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Thread: The space flight thread

  1. #81
    Verified VCDS User PetrolDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vreihen View Post
    Speaking of lessons from the 1980's, I'm happy to see this happening.....

    https://apnews.com/f3f2fc24b2494f5b8...aught-in-space
    That reminds me of the (sick) joke at the time:

    Christa McAuliffe had blue eyes. How we know? One blew this way and the other blew that way.

    Very sick, but "of its time"...

  2. #82
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/23/go...eadline-looms/

    Google’s Lunar Xprize to go unclaimed as moonshot deadline looms

    Posted yesterday
    by Darrell Etherington (@etherington)

    Google teamed up with Xprize to sponsor an audacious literal race to the Moon, but sadly the competition will end with no one taking home the grand prize of $30 million. Xprize and Google realized after discussing progress with its five finalist teams that none will be able to make a Moon launch in time for the deadline of the competition, and so the 10-year journey ends somewhat anticlimactically.

    To say that not crowning a winner means the competition ended in failure would be shortsighted and incorrect, however; Google and Xprize’s competition did bring teams close to the dream of launching a private spacecraft to the Moon, and it’s not even necessarily the end yet for the finalists. Xprize is looking at multiple options for keeping the competition alive, including finding a new sponsor post-Google, and even opting to keep the Lunar landing race going as a non-cash competitive venture.

    As Xprize points out, it shouldn’t be entirely surprising to anyone that one of its competitions would end without crowning a clear winner: The whole point is that they’re very hard. The aphorism “it’s about the journey, not the destination” comes to mind, and indeed, with high-stakes innovation competitions designed to encourage pursuit of extra-planetary exploration, it seems like an apt statement.

    XPrize’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Peter H. Diamonds, as well as its CEO Marcus Shingles, penned the following statement explaining the state of the Google Lunar Xprize, as well as the impact it has had thus far – even if it fell short of its lofty goal of Earth’s nearest natural satellite:

    After close consultation with our five finalist Google Lunar XPRIZE teams over the past several months, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the March 31st, 2018 deadline. This literal “moonshot” is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE will go unclaimed.

    We are extraordinarily grateful to Google for enabling this 10-year journey with us and for having the foresight and courage to support and catalyze the commercial space industry, which was the ultimate goal of this competition.

    As a result of this competition, we have sparked the conversation and changed expectations with regard to who can land on the Moon. Many now believe it’s no longer the sole purview of a few government agencies, but now may be achieved by small teams of entrepreneurs, engineers, and innovators from around the world. We are thankful to the teams for their decade of hard work, and acknowledge that a number of our teams are now, finally building flight ready hardware, contracting with launch providers and are close to being able to make their attempt to land on the Moon.

    XPRIZE is exploring a number of ways to proceed from here. This may include finding a new title sponsor to provide a prize purse following in the footsteps of Google’s generosity, or continuing the Lunar XPRIZE as a non-cash competition where we will follow and promote the teams and help celebrate their achievements.

    Even though we are disappointed that we do not have a winner at this time, we are proud of the impact that the Google Lunar XPRIZE has achieved to date. Over the course of this competition:

    1) Teams and the companies that own the teams have raised more than $300 million through corporate sponsorships, government contracts and venture capital, including the largest space-related series A investment of $90 million;

    2) Hundreds of jobs were created and the first commercial space companies were established in India, Malaysia, Israel and Hungary;

    3) Through educational programs, we have engaged hundreds of thousands of young people across the globe, sparking an interest in exploration and STEM fields;

    4) We have also seen regulatory reform: one team received the first-ever payload review approval from the FAA to leave Earth’s orbit in their quest to complete their lunar mission;

    5) We have already awarded more than $6 million in prize money to teams over the course of the competition, in recognition of the milestones they have accomplished; and,

    6) Finally, we have secured global media exposure for our teams, including a recent 32-page feature in National Geographic, a segment on The Today Show, and a 9-part web series, Moon Shot, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, inspiring millions of people around the world with the story of the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

    In conclusion, it’s incredibly difficult to land on the Moon. If every XPRIZE competition we launch has a winner, we are not being audacious enough, and we will continue to launch competitions that are literal or figurative moonshots, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We are inspired by the progress of the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and will continue to support their journey, one way or another, and will be there to help shine the spotlight on them when they achieve that momentous goal.

  3. #83
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    For any tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist who believes that Zuma is still in orbit, here's proof that the gob'ment can't hide anything in orbit.....


    https://skyriddles.wordpress.com/201...lite-is-alive/






    NASA’s Long Dead ‘IMAGE’ Satellite is Alive!

    Over the past week the station has been dedicated to an S-band scan looking for new targets and refreshing the frequency list, triggered by the recent launch of the mysterious ZUMA mission. This tends to be a semi-annual activity as it can eat up a lot of observing resources even with much of the data gathering automated the data reviewing is tedious.Upon reviewing the data from January 20, 2018, I noticed a curve consistent with an satellite in High Earth Orbit (HEO) on 2275.905MHz, darn not ZUMA… This is not uncommon during these searches. So I set to work to identify the source.A quick identity scan using ‘strf’ (sat tools rf) revealed the signal to come from 2000-017A, 26113, called IMAGE.IMAGE ‘Found in Space!’

    Discovery plot above obtained of IMAGE and the first fit attempt that lead to revealing it’s identity.UPDATE: January 26, 2018 – NASA Confirms IMAGE is indeed alive!

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

    IMAGE Calling Home, is Anyone Listening?

    I didn’t think of it much more and went about my data review looking for any evidence of ZUMA. But as I reviewed another chunk of spectrum a bit lower in frequency I was greeted by a much stronger carrier and what appeared to be data side bands.
    The above images shows the data (+ 1.7MHz) at the top of the plot and the carrier centered on 2270.505MHz at the lower end of the plot, there was also a data side band at -1.7MHz, not shown for clarity. With a properly equipped ground station, telemetry would certainly be possible to copy.CLARIFICATION, January 25, 2018 – To help clarify the data side band observations please examine the image below as the classified STSS Demo 2, [2009-052B, 35938], mission in low earth orbit (LEO) also has a data side band on or about IMAGE’s. Note the long duration of the IMAGE data side band corresponding to maximum elevation and closest approach to my ground station vs. the relatively brief one from STSS Demo 2. This can also be seen in the plot above but just is not that clear and no identification of the signals was presented.

    So what was IMAGE? I did a little Googling and discovered that it had been ‘Lost in Space’ since December 18, 2005 after just dropping off the grid suddenly. The mission was designed to image the magnetosphere, more details about that can be found in the press kit.NASA considered the spacecraft a total loss due to a design flaw that manifested while the spacecraft was in its extended mission. The NASA failure review did however conclude that it was possible for the spacecraft to be revived by permitting a ‘Transponder SSPC reset’ after it passed through eclipse in 2007. One must assume that didn’t occur in 2007 and they gave up.IMAGE Still Spinning Near Operational Value

    So with an undead satellite to monitor, I took up the task of collecting more data about it and let the system carry on without me in the search for ZUMA for a few hours. Based on information in the NASA failure report and eoPortal the nominal spin rate of the spacecraft was noted as around 0.5 rpm that’s a period of about 120 seconds. By monitoring with my real-time receiver (see below) I was able to notice both a subtle period in the signal amplitude and frequency that appeared to be coincident.After extracting some of the data from the strf plots, I was able to produce a curve that allowed for the extraction of the present period of the spacecraft as noted in the graph below it is presently about 175 seconds or 0.34 rpm.IMAGE Doppler Data Matches SpaceTrack TLE

    As the day progressed the Doppler data made it crystal clear this was the lost IMAGE mission.
    A fit without performing any fit functions and the curve clearly follows the behaviour of IMAGE’s TLE as provided by SpaceTrack.IMAGE Track from COSPAR 8049

    Below is the tracking plot from my ground station for the pass this data was collected from. As you can see around 17:17UTC on January 20, 2018 it passed right overhead of me creating an impressive signal in my omnidirection search antenna.
    IMAGE Basking in the Sun

    IMAGE was placed into an interesting HEO with a 90 degree inclination. Periodically the spacecraft will enter an eclipse and NASA surmised that this may trigger it to restart and apply power back to the communications system. That appears to have happened! As you will note from the plots below the Sun angles are presently good for IMAGE and it may just stay operational for some time to come.IMAGE Reboot?

    Like ISEE3 is it possible for IMAGE to be rebooted and controlled again? Maybe, as it seems that the main reasons for it not calling home before have resolved themselves at least temporarily.A few major questions remain about the health of the spacecraft:
    • What is the condition of the battery designed to power IMAGE during eclipse?
    • What is the condition of the science payloads? Did the heaters keep working while communication was out?
    • Can IMAGE still accept commands and does it’s telemetry make any sense? I.e. has long years in the harsh space environment damaged the computers and other hardware due to extremes of temperature and radiation?

    At the very least it made for an interesting Saturday afternoon in the radio room.
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    Author: Scott Tilley

    Amateur visual and radio astronomer, radio amateur VE7TIL



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  5. #84
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    ROTFLMAO @ reader comment: When this thing re-enters the atmosphere everyone better disco duck!!!!!

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/astronome...192852945.html


    Astronomers really hate that bright disco ball satellite secretly launched to space

    Miriam Kramer
    Mashable
    January 25, 2018



    On Thursday, the rocket company Rocket Lab announced that it had secretly launched the Humanity Star, a satellite in the shape of a reflective sphere that effectively works as a disco ball and could at times become the brightest object in the night sky.

    The Humanity Star was launched as a way to unite all who see it under the night sky, according to Rocket Lab.

    "The Humanity Star is intended to serve as a focal point for humanity as every single person on Earth will have the opportunity to see and experience it," Rocket Lab said in a statement.

    But certain people on Earth aren't exactly pleased.

    Just after Rocket Lab announced the surprise launch of the satellite, many astronomers tweeted their annoyance that the New Zealand-based company would build and launch this bright object.

    Looking up at the Moon and the planets in the night sky invokes similar feelings of wonder - why do we need this artificial disco ball in orbit? https://t.co/FDxiR7FyQr

    — Meg Schwamb (@megschwamb) January 24, 2018
    This is stupid, vandalizes the night sky and corrupts our view of the cosmos. https://t.co/KkATT35Kf0

    — David Kipping (@david_kipping) January 25, 2018
    An unscientific survey of the astronomy folks I follow suggest they all hate this object. https://t.co/zKP94AqISw

    — M.P. (@OmanReagan) January 24, 2018
    "Looking up at the Moon and the planets in the night sky invokes similar feelings of wonder - why do we need this artificial disco ball in orbit?" planetary scientist Meg Schwamb said in a tweet.

    The Humanity Star isn't expected to stay in orbit for very long, and it won't be visible everywhere.

    The quickly spinning satellite will orbit the Earth every 90 minutes and its orbit should decay in about 9 months, forcing the Humanity Star to harmlessly burn up in the atmosphere. That said, it could create a bit of a headache for astronomers trying to peer deeply out into the cosmos during the time that it's in orbit.

    While this is a great idea, there is the problem that having another bright light in the sky, making light pollution that makes it more difficult to see that Universe.... S https://t.co/OD21gTbnjb

    — DJ Dr JJ Eldridge (@astro_jje) January 24, 2018
    There are already hundreds of satellites you can see with your naked eye. Launching a disco ball as a PR stunt just increases the odds of the Kessler Syndrome making low earth orbit unusable.

    — Andy Howell (@d_a_howell) January 24, 2018
    I agree, it presumably also adds one more piece of optical noise to the sky (how to ruin nice telescope integration time...)

    — Caleb Scharf (@caleb_scharf) January 24, 2018
    Wow. Intentionally bright long-term space graffiti. Thanks a lot, @RocketLab. https://t.co/jvYBvQGyW3

    — Mike Brown (@plutokiller) January 24, 2018
    Agree, this is an awful idea. Besides: ISS is naked eye when visible. It’s been done. Judging by the past couple decades: putting bright shiny thing in orbit =/= awe and world peace.

    — Eric Mamajek (@EricMamajek) January 25, 2018
    David Kipping, an astronomer who hunts for planets outside of our solar system, made the point that the satellite could create some serious problems if he's trying to catch sight of one of those elusive planets as the Humanity Star flies through his field of view.

    it's supposed to be the brightest thing in the sky, i'd be pretty annoyed if this thing passed through my field whilst observing a transit...

    — David Kipping (@david_kipping) January 25, 2018
    The intention behind the Humanity Star, however, is certainly something most astronomers can likely understand.

    "I know many astronomers are upset at this unnecessary object that will cause light pollution, although again we don't know orbit or brightness yet so we don't know how bad it will be," astrophysicist JJ Eldridge said via Twitter message.

    "But I can also kinda see that maybe we do need something like this with so much negativity in the world at the moment."

    Rocket Lab, for its part, has been replying to some negative tweets and attempting to clarify just how much of a distraction the Humanity Star will be for those studying the universe.

    The Humanity Star will blink across the sky for just a seconds, and it won't be visible in your region for the full 9 months in orbit. Our hope is that it draws people's attention to the stars, then leaves them looking to the universe long after The Humanity Star has passed.

    — Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) January 24, 2018
    "The Humanity Star will briefly flash across the sky for a few seconds, reflecting sunlight back to the Earth’s surface, creating a fleeting glint of light," Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said in a statement via email.

    "It is designed to be a brief moment of just a few seconds."

    The Humanity Star was launched to space during a test flight of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket over the weekend.

    Update: This story was updated to include a statement from Rocket Lab.

  6. #85
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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  7. #86
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/satellite...123532364.html

    Satellite transforms into huge fireball as it crashes to Earth in Peru

    Nick Reilly
    Yahoo News UK
    January 31, 2018



    The fiery satellite was seen soaring through the skies of Peru

    This is the moment a huge fireball was seen soaring through the skies of South America on Saturday.

    But far from being a UFO or a planet-destroying asteroid, the Peruvian Air Force confirmed that the burning object was an old piece of satellite that burnt up after entering the earth’s orbit.

    The remaining parts of the satellite were discovered by peasants in southeastern Peru, who immediately contacted the Peruvian Air Force.


    The Peruvian Air Force quickly released photos to dispel conspiracy theorists

    Air Force officials quickly released images of the space debris in a bid to dispel potential conspiracy theories.

    The satellite’s descent to earth comes after 60 years of space exploration – which has led to the atmosphere being clogged with pieces of debris from various crafts and satellites.

    ‘When the debris enters the atmosphere it comes under intense friction and this causes it to set on fire. That is what could have happened’, Meteorologist Alejandro Fonesca said.

    The spectacular images of the fireball were captured in the skies above the Peruvian cities of Tinga Maria and Pucallpa in southern Peru, located about 115 miles apart from each other.


    The satellite crashed in a remote area of Peru

    A 2016 count by the United States Strategic Command found that there was a staggering 17,852 artificial objects in the earth’s orbit, including 1,419 operational satellites.

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  9. #87
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/07/...hes-late-2020/

    Dream Chaser's first ISS resupply mission launches in late 2020
    It'll ferry space station cargo and host science experiments.

    Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
    02.07.18 in Space

    After years of testing, Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft has a launch window. NASA has given the go-ahead to the vehicle's first mission, which is now slated for late 2020. Appropriately, it's a straightforward resupply trip for the International Space Station. The company received the all-clear after hitting a slew of key NASA-approved design milestones.

    Out of the companies NASA picked to provide ISS resupply missions back in 2016, Sierra Nevada's vessel is the only aircraft-like design of the bunch -- the Orbital ATK and SpaceX offerings are capsules. That should give it an edge when it carries scientific experiments, as it can land on a runway and offload equipment immediately (crucial for time-sensitive science) instead of waiting for a recovery. There's a pressurized cabin for human-tended experiments.

    Dream Chaser might not serve its original purpose for long when the ISS isn't poised to receive funding past 2024. Even so, it should help usher in the private spaceflight era and offer some fresh competition.

  10. #88
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    https://arstechnica.com/science/2018...-may-not-need/

    Aerojet says government asking it to invest too much in its own engine
    Rocket company seeks to reduce its share of costs from one-third to one-sixth.

    ERIC BERGER
    2/19/2018, 11:07 AM

    The propulsion company Aerojet Rocketdyne, formed in 2013 by two of America's most storied rocket engine manufacturers, has been working a new engine, known as the AR1, since 2014. Almost from its outset, however, the AR1 has faced two primary questions: who would pay for its development, and who would use the new engine.

    In recent years, Aerojet has sought funding from the US Air Force to design and build the AR1, which has approximately 20 percent more thrust than a space shuttle main engine. The Air Force, in turn, has pledged as much as $536 million in development costs provided that Aerojet puts its own skin in the game—about one-third of research and development expenses.

    According to a new report in Space News, Aerojet is now saying that even this modest investment is too much, and the company is seeking to reduce its share of the development costs from one-third to one-sixth. “As we look to the next phase of this contract, we are working with the Air Force on a smart and equitable cost-share,” Aerojet spokesman Steve Warren told the publication. “We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019.”

    AR1’s purpose

    According to the report, the Air Force is not inclined to renegotiate the agreement. The Air Force's hesitation to increase its investment is probably because the military may not really need the AR1 rocket engine any more due to the emergence of Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

    The original funds to develop the AR1 were spent by the US military as part of a "Rocket Propulsion System" program to ensure continued access to space for communications and spy satellites. The AR1 funds were paid in part because the military's primary launch provider, United Launch Alliance, needed a new rocket engine for its next-generation rocket, Vulcan. The Colorado-based rocket company has instead indicated its preference for a different rocket engine being manufactured by Blue Origin, the BE-4. This engine is further along in development and will almost certainly cost less than Aerojet's AR1 engine. It's not at all clear whether any customers exist for the AR1 if it does not fly on the Vulcan booster.

    From the military's perspective, the BE-4 is also attractive because it was developed largely through private investment—in this case from Bezos. Increasingly, the US military has recognized the potential of privately developed engines and rockets like those built by SpaceX and Blue Origin as a means to reduce launch costs in the 21st century. Paying Aerojet more money for the AR1 engine now, at a time of rapid commercial expansion in the aerospace industry, would harken back to an era of sole-source providers in which the government paid for most, if not all, of launch development costs.

  11. #89
    Benevolent Dictator Uwe's Avatar
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    Because it uses methane rather than RP1, the BE4 isn't a direct substitute for the RD180 that the AR1 was supposed to replace on the Atlas V.

    Then again, what does an Atlas V do that an F9 or FH can't?
    The engineering problems are likely insurmountable. It would be like proposing to land a rocket booster section on a barge floating in the middle of the ocean.

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  13. #90
    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uwe View Post
    Because it uses methane rather than RP1, the BE4 isn't a direct substitute for the RD180 that the AR1 was supposed to replace on the Atlas V.
    So it runs on cow farts? The cow jumped over the moon?

    Then again, what does an Atlas V do that an F9 or FH can't?
    Keep several overpaid defense contractors in business?????

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