lundi 21 août 2017

The Eclipse 2017 from International Space Station










ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.

Aug. 22, 2017

The Eclipse 2017 from Space

Image above: iss052e055885 (Aug. 21, 2017) -- Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Flight Engineer Randy Bresnik took still images of the eclipse as seen from the unique vantage of the Expedition 52 crew. Witnessing the eclipse from orbit with Bresnik were NASA’s Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, ESA (European Space Agency’s) Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos’ Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy. The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental United States at an altitude of 250 miles. Image Credit: NASA.

The Eclipse 2017 Umbra Viewed from Space

Image above: iss052e056122 (Aug. 21, 2017) -- As millions of people across the United States experienced a total eclipse as the umbra, or moon’s shadow passed over them, only six people witnessed the umbra from space. Viewing the eclipse from orbit were NASA’s Randy Bresnik, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, ESA (European Space Agency’s) Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos’ Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy. The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental United States at an altitude of 250 miles. Image Credit: NASA.

The Eclipse 2017 Umbra Viewed from Space
 
 Image above: iss052e056222 (Aug. 21, 2017). Image Credit: NASA.

The Eclipse 2017 Umbra Viewed from Space

Image above: iss052e056225 (Aug. 21, 2017). Image Credit: NASA.

The Eclipse 2017 Umbra Viewed from Space

Image above: iss052e056245 (Aug. 21, 2017). Image Credit: NASA.

Related links:

Eclipses and Transits: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/eclipse/index.html

Expedition 52: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition52/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse from NASA’s WB-57F Jets









NASA - WB-57F Long Wing patch.

August 21, 2017

For most viewers, the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two and half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the eclipse will last over seven minutes. Their secret? Following the shadow of the Moon in two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes.

Amir Caspi of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and his team will use two of NASA’s WB-57F research jets to chase the darkness across America on Aug. 21. Taking observations from twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes, Caspi will ­­­­­capture the clearest images of the Sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet’s surface.

“These could well turn out to be the best ever observations of high frequency phenomena in the corona,” says Dan Seaton, co-investigator of the project and researcher at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. “Extending the observing time and going to very high altitude might allow us to see a few events or track waves that would be essentially invisible in just two minutes of observations from the ground.”

video
NASA Jets Chase The Total Solar Eclipse

Video above: For most viewers, the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two and half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the eclipse will last over seven minutes. Their secret? Following the shadow of the Moon in two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes. Amir Caspi of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and his team will use two of NASA's WB-57F research jets to chase the darkness across America on Aug. 21. Taking observations from twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes, Caspi will capture the clearest images of the Sun's outer atmosphere -- the corona -- to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet's surface. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The total solar eclipse provides a rare opportunity for scientists to study the Sun, particularly its atmosphere. As the Moon completely covers the Sun and perfectly blocks its light during an eclipse, the typically faint corona is easily seen against the dark sky. NASA is funding 11 science projects across America for scientists to take advantage of the unique astronomical event to learn more about the Sun and its effects on Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The corona is heated to millions of degrees, yet the lower atmospheric layers like the photosphere — the visible surface of the Sun — are only heated to a few thousand degrees. Scientists aren’t sure how this inversion happens. One theory proposes that magnetic waves called Alfvén waves steadily convey energy into the Sun’s outer atmosphere, where it is then dissipated as heat. Alternatively, micro explosions, termed nanoflares — too small and frequent to detect individually, but with a large collective effect — might release heat into the corona.

Due to technological limitations, no one has yet directly seen nanoflares, but the high-resolution and high-speed images to be taken from the WB-57F jets might reveal their effects on the corona. The high-definition pictures, captured 30 times per second, will be analyzed for wave motion in the corona to see if waves move towards or away from the surface of the Sun, and with what strengths and sizes.


Image above: (Photo illustration) During the upcoming total solar eclipse, a team of NASA-funded scientists will observe the solar corona using stabilized telescopes aboard two of NASA’s WB-57F research aircraft. This vantage point provides distinct advantages over ground-based observations, as illustrated by this composite photo of the aircraft and the 2015 total solar eclipse at the Faroe Islands. Image Credits: NASA/Faroe Islands/SwRI.

“We see the evidence of nanoflare heating, but we don’t know where they occur,” Caspi said. “If they occur higher up in the corona, we might expect to see waves moving downwards, as the little explosions occur and collectively reconfigure the magnetic fields.”

In this way, nanoflares may also be the missing link responsible for untangling the chaotic mess of magnetic field lines on the surface of the Sun, explaining why the corona has neat loops and smooth fans of magnetic fields. The direction and nature of the waves observed will also help distinguish between competing models of coronal heating.

The two planes, launching from Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will observe the total eclipse for about three and a half minutes each as they fly over Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee. By flying high in the stratosphere, observations taken with onboard telescopes will avoid looking through the majority of Earth’s atmosphere, greatly improving image quality. At the planes’ cruising altitude of 50,000 feet, the sky is 20-30 times darker than as seen from the ground, and there is much less atmospheric turbulence, allowing fine structures and motions in the Sun’s corona to be visible.


Image above: One of the WB-57F jets is readied for a test run at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The instruments are mounted under the silver casing on the nose of the plane. Image Credits: NASA’s Johnson Space Center/Norah Moran.

Images of the Sun will primarily be captured at visible light wavelengths, specifically the green light given off by highly ionized iron, superheated by the corona. This light is best for showing the fine structures in the Sun’s outer atmosphere. These images are complementary to space-based telescopes, like NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which takes images primarily in ultraviolet light and does not have the capacity for the high-speed imagery that can be captured aboard the WB-57F.

Observations of Mercury will also be taken a half-hour before and after totality, when the sky is still relatively dark. These images, taken in the infrared, will be the first attempt to map the variation of temperature across the surface of the planet.

Mercury rotates much slower than Earth — one Mercurial day is approximately 59 Earth days — so the night side cools to a few hundred degrees below zero while the dayside bakes at a toasty 800 F. The images will show how quickly the surface cools, allowing scientists to know what the soil is made of and how dense it is. These results will give scientists insight into how Mercury and other rocky planets may have formed.

The images of the corona will also allow the team to search for a hypothesized family of asteroids called vulcanoids. Its thought these objects orbit between the Sun and Mercury, and are leftover from the formation of the solar system. If discovered, vulcanoids could change what scientists understand about planet formation.

Related Links:

Learn more about the NASA funded eclipse projects: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/eclipse-2017-nasa-supports-a-unique-opportunity-for-science-in-the-shadow

Learn more about the 2017 total solar eclipse: http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

Learn more about NASA Sun science: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/index.html

SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sdo/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rob Garner/Goddard Space Flight Center, by Mara Johnson-Groh.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

samedi 19 août 2017

Successful Launch of H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 Encapsulating Michibiki No. 3












JAXA - Quasi.Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) patch.

August 19, 2017

H-IIA 204 rocket launches the Michibiki-3 satellite

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA successfully launched H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 (H-IIA F35) which encapsulates Michibiki No. 3, (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System; geostationary orbit) at 2:29:00 p.m. on August 19, 2017 (JST) from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center.

video
H-IIA No.35 launches QZS-3 (Michibiki 3)

The launch and flight of H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 proceeded as planned and the separation of the satellite was confirmed at approximately 28 minutes and 37 seconds after liftoff.

Michibiki 3 (QZS 3) satellite

Quasi-zenith Satellite System (QZSS)  is a constellation of Japan’s geographic positioning satellites that significantly improve the accuracy of positioning in areas where GPS signals are not fully received due to interference caused by skyscrapers and mountainous terrain. The H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 frame configuration is a H2A204 launch vehicle utilizing four SRB-As, because QZS-3 has a launch mass of 4,700 kilograms, around 700 kilograms more than QZS-2.

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 Flight Sequence (Quick Estimation) PDF:
http://global.jaxa.jp/press/2017/08/files/20170819_h2af35.pdf

References:

MHI Launch Services: http://h2a.mhi.co.jp/en/index.html

H-IIA Launch Vehicle: http://global.jaxa.jp/projects/rockets/h2a/

Quashi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS): http://qzss.go.jp/en/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/National Research and Development Agency/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd./SciNews/Günter Space Page/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

vendredi 18 août 2017

Station Crew Ends Week Preparing for Eclipse 2017










ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.

August 18, 2017

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

The Expedition 52 crew wrapped up a busy week on Friday with more science work, cargo unloading and cleanup after a Russian spacewalk on Thursday. They are also busy preparing for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse on Monday with the chance at several unique views of the event.

The crew participated in several studies including Vascular Echo Ultrasound, a Canadian Space Agency investigation that examines changes in blood vessels and the heart while the crew members are in space. They also completed weekly questionnaires for the ESA Space Headaches investigation which collects information that may help in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms and improvement in the well-being and performance of crewmembers in space.


Image above: The station crew will have three chances to see the solar eclipse from space. The third pass will offer the most coverage with the sun 84% obscured by the moon. Image Credit: NASA.

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy performed cleanup tasks following their Thursday spacewalk which lasted seven hours and 34 minutes. The duo completed a number of tasks including the manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

Station crew members will have their cameras outfitted with special filters on Monday for three chances to photograph the solar eclipse from windows aboard the orbiting laboratory. For more information on their opportunities and what they expect to see, visit NASA’s Solar Eclipse website: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/iss-observations

Related links:

Expedition 52: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition52/index.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Dan Huot.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Large Asteroid to Safely Pass Earth on Sept. 1










Asteroid Watch logo.

Aug. 18, 2017

Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles, (7.0 million kilometers, or about 18 Earth-Moon distances). Florence is among the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles is size; measurements from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE mission indicate it’s about 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) in size. 

Animation of the asteroid trajectory. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.”


Image above: Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

This relatively close encounter provides an opportunity for scientists to study this asteroid up close. Florence is expected to be an excellent target for ground-based radar observations. Radar imaging is planned at NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar in California and at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The resulting radar images will show the real size of Florence and also could reveal surface details as small as about 30 feet (10 meters).

Asteroid Florence was discovered by Schelte "Bobby" Bus at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in March 1981. It is named in honor of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing. The 2017 encounter is the closest by this asteroid since 1890 and the closest it will ever be until after 2500. Florence will brighten to ninth magnitude in late August and early September, when it will be visible in small telescopes for several nights as it moves through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus.

Radar has been used to observe hundreds of asteroids. When these small, natural remnants of the formation of the solar system pass relatively close to Earth, deep space radar is a powerful technique for studying their sizes, shapes, rotation, surface features and roughness, and for more precise determination of their orbital path.

JPL manages and operates NASA's Deep Space Network, including the Goldstone Solar System Radar, and hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies for NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program, an element of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office within the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects can be found at: https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov and https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

For more information about NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Laurie Cantillo/Dwayne Brown/Tony Greicius/JPL/DC Agle.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Atlas V Rocket Launches with TDRS-M Satellite












NASA - TDRS-M Mission patch.

Aug. 18, 2017


Image above: Liftoff of NASA’s TDRS-M spacecraft on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Image credit: NASA TV.

Liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 8:29 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.

video
Atlas V Rocket Launches with TDRS-M Satellite

Video above: The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) launches atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch time was 8:29 a.m. EDT. Video Credit: NASA TV.

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) System is the solution to an early spaceflight problem: Officials on Earth had to rely on a pieced-together network of ground-based stations to communicate with spacecraft in orbit. The first TDRS satellite, TDRS-A, launched on space shuttle mission STS-6 in April 1983.

Today there are nine TDRS satellites in orbit at fixed points more than 22,000 miles above Earth’s surface. Two ground-based stations in White Sands, New Mexico, and one in Guam form the NASA Space Network. Together, the NASA Space Network and TDRS System provide a reliable high-bandwidth link to the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and a host of other orbiting missions.


Image above: This illustration depicts the NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M, in orbit. Image credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The TDRS-M satellite that launched earlier today is the third and final in the system’s third generation of spacecraft. Once TDRS-M separates from the Centaur and begins its mission in space, it will go through a three- to four-month period of testing and calibration, followed by an additional three months of initial testing. At that time TDRS-M will be renamed TDRS-13, and it will either be put into service or stored in orbit until it’s needed by NASA’s Space Network.

Related article:

TDRS: An Era of Continuous Space Communications
http://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2017/08/tdrs-era-of-continuous-space.html

For more information about TDRS, visit: http://tdrs.gsfc.nasa.gov

Related links:

SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation): https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/scan/index.html

TDRS (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdrs/home/index.html

Space Network (SN): https://sn.gsfc.nasa.gov/sn

Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Anna Heiney.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

jeudi 17 août 2017

Cosmonauts Spacewalk Completed Successfully












ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch / EVA - Extra Vehicular Activities patch.

August 17, 2017

Cosmonauts Begin Spacewalk


Image above: Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Sergey Ryazanskiy are pictured in the Orlan spacesuits they are wearing during today’s spacewalk. Image Credit: @SergeyISS.

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a planned six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

video
Space Station Cosmonauts take a Walk in Space

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Yurchikhin is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Spacewalk Comes to a Close


Image above: Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, have completed a seven hour and 34 minute spacewalk. They re-entered the airlock at 6:10 p.m. EDT. Image Credit: NASA.

The two spacewalkers exited the Pirs Docking Compartment Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT. Among their accomplishments was manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.


Image above: Illustration of 3-D printing technology nano-satellites or CubeSat (the one at right). Image Credit: ESA.

One of the satellites, with casings made using 3-D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3-D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

They also collected residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station.

During their work, the cosmonauts mounted scientific equipment on the external surface of the station for the experiments "Restoration" and "Impact", took samples for microbial contamination in four working areas, installed new samples of materials for long exposure in open space, was launched with a hand and using a trigger Five nano-satellites, photographed the outer surface of Russian modules and their individual structural elements. To ensure movement along the surface of the station, astronauts installed soft handrails and struts. The handrail is not installed - the transition from the module "Search" (MIM-2) to the module "Dawn" (FGB).

Roscosmos cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy completed the first in 2017, the way out of the International Space Station (ISS) for the Russian program. The astronauts fulfilled their assigned tasks.

Related links:

ROSCOSMOS Press Release: https://www.roscosmos.ru/23922/

Sputnik 1: https://mail01.ndc.nasa.gov/owa/redir.aspx?C=amgDpsZMlkZHwCLekhZBiNtPchXrzOzMxQF4_q-dhalokDOIveXUCA..&URL=https%3a%2f%2fwww.nasa.gov%2fmultimedia%2fimagegallery%2fimage_feature_924.html

Expedition 52: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition52/index.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA TV), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/Melanie Whiting/ROSCOSMOS/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch