustration. Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the rover to land on Mars safely on Feb. 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Deep Space Network adds a New Dish

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A powerful new antenna has been added to the NASA Space Communications and Navigation’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which connects us to the space robots exploring our solar system. Called Deep Space Station 56, or DSS-56, the dish is now online and ready to communicate with a variety of missions, including NASA’s Perseverance rover when it lands on the Red Planet next month.

The new 34-meter-wide (112-foot-wide) dish has been under construction at the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex in Spain since 2017. Existing antennas are limited in the frequency bands they can receive and transmit, often restricting them to communicating only with specific spacecraft.

Deep Space Station 56, or DSS-56, is a powerful 34-meter-wide (112-foot-wide) antenna that was added to the Deep Space Network's Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex in Spain in early 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Deep Space Station 56, or DSS-56, is a powerful 34-meter-wide (112-foot-wide) antenna that was added to the Deep Space Network’s Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex in Spain in early 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s newly upgraded Deep Space Network Dish makes contact with Voyager 2

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On October 29th, 2020 mission operators sent a series of commands to NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft for the first time since mid-March. The spacecraft has been flying solo while the 70-meter-wide (230-foot-wide) radio antenna used to talk to it has been offline for repairs and upgrades. Voyager 2 returned a signal confirming it had received the “call” and executed the commands without issue.

The call to Voyager 2 was a test of new hardware recently installed on Deep Space Station 43, the only dish in the world that can send commands to Voyager 2.

Crews conduct critical upgrades and repairs to the 70-meter-wide (230-foot-wide) radio antenna Deep Space Station 43 in Canberra, Australia. In this image, one of the antenna's white feed cones (which house portions of the antenna receivers) is being moved by a crane. (CSIRO)

Crews conduct critical upgrades and repairs to the 70-meter-wide (230-foot-wide) radio antenna Deep Space Station 43 in Canberra, Australia. In this image, one of the antenna’s white feed cones (which house portions of the antenna receivers) is being moved by a crane. (CSIRO)

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover reaches half way point to Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has logged a lot of flight miles since being lofted skyward on July 30th – 146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers) to be exact. Turns out that is exactly the same distance it has to go before the spacecraft hits the Red Planet’s atmosphere like a 11,900 mph (19,000 kph) freight train on February 18th, 2021.

“At 1:40pm Pacific Time today, our spacecraft will have just as many miles in its metaphorical rearview mirror as it will out its metaphorical windshield,” said Julie Kangas, a navigator working on the Perseverance rover mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

This illustration of the Mars 2020 spacecraft in interplanetary space was generated using imagery from NASA's Eyes on the Solar System. The image is from the mission's midway point between Earth and Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration of the Mars 2020 spacecraft in interplanetary space was generated using imagery from NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System. The image is from the mission’s midway point between Earth and Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Launches, on it’s way to Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission is on its way to the Red Planet to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to send back to Earth.

Humanity’s most sophisticated rover launched with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at 6:50am CT (4:50am PDT) Thursday on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover lifts off from Cape Canaveral on July 30, 2020. Also on the rocket provided by United Launch Alliance is the technology experiment Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. (NASA/KSC)

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover lifts off from Cape Canaveral on July 30, 2020. Also on the rocket provided by United Launch Alliance is the technology experiment Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. (NASA/KSC)

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