Spacecraft Mission News (English, German) – 12.04.18


Front Page / Titelseite

Der ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) wird bald mit seiner Suche nach Gasen, die auf geologische oder biologische Aktivitäten auf dem Roten Planeten hinweisen, beginnen.
European spacecraft in position to start its science mission, say controllers.
A cutoff of live video on a recent SpaceX launch reflects new awareness by regulators of the imaging capabilities of onboard cameras on launch vehicles.
Images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are not only helping planners with future human missions to the moon, but are also revealing new information about the moon’s evolution and structure.
NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) — pronounced „laddie,“ not „lady“ — is set to launch to the moon in September 2013. The 844-pound (383 kilograms) spacecraft is designed to orbit the moon, investigating lunar dust, the lunar a
SpaceX isn’t responsible for the loss of the top-secret Zuma spy satellite during the craft’s launch earlier this year, according to media reports.
„A super secretive US government satellite SpaceX launched in January never made it to orbit after it failed to separate from the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. Three months later, it still appears the satellite manufacturer Northrop Grumman may be to blame for the loss and not SpaceX. A new…
Die Ariane-Trägerfamilie und die Vega-Rakete sichern den autonomen Zugang Europas zum Weltraum. Mit Blick auf die sich gegenwärtig rapide verändernden Rahmenbedingungen stellt sich die Frage: Wie läss…

International Spacestation (ISS) /

Internationale Raumstation

The SpaceX Dragon space freighter is open for business today as the Expedition 55 crew begins unloading and activating new time-sensitive space experiments aboard the International Space Station.
A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station for its second cargo delivery after having resupplied the Station back in 2016. Enjoying a flawless ride into orbit atop a flight-proven Falcon 9 on Monday, Dragon continued its rendezvous in textbook fashion and arrived on the…
The fully-staffed Expedition 55 crew worked throughout the International Space Station today exploring how microgravity affects a variety of phenomena including biology and physics. The six long-term space residents also practiced a simulated emergency today to maintain their safety skills and…

Earth / Erde

The first experiment designed to demonstrate active space debris removal in orbit has just reached the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.
To date, astronomers have detected just one-third of the near-Earth asteroids big enough to obliterate an entire state. But a dedicated asteroid-hunting space mission could change that in a big way.
The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite takes us over southern Siberia and the world’s largest freshwater lake: Lake Baikal.Imaged on 14 March 2017, this deep lake is covered by ice. The entire lake is typically covered between January and May and in some places the ice can be more than 2 m …
Das Magnetfeld ist möglicherweise eines der mysteriösesten Merkmale unseres Planeten. Die Swarm-Mission der ESA liefert eine bessere Einsicht darin, wie unser magnetisches Schutzschild entsteht, wie es sich verhält und wie es sich wandelt. Swarm beobachtet jetzt auch die Veränderungen de…
  GESTRA Weltraumschrott noch besser im Blick Redaktion / idw / Pressemitteilung des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Hochfrequenzphysik und Radartechnik 9. April 2018
Two new NASA satellites, launching in 2018, will survey Earth’s changing ice sheets, sea ice, glaciers, snow cover and permafrost.
A new study investigates the dark zone that seems to be getting bigger on the western edge of the ice sheet.

Solar System / Sonnensystem

SpaceX’s Mars spaceship won’t be a mere concept vehicle for much longer, if a new photo is any guide.
See intricate cloud patterns in the northern hemisphere of Jupiter in this new view taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.
The ExoMars orbiter will soon begin its search for gases that may be linked to active geological or biological activity on the Red Planet.
NASA has two teams of researchers working on designing a robotic bee that can fly on Mars.
Astronomers have finally found the aurora created on Jupiter by its moon Callisto. Signatures from the other three moons were spotted years ago, but Callisto’s print remained hidden.
A new NASA video delves into the agency’s future mission to the metallic asteroid Psyche.
NASA technicians have officially begun the assembly, test and launch operations phase of development on the agency’s next Mars rover, keeping the project on track for an expected 2020 launch.
Saturn’s icy moon Dione hovers against the thin line of the gas giant’s edge-on rings in a gorgeous photo by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

Beyond Solar System / Milchstraße & Kosmos

The perfect circle surrounding a galaxy cluster in a new Hubble Space Telescope image is a visual indicator of the huge masses that are bending time and space in that region.
In einem drei Lichtjahre großen Bereich der Milchstraße haben Forscher Spuren Dutzender Schwarzer Löcher gefunden. Hochgerechnet könnten sich im Zentrum der Galaxie damit Tausende der Massefresser befinden.

Politics / Politik

„Apart from its substantial scientific contributions and contrary to NASA policy, we found that 43 of 66 (65 percent) new GISS scientific publications publicly released from October 2015 through September 2017 were not approved by GISS or Goddard officials prior to release. NASA policy requires…
„Ellen Stofan will become the John and Adrienne Mars Director of NASM starting April 30, the museum announced Thursday. She succeeds Gen. J.R. „Jack“ Dailey, who retired in January after 18 years at the helm of one of the world’s most popular museums. After 25 years working in space-related…
„The Trump administration is unleashing additional sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with 12 companies they own or control. The measures announced by the Treasury Department on Friday were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials and…
NASA Contractor Whistleblowers: Steps Taken to Implement Program but Improvements to Timeliness and Guidance Needed , GAO
„Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot has named the Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green as the agency’s new chief scientist, effective May 1. He succeeds Gale Allen, who has served in an acting capacity since 2016 and will retire after more than 30…
Ellen Stofan was 8 years old when Apollo 11 landed astronauts on the moon. Now almost 50 years later, she has been chosen to lead the Smithsonian museum entrusted with that mission’s artifacts, filling a role first held by a member of the Apollo 11 crew.

Technology / Technologie

Rocket Lab plans to perform the first commercial launch of its Electron rocket later in April, carrying satellites for at least two companies.
NASA’s next exoplanet-hunting spacecraft, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, will take to the skies one week from today (April 9), if all goes according to plan.
The Atlas V is a type of rocket that is commonly used for interplanetary missions, military payloads and cargo runs to the International Space Station. took a tour of the clean room at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where the agency’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission was being prepped for its planned April 16, 2018 launch. See images here.
A European rocket bounced back from a minor January anomaly with a picture-perfect launch of two commercial communications satellites today (April 5).
Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket stands ready for its comeback mission a little over two months after taking a wrong turn and leaving a pair of communications satellites in a seriously-deficient orbit. Cleared to return to action via more stringent quality control checks, Ariane 5 is targeting liftoff on…
Loaded with a payload mass of over ten metric tons, Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket pierced into the twilight haze over French Guiana on Thursday on a flight to redeem itself after a nail-biting mission in January that saw the rocket take a wrong turn and lift its passengers into an erroneous orbit….
Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity, the company’s second SpaceShipTwo, flew under rocket power for the first time on Thursday in a major milestone toward turning the winged suborbital spaceship into commercial service for tourist and science flights to the edge of space. Thursday’s powered flight…
„The Independent Review Board review process will take approximately eight weeks. Once the review concludes, the board members will deliver a presentation and final report to NASA outlining their findings and recommendations, which are expected to complement recent data input from Webb’s Standing…
As NASA reviews the windfall it received in the 2018 omnibus spending bill, the agency is moving ahead with a reorganization of its space technology work.
Revised concepts for a Europa lander could reduce its mass and cost by simplifying its science requirements and doing away with a communications relay.
We tried Nat Geo’s new virtual-reality „Space Projection Helmet“ for the series premiere of „One Strange Rock,“ and it was awesome.
A commercial crew contract modification moves NASA one step closer to using a test flight as an operational mission to maintain a presence on the ISS.
China pulled off a completely secretive space launch on Tuesday, firing into orbit a trio of naval reconnaissance satellites and a small technology test satellite via a Long March 4C rocket. China’s eleventh launch of the year occurred at 4:25 UTC from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the…
Every so often, your smartphone or tablet receives new software to improve its functionality and extend its life. Now, ESA’s Mars Express is getting a fresh install, delivered across over 150 million km of space.

Entertainment / Unterhaltung

Robert Kurson was at the museum to see a submarine. The author of a bestselling book about the discovery of a U-boat, Kurson was visiting the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago when he came across the Apollo 8 command module.
The New York Philharmonic took a metaphysical journey into a black hole with the world premiere of „Metacosmos,“ a symphonic poem by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir.
An excerpt from the Mars thriller „One Way,“ by S.J. Morden.

World / Welt

A private race to the moon is back on, without a title sponsor or a big cash prize.
Tiangong-1 came pretty close to landing in the world’s largest spaceship cemetery. Welcome to Point Nemo — the single most remote place on Earth.
NASA’s Apollo spacecraft illustrates the „E“ in „STEM“ on a set of four new U.S. postage stamps. The STEM Education stamps depict Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The Engineering stamp features Apollo as a „positive“ and „recognizable“ example.
A viral story claims Buzz Aldrin passed a lie-detector test proving he saw a UFO in space. This is complete nonsense.
Well-heeled space tourists will have a new orbital destination four years from now, if one company’s plans come to fruition.
Ihr erinnert euch? Im letzten Jahr waren wir in Darmstadt und haben dort den Start des Satelliten Sentinel-2B miterlebt. Inzwischen ist auch schon Sentinel-5P gestartet und nun startet Sentinel-3B.…

Science / Wissenschaft

Deutschlands südlichster Schrebergarten steht seit einiger Zeit in der Antarktis. In einem speziellen Gewächshaus sprießt dort frisches Gemüse. Die erste Ernte verlief vielversprechend.
An Antarctic greenhouse designed to test plant-growing methods for space has produced its first harvest.
  EDEN-ISS Frisches Gemüse aus dem ewigen Eis Redaktion / Pressemitteilung des DLR 9. April 2018
The Expedition 55 crew explored a wide variety of life science today studying how different biological systems are affected by long-term exposure to microgravity. The multi-faceted space residents observed human genetic and tissue samples, rodents and fruit flies aboard the orbital laboratory today.
For some NASA scientists, the extreme environments they study aren’t on a distant planet or moon — they’re right here on Earth.
Our sister planet Venus is a dynamic and unusual place. Strong winds swirl around the planet, dragging thick layers of cloud with them as they go. These fierce winds move so speedily that they display ‘super-rotation’: Earth’s can move at up to a fifth of our planet’s rotation speed, but …
Waiting for Gaia’s second data release. Credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) is a NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) mission, launched in 2013, that allows tracing the flow of solar energy and plasma from the photosphere through the chromosphere and transition region into the corona using spectroscopy and imaging in ultraviolet…
For the first time (officially), NASA will set loose some human sperm in outer space.
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