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  • Candy cravings in space
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Universe Today
Picture the space around Earth filled with tens of thousands of communications satellites. That scenario is slowly coming into being, and it has astronomers concerned. Now, a group of astronomers has written a paper outlining detailed concerns, and how all of these satellites could have a severe, negative impact on ground-based astronomy.

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Spaceflight Now
SpaceX test-fired its next Falcon 9 rocket Friday ahead of a planned launch Monday from Cape Canaveral with 60 more Starlink Internet satellites, days after an international group sounded another warning about the effects of large satellite fleets on astronomy.

Editor’s Note: SpaceX has been extremely active in the space race. Here, Spaceflight Now looks at the company’s latest test launch while also looking at the consequences of satellite constellations, the subject of multiple articles this week.

Associated Press
A cargo ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Saturday, carrying candy and cheese to satisfy the astronauts’ cravings. Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus capsule from the Virginia seashore. The nearly 4-ton shipment should arrive at the orbiting lab Tuesday.

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The Conversation
Last month, SpaceX became the operator of the world’s largest active satellite constellation. As of the end of January, the company had 242 satellites orbiting the planet with plans to launch 42,000 over the next decade.

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The New York Times
In December, a spacecraft named Hope was motionless in the middle of a large clean room on the campus of the University of Colorado, mounted securely on a stand.

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Business Insider ($)
About a dozen homeowners in South Texas’ Boca Chica Village neighborhood have not sold their properties to SpaceX to make way for a planned Starship spaceport.

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Spaceflight Now
The last unflown variant of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 launcher — fitted with a five-meter fairing and a single strap-on solid rocket booster — will carry a pair of U.S. military space surveillance satellites toward geosynchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral late this year.

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Ars Technica
Nearly 10 months after Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024, the space agency has estimated how much its Artemis Program will cost. NASA says it will need an additional $35 billion over the next four years—on top of its existing budget—to develop a Human Landing System to get down to the Moon’s surface from lunar orbit while also accelerating other programs to make the 2024 date.

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ESA
After Solar Orbiter, ESA’s next mission observing the Sun will not be one spacecraft but two: the double satellites making up Proba-3 will fly in formation to cast an artificial solar eclipse, opening up the clearest view yet of the Sun’s faint atmosphere – probing the mysteries of its million degree heat and magnetic eruptions.

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North Carolina State University
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for shielding electronics in military and space exploration technology from ionizing radiation. The new approach is more cost effective than existing techniques, and the secret ingredient is…rust.

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Observer
Earth, this is NASA. Can you please send us some ideas for designing the next moon rover. Over. Last week, NASA announced it is preparing for its latest moon landing by extending an olive branch to the auto industry to design its next lunar rover.

Editor’s Note: Tesla has become one of the most talked-about automobile companies in recent years. Harmon Leon explores whether the company could dominate the space industry too.

CNBC
SpaceX has hired former NASA official William Gerstenmaier, who is reporting to the company’s VP Hans Koenigsmann, people familiar told CNBC.

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NASA
Two U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo jets completed a 3,700-kilometre (2,300-mile) coast-to-coast flight 12 February, delivering NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, its interplanetary cruise stage and “sky crane” descent stage to Cape Canaveral in Florida for final preparations before launch to the red planet on 17 July.

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American Museum of Natural History
Brown dwarfs traversing space together, but separated by billions of miles, puzzle scientists

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Tech Crunch
Launch startup Rocket Lab has been awarded a contract to launch a CubeSat on behalf of NASA for the agency’s CAPSTONE experiment, with the ultimate aim of putting the CAPSTONE CubeSat into cislunar (in the region in between Earth and the Moon) orbit — the same orbit that NASA will eventually use for its Gateway Moon-orbiting space station. The launch is scheduled to take place in 2021.

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International Astronomical Union
In June 2019, the International Astronomical Union expressed concern about the negative impact that the planned mega-constellations of communication satellites may have on astronomical observations and on the pristine appearance of the night sky when observed from a dark region. We here present a summary of the current understanding of the impact of these satellite constellations.

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The Hill
Several media sources indicate that under the FY2021 budget proposal, the Trump administration will propose a nearly $3 billion increase for NASA, with most of the extra money going to building commercially operated lunar landers. By so doing, Trump has decided to go all in for landing the “first woman and the next man” on the moon by 2024.

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EarthSky
Mars is a cold, very dry, desert world. Although it has ice caps of water ice (as well as carbon dioxide ice) and vast amounts of ice below its surface, no liquid water has been found on Mars’ surface. But there might be some. We might just need to look behind large boulders, in springtime.

Editor’s Note: Questions about the possibility of water on Mars have occupied scientists for years. Here EarthSky looks at a new paper on the subject from the Planetary Science Institute, which says it might be possible for a few days a year.

Tech Crunch
SpaceX has moved its Crew Dragon commercial astronaut spacecraft to Florida, the site from which it’ll launch in likely just two to three months if all goes to plan. The Crew Dragon capsule is now going to undergo final testing and checkouts in Florida before its departure from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where it’ll launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard.

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NASA
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying the Solar Orbiter, lifts off Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 11:03 p.m. EST, on Feb. 9, 2020. Solar Orbiter is an international cooperative mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA.

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Space News
SAN FRANCISCO – Iceye, the Finnish radar satellite operator, opened a U.S. office in the San Francisco Bay Area led by Mark Matossian, who managed a series of aerospace programs at Google including the Earth-imaging venture Terra Bella.

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Metro
As it happens, Nasa is hiring astronauts to take part in its upcoming manned missions to the moon and – possibly – even going to Mars. In an announcement this week, the space agency put out a call for budding space travellers to take part in its ‘Artemis’ missions.

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Australian Associated Press
Perth may be one of the most isolated cities in the world but it is about to become a key player in the international space race, thanks to a new robotics centre developed in partnership with NASA.

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TASS
Four representatives of India are beginning their training program at Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in the Star City on February 10, the Center said in a statement on Monday.

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Xinhua
NASA officials on Tuesday broke ground on a new antenna for communicating with the agency’s farthest-flung robotic spacecraft, according to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

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