June 2015 Archives

NASA Launches Suborbital Rocket With Student Experiments

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/quick-look-launch-BR.jpg"NASA successfully launched a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying student experiments with the RockOn/RockSat-C programs at 6 a.m., today. More than 200 middle school and university students and instructors participating in Rocket Week at Wallops were on hand to witness the launch. Through RockOn and RockSat-C students are learning and applying skills required to develop experiments for suborbital rocket flight. In addition, middle school educators through the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers (WRATS) are learning about applying rocketry basics in their curriculum."

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ESA's Parabolic Flight Opportunities for Students Restart

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/ARID_team.jpg"The ESA Education Office's 'Fly Your Thesis!' programme is back, after having a short break of three years. The first new flight campaign is planned for late 2016. The deadline for applications is 21 September 2015. Fly Your Thesis! allows Master and PhD students from ESA Member and Cooperating States to design, build and fly scientific or technology-related experiments in microgravity. These are the conditions that astronauts experience in space. The dramatic reduction of gravity up to a few thousandths of the pull on Earth provides experimental conditions that are impossible to reproduce in ground-based laboratories."

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LISA Pathfinder Prepares For Final Exams

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/LISA_Pathfinder_2015.jpg"The summer is coming and that means students across Europe are sitting their final tests. ESA's LISA Pathfinder, a technology demonstrator that will pave the way for space-based gravitational wave observatories, is no different. LISA is currently in the test centre at IABG (Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft), Ottobrunn, Germany. "Everything is running nominally and we are on schedule, which is the most important thing," says Ulrike Ragnit, AIV and launch campaign manager for LISA Pathfinder. LISA Pathfinder is a rather special spacecraft. It is designed to measure how well we can isolate a macroscopic body from all external forces except gravity. If successful, it will open the door to a new breed of spacecraft that can observe the gravitational Universe. For astronomers, this will be as if they developed a new sense, providing access to a view of the Universe that is wholly different to what they can detect now via electromagnetic radiation."

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American Team Wins International Rocketry Competition

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/image015.jpg"Seven students from the Russellville City Schools of Russellville, Ala., won first place in the International Rocketry Challenge at the 2015 Paris Air Show on June 19. The U.S. team, sponsored by Raytheon, beat teams from the United Kingdom, who came in second place, and France, who took home third. "It was a great experience representing the United States and winning the international rocketry competition," said Andrew Heath, captain of the RCS Engineers. "It has been an honor to be part of me team and this year's program."

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Future Engineers Look Toward Future of Space Exploration

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/ksc-315d-0244_0139.jpg"The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation, SpaceX, Digital Domain and NASA gave the finalists of the Space Tools 3-D Design Challenge a chance to see the future of space exploration under development as NASA prepares for a journey to Mars. These future engineers had the opportunity to see how NASA is conducting research and developing technologies that will allow us to live and work off the planet and eventually on Mars; how SpaceX is one of two U.S. Commercial companies developing a new crew transportation system that will take astronauts from the U.S. to the International Space Station and back; and how visual effects studios like Digital Domain can use the magic of Hollywood to virtually transport people to the surface of Mars to see what those future missions will be like."

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NASA Hosts Rocket Week at Wallops Flight Facility

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/img_4247.jpg"Students and educators from across the country will have the chance to be rocket scientists during Rocket Week, June 20-26 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. About 150 university and community college students and instructors will build and fly experiments on a NASA suborbital rocket through the RockOn and RockSat-C programs. Another 20 high school educators from the eastern United States will examine how to apply rocketry basics into their curriculum through the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers (WRATS)."

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NASA, UN Photo Competition Highlights Why Space Matters on Earth

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/unoosaclip2.jpgNASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have launched a global photography competition to highlight how the vantage point of space helps us better understand our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future by aiding sustainable development on Earth. To highlight the role of space-based science and technologies and their applications on Earth, NASA and UNOOSA are inviting the public to submit photos depicting why space matters to us all in our daily lives. To participate, post a picture and description on Instagram using the hashtag #whyspacematters and tagging @UNOOSA.

How To Un-inspire The Next Generation

http://images.spaceref.com/news/hand.earth.moon.stars.jpg"In following the incessant debate about potential NASA missions, I often hear NASA leaders, industry advocates and Congressional champions alike point to the value of these missions to inspire the next generation. Yet the more their arguments cause inaction, the more cynicism they generate in those they seek to inspire. The problem is not that young people don't understand the importance to humanity or relevance to individuals of a certain NASA mission. We understand perfectly fine. But we also see that these missions are doomed to die a political death when leadership at NASA or elsewhere in government has a change of heart."

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15 Year Old Discovers a New Planet

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/wasp_142_lo.jpg"A 15-yr-old schoolboy has discovered a new planet orbiting a star 1000 light years away in our galaxy. Tom Wagg was doing work-experience at Keele University when he spotted the planet by finding a tiny dip in the light of a star as a planet passed in front of it. ``I'm hugely excited to have a found a new planet, and I'm very impressed that we can find them so far away'', says Tom, now aged 17. It has taken two years of further observations to prove that Tom's discovery really is a planet."

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Genes in Space Finalists

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/genes.in.space.jpg"Boeing, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Math for America (MƒA), and miniPCR named five finalists in the first ever Genes in Space competition. The innovative contest called for students in grades 7 through 12 to design an experiment to solve a real-life space exploration problem through DNA analysis. The winning experiment will be performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using a miniPCR machine. The five finalist teams will receive mentoring from R&D scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who will help refine the experiments and make them feasible for space. The teams will present their proposals to a prestigious panel of scientists, educators, and technologists at the ISS Research and Development Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, July 7-9. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the conference and have their experiment performed 250 miles above the Earth aboard the ISS. Members of the winning team will also be invited to watch the launch of their experiment into orbit."

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Coming Soon: NASA's Summer Institute for Science Teachers

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/gsfc-2013-10918-043_0.jpg"Maryland teachers will soon embark on NASA's mission to enhance science learning in elementary schools across the state. During the month of July, educators will study the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding area alongside scientists and engineers who will provide an insider perspective on scientific study. This is just one part of NASA's Summer Watershed Institute, organized by education specialists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. One of the greatest benefits of the institute will be the opportunity for teachers to learn from scientists and engineers, said Dorian Janney, education and public outreach specialist at Goddard and project lead for the institute. "They will get a feel for what the scientists and engineers do, how they do it and what their career paths were like to share with students," she said."

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NASA Selects Projects for X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-114.jpg"NASA is working with eight U.S. universities on new technology projects for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars, as part of the 2016 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge. The challenge, which is led by NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation, has teams designing systems, concepts and technologies that will help improve NASA's exploration capabilities and provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in technology development."

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NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/inv_2015113_pao_0.jpg"Twenty robotics teams, ranging from university students to small businesses, are preparing to compete June 8-13 in the fourth running of the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge for a prize purse of $1.5 million. At the autonomous robot competition held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, teams must demonstrate their robot can locate and collect geologic samples from a large and varied landscape, without human control, through two levels of competition that grow in complexity."

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NASA Uses Crowdsourcing for Open Innovation Contracts

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/inv_2015113_pao_0.jpg"NASA is turning to the public and crowdsourcing for outside-the-box thinking about human space exploration challenges with a series of 10 new NASA Open Innovation Service (NOIS) Contracts. The first challenges to be launched under the new contract will seek new algorithms to improve Robonaut's tool use in novel ways that could take advantage of materials found on asteroids, the moon or Mars for both space and Earth applications. Future challenges will seek help in developing improved textiles for planetary exploration spacesuits and other useful technologies as NASA continues its evolvable Journey to Mars strategy. The total value of all contracts combined is $20 million over five years."

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NASA-led Volunteers Map Landslides by Nepal Quakes

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/inv_2015113_pao_0.jpg"As millions of people regroup from the impact of the earthquakes in Nepal, a team of international volunteers is combing through satellite imagery of the region to identify additional hazardsearthquake-induced landslides. As part of a disaster relief response to the 7.8-magnitude Nepal earthquake and its aftershocks, Kirschbaum and Jeff Kargel, glaciologist at University of Arizona, are leading a group of volunteer scientists identifying where and when the landslides are occurring in earthquake-affected areas. Together, the team has mapped nearly one thousand landslides from April 25, the date of the first earthquake, to May 20."

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Engaging Citizen Scientists with GPM Observatory

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/gpm-photo1.jpg"Every morning at seven, Andrew Welch wakes up, cooks breakfast and checks the rain gauge sitting on a five-foot post in his backyard. He writes down the measurement, sends his kid off to school and then heads out to his workplace as a structural engineer. Welch is a citizen scientist. Around the world, hundreds of citizen scientists like him are collecting precipitation measurements from the ground that are useful for NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. GPM is an international satellite mission led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency that provides rain and snow observations from space around the globe every three hours. GPM's data will improve our understanding of water and energy cycles and extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, monsoons and droughts."

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NASA Announces Education Research Program Award Recipients

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/inv_2015113_pao_0.jpg"NASA is awarding a total of approximately $11.25 million to universities in 15 states to conduct basic research and technology development in areas critical to the agency's mission. NASA's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program is awarding up to $750,000 to colleges and universities for research and development in areas, such as remote sensing, nanotechnology, astrophysics and aeronautics, all of which are applicable to NASA's work in Earth science, aeronautics, and human and robotic deep space exploration. The award covers a three-year period. Results from the research will be provided to NASA for possible inclusion in its programs."

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LightSail Team Prepares for Sail Deployment

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/lightsail.jpg "LightSail is almost ready for its moment in the sun. This afternoon, mission managers gave the go-ahead for a manual solar sail deployment as early as Tuesday, June 2 at 11:44 a.m. EDT (15:44 UTC), providing the spacecraft completes an arduous set of Monday preparations. Since waking up Saturday after eight days of silence, the spacecraft has been busy sending telemetry back to Earth, snapping test images and preparing itself for sail deployment."

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NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission App

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/arm-screen-1.jpg "Learn from NASA leaders, engineers and scientists about NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), a stepping stone along our path to human pioneering of Mars. ARM will be the first-ever robotic mission to visit a large near-Earth asteroid, collect a multi-ton boulder from its surface, and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon. Once it's there, astronauts will explore it and return with samples in the 2020s. Using concept maps as a navigation tool, browse through hundreds of videos, images, and texts on benefits to be gained and capabilities needed to extend human presence beyond low Earth orbit into the proving ground and eventually to Earth independence."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/corplogos/nasa.07.jpg "NASA has announced two opportunities for public-private partnerships to achieve the agency's goals of expanding capabilities and opportunities in space. Through both solicitations, NASA is seeking industry-developed space technologies that can foster the development of commercial space capabilities and benefit future NASA missions. "These solicitations form an increased focus on collaborations with the commercial space sector that not only leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA's strategic goals, but also focus on industry needs," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "While developing the technology to enable NASA's next generation of science and human exploration missions, we will grow the economy and strengthen the nation's economic competitiveness."

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Using Space Radar To Hear Human Heartbeats in Nepal

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/finder11.jpg "On 24 April 2015 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal - a nation woefully unprepared to respond to such an event. Nearly 300 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater have rattled the country for the past month. One especially large aftershock of magnitude 7.4 on 12 May caused the already-shattered infrastructure to collapse further. Nepal needed help - help that did not rely upon a non-functional infrastructure. Much of the help was traditional. But some of that help arrived in the form of assets in space and space-derived assets on the ground."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/corplogos/isro.jpg "Indian space programme has multi dimensions, providing significant infrastructure for national development in the vital areas like tele-communication, television broadcasting, meteorological observations and generating timely and accurate data on natural resources management. More recently, it has brought in revolutionary progress in education and public health domain. Today, the fruits of space research are reaching the common man and society, touching their daily life, be it a fisherman, a farmer, a student, a patient from a remote area, an administrator, a policy maker or a person struck in a natural disaster. In the recent years, ISRO has undertaken important applications programmes for societal benefits; one such example is being Telemedicine."

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