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Miscellaneous Launches and Payloads (updates)

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DocM    16,543
On 9/7/2015 at 10:15 PM, Draggendrop said:

ARCA Space To Perform Flight Tests at Spaceport America

 

Haas_2B-small-720x485.thumb.png.fb8715d7
ARCA Space Corp. will start testing its Hass suborbital rocket (concept art above) at Space Port America in New Mexico in 2016. Credit: ARCA Space Corp.

 

More data at the link....

http://spacenews.com/arca-space-to-perform-flight-tests-at-spaceport-america/

:) 

Who didn't see this coming?

 

ARCA CEO arrested on fraud charges.

 

They had set up shop in New Mexico and were supposedly building an aerospike engined SSTO (single stage to orbit) launcher.

 

ARCA is the outfit which screwed up the Exomars parachute test rig, forcing ESA to fly it with only computer simulations. Exomars went splat. 

 

http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/money/2017/11/18/investors-concerned-arca-ceo-investigation-aerospace-leaders-say-no-impact-growth/875886001/

 

Quote

 

LAS CRUCES – Backers of ARCA Space Corporation are questioning the future of their financial investments in the Las Cruces aerospace company in the wake of CEO Dumitru Popescu’s arrest as part of an ongoing fraud investigation.

Michael Tumblin, a former Las Cruces resident who now resides in Tennessee, was among the investors who backed Popescu when ARCA offered stock for sale to New Mexico residents in November 2016. Tumblin invested in the company a second time when Popescu offered a two-for-one deal to existing investors, he said.

 

“Shock was my first reaction, and disappointment,” Tumblin said upon learning of Popescu’s arrest. “Just totally blown away because of the relationship I formed with Dumitru and not knowing exactly what is happening with ARCA right now. It’s been silent for the last 30 days, nothing on the website, nothing on Facebook, no response to emails or messaging through Facebook.”

>

 

 

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DocM    16,543

USSTRATCOM's Gen. Hyten wants no more to do with Battlestar milsats. Sounds like a move to constellations of smallsats, or DoD hosted payloads on those thousands of Starlink, OneWeb, Boeing etc. LEO/VLEO high-bandwidth commsats.

 

http://spacenews.com/stratcom-chief-hyten-i-will-not-support-buying-big-satellites-that-make-juicy-targets/

 

Quote

 

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Asked to rate the seriousness of threats to U.S. military spacecraft, Air Force Gen. John Hyten gave it a “five but moving to 10 quickly.”

 

As head of U.S. Strategic Command, Hyten is responsible for the global command and control of the nation’s nuclear forces, and the possibility that U.S. satellites could come under attack worries him considerably. Hyten was previously at the helm of U.S. Space Command and is one of the military’s most respected authorities on all matters related to national security and space.

 

“I watch what our adversaries do. I see them moving quickly into the space domain, they are moving very fast, and I see our country not moving fast, and that causes me concern,” Hyten said Nov. 18 at the Halifax International Security Forum.

>

As one of nine U.S. combatant commanders, Hyten has a say in how the Pentagon plans investments in new technology. With regard to military satellites, STRATCOM will advocate for a change away from “exquisite” costly systems that take years to develop in favor of “more resilient, more distributed capabilities.”

>

When he ran U.S. Space Command, Hyten regularly reached out to “new space” entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, and he likes the way they think. “They are great partners, they have a great vision of the future,” Hyten said. “Talk about going fast, they’re going fast. And it’s always awesome to see companies that embrace a different vision of the future, that invest and go fast.”

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Not surprised at all about ARCA. Lots of stuff in Academic circles concerning their affairs, especially after they'd botched things so badly with ExoMars' lander -- nobody, nobody was expecting much from their Launcher except a lot of lost money and blackened desert from failed attempts.

 

The DoD Hosted payloads ... that one is another matter. Expect these to become a bit mandatory. Yes, the DoD will pay their own way -- but it's not gonna be like the old days where they pay a premium or they pay for the entire project(s). Nope, this is the era of "watching costs and keeping budgets reigned in" (finally).

 

So while the reinvigorated Space Program isn't gonna be like the USSR one (where Military/Government payloads were required on each flight), they'll be kinda/sorta "encouraged" to fly Mil/Gov through incentives and sharing plans.

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DocM    16,543

Yet another Russian upper stage failure. 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Yeah. :( Human error this time, from the reports I've seen. Bummer.

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DocM    16,543

 

Looks like this one made it to the Atlantic. The Soyuz 2.1b's 4 boosters, S1 and S2 worked, then the Fregat 3rd stage promptly pointed itself in the wrong direction and fired. Oops.

 

Satellite name: Meteor :cry:

 

 

Edited by DocM

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Sounds like a gyro that got hammered in upside-down again. That'll do it every time.

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DocM    16,543

Or, like Phobos-Grunt, someone punched the wrong numbers into the flight computer for the Fregat upper stage

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Oh boy ... that'd do it. Software thought it was ahead of its' flight path relative to the timetable and thought the previous stages had overcooked the trajectory, so it thought it needed to slow down. Lack of advanced fault protection and failure to check with Ground Controllers when obviously something was wrong did the rest.

 

I dig the Russian technologies but sometimes I question their practices.

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Jim K    13,483

Voyager 1 fires up it backup thrusters which haven't been used in 37 years.

 

Quote

Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years

 

If you tried to start a car that's been sitting in a garage for decades, you might not expect the engine to respond. But a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use.

 

Voyager 1, NASA's farthest and fastest spacecraft, is the only human-made object in interstellar space, the environment between the stars. The spacecraft, which has been flying for 40 years, relies on small devices called thrusters to orient itself so it can communicate with Earth. These thrusters fire in tiny pulses, or "puffs," lasting mere milliseconds, to subtly rotate the spacecraft so that its antenna points at our planet. Now, the Voyager team is able to use a set of four backup thrusters, dormant since 1980.

 

"With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years," said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

 

Since 2014, engineers have noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft, called "attitude control thrusters," have been degrading. Over time, the thrusters require more puffs to give off the same amount of energy. At 13 billion miles from Earth, there's no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up.

 

The Voyager team assembled a group of propulsion experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, to study the problem. Chris Jones, Robert Shotwell, Carl Guernsey and Todd Barber analyzed options and predicted how the spacecraft would respond in different scenarios. They agreed on an unusual solution: Try giving the job of orientation to a set of thrusters that had been asleep for 37 years.

 

“The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters," said Jones, chief engineer at JPL.

 

In the early days of the mission, Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, Saturn, and important moons of each. To accurately fly by and point the spacecraft's instruments at a smorgasbord of targets, engineers used "trajectory correction maneuver,” or TCM, thrusters that are identical in size and functionality to the attitude control thrusters, and are located on the back side of the spacecraft. But because Voyager 1's last planetary encounter was Saturn, the Voyager team hadn't needed to use the TCM thrusters since November 8, 1980. Back then, the TCM thrusters were used in a more continuous firing mode; they had never been used in the brief bursts necessary to orient the spacecraft.

 

All of Voyager's thrusters were developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne. The same kind of thruster, called the MR-103, flew on other NASA spacecraft as well, such as Cassini and Dawn.

 

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, Voyager engineers fired up the four TCM thrusters for the first time in 37 years and tested their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses. The team waited eagerly as the test results traveled through space, taking 19 hours and 35 minutes to reach an antenna in Goldstone, California, that is part of NASA's Deep Space Network.

 

Lo and behold, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, they learned the TCM thrusters worked perfectly -- and just as well as the attitude control thrusters.

 

“The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test. The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all," said Barber, a JPL propulsion engineer.  

 

The plan going forward is to switch to the TCM thrusters in January. To make the change, Voyager has to turn on one heater per thruster, which requires power -- a limited resource for the aging mission. When there is no longer enough power to operate the heaters, the team will switch back to the attitude control thrusters.

 

The thruster test went so well, the team will likely do a similar test on the TCM thrusters for Voyager 2, the twin spacecraft of Voyager 1. The attitude control thrusters currently used for Voyager 2 are not yet as degraded as Voyager 1's, however.
 

Voyager 2 is also on course to enter interstellar space, likely within the next few years.

 

NASA

 

and...

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Well the fuel is certainly able to be kept cold enough. Too cold isn't likely to be an issue, the heat from the electronics and the RTG is probably what has kept it in-tolerance (as a design feature). I question the integrity of the fuel pods, though. Depends on the pressure of the fuel really.

 

That's really my only concern. That and stuck valves. At that super-low temperature the tolerances become ultra small and moving parts can jam when they otherwise wouldn't.

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Jim K    13,483
Quote

Amateur astronomer discovers a revived NASA satellite

 

After years in darkness, a NASA satellite is phoning home. 

 

Some 12 years since it was thought lost because of a systems failure, NASA’s Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) has been discovered, still broadcasting, by an amateur astronomer. The find, which he reported in a blog post this week, presents the possibility that NASA could revive the mission, which once provided unparalleled views of Earth’s magnetosphere.

 

The astronomer, Scott Tilley, spends his free time following the radio signals from spy satellites. On this occasion, he was searching in high-Earth orbit for evidence of Zuma, a classified U.S. satellite that’s believed to have failed after launch. But rather than discovering Zuma, Tilley picked up a signal from a satellite labeled “2000-017A,” which he knew corresponded to NASA’s IMAGE satellite. Launched in 2000 and then left for dead in December 2005, the $150 million mission was back broadcasting. It just needed someone to listen.

 

//

 

Since Tilley’s announcement, project scientists spent a couple days furiously digging up old software and records, and this weekend, NASA will attempt to contact IMAGE with its deep space radio antennas—as will the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Right now, the team is puzzled as to why it appears the spacecraft’s rotation rate has slowed, which may make communication more challenging. “The team is collectively holding their breath waiting for some real information exchange between IMAGE and the ground,” Reiff adds.

 

//

 

If IMAGE is revived, its orbit will be well positioned to monitor Earth’s northern auroral zone. It’s thrilling to think the spacecraft could be back, Reiff adds. It reminds her of the mission’s motto: “The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

 

Full article at Science Magazine

 

Also, per a 26 Jan update on Scott Tilley's blog ...

Quote

Engineers at GSFC have acquired the suspect S-band source using the 4m CTA (Compatibility Test Antenna) here at GSFC (.jpg attached and no I’m not in the picture). They acquired the signal while the target was on ascent at about 2RE. Center frequency (CF) was between 2272.478 and 2273.418. The difference between IMAGE documented CF of 2272.5Mhz can be attributed to expected Doppler. Subcarriers are visible as well 1.7Mhz from CF as expected. The signal strength was oscillating. Plots will be forthcoming. The oscillation is not unexpected given IMAGE’s loss of spin balance.

 

All indications so far suggest that this is, in fact, IMAGE.

 

 

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Jim K    13,483

Update to the above story ...

Quote

Updates on Recovery Attempts for NASA IMAGE Mission

 

After an amateur astronomer recorded observations of a satellite in high Earth orbit on Jan. 20, 2018, his initial research suggested it was the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) — a NASA mission launched into orbit around Earth on March 25, 2000.

 

Seeking to ascertain whether the signal indeed came from IMAGE, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, coordinated the use of five separate antennas to acquire radio frequency signals from the object.

 

As of Monday, Jan. 29, observations from all five sites were consistent with the radio frequency characteristics expected of IMAGE. Specifically, the radio frequency showed a spike at the expected center frequency, as well as side bands where they should be for IMAGE. Oscillation of the signal was also consistent with the last known spin rate for IMAGE.

 

To confirm beyond doubt that the satellite is IMAGE, NASA will next attempt to capture and analyze data from the signal. The challenge to decoding the signal is primarily technical. The types of hardware and operating systems used in the IMAGE Mission Operations Center no longer exist, and other systems have been updated several versions beyond what they were at the time, requiring significant reverse-engineering.

 

If data decoding is successful, NASA will seek to turn on the science payload — currently turned off — to understand the status of the various science instruments.  Pending the outcome of these activities, NASA will decide on how to proceed. 

 

IMAGE was designed to image Earth’s magnetosphere and produce the first comprehensive global images of the plasma populations in this region. After successfully completing and extending its initial two-year mission in 2002, the satellite unexpectedly failed to make contact on a routine pass on Dec. 18, 2005. After a 2007 eclipse failed to induce a reboot, the mission was declared over.

NASA

 

 

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DocM    16,543

/sigh.....

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Seriously, what the actual hell ... they can't get this thing going ten years behind schedule?! The technology is already outdated by an order of magnitude on the majority of its' instruments. Ground-based systems are already picking up the slack on about half the stuff that this thing was supposed to do.

 

Argh ...

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Jim K    13,483

...well, make sure it is right before it gets tossed into L2.  All these cost overruns and delays suck (not surprised coming from Northrop Grumman)... but nothing will suck more than having a $8-9B piece of junk in space.  Don't repeat Hubble, in other words, because it can't be fixed once in space.

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

And what's more, BFR/BFS will allow hauling some super scale Space Telescopes to Cislunar that'll render the entire premise of putting JWST into the E/S L2 point moot. I'm talking ten times the packed physical size and 100x the weight -- dunno about anyone else but the idea of having a reflector surface half the size (or more) of Keck-2 in space gives me some serious happies in my kibbly bits. :yes::laugh::rofl: Making it modular & upgradeable like the Hubble would be a winner for my tastes ...

 

Seriously stupid idea putting JWST into the orbit they want to ... not like it's gonna get anything less done in Cislunar that justifies putting it into the L2, and it would be far more accessible & serviceable in Cislunar to boot.

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Jim K    13,483

60 years ago today, Vanguard 1 was launched ... and it is still up there ... the oldest man-made satellite still in space.  I do not think it is suppose to reenter for another 180 years or so.

 

 

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Jim K    13,483

The crazy dude did it...and survived.

 

 

 

 

 

Quote

 

Self-taught rocket scientist blasts off into California sky

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — He finally went up — just like the self-taught rocket scientist always pledged he would.

 

He came back down in one piece, too — a little dinged up and his steam-powered vessel a little cracked up.

 

Still, mission accomplished for a guy more daredevil than engineer, who drew more comparisons to the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote from his critics than he did to iconic stunt man Evel Knievel.

 

“Mad” Mike Hughes, the rocket man who believes the Earth is flat, propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air Saturday before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. He told The Associated Press that outside of an aching back he’s fine after the launch near Amboy, California.

 

“Relieved,” he said after being checked out by paramedics. “I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it.”

/snip

 

 

More at the Associated Press

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DocM    16,543

Dumbass. Next time call Bezos.

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Beittil    575

Haha, that was awesome to watch though. Lol

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Unobscured Vision    2,668

Wasn't worth the effort. Didn't go up far enough to even see curvature or anything. Publicity stunt at best. I agree with @DocM -- dumbassery at its' worst.

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DocM    16,543

JWST again,

 

 

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DocM    16,543
Quote

GREENVILLE, Ind., March 27, 2018 (Techshot PR)  A new privately-owned and operated device designed to conduct research in space at varying gravity levels with a wide variety of sample types  such as tissue chips, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals, worms and flies  will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the next SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

 

Expected to launch April 2 from space launch complex 40 at Floridas Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX CRS-14 will carry the Techshot Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform (MVP), which can produce artificial gravity in 0.1 g increments, up to a maximum of 2.0 g.

Research aboard the ISS with Techshots Bone Densitometer X-ray machine for mice confirms that prolonged exposure to microgravity causes detrimental effects such as bone loss and muscle wasting. With NASAs renewed focus on a return to the Moon, where gravity is only 0.16 g  before venturing even further to Mars, where gravity is 0.38 g (Earth is 1.0 g)  scientists need to better understand how much gravity is enough for pioneering human crews to remain healthy while living on the surface. Research using MVP is expected to help answer that question.

"I believe were entering an unprecedented golden age of human spaceflight," said Techshot President and CEO John C. Vellinger. "Never before have so many options been on the horizon for living and working in low-earth orbit and beyond. Research with MVP can help scientists better prepare us to thrive in our collective spacefaring future."

Approximately the size of a microwave oven, MVP hosts six separate experiment modules on each of two 390 mm internal carousels. Experiment modules launch separately in cargo resupply vehicles and are installed by the crew in MVP once they reach the station. Each is customized to accommodate the sample type and experiment protocol of a given research campaign. Lighting and video and still imagery, including microscopy, also can be included in each. Both carousels can be removed on orbit and replaced with fixed platforms for large microgravity experiments. The environment inside MVP can be monitored and controlled remotely from Techshots Payload Operations Control Center at its Greenville, Indiana, headquarters or at its Exploration Park, Florida, office.

The Techshot MVP is just the latest entry in the companys comprehensive catalog of flight-qualified research equipment  joining the Bone Densitometer, the Advanced Space Experiment Processor and the Analytical Containment Transfer Tool as readily available flight qualified payloads. Other space-based devices in development by the company include a large centrifuge for research with rats and mice, a 3D BioFabrication Facility, and a multi-material in-space manufacturing payload known as the Techshot FabLab.

First Customer

Though the hardware is designed for studies with many different kinds of samples, the first experiment launching on SpaceX CRS-14 will focus on Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). Known as MVP-Fly-01, this first campaign using the system will be conducted for a research team at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

The availability of MVP will be especially important for fly research because it will allow the study of larger sample sizes over longer periods of time than previously possible, and it will be able to support fly colonies for multiple generations. The payload will help scientists improve their understanding of a wide range of biological processes that affect human health  both on and off the Earth. Approximately 77 percent of human disease genes have analogs in the fruit fly genome. For more on NASAs MVP-Fly-01 mission see https://www.nasa.gov/ames/research/space-biosciences/mvp-spacex-14. (NOTE: now a dead link)

 

 

techshot_variable_gravity_systerm.thumb.jpg.fb6a5a14d3c3b3e6aa84751959ef5567.jpg

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