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NPP-Bridge =Delta II 7920- 28.10.11 13:48:02 ЛМВ -Vandenberg

February 29, 2012

Northrop Grumman... Radiant Streams Collection

Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)-built instrument aboard...
...NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite (Suomi NPP), was activated and has delivered its first images. The CERES model on Suomi NPP is known as Flight Model 5 (FM5). It is the sixth CERES instrument to be launched on a variety of NASA platforms, which include the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), Earth Observing System (EOS) TERRA, and EOS AQUA. TERRA and AQUA each carry two CERES instruments. CERES instruments are broadband radiometers that measure the amount of reflected sunlight and thermal energy emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere.

CERES allows scientists to collect data to monitor the temperature of the planet and validate models that calculate the effect of clouds in driving planetary heating or cooling. Science teams around the world use CERES data to understand the Earth's radiation budget which helps compute global temperature changes over the long term. These temperature changes can be enough to increase or shrink arable land, lengthen growing seasons and enlarge cold zones or deserts.

CERES FM5 will carry forward the long-term Earth radiation budget measurements for the next several years. The CERES Flight Model 6 (FM6) instrument, currently in final testing, will be delivered in June as the first completed instrument for the next-generation of operational polar-orbiting environmental satellites called the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). Maintaining the accuracy of the long-term data record started in the early 1980s requires overlap between CERES instruments on orbit. It was important that FM5 overlap the other CERES instruments on the EOS platforms, which are well beyond their design life, and that FM6 launches in time to overlap with FM5.
A cross-section of the Earth's ozone layer as measured by the limb profiler, part of the Ozone Mapper Profiler Suite that's aboard the Suomi NPP satellite. A new instrument, the limb profiler makes high vertical resolution measurements of of the ozone layer, a shield that protects the Earth's surface from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Smaller amounts of overhead ozone is shown in blue, while larger amounts are shown in orange and yellow. Suomi NPP is a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.
Credit: NASA/NOAA[/url]
Чем провинилась Сумбандила?
[color=yellow]Зомби, просто зомби[/color]


February 29, 2012

Sumbandila Is Undead...It Lives

They are small but mighty — they take a licking and keep on ticking
South Africa’s Sumbandila Earth observation microsatellite is not totally dead. “We still ‘see’ Sumbandila, monitor the solar panels, check the battery levels and now and again receive its signal,” South African National Space Agency (Sansa) Space Operations and Earth Observation MD Raoul Hodges told Engineering News Online.

“Radio hams are still using Sumbandila to relay messages. The satellite is not completely inactive but we can’t switch on the imager and it can’t be used for Earth observation or the downloading of data. But it is still useful as a training tool.”

Hodges is seeking to preserve expertise gained with the Sumbandila programme. Sansa’s Space Operations division (while still the Satellite Applications Centre of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) set up a Mission Control Centre to operate the locally-designed and built microsatellite.

“I’ve taken those skilled staff and moved them to other units which do similar work, so we don’t lose or diminish our mission control expertise. We’re upgrading the Mission Control software, as we’re convinced that there will be future [South African] satellites,” he said.
Sumbandila still has about 30 percent of its fuel left, which, in theory, could be used to boost the spacecraft to a higher altitude and extend its orbital life. In practice, it is uncertain if the satellite would actually respond to commands to fire its thruster. Sumbandila was planned to survive for only three years.

Space Operations is, of course, heavily involved in supporting many satellites and other spacecraft from other countries. “Some interesting birds are coming over the horizon,” enthused Hodges, referring to new satellites that will be launched this year. “As a space agency, we have to be on top of the next Earth observation satellites, their sensors, what they can do, what we could and should buy into.”

Article by Keith Campbell available
Разношерстные новости

Разношерстные новости

March 01, 2012

Thales Alenia Space... GMES Goodies

Thales Alenia Space Espa

February 27, 2012

XCOR Aerospace... Financially Speaking + New Integrators...

XCOR Aerospace recently closed a $5 million round of equity funding.
The round, combined with cash on hand plus anticipated and existing contracts, should fund the company through production of its Lynx Mark I Suborbital vehicle. The financing included participation of new and previous investors. Among them are Esther Dyson, Pete Ricketts (co-owner of the Chicago Cubs) and several top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and former venture capitalists.

"We have announced this important news at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference here in Silicon Valley because we believe the future of commercial space access will be driven by enterprise customers like the attendees here today," said Andrew Nelson, XCOR's Chief Operating Officer. He added, "This investment represents a vote of trust and confidence in the markets represented by NSRC participants." Jeff Greason, Founder and CEO of XCOR, said, "I believe we were able to raise funds in these trying economic times because XCOR has demonstrated compelling value to investors and customers. Our $60-plus Million backlog of orders for Lynx suborbital vehicles, flights on Lynx, and our unique reusable non-toxic rocket engines gives the investor community reason to take notice."

As part of this financing, XCOR is also happy to announce a reformulated Board of Directors. The directors include newcomer Esther Dyson, former venture capitalist Stephen Fleming, Chairman of the Space Studies Institute Dr. Lee Valentine, and company founders Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong.  Ms Dyson is well known for her perceptive early investments in the Internet, software and social media industries, her service on private and public corporate boards and foundations, and for leading NASA's Technology and Innovation Advisory Council.  Mr. Fleming is a former general partner at the venture capital firm of ATV Partners and is now Vice President at Georgia Tech where he leads the Enterprise Innovation Institute. Dr. Valentine is well known in the commercial space community for his leadership of the Space Studies Institute and his work with many early stage startup companies.

Work proceeds on the Lynx suborbital vehicle at XCOR. With the recent receipt of the Lynx Mark I fuselage, the continued testing of the liquid oxygen and kerosene propulsion system, the fielding of the non-toxic high performance bi-propellant reaction control system, and the recent release of request for quotes for the cockpit pressure vessel and wing strakes, XCOR is getting ever closer to first flight.

Additionally, at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) 2012 in Palo Alto, California, XCOR Aerospace announced that EMXYS of Spain, Texas A&M's Space Engineering Research Center, and the Planetary Science Institute have joined XCOR's payload processing sales channel for the Lynx suborbital vehicle. The new members of the XCOR team will provide services to the research, scientific, educational, engineering, and medical markets that are using the XCOR Lynx suborbital reusable launch vehicle for experiments and investigations. They join XCOR's existing payload integration channel partners including: the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio and Boulder, NanoRacks of Washington DC, Spaceflight Services of Tukwila, Washington, Space Expedition Curacao, Yecheon Astro Space Center of South Korea, Cosmica of France, and African Space Institute in South Africa.
The payload integrators will sell Lynx research flight services and assist in creating standardization in research hardware for the suborbital market. Each payload integration specialist firm will help facilitate and provision flight services on the Lynx by ensuring that end users understand the packaging, environmental, safety, operational flight profile(s) and interface (physical, electrical and data) requirements of the Lynx for both automated experiments not requiring user intervention during flight, and those experiments when the scientist accompanies the payload to the edge of space. The integrators will provide a variety of additional value added services depending on their individual service offering and customer needs, including, but not limited to fabrication, test and qualification of experiments for the Lynx environment.

XCOR will be responsible for: (1) developing and periodically updating the Lynx interface control document, payload user's guide and other payload related processes and procedures in consultation with the payload integration specialists, end customers and regulators; (2) operating an annual Lynx payload user's group conference to solicit feedback and promulgate best practices across the payload integrators network and user community; (3) addressing any specific non-standard needs identified by payload integration specialists and their customers such as special flight trajectories or unique vehicle integration needs; (4) any special licensing or regulatory actions pertaining to the flight; and (5) with the integration specialist and customer, performing a final safety and pre-flight review meeting before the mission is flown and a de-briefing of the mission after flight.
Best Telescope:Телескоп Гершель,OWL, JWST, greatest views

February 28, 2012

Northrop Grumman + Ball Aerospace... Mirror Milestone

The auxiliary mirrors that focus the light from the primary mirror into the....
....science instruments on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have been integrated into the aft-optics subsystem (AOS) by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) teammate Ball Aerospace and are ready for the next level of testing.

"Our teammates at Ball have done an outstanding job on all the mirror optics, including this integration," said Scott Texter, Webb Optical Telescope Element manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "It's the last major effort in manufacturing Webb's large optical components and represents a significant milestone for the observatory."

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor responsible for designing and developing the telescope for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado, is the principal subcontractor for the Webb optical system's design and integration. "This represents the last piece of a complex, precision-engineered optical puzzle that will deliver unprecedented images," said Jeff Sokol, AOS lead engineer, Ball Aerospace.

The newly integrated optics consist of the tertiary mirror and the fine steering mirror, comprising the telescope's AOS. The mirrors are encased in a precision beryllium rectangular structure called an optical bench installed at the center of Webb's primary mirror. The AOS is surrounded by a shroud to keep out stray light and two large radiator panels to keep it cold. This subsystem collects and focuses the light from the Secondary Mirror and feeds it into the science instruments. Integration, which was completed in November and December 2011, consists of attaching several smaller assemblies to the optical bench and then aligning the two mirrors to one another.

"The challenge is to get the two mirrors properly aligned and to know where they are at ambient temperatures," said Sokol. "It's very important to know where they will move to once they reach the telescope's hypercold operating temperature of 40 degrees Kelvin or -387 degrees Fahrenheit."

The AOS will undergo a series of tests that will show that it will withstand the rigorous vibration environment of the rocket launch and still be precisely aligned and function as it should at its cold operating temperature in space. It will take nine and a half weeks to complete this testing, which is slated to start in May. Successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope is the world's next-generation space observatory. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed and study planets around distant stars. The Webb Telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
Ball Aerospace Technician Robin Russell inspects the Webb telescope Aft Optics Subsystem during mirror integration activities. The Aft Optics bench, made of lightweight beryllium like the mirrors, holds Webb's tertiary and fine steering mirrors. The installed, gold-coated tertiary mirror can be seen in the background. Photo courtesy Ball Aerospace.
OCO=Taurus-3110-24.02.09-Vandenberg- авария РН

February 27, 2012

NASA... Oh When, Oh When Can The OCO-2 Go...

Launch of the replacement Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) will be delayed at least into mid-2014....
....while NASA finds a new launch vehicle and fixes a problem in the spacecraft reaction wheel assemblies. After two launch failures with Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Taurus XL solid-fuel rocket, NASA has decided to try to launch its replacement on another vehicle. Possibilities include the Pegasus XL, Falcon 9, Delta II and Atlas V, according to Jim Norman, director of launch services at NASA headquarters. NASA pulled OCO-2 off the Taurus XL because company and government failure review boards were unable to pinpoint the precise cause for the back-to-back mishaps, Norman says. “We don’t have a root cause, so we just felt it was too high-risk to continue,” he says.

The agency and Orbital Sciences signed a bilateral contract modification Feb. 2 that terminates Orbital’s task order to launch OCO-2 under its NASA Launch Services II (NLS-II) contract. The action does not end Orbital’s NLS-II contract, which gives NASA different launch options under a “catalogue” approach. The U.S. space agency has released a new request for launch service proposals that includes the OCO-2 mission, along with the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1). Once one is awarded, NASA anticipates the normal 27-month turnaround time before launch of OCO-2, which was originally scheduled to fly in February 2013. That slipped to July 2014 because of the reaction wheel issues, NASA says. “There will be an impact to the original OCO-2 launch-readiness date of February 2013,” the agency says. “However, we do not yet know how severe the impact will be.”

The initial OCO spacecraft, which was designed to produce global maps of carbon dioxide sources and sinks for climate-change studies, was lost on Feb. 24, 2009. The Taurus XL fairing protecting it during the early phases of ascent failed to separate as planned, and pulled the spacecraft into the South Pacific. After that mishap, Orbital Sciences engineers modified the fairing-separation mechanism on the Taurus XL from a system using hot gas generated by pyrotechnics to a cold-gas system driven by bottled nitrogen, and made other risk-mitigation changes. But the new design also failed to separate the fairing on the Taurus XL that launched NASA’s $424 million Glory mission on March 4, 2011, sending it to a Pacific splashdown as well.

An Orbital spokesman said that while the cold-gas separation mechanism has worked on subsequent launches of the company’s Minotaur rocket, he was not prepared to comment on whether the company will rebid the OCO-2 launch. Orbital Sciences also provides the spacecraft bus for the OCO-2 mission, based on its LEOStar-2 design. Under the NLS contracts, NASA will be refunded about 25 percent of the cost of the OCO-1 launch. By terminating the OCO-2 mission order a month after the Glory failure, the government will be paid back half of what it had spent for that work, according to Norman.

While specific contract figures are proprietary, NLS launches in the Taurus XL class under the catalogue in effect when OCO-1 was lost fell into the $30-75 million range. Since then the contract range has been raised to $22-114 million, NASA says. Earth scientists still have a source of global carbon data in Japan’s Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite “Ibuki,” which was launched in 2009. But the Japanese orbiter returns “more than a factor of 100 fewer observations” during an orbit, and with limited coverage over the oceans, according to NASA. Delays in receiving ocean data from OCO-2 will hamper research, since oceans are an important sink for carbon dioxide.
Artistic rendition of the OCO-2 satellite, courtesy of NASA.
Разношерстные новости

February 25, 2012

Thales Alenia Space... Set To Build The 3G Version

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to supply....
....Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites for Eumetsat, the European meteorological satellite organization. Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for this large-scale program, in partnership with German company OHB. The first phase of this program started in November 2010, and has now been definitively approved by the ESA industrial policy committee.

Thales Alenia Space has built Meteosat satellites since the beginning of geostationary weather forecasting systems in Europe, more than 30 years ago. ESA and Eumetsat issued a request for proposals for the development of the third-generation satellites, and Thales Alenia Space was able to propose industrial partnerships meeting ESA's geographical return rule, from both the qualitative and quantitative standpoints. The Thales Alenia Space's proposal not only delivers the performance expected by users, but also underpins the development of innovative solutions and ensures competitive prices. The development of the satellites and their instruments started in November 2010, resulting in an initial consolidation of the system definition, and a selection by competitive bidding of the industrial team in charge of producing components and subassemblies for the different modules. As of early 2012, most of the industrial partners have now been selected. The program is now on track and in 2012, the detailed design will be validated by Preliminary Design Reviews (PDR) for the system, instruments and platform.

The MTG program comprises six satellites: four MTG-1 imaging and two MTG-S sounding satellites. The imaging satellites will deliver one image every ten minutes, and will operate in 16 bandwidths. They will be used to determine temperature and humidity profiles in a vertical section of the atmosphere. In addition, the satellites will carry an extra ultraviolet sounding instrument, within the scope of Europe's GMES program (Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security), to analyze the constituent gases in the atmosphere. With enhanced spatial resolution, continuous observation capability, and complementary imaging/sounding data, the Meteosat Third Generation satellites will considerably improve the quality and reliability of meteorological models and weather forecasts.
AEHF-2 = Atlas V 531 - 4.05.12 22:42 - Canaveral SLC-41

February 24, 2012

U.S.A.F. + Lockheed Martin... AEHF-2 Has Been Trippin'
The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin team successfully delivered....
....the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency Flight communication satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, where it will be prepared for launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. AEHF-2 completed its California-to-Florida journey Feb. 13 aboard an Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft operated by the 60th Air Mobility Wing from Travis Air Force Base, California.

Over the next 75 days, the satellite will undergo final launch preparations, encapsulation and transport to Launch Complex 41 at CCAFS. AEHF-2 is on-track for an April 27 launch. AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. The AEHF system is the follow-on to the Milstar system, augmenting, improving and expanding the Department of Defense’s MILSATCOM architecture.

AEHF-2 was procured from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company by the MILSATCOM Systems Directorate, part of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The MILSATCOM Systems Directorate plans, acquires and sustains space-based global communications in support of the president, secretary of defense and combat forces. The MILSATCOM enterprise consists of satellites, terminals and control stations and provides communications for more than 16,000 air, land and sea platforms.
The U.S. Air Force's second Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Matthew R. Syme.
Европейские университетские малые КА

February 21, 2012

Clyde Space... Advanced Development Projects Receive Funding

Clyde Space has been awarded funding for two advanced space technology development projects.

The projects are joint developments; the first with the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory at University of Strathclyde and the second with Mars Space Ltd. in Southampton. These projects are part of the U.K. Space Agency's National Space Technology Programme (NSTP,) where 29 projects are receiving grant funding to develop commercial products and services using space technology or space-derived data and are part of the ‘Space for Growth' competition lasting between 6 and 9 months.
The Company's project with the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory is titled; 'Feasibility of Novel Optimal Attitude Planning and Control algorithms for low cost spacecraft' and will involve optimization of algorithms for control of CubeSat attitude, furthering the work already completed at Clyde Space on existing CubeSat ADCS product. the project will also see the development of a CubeSat ADCS test-bed to help to evaluate and calibrate novel attitude control concepts.

With Mars Space Ltd., Clyde Space will be continuing what has been a very fruitful development partnership in advanced, miniaturized electric propulsion systems for CubeSats and nanosatellites. This development project follows on from an ESA contract where mars Space and Clyde Space produced a prototype micro pulsed plasma thruster for CubeSats. The work proved that it is possible to double the orbital life of a CubeSat in a sub-International Space Station orbit. it would also be possible to alter the CubeSat orbit for the development of constellations. This technology will be essential to realise the potential of CubeSat constellations in future. This project will take the technology forward to a flight ready prototype. Clyde Space are responsible for the development and manufacture of the high voltage control electronics and Mars Space are the project lead and are responsible for the thruster head.
Pictured: top—CubeSat ADCS; bottom—micro-pulsed plasma thruster for Cubesats.
Разношерстные новости
[color=yellow]Landsat 5 уходит на покой...[/color]


February 21, 2012

USGS... Landsat 5 Operations Ops Hold Extended

Landsat 5 Earth imaging operations have been suspended for an additional 90 days while the....
.....U.S. Geological Survey Flight Operations Team (FOT) continues to investigate options for the resumption of imaging. Landsat 5 imaging was halted in November 2011 when an electronic component vital to transmission of the satellite's Thematic Mapper ™ data began showing signs of imminent failure. Following an unsuccessful attempt to recover the backup electronic component, the FOT is exploring potential changes to operational procedures for the primary component.

"The challenge of attempting to recover operations of malfunctioning, 3-decade-old components in an unmanned satellite orbiting more than 400 miles above Earth is daunting to say the least," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "Regardless of whether any additional data is collected, Landsat 5 has already exceeded all expectations for longevity." Should no significant improvement in transmitting TM data be realized, a very limited amount of transmission life would remain. In that case, TM imaging will be prioritized to collect growing season imagery over the Northern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, the USGS is researching the prospect of recovering the secondary imaging instrument on Landsat 5, the Multispectral Scanner (MSS), which was turned off many years ago. The MSS instrument collects imagery in four spectral bands at 79-meter resolution and uses a different data transmission scheme than the TM instrument. MSS data would provide some data continuity in the event TM data could no longer be transmitted. However, the current condition of the instrument is unknown and the reception and ground processing capabilities for its data would have to be reconstituted.

As it approaches the 28th anniversary of its launch, Landsat 5 is in a safe state while the USGS is doing everything it can to restore imaging operations. Should neither the restoration of TM data transmissions nor the revival of the MSS instrument succeed, the USGS will proceed to decommission the satellite. The FOT is now developing the procedures required to turn off all systems and safely lower the orbit of Landsat 5, should this step prove necessary.

The USGS-operated Landsat 7 remains in orbit collecting global imagery. Since its launch in 1999 with a 5-year design life, Landsat 7 has experienced an instrument anomaly which reduces the amount of data collected per image. Landsat 8, currently called the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is now scheduled to be launched in January 2013. The Landsat Program is a series of Earth observing satellite missions jointly managed by the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA. Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. They continue to improve and expand this unparalleled record of Earth’s changing landscapes for the benefit of all.
Разношерстные новости
[color=yellow]11 лет на орбите...[/color]


February 21, 2012

SSC... An 11-Year Celebration

Eleven years have now passed since the Swedish satellite...
...Odin was launched from Svobodny, Russia. After 60,000 orbits, the satellite still delivers valuable scientific data. Odin was designed and manufactured by SSC in a multilateral project, including Canada, Finland and France, between 1991 and 2000. SSC was also responsible for the satellite operations until SSC's Space Systems Division was divested to OHB in 2011. SSC's satellite station at Esrange is still used for communication with the satellite.

Odin was designed for both astronomy and aeronomy studies. In the latest years, it has been used solely for atmospheric research, observing the changes of the ozone layer as well as processes related to gobal warming. The satellite was designed for a nominal lifetime of two years in orbit, but is still working well and delivers daily amounts of valuable data to the scientific community. Through the years, data from Odin has resulted in numerous doctoral theses.
Разношерстные новости

February 20, 2012

GMV + Loral... The Role Of Dynamics

SS/L's 1300 will be the platform used for the THOR 7 satellite.
GMV now has a contract with Loral to provide the flight dynamics system....
....and the payload transponder management system for the THOR 7 telecommunications satellite. Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, the largest building operator in Scandinavia, selected Loral from a competitive pool to build the satellite. GMV will provide the Thor 7 flight dynamics system based upon GMV’s product focusSuite, which offers full lifecycle flight dynamics operations support GMV will also provide the Thor 7 payload transponder management system based upon GMV’s smart rings product which allows engineers to optimize and quickly reconfigure telecommunications payloads so as to minimize downtime. Telenor expects to launch THOR 7 in late 2013 from the Guiana Space Center in France. The satellite should be in service for at least 15 years.
SS/L's 1300 will be the platform used for the THOR 7 satellite. Image courtesy of SS/L
Североамериканские университетские малые КА
[color=yellow]University of Illinois[/color] - [color=yellow]IlliniSat-2[/color]

Две научных миссии (Earth observing and in-situ sensing)

Демонстрация технологий (e.g. micro-thrusters, small deployable solar sails, flight testing of newly developed satellite components, etc.)



Североамериканские университетские малые КА
[color=yellow]University of Florida[/color] - [color=yellow]SwampSat[/color]

Отработка гироскопов


Североамериканские университетские малые КА
[color=yellow]University of Hawaii[/color] - [color=yellow]Ho`oponopono[/color]. Как произносится - не знаю... :?:

Калибровка РЛС

Североамериканские университетские малые КА
To Zoor: Приношу извинения - исправился... :shock:
Североамериканские университетские малые КА
Vermont Technical College, Norwich University, UVM and St. Michael's College - [color=yellow]Vermont CubeSat Lunar Lander Project[/color]

Исследование технологий требуемых для создание кубосата, который сможет достичь Луны и/или высадить луноход.

Разношерстные новости

February 19, 2012

EUMETSAT... It's A Date... For Launch...

Following a management meeting with Arianespace, the launch date....
....of the Metop-B polar-orbiting satellite has been set for May 23, 2012. On that date, after lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Metop-B satellite will be delivered by a Soyuz 2.1a launcher to an 817 km high, sun-synchronous orbit. Metop-B will join Metop-A to continue the service provided since May 15, 2007, by Europe’s first polar-orbiting meteorological satellite for at least another five years. This service delivers critical input data to the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models exploited by National Meteorological Services to produce forecasts up to 10 days and safety warnings at shorter range. Metop data are also essential for the nowcasting of high impact weather at higher latitudes, as well as for climate monitoring applications. The Metop satellite series is the result of the successful cooperation model with ESA who develops the satellites according to EUMETSAT’s requirements and procures recurrent units on the latter’s behalf. All Metop satellites are manufactured by a European consortium led by EADS Astrium

Разношерстные новости

February 19, 2012

Astrium... A SWARM In Space (Satellites)

The three Astrium built satellites of the Swarm constellation have completed....
....a series of environmental tests designed to demonstrate their fitness for space flight. The purpose of the Swarm mission is to analyze, in unprecedented detail, the geomagnetic field and its evolution over time. The results of the mission will help to improve our understanding of the Earth’s interior and climate. The trio of satellites is due to be launched from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome in July 2012. Astrium—selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as the prime contractor for the Swarm mission—is currently carrying out further extensive functional checks on the satellites at its supplier’s IABG test facility near Munich, in Germany. Preparations for the launch are scheduled to start in May, when the three satellites will be shipped to Russia. All three satellites will be launched simultaneously from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome (around 800 kilometres northeast of Moscow) on a single Rockot launch vehicle.

Scientists hope that the three identical Swarm satellites will provide the most accurate survey to date of the geomagnetic field and record any changes that occur. Swarm will, in a manner of speaking, follow in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s novel ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Today, however, it is no longer necessary to dig tunnels or drill holes to take a closer look at the composition of the Earth’s interior. Thanks to the development of ‘satellite remote sensing’, Swarm can achieve this goal from orbit. The Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields offer direct insights into the workings of its interior: from the variations these fields display at different times and places, scientists can draw conclusions about the dynamic processes taking place beneath the planet’s surface.

Extremely accurate, high-resolution readings of the geomagnetic field’s strength, orientation and fluctuations, complemented by precise navigation and velocity data, along with measurements of the electric field intensity, will provide the observational data required to distinguish between the various sources of the geomagnetic field and to explain them through models. Observation of these aspects from space offers a unique opportunity to take a closer look both at the composition of the interior of our planet and at the processes at work there. The mission will also enable scientists to analyze the Sun’s influence on the Earth. Furthermore, improvements in our knowledge of the geomagnetic field are expected to provide benefits of a practical nature, such as more accurate navigation for ships and aircraft, the discovery and access of natural resources below the Earth’s surface, a better understanding of the impact of the Sun on the Earth’s meteorological cycles, and timely warnings of dangerous radiation.

The satellites will be launched into a polar orbit at an altitude of 490 kilometres. After four years, two of the satellites will be steered into a lower orbit, circling the Earth in tandem at a height of 300 kilometres. The course of the third, higher-orbiting satellite will then be altered to cross the path of the two satellites in the lower orbit at an angle of 90 degrees.

Three satellites will comprise the ESA's Swarm magnetic field mission.
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