Blogarchiv

Sonntag, 7. Oktober 2012 - 17:00 Uhr

Luftfahrt - USAF B-2 erhält neues Radar-System

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WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Northrop Grumman Corporation  has successfully completed – ahead of schedule – all field installations of a new radar system for the U.S. Air Force's fleet of B-2 stealth bombers.

Every operational B-2 is now equipped with the new radar, which was developed for the Air Force's B-2 Radar Modernization Program (RMP). It takes advantage of technology advancements that have occurred since the bomber was originally designed in the early 1980s.

Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's prime contractor for the B-2, the flagship of the nation's long-range strike arsenal. The fleet of 20 B-2s is operated by the 509th Bomb Wing from its headquarters at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

"Every installation of RMP hardware performed at Whiteman was completed ahead of schedule – on average three days early," said Ron Naylor, director of B-2 modernization and transformation for Northrop Grumman. "We returned every one of those jets to the Air Force anywhere from one to 11 days early."

The Whiteman RMP installs occurred in two blocks: five were completed during 2009 as part of the program's system development and demonstration phase. Ten more were completed between the third quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2012 as part of the RMP production contract.

"We also beat by six days the program's installation schedule for the B-2 Spirit of Texas, which was returned to the Air Force from the programmed depot maintenance (PDM) process in late June," added Naylor. PDM is performed periodically on every B-2 at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, Calif.

Northrop Grumman's ability to consistently beat the RMP installation schedule can be attributed, in part, to its disciplined planning and execution processes, said Chad Hartmann, the company's B-2 production program manager.

"We worked actively with the Air Force to identify and purchase long-lead items that were part of our critical production path. That approach helped us ensure a seamless production process," he said.

Northrop Grumman also used a second advanced procurement process with RMP called a Life of Type buy. Under this approach, the company worked out agreements with the government and RMP suppliers to purchase all the spare parts needed for the anticipated operational life of the system, thereby avoiding future parts obsolescence issues.

Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif., developed the new radar hardware under contract to Northrop Grumman. It includes an advanced electronically scanned array antenna, a power supply and a modified receiver/exciter.

The B-2 is the only long-range, large-payload U.S. aircraft that can penetrate deeply into access-denied airspace. In concert with the Air Force's air superiority fleet, which provides airspace control, and the Air Force's tanker fleet, which enables global mobility, the B-2 can help protect U.S. interests anywhere in the world. It can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling, giving it the ability to reach any point on the globe within hours.

Quelle: USAF


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Sonntag, 7. Oktober 2012 - 11:13 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 60

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This image was taken by Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 19:14:46 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 18:48:54 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 17:18:59 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 17:20:47 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 17:23:43 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 17:27:27 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 60 (2012-10-06 17:27:27 UTC) .

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Fotos: NASA


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Samstag, 6. Oktober 2012 - 11:06 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 59

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 59 (2012-10-05 17:25:40 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 59 (2012-10-05 19:22:32 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 59 (2012-10-05 19:22:59 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 59 (2012-10-05 19:28:50 UTC)

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left A (FHAZ_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 59 (2012-10-05 19:20:28 UTC) .

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Fotos: NASA


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Freitag, 5. Oktober 2012 - 23:03 Uhr

Astronomie - Aus dem Foto-Archiv von JAXA

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The soft X-ray image sequence of changes in the Sun's activities captured by the "Yohkoh" (SOLAR-A)

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Astronomical Observation Satellites > Solar Physics Satellite "YOUKOU" (SOLAR-A)
Observation Images > Astronomical Observation > Sun
Space and Aeronautic Engineering Research > Astronomical Research > Solar

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Ägypten Satellites and Spacecraft > Earth Observation Satellites > Japanese Earth Resources Satellite-1 "FUYO-1" (JERS-1)

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Satellites and Spacecraft > Earth Observation Satellites > Geostationary Meteorological Satellite "Himawari" (GMS)

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Osaka-City - Satellites and Spacecraft > Earth Observation Satellites > Advanced Earth Observing Satellite "Midori" (ADEOS)
Observation Images > Earth Observation > Major citiesprefectural capitals of Japan

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Satellites and Spacecraft > Earth Observation Satellites > Advanced Earth Observing Satellite "Midori" (ADEOS)

Contents :

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Freitag, 5. Oktober 2012 - 12:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Mini-Satelliten-Experiment bei der ISS

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Sunita Williams and Yuri Malenchenko
ISS033-E-008165 (28 Sept. 2012) --- NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 33 commander; and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, flight engineer, work with camera equipment in the International Space Station’s Zvezda Service Module.
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Yuri Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide
ISS033-E-008178 (28 Sept. 2012) --- In the Zvezda Service Module, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (foreground) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, both Expedition 33 flight engineers, monitor the undocking of the European Space Agency's "Edoardo Amaldi" Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) from the International Space Station.
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Yuri Malenchenko
ISS033-E-008108 (28 Sept. 2012) --- In the International Space Station’s Zvezda Service Module, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Expedition 33 flight engineer, uses a computer during an onboard training session for the standard Soyuz emergency descent drill, a regular procedure for each station crew.
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Sunita Williams and Yuri Malenchenko
ISS033-E-008135 (28 Sept. 2012) --- In the International Space Station’s Zvezda Service Module, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 33 commander; and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, flight engineer, participate in an onboard training session for the standard Soyuz emergency descent drill, a regular procedure for each station crew
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Commander Suni Williams Inspects Filters
ISS033-E-009199 (3 Oct. 2012) --- NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 33 commander, conducts the continuing preventive inspection and cleaning of accessible Atmosphere Revitalization (AR) system bacteria filters in the Tranquility node of the International Space Station.
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Small Satellite Orbital Deployer
ISS033-E-009269 (4 Oct. 2012) --- A Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) attached to the Japanese module's robotic arm is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station. Several tiny satellites were released outside the Kibo laboratory using the SSOD on Oct. 4, 2012. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, flight engineer, set up the satellite deployment gear inside the 
lab and placed it in the Kibo airlock. The Japanese robotic arm then grappled the deployment system and its satellites from the airlock for deployment.
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Tiny Satellites Leave Station
ISS033-E-009286 (4 Oct. 2012) --- Several tiny satellites are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station. The satellites were released outside the Kibo laboratory using a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to the Japanese module's robotic arm on Oct. 4, 2012. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, flight engineer, set up the satellite 
deployment gear inside the lab and placed it in the Kibo airlock. The Japanese robotic arm then grappled the deployment system and its satellites from the airlock for deployment. A portion of the station's solar array panels and a blue and white part of Earth provide the backdrop for the scene.
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Tiny Satellites Leave Station
ISS033-E-009458 (4 Oct. 2012) --- Several tiny satellites are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station. The satellites were released outside the Kibo laboratory using a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to the Japanese module's robotic arm on Oct. 4, 2012. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, flight engineer, set up the satellite 
deployment gear inside the lab and placed it in the Kibo airlock. The Japanese robotic arm then grappled the deployment system and its satellites from the airlock for deployment.
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Quelle: NASA
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Satellite swarm released from ISS

Kyodo

Five small satellites were released from the International Space Station from late Thursday night to early Friday morning Japan time in the first such experiment to employ a robotic arm, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

 

Three Japanese-made and two U.S.-made satellites were sent out. Releasing satellites from the ISS results in less vibration than direct launches on rockets, helping to reduce design and production costs, according to JAXA.

The experiment involving Japan's Kibo lab used satellites provided by such entities as the Fukuoka Institute of Technology, Tohoku University and Wakayama University. It was conducted in two parts. The first part involved astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who has been on the ISS since July.

After being released into orbit, the satellites will carry out various missions, including taking pictures of Earth and sending Morse code messages to the ground with a high-power light-emitting diode, for about 100 days, JAXA said.

At the Fukuoka Institute of Technology, students involved in the development of the FITSAT1 satellite shouted for joy after its successful release. "We are relieved," said Professor Takushi Tanaka, who led the development team. "It's out in space without a hitch."

The team will conduct the world's first experiment next month to send a Morse code message from space to Earth via a flashing light visible through binoculars.

The team said it has received requests from Britain, Brazil and elsewhere, including one to transmit from the sky over New York's Central Park.

Quelle. JAXA


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Freitag, 5. Oktober 2012 - 09:00 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Vor erster Sandproben-Analyse von Curiosity

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NASA’s Curiosity rover is getting ready to stick its shovel in the Martian soil and then perform a detailed analysis of the resulting sample.
Curiosity has gone more than 1,300 feet since landing on Mars and, for much of the recent drive, scientists have been searching around for a “good sandbox to play in,” said Michael Watkins, the rover’s mission manager during a NASA press conference on Oct. 4.
Now, it seems like they’ve found the right spot. The rover is parked at an area that researchers are calling the Rocknest, where it will stay for several weeks to practice its scooping. Curiosity pushed one of its wheels into the loose sand (pictured below) at this location and spun it about it make sure it’s loose and dry — perfect for sampling.
The rover will use its suite of advanced instruments to analyze the soil, first with its close-up MAHLI camera and X-ray spectrometer APXS. But the big test will come from using the Collection and Handling for Interior Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) instrument.
CHIMRA (pronounced ki-mera) has a small scoop, “basically an oversized tablespoon,” said engineer Daniel Limonadi, who works on Curiosity’s surface sampling and science system, that will pick up “half a baby-aspirin pill” worth of material. Once it has procured a sample, the entire instrument suite will tip up and shake rapidly — at around 8 g — to make sure the sample travels down a long tube and gets to the analysis instruments. Below you can see a video of the scoop operating on Earth before Curiosity launched.
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Frams: NASA-Video
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During this first scooping procedure, Curiosity will be using the Martian sand to clean out its interior. Despite being kept in immaculate conditions on Earth, there was no way to avoid a small oily film from building up on the instruments prior to launch. With the Martian sample, the rover will sand blast its interior surfaces and remove this film. “We will rinse and repeat three times to clean everything out,” said Limonadi.
Once everything has been cleaned and purged, Curiosity will use its arm to bring a sample of sand to its body and send it to its lab instruments (a computer-generated video shows this operation below). These include SAM and ChemMin, which will tell scientists all of the secrets of this Martian soil. Though the first sample is expected to be fairly nondescript, “even the most boring sand on Mars is going to be a new result,” said Limonadi.
Because this is one of the keystone operations that Curiosity will undertake while on Mars, engineers are being very careful during this first scooping maneuver. The entire operation is expected to take at least a few weeks, since each day, Curiosity will stop and use its cameras to photograph the scoop, the sample, the arm, and every movement to constantly check its progress.
“We’re taking a lot of extra steps to make sure we know exactly what’s going on,” said Watkins. If all goes well, future scooping maneuvers will be faster.
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Quelle: NASA
 

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Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2012 - 22:40 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 57+58

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NASA's Curiosity rover is in a position on Mars where scientists and engineers can begin preparing the rover to take its first scoop of soil for analysis.
Curiosity is the centerpiece of the two-year Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover's ability to put soil samples into analytical instruments is central to assessing whether its present location on Mars, called Gale Crater, ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. Mineral analysis can reveal past environmental conditions. Chemical analysis can check for ingredients necessary for life.
"We now have reached an important phase that will get the first solid samples into the analytical instruments in about two weeks," said Mission Manager Michael Watkins of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Curiosity has been so well-behaved that we have made great progress during the first two months of the mission."
The rover's preparatory operations will involve testing its robotic scooping capabilities to collect and process soil samples. Later, it also will use a hammering drill to collect powdered samples from rocks. To begin preparations for a first scoop, the rover used one of its wheels Wednesday to scuff the soil to expose fresh material.
Next, the rover twice will scoop up some soil, shake it thoroughly inside the sample-processing chambers to scrub the internal surfaces, then discard the sample. Curiosity will scoop and shake a third measure of soil and place it in an observation tray for inspection by cameras mounted on the rover's mast. A portion of the third sample will be delivered to the mineral-identifying chemistry and mineralogy (CheMin) instrument inside the rover. From a fourth scoopful, samples will be delivered to both CheMin and to the sample analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which identifies chemical ingredients.
"We're going to take a close look at the particle size distribution in the soil here to be sure it's what we want," said Daniel Limonadi of JPL, lead systems engineer for Curiosity's surface sampling and science system. "We are being very careful with this first time using the scoop on Mars."
The rinse-and-discard cycles serve a quality-assurance purpose similar to a common practice in geochemical laboratory analysis on Earth.
"It is standard to run a split of your sample through first and dump it out, to clean out any residue from a previous sample," said JPL's Joel Hurowitz, a sampling system scientist on the Curiosity team. "We want to be sure the first sample we analyze is unambiguously Martian, so we take these steps to remove any residual material from Earth that might be on the walls of our sample handling system."
Rocknest is the name of the area of soil Curiosity will test and analyze. The rover pulled up to the windblown, sandy and dusty location Oct. 2. The Rocknest patch is about 8 feet by 16 feet (2.5 meters by 5 meters). The area provides plenty of area for scooping several times. Diverse rocks nearby provide targets for investigation with the instruments on Curiosity's mast during the weeks the rover is stationed at Rocknest for this first scooping campaign.
Curiosity's motorized, clamshell-shaped scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long, and can sample to a depth of about 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters). It is part of the collection and handling Martian rock analysis (CHIMRA) device on a turret of tools at the end of the rover's arm. CHIMRA also includes a series of chambers and labyrinths for sorting, sieving and portioning samples collected by the scoop or by the arm's percussive drill.
Following the work at Rocknest, the rover team plans to drive Curiosity about 100 yards (about 100 meters) eastward into the Glenelg area and select a rock as the first target for use of its drill.
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Rocknest' From Sol 52 Location
This patch of windblown sand and dust downhill from a cluster of dark rocks is the "Rocknest" site, which has been selected as the likely location for first use of the scoop on the arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. This view is a mosaic of images taken by the telephoto right-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) during the 52nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Sept. 28, 2012), four sols before the rover arrived at Rocknest. The Rocknest patch is about 8 feet by 16 feet (1.5 meters by 5 meters). 
Scientists white-balanced the color in this view to show the Martian scene as it would appear under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain. 
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Wheel Scuff Mark at 'Rocknest'
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity cut a wheel scuff mark into a wind-formed ripple at the "Rocknest" site to give researchers a better opportunity to examine the particle-size distribution of the material forming the ripple. The rover's right Navigation camera took this image of the scuff mark on the mission's 57th Martian day, or sol (Oct. 3, 2012), the same sol that a wheel created the mark. For scale, the width of the wheel track is about 16 inches (40 centimeters). 
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This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 15:20:27 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 19:07:17 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 19:08:54 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 19:01:12 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 19:02:15 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 15:51:48 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 20:01:34 UTC) .
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Right A (FHAZ_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 17:13:09 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 58 (2012-10-04 18:42:01 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 58 (2012-10-04 18:49:54 UTC) .
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left A (FHAZ_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 58 (2012-10-04 17:09:34 UTC) . 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left A (FHAZ_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 58 (2012-10-04 18:23:54 UTC) . 
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Fotos: NASA

3359 Views

Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2012 - 22:25 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Delta-IV-Rakete mit GPS 2F-Satelliten für die Air Force gestartet

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Air Force launches new GPS satellite into orbit
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Air Force has launched a satellite from Cape Canaveral to be part of the existing navigation system for the military.
The latest Global Positioning System satellite rocketed into space Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is separate from NASA’s space center on the Florida coast.
The satellite was carried up by an unmanned Delta IV rocket.
The Air Force manages the navigation system to ensure there are at least 24 operational satellites at all times. This newly launched spacecraft includes an improved military signal that is more resistant to signal jamming in hostile environments.
Quelle: Air Force Time
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Frams von Start-Video: ULA
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Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2012 - 14:25 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Erfolgreicher Start von Delta-IV-Rakete mit GPS 2F-Satelliten

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Shooting for a morning blastoff Thursday, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket and Global Positioning System satellite payload will undergo a final technical assessment today and their readiness review tomorrow before entering into countdown operations Wednesday night.


Shooting for a morning blastoff Thursday, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket and Global Positioning System satellite payload will undergo a final technical assessment today and their readiness review tomorrow before entering into countdown operations Wednesday night.

 

"A tremendous amount of work has been accomplished to date on this mission. There's hundreds of people on the satellite and launch teams that have been hard at work to ensure a successful launch and mission. I'm extremely proud of their efforts as they continue to work through the remaining mission-related tasks while maintaining a focus on mission success," said Col. Ron Fortson, the Air Force's mission director for the launch.

Liftoff is scheduled for 8:10 a.m. EDT (1210 GMT) at the start of a 19-minute launch opportunity. The window is timed to deliver the GPS 2F-3 satellite directly into Plane A of the navigation network 11,000 miles above Earth.

The Delta's flight will last three hours and 33 minutes from liftoff until spacecraft separation, firing its cryogenic upper stage in three different burns to reach an initial parking orbit and taking a two-step transfer route to reach the circular GPS orbit tilted 55 degrees to the equator.

GPS 2F-3 will replace an aging craft -- deployed 19 years ago -- in Plane A, Slot 1, incrementally upgrading the constellation with greater accuracy, better jam-resistance and a new civilian aviation signal, all features of the Boeing-build Block 2F series of spacecraft.

The aerospace company expects to have the satellite checked out and ready for handover to Air Force controllers in mid-November, said Jan Heide, Boeing's GPS program director.

This will be the third of 12 Block 2F spacecraft being built to form the backbone of the GPS fleet for the next 15 years.

"The GPS 2F satellites continue our efforts to modernize our PNT (position, navigation and timing) service and provide new space-based capabilities and ensure improved accuracy and signal availability," said Col. Steve R. Steiner, chief of the GPS Space Systems Division at the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center.

"We are ready to launch this third GPS 2F satellite," he added.

ULA moved the Delta 4 rocket from its horizontal processing hangar to the launch pad in mid-August, erecting the two-stage vehicle atop Complex 37 and attaching a pair of solid-fuel boosters.

The GPS satellite arrived at the Cape in July from the Boeing factory in Los Angeles to undergo final testing, the loading of maneuvering fuel and encapsulation within the two-piece nose cone of the rocket. The payload was shipped to the pad and hoisted atop the Delta on Sept. 18 to begin the final push to launch.

The integrated systems test between rocket and satellite was conducted on Sept. 21, and technicians spent last week completing tasks like filling the hydrazine bottles on the second stage, installing and connecting ordnance and buttoning up various compartments on the rocket.

Managers and engineers will gather today for the final technical assessment of the flight hardware, then move into the Launch Readiness Review tomorrow that culminates with the "go" to begin the countdown on Wednesday evening.

Retraction of the mobile service gantry to unveil the 206-foot-tall rocket occurs around 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday, and the Terminal Count picks up at 1:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, with fueling operations starting a short time later.

"The team has worked tremendously hard to get us to this point, and following a couple of finally reviews, we are ready to launch GPS 2F-3," said Jerry Jamison, United Launch Alliance's vice president of launch operations.

It will be ULA's 9th flight this year.

"Our GPS constellation remains healthy, stable and robust. We currently have 31 operational satellites on-orbit, all actively broadcasting position, navigation and timing information to users -- both civilian and military -- around the world," Steiner said.

"We do have a very robust constellation, but it is a mix of older and newer satellites."

This will be the third replacement GPS satellite carried aloft by the Delta 4 rocket since 2010.

The team has a backup opportunity available on the Eastern Range for Friday morning, with a window opening approximately four minutes earlier at 8:06 a.m. EDT.

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The Range has Saturday set aside for its reconfiguration from Delta to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled for blastoff Sunday evening on the first operational commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. That launch has three attempts reserved on the Range, if needed.

The Range provides the necessary tracking, communications and safety services for Cape launches and needs time between flights of different boosters to reset equipment.

The Delta 4 will be taking its 21st flight and the launching for the 9th time in the Medium+ (4,2) variant with a four-meter-diameter upper stage and payload fairing and two strap-on solid motors.

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Quelle: ULA

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Update: 4.10.2012

Boeing has fixed an issue with cesium clocks aboard GPF IIF satellites, and is prepared to launch the third example on 4 October.
An issue identified earlier, which may have shortened the usable lifespan of the GPS satellites, was traced to a xenon bulb with higher than expected pressure. The bulb is standard equipment aboard GPS' highly accurate cesium clocks, says Boeing, but inflating it to standard pressures could potentially shorten the satellite's lifespan.
The issue is solved, Boeing says, by drilling additional holes in the satellite and allowing more time in the vacuum to gas to escape. While the permanent fix will be launched with the fourth satellite, a temporary solution was put in place for space vehicle three (SV-3).
Boeing is contracted to build twelve GPS-IIF satellites, of which six have been built. Two have been launched, one sits on the launch pad atop a ULA Delta IV launch vehicle, and three are in storage awaiting a launch date from the US Air Force (USAF), which purchases and operates the GPS constellation.
GPS IIF is a bridge capability between existing satellites and Lockheed Martin's GPS III, which remains under development.
The GPS IIFs are the first satellites with a fifth signal frequency, called L-5, which will be used for aerial navigation and search and rescue. At least four satellites are required for basic coverage.

Update: 4.10.2012 / 14.00 MESZ

It was a beautiful launch this morning of a Delta IV rocket carrying a military GPS satellite on board.

The rocket lifted off at 8:10 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The GPS is designed to help out our troops, it's also going to help out us.

Boeing, which is behind this satellite, said it will provide highly accurate time, location and velocity information. So, maybe a stop to recalculating or lost satellite signal.

It's called a GPS IIF-3 Satellite. It's the third of 12 GPS satellites Boeing has made for the U.S. Air Force. It's on board this Delta IV rocket, which was rolled out last night.

This satellite is more jam-resistant and will help guide troops on land, sea and in the air. It will also direct bombs and other weapons towards a target.

Boeing said this satellite is more accurate and reliable than older models and it's supposed to last longer -- 12 years.

The Space Coast has another launch, right around the corner this weekend.

A lot of people are excited for the SpaceX launch, set for 8:35 p.m. on Sunday. On board, its Dragon capsule is cargo for the International Space Station. It's the first of at least 12 contracted missions SpaceX has with NASA.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

3301 Views

Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2012 - 10:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Schwarze Gefahr auf dem Mars? (Vielleicht)

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You are 200 miles directly above the Martian surface — looking down. This image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. (The color was added later.) What do we see? Well, sand, mostly. As you scroll down, there's a ridge crossing through the image, then a plain, then dunes, but keep looking. You will notice, when you get to the dunes, there are little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows. Can you see them?

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What are those things? They were first seen in 1998; they don't look like anything we have here on Earth. To this day, no one is sure what they are, but we now know this: They come, then they go. Every Martian spring, they appear out of nowhere, showing up — 70 percent of the time — where they were the year before. They pop up suddenly, sometimes overnight. When winter comes, they vanish.
As the sun gets hotter, they get more spidery. Here's a closer image — like the one above, this gorgeous print was created by the photographer Michael Benson, just published in his new book, Planetfall. It shows two mounds of sand. The spidery thingies, you'll notice, stay on the rises, not on the flat sandy plains.
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What could they be? Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, from Hungary, from the European Space Agency have all proposed explanations; the leading one is so weird, it's transformed my idea of what it's like to be on Mars. For 20 years, I've thought the planet to be magnificently desolate, a dead zone, painted rouge. But imagine this: Every spring, the sun beats down on a southern region of Mars, morning light melts the surface, warms up the ground below, and a thin, underground layer of frozen CO2 turns suddenly into a roaring gas, expands, and carrying rock and ice, rushes up through breaks in the rock, exploding into the Martian air. Geysers shoot up in odd places. It feels random, like being surprise attacked by an monstrous, underground fountain. Here's what it might look like:
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"If you were there," says Phil Christensen of Arizona State University, "you'd be standing on a slab of carbon dioxide ice. All around you, roaring jets of carbon dioxide gas are throwing sand and dust a couple hundred feet into the air." The ground below would be rumbling. You'd feel it in your spaceboots.
That, anyway, is the leading explanation.The spidery traces that you see in Michael's two prints might be clumps of dark, basaltic sand thrown from the geysers. Or — say a group of Hungarian scientists — they might be colonies of photosynthetic Martian microorganisms, warmed from the sun, now sunbathing in plain view. We still don't know for sure.We've been watching those spider-patches come and go for the last decade or so, and for a little while longer, we will have to guess why they're there, or what they're telling us.
We'll have to keep looking.
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Quelle:npr / NASA

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