Posts tagged satellite

'Apophis' asteroid could take out satellites in 2029.
The European Space Agency had updated it’s predictions for the trajectory of asteroid 99942 ‘Apophis’, based on new data gathered as it passed about 14.5 million from Earth last weekend.
The new data shows the asteroid is bigger than previously thought. “The 20% increase in diameter, from 270 to 325m, translates into a 75% increase in our estimates of the asteroid’s volume or mass,” says Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data. The team also gathered new data on the albedo (a measure of reflectivity) of Apophis, which is important for trajectory modelling, given that heating from the Sun can influence it’s path.
The updated model shows Apophis will pass within 36,000km of Earth’s surface - well within the orbit of some satellites. That distance just happens to be the lower limit of geostationary satellite orbits, which are most often used for communication and broadcast, as well as weather and classified military satellites. Although there’s currently around 400 currently outside this geosynchronous orbit, there are even more at the most used altitude of around 20,200km. If future updates on the trajectory show it coming that close there’s a chance it could take out navigation and communication satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, such as GPS and Glonass.
Apophis will pass Earth yet again in 2036, but that orbit is unlikely to be fully understood until after the 2029 pass with Earth, which will change the trajectory of the asteroid.

'Apophis' asteroid could take out satellites in 2029.

The European Space Agency had updated it’s predictions for the trajectory of asteroid 99942 ‘Apophis’, based on new data gathered as it passed about 14.5 million from Earth last weekend.

The new data shows the asteroid is bigger than previously thought. “The 20% increase in diameter, from 270 to 325m, translates into a 75% increase in our estimates of the asteroid’s volume or mass,” says Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data. The team also gathered new data on the albedo (a measure of reflectivity) of Apophis, which is important for trajectory modelling, given that heating from the Sun can influence it’s path.

The updated model shows Apophis will pass within 36,000km of Earth’s surface - well within the orbit of some satellites. That distance just happens to be the lower limit of geostationary satellite orbits, which are most often used for communication and broadcast, as well as weather and classified military satellites. Although there’s currently around 400 currently outside this geosynchronous orbit, there are even more at the most used altitude of around 20,200km. If future updates on the trajectory show it coming that close there’s a chance it could take out navigation and communication satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, such as GPS and Glonass.

Apophis will pass Earth yet again in 2036, but that orbit is unlikely to be fully understood until after the 2029 pass with Earth, which will change the trajectory of the asteroid.

Photo: Happy crater is happy.
The Messenger spacecraft has photographed a crater on Mercury which appears to have a smiley face inside.
Messenger is the first ever to orbit Mercury, and during the one-year primary mission, it acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. Messenger is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support NASA’s science goals.

Photo: Happy crater is happy.

The Messenger spacecraft has photographed a crater on Mercury which appears to have a smiley face inside.

Messenger is the first ever to orbit Mercury, and during the one-year primary mission, it acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. Messenger is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support NASA’s science goals.

DARPA seeks technology to service satellites in orbit.
DARPA is hosting a conference in June which hopes to create a dialogue within the international space community about how to cooperatively harvest and re-use, and fix valuable components on satellites in orbit.
Geosynchronous orbit is around 36,000km high, and when a satellite there fails it is moved to a ‘graveyard’ orbit where it will stay out of the way. Many of the satellites which are discarded in this way still have valuable, usable parts such as antennas or solar arrays.

A catalyst for making on-orbit re-purposing a reality is DARPA’s Phoenix program. Phoenix aims to develop and demonstrate technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components from retired, non-working satellites in GEO to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost.  
If successful, re-using existing satellite components may not only dramatically lower the cost of GEO satellite missions for Defense Department needs, but may also serve to demonstrate, through advanced techniques and technology, a model for future on-orbit servicing activities.

DARPA seeks technology to service satellites in orbit.

DARPA is hosting a conference in June which hopes to create a dialogue within the international space community about how to cooperatively harvest and re-use, and fix valuable components on satellites in orbit.

Geosynchronous orbit is around 36,000km high, and when a satellite there fails it is moved to a ‘graveyard’ orbit where it will stay out of the way. Many of the satellites which are discarded in this way still have valuable, usable parts such as antennas or solar arrays.

A catalyst for making on-orbit re-purposing a reality is DARPA’s Phoenix program. Phoenix aims to develop and demonstrate technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components from retired, non-working satellites in GEO to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost.  

If successful, re-using existing satellite components may not only dramatically lower the cost of GEO satellite missions for Defense Department needs, but may also serve to demonstrate, through advanced techniques and technology, a model for future on-orbit servicing activities.

Satellite broadband service rivals ground-based speeds.
The Exede broadband service has begun selling plans in the US, offering a next generation broadband service from it’s new satellite, ViaSat-1. The company claims download speeds of 12 megabits per second, and 3 Mb/s uploads - around as fast as most ground-based broadband.
The satellite is combined with traditional fibre-optic broadband on the ground, to enable coverage to most areas of the US. Of course the price is slightly higher - and the data-caps slightly lower - than most other offerings out there, but it’s still good to see the technology progressing.

The system uses the the breakthrough ViaSat-1 satellite that was launched in October 2011. ViaSat-1 has more capacity than the rest of the communications satellites over North America combined, and is designed to serve over a million subscribers.

Satellite broadband service rivals ground-based speeds.

The Exede broadband service has begun selling plans in the US, offering a next generation broadband service from it’s new satellite, ViaSat-1. The company claims download speeds of 12 megabits per second, and 3 Mb/s uploads - around as fast as most ground-based broadband.

The satellite is combined with traditional fibre-optic broadband on the ground, to enable coverage to most areas of the US. Of course the price is slightly higher - and the data-caps slightly lower - than most other offerings out there, but it’s still good to see the technology progressing.

The system uses the the breakthrough ViaSat-1 satellite that was launched in October 2011. ViaSat-1 has more capacity than the rest of the communications satellites over North America combined, and is designed to serve over a million subscribers.

Swiss satellite will clean up space, self-terminate.
Hmm a robot putting its life on the line to save humanity, where have I seen that before?
Oh yeah. The US$11 million CleanSpace One is being built at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology. The first prototype model is expected to launch in three to five years where it will grab two Swiss satellites, before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, where the three satellites will burn up.

The U.S. space agency NASA says over 500,000 pieces of spent rocket stages, broken satellites and other debris are being tracked as they orbit Earth.
Swiss Space Center’s director, Volker Gass, said it hopes to someday “offer and sell a whole family of ready-made systems, designed as sustainably as possible, that are able to de-orbit several different kinds of satellites.”

Swiss satellite will clean up space, self-terminate.

Hmm a robot putting its life on the line to save humanity, where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah. The US$11 million CleanSpace One is being built at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology. The first prototype model is expected to launch in three to five years where it will grab two Swiss satellites, before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, where the three satellites will burn up.

The U.S. NASA says over 500,000 pieces of spent rocket stages, broken satellites and other debris are being tracked as they orbit Earth.

Swiss Space Center’s director, Volker Gass, said it hopes to someday “offer and sell a whole family of ready-made systems, designed as sustainably as possible, that are able to de-orbit several different kinds of satellites.”

NASA Mission Returns First Video From Moon’s Far Side.

A camera aboard one of NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft has returned its first unique view of the far side of the moon. MoonKAM, or Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students, will be used by students nationwide to select lunar images for study.

GRAIL consists of two identical spacecraft, recently named Ebb and Flow, each of which is equipped with a MoonKAM.

"The quality of the video is excellent and should energize our MoonKAM students as they prepare to explore the moon," said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

More than 2,500 schools around the US have so far signed up to participate in the project.

NASA satellite photographs Manhattan-sized iceberg.
The photo was taken by the Terra spacecraft in November last year, but only released today.
The 19 mile crack is between 260 and 800 feet wide, and is 195 ft deep.

NASA satellite photographs Manhattan-sized iceberg.

The photo was taken by the Terra spacecraft in November last year, but only released today.

The 19 mile crack is between 260 and 800 feet wide, and is 195 ft deep.

NASA releases new ‘Blue Marble’ image.
The image is actually a composite of many pictures taken on January 4, 2012, by NASA’s newest satellite, Suomi Npp. 

Suomi NPP is NASA’s next Earth-observing research satellite. It is the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth. Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS. 

Click here for the full sized image and downloads

NASA releases new ‘Blue Marble’ image.

The image is actually a composite of many pictures taken on January 4, 2012, by NASA’s newest satellite, Suomi Npp. 

Suomi NPP is NASA’s next Earth-observing research satellite. It is the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth. 

Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS. 

Click here for the full sized image and downloads

UARS satellite re-enters atmosphere, still not clear where.
NASA’s satellite was thought to have entered Earths atmosphere recently and crashed over a 250km zone, although no confirmed pieces have yet been found.

"We expect that the debris has landed by now," NASA said on its Facebook page at about 1:30am ET. "We’re just waiting to get confirmation of where from the U.S. Strategic Command that keeps an eye on space debris."

Some unconfirmed reports have suggested it came down over Canada, which had been within the possible touch-down zone predicted by NASA.

UARS satellite re-enters atmosphere, still not clear where.

NASA’s satellite was thought to have entered Earths atmosphere recently and crashed over a 250km zone, although no confirmed pieces have yet been found.

"We expect that the debris has landed by now," NASA said on its Facebook page at about 1:30am ET. "We’re just waiting to get confirmation of where from the U.S. Strategic Command that keeps an eye on space debris."

Some unconfirmed reports have suggested it came down over Canada, which had been within the possible touch-down zone predicted by NASA.

Bus sized satellite about to fall to Earth… somewhere.
NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, has been gradually falling towards Earth and is expected to re-enter our atmosphere on Friday September 23.
The satellite operated between 1991 and 2005, and at 10.6 metres long and 4.5 metres diameter, it’s around the size of a bus, and scientists say around 500kg of it should survive re-entry, with the rest burning up in the atmosphere.
While satellites of this size enter our atmosphere around once a year, they are normally controlled and crashed into the ocean. This is the first uncontrolled re-entry in around 30 years.
NASA estimates the chances of a person being hit with debris is around one in 3200.

Bus sized satellite about to fall to Earth… somewhere.

NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, has been gradually falling towards Earth and is expected to re-enter our atmosphere on Friday September 23.

The satellite operated between 1991 and 2005, and at 10.6 metres long and 4.5 metres diameter, it’s around the size of a bus, and scientists say around 500kg of it should survive re-entry, with the rest burning up in the atmosphere.

While satellites of this size enter our atmosphere around once a year, they are normally controlled and crashed into the ocean. This is the first uncontrolled re-entry in around 30 years.

NASA estimates the chances of a person being hit with debris is around one in 3200.