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Copernical Team

Copernical Team

Friday, 01 December 2023 03:50

Scientist hails accuracy of satellite data

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Sydney, Australia (SPX) Dec 01, 2023
The Macao Science Satellite 1 network, China's leading space-based geomagnetic monitoring system, has achieved remarkable feats and attracted scientists from around the world, according to a top member of the program. Zhang Keke, director of the Macao Institute of Space Technology and Application, said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that research into geomagnetic fields is one of the
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Contact binary asteroids are common, but we've never seen one form—so researchers want to make one
Images of three contact asteroids—Arrokoth (right), 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (middle), and Itokawa (left) Credit: NASA, ESA, and JAXA

Ever want to play a game of cosmic billiards? That's commonly how the DART mission was described when it successfully changed the orbit of a near-Earth asteroid last year. If you want an idea of how it works, just Google it and an Easter egg from the search giant will give you a general idea. But DART was more like trying to brute force a billiards break—there are many other things you can do with a set of asteroids and impactors on the galactic stage. One of the more interesting is to try to force two asteroids together to form a "contact binary"—the goal of a mission design put forward by a group of scientists from Cornell in a recent paper in Acta Astronautica.

Colby Merill and his colleagues at Cornell's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department first explain why such a mission would be a good idea.

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NASA tests in-flight capability of Artemis moon rocket engine
NASA completed a full duration, 650-second hot fire of the RS-25 certification engine Nov. 29, continuing a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to deep space as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. Credit: Danny Nowlin/NASA

NASA conducted the third RS-25 engine hot fire in a critical 12-test certification series Nov. 29, demonstrating a key capability necessary for flight of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket during Artemis missions to the moon and beyond.

NASA is conducting the series of tests to certify new manufacturing processes for producing RS-25 engines for future deep space missions, beginning with Artemis V.

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NASA’s 6-Pack of Mini-Satellites Ready for Their Moment in the Sun
The six satellites that make up NASA’s SunRISE mission are each only about the size of a cereal box, flanked by small solar panels. This fleet of six SmallSats will work together to effectively create a much larger radio antenna in space. Credit: Space Dynamics Laboratory/Allison Bills

Most NASA missions feature one spacecraft or, occasionally, a few. The agency's Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) uses half a dozen. This month, mission members completed the construction of the six identical cereal box-size satellites, which will now go into storage and await their final testing and ride to space.

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A detailed design for a space station at sun-earth L2
Model of the interior of one of I-HAB's modules. Credit: Daniel Akinwumi

New ideas in space exploration come from all corners, and, by and large, the community welcomes anybody interested in the field. Having just read "A City on Mars," it seems that even people who disagree with the idea that the age of space settlement is imminent will be accepted into the fold by enthusiasts. Now, a new entrant has joined—Daniel Akinwumi is a Nigerian graduate student at the University of Strathclyde who recently posted his master's thesis to ResearchGate detailing the design of the "intergalactic hub," or I-HUB.

The introductory section of the thesis lays out many of the challenges familiar to those interested in space habitats. These include the importance of robots, a completely closed-loop recycling system, and novel radiation shielding. Mr. Akinwumi also provides a thorough literature search and mentions several other design concepts similar to the I-HUB.

One crucial design choice is how to get the system into space.

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New theory explains how magnetic switchbacks form in the solar wind
An artist's depiction of the Parker Solar Probe. Credit: NASA

A new study develops a theory of how magnetic switchbacks are formed around the sun. This quantitative model can be used to predict magnetic field variations and potentially explain the heating and acceleration of the solar wind.

The lead author Dr. Gabor Toth worked with Dr. Bart van der Holst at the University of Michigan Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering and Dr. Marco Velli at UCLA to publish the study, "Theory of Magnetic Switchbacks Fully Supported by Parker Solar Probe Observations," in The Astrophysical Journal.

Magnetic switchbacks are reversals of the radial magnetic field in the solar wind, which emanates from the surface of the sun. First seen sporadically in the seventies, magnetic switchbacks have recently been identified as a typical component of solar wind fluctuations in the inner heliosphere by the Parker Solar Probe.

Observations from the Parker Solar Probe revealed that these magnetic switchbacks consist of spherically polarized Alfvén waves, but until now, scientists had no concept of how these switchbacks were being formed.

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Video: 00:12:34

Almost 200 countries are gathering in Dubai to attend the biggest climate event of the year. COP28 – the 2023 United Nations climate change summit – isn’t just another conference though. For the first time, country representatives will assess the progress they’ve made towards cutting their greenhouse gas emissions through a process called the ‘global stocktake’.

Satellites are critical in the quest to tackle climate change as they give the robustness and transparency needed to monitor progress towards a lower-emissions and more resilient world. If undertaken effectively, the global stocktake can provide an opportunity to leverage decisions and

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The Ariane 6 rocket undergoes a successful dress rehearsal at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana last week
The Ariane 6 rocket undergoes a successful dress rehearsal at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana last week.

The European Space Agency announced on Thursday that the long-delayed first launch of its next-generation Ariane 6 rocket will take place between June 15 and July 31 next year.

The launcher system was initially planned to blast off in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and repeated have kept it on the ground, depriving Europe of an independent way to send heavy missions into space.

ESA chief Josef Aschbacher told a press conference that the announcement of the 2024 launch date range came after the "complete success" of a dress rehearsal at Europe's spaceport in French Guiana last week.

That involved firing up the launcher's Vulcain 2.1 engine and running it for more than seven minutes.

Aschbacher said it was a "good day" for European space efforts, adding that a more precise launch date is expected to be announced in March or April 2024.

Thursday, 30 November 2023 15:00

Ariane 6 launch animation

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Video: 00:02:21

Animation of the first launch of the Ariane 6 rocket with two boosters.

Ariane 6 is an all-new design, created to succeed Ariane 5 as Europe's heavy-lift launch system. With Ariane 6's upper stage and its reignitable Vinci engine, Europe's launch capability will be tailored to the needs of multiple payloads, for example to orbit satellite constellations. This autonomous capability to reach Earth orbit and deep space supports Europe's navigation, Earth observation, scientific and security programmes. Ongoing development of Europe's space transportation capabilities is made possible by the sustained dedication of thousands of talented people working in ESA's

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Navigation vans

ESA’s navigation and telecommunications testbed vehicles are custom-built mobile test platforms operated by ESA’s Navigation Laboratory to support test campaigns for navigation and telecommunications services, most notably Europe’s Galileo constellation. Testing in the field provides a unique opportunity to complement laboratory tests, verifying the system’s performance from a user perspective in a more dynamic and realistic setting.

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