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Archive for the ‘satellites’ category

Aug 16, 2018

US targets a megawatt laser by 2023 and then deployment in drones and satellites for hypersonic and ICBM defense

Posted by in categories: drones, government, military, satellites

The US Congress wants the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to rapidly develop and demonstrate a boost-phase ICBM (and hypersonic weapon) intercept capability as soon as practicable.

Space-based laser weapons technology is one of the options.

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Aug 15, 2018

SpaceX seeks approval for Starlink internet tests on high-performance govt. planes

Posted by in categories: internet, military, satellites

According to updated regulatory documents and recent Aviation Week interviews with the US Air Force Research Laboratory, it can be all but guaranteed that the USAF has begun working with SpaceX to test the feasibility of using the company’s planned Starlink satellite internet constellation for military communications purposes.

In early August, SpaceX updated regulatory documents required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the company to be permitted to experimental test its two prototype Starlink internet satellites, named Tintin A and B. Launched roughly six months ago as a copassenger on one of SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets, the satellite duo has been quietly performing a broad range of tests on orbit, particularly focused on general satellite operations, orbital maneuvering with SpaceX’s own custom-built electric propulsion, and – most importantly – the experimental satellites’ cutting-edge communications capabilities.

The orbit histories of @SpaceX’s Tintin A/B Starlink prototype satellites, launched in February! Some thoroughly intriguing differences in behavior over the six months they’ve spent on-orbit. Data and visualizations generated by the lovely http://CalSky.com. pic.twitter.com/a8CfQaZJep

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Aug 13, 2018

Solar-powered aircraft stays aloft for record-breaking 25 days

Posted by in categories: drones, internet, satellites, surveillance, sustainability

While Facebook and Google recently pulled the plug on their solar-powered internet drones, another company with a lot more experience is having success with the idea. Airbus announced that its solar-powered Zephyr S HAPS (high altitude pseudo-satellite) flew for 25 straight days, setting a time aloft record for any airplane, ever. It shattered the previous record of 14 days, marked by a previous prototype Zephyr aircraft.

The Zephyr flies on sun power alone at over 70,000 feet, an altitude that just a few aircraft like the Concorde and SR-71 Blackbird have reached. That’s well above any weather, and lets it perform reconnaissance, surveillance and communications/internet duties. “[It fills a] capability gap complimentary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services,” Airbus said in a press release. A video of the takeoff (below) shows that it can be lifted and launched by hand. Once aloft, it can be operated for a fraction the cost of a satellite.

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Aug 9, 2018

The fastest human-made object launches for the Sun this Saturday

Posted by in categories: particle physics, satellites

If the weather remains favorable and everything goes according to plan on August 11th, NASA is sending a spacecraft to the sun. The Parker Solar Probe will go closer to the massive ball of gas and plasma keeping our solar system together than any other spacecraft has gone before. It will brave extreme temperatures reaching up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit to collect data and images of the sun’s atmosphere called “corona.” The spacecraft will also reach speeds up to 430,000 mph, making it the fastest-ever human-made object. That’s nowhere near fast enough to reach Alpha Centauri within our lifetime — it has to travel around 7,000 years to reach the star closest to our sun — but fast enough to get from Philadelphia to DC in a second.

NASA plans to use the data it beams back to figure out how we can better prepare for solar winds, which are streams of charged particles emitted by the corona. Particularly strong winds could change satellites’ orbits, interfere with their instruments and even affect power grids here on Earth. If we want to head deeper into space in the future, we must first study how solar winds can affect our vehicles. Besides, we need to take a closer look at the star nearest to us if we want to learn more about the other stars in the universe. Finally, studying the sun could shed light on the origin of life on Earth, since it’s our source of light and heat.

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Aug 9, 2018

Made in Space believes its on-orbit manufactured power supply can save militaries money

Posted by in categories: economics, satellites, solar power, sustainability

By allowing them to launch higher-power small satellites on smaller rockets, as opposed to the larger, and more expensive rockets that current technology requires.

Made in Space is developing power systems for small satellites that can provide up to 5 kW of solar power and is enabled by the company’s Archinaut on-orbit manufacturing and assembly technology. Current small satellites are typically constrained to 1 kW of power or less.

Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush pictured next to a subscale version of a solar array that the company can produce in space. The golden Mylar pieces are physical mockups of what would be solar blankets. This solar array is over 3 m tall. (Made in Space) Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush pictured next to a subscale version of a solar array that the company can produce in space. The golden Mylar pieces are physical mockups of what would be solar blankets. This solar array is over 3 m tall. (Made in Space)

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Aug 8, 2018

World’s largest radio telescope

Posted by in category: satellites

Over a million satellites working together to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

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Aug 7, 2018

SpaceX Falcon 9 Lifts Off In Florida, Places Indonesian Satellite In Orbit

Posted by in category: satellites

The launch marks the first reuse of an improved Falcon 9 “Block 5,” which includes several upgrades designed to allow SpaceX to quickly refurbish and re-launch the rocket.

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Aug 7, 2018

SpaceX’s brand new, recyclable Falcon 9 rocket launches again

Posted by in category: satellites

In the tiny hours of Tuesday morning, SpaceX launched an Indonesian satellite in its 15th flight this year.

It’s also the first re-flight of the company’s new, recyclable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which had its first launch back in May.

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Aug 2, 2018

Made In Space’s ‘Archinaut’ Could Build Big Power Systems for Small Satellites

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, satellites, solar power, sustainability

Small satellites will soon pack an outsize power punch, if one company’s plans come to fruition.

One of the first big jobs for the Archinaut in-space assembly robot being developed by California startup Made In Space may involve outfitting small satellites with large solar-power systems in Earth orbit.

Such work could boost the power potential of spacecraft in the 330-lb. to 660-lb. (150 to 300 kilograms) range by a factor of five or more, allowing them to take on duties previously limited to larger satellites, company representatives said. [Satellite Quiz: How Well Do You Know What’s Orbiting Earth?].

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Jul 27, 2018

Changes in Sperm RNA May Shape Future Generations, Scientists Warn

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, satellites

While the rest of the world debates the ethics of designer babies, a team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) have shown that we might not need CRISPR to change the genes of future generations. Their paper, released this week in the journal Developmental Cell, shows that things like diet and stress might affect some crucial genetic components of sperm, and that these tiny changes have real effects on how babies develop.

The same way rockets bound for outer space contain “payloads” like satellites, or astronauts who battle giant balls of urine, sperm are also like little rockets containing their own cargo: “small RNAs.” This study found that not only do RNA sequences play a crucial role in how genes get expressed early on in human development, but they can also be radically changed by the lifestyles of fathers. Things like diet, and in particular, stress can change the makeup of this crucial RNA cargo and lead to observable changes in offspring, says researcher Colin Conine, Ph.D., at UMass Medical School’s Rando Lab.

“Labs all over the world have been able to link changes in dad’s lifestyle to changes in RNA in the sperm, and then that leads to phenotypes in the offspring,” Conine tells Inverse. “Our study was one of the first to really look at how changes small RNAs affect early development. We wanted to ask, what are the first steps that lead to these phenotypes down the road?”

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