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Sonntag, 5. Februar 2017 - 19:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - GEBRAUCHTE SPACEX BOOSTER SET VOR HISTORISCHEN 1. REFLIGHT

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SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage previously flown to space is test fired at the firms McGregor, TX rocket development facility in late January 2017. Credit: SpaceX

The first orbit class rocket that will ever be reflown to launch a second payload to space was successfully test fired by SpaceX engineers at the firms Texas test facility last week.

The once fanciful dream of rocket recycling is now closer than ever to becoming reality, after successful completion of the static fire test on a test stand in McGregor, Texas, paved the path to relaunch, SpaceX announced via twitter. 

The history making first ever reuse mission of a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage booster equipped with 9 Merlin 1D engines could blastoff as soon as March 2017 from the Florida Space Coast with the SES-10 telecommunications satellite, if all goes well.

The booster to be recycled was initially launched in April 2016 for NASA on the CRS-8 resupply mission under contract for the space agency.

“Prepping to fly again — recovered CRS-8 first stage completed a static fire test at our McGregor, TX rocket development facility last week,” SpaceX reported.

The CRS-8 Falcon 9 first stage booster successfully delivered a SpaceX cargo Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2016. 

The Falcon 9 first stage was recovered about 8 minutes after liftoff via a propulsive soft landing on an ocean going droneship in the Atlantic Ocean some 400 miles (600 km) off the US East coast. 

First launch of flight-proven Falcon 9 first stage will use CRS-8 booster that delivered Dragon to the International Space Station in April 2016. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX, founded by billionaire and CEO Elon Musk, inked a deal in August 2016 with telecommunications giant SES, to refly a ‘Flight-Proven’ Falcon 9 booster.

Luxembourg-based SES and Hawthrone, CA-based SpaceX jointly announced the agreement to “launch SES-10 on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster.” 

Exactly how much money SES will save by utilizing a recycled rocket is not known. But SpaceX officials have been quoted as saying the savings could be between 10 to 30 percent. 

The SES-10 launch on a recycled Falcon 9 booster was originally targeted to take place before the end of 2016. 

That was the plan until another Falcon 9 exploded unexpectedly on the ground at SpaceX’s Florida launch pad 40 during a routine prelaunch static fire test on Sept. 1 that completed destroyed the rocket and its $200 million Amos-6 commercial payload on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Sept. 1 launch pad disaster heavily damaged the SpaceX pad and launch infrastructure facilities at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Aerial view of pad and strongback damage at SpaceX Launch Complex-40 as seen from the VAB roof on Sept. 8, 2016 after fueling test explosion destroyed the Falcon 9 rocket and AMOS-6 payload at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on Sept. 1, 2016. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

Pad 40 is still out of commission as a result of the catastrophe. Few details about the pad damage and repair work have been released by SpaceX and it is not known when pad 40 will again be certified to resume launch operations. 

Therefore SpaceX ramped up preparations to launch Falcon 9’s from the firms other pad on the Florida Space Coast – namely historic Launch Complex 39A which the company leased from NASA in 2014.

SpaceX is repurposing historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida for launches of the Falcon 9 rocket. Ongoing pad preparation by work crews is seen in this current view taken on Jan. 27, 2017. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

Pad 39A is being repurposed by SpaceX to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. It was previously used by NASA for more than four decades to launch Space Shuttles and Apollo moon rockets. 

But SES-10 is currently third in line to launch atop a Falcon 9 from pad 39A. 

The historic first launch of a Falcon 9 from pad 39A is currently slated for no earlier than Feb. 14 on the CRS-10 resupply mission for NASA to the ISS – as reported here. 

The EchoStar 23 comsat is slated to launch next, currently no earlier than Feb 28. 

SES-10 will follow – if both flights go well. 

SpaceX successfully launched SES-9 for SES in March 2016. 

Sunset blastoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying SES-9 communications satellite from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

Last July, SpaceX engineers conducted a test firing of another recovered booster as part of series of test examining long life endurance testing. It involved igniting all nine used first stage Merlin 1D engines housed at the base of a used landed rocket. 

The Falcon 9 first stage generates over 1.71 million pounds of thrust when all nine Merlin engines fire up on the test stand for a duration of up to three minutes – the same as for an actual launch.

Watch the engine test in this SpaceX video:

Video Caption: Falcon 9 first stage from May 2016 JCSAT mission was test fired, full duration, at SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas rocket development facility on July 28, 2016. Credit: SpaceX

SES-10 satellite mission artwork. Credit: SES

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. 

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster moving along the Port Canaveral channel atop droneship platform with cruise ship in background nears ground docking facility on June 2, 2016 following Thaicom-8 launch on May 27, 2016.

Quelle: UT


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Sonntag, 5. Februar 2017 - 19:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Radioteleskop Arecibo vor dem Ende?

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Giant Arecibo telescope faces closure

After 53 years, many discoveries and starring roles in movies, funds for the Puerto Rico observatory are under threat

It has helped guard our planet from the threat of wayward asteroids, studied some of the most remote bodies in the cosmos and been used to make countless invaluable astronomical discoveries. For good measure, the Arecibo radio telescope, one of the world’s largest observatories, provided the setting for the spectacular dispatch of evil agent Alec Trevelyan (played by Sean Bean) at the hands of James Bond (then played by Piers Brosnan) in the film GoldenEye.

But now the great radio telescope is facing closure. Despite being one of the most powerful instruments of its kind in the world, the Arecibo, which is based in Puerto Rico but funded by US science agencies, is facing the axe, a victim of federal budget cuts.

Arecibo’s annual running costs of around $12m are currently met by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), which provides $8m for the telescope to be used to carry out astronomical research, while Nasa, which employs the telescope to survey the sky for asteroids that might collide with Earth, provides the other $4m. The space agency says it is willing to continue making its contribution but insists that it cannot increase its funding beyond that level.

However, the foundation, which supports basic science projects in the US, has been operating on a capped budget for the past six years and says it now has to find money to fund a crop of new astronomical observatories that are about to come on line. These include the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is now being built in Chile.

Scientists had acknowledged that something would have to be dropped from the foundation’s list of astronomical projects to make way for these new observatories. However, they were stunned to discover that the Arecibo, which also featured in the sci-fi alien encounter film Contact, starring Jodie Foster, was on the hit-list of telescopes being considered for closure.

“We have been given five choices,” said Nicholas White, senior vice-president of the Universities Space Research Association, which helps to manage Arecibo for the NSF. “We can keep Arecibo going; find another funder; turn it into a educational facility – in other words transform it into a museum; mothball it; or demolish it.”

 

However, the NSF has made it clear it lacks the cash to keep on funding the observatory. “We have tried the next best thing – to find new partners to fund Arecibo but it is proving very difficult to get people interested,” White told the Observer.

“All the other options would require the Arecibo to halt its current work and either become a museum or be mothballed or dismantled. From that perspective, the situation looks grim.”

Arecibo, which has a collecting dish 305m wide, was the largest radio telescope in the world until last year when the Chinese opened their 500m Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in Dawodang in southwest China. The instruments share a common feature, however: both nestle in natural depressions or sinkholes in the ground.

This has allowed engineers to construct vast dishes, supported by the rocks below, for collecting radio waves. Normal steerable dishes, such as Britain’s Jodrell Bank, have dishes that have to be supported by metal struts, which limits their size, though such telescopes have greater flexibility in terms of steering and pointing.

Arecibo was opened in 1964 and has since been used to make a host of groundbreaking discoveries. For example, in 1974 it was employed by Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor, of Princeton University, New Jersey, to pinpoint a pair of neutron stars or pulsars in orbit round each other. The discovery, the first of a pulsar binary, was of immense importance in understanding gravitational theory and earned the pair the 1993 Nobel prize for physics.

In the same year, Arecibo was used to transmit a signal, now known as the Arecibo message, which carried basic information about humanity, directed to the star cluster known as M13, in the hope that an extraterrestrial civilisation might pick it up and decipher it.

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Watch a clip from GoldenEye, featuring the Arecibo Observatory.

More recently, Arecibo has played a key role in studying a new class of celestial events known as fast radio bursts, split-second blasts of radio waves that appear in the sky having travelled billions of light years across the cosmos. These were discovered 10 years ago and their cause remains a mystery. However, astronomers insist that the Arecibo is the perfect instrument to study them.

In addition, the Arecibo is one of the key instruments that form part of the Nanograv consortium, which uses several radio telescopes round the globe to study pulsars and aims to use these observations to detect and study gravitational waves. Without Arecibo, that work would be badly handicapped, they say.

The NSF is expected to release its final report on the future of Arecibo in May. This will include an environmental impact study that will even highlight the amount and type of explosive that will be required to demolish the observatory, should that be deemed to be its fate.

For their part, astronomers remain hopeful that the telescope can be saved. “Arecibo has a future,” its director, Francisco Cordova, told Nature recently. “However, it will be a different future.”

Quelle: theguardian

 

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Sonntag, 5. Februar 2017 - 17:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - 1991 Space-Shuttle STS-39 Discovery Mission

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STS-39
 
 
Mission: Department of Defense, AFP-675; IBSS; SPAS-II
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Launch Pad: 39A 
Launch Weight: 247,373 pounds
Launched: April 28, 1991, 7:33:14 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: May 6, 1991, 2:55:37 p.m. EDT
Landing Weight: 211,512 pounds
Runway: 15 
Rollout Distance: 9,235 feet
Rollout Time: 56 seconds
Revolution: 134
Mission Duration: 8 days, 7 hours, 22 minutes, 23 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 190 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 57 degrees
Miles Traveled: 3.5 million 

Crew Members

                   STS-39 Crew Photo

Image above: STS-39 Crew photo with Commander Michael L. Coats, Pilot L. Blaine Hammond, Mission Specialists Guion S. Bluford Jr.Gregory J. HarbaughRichard J. HiebDonald R. McMonagle and Charles L. Veach. Image Credit: NASA 

Launch Highlights

STS-39 Mission PatchThe launch was originally scheduled for March 9, but during processing work at Pad A, significant cracks were found on all four lug hinges on the two external tank umbilical door drive mechanisms. NASA managers opted to roll back the vehicle to the VAB on March 7, and then to OPF for repair. Hinges were replaced with units taken from orbiter Columbia, and reinforced. Discovery returned to the pad on April 1, launch was re-set for April 23. The mission was again postponed when, during prelaunch external tank loading, a transducer on the high-pressure oxidizer turbopump for main engine number three showed readings out of specification. The transducer and its cable harness were replaced and tested. Launch was rescheduled for April 28.

Mission Highlights

Dedicated Department of Defense mission. An unclassified payload included Air Force Program-675 (AFP675); Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS) with Critical Ionization Velocity (CIV), Chemical Release Observation (CRO) and Shuttle Pallet Satellite-II (SPAS-II) experiments; and Space Test Payload-1 (STP-1). Classified payload consisted of Multi-Purpose Release Canister (MPEC). Also on board was Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) and Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems-IA (CLOUDS-I).
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STS-39 | Shuttle: Discovery | Launch: April 28, 1991
From left to right: Charles L. Veach (mission specialist), Donald R. McMonagle (mission specialist), Gregory J. Harbaugh (mission specialist), Michael L. Coats (commander), L. Blaine Hammond (pilot), Richard J. Hieb(mission specialist) Guion S. Bluford, Jr. (mission specialist)
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After almost two months of delays, Discovery roars into orbit on 28 April 1991, 25 years ago, this week. Her STS-39 mission marked the longest shuttle flight ever conducted for the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de
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The Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS), attached to a deployable Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), was one of the principal payloads aboard STS-39. The eight-day flight was the longest shuttle mission ever conducted in support of the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de
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"Aurora from Space" STS-39 Crew, NASA
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Explanation: A background of distant stars, sinuous and spiky bands of Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), and the faint glow of charged plasma (ionized atomic gas) surrounding the Space Shuttle Discovery's engines give this photo from the STS-39 mission an eerie, otherworldly look. This image reflects Discovery's April 1991 mission well - its payload bay (PLB) was filled with instruments designed to study celestial objects, aurora and atmospheric phenomena, and the low Earth orbit environment around the PLB itself. The aurora seen here are at a height of about 50-80 miles. Aurora are caused by charged particles in the solar wind, channeled through the Earth's magnetic field which excite molecules in the upper atmosphere.
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Quelle: NASA

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Sonntag, 5. Februar 2017 - 09:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Anatomie eines Trümmer-Vorfalls bei ESAs Swarm Mission

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Swarm is ESA's first Earth observation constellation of satellites. The three identical satellites are launched together on one rocket. Two satellites orbit almost side-by-side at the same altitude - initially at about 460 km, descending to around 300 km over the lifetime of the mission. The third satellite is in a higher orbit of 530 km and at a slightly different inclination. The satellites' orbits drift, resulting in the upper satellite crossing the path of the lower two at an angle of 90 in the third year of operations. The different orbits along with satellites' various instruments optimise the sampling in space and time, distinguishing between the effects of different sources and strengths of magnetism. The three-satellite Swarm mission aims to unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field. The field protects our planet from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in 'solar winds'. Without this protective shield, the atmosphere as we know it would not exist, rendering life on Earth virtually impossible. By analysing the different characteristics of the field, the mission will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet to weather in space caused by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening. Swarm is ESA's fourth Earth Explorer mission, following GOCE, SMOS and CryoSat. Image courtesy ESA-P. Carril, 2013.

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A space debris avoidance manoeuvre planned for ESA's Swarm mission proved unnecessary last week, but the close encounter highlighted the growing risk from space debris. It's an increasingly common occurrence: ESA's Space Debris Office starts monitoring a piece of debris - there are over 22 000 tracked in space now - that could pass near one of the Agency's satellites.

Additional tracking data indicate the object - maybe a chunk of some old satellite already long abandoned - might pass too close, within the 'risk threshold' that surrounds each active spacecraft.

Upon closer look, uncertainty in the object's track combined with uncertainty in the satellite's orbit mean that a collision cannot be excluded. The only solution is for mission controllers to boost the satellite out of harms' way. It's time to take action.

Conjunction alert

This is exactly what happened on 24 January, when space debris experts at ESA's mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, alerted the Swarm flight control team that one of their three satellites, Swarm-B, would have a close call from a 15 cm chunk of the former Cosmos 375.

Launched in 2013, the trio of Swarm satellites are measuring and untangling the different magnetic fields that stem from Earth's core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.

The close encounter between Swarm-B and the debris was forecast to take place on 25 January at 23:11 GMT on the following day.

At that point, a 'team of teams' began taking action to assess the situation, plan a debris avoidance manoeuvre and upload a set of commands to execute the manoeuvre - all before the forecast flyby just 39 hours away.

The situation was complicated by the fact that there were only two communication slots - a radio link established when Swarm-B flies over its ground station at Kiruna, Sweden - prior to the flyby.

Taking action
Following a first coordination meeting on Tuesday morning, engineers from the Swarm mission control team began working with specialists from flight dynamics, from the Space Debris Office and from the Swarm project team at ESA's centre near Rome to prepare the manoeuvre.

Following a detailed analysis by the flight dynamics and space debris experts, it was determined that boosting Swarm-B higher in its orbit by about 35 m would do the trick.

"There was at this point still some uncertainty in our knowledge of the debris object's trajectory, but we were confident that this boost would reduce the risk of a too-near flyby, or even an actual collision, to below the acceptable threshold set by the mission managers," said Holger Krag Head of ESA's Space Debris Office.

The boost would require the satellite to fire its cold-gas thrusters for about 44 seconds.

Flight control engineers used data files provided by flight dynamics to prepare a set of commands for upload to Swarm-B. The craft would be commanded to shut down its science instruments, reorient itself in space, execute the manoeuvre on its own (out of contact with ground) and then reconfigure to resume science, all overnight between 25-26 January, starting around 45 minutes before the encounter.

Just after breakfast on Wednesday morning, 15 hours before the flyby, the commands were uplinked, fully enabled and ready to execute automatically without any further action from mission control.

"This was a good plan, and it had the primary aim of ensuring spacecraft safety now and to provide some good margin against a possible future encounter with this debris object," said Swarm mission manager Rune Floberghagen.

Gathering the latest facts
On Wednesday morning, however, two new batches of information were received. First, during the same ground station communication slot when the manoeuvre commands were being uploaded, Swarm-B also sent down a fresh set of GPS data recorded during the previous 20 hours. The highly precise data provided a record of the satellite's actual current orbit.

"This allowed us to make a fresh orbit determination and prediction, and this could be used to reduce uncertainty in the satellite's position at the forecast conjunction time this evening to very small values," said Detlef Sieg, the flight dynamics specialist assigned to Swarm.

Second, the Space Debris Office received a fresh set of tracking information from the debris tracking radar system operated by the US armed forces, providing new and more precise data on the impending object's orbital trajectory.

"As this was acquired less than 24 hours prior to the forecast conjunction, it had lower uncertainty related to the object's position during the conjunction than previous tracking data," said Klaus Merz an analyst in the Space Debris Office.

Klaus and his team ran a number of detailed manual calculations using the new object tracking data and ESA's own debris assessment software tools, assessing the risk of a collision if the avoidance manoeuvre was performed - and if one was not.

"As a result of the reduced uncertainties in the object's trajectory, the risk of collision is now well below the mission's threshold," said Klaus.

Last chance to abort
Knowing that time was crucial, mission manager Rune Floberghagen asked everyone for their recommendations at a final 'go/no-go' meeting at 10:40 GMT on Wednesday morning.

With close flyby now no longer presenting an unacceptable risk, it was clear the satellite could be left in its current orbit.

"Further, we could confirm that removing the uploaded commands could be done in a very safe way and would have no effect on the continuing operation of Swarm," said spacecraft operations manager Elia Maestroni.

"Therefore the decision was taken to abort the manoeuvre and return the satellite to its usual science-gathering timeline."

And Swarm-B - a marvellous satellite on a vital science mission 500 km above our heads - continued safely on its way, oblivious to all the human activity focused on its wellbeing in the past 36 hours.

The future is now
"In the end, the situation this week turned out not to need a debris avoidance manoeuvre," said Holger.

"While this is the case with the majority of initial alerts, we are nonetheless seeing an increase in the number of avoidance manoeuvres that must be fully executed."

At ESA's Space Debris Office, the number of potential conjunction events that must be analysed for a mission like Swarm is several hundred per year. Of these, typically 10 turn out to be critical and deserve particular attention.

With additional updates leading to improved orbit information - like this one with Swarm-B - most of these occurrences turn out to be false alerts. Ultimately, a typical Earth observation mission has to conduct a collision manoeuvre once or twice a year.

Compared to the situation before 2007 (when a Chinese satellite fragmented in orbit during an antisatellite missile test and before the collision between Iridium-33 and Cosmos-2251 happened), this is roughly a duplication of the avoidance actions.

"This highlights the need for all space-faring organisations to strictly follow debris mitigation guidelines that aim to limit the creation of new debris," said Holger.

"The current space debris situation is already at a 'tipping point' in some orbits. This requires urgent action."

Quelle: SD


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Samstag, 4. Februar 2017 - 19:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Debris-Experiment und Re-Entry von JAXA´s KOUNOTORI6 (HTV6)

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27.01.2017

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The Japanese HTV-6 Resupply Ship

The Japanese HTV-6 resupply ship is pictured just before its release on astronaut Shane Kimbrough’s 100th day in space. Credit: @Astro_Kimbrough

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release a Japanese cargo vehicle at 10:46 a.m. EST. At the time of release, the station was flying 261 statute miles above the south Atlantic Ocean. Earlier, ground controllers used the robotic arm to unberth the cargo craft.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) H-II Transport Vehicle-6 (HTV-6) arrived to the space station Dec. 13, after launching from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan Dec. 9.

The cargo ship will now move to a safe distance below and in front of the station for about a week’s worth of data gathering with a JAXA experiment designed to measure electromagnetic forces using a tether in low-Earth orbit. JAXA is scheduled to deorbit the craft on Feb. 5. Loaded with trash, the vehicle will burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 28.01.2017

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JAXA to try out new technique designed to remove debris from space

 
The Kounotori 6 unmanned cargo spacecraft.

A groundbreaking experiment designed to simulate the removal of debris from space is scheduled to begin in the evening on Jan. 28.

 

The experiment, which will be carried out by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) over a seven-day period, aims to make use of the earth's magnetic field and an electrified tether to slow space debris and make it fall to the earth's atmosphere before safely burning away.

Space debris from old satellites and defunct rocket hulks is a problem for those involved in space exploration. With an estimated 520,000 pieces of waste -- ranging from one centimeter to 10 centimeters or above in size -- there is a real danger of unwanted collisions between pieces of space debris and the International Space Station (ISS) or satellites.

In the experiment, the unmanned cargo spacecraft "Kounotori 6," which was used to resupply the ISS with items such as food and batteries as well as experimental equipment, will represent a piece of space junk. JAXA will attach a metallic rope, known as a "tether," to the spacecraft. By electrifying the extended tether, it is thought that this will cause a reaction with the Earth's magnetic field, which in turn, should create a brake-like force. Consequently, the altitude of the space debris is expected to drop -- due to the Earth's gravitational pull. Once this has occurred, the debris should burn away, as a result of the resulting friction with the air in the Earth's atmosphere.

The "Kounotori 6" separated from the ISS in the early hours of Jan. 28, and JAXA is on the verge of extending the tether -- which is about 700 meters long -- at 10 p.m. on the same day. First of all, it will be seen whether or not the tether will extend properly, and also whether it can carry an electric current. If successful, JAXA will develop a satellite that can attach a tether to space debris further to remove such waste, aiming to put it into actual use around 2025.

"Kounotori 6" was launched into space in December 2016. After this tether related experiment, it is expected to fall back down to the earth's atmosphere and burn up safely.

Quelle: The Mainichi

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Update: 1.02.2017

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Japan's 'space junk' collector in trouble

 
 
Japan's 'space junk' collector in trouble
The 700-meter-long space tether was due to be extended out from a Japanese cargo ship that was launched in December 2016AFP

TOKYO — 

An experimental “space junk” collector designed to pull rubbish from the Earth’s orbit has run into trouble, Japanese scientists said Tuesday, potentially a new embarrassment for Tokyo’s high-tech program.

Over 100 million pieces of garbage are thought to be whizzing around the planet, including cast-off equipment from old satellites and bits of rocket, which experts say pose a growing threat to future space exploration.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are testing an electrodynamic ‘tether’—created with the help of a fishing net company—to slow the junk down and bring it into a lower orbit.

The hope was that the clutter—built up after more than five decades of human space exploration—would enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up harmlessly long before it has a chance to crash to the planet.

About 700 meters in length, the tether was due to be extended out from a cargo ship launched in December carrying supplies for astronauts at the International Space Station.

But JAXA says it is not sure if the tether, made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium, successfully deployed or not.

JAXA will continue trying to remedy the situation before the cargo ship is expected to reenter the atmosphere on Saturday, the agency added.

The trouble comes just two weeks after JAXA had to abort a mission intended to use a mini-rocket to send a satellite into orbit after the spacecraft stopped sending data to ground control shortly after liftoff.

A pricey ultra-high-tech satellite launched in February last year to search for X-rays emanating from black holes and galaxy clusters but was ultimately abandoned after researchers said contact with it had been lost.

Quelle: Japan Today

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Update: 4.02.2017

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地球周回低軌道上のスペースデブリ(Space debris, 以下「デブリ」)を除去するための推進系として、導電性テザー(Electrodynamic Tether,EDT)推進を有望な候補の1つと考えています。EDTは地球磁場との干渉を利用して軌道降下させる燃料不要の高効率な推進系です。デブリ除去実現に向けた最初のステップとして、EDT要素技術実証を行うために当機構ではHTV(こうのとり)を利用したHTV搭載導電性テザー実証実験(Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiments,KITE, "カイト"と呼んでいます)を計画しています。

「こうのとり」の本来のミッションである国際宇宙ステーション(ISS)への物資補給完了後、大気圏再突入までの期間中の7日間を使って、宇宙空間でテザーの伸展や電子源の駆動、電圧発生評価など世界初となる導電性テザーに関する実証実験を行う予定です。

KITE
KITE実験中のこうのとりとKITE実験装置の想像図
 
KITE
KITE構成図
 

HTVの非与圧部背面よりテザーを格納したエンドマスを保持放出機構により放出して、700m級のテザーを伸展します。伸展中及び伸展後のエンドマス運動を、HTVのランデブセンサで計測することで、テザー伸展特性データを取得します。またエンドマス放出時の様子と振動運動の様子はカメラでもモニタします。次にHTV側に搭載した電界放出型電子源から電子を放出することで10mA級のテザー電流を駆動します。テザー電流は電子源制御部で計測します。電子放出に伴うHTV自身の電位変動データおよび相互作用する周囲プラズマ特性データの取得を行うために、静電プローブ機能付き帯電電位モニタを搭載しています。また、発生するローレンツ力を算出するために磁気センサを搭載しています。実証実験後は切断機構によりテザーを切断し、こうのとりは大気圏に再突入します。これら搭載ミッション機器制御及び電源供給を行うために、データ処理装置/電力制御器も搭載しています。

 
KITE
KITE実験の流れ
 

これまで5回の宇宙ステーション補給ミッションに成功している「こうのとり」に実験システムを搭載することで、こうのとりの信頼性の高いセンサや機能、例えばランデブーセンサ、電力、通信インフラ、エンジンなどが利用できるため、専用の小型衛星で実証するよりも信頼性が高く効率的に実証実験が行えます。また、実証機器そのものも、例えばテザー運動の観測に必要なのはランデブセンサ用のリフレクタのみでよいなど、簡易で故障確率を低減した実証機器とすることができました。本実証実験で期待しているベアテザーの伸展・電子収集(電流が流れる)や電子源からの電子放出は無重力、宇宙プラズマ環境を模擬する地上試験が不可能なため、性能確認には実際の宇宙環境での実証が不可欠であり、目標を達成できれば世界初の成果となることが期待されています。

 
KITE
KITE実験中の想像図
 

参考文献

  • Ohkawa, Y., Kawamoto, S., et al.: Preparation for On-Orbit Demonstration of Electrodynamic Tether on HTV, Transactions of JSASS, Aerospace Technology Japan, Vol.14, No. ists30, 2016.
  • Kawamoto, S., Ohkawa, Y., et al.: A Flight Experiment of Electrodynamic Tether Using HTV toward the Realization of Debris Removal, Transactions of JSASS, Aerospace Technology Japan, Vol.14, No. ists30, 2016.
  • Iki,K., Kawamoto, S., et al.: Expected On-orbit Tether Deployment Dynamics on the KITE Mission, Transactions of JSASS, Aerospace Technology Japan, Vol.14, No. ists30, 2016.
  • 大川恭志, 河本聡美: 地球磁場を利用したスペースデブリ除去技術の研究," 応用物理, 第85巻, 第10号, 2016.
  • Okumura, T., Miura, Y., et al.: Development of Potential Monitor and Electron Emitter Module for EDT Experiment on HTV-6, 14th Spacecraft Charging Technology Conference on website, ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, NL, 04-08 APRIL 2016.
  • 壹岐賢太郎,河本聡美,他: HTV搭載導電性テザー実証実験(KITE)におけるテザー伸展停止用ブレーキの開発状況,第59回宇宙科学技術連合講演会,3L18,2015.
  • 井上浩一,平子敬一他: 導電性テザー実証実験計画, 第57回宇宙科学技術連合講演,2013.

導電性テザーの詳細はこちら

デブリ除去システムの詳細はこちら

「こうのとり」の詳細はこちら

 

Quelle: JAXA

 

 

 


946 Views

Samstag, 4. Februar 2017 - 17:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Zweiter Auftritt für Dream Chaser in einem Film, nach Cameo in The Martian

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767 Views

Samstag, 4. Februar 2017 - 16:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 1573-1599

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mr-4416

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1573 (2017-01-08 04:08:12 UTC).

mr-4417

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1573 (2017-01-08 11:51:41 UTC).

mr-4418

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1574 (2017-01-09 08:26:47 UTC).

mr-4419

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1574 (2017-01-09 08:27:54 UTC).

mr-4420

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1575 (2017-01-10 10:02:28 UTC). 

mr-4421

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1576 (2017-01-11 09:59:08 UTC).

mr-4422

Using an onboard focusing process, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) aboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity created this product by merging two to eight images previously taken by the MAHLI, located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm.

Curiosity performed the merge on January 12, 2017, Sol 1577 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 14:25:39 UTC. The focus motor count position was 13750. This number indicates the lens position of the first image that was merged.

The onboard focus merge is sometimes performed on images acquired the same sol as the merge, and sometimes uses pictures obtained on an earlier sol. Focus merging is a method to make a composite of images of the same target acquired at different focus positions to bring all (or, as many as possible) features into focus in a single image. Because the MAHLI focus merge is performed on Mars, it also serves as a means to reduce the number of images sent back to Earth. Each focus merge produces two images: a color, best-focus product and a black-and-white image that scientists can use to estimate focus position for each element of the best focus product. Thus, up to eight images can be merged, reducing the number of images returned to Earth to two. 

mr-4423

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1577 (2017-01-12 11:21:52 UTC).

mr-4424

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1577 (2017-01-12 11:23:05 UTC).

mr-4425

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1577 (2017-01-12 12:59:55 UTC).

mr-4426

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1578 (2017-01-13 11:27:12 UTC).

mr-4427

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1578 (2017-01-13 13:02:47 UTC). 

mr-4428

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1580 (2017-01-15 08:02:47 UTC).

mr-4429

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1580 (2017-01-15 17:08:36 UTC).

mr-4430

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 16, 2017, Sol 1581 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 19:10:22 UTC.

When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13967. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.

Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 

mr-4431

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1582 (2017-01-17 15:44:11 UTC).

mr-4432

Using an onboard focusing process, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) aboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity created this product by merging two to eight images previously taken by the MAHLI, located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm.

Curiosity performed the merge on January 18, 2017, Sol 1583 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 18:42:01 UTC. The focus motor count position was 13578. This number indicates the lens position of the first image that was merged.

The onboard focus merge is sometimes performed on images acquired the same sol as the merge, and sometimes uses pictures obtained on an earlier sol. Focus merging is a method to make a composite of images of the same target acquired at different focus positions to bring all (or, as many as possible) features into focus in a single image. Because the MAHLI focus merge is performed on Mars, it also serves as a means to reduce the number of images sent back to Earth. Each focus merge produces two images: a color, best-focus product and a black-and-white image that scientists can use to estimate focus position for each element of the best focus product. Thus, up to eight images can be merged, reducing the number of images returned to Earth to two. 

mr-4433

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1583 (2017-01-18 14:50:53 UTC).

mr-4434

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1583 (2017-01-18 14:51:20 UTC).

mr-4435

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1584 (2017-01-19 15:37:44 UTC).

mr-4436

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1585 (2017-01-20 16:06:13 UTC).

mr-4437

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1586 (2017-01-21 15:30:02 UTC).

mr-4438

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1586 (2017-01-21 15:30:16 UTC).

mr-4439

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1587 (2017-01-22 19:14:17 UTC).

mr-4440

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1589 (2017-01-24 23:50:05 UTC).

mr-4441

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1590 (2017-01-25 16:15:20 UTC). 

mr-4442

This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1590 (2017-01-25 17:53:27 UTC).

mr-4443

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on January 26, 2017, Sol 1591 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 20:08:49 UTC.

When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12660. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.

Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. 

mr-4444

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1591 (2017-01-27 00:09:00 UTC).

mr-4445 

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1592 (2017-01-28 00:41:25 UTC).

mr-4446

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1593 (2017-01-29 00:43:07 UTC).

mr-4447

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1594 (2017-01-29 18:53:35 UTC).

mr-4448

This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1595 (2017-01-31 00:24:06 UTC).

mr-4449

This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1596 (2017-02-01 02:16:46 UTC).

mr-4450

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1597 (2017-02-02 00:09:17 UTC).

mr-4451

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1598 (2017-02-03 01:12:33 UTC).

mr-4452

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1598 (2017-02-03 01:13:19 UTC).

mr-4453

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1598 (2017-02-03 01:14:03 UTC).

mr-4454

This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1598 (2017-02-03 04:57:34 UTC).

mr-4455

This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Right B (FHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1599 (2017-02-04 01:49:25 UTC).

Quelle: NASA


896 Views

Samstag, 4. Februar 2017 - 13:30 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - UFO-Alarm über Wochen durch Venus

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17.01.2017

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Kurioses aus der Zeitung:

GRÜNSTADT

„UFO“ über Frankenthal war wohl doch fliegende Tonne

Bordbuch des Werbeballons zeigt: Zur Zeit des vermeintlichen „Flugzeug-Abwurfs“ war Freund des Piloten unterwegsballon-frankenthal-a

ballon-frankenthal-aa

 

Das "undefinierbare Fall-Objekt": Der Pilot des Heißluftballons hat jetzt eingeräumt, dass der Ballon entgegen seiner ersten Auskunft am 7. August über Frankenthal unterwegs war. (Foto: fre)

 
 
 
 

Das Rätsel um den bei Bockenheim zufällig fotografierten vermeintlichen Abwurf aus einem Flugzeug hat’s nicht nur eine ZDF-Fernsehsendung geschafft.

Quelle: Rheinpfalz

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UFO-Alarm durch Venus!

Unsere UFO-Meldestelle bekam die letzten Tage mehrere Anrufe sowie E-Mail´s Betreff Beobachtungen von "hellen, grellen und tollen Farben blinkende Licht" am Himmel, ...nö Drohnen, Flugzeuge und Ballons sind das nicht, ...in Feldstecher bunte Sekmente zu sehen, ...bewegt sich provozierend langsam und ein Jet flog vorbei, ...das müssen doch auch andere sehen, ...Planeten sind kleiner und einer steht weiter rechts am Himmel (nach herausfinden der genauen Himmelsrichtung war dies dann Sirius), ...und warum kann man darüber nichts in den  Nachrichten lesen, so ein Anrufer aus Berlin, ...und warum wusste das Planetarium das nicht?

Meldungen kamen aus: Bad-Dürkheim, Karlsruhe, Mosbach, St.Wendel, Konstanz, Berlin, Kassel, Trier, Lübeck, Hof, Augsburg, Groß-Wallstadt.

Da können wir teilweise auch nicht antworten WARUM astronomische Einrichtungen es nicht wissen, aktuelle Sternkarten oder Astro-Programme im PC sollten vorliegen...

Wie auch immer, da sich in den nächsten Tagen die Wetterlage nicht groß ändern wird, sind die klaren Abende und Nächte gegeben und weiter Blick auf Venus und helle Sterne wie Sirius frei:

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2017-01-16-sirius

CENAP-Michelstadt

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Update: 18.01.2017

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HIMMELSKÖRPEREin Ufo zwischen fünf und sieben

vom 18. Januar 2017
Aus der Redaktion der Eckernförder Zeitung

Anwohnerin beobachtet seit Weihnachten ein helles Licht am Himmel. Experten bestätigen: Im Moment ist der Planet Venus gut sichtbar.

ALTENHOF | Immer wenn es dunkel wird, ist es plötzlich da: Ein helles Licht über den Bäumen um das Gut Altenhof. Es ist viel zu hell und scheint viel zu tief für einen Stern. Manchmal bewegt es sich langsam und fast unmerklich ein wenig nach rechts – gen Westen.

„Es ist ein Ufo – eben ein Unbekanntes Flug-Objekt“, sagt Ingrid Koßmann und lacht. Sie wohnt am alten Bahnhof in Altenhof und hat vom Küchenfenster aus einen perfekten Blick auf das Licht. Etwa seit Weihnachten beobachtet die 68-Jährige das Phänomen am Abendhimmel. „Es erscheint immer in der Dämmerung, so gegen 17 Uhr im Moment“, beschreibt sie. Über den Baumwipfeln des Hochseilgartens Altenhof ist es zu sehen. „Es ist plötzlich da. Wie angeknipst“. Koßmann ist amüsiert. Wenn sie in die Küche kommt, kontrolliert sie schon wie selbstverständlich, ob es noch da ist.

Zwei bis drei Stunden bleibt das Objekt, dann wird es wieder „ausgeknipst“. „Manchmal scheint das Licht auch etwas schwächer zu werden“, sagt Koßmann. Aber was verbirgt sich dahinter? „Ein Stern kann es nicht sein, das wüsste ich. Ich bin in diesem Haus aufgewachsen – da war nie ein Stern“, sagt sie. Ihr Lebensgefährte, Walter Bersching (73), bestätigt ihre Beobachtungen. „Eine Drohne kann es auch nicht sein. So lange hält doch kein Akku“, vermutet er. Die Höhe und die Entfernung sind schwer zu schätzen, Fluggeräusche nicht zu hören. Taucht es jeden Tag auf? „Nein, das auch nicht. Manchmal ist es nicht da, aber jetzt seit ein paar Tagen permanent. Weiß der Kuckuck, was das ist“, sagt Koßmann und lacht.

Eine einleuchtende Erklärung für das helle Licht hat Thomas Schröder vom Mediendom und der Sternwarte Kiel. „Das ist unser Nachbarplanet, die Venus“, erklärt er gegenüber der Eckernförder Zeitung. Die Venus ist der Planet, der auf seiner Umlaufbahn der Erdbahn am nächsten kommt. Sie ist nach dem Mond das hellste Gestirn am nächtlichen Himmel und dabei von einer dichten, stets geschlossenen Wolkendecke umgeben. Zur Zeit stehe die halbe Venus am Himmel, erklärt der Experte weiter. „Bis Mitte Februar wird sie, wie man sagt, im größten Glanz am Himmel stehen“, so Schröder. Danach laufe sie zwischen der Sonne und der Erde hindurch und wird für das menschliche Auge unsichtbar. Dann sei die unbeleuchtete Nachtseite zur Erde gerichtet. Bis dahin wird sie zu sehen sein. „Sie wirkt so hell wie ein Landescheinwerfer bei einem Flugzeug“, bestätigt Schröder. 

Dass sie Ingrid Koßmann vorher nicht aufgefallen ist, liegt wohl daran, dass es ständig Bewegung am Himmel gibt. „Planet heißt ja so viel wie Wanderer“, sagt Schröder, Verschiebungen seien an der Tagesordnung. Und noch etwas könne man übrigens in einer sehr klaren Nacht beobachten. Links oberhalb der Venus – viel weniger hell – stehe der Mars. 

Warum sie wie „angeknipst“ erscheint, das könne an der Fokussierung des Auges liegen, meint der Eckernförder Hobby-Astronom Armin Quante. Wenn das Tageslicht schwächer wird, stelle das Auge scharf und man entdecke plötzlich den Planeten , erklärt er. „Die Venus, die auch Abendstern genannt wird, wandert am Himmel entlang, das Licht wird gen Westen wieder schwächer und dann geht sie unter – wie der Mond auch“. Ausgeknipst!

Quelle: shz

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Update: 4.02.2017

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Nach wie vor bekommen wir Meldungen bei unserer UFO-Meldestelle über einen "irre hellen Stern, Scheinwerfer der sich nicht bewegt, blendent strahlender Lichtkranz, im Feldstecher hat es Strukturen, mein Nachbar hat es schon seit Wochen gesehen"!

Und auch über Zeitungs-Redaktionen kommen Anrufe, welche dann bei unserer UFO-Meldestelle landen wie nachfolgende von der Heilbronner Stimme:

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hn-venus-aa

hn-venus-ab

Quelle: Heilbronner Stimme

Nachfolgend Aufnahmen von Venus am Westhimmel nach Sonnenuntergang:

2017-01-ga-venus

2017-01-gaa-venusmars

Quelle: CENAP-Archiv

 


1410 Views

Samstag, 4. Februar 2017 - 12:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - 1991 Space-Shuttle STS-37 Atlantis Mission

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STS-37
 
 
Mission: Gamma Ray Observatory
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39B 
Launch Weight: 255,824 pounds
Launched: April 5, 1991, 9:22:44 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Landing: April 11, 1991, 6:55:29 a.m. PDT
Landing Weight: 190,098 pounds
Runway: 33 
Rollout Distance: 6,364 feet
Rollout Time: 54 seconds
Revolution: 93
Mission Duration: 5 days, 23 hours, 32 minutes, 44 seconds
Return to KSC: April 18, 1991
Orbit Altitude: 248 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Miles Traveled: 2.5 million 

Crew Members

                   STS-37 Crew Photo

Image above: STS-37 Crew photo with Commander Steven R. Nagel, Pilot Kenneth D. Cameron, Mission Specialists Jerry L. RossJay Apt and  Linda M. Godwin. Image Credit: NASA 

Mission Highlights

STS-37 Mission PatchThe primary payload, Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), was deployed on flight day three. The GRO high-gain antenna failed to deploy on command; it was finally freed and manually deployed by Ross and Apt during an unscheduled contingency space walk, the first since April 1985. The following day, two astronauts performed the first scheduled space walk since November 1985 to test means for astronauts to move themselves and equipment about while maintaining planned Space Station Freedom. The GRO science instruments were Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE), Imaging Compton Telescope (COMPTEL), Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) and Oriented Scintillation Spectrometer Experiment (OSSEE). Secondary payloads included Crew and Equipment Translation Aids (CETA), which involved scheduled six-hour space walk by astronauts Ross and Apt (see above); Ascent Particle Monitor (APM); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREX II); Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Bioserve/instrumentation Technology Associates Materials Dispersion Apparatus (BIMDA); Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME Ill); and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.
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Atlantis Launches on the STS-37 Mission

Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off of Launch Pad 39B on the STS-37 mission. The primary payload, Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), was deployed on flight day three of the mission. 
The GRO high-gain antenna failed to deploy on command but was finally freed and manually deployed by Mission Specialists Jerry L. Ross and Jay Apt during an unscheduled contingency space walk, the first since April 1985. 

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Frams von STS-37 Atlantis Mission NASA-Video:

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Quelle: NASA

 


682 Views

Freitag, 3. Februar 2017 - 20:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Hubble Captures Brilliant Star Death in “Rotten Egg” Nebula

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The Calabash Nebula, pictured here — which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 — is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the sun. This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the star going through a rapid transformation from a red giant to a planetary nebula, during which it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space. The recently ejected material is spat out in opposite directions with immense speed — the gas shown in yellow is moving close to one million kilometers per hour (621,371 miles per hour).

Astronomers rarely capture a star in this phase of its evolution because it occurs within the blink of an eye — in astronomical terms. Over the next thousand years the nebula is expected to evolve into a fully-fledged planetary nebula.

The nebula is also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula because it contains a lot of sulphur, an element that, when combined with other elements, smells like a rotten egg — but luckily, it resides over 5,000 light-years away in the constellation of Puppis.

Quelle: NASA


601 Views


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