indianspacestation.com

Indian Space Station International News

Satellogic Finalizes 16-Satellite Earth Observation Constellation

Satellogic Finalizes 16-Satellite Earth Observation Constellation

[Via Satellite 12-29-2014] Satellogic, a startup company founded in Palo Alto, California with offices around the world, has finalized plans for its first wave of satellites to begin launching in the second half of 2015. The company finished the preliminary design review this month and plans to begin manufacturing in early January.

“We are gearing up to launch the first service constellation of 16 satellites next year,” Emiliano Kargieman, Satellogic founder and CEO told Via Satellite. “We are also gearing up to launch the first satellites of the new generation in the second half of 2015.”

NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships

NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships

NASA announced Tuesday the selection of four U.S. companies to collaborate with NASA through unfunded partnerships to develop new space capabilities available to the government and other customers. The partnerships build on the success of NASA's commercial spaceflight initiatives to leverage NASA experience and expertise into new capabilities.

The Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC) initiative is designed to advance private sector development of integrated space capabilities through access to NASA’s spaceflight resources and ensure emerging products or services are commercially available to government and non-government customers within approximately the next five years.

The companies selected for the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities and their projects are:

  •  ATK Space Systems, in Beltsville, Maryland, is developing space logistics, hosted payload and other space transportation capabilities.
  •  Final Frontier Design, in Brooklyn, New York, is developing intra-vehicular activity space suits.
  •  Space Exploration Technologies, in Hawthorne, California, is developing space transportation capabilities that could be used to support missions into deep space.
  •  United Launch Alliance, in Centennial, Colorado, is developing new launch vehicle capabilities to reduce cost and enhance performance.

 

NASA Opens Cube Quest Challenge for Largest-Ever Prize of $5 Million

NASA Opens Cube Quest Challenge for Largest-Ever Prize of $5 Million

Registration now is open for NASA's Cube Quest Challenge, the agency’s first in-space competition that offers the agency’s largest-ever prize purse.

 

Competitors have a shot at a share of $5 million in prize money and an opportunity to participate in space exploration and technology development, to include a chance at flying their very own CubeSat to the moon and beyond as secondary payload on the first integrated flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

"NASA's Cube Quest Challenge will engage teams in the development of the new technologies that will advance the state of the art of CubeSats and demonstrate their capabilities as viable deep space explorers," said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Prize competitions like this engage the general public and directly contribute to NASA's goals while serving as a tool for open innovation."

Gecko Grippers Get a Microgravity Test Flight

Gecko Grippers Get a Microgravity Test Flight

There are no garbage trucks equipped to leave the atmosphere and pick up debris floating around the Earth. But what if we could send a robot to do the job?

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are working on adhesive gripping tools,
which were inspired by the way that geckos are able to cling to surfaces.

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are working on adhesive gripping tools that could grapple objects such as orbital debris or defunct satellites that would otherwise be hard to handle.

The gecko gripper project was selected for a test flight through the Flight Opportunities Program of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. As a test, researchers used the grippers in brief periods of weightlessness aboard NASA's C-9B parabolic flight aircraft in August.

"Orbital debris is a serious risk to spacecraft, including the International Space Station," said Aaron Parness, a JPL robotics researcher who is the principal investigator for the grippers. "This is definitely a problem we're going to have to deal with. Our system might one day contribute to a solution."

Pioneering Philae Completes Man Mission Before Hibernation

Pioneering Philae Completes Man Mission Before Hibernation

 

15 November 2014

Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

After being out of communication visibility with the lander since 09:58 GMT / 10:58 CET on Friday, Rosetta regained contact with Philae at 22:19 GMT /23:19 CET last night. The signal was initially intermittent, but quickly stabilised and remained very good until 00:36 GMT / 01:36 CET this morning.

In that time, the lander returned all of its housekeeping data, as well as science data from the targeted instruments, including ROLIS, COSAC, Ptolemy, SD2 and CONSERT. This completed the measurements planned for the final block of experiments on the surface.

 

NASA Rover Finds Active, Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

NASA Rover Finds Active, Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars


This image illustrates possible ways methane might be added to Mars' atmosphere (sources) and removed from the atmosphere (sinks). NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has detected fluctuations in methane concentration in the atmosphere, implying both types of activity occur on modern Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SAM-GSFC/Univ. of Michigan


NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.

"This temporary increase in methane -- sharply up and then back down -- tells us there must be some relatively localized source," said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Curiosity rover science team. "There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock."

Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion. Before and after that, readings averaged only one-tenth that level.

How (and where) is Philae?

How (and where) is Philae?

The current status of Rosetta's lander Philae was discussed live during a Google Hangout this afternoon, together with scientists and engineers from the mission teams at ESA and partner agencies. The teams are very happy about the lander and the successful functioning of all instruments that were operated so far.

As reported by Stefan Ulamec, the lander manager from DLR, last night a sequence of commands to operate a number of instruments was uploaded to the lander. The resulting data were downlinked earlier today and the scientists are currently analysing them and trying to figure out what they mean.

One of the instruments that was activated during this sequence is MUPUS, the MUlti-PUrpose Sensors for Surface and Sub-Surface Science, which has hopefully penetrated and hammered into the surface of the comet to test its thermal and mechanical properties.

 

Open for Business: 3-D Printer Creates First Object in Space on International Space Station

Open for Business: 3-D Printer Creates First Object in Space on International Space Station

The International Space Station’s 3-D printer has manufactured the first 3-D printed object in space, paving the way to future long-term space expeditions.

"This first print is the initial step toward providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth," said Niki Werkheiser, project manager for the International Space Station 3-D Printer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "The space station is the only laboratory where we can fully test this technology in space.”

 


International Space Station Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore holds up the first object made in space with
additive manufacturing or 3-D printing. Wilmore installed the printer on Nov. 17, 2014, and helped crews on the ground with the first print on Nov. 25, 2014.
Image Credit:  NASA

NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore, Expedition 42 commander aboard the International Space Station, installed the printer on Nov. 17 and conducted the first calibration test print. Based on the test print results, the ground control team sent commands to realign the printer and printed a second calibration test on Nov. 20. These tests verified that the printer was ready for manufacturing operations. On Nov. 24, ground controllers sent the printer the command to make the first printed part: a faceplate of the extruder’s casing. This demonstrated that the printer can make replacement parts for itself. The 3-D printer uses a process formally known as additive manufacturing to heat a relatively low-temperature plastic filament and extrude it one layer at a time to build the part defined in the design file sent to the machine.

 

Welcome to a Comet, from Lander on Surface

Welcome to a Comet, from Lander on Surface

The Philae lander of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two images from the lander's CIVA camera confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The view is a two-image mosaic taken on Nov. 12, 2014. The lander separated from the orbiter at 09:03 UTC (1:03 a.m. PST) for touch down on comet 67P seven hours later. Rosetta and Philae had been riding through space together for more than 10 years. Philae is the first probe to achieve soft landing on a comet, and Rosetta is the first to rendezvous with a comet and follow it around the sun.

First image from the surface