Washington, D.C. – The first nighttime launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will happen Monday, June 24th, 2019. NASA Television will cover the launch and prelaunch activities.
The rocket will be carrying four agency technology missions to help improve future spacecraft design and performance.
The launch window for the Falcon Heavy opens at 11:30pm EDT Monday, June 24th, from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Pasadena, CA – In the future, spacecraft could safely and autonomously fly themselves to destinations like the Moon and Mars thanks to NASA navigators.
Navigators today tell a spacecraft where to go by calculating its position from Earth and sending the location data to space in a two-way relay system that can take anywhere from minutes to hours to deliver directions. This method of navigation means that no matter how far a mission travels through the solar system, our spacecraft are still tethered to the ground, waiting for commands from our planet.
Peterson Air Force Base, CO – Santa’s flight across the world has been tracked by NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) for more than 50 years.
Back in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” This began the tradition.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – California continues to be plagued by wildfires – including the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California, now one of the deadliest in the state’s history. NASA satellites are observing these fires – and the damage they’re leaving behind – from space.
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, produced new damage maps using synthetic aperture radar images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites.
Written by Maria-José Viñas
Washington, D.C. – River floods are one of the most common and devastating of Earth’s natural disasters. In the past decade, deluges from rivers have killed thousands of people every year around the world and caused losses on the order of tens of billions of U.S. dollars annually. Climate change, which is projected to increase precipitation in certain areas of the planet, might make river floods in these places more frequent and severe in the coming decades.
Now, a new study led by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, analyzes what it would take for river-observing satellites to become an even more useful tool to mitigate flood damage and improve reservoir management globally in near real-time.
Written by Ashley Hume
Greenbelt, MD – NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) don’t just enable data from spacecraft to reach Earth – they provide internet and even telemedicine to researchers at the South Pole. The South Pole TDRS Relay (SPTR) system turns 20 years old on January 9th, 2018.
In the 1990s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) faced a communications challenge with more than a hundred scientists working at their Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica per year to study everything from meteorology to astrophysics to climate.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – A pair of advanced U.S./German Earth research satellites with some very big shoes to fill is now at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base to begin final preparations for launch next spring.
Following a year-long test campaign by satellite manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space at IABG in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites were loaded aboard an air freighter at Munich airport December 11th and arrived at the launch site on California’s central coast Tuesday, December 12th. GRACE-FO will provide continuity to the Earth climate data record of the extremely successful predecessor GRACE, which completed its science mission in October after more than 15 years in orbit.
Written by Samson Reiny
Washington, D.C. – Behind every weather forecast—from your local, five-day prediction to a late-breaking hurricane track update—are the satellites that make them possible. Government agencies depend on observations from weather satellites to inform forecast models that help us prepare for approaching storms and identify areas that need evacuating or emergency first responders.
Weather satellites have traditionally been large, both in the effort needed to build them and in actual size. They can take several years to build and can be as big as a small school bus. But all of that could change in the future with the help of a shoebox-sized satellite that will start orbiting Earth later this month.
Written by Steve Cole
Washington, D.C. – After more than 15 productive years in orbit, the U.S./German GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite mission has ended science operations. During their mission, the twin GRACE satellites have provided unprecedented insights into how our planet is changing by tracking the continuous movement of liquid water, ice and the solid Earth.
GRACE made science measurements by precisely measuring the distance between its twin satellites, GRACE-1 and GRACE-2, which required that both spacecraft and their instruments be fully functional.
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – On October 12th EDT (October 11th PDT), a small asteroid designated 2012 TC4 will safely pass by Earth at a distance of approximately 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers). This is a little over one tenth the distance to the Moon and just above the orbital altitude of communications satellites.
This encounter with TC4 is being used by asteroid trackers around the world to test their ability to operate as a coordinated international asteroid warning network.
2012 TC4 is estimated to be 50 to 100 feet (15 to 30 meters) in size. Orbit prediction experts say the asteroid poses no risk of impact with Earth.
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