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Archive for the ‘satellites’ category

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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May 30, 2017

Catapult joins over 1,000 delegates at the UK Space Conference in Manchester

Posted by in categories: economics, finance, government, satellites

Today sees the launch of the biennial UK Space Conference, taking place at Manchester Central, from 30 May through to 1 June. This year’s conference is designed to inspire, enable and connect the UK and international space community.

The multiple plenary and parallel sessions feature informative and interactive presentations, workshops and debates covering a wide range of topics from space science through to how satellite data is being used by many industries here on Earth. The programme has been designed to provide a compelling forum to discuss the changing economic and technological landscape impacting the UK space sector.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “The UK Space Conference provides an invaluable opportunity for those involved or interested in the space sector to gain up-to-date information, network with peers, establish new contacts, exchange information and improve links with government, industry, academia, customers, suppliers, and the financial community.

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May 29, 2017

Here’s how to launch a satellite for less than $1M

Posted by in category: satellites

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May 25, 2017

The Rocket Startup That’s About to Eat Elon Musk’s Lunch

Posted by in category: satellites

Rocket Lab is aiming to put small satellites in low Earth orbit at a fraction of the cost of even SpaceX.

With its Thursday announcement of a successful launch of the Electron rocket, a small New Zealand start-up changed the private space race.

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May 25, 2017

DARPA Picks Boeing To Build Its New Space Plane

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

The research agency hopes its XS-1 jumpstarts a whole new industry of very-low-cost satellite launches.

Boeing did such a good job plotting out the commercial future of a reusable satellite-launching plane that they’re going to get to build it — and just maybe, launch a whole new low-cost satellite industry.

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