Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Satellite

The orbiting GPS network could be used to detect waves of dark matter that pass between th...

Dark matter is hypothesized to account for the large amounts of "missing" invisible matter in the universe where visible objects such as stars, gas, and dust are insufficient to explain the total gravitational effects observed. Despite repeated and verifiable observational evidence supporting this hypothesis, the existence of dark matter remains unproven. However, recent research has suggested that the hunt for this elusive substance may be aided by detecting any changes in the synchronization between the individual atomic clocks on-board satellites in the orbiting GPS network and receivers on the ground as waves of dark matter pass between them and the surface of the Earth.  Read More

A glowing band in the ionosphere as seen from the International Space Station (Image: NASA...

NASA has announced that it is going forward with its Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). Scheduled to launch in 2017, the orbital mission aims to study the effects of the lower atmosphere on the ionosphere and its impact on the Earth’s surface.  Read More

Two of Boeing's 702SP satellites will be launched stacked one on top of another (Image: Bo...

Boeing has successfully joined two its 702SP satellites in a stacked configuration in preparation for a launch scheduled for early 2015. Aside from being the first involving conjoined satellites, the launch will also put the first satellites to enter service boasting an all-electric propulsion system into orbit.  Read More

Artist's concept of the bloostar upper stages firiing

Reaching space in a balloon may sound like something out of a children’s book, but Spain’s zero2infinity company doesn't think so. The Barcelona-based company specializes in near-space balloon flights for scientific and engineering clients, and is working on a nanosatellite launch vehicle called bloostar, which uses a high-altitude balloon as a first stage and rockets for reaching orbit.  Read More

Artist's impression of Sentinel-1A, which is now operational, over Italy (Image: ESA/DLR)

Sentinel-1A, the first of a planned fleet of ESA satellites central to the European Commission's Copernicus environmental monitoring program, has begun its operational life. Following the completion of its commissioning and transfer to the team in charge of its operation, users now have access to data from the satellite, which will provide all-weather, day and night radar imaging for land and ocean services.  Read More

A new map of the seafloor is twice as accurate as the previous version (Image: David Sandw...

Given they aren't covered by oceans, it's maybe not so surprising that we know more about the topography of the Moon and Mars than we do about Earth's ocean depths. But researchers have evened the score at least a little with the creation of a new map of the world's seafloor. Twice as accurate as the previous version produced almost 20 years ago, the new map details thousands of previously uncharted mountains and provides new clues on the formation of the continents.  Read More

Effective Space Solutions says its DeOrbiter microsatellite could also be used to rescue r...

Tel Aviv-based start up Effective Space Solutions claims that its DeOrbiter microsatellites could not only be used to dispose of defunct geosynchronous satellites, but could also rescue a pair of errant Galileo satellites currently trapped in the wrong orbit and put them back into service.  Read More

Artist's concept of NASA's SMAP satellite (Image: NASA)

NASA is set to launch a new satellite with the capacity to measure soil moisture on a global scale. Once operational, data from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite could be used to better inform farmers in agricultural decision making, providing unprecedented levels of detail on moisture trends with an efficiency and speed unattainable using current technology.  Read More

Artist's concept of the new SpaceX Dragon, which may one day fly from Brownsville, Texas (...

The office of Texas Governor Rick Perry has revealed that SpaceX has selected Brownsville, Texas as the site of a new launch facility for sending commercial satellites into orbit. The plans were revealed as part of an announcement by the Governor’s office that the Texas state government is providing US$2.3 million to provide infrastructure for the project, which is expected to create 300 jobs and generate $85 million in capital investments.  Read More

According to a puzzling report, a new thruster design appears to be able to accelerate a c...

A NASA study has recently concluded that the "Cannae Drive," a disruptive new method of space propulsion, can produce small amounts of thrust without the use of propellant, in apparent discordance with Newton's third law. According to its inventor, the device can harness microwave radiation inside a resonator, turning electricity into a net thrust. If further verified and perfected, the advance could revolutionize the space industry, dramatically cutting costs for both missions in deep space and satellites in Earth orbit.  Read More

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