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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 21:10 Uhr

Astronomie - Mondsichel über Odenwald

Am frühen Abend über dem Odenwald:

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Fotos: ©-hjkc


Tags: Astronomie - Mondsichel über Odenwald 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 20:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Oxygen ions may be an easy-to-track sign of life on exoplanets

18.02.2018

Depending, of course, on whether anything but life can generate a lot of oxygen.

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The search for extraterrestrial life is fairly synonymous with the search for life as we know it. We're just not that imaginative—when looking for other planets that could host life, we don’t know what to look for, exactly, if not Earth-like conditions. Everything we know about life comes from life on Earth.

But conditions that clearly favor life here—liquid water, surface oxygen, ozone in the stratosphere, possibly a magnetic field—may not necessarily be prerequisites for its development elsewhere. Conversely, their presence does not guarantee life, either. So what can we look for that's an indication of life?

Skip the dwarfs

Most (about seventy percent) of the stars in our Galaxy are M dwarf stars, and many of them have associated planets. The search for signs of life has largely focused on these planets, primarily because there are so many of them. However, the environments do not seem to be especially welcoming. Because M dwarf stars are dim, the hospitable zones around them are very close to the star. As a result, the planets get stuck in a gravitational lock: their orbital period and their rotational period are the same. This means that (just like our moon) these planets always have the same hemisphere facing their sun.

In addition to light, this perpetual-day side is constantly barraged with X-rays and extreme ultraviolet radiation, and the whole planet is subject to forces that would drive off its atmosphere. Could life thrive, or even ever get a toehold, in this type of environment? “The long-term evolutionary consequences of such conditions are topics of active debate,” writes astronomy PhD candidate Paul Dalba in a recent Perspective piece in Nature Astronomy.

Instead of looking for life among the many Earth-size planets orbiting M dwarfs, Dalba suggests we look at the Earth-size planets orbiting Sun-like (G-type) stars. There are only about 10 percent as many of these, but he thinks they might be better bets. And instead of looking for conditions that might support life, Dalba suggests looking for biosignatures. Specifically, atomic O+ ions at about 300km up.

The atmospheres of Earth and other planets contain neutral gas molecules, but also the ions and free electrons that result when these neutral gases absorb photons from the Sun. Many of those ions accumulate in (surprise!) the ionosphere. Earth’s ionosphere—and crucially, within the Solar System, only Earth’s ionosphere—has these atomic O+ ions. Like a lot of them, they account for over 90 percent of the ionic species up there.

Oxygen and life

Like Earth, Venus and Mars are small rocky planets; they have permanent atmospheres like Earth, and their atmospheres are exposed to the same solar radiation as Earth’s. Data from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter and the Viking descent probe on Mars show that they have very similar ionospheres to each other—which don’t contain a lot of atomic O+ ions. Know what else Venus and Mars are missing? Photosynthesis.

Dalba’s contention is that photosynthesis on a planet’s surface, which generates a surfeit of molecular oxygen, is the only thing that can account for these atomic O+ ions in a planet’s ionosphere. The mere existence of life throws a planet’s atmosphere out of chemical balance. O+would be a neat biomarker because there isn’t a numerical cutoff required—just the dominance of O+ among the ionic species in the upper atmosphere would indicate “thriving global biological activity” on the planet below.

Dalba claims that Venus and Mars act as negative controls, demonstrating that planets like Earth but lacking life don’t have this O+ layer. Some may think that continuous volcanic activity on the surface could also generate enough oxygen, but Dalba doesn’t. Chemistry involving water and UV light can also release oxygen. But the amount of water on Earth is insufficient to account for the requisite oxygen content, so he thinks that the presence of water on other planets wouldn’t make enough oxygen there either.

Alas, at this point we don’t yet have the technology to assess the ionosphere of exoplanets for such a biosignature. Dalba concludes his piece with a plea to “the optical and radio remote sensing communities” to get to work on inventing the detectors that might be up to the task.

Quelle: arsTechnica


Tags: Astronomie - Oxygen ions may be an easy-to-track sign of life on exoplanets 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 20:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Asteroid “Time Capsules” May Help Explain How Life Started on Earth

18.02.2018

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Nicolas Hud, director of the NSF-NASA Center for Chemical Evolution at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Hud was a panelist at a press briefing “Asteroids for Research, Discovery, and Commerce” at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (Credit: Fitrah Hamid, Georgia Tech)

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In popular culture, asteroids play the role of apocalyptic threat, get blamed for wiping out the dinosaurs – and offer an extraterrestrial source for mineral mining. 

But for researcher Nicholas Hud, asteroids play an entirely different role: that of time capsules showing what molecules originally existed in our solar system. Having that information gives scientists the starting point they need to reconstruct the complex pathway that got life started on Earth.

Director of the NSF-NASA Center for Chemical Evolution at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Hud says finding molecules in asteroids provides the strongest evidence that such compounds were present on the Earth before life formed. Knowing what molecules were present helps establish the initial conditions that led to the formation of amino acids and related compounds that, in turn, came together to form peptides, small protein-like molecules that may have kicked off life on this planet.

“We can look to the asteroids to help us understand what chemistry is possible in the universe,” said Hud. “It’s important for us to study materials from asteroids and meteorites, the smaller versions of asteroids that fall to Earth, to test the validity of our models for how molecules in them could have helped give rise to life. We also need to catalog the molecules from asteroids and meteorites because there might be compounds there that we had not even considered important for starting life.”

Hud was a panelist at a press briefing “Asteroids for Research, Discovery, and Commerce” February 17 at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Austin, Texas. 

NASA scientists have been analyzing compounds found in asteroids and meteorites for decades, and their work provides a solid understanding for what might have been present when the Earth itself was formed, Hud says.

“If you model a prebiotic chemical reaction in the laboratory, scientists can argue about whether or not you had the right starting materials,” said Hud. “Detection of a molecule in an asteroid or meteorite is about the only evidence everyone will accept for that molecule being prebiotic. It’s something we can really lean on.”

The Miller-Urey experiment, conducted in 1952 to simulate conditions believed to have existed on the early Earth, produced more than 20 different amino acids, organic compounds that are the building blocks for peptides. The experiment was kicked off by sparks inside a flask containing water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen, all materials believed to have existed in the atmosphere when the Earth was very young.

Since the Miller-Urey experiment, scientists have demonstrated the feasibility of other chemical pathways to amino acids and compounds necessary for life. In Hud’s laboratory, for instance, researchers used cycles of alternating wet and dry conditions to create complex organic molecules over time. Under such conditions, amino acids and hydroxy acids, compounds that differ chemically by just a single atom, could have formed short peptides that led to the formation of larger and more complex molecules – ultimately exhibiting properties that we now associate with biological molecules.

“We now have a really good way to synthesize peptides with amino acids and hydroxy acids working together that could have been common on the early Earth,” he said. “Even today, hydroxy acids are found with amino acids in living organisms – and in some meteorite samples that have been examined.”

Hud believes there are many possible ways that the molecules of life could have formed. Life could have gotten started with molecules that are less sophisticated and less efficient than what we see today. Like life itself, these molecules could have evolved over time.

“What we find is that these compounds can form molecules that look a lot like modern peptides, except in the backbone that is holding the units together,” said Hud. “The overall structure can be very similar and would be easier to make, though it doesn’t have the ability to fold into as complex structures as modern proteins. There is a tradeoff between the simplicity of forming these molecules and how close these molecules are to those found in contemporary life.”

Geologists believe the Earth was very different billions of years ago. Instead of continents, there were islands protruding from the oceans. Even the sun was different, producing less light but more cosmic rays – which could have helped power the protein-forming chemical reactions.

“The islands could have been potential incubators for life, with molecules raining down from the atmosphere,” Hud said. “We think the key process that would have allowed these molecules to go to the next stage is a wet-dry cycling like what we are doing in the lab. That would have been perfect for an island out in the ocean.”

Rather than a single spark of life, the molecules could have evolved slowly over time in gradual progression that may have taken place at different rates in different locations, perhaps simultaneously. Different components of cells, for example, may have developed separately where conditions favored them before they ultimately came together.

“There is something very special about peptides, nucleic acids, polysaccharides and lipids and their ability to work together to do something they couldn’t have done separately,” he said. “And there could have been any number of chemical processes on the early Earth that never led to life.”

Knowing what conditions were like on the early Earth therefore gives scientists a stronger foundation for hypothesizing what could have taken place, and could offer hints to other pathways that may not have been considered yet. 

“There are probably a lot more clues in the asteroids about what molecules were really there,” said Hud. “We may not even know what we should be looking for in these asteroids, but by looking at what molecules we find, we can ask different and more questions about how they could have helped get life started.”

Quelle: Research News
Georgia Institute of Technology
177 North Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia  30332-0181  USA


Tags: Astronomie - Asteroid “Time Capsules” May Help Explain How Life Started on Earth 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 16:00 Uhr

Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-38

Spektakuläre Sonnenuntergänge sowie Wolken sind in unserer Atmosphäre immer wieder zu sehen

und oft sind es nur Minuten welche ein Farbenspiel am Himmel zaubern. 

Nachfolgende Timeline Aufnahmen wurden bei Sonnenuntergang Juni 2007 über Mannheim aufgenommen:

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Fotos: ©-hjkc


Tags: Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-38 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 11:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - SKY7 spots stealthy space startup testing its rocket in Alameda

18.02.2018

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They're being "awfully" quiet about it -- quieter than we are, anyway.

People around the Alameda Naval Air Station told us it was the sound of SKY7 overhead that made them look around and notice a strange sight.

"I heard helicopters, and when I look behind me, I see a giant truck with a huge missile on it," said Faction Brewing employee Madeleine Tonzi.

The truck had just left the runway at the Naval Air Station, and was heading toward a building the Navy once used to test jet engines. We caught up with it and learned it belongs to a startup that doesn't have a name yet -- in fact, an employee cheerfully answered the phone by saying, "Stealth space!" when we called.

A member of the team who spoke to us outside the former Navy building told us the startup is an aerospace research and development firm that employs about a hundred people in Alameda. Other than that, the company's not ready to say much more.

"It's exciting to see what's going on with the private aerospace industry," said St. George Spirits master distiller Lance Winters, who hadn't noticed that a rocket was being tested just across the fence from his tasting room. "To see it this close to home is even more exciting."

Though the company isn't saying much to the press, it's talking a lot with local officials. A lease application filed with the City of Alameda gives some clues about what's in the works: a rocket called Astra that the company claims is the world's smallest.

The document includes a scale diagram showing its diminutive size and capacity compared to other rockets: The SpaceX Falcon Heavy, with a payload capacity of about 56,000 kg dwarfs the Astra rocket, which is made to carry only 100 kg -- a rocket aimed at launching the new generation of small satellites, the document says.

"I'd be excited to see that," Tonzi said. "I was kind of bummed that i missed out on the Elon Musk (SpaceX) launch."

Based on the images from SKY7, the early morning activity at Alameda Naval Air Station appears to have been a ground test, not a launch -- and left black char marks on the concrete pavement. The company told us it works closely with Alameda's fire department, city officials and the Navy, and ultimately wants to work with schools as it turns the former Naval base into a space technology hub.

An influx of space innovation could mean an influx of cash for businesses already at the Naval Air Station. Sales of Faction Brewing's Stratas-Beer could skyrocket, and St. George Spirits could see stellar growth.

"I couldn't see getting on top of a rocket and blasting into space without a couple of good gin martinis in my belly," Winters said.

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Quelle: SKY7


Tags: Raumfahrt - SKY7 spots stealthy space startup testing its rocket in Alameda 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 10:20 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ESA´s zukünftige Ariane 6 -Update-4

15.09.2017

First Ariane 6 contract: Arianespace to orbit four Galileo satellites on two Ariane 62 launches

Arianespace will launch four new satellites for the Galileo constellation, using two Ariane 62 versions of the next-generation Ariane 6 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. 

The contract will be conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) on behalf of the European Commission (DG Growth) and the European Union.

Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Verhoef, Director of Navigation at the European Space Agency (ESA), signed the launch contract for four new satellites to join the European satellite navigation system Galileo. The contract will be conducted by ESA on behalf of the European Commission (DG Growth).

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These launches are planned between the end of 2020 and mid-2021, using two Ariane 62 launchers – the configuration of Europe’s new-generation launch vehicle that is best suited for the targeted orbit. The contract also provides for the possibility of using the Soyuz launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center, if needed.

Both missions will carry a pair of Galileo spacecraft to continue the constellation deployment for Europe’s satellite-based navigation system. The satellites, each weighing approximately 750 kg., will be placed in medium earth orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 23,222 kilometers and be part of the Galileo satellite navigation constellation.

Galileo is the first joint infrastructure financed by the European Union, which also will be the owner. The Galileo system incorporates innovative technologies developed in Europe for the greater benefit of citizens worldwide.

A total of 18 Galileo satellites already are in orbit. Fourteen of these satellites were launched two at a time by Soyuz launchers, with the last four orbited on a single Ariane 5 ES mission in November 2016. Two more Ariane 5 ES missions are planned on December 12, 2017 and in the summer of 2018.

Following the signature of this latest contract, Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said: “Arianespace is especially proud to have won this first launch contract for the Ariane 6 from its loyal customers and partners, the European Commission (DG Growth) and ESA. We are very pleased to have earned this expression of trust from the European Commission; by choosing to continue the deployment of the Galileo constellation with two Ariane 62 launches, they become the first confirmed customer for our next-generation heavy launcher, which is slated to make its initial flight in the summer of 2020. Through this decision, which adds two additional launches to follow the already-scheduled Ariane 5 ES flights, the European Commission and ESA are clearly indicating a key commitment to Arianespace’s next generation of launchers, which reaffirms more than ever its mission to ensure Europe’s autonomous access to space.”

About Arianespace 

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 550 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 17 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

Quelle: arianespace

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Update: 17.09.2017

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GALILEOS SET TO FLY ON ARIANE 6

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Twin-booster Ariane 6
15 September 2017

Four of the latest set of Galileo navigation satellites will be launched on Ariane 6 rockets – ESA’s first contract to use Europe’s new vehicle.

The launches are scheduled between the end of 2020 and mid-2021, using two Ariane 62 rockets – the configuration of Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle that is best suited to haul the two 750 kg navigation satellites into their orbits at 23 222 km altitude.

Under development, Ariane 6 is Europe’s newest launcher, designed to extend guaranteed access to space for Europe at a competitive price. It will operate in two configurations, depending on customer needs: Ariane 62 is fitted with two strap-on boosters while Ariane 64 has four. 

“Ariane 6 is not only in full development, but it will soon be put to use,” notes Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s Director of Space Transportation. “This contract is a key step in the upcoming ramp-up phase of Ariane 6.”

The Galileos have so far either been launched in pairs by Soyuz from French Guiana or in fours by Ariane 5.

A new Ariane 5 flight is scheduled for the end of this year, to add four more satellites to the 18-strong constellation already in orbit. This month saw the arrival of the first elements of the rocket in French Guiana, transported aboard the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off ship.

The contract specifies the decision to use Ariane 62 is subject to the vehicle’s development schedule, with Soyuz available as an alternative. A final choice will be made at the end of 2018, two years before the first launch.

Galileo is Europe’s own satellite navigation system, providing an array of positioning, navigation and timing services to Europe and the world.

A further eight Galileo ‘Batch 3’ satellites were ordered last June, to supplement the 26 built so far.

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Galileo satellites

With 18 satellites now in orbit, Galileo began initial services on 15 December 2016, the first step towards full operations.

Further launches will continue to build the constellation, which will gradually improve system performance and availability worldwide.

The launch contract with Arianespace was signed by Paul Verhoef, ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities, and Stéphane Israel, Arianespace’s Chief Executive Officer. ESA signed the contract on behalf of the EU represented by the European Commission – Galileo’s owner. The Commission and ESA have a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.

Quelle: ESA
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Update: 15.10.2017
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ROCKET MOTOR FOR ARIANE 6 AND VEGA-C IS CAST FOR TESTING

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Inert propellant pours into P120C
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The first full-scale model of the rocket motor that will propel Ariane 6 and Vega-C into orbit has been cast and filled with inert propellant for testing at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The P120C is the largest solid-propellant rocket motor ever built in one segment.

Each P120C will hold over 140 tonnes of propellant in a carbon fibre casing almost 11.5 m long and about 3.4 m in diameter. It is derived from Vega’s current first stage motor, the P80, which holds 88 tonnes of propellant. 

The design builds on existing expertise and lessons learned with Vega’s P80, and it increases Vega performance with Vega-C. Two or four P120Cs will be strapped onto Ariane 6 as boosters for liftoff.

The model casing, shipped this summer from Avio in Italy, took about 36 hours to fill with inert propellant blended at Europe’s launch base in Kourou.

Using non-ignitable fluid that has a similar density to the real propellant meant that engineers could safely test all the new equipment and procedures.

Filled and sealed, the fluid in the casing could stabilise, cool and harden – the curing process – which took 10 days. 

Further tests on the motor, now horizontal, will confirm that it is ready to be integrated with other structures in January.

These tests are a step towards casting active propellant in November with a P120C development motor that will be static fired in April.

Vega-C is expected to debut in mid-2019, increasing performance from Vega’s current 1.5 t to about 2.2 t in a reference 700 km polar orbit.

Ariane 6’s maiden flight is planned for 2020. This new launch vehicle will be gradually phased in to succeed Ariane 5.

Quelle: ESA

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Update: 4.12.2017

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ARIANE 6 - A REALITY IN KOUROU

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At Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, Ariane 6 is now a reality with the launch zone taking shape.Indeed there is no time to lose for the future European launcher since its first launch is planned for July 2020.But the independent access to space for Europe is at stake along with its leading role on the launcher market.This A&B Roll shows the status of Ariane 6 launch zone in Kourou with latest drone images and an interview with Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at ESA in English, German and French
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Quelle: ESA
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Update: 19.12.2017
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ArianeGroup to start production of the first Ariane 62
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Paris, France (SPX) Dec 19, 2017

With the successful conclusion of Maturity Gate 6.2, ArianeGroup and its industrial partners are moving into an important new phase in the development of Ariane 6, a flagship European Space Agency (ESA) program. This review confirmed that the industrial process of Ariane 6 is mature enough to start construction of the first launcher, in line with the program's objectives.

Ariane 6 is specifically designed to be able to respond to evolving market demands. It will be a versatile, modular, competitive launcher, available in two versions, Ariane 62 and Ariane 64, in order to guarantee the continuity of European access to space.

"Starting the production of the first launcher just three years after the decision of ESA Member States to launch the Ariane 6 program in December 2014 is a major step forward," said Alain Charmeau, CEO of ArianeGroup.

"This once again demonstrates the efficiency of the industrial process put in place for the development, production and operation of Ariane 6. The industry is thus meeting its commitments to serve all future Ariane 6 customers, in ESA-coordinated national and European institutions, which are currently preparing the operational launch phase with our subsidiary, Arianespace".

This milestone follows on from Maturity Gate 6.1 last April, which validated the technical, industrial and programming characteristics of Ariane 6, enabling launcher development to continue at the anticipated rate. The positive conclusion of this milestone thus made it possible to launch the production of the Ariane 6 ground qualification models.

At the same time, the European Space Agency is preparing to put the launcher into operation. A review called "Exploitation Readiness Key Point" (ERKP) analyzes in detail all the aspects associated with the commercialization and mass production of Ariane 6 launchers. The conclusions are expected in March 2018.

As the industrial lead contractor for development and operation of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including more than 350 Small and Medium Enterprises. The ArianeGroup subsidiary Arianespace is responsible for the commercialization of Ariane 6.

Quelle: SD

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Update: 25.01.2018

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SUCCESSFUL FIRST TEST FOR THE ARIANE 6 VULCAIN ENGINE

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Quelle: arianegroup

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Update: 18.02.2018

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140 SUCCESSFUL TESTS AND SEVERAL “FIRSTS” FOR VINCI, THE ENGINE FOR ARIANE 62 DAYS AGO |  4 MINUTES

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  • The re-ignitable Vinci® engine will power the upper stage of Ariane 6, whose first flight is scheduled for 2020
  • 140 bench tests and major “firsts”: 20 “boosts” accumulated in a single test of 300 seconds, 1,569 seconds of operation in a single test
  • Vinci’s operational flexibility allows for a wide range of missions, including the deployment of satellite constellations

The re-ignitable Vinci®, engine, which will power the upper stage of the Ariane 6 launcher, has now successfully completed its last two subsystems qualification campaigns (M6 and M7) with 140 engine tests conducted. The tests in campaigns M6 and M7, vital for qualification of the engine subsystems, were carried out on the PF52 bench at the ArianeGroup site in Vernon, France, and on the German Aerospace Center DLR’s P4.1 bench in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

A total of 25 tests (16 for M6 and 9 for M7) were carried out under nominal conditions, and include three major performance “firsts”:

  • a test of 1,569 seconds – an unprecedented duration,
  • a series of 20 successful boosts (1 ignition followed by 19 engine re-ignitions), totaling an operating duration of 300 seconds,
  • a continuous burn of 800 seconds in “high operation”, i.e. at the maximum thrust for which the engine is designed.

The purpose of these tests was also to test the Vinci® engine beyond its operational requirements, as it will only require ignition a maximum of 4 times during its missions, with a maximum burn time of 900 seconds in flight.

Valérie de Korver, Product Manager Vinci® Propulsion System at ArianeGroup, said: “These campaigns went particularly smoothly and we demonstrated considerable margins with respect to the flight requirements, in particular thanks to a new ignition system and we successfully achieved a number of firsts, such as performing 20 boosts in a single test. This is a major step in demonstrating the ability of the Vinci engine to meet the versatility demands of the Ariane 6 launcher. It is also a new and major milestone for the program and for the teams, who are well aware of the challenges faced in these campaigns and who are always intensely committed to ensuring their success.”

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The Vinci® engine was developed by ArianeGroup for Ariane 6 and provides the future European launcher with extreme versatility.

Its main feature is its multiple ignition capability: Vinci® will be able to re-ignite in flight as many times as necessary, in order to place several payloads in orbit at different locations, according to the specific needs of the mission. This engine will enable Ariane 6 to carry out all types of missions, regardless of duration and target orbit, particularly the deployment of satellite constellations, for which demand will continue to grow.

Ariane 6 engine testing is continuing apace. This further success follows on from the first successful test on 13 January in Lampoldshausen, Germany, of the Vulcain 2.1® engine which will power the launcher’s main stage. These tests enabled the engine to be tested throughout its flight envelope, whether in terms of thrust, mix ratio, or propellant supply conditions.

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Quelle: arianegroup

 


Tags: Raumfahrt - ESA´s zukünftige Ariane 6 -Update-4 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 10:10 Uhr

Astronomie - Supermassive Black Holes Are Outgrowing Their Galaxies

18.02.2018

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    • Two new studies suggest that the black holes grow more rapidly than the galaxies they inhabit.

    • This challenges the long-held idea that supermassive black holes grow in lockstep with their galaxies.

    • Researchers used deep datasets from Chandra and other telescopes, including Hubble, to make these new discoveries.

  • It is still unknown exactly why the most massive black holes would grow more quickly and this will continue to be an active area of research.

 

The growth of the biggest black holes in the Universe is outrunning the rate of formation of stars in the galaxies they inhabit, according to two new studies using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes and described in our latest press release.

In this graphic an image from the Chandra Deep Field-South is shown. The Chandra image (blue) is the deepest ever obtained in X-rays. It has been combined with an optical and infrared image from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), colored red, green, and blue. Each Chandra source is produced by hot gas falling towards a supermassive black hole in the center of the host galaxy, as depicted in the artist's illustration.

One team of researchers, led by Guang Yang at Penn State, calculated the ratio between a supermassive black hole's growth rate and the growth rate of stars in its host galaxy and found it is much higher for more massive galaxies. For galaxies containing about 100 billion solar masses worth of stars, the ratio is about ten times higher than it is for galaxies containing about 10 billion solar masses worth of stars.

Using large amounts of data from Chandra, HST and other observatories, Yang and his colleagues studied the growth rate of black holes in galaxies at distances of 4.3 to 12.2 billion light years from Earth. The X-ray data included the Chandra Deep Field-South and North surveys and the COSMOS-Legacy surveys.

Another group of scientists, led by Mar Mezcua of the Institute of Space Sciences in Spain, independently studied 72 galaxies located at the center of galaxy clusters at distances ranging up to about 3.5 billion light years from Earth and compared their properties in X-ray and radio waves. Their work indicates that the black hole masses were about ten times larger than masses estimated by another method using the assumption that the black holes and galaxies grew in tandem.

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Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Optical: NASA/STScI, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
 

The Mezcua study used X-ray data from Chandra and radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array. One object in their sample is the large galaxy in the center of the Hercules galaxy cluster. The image shown above includes Chandra data (purple), VLA data (blue) and HST optical data (appearing white).

Two papers describing these results have been accepted in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS). The work by Mezcua et al. was published in the February 2018 issue MNRAS (available online: https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.10268). The paper by Yang et al. will appear in its April 2018 issue (available online: https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.09399).

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.

 

Fast Facts for Chandra Deep Field South :
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn. State/G. Yang et al & NASA/CXC/ICE/M. Mezcua et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Illustration: NASA/CXC/A. Jubett
Release Date  February 15, 2018
Scale  Image is 9.25 arcsec (About 574,000 light years) across;
Category  Cosmology/Deep Fields/X-ray Background, Black Holes
Constellation  Fornax
Observation Date  54 pointings between Oct 15, 1999 to Jul 22, 2010
Observation Time  1111 hours 6 minutes (46 days 7 hours 6 min)
Obs. ID  441, 581-582, 1431, 1672, 2239, 2312-2313, 2405-2406, 2409, 8591-8597, 9575, 9578, 9593, 9596, 9718, 12043-12055, 12123, 12128-12129, 12135, 12137-12138, 12213, 12218-12220, 12222-12223, 12227, 12230-12234
Instrument  ACIS
References  "Linking black hole growth with host galaxies: the accretion-stellar mass relation and its cosmic evolution",G. Yang et al., 2018, MNRAS, 475, 1887. arXiv:1710.09399 "The most massive black holes on the Fundamental Plane of Black Hole Accretion", M. Mazcua et al., 2018, MNRAS, 474, 1342. arXiv:1710.10268
Color Code  X-ray (Blue); IR (Red, Green); Optical (Green, Blue)
IR
Optical
X-ray
Distance Estimate  Range of about 12.7 - 12.9 billion light years

Quelle: NASA


Tags: Astronomie - Supermassive Black Holes Are Outgrowing Their Galaxies 

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Sonntag, 18. Februar 2018 - 10:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - OHB expands activities in the NewSpace sector with the founding of Blue Horizon Deutschland

18.02.2018

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Bremen – With the founding of Blue Horizon Germany, Bremen-based space and technology group OHB SE is broadening its activities in the New Space sector. In April 2017, the listed company founded the start-up Blue Horizon in Luxembourg – as a company intended to substantiate the vision of enabling sustainable living in outer space and revitalising desolated landscapes on Earth. Both are enabled by technologies and processes from the field of “life sciences”.

At the Luxembourg site, Blue Horizon is currently working intensively on bids for research into autonomous ecosystems on the Moon (Cubehab), biological water monitoring systems (Aquahab), and the execution of biological experiments in zero gravity (Biosat) with a staff of three employees.

At the Bremen site, Blue Horizon Deutschland is researching biological techniques to ensure plant growth on Moon and Mars rock with a staff of five employees. "We have a great deal of experience in this area," says Klaus Slenzka, Chief Scientist at Blue Horizon. “Already in 2010, OHB succeeded in growing higher plants on lunar rocks using suitable biological technology. These applied biological techniques can be used 1 to 1 to green on the deserts.” A cooperation with scientists in China, who work on this topic in Inner Mongolia, is on the way.

“Blue Horizon is a logical step forward in the development of our activities. We see great business potential in life sciences in space, which particularly follows OHB’s practical approach of engaging in useful space activities that benefit life on Earth,” said Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB SE. “A great deal of expertise from the subsidiary companies of OHB will flow into these NewSpace companies. This is a great advantage because it enables us to get going straight away. I am therefore convinced that we will be successful with our endeavours very soon.”

Quelle: OHB

Tags: Raumfahrt - OHB expands activities in the NewSpace sector with the founding of Blue Horizon Deutschland 

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Samstag, 17. Februar 2018 - 17:30 Uhr

Astronomie - Americans would welcome alien life rather than fear it

17.02.2018

U.S. volunteers were pretty positive about the hypothetical discovery of E.T.

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ITSY BITSY ALIENS Americans would probably welcome the discovery of microbial alien life.

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AUSTIN, Texas — If alien microbes crash-land on Earth, they may get a warm welcome.

When people were asked how they would react to the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, they give generally positive responses, researchers reported at a news conference February 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This suggests that if microbial life is found on Mars, Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus (SN: 5/13/17, p. 6) or elsewhere in the solar system, “we’ll take the news rather well,” said Michael Varnum, a social psychologist at Arizona State University in Tempe. What’s more, the tone of news reports announcing potential evidence for intelligent aliens suggests people would welcome that news, too.

Varnum and colleagues asked about 500 online volunteers — all in the United States — to describe how they would react if they learned scientists had discovered alien microbes. Varnum’s team analyzed each response using software that determined the fraction of words indicating positive emotion, such as “nice,” and negative emotion, like “worried.” The program also scanned for reward- and risk-focused words, such as “benefit” and “danger.”

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MARTIAN MICROBES In 1996, a Martian meteorite (top) made headlines when researchers reported it might have harbored microbial alien life (bottom) — a claim that has not found widespread support among the scientific community.

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People generally used more positive and reward-oriented words than negative and risk-oriented ones to describe their anticipated reactions. The same held true when participants were asked how they expected everyone else to take the news.

In another study, Varnum’s team asked about 500 U.S.-based volunteers to read one of two newspaper articles. One from 1996 reported the discovery of evidence for fossilized Martian microbes in a meteorite (SN: 8/10/96, p. 84). In the second, researchers announced in 2010 that they had created a synthetic bacterial cell in the lab (SN: 6/19/10, p. 5).

Both groups responded favorably to the articles, but the people who read about Martian microbes had a more positive reaction. This suggests that while people feel good about discoveries of any previously unknown life-forms, they are particularly keen on finding aliens, Varnum says.

But “any finding that comes from one population — like Americans — you have to take with a grain of salt,” Varnum says. He and his colleagues now hope to gather responses from participants of different cultures, to compare how people across the globe would take the news of alien microbes. 

Psychologist and SETI researcher Douglas Vakoch, who heads the nonprofit organization Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence in San Francisco, suggests researchers also gauge reactions to different scenarios of alien microbial discovery. The Martian meteorite described in the 1996 article “has been on Earth for a long time and nothing bad has happened,” says Vakoch, who wasn’t involved in the work. “That’s a really safe scenario.” But, he wonders, are people as gung-ho about the prospect of finding live microbes on other planets or aboard meteorites? 

And what if the aliens were intelligent? “If you find intelligent life elsewhere, [you] know that you’re not the only kid on the block,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. Knowing that human intelligence isn’t so special after all could provoke a much different emotional response than finding mere microbes “like pond scum in space,” Shostak says.

To get a sense of how people would feel about finding intelligent aliens, Varnum analyzed reports that the interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spaceship (SN Online: 12/18/17). The news articles took a largely positive angle. So the broader public might also take kindly to the discovery of little green men, Varnum says. 

Quelle: ScienceNews

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The future of humans' relationship with space and alien life

Are we alone in the universe? How well will be deal with alien life? ASU's Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Michael Varnum and Paul Davies share insights at AAAS meeting

As humans reach out technologically to see if there are other life forms in the universe, one important question needs to be answered: When we make contact, how are we going to handle it? Will we feel threatened and react in horror? Will we embrace it? Will we even understand it? Or, will we shrug it off as another thing we have to deal with in our increasingly fast-paced world?

“If we came face to face with life outside of Earth, we would actually be pretty upbeat about it,” said Michael Varnum, Arizona State University assistant professor of psychology. “So far, there’s been a lot of speculation about how we might respond to this kind of news, but until now, almost no systematic empirical research.”

In a pilot study, Varnum and his colleagues analyzed language in newspaper articles about past potential extraterrestrial life discoveries. Through the work, Varnum aimed to address the nature of reactions to extraterrestrial life by analyzing reactions using a software program that quantifies emotions, feelings, drives and other psychological states in written texts.

Varnum was scheduled to present his findings during a press briefing on the future for humanity in space Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Austin, Texas.

Also presenting was Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, co-chair of ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative and principal investigator of the NASA Discovery Mission Psyche, who was scheduled to talk on the future for humanity in space; and Paul Davies, ASU Regents' Professor in the Department of Physics and director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

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Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Paul Davies and Michael Varnum address the press at a briefing at the AAAS annual meeting in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 16. Photo by Leslie Minton/ASU
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The articles in Varnum's pilot study focused on the 1996 discovery of possibly fossilized extraterrestrial Martian microbes; the 2015 discovery of periodic dimming around Tabby’s Star, thought to indicate the presence of an artificially constructed “Dyson sphere”; and the 2017 discovery of Earth-like exoplanets in the habitable zone of a star. The pilot study found that language in the coverage of these events showed significantly more positive than negative emotions.

In a separate study, the team asked more than 500 different participants to write about their own hypothetical reactions and humanity’s hypothetical reaction to an announcement that extraterrestrial microbial life had been discovered. Participants’ responses also showed significantly more positive than negative emotions, both when contemplating their own reactions and those of humanity as a whole.

“I would have some excitement about the news,” one participant said. “It would be exciting even if it was a primitive form."

In another study, Varnum’s group presented an additional sample of more than 500 people with past news coverage of scientific discoveries and asked them to write about their reactions. The participants were divided into two groups. In one group, participants read a past article from The New York Times describing possible evidence of ancient microbial life on a Mars meteorite. The second group of participants read an article from the Times describing the claimed creation in a lab of synthetic human-made life. Here too, the team found evidence of significantly more positive than negative emotions in responses to the claimed discovery of extraterrestrial life, and this effect was stronger in response to reading about extraterrestrial life than human-made synthetic life.

"This discovery shows that other planets have the ability to have life on them,” a participant said. “It’s a very interesting and exciting finding that could be only the beginning.”

In unpublished results presented at the conference, Varnum analyzed recent media coverage of the possibility that the interstellar Oumuamua asteroid might actually be a spaceship. Here too, he found evidence of more positive than negative emotions, suggesting that we may also react positively to the news of the discovery of evidence of intelligent life from elsewhere in the universe.

Varnum said the studies show that “taken together, this suggests if we find out we’re not alone, we’ll take the news rather well.”

The results of the first three studies were published Jan. 10 in Frontiers in Psychology and analysis of reactions to Oumuamua were presented at AAAS for the first time. ASU doctoral students Hannah Bercovici and Jung Yul Kwon, and ASU alumna Katja Cunningham, assisted Varnum in the research.

Paul Davies and the origins of life

Are we alone in the universe? Few questions have captured the public imagination more than this. Yet to date we know of just one sample of life, that which exists here on Earth.

Although there is plenty of habitable real estate out there, “habitable” is not the same as “inhabited,” says noted cosmologist Davies. Because nobody knows how non-life transitioned to life on Earth, it is impossible to estimate the odds of it springing forth elsewhere in the universe.

Davies will present his findings during an AAAS press briefing Feb. 16. 

“During my career, opinion has shifted from life’s origin being a bizarre fluke unique in the universe (‘almost a miracle’ in the words of Francis Crick), to the belief that the universe is teeming with life (‘a cosmic imperative’ in the words of Christian de Duve),” Davies said. “How can we settle the matter? For several decades astronomers have been sweeping the skies with radio telescopes hoping to stumble across a message from ET. So far they have been met by an ‘eerie silence.’”

“Meanwhile, astrobiologists have considered how signatures of microbial life might be detectable in the solar system or in the atmospheres of extra-solar planets,” Davies added. “If life really does form readily in Earth-like conditions, it should have started many times right here on Earth, so we should look for a ‘shadow biosphere’ of life, but not as we know it, under our very noses.’”

Davies is a cosmologist, theoretical physicist, astrobiologist and best-selling author. His latest book "The Eerie Silence” is a celebration and critique of the search for cosmic company.

Davies is a member of the Breakthrough Listen Committee and formerly chaired the SETI Post-Detection Task group of the International Academy of Astronautics. He was the first person to champion the idea that life on Earth may have originated on Mars and transferred here in impact ejecta. Davies is director of the Beyond Center at ASU that researches how life began in terms of the organization of information in complex networks — the software of life. His forthcoming book “The Demon in the Machine” is a penetrating look at the power of information to explain the physics of living matter.

Lindy Elkins-Tanton and the future for humanity in space

Given a growing eagerness to open space-related commodity and travel markets, it is clear that the future of humans in space will be very different from the past. Technological advancement has driven the discussion so far, but new questions are beginning to emerge as federally funded research universities and companies such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin expand the frontiers of space travel.

At the briefing, Elkins-Tanton was to introduce ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative, a public-private-university partnership seeking to build the future of humans in space. She also provided an update on the ASU-led NASA Psyche Mission.

The briefing included opening remarks for the symposium "Is There a Future for Humanity in Space?" which is scheduled for 10 a.m. (CST) Saturday, Feb. 17.

The symposium, moderated by Elkins-Tanton, will include Varnum and Davies, as well as Blue Origin business development manager Erika Wagner. Varnum will give a talk called, “What Happens When Everyone Finds Out?” and Davies will speak on "The Search for Life Beyond Earth."

The panel will address the constellation of issues that democratization of space brings to the fore, including how governments will compete to ensure geographically distributed space access; how going into space may change humanity; and how the space industry will integrate these questions with their bottom lines. Speakers will also consider the role of NASA in stewarding the future of space travel. Session attendees will engage in a discussion about how scientists, students, policymakers, ethicists, lawyers and interested members of the public may participate in shaping a democratized space future.

“We believe that humanity’s future in space is inevitable. To get there, we must create a critical mass of people who are attracted to the unknown, seek out unsolved problems, and are willing and able to find solutions,” said Elkins-Tanton.

Quelle: ASU New American University


Tags: Astronomie - Americans would welcome alien life rather than fear it 

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Samstag, 17. Februar 2018 - 17:20 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Startvorbereitung von Atlas-V mit NOAAs GOES-S weather satellite

8.01.2018

NOAA's GOES-S weather satellite, slated for 2018 launch, arrives at KSC

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An Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy delivers the NOAA's latest weather satellite to Kennedy Space Center on Monday.

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A rocket from the same Atlas V family launched its $1 billion forerunner in 2016, also known as GOES-R, and was designated GOES-16 after coming online. GOES-S will follow the same pattern and become GOES-17 after achieving the intended orbit and completing tests.

Quelle: Florida Today

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Update: 30.01.2018

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NASA Invites Media to Upcoming NOAA GOES-S Satellite Launch

goes-r-rendering

This illustration depicts NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S), which is scheduled to launch March 1 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicles for the GOES-R Series program.
Credits: Lockheed Martin

Media accreditation is open for the launch Thursday, March 1, of the second in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) series of next-generation geostationary weather satellites.

 

NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) is scheduled to launch at 5:02 p.m. EST on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. GOES-S is the second in the GOES-R Series of weather satellites that includes GOES-R (now GOES-16), -S, -T and -U.

 

Media prelaunch and launch activities will take place at CCAFS and NASA’s neighboring Kennedy Space Center. International media without U.S. citizenship must apply by 4:30 p.m.Tuesday, Feb. 13, for access to Kennedy media activities only. U.S. media must apply by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19. All media accreditation requests should be submitted online at:

 

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov/

 

For questions about accreditation, please email ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. For other questions, or additional information, contact Kennedy’s newsroom at 321-867-2468.

 

GOES-S will be renamed GOES-17 when it reaches geostationary orbit. Once the satellite is declared operational late this year, it will occupy NOAA’s GOES-West position and provide faster, more accurate data for tracking wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other storm systems and hazards that threaten the western United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Central America and part of South America.

 

NOAA manages the GOES-R Series program through an integrated NOAA/NASA office and oversees the acquisition of the program ground system. NASA oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicles. Lockheed Martin Space of Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft and is responsible for spacecraft development, integration and testing.

 

Mission operations will be performed by NOAA at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland. Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Florida, provided the main instrument payload, the Advanced Baseline Imager, and the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data receipt. NASA’s Launch Services Program is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is the provider of the Atlas V launch service.

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 31.01.2018

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Atlas V to Launch GOES-S

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  • Rocket: Atlas V 541
  • Mission: Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S)
  • Launch Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018
  • Launch Time: 5:02 p.m. EST
  • Live Broadcast: Look for how you can watch live
  • Launch Location: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Mission Description: GOES-S is the second of four satellites to be launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a new and advanced series of spacecraft. Once in geostationary orbit, it will be known as GOES-17. Like the other satellites in the series, GOES-S carries a suite of sophisticated Earth-sensing, lightning-detecting, solar imaging and space weather monitoring instruments. The advanced technology on board GOES-S will provide critical data and imagery in near-real time on severe weather events such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes and flash floods, as well as hazards like fog, aerosols, dust storms, volcanic eruptions and forest fires.

Launch Notes:
ULA and our heritage rockets have launched all of the operational GOES satellites, including GOES-R in November 2016. GOES-S marks the sixth Atlas V to launch in the 541 configuration, the first of which was the rocket that launched NASA’s Curiosity rover to Mars in 2011.

Quelle: ULA

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Update: 9.02.2018

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Rocket Launch: March 1, 2018 5:02 PM EST | ULA Atlas V GOES-S

Mar 01, 2018 05:02 PM Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Space Launch Complex 41ULA Atlas V GOES-S

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MISSION

United Launch Alliance (ULA) will launch the GOES-S mission on an Atlas V rocket to place the GOES-S weather satellite in orbit for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Built by Lockheed Martin, GOES-S is the second in a series of four advanced geostationary weather satellites. Atlas V will fly in the 541 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, four solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.  

Quelle: Kennedy Space Center

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Update: 17.02.2018

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GOES-S weather observatory hoisted atop Atlas 5 rocket

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NOAA’s GOES-S weather satellite. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NOAA’s next geostationary weather satellite, GOES-S, was raised on top of an Atlas 5 launcher Friday at Cape Canaveral in preparation for liftoff March 1 to keep watch over the Pacific Ocean and the Western United States.

Fully fueled for a planned 15-year mission in space, the roughly 11,500-pound (5,200-kilogram) GOES-S spacecraft arrived at the base of the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad early Friday after a road trip from the nearby Astrotech satellite processing facility in Titusville, Florida.

Cranes hoisted the satellite, already encapsulated inside the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5’s Swiss-built nose cone, atop the two-stage rocket inside the vertical hangar, a NASA spokesperson said.

The addition of the GOES-S satellite completes assembly of the Atlas 5 rocket. Ground crews began stacking the rocket Jan. 31 with the mounting of the Atlas 5’s first stage on a mobile platform inside the VIF, then added four solid rocket boosters and a Centaur upper stage cocooned inside the payload fairing’s lower section.

ULA technicians accomplished a combined systems test after assembling the major components of the rocket, and further testing of electrical interfaces between the Atlas 5 and the GOES-S satellite are planned next week.

A launch readiness review Feb. 27 will give approval to roll the Atlas 5 rocket from the VIF to the launch pad, assuming all launcher, spacecraft, range and ground systems are ready. The rollout is scheduled for the morning of Feb. 28, followed by filling of the Atlas 5’s first stage with RP-1 kerosene fuel.

The ULA launch team will load super-cold liquid oxygen into the first stage, and a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen mixture into the Centaur upper stage, during the March 1 countdown. The two-hour launch window opens at 5:02 p.m. EST (2202 GMT).

The Atlas 5 rocket will deploy the GOES-S satellite into an elliptical transfer orbit more than three hours after liftoff. The Lockheed Martin-built spacecraft will maneuver into a circular geostationary orbit a few weeks later, taking position nearly 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) over the equator, where its velocity will match Earth’s rotation, giving its weather instruments an uninterrupted view of same segment of the planet.

GOES-S will be renamed GOES-17 after launch, joining a sister satellite named GOES-16 that launched in November 2016, also aboard an Atlas 5 rocket.

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File photo of the GOES-R satellite, the predecessor to GOES-S, being lifted atop its Atlas 5 rocket before launch in November 2016. Credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

After several months of in-orbit testing, NOAA will take control of the satellite and press it into service at 137 degrees west longitude to cover the Pacific Ocean and the Western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The GOES-16 satellite began regular weather observations in December after a year-long test campaign, watching the Eastern United States and hurricane zones in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

The new GOES-R satellite series, which includes two more spacecraft set for launch in 2020 and 2024, replace NOAA’s aging weather sentinels in geostationary orbit.

“When it launches March 1 and becomes operational later this year, GOES-S will see the west in true high-definition, and along with the remaining satellites in our GOES-R series, will extend the life of NOAA’s geostationary satellite constellation through 2036,” said Tim Walsh, acting director of NOAA’s GOES-R program.

Once both operational, GOES-16 and GOES-17 — known as GOES-R and GOES-S before their launch — will give weather forecasters an enhanced view of weather patterns across the Western Hemisphere, from New Zealand, across the Americas to West Africa, and almost from pole to pole.

The upgraded GOES satellites provide higher-resolution imagery with an advanced imaging camera that can help forecasters distinguish between clouds, snow cover, fog, smoke and volcanic ash in the atmosphere. The new GOES satellites will return imagery up to five times more often than NOAA’s previous meteorological observers in geostationary orbit.

“These satellites are giving us the ability to look at storms as often as every 30 seconds, allowing forecasters to see storms as they’re developing instead of as they’ve already happened,” Walsh said.

Forecasters will use the new satellites to help track hurricanes, severe storms, lightning strikes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions and ground fog.

The GOES-16 satellite covering the U.S. East Coast and Atlantic Ocean is already proving its value, NOAA officials said.

“For many decades, NOAA satellites have been the backbone of our weather and climate forecasts, but as we’ve already seen with GOES-16, the GOES-R series is a quantum leap above any of its predecessors,” said Ajay Mehta, acting deputy assistant administrator for systems at NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service.

“GOES-16, even beyond its spectacular imagery, is already proving to be a game-changer with much more refined, higher quality data for faster and more accurate weather forecasts and warnings,” Mehta said in a conference call with reporters earlier this month. “This means more lives are saved and better environmental intelligence for state and local officials, who, for example, may need to make decisions about when to call for evacuations ahead of life-threatening wildfires.”

Quelle: SN

 

 

Tags: Launch Atlas-V mit NOAAs GOES-S weather satellite Raumfahrt - Startvorbereitung von Atlas-V mit NOAA's GOES-S weather satellite 

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