Spacecraft Mission News (English, German) – 03.05.18

Front Page / Titelseite

NASA’s InSight Mars lander is scheduled to launch early Saturday (May 5) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After it touches down on Nov. 26, the craft will spend at least two years studying Mars‘ interior structure and composition.
Here’s how to watch NASA’s Mars InSight spacecraft launch Saturday (May 5), in person or online.
When NASA’s Mars InSight mission launches for the Red Planet no earlier than Saturday (May 5), it won’t be traveling alone. The mission also features two small spacecraft nicknamed „Wall-E“ and „Eva,“ which are the first of their kind to voyage so far awa
NASA’s Mars InSight mission is designed to probe deep into the planet in search of marsquakes, information about the core and much more. This will be the first NASA mission to dig so deep in search of scientific answers. Here are 10 surprising facts about
Mehrere Sonden und Rover hat allein die US-Raumfahrtbehörde NASA schon zum Roten Planeten geschickt. Jetzt folgt der Lander InSight – und der soll dem Mars noch tiefer unter die Oberfläche schauen als alle Vorgänger.
A Soviet-era cosmonaut who spent almost a year on board three different space stations, Vladimir Lyakhov died on April 19 at the age of 76. Lyakhov logged a total of 333 days as commander of Soyuz missions to the Salyut 6, Salyut 7 and Mir space stations.
The heat shield for NASA’s upcoming Mars rover suffered a fracture during testing recently, but the incident won’t change the mission’s launch date, agency officials said.
Development of a NASA mission to collect samples on Mars for later return to Earth has suffered a setback, but should not affect its 2020 launch date.
A post-test inspection of the composite structure for a heat shield to be used on the Mars 2020 mission revealed that a fracture occurred during structural testing.

International Spacestation (ISS) /

Internationale Raumstation

NASA will pay more money for less cargo delivered to the ISS under a set of follow-on commercial cargo contracts awarded in 2016, according to a new report.
Scientists are close to measuring the precise width of neutron stars, promising information about basic physics.
NASA and SpaceX have postponed the return to Earth of a Dragon cargo ship at the International Space Station due to rough seas in the capsule’s Pacific Ocean splashdown zone.
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship’s stay at the International Space Station has been extended until Saturday after unfavorable conditions were reported at the splashdown zone in the Pacific Ocean. In the meantime, time-sensitive payloads are still being readied for return to Earth as the crew wraps…
Robotics controllers and Expedition 55 crew members are getting ready for the departure of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship next week. The commercial space freighter will leave the International Space Station and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday loaded with cargo for retrieval and…
The Expedition 55 crew members are packing up the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft today for its return to Earth on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the six International Space Station residents continue operating a multitude of space experiments while ensuring the orbital lab remains in tip-top shape.
The crew on board the International Space Station has been busy this month unloading the bounty of supplies and equipment brought up by the SpaceX Dragon and repacking it with cargo to be returned to Earth. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into a layover at the space station, check out chapter…
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is packed with International Space Station hardware and scientific samples ready for return to Earth on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Expedition 55 crew members continued maintenance of the orbital lab and space research operations.
Wegen stürmischen Wetters im Pazifik ist die geplante Rückkehr des privaten Raumfrachters ‚Dragon‘ von der Internationalen Raumstation ISS verschoben worden.
Wenn Alexander Gerst im Juni ins All fliegt, nimmt er einen revolutionären Roboter mit. „Cimon“ soll dem Astronauten mit Künstlicher Intelligenz helfen. Und wenn die Maschine mal zickt?
A wide variety of life science is being explored today aboard the International Space Station as Expedition 55 crew members prepare for a spacewalk planned for next month. The space residents also continued the upkeep of the orbital lab while robotics controllers set up an external experiment.

Earth / Erde

The upcoming German-American GRACE-FO mission will study changes in water and ice around the globe by measuring changes in Earth’s gravity field.
Das Sentinel-3-Satellitenduo, eine der Säulen des europäischen Copernicus-Programms, ist nun im Weltall vereint: Am 25. April 2018 um 19.57 Uhr mitteleuropäischer Sommerzeit (20.57 Uhr Ortszeit) ist d…
The second Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite, Sentinel-3B, lifted off on a Rockot from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 17:57 GMT (19:57 CEST) on 25 April 2018. Sentinel-3B joins its twin, Sentinel-3A, in orbit. The pairing of identical satellites provides the best coverage and…
Nun ist es wieder vorüber. Sentinel-3B ist gestartet und wir hatten einen wunderbaren Tag und Abend mit massiv vielen Informationen, Eindrücken und Erlebnissen. Wir haben etliche Bekannte getroffen…
  SENTINEL Satelliten-Duo zur Meeresüberwachung komplett Redaktion / Pressemitteilung des DLR 26. April 2018
Wie blau sind die Meere, wie grün ist das Land? Ein neuer Satellit schließt daraus auf den Zustand der Erde. Doch der Start ist auch das Ende eines ungewöhnlichen russisch-europäischen Friedensprojektes.
Europe’s Copernicus Earth Observation Constellation welcomed its seventh member on Wednesday after the Sentinel-3B ocean- and land-sensing satellite received a smooth ride to orbit atop a Russian ballistic-missile-turned-space-launcher.
Europe’s Sentinel-3B Earth-observation satellite rode to orbit today atop a Rockot rocket, which lifted off from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 1:57 p.m. EDT.
Europe’s Copernicus Earth Observation Constellation welcomed its seventh member on Wednesday after the Sentinel-3B ocean- and land-sensing satellite received a smooth ride to orbit atop a Russian ballistic-missile-turned-space-launcher.

Solar System / Sonnensystem

The Parker Solar Probe will orbit the sun and swoop into the outermost part of the solar atmosphere to study the star up close and personal.
Elements found in the mantles of Earth and Mars could be indicative of giant impacts early in the histories of both planets.
Der ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter hat die ersten Bilder des Roten Planeten aus seiner neuen Umlaufbahn zurückgebracht. Der Satellit kam vor einigen Wochen in einer fast kreisrunden Umlaufbahn von 400 km Höhe an, um Gase zu finden, die mit aktiver geologischer oder biologischer Aktivität auf …
  EXOMARS Marskamera CaSSIS lieferte erste Farbbilder Redaktion / idw / Pressemitteilung der Universität Bern 30. April 2018
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has returned the first images of the Red Planet from its new orbit. The spacecraft arrived in a near-circular 400 km altitude orbit a few weeks ago ahead of its primary goal to seek out gases that may be linked to active geological or biological activity on…
In a new statement, NASA revealed that data from the Galileo satellite, which flew around Jupiter from 1995 to 2003, is presently helping scientists get a fresh take on Ganymede’s environment.
PJ-12 was likely to be the last perijove this year at which the spacecraft would be turned so that the MWR, as well as JunoCam, could view the track below, also getting widespread coverage of the planet inbound and outbound.  And JunoCam got the jackpot.
Europe’s Trace Gas Orbiter has captured its first image from its science orbit: a gorgeous photo showing a 25-mile-long (40 kilometers) stretch of the ice-rimed Korolev Crater, in the Martian far north.
ESA and NASA signed a statement of intent today to explore concepts for missions to bring samples of martian soil to Earth.
Saturn’s iconic rings seem to go on forever, with infinite but subtle color variations, in a spectacular photo by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
See amazing photos of Saturn’s glorious rings.

Beyond Solar System / Milchstraße & Kosmos

For the first time, helium has been spotted in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. A new method of probing these atmospheres may make it easier to study more worlds.
Artist’s impression of WASP-107b. Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, M. Kornmesser, CC BY 4.0
A new release from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft plots nearly 1.7 billion stars in unprecedented detail.
Last week the much-awaited second slew of data from ESA’s Gaia mission was released, providing information on a phenomenal 1.7 billion stars – the richest star catalogue to date.To put that vast number into context, if you were to count ‘only’ to one billion at a rate of one count per sec…
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope photographed the surviving companion of a supernova that exploded 17 years ago. The new image suggests that some supernovas originate in double-star systems, and it is the first photograph ever taken of a surviving companion.
After years of development, build, and testing, BepiColombo is arriving at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in South America for final preflight integration and checkouts.  The joint mission between Europe and Japan is now in the home stretch of ground processing ahead of launch. The…
A Chinese, all-solid-fueled Long March 11 rocket packed with five Earth-imaging satellites lifted off from the country’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 4:42 UTC on Thursday. Hidden under the rocket’s payload fairing was the second group of commercial imaging satellites for operator Zhuhai…
Gerstenmaier–now thinking we will fly EM-2 on SLS with ICPS. EM-2 will not carry PPE now, will get cmrcl launch for that. Learned from study we did re flying crew on EM-1 last yr that not as costly as we thought to human rate ICPS.

Politics / Politik

On Apr. 28, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and their daughter Charlotte Pence visited NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. See photos from their Mars-themed trip here!

Technology / Technologie
Blue Origin launched its first New Shepard test flight of 2018 Sunday, April 29, in a stunning liftoff from West Texas carrying the company’s Mannequin Skywalker and a bevy of science experiments for NASA and other customers.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital system aced its highest test flight yet over the weekend, and you can re-live all the spaceflight action in a new video.
Blue Origin returned to its West Texas testing grounds on Sunday for the eighth flight of its reusable New Shepard launch system – reaching new heights in a test designed to expand the vehicle’s operational envelope by sending it to a peak altitude of 107 Kilometers, a new record for New…
Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket is being developed for launches starting around 2020.
Amazon-Gründer Jeff Bezos hat erneut eine Rakete an die Grenze zum Weltraum geschickt. Diesmal war neben einer Puppe auch Nutzlast aus Deutschland an Bord. Die wird für Experimente gebraucht.
Das Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) hat zusammen mit der Firma Tesat Spacecom erstmals ein System entwickelt, das die Übertragung von großen Datenmengen per Laser auf Kleinstsatelliten …
  CUBESATS Schnelle Kommunikation per Laserstrahl Redaktion / Pressemitteilung des DLR 2. Mai 2018
In a press conference from Johnson Space Center in Houston April 26, NASA officials talked through the status of their deep space exploration program and the upcoming launches of the agency’s Orion spacecraft around the moon.
China successfully completed its twelfth orbital launch of 2018 late on Wednesday, sending five small Zhuhai-1 remote sensing satellites into orbit.

Entertainment / Unterhaltung

In „Chasing New Horizons“ (Picador, 2018), out today (May 1), New Horizons‘ principal investigator, Alan Stern, joins astrobiologist David Grinspoon to tell the story of the lightweight spacecraft’s challenging development and trip to the outer frontiers
An excerpt from „Chasing New Horizons“ (Picador, 2018), a thrilling tale of Pluto exploration written by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon.
Astronauts from today meet with Miles from Tomorrowland in the next episode of Disney Junior’s „Mission Force One.“ The animated series looks „back“ at our present day space program in an episode that features and had its debut on the real-life space station.

World / Welt

An FAA reauthorization bill passed by the House April 27 includes several provisions intended to support its commercial spaceflight activities.
Roundup from ESA WebTV of Day 3 at the Berlin Air and Space Show, 27 April
We’re committed to lunar exploration @NASA. Resource Prospector instruments will go forward in an expanded lunar surface campaign. More landers. More science. More exploration. More prospectors. More commercial partners. Ad astra!
Keith’s note: We’ve all heard about those misleading campaign ads on Facebook. Well, while the campaign ads are under scrutiny big aerospace companies are quietly luring people to websites that are not what they seem to be at first glance.
„The cost and schedule performance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) portfolio of major projects has deteriorated, but the extent of cost performance deterioration is unknown. NASA expects cost growth for the Orion crew capsuleone of the largest projects in the…
Pages 39-40: „Another trend, the aging of NASA’s workforce, has both negative and positive effects. About 56 percent of NASA’s workforce is 50 years old and over, an increase of about 7 percentage points over the past 5 years. Officials said that NASA’s workforce is aging because NASA has a low…

Science / Wissenschaft

Astronauts explain why humans should colonize space—and how it might change our species—in a new episode of „One Strange Rock.“
A long-running „Mars“ base here on Earth will get a special virtual-reality upgrade to help its crews, if a crowdfunding campaign goes as planned.
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) announced the selection of three projects, short-listed in a competition known as the Cotton Sustainability Challenge, that will operate on the International Space Station.
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