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Satellite


— Space

MIT scientists analyze harmful electron-producing solar shockwave

By - February 19, 2015 2 Pictures
Back in October 2013, two NASA probes were in the perfect position to observe a solar wave as it hit Earth’s magnetic field, gathering data on the event. That data has now been analyzed by teams of scientists at MIT’s Haystack Observatory and the University of Colorado, revealing the process by which harmful, high-speed particles are generated in Earth’s radiation belts. Read More
— Space

NASA tests TGALS glider-based satellite launch system

By - February 14, 2015 8 Pictures
Recently, DARPA unveiled its ALASA system for launching satellites from fighter planes. Now NASA is upping the ante with its Towed Glider Air-Launch System (TGALS), which is designed to launch satellites from a twin-fuselage towed glider. Under development by NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, it's designed as an economical method for putting spacecraft into low-Earth orbit with the first test flight of a scale prototype having already been conducted. Read More
— Space

Twinkle mission to take a closer look at exoplanet atmospheres

By - February 12, 2015 3 Pictures
One reason exoplanets are so fascinating is the possibility that they may harbor life, but the definition of habitable used by astronomers is so broad that it could include planets that obviously aren't. To help zero in on the more likely candidates, a British-built satellite called Twinkle will look at the atmospheres of exoplanets to seek more definite signs of life, as well as clues as to the chemistry, formation and evolution of exoplanets. Read More
— Space

DSCOVR satellite to keep a weather eye on solar storms

By - February 8, 2015 16 Pictures
Sunday's delayed launch means that NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) will wait at least a day before it can take up its job of helping warn of potentially damaging solar flares. If Monday's rescheduled liftoff goes as planned, the unmanned spacecraft will be on its way to a point between the Earth and the Sun, where it will act as a space weather observatory and early warning station. Read More
— Space

DARPA's ALASA space launch system would turn airports into spaceports

By - February 8, 2015 4 Pictures
If you've ever dreamed of turning your municipal airport into a satellite launching facility, then DARPA has your number. At this week's 18th Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC, Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office reported on the progress of the agency's Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, which is designed to launch 100-lb (45-kg) satellites into low-Earth orbit using an expendable rocket dropped from a conventional aircraft. Read More
— Good Thinking

New maritime monitoring system would draw on existing satellites

By - February 2, 2015 1 Picture
According to a scientist from the University of Leicester in the UK, the search for missing ships and sea-crossing aircraft – such as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – would be much easier if existing satellites were simply used differently. Dr. Nigel Bannister is developing a system in which spacecraft that already keep an eye on the land could also turn their attention to the sea. Read More
— Space

Planetary Society's LightSail to make first test flight in May

By - February 1, 2015 3 Pictures
Though we tend to think of private spaceflight as being in the SpaceX league, it also includes many smaller-scale efforts. For example, the non-profit Planetary Society has announced that its LightSail spacecraft will make its first test flight in May. The solar-propelled CubeSat will lift off as a piggyback cargo atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Read More
— Space

NASA successfully launches SMAP satellite

By - January 31, 2015 4 Pictures
On its third attempt, NASA has successfully launched its Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite atop a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket. The orbiter is designed to take high resolution moisture maps on a global scale, mapping the entire planet in the space of only two to three days. The maps will grant us an improved ability to forecast droughts, floods, and even aid agricultural workers in crop planning and rotation. Read More
— Science

Spire plans to use tiny satellites for more accurate weather forecasts

By - January 29, 2015 2 Pictures
Weather forecasting is a notoriously inexact science. According to San Francisco-based tech startup Spire, this is partially because there are currently less than 20 satellites responsible for gathering all of the world's weather data – what's more, some of the older ones are using outdated technology. Spire's solution? Establish a linked network of over 100 shoebox-sized CubeSats, that will use GPS technology to gather 100 times the amount of weather data than is currently possible. The first 20 of those satellites are scheduled to launch later this year. Read More
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