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Topic: Orbit

NASA launches Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – After a successful Thursday night, October 10th, 2019 launch, NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft is in orbit for a first-of-its-kind mission to study a region of space where changes can disrupt communications and satellite orbits, and even increase radiation risks to astronauts.

A Northrop Grumman Stargazer L-1011 aircraft took off at 7:31pm CDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying ICON, on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, to launch altitude of about 39,000 feet.

Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 aircraft, Stargazer, prepares for takeoff at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip in Florida on Oct. 10, 2019. Attached beneath the aircraft is the company’s Pegasus XL rocket, carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). (NASA)

Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 aircraft, Stargazer, prepares for takeoff at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip in Florida on Oct. 10, 2019. Attached beneath the aircraft is the company’s Pegasus XL rocket, carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). (NASA)

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NASA’s original Artemis Mission studied interaction of Moon, Sun

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – By 2024, NASA will land astronauts, including the first woman and next man, on the Moon as part of the Artemis lunar exploration program. This won’t be the first time NASA takes the name Artemis to the Moon though.

Two robotic spacecraft orbiting the Moon today were initially known as ARTEMIS — short for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun. Since 2011, these spacecraft have been sending scientists valuable information about the lunar environment, and laying groundwork critical to returning humans to the Moon.

NASA’s twin ARTEMIS spacecraft have studied the solar wind's interaction with the Moon, including the lunar wake that distorts nearby magnetic fields. (E. Masongsong, UCLA EPSS)

NASA’s twin ARTEMIS spacecraft have studied the solar wind’s interaction with the Moon, including the lunar wake that distorts nearby magnetic fields. (E. Masongsong, UCLA EPSS)

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NASA looks to understand Asthma from Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says help may be on the way for the millions of people around the world who suffer from asthma. Pioneering research in orbit is opening new avenues to understanding what goes wrong in patients with airway inflammation.

The results have contributed to the development of quick lung tests for an improved quality of life––both on Earth and in space. With each lungful of air, our bodies absorb oxygen and exhale waste products. In people with asthma, inflammation in the lung adds nitric oxide to exhaled air. Doctors measure the amount of nitric oxide exhaled by patients to help diagnose inflamed lungs and asthma.

Astronaut Alexander Gerst exhales into an ultra-sensitive gas analyzer for the Airway Monitoring experiment. (NASA)

Astronaut Alexander Gerst exhales into an ultra-sensitive gas analyzer for the Airway Monitoring experiment. (NASA)

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NASA’s Orion’s Service Module passes Propulsion Test

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In order to send astronauts to the Moon for Artemis missions, NASA is working on building a new system that includes tests to make sure the Orion spacecraft is prepared to safely carry crew on an alternate mission profile in the face of unexpected problems.

That capability was most recently demonstrated with a successful, continuous 12-minute firing of Orion’s propulsion system that simulated a possible alternate mission scenario.

NASA tests the Orion propulsion system. (NASA)

NASA tests the Orion propulsion system. (NASA)

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NASA announces One of the Two Van Allen Probe Spacecraft shutdown

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA reports that on July 19th, 2019, mission operators sent a shutdown command to one of two Van Allen Probes spacecraft at 12:27pm CT, known as spacecraft B, from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Maryland.

As expected, following final de-orbit maneuvers in February of this year, the spacecraft has used its remaining propellant to keep its solar panels pointed at the Sun and is now out of fuel.

Illustration of the identical Van Allen Probes. (JHU/APL, NASA)

Illustration of the identical Van Allen Probes. (JHU/APL, NASA)

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NASA began Journey to the Moon 50 Years Ago

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – Around one million people gathered on the beaches of central Florida to witness first-hand the launch of NASA’s Apollo 11, while more than 500 million people around the world watched the event live on television.

Officially named as a crew just six months earlier, Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot (CMP) Michael Collins were prepared to undertake the historic mission.

Apollo 11 crew of (left to right) Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin.

Apollo 11 crew of (left to right) Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin.

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission will pave way for future Astronauts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A historic moment, when a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024 will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

This artist's concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars. NASA's Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans. (NASA)

This artist’s concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars. NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans. (NASA)

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NASA picks Commercial Lander Providers for return to the Moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Three commercial Moon landing service providers have been picked by NASA to deliver science and technology payloads under Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) as part of the Artemis program.

Each commercial lander will carry NASA-provided payloads that will conduct science investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024.

Commercial landers will carry NASA-provided science and technology payloads to the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024. (NASA)

Commercial landers will carry NASA-provided science and technology payloads to the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024. (NASA)

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NASA excited about Apophis Asteroid passing by Earth in 2029

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that a speck of light will streak across the sky, getting brighter and faster on April 13th, 2029. At one point it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper.

But it won’t be a satellite or an airplane – it will be a 1,100-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) near-Earth asteroid called 99942 Apophis that will cruise harmlessly by Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) above the surface. That’s within the distance that some of our spacecraft that orbit Earth.

The international asteroid research community couldn’t be more excited.

This illustration shows the distance between the Apophis asteroid and Earth at the time of the asteroid's closest approach. The blue dots are the many man-made satellites that orbit our planet, and the pink represents the International Space Station. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows the distance between the Apophis asteroid and Earth at the time of the asteroid’s closest approach. The blue dots are the many man-made satellites that orbit our planet, and the pink represents the International Space Station. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 will study Earth’s Carbon Cycle from International Space Station

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that when the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, OCO-3, heads to the International Space Station, it will bring a new view – literally – to studies of Earth’s carbon cycle.

OCO-3 will observe near-global measurements of carbon dioxide on land and sea, from just after sunrise to just before sunset from its perch on the space station. That makes it far more versatile and powerful than its predecessor, OCO-2.

“OCO-2 revisits areas on Earth at roughly the same time of day due to its sun-synchronous orbit,” said Matt Bennett, OCO-3’s project systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “OCO-3 will expand the time period of that coverage and observe the presence of carbon dioxide at varying times of day.”

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the "shaker") in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the “shaker”) in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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