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Miscellaneous Launches and Payloads (updates)

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DocM    16,544

This is interesting...

 

NROL-76/USA-276 will be effectively circling ISS...

 

 

 

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Jim K    13,496

Gotta keep an eye on those astronauts/cosmonauts/etc. Never know what they're up to.

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Wonder why it's necessary. Hmm.

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Jim K    13,496
Quote

Parker Solar Probe: Humanity’s First Visit to a Star

 

NASA's historic Parker Solar Probe mission will revolutionize our understanding of the sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds. Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.

 

In order to unlock the mysteries of the sun's atmosphere, Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun. The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before. (Earth’s average distance to the sun is 93 million miles.)

 

Flying into the outermost part of the sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, for the first time, Parker Solar Probe will employ a combination of in situ measurements and imaging to revolutionize our understanding of the corona and expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind. It will also make critical contributions to our ability to forecast changes in Earth's space environment that affect life and technology on Earth.

 

  • At closest approach, Parker Solar Probe hurtles around the sun at approximately 430,000 mph (700,000 kph). That's fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in one second.
  • At closest approach to the sun, the front of Parker Solar Probe's solar shield faces temperatures approaching 2,500 F (1,377 C). The spacecraft's payload will be near room temperature.
  • On the final three orbits, Parker Solar Probe flies to within 3.7 million miles of the sun's surface – more than seven times closer than the current record-holder for a close solar pass, the Helios 2 spacecraft, which came within 27 million miles in 1976 and more than 10 times closer than Mercury, which is about 42 million miles from the sun.

 

Journey to the Sun

Launch Window: July 31 – Aug.  19, 2018

Launch Site: NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Launch Vehicle: Delta IV-Heavy with Upper Stage

 

pspsmall_copy.thumb.jpg.359697668ce38154c20fd01491f7effc.jpg

 

More at NASA

 

 

 

About the name "Parker"

Quote

NASA Renames Solar Probe Mission to Honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker

 

NASA has renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft — humanity’s first mission to a star, which will launch in 2018 — as the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the University of Chicago, where Parker serves as the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

 

In 1958, Parker — then a young professor at the university’s Enrico Fermi Institute — published an article in the Astrophysical Journal called “Dynamics of the interplanetary gas and magnetic fields.” Parker believed there was high speed matter and magnetism constantly escaping the sun, and that it affected the planets and space throughout our solar system.

 

This phenomenon, now known as the solar wind, has been proven to exist repeatedly through direct observation. Parker’s work forms the basis for much of our understanding about how stars interact with the worlds that orbit them.

 

“This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft for a living individual,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “It’s a testament to the importance of his body of work, founding a new field of science that also inspired my own research and many important science questions NASA continues to study and further understand every day. I’m very excited to be personally involved honoring a great man and his unprecedented legacy.” 

 

“The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before,” said Parker. “It’s very exciting that we’ll finally get a look. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what’s going on in the solar wind. I’m sure that there will be some surprises. There always are.”

 

In the 1950s, Parker proposed a number of concepts about how stars — including our sun — give off energy. He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon. Parker also theorized an explanation for the superheated solar atmosphere, the corona, which is — contrary to what was expected by physics laws — hotter than the surface of the sun itself. Many NASA missions have continued to focus on this complex space environment defined by our star — a field of research known as heliophysics.

 

“Parker Solar Probe is going to answer questions about solar physics that we’ve puzzled over for more than six decades,” said Parker Solar Probe Project Scientist Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “It’s a spacecraft loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve many of the largest mysteries about our star, including finding out why the sun’s corona is so much hotter than its surface. And we’re very proud to be able to carry Gene’s name with us on this amazing voyage of discovery.”

 

NASA missions are most often renamed after launch and certification; in this case, given Parker’s accomplishments within the field, and how closely aligned this mission is with his research, the decision was made to honor him prior to launch, in order to draw attention to his important contributions to heliophysics and space science.

 

Born on June 10, 1927, in Michigan, Eugene Newman Parker received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Michigan State University and a doctorate from Caltech. He then taught at the University of Utah, and since 1955, Parker has held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and at its Fermi Institute. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the George Ellery Hale Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Bruce Medal, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Kyoto Prize, and the James Clerk Maxwell Prize.

 

Parker Solar Probe is on track for launch during a 20-day window that opens July 31, 2018. The mission is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. LWS is managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. Johns Hopkins APL manages the mission for NASA and is designing and building and will operate the spacecraft.

 

NASA

 

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DocM    16,544

That'll be a neat mission.

 

 

 

 

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DocM    16,544
On 4/20/2016 at 0:56 AM, Draggendrop said:

Florida factory to mass-produce satellites at record pace

 

AERIAL-SW-sign-cropped.jpg

Artist’s concept of the OneWeb factory at Exploration Park, Florida. Credit: OneWeb

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/04/19/florida-factory-to-mass-produce-satellites-at-record-pace/

 

This plant is being built here for future reasons....IMHO, reduced launch costs.

 OneWeb's planned merger with Intelsat has fallen through, and they're now looking for another acquisition partner.

 

http://spacenews.com/oneweb-says-no-steam-lost-despite-intelsat-merger-unravelling/

 

A few months ago they "clarified" they wouldn't be competing with the Samsung, SpaceX or Boeing constellations as an ISP but would start out providing business to business comms.

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

... *cough* ... ask Elon, OneWeb? ... maybe he'd be game for a merger like this?

 

And it's strange to see a new Factory concept without solar panels on the roof. Especially one being planned for Florida.

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DocM    16,544

The plot thickens....

https://sattrackcam.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/the-plot-thickens-ball-aerospace-usa.html?m=1

 

(I acknowledge that what I write below is, again, matter of a highly speculative nature, and should be treated as such)



In a previous post, which is currently gaining media traction (e.g. here for a serious article on CNet, and here for a raunchy UK tabloid version, which is also NSFW by the way), I wrote in detail about the curious situation with the recently launched US spy satellite USA 276 (launched as NROL-76 on May 1). It appears to be moving towards a series of surreptitious very close approaches with the International Space Station (ISS). For more details see my post here.

So, let that sink in: Ball Aerospace, the company that built USA 276, a spacecraft that appears to be secretly moving towards a  series of clandestine very close approaches to the ISS, also built RAVEN, an experiment installed on the ISS to monitor close approaching spacecraft.  

NROL-76 is said to have been part of a "delivery to orbit" contract: e.g. the spacecraft and its launch is the responsibility of the builder (Ball Aerospace, who hired SpaceX for the launch), who hands over the spacecraft to the customer (the NRO) once in operational orbit. The question now is, is USA 276 at this stage still operated by Ball Aerospace, or has it been handed over to the NRO already?

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Strange ...

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Jim K    13,496
Quote

NASA’S First Asteroid Deflection Mission Enters Next Design Phase

 

“DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique -- striking the asteroid to shift its orbit -- to defend against a potential future asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This approval step advances the project toward an historic test with a non-threatening small asteroid.”

 

While current law directs the development of the DART mission, DART is not identified as a specific budget item in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget. 

 

The target for DART is an asteroid that will have a distant approach to Earth in October 2022, and then again in 2024. The asteroid is called Didymos -- Greek for “twin” -- because it’s an asteroid binary system that consists of two bodies: Didymos A, about one-half mile (780 meters) in size, and a smaller asteroid orbiting it called Didymos B, about 530 feet (160 meters) in size. DART would impact only the smaller of the two bodies, Didymos B.

 

The Didymos system has been closely studied since 2003. The primary body is a rocky S-type object, with composition similar to that of many asteroids. The composition of its small companion, Didymos B, is unknown, but the size is typical of asteroids that could potentially create regional effects should they impact Earth.

 

“A binary asteroid is the perfect natural laboratory for this test,” said Tom Statler, program scientist for DART at NASA Headquarters. “The fact that Didymos B is in orbit around Didymos A makes it easier to see the results of the impact, and ensures that the experiment doesn’t change the orbit of the pair around the sun.”

 

After launch, DART would fly to Didymos, and use an on-board autonomous targeting system to aim itself at Didymos B. Then the refrigerator-sized spacecraft would strike the smaller body at a speed about nine times faster than a bullet, approximately 3.7 miles per second (6 kilometers per second). Earth-based observatories would be able to see the impact and the resulting change in the orbit of Didymos B around Didymos A, allowing scientists to better determine the capabilities of kinetic impact as an asteroid mitigation strategy. The kinetic impact technique works by changing the speed of a threatening asteroid by a small fraction of its total velocity, but by doing it well before the predicted impact so that this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.

 

“DART is a critical step in demonstrating we can protect our planet from a future asteroid impact,” said Andy Cheng of The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, the DART investigation co-lead. “Since we don’t know that much about their internal structure or composition, we need to perform this experiment on a real asteroid. With DART, we can show how to protect Earth from an asteroid strike with a kinetic impactor by knocking the hazardous object into a different flight path that would not threaten the planet.”

 

 

Small asteroids hit Earth almost daily, breaking up harmlessly in the upper atmosphere. Objects large enough to do damage at the surface are much rarer. Objects larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in diameter -- large enough to cause global effects -- have been the focus of NASA’s ground-based search for potentially hazardous objects with orbits that bring them near the Earth, and about 93 percent of these sized objects have already been found. DART would test technologies to deflect objects in the intermediate size range—large enough to do regional damage, yet small enough that there are many more that have not been observed and could someday hit Earth. NASA-funded telescopes and other assets continue to search for these objects, track their orbits, and determine if they are a threat. 

 

To assess and formulate capabilities to address these potential threats, NASA established its Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) in 2016, which is responsible for finding, tracking and characterizing potentially hazardous asteroids and comets coming near Earth, issuing warnings about possible impacts, and assisting plans and coordination of U.S. government response to an actual impact threat.

 

DART is being designed and would be built and managed by The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. The project would be overseen by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. DART also is supported by teams from the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland; Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

 

To learn more about NASA planetary defense and DART visit: 

 

https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense 

http://dart.jhuapl.edu 

 

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DocM    16,544

China's Long March 5, aka "Chubby 5" in the Chinese media, failed early in it's second flight this morning.

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/launch-fails-chinese-heavy-lift-carrier-rocket-48400320

 

Quote

Launch fails for Chinese heavy-lift carrier rocket

 

A Chinese rocket launch failed on Sunday evening due to abnormality during the flight following what appeared to be a successful liftoff, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

 

Experts will investigate the cause of the glitch for the launch of the Long March-5 Y2, China's second heavy-lift carrier rocket, from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southern province of Hainan, Xinhua said.

>

Sunday's launch was to be the last drill before the rocket was to carry a lunar probe later this year. It was not immediately clear how Sunday's failure will affect planned missions.

 

 

FOREIGN201511241642000586391777509.jpg

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Yeah, bummer. :( Sometimes one learns more from failure than success. SpaceX has. China will too. They'll dust themselves off and get back to it. (Y) 

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DocM    16,544

Space Launch Report has a bit of info on the LM-5 failure,

 

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/index.html

 

Quote

>
The boosters completed their burns and separated cleanly and, apparently, on time, but the core stage continued to fire for more than 1.5 minutes longer than expected. A long burn of this type is consistent with one of the two YF-77 engines suffering a failure at some point during the ascent, but no official announcement of the failure mode was made in the hours following the launch. 

Despite the first stage issue, the second stage separated and ignited its two YF-75D LH2/LOX engines ....The stage was to have performed an initial nearly-five minute burn to reach a low earth parking orbit. ....The stage and its payload apparently reentered, unable to make up for the core stage velocity shortfall.
>

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DocM    16,544

There's news that Lockheed Martin is  teaming with "someone" for launches to high inclinations from the UK. Possibly from Sutherland, Scotland. The UK Space Agency, Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are involved.

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/highlands-give-scotland-a-boost-into-the-space-race-0knxnrrm9

 

Quote

 

Highlands give Scotland a boost into the space race

 

Lockheed Martin consortium backs a site in Sutherland as Britain’s first base for launching rockets into orbit
>

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Heh .. hope they like getting overcharged by a factor of five if they decide to use ULA rockets.

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DocM    16,544

At ~20m long it sounds like a smallsat launcher like Electron etc., and Lockheed Martin is a Rocket Lab investor.

 

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/about-us/

Edited by DocM
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DocM    16,544

Remember we were talking about the military and other govt. operators are starting to take smallsats for imaging, radar, comms etc. seriously? 

 

Planet uses 4kg cracker box sized observation "Dove" satellites to provide worldwide coverage 24/7/365. Their latest trick was  using multiple satellites to create a 3D VR video of a Soyuz launch as seen from space.

 

planet_labs_lake_print_perfect_dress_11.

 

http://spacenews.com/planet-wins-second-nga-satellite-imagery-contract/

 

Quote

 

WASHINGTON — Planet has won a second contract to provide satellite imagery to the U.S. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), beating out contenders UrtheCast, Orbital Insight and Sky Hawk Drone Services.

 

The one-year, $14 million contract follows a seven-month, $20 million pilot contract that began in September to assess ways San Francisco-based Planet’s “persistence and global coverage capabilities could most effectively support the NGA mission,” according to a July 19 agency statement.

NGA said none of the other companies it considered could offer an imagery subscription service with a high enough revisit rate on a global basis. NGA said the agency requires the ability to monitor changes across large geographic areas for humanitarian and intelligence missions.

>

 

 

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DocM    16,544

Planet Labs Dove video of a Soyuz-2 1a launch. Remember: this is a 4 kg cubesat.

 

 

Edited by DocM

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Jim K    13,496

James Webb has been pushed back 5-8 months.  Guess it is taking a little bit longer to build than originally thought (not a hardware/technically issue).

 

Quote

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to be Launched Spring 2019

 

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now is planning to launch between March and June 2019 from French Guiana, following a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities. Previously Webb was targeted to launch in October 2018.

 

“The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. “Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected.”

 

As part of an international agreement with the ESA (European Space Agency) to provide a desired launch window one year prior to launch, NASA recently performed a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and determined a launch schedule change was necessary. The careful analysis took into account the remaining tasks that needed to be completed, the lessons learned from unique environmental testing of the telescope and science instruments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the current performance rates of integrating the spacecraft element.

 

Testing of the telescope and science instruments continues to go well and on schedule at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The spacecraft itself, comprised of the spacecraft bus and sunshield, has experienced delays during its integration and testing at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

 

The additional environmental testing time of the fully assembled observatory--the telescope and the spacecraft--will ensure that Webb will be fully tested before launching into space. All the rigorous tests of the telescope and the spacecraft to date show the mission is meeting its required performance levels.

 

Existing program budget accommodates the change in launch date, and the change will not affect planned science observations.

 

“Webb’s spacecraft and sunshield are larger and more complex than most spacecraft.  The combination of some integration activities taking longer than initially planned, such as the installation of more than 100 sunshield membrane release devices, factoring in lessons learned from earlier testing, like longer time spans for vibration testing, has meant the integration and testing process is just taking longer,” said Eric Smith, program director for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Considering the investment NASA has made, and the good performance to date, we want to proceed very systemmatically through these tests to be ready for a Spring 2019 launch.”

 

The launch window request has been coordinated with ESA, which is providing the Ariane 5 launch of Webb as part of its scientific collaboration with NASA.

 

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s next great multi-purpose observatory and will be the world’s most powerful space telescope ever built, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. The 21-foot (6.5-meter) diameter infrared-optimized telescope is designed to study an extremely wide range of astrophysical phenomena: the first stars and galaxies that formed; the atmospheres of nearby planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets; and objects within our own solar system. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.

 

NASA

 

Not sure if this has been posted already (video is from May) ... but still ... beautiful telescope.

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

As long as there isn't a repeat of the Hubble's faulty optics debacle, then whatever. It'll get down to business in due time.

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Jim K    13,496

Parker Solar Probe gets packed up and moved to Goddard Space Flight Center from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.  At Goddard, it will undergo environmental testing (extreme temps and physical stresses).  I have a soft spot for time lapse videos.  :)

 

 

 

 

Article:

Quote

On Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft arrived at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for environmental tests. During the spacecraft’s stay at Goddard, engineers and technicians will simulate extreme temperatures and other physical stresses that the spacecraft will be subjected to during its historic mission to the Sun.

 

Before arriving at Goddard, Parker Solar Probe was at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where it was designed and built.

 

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is scheduled for launch on July 31, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The spacecraft will explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of stars. The resulting data will also help improve how we forecast major eruptions on the Sun and subsequent space weather events that can impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.

 

NASA

 

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DocM    16,544

PSP

 

Launcher: Delta IV Heavy w/Star-48BV kick motor

Launch date: NET July 31–August 19, 2018 

Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-37

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

To be completely fair, we're starting to understand why the D4-H is an "underperformer" now that the goods concerning FH's development have been kinda made public.

 

In order to handle any more thrust loading, ULA would have to completely redesign the core stage; ie, bulk up the superstructure, strengthen it, and otherwise make it heavier to withstand all of the forces placed up on it not only from the rear but the side cores too -- which means from above and the 90-degree LR axis away from those cores.

 

Because that center core is "light", they could get away with using the derivative Shuttle engines (non-reusable, non-bell cooled), keep the center core much less complex during construction, but payload capacity would be relatively low -- essentially remove the bulk of the Shuttle and add it to the capacity that the Shuttle would be able to tote to space and we've roughly got how much the D4-H can push uphill. Now add the Shuttle EFT's to each engine, and some control and staging hardware then an aerodynamic cap to the side boosters, and finally an S2. There's your D4-H.

 

You crafty so-and-so's, ULA ... nicely done. You've made a pretty inexpensive product out of legacy hardware that you really didn't have to do much R&D to get sorted out, and you're selling it for 2.-something billion each.

 

That's gotta be a win for the deal-makers.

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