Category NASA

NASA’s RXTE Satellite Decodes the Rhythm of an Unusual Black Hole

Astronomers have uncovered rhythmic pulsations from a rare type of black hole 12 million light-years away by sifting through archival data from NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellite.

The signals have helped astronomers identify an unusual midsize black hole called M82 X-1, which is the brightest X-ray source in a galaxy known as Messier 82. Most black holes formed by dying stars are modestly-sized, measuring up to around 25 times the mass of our sun. And most large galaxies harbor monster, or supermassive, black holes that contain tens of thousands of times more mass.

“Between the two extremes of stellar and supermassive black holes, it’s a real desert, with only about half a dozen objects whose inferred masses place them in the middle ground,” said Tod Strohmayer, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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Stardust Team Reports Discovery of First Potential Interstellar Space Particles

Seven rare, microscopic interstellar dust particles that date to the beginnings of the solar system are among the samples collected by scientists who have been studying the payload from NASA’s Stardust spacecraft since its return to Earth in 2006. If confirmed, these particles would be the first samples of contemporary interstellar dust.

A team of scientists has been combing through the spacecraft’s aerogel and aluminum foil dust collectors since Stardust returned in 2006.The seven particles probably came from outside our solar system, perhaps created in a supernova explosion millions of years ago and altered by exposure to the extreme space environment.

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Launch of Maven Nov.18, 2013

The $671 Million MAVEN spacecraft separated from the Atlas Centaur upper stage some 52 minutes after liftoff, unfurled its wing like solar panels to produce life giving power and thus began a 10 month .“We’re currently about 14,000 miles away from Earth and heading out to the Red Planet right now,” said MAVEN Project Manager David Mitchell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at the briefing, after the 5,400-pound spacecraft had been soaring through space for barely two and a half hours.“The first trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) is set for Dec. 3,” added Mitchell. There are a minimum of four TCM’s to ensure that the majestic probe remains precisely.

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New Science, NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station Aboard Orbital-1 Mission

The Antares rocket

Another NASA commercial space partner officially has begun contracted cargo flights to the International Space Station. Dozens of new NASA investigations and other science experiments from across the country are headed to the station aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft as part of the agency’s commercial partnerships with U.S. aerospace companies.

The launch aboard Orbital’s Antares rocket took place from NASA’s Wallop’s Flight Facility in Virginia Thursday, at 1:07 p.m. EST.

The Orbital-1 mission began the company’s first contracted cargo delivery flight to the station through a $1.9 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Orbital will fly at least eight cargo missions to the space station through 2016.

“Today’s launch demonstrates how our strategic investments in...

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NASA’s MAVEN Mars orbiter set to launch on Nov. 18

Ken Kremer www.kenkremer.com for  space-site.com – 15 Oct  2013

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL, USA – MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission) is NASA’s next mission to Mars.   It is scheduled to lift off on Nov. 18, 2013 from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an Atlas V 401 rocket.  The 903 kilogram (2000 pound) probe will arrive at the Red Planet in September 2014 after a 10 month interplanetary voyage.

It is the first spacecraft from Earth devoted to investigating and understanding the upper atmosphere of Mars. The purpose is determining how and why Mars lost virtually all of its atmosphere billions of years ago and what effect that had on the climate.

“MAVENS’s goal is determining the composition of the ancient Martian atmosphere and when it was lost, where did all the water ...

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NASA Partner Orbital Sciences Completes First Flight to Space Station as Astronauts Capture Cygnus Spacecraft

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) used a robotic arm to capture and attach a Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft Sunday, marking several spaceflight firsts for NASA and its partner, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

The station’s Expedition 37 crew reported the spacecraft — loaded with about 1,300 pounds (589 kilograms) of cargo — berthed at 8:44 a.m. EDT, following an 11-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

Orbital’s Cygnus was launched on the company’s Antares rocket on Sept. 18 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This was the first flight of a spacecraft to the space station from the state.

The maiden flight of Cygnus included a number of systems tests prior to rendezvous with the station...

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Cygnus In-Orbit Update

On Monday, September 23, 2013, Orbital and NASA together decided to postpone the approach, rendezvous, grapple and berthing operations of the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft with the International Space Station until after the upcoming Soyuz crew operations are complete. The Soyuz crew is due to arrive at the ISS very late on Wednesday, September 25. The earliest possible date for the next Cygnus approach and rendezvous with the ISS would be Saturday, September 28. An exact schedule will be determined following the successful completion of Soyuz operations.

Over the past 24 hours, the Orbital team developed and tested a software fix for the data format mismatch that necessitated a postponement of the first rendezvous operation that was scheduled for the early morning of September 22...

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NASA’s Deep Space Comet Hunter Mission Comes to an End

Deep Impact

After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA’s Deep Impact mission has ended.

The project team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., has reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The last communication with the probe was Aug. 8. Deep Impact was history’s most traveled comet research mission, going about 4.7 billion miles (7.58 billion kilometers).

“Deep Impact has been a fantastic, long-lasting spacecraft that has produced far more data than we had planned,” said Mike A’Hearn, the Deep Impact principal investigator at the Univer...

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Cygnus En Route for Sunday Rendezvous With Station

Cygnus

While the newest commercial cargo vehicle to join the International Space Station’s resupply fleet launched Wednesday morning on its demonstration flight, the Expedition 37 crew aboard the orbiting complex was hard at work with medical research, emergency simulation training and preparations for Sunday’s arrival of the new space freighter.

NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At the time of launch, the space station was flying about 261 miles above the southern Indian Ocean...

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LIVE: NASA TV Airs September Space Station Crew Launch

NASA Television will provide extensive coverage live from Kazakhstan of the Sept. 25 launch of three crew members of Expedition 37-38, as they begin their journey to the International Space Station.

Michael Hopkins of NASA and Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will depart from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 4:58 p.m. EDT (2:58 a.m. Kazakh time Sept. 26) aboard a Soyuz spacecraft headed for the space station. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4 p.m. and will include video of pre-launch activities leading up to spacecraft boarding.

Hopkins and Ryazanskiy are flight engineers, and Kotov commands the Soyuz spacecraft, which will rendezvous with the space station and dock after four orbits of Earth...

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