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Archive for the ‘satellites’ category

Jul 15, 2017

Massive Iceberg Breaks Off from Antarctica

Posted by in category: satellites

An iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware split off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf sometime between July 10 and July 12. The calving of the massive new iceberg was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and confirmed by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument on the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite. The final breakage was first reported by Project Midas, an Antarctic research project based in the United Kingdom.

animation of satellite view of Larsen C ice shelf crack

Animation of the growth of the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, from 2006 to 2017, as recorded by NASA/USGS Landsat satellites.

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Jul 15, 2017

A single photon is the first object to be teleported from the ground to an orbiting satellite

Posted by in category: satellites

Connectivity

First Object Teleported from Earth to Orbit.

Researchers in China have teleported a photon from the ground to a satellite orbiting more than 500 kilometers above.

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Jun 29, 2017

The Tiny Satellites Ushering in the New Space Revolution

Posted by in category: satellites

Planet Labs and other companies are sending hundreds of low-cost satellites into orbit. We’re only beginning to understand how that will change life on Earth.

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Jun 28, 2017

Is 3D Printing the Future of Satellite Manufacturing?

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, satellites

Thales Alenia Space has seen massive savings in time and cost for the manufacturing of its products thanks to 3D printing, said Florent Lebrun, who heads space antenna development at the company. With this new manufacturing process, not only can Thales cut production lead time for certain components from months to weeks, it can save up to 50 percent on expenditure per part, he said.

Thales began experimenting with 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, in 2013, when it produced its first few demonstrator products. In 2015, it implemented a 3D-printed part for the first time on a telecommunications satellite — an antenna horn mounting strut for TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat. The company also produced eight titanium antenna fittings for Arabsat 6B that year, Lebrun said.

Now, two years later, after the launch of SGDC 1, Telkom 3S and Koreasat 7, Thales has orbited around 80 3D-printed parts, with more than 120 additional parts produced this year for future applications.

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Jun 19, 2017

Magnetic space tug could target dead satellites

Posted by in categories: futurism, satellites

Derelict satellites could in future be grappled and removed from key orbits around Earth with a space tug using magnetic forces.

This same magnetic attraction or repulsion is also being considered as a safe method for multiple satellites to maintain close formations in space.

Such satellite swarms are being considered for future astronomy or Earth-observing missions – if their relative positions can stay stable they could act as a single giant telescope.

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Jun 19, 2017

Self-Replicating 3D Printers Could Build Moon Bases, Fight Global Warming

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, engineering, satellites, sustainability

A 3D printer that could re-create itself from lunar material is in development at a university in Canada.

The technology could one day enable humans to 3D-print lunar bases, as well as conduct in-space manufacturing of satellites and solar shields on the moon that could help fight global warming, according to Alex Ellery, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa, who is leading the project.

“I believe that self-replicating machines will be transformative for space exploration because it effectively bypasses launch costs,” Ellery told Space.com. [How Moon Bases and Lunar Colonies Work (Infographic)].

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Jun 14, 2017

NASA-Funded Startup to Build Fusion-Powered Rockets

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics, satellites

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun, but closer to home scientists are trying to develop fusion reactors that could provide immense amounts of energy. These reactors are big and (currently) inefficient, but a NASA-funded startup called Princeton Satellite Systems is working on a small-scale fusion reactor that could power advanced fusion rockets. Suddenly, other planets and even other star systems could be in reach.

All the forms of rocket propulsion we currently have involve accelerating propellant out of a nozzle. Then, physics takes over and the vessel moves in the opposite direction. Most spacecraft use chemical propulsion, which provides a large amount of thrust over a relatively short period of time. Some missions have been equipped with ion drives, which use electrical currents to accelerate propellant. These engines are very efficient, but they have low thrust and require a lot of power. A fusion rocket might offer the best mix of capabilities.

Current nuclear reactors use fission to generate energy; large atomic nuclei are broken apart and some of that mass is transformed into energy. Fusion is the opposite. Small atomic nuclei are fused together, causing some mass to be converted into energy. This is what powers stars, but we’ve had trouble producing the necessary temperatures and pressure on Earth to get net positive energy generation.

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Jun 7, 2017

Massive new plane can launch up to three satellites to space

Posted by in category: satellites

This new space plane can launch three satellites at a time.

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Jun 7, 2017

Study estimates amount of water needed to carve Martian valleys

Posted by in categories: climatology, satellites

A new study led by Northern Illinois University geography professor Wei Luo calculates the amount of water needed to carve the ancient network of valleys on Mars and concludes the Red Planet’s surface was once much more watery than previously thought.

The study bolsters the idea that Mars once had a warmer climate and active hydrologic cycle, with water evaporating from an ancient ocean, returning to the surface as rainfall and eroding the planet’s extensive network of valleys.

Satellites orbiting Mars and rovers on its surface have provided scientists with convincing evidence that water helped shape the planet’s landscape billions of years ago. But questions have lingered over how much water actually flowed on the planet, and the ocean hypothesis has been hotly debated.

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Jun 2, 2017

Shotwell: Ambitious Targets Achievable This Year

Posted by in category: satellites

It has been an eventful 12 months for SpaceX. Many successful launches were interspersed with a high-profile test failure which led to the loss of the Spacecom satellite, AMOS 6, making headlines across the world, far beyond the traditional coverage of space publications. However, the launch service provider is dusting itself off and ready to go again with some hugely ambitious targets in 2017.

Mark Holmes

On September 1, 2016, at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX observed an anomaly about eight minutes in advance of a scheduled test firing of a Falcon 9 rocket. This resulted in the loss of Spacecom’s Amos 6 satellite. It was headline news around the world.

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