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Space

NASA tests parachute-like space brakes to de-orbit satellites

Getting to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) by jumping out of an airlock with a parachute may seem daft, but a group of students are trying just that with a CubeSat. According to NASA, TechEdSat-4, which was jettisoned from the space station on March 3, has reached its designated orbit, where it will use a parachute-like "exo-brake" to slow it down enough to safely re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Read More

Space

US satellite explodes and ESA assesses risk

A US Air Force weather satellite exploded in Earth orbit on February 3, scattering debris along its path. In a report by Space.com, Air Force and space officials indicated the breakup of Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 (DMSP-F13) was due to a malfunction of its battery system rather than a collision with a foreign body. Meanwhile, The European Space Agency (ESA) has released an assessment of the hazard posed by the debris.Read More

Space

First satellites with all-electric propulsion call home

The launch of two new communications satellites may not seem like news these days, but it is when they're the first satellites with all-electric propulsion. Boeing announced that the two 702SP small platform satellites, called ABS-3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B, that launched on Sunday evening are sending back signals to mission control as they power towards geosynchronous orbit under ion drive.Read More

Space

ESA offers CubeSats a deep space ride on asteroid mission

CubeSats offer a way to get into space on the cheap. They're compact, inexpensive, and they can piggyback on larger launch payloads to get into orbit. The trouble is, this piggybacking is often like trying to hitchhike cross country on a ride that only goes to the edge of town. The European Space Agency is widening the scope a little by opening a competition for CubeSats to ride into deep space on its Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM).Read More
Medical

Satellites and GIS help developing countries target deadly parasites

Each year, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries are affected by parasitic diseases. One of the most common is malaria, which kills more than a million people annually, mostly children under five years of age. Scientists are using satellite data combined with local health information uploaded into geographical information systems (GIS) to help developing countries better manage limited resources and target interventions in the fight against malaria and other deadly parasitic diseases. Read More

Space

MIT scientists analyze harmful electron-producing solar shockwave

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

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

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

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