Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016 - 19:41 Uhr

Science - Unterschiede zwischen Materie und Antimaterie können Neutrinos und Antineutrinos aufzeigen

[No Caption]

Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine

As neutrinos and antineutrinos change flavors they may illuminate the differences between matter and antimatter.



In the same underground observatory in Japan where, 18 years ago, neutrinos were first seen oscillating from one “flavor” to another — a landmark discovery that earned two physicists the 2015 Nobel Prize — a tiny anomaly has begun to surface in the neutrinos’ oscillations that could herald an answer to one of the biggest mysteries in physics: why matter dominates over antimatter in the universe.

The anomaly, detected by the T2K experiment, is not yet pronounced enough to be sure of, but it and the findings of two related experiments “are all pointing in the same direction,” said Hirohisa Tanaka of the University of Toronto, a member of the T2K team who presented the result to a packed audience in London earlier this month.

“A full proof will take more time,” said Werner Rodejohann, a neutrino specialist at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg who was not involved in the experiments, “but my and many others’ feeling is that there is something real here.”

The long-standing puzzle to be solved is why we and everything we see is matter-made. More to the point, why does anything — matter or antimatter — exist at all? The reigning laws of particle physics, known as the Standard Model, treat matter and antimatter nearly equivalently, respecting (with one known exception) so-called charge-parity, or “CP,” symmetry: For every particle decay that produces, say, a negatively charged electron, the mirror-image decay yielding a positively charged antielectron occurs at the same rate. But this cannot be the whole story. If equal amounts of matter and antimatter were produced during the Big Bang, equal amounts should have existed shortly thereafter. And since matter and antimatter annihilate upon contact, such a situation would have led to the wholesale destruction of both, resulting in an empty cosmos.

Somehow, significantly more matter than antimatter must have been created, such that a matter surplus survived the annihilation and now holds sway. The question is, what CP-violating process beyond the Standard Model favored the production of matter over antimatter?

Many physicists suspect that the answer lies with neutrinos — ultra-elusive, omnipresent particles that pass unfelt through your body by the trillions each second.

To that end, starting in 2010, scientists with the T2K experiment generated beams of neutrinos or antineutrinos in Tokai, Japan, and aimed them toward the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory, a sensor-lined tank of 50,000 tons of pure water located nearly 200 miles away in Kamioka. Occasionally, these ghostly particles interacted with atoms inside the water tank, generating detectable flashes of radiation. Detecting a difference in the behavior of the neutrinos and antineutrinos would provide an important clue about the preponderance of matter over antimatter, perhaps opening up a route beyond the Standard Model to a more complete theory of nature. Already, the strange properties of neutrinos provide a possible outline of that fuller story.

Primordial Neutrinos

The 1998 discovery that neutrinos switch flavors on the fly “may change our most fundamental theories,” President Bill Clinton said at the time, “from the nature of the smallest subatomic particles to how the universe itself works.”

Neutrino oscillations defied the Standard Model’s prediction that the particles are massless, like photons. In order for neutrinos to oscillate, each of their three possible flavors (electron, muon and tau) must be a quantum-mechanical mixture, or “superposition,” of three possible masses. Quantum superpositions evolve over time. So a neutrino might start out with its three mass components giving it pure muon flavor, but as the components evolve at different rates, electron flavor gradually enters the mixture, and the neutrino will have some probability of being measured as an electron neutrino.

There’s no mechanism within the Standard Model by which neutrinos might acquire their tiny, nonzero masses. Also unknown is why all neutrinos are observed to be “left-handed,” spinning clockwise with respect to their direction of motion, while all antineutrinos are right-handed, spinning counterclockwise.

Experts overwhelmingly favor a double-duty explanation of neutrino mass and single-handedness called the “seesaw mechanism,” whereby the known, lightweight, left-handed neutrinos have much heavier right-handed counterparts, and the known antineutrinos likewise have superheavy left-handed counterparts (the light and heavy masses are inversely related, like two sides of a seesaw). For this seesaw explanation to work, the neutrinos and antineutrinos on each side of the seesaw must actually be the same particle, except for their opposite handedness. Numerous experiments are now hunting for an extremely rare radioactive decay that would confirm this “Majorana” nature of neutrinos, thereby shoring up the logic of the seesaw mechanism.

If the theory is correct, then the heavy neutrinos and antineutrinos would have populated the hot young universe, when there was enough energy to beget beastly particles. They would have since decayed. Physicists wonder: Might their decays have produced the matter-antimatter asymmetry? This is the question to which an answer may be emerging — and much sooner than expected.

Tilted Seesaw

There’s good reason to think that neutrinos violate CP symmetry. The one established instance of CP violation in the laws of physics arises among the quarks — the building blocks of protons and neutrons — whose flavor mixing is described by a mathematical matrix similar to the one for neutrino mixing. In the quark case, though, the value of a numerical factor in the matrix that creates a disparity between quarks and antiquarks is very small. Quarks and antiquarks behave far too symmetrically to account for the universe’s matter-antimatter imbalance.


Lucy Reading-Ikkanda for Quanta Magazine

But the neutrino mixing matrix comes equipped with its own factor by which neutrinos and antineutrinos can violate CP symmetry. (Paradoxically, they can behave differently from one another even if they are Majorana particles, identical except for their opposite handedness.) If the lightweight neutrinos and antineutrinos violate CP symmetry, then the hypothetical heavy primordial neutrinos and antineutrinos must as well, and their asymmetric decays could easily have produced the universe’s glut of matter. Discovering CP violation among the lightweight neutrinos “will boost that general framework,” said Neal Weiner, a theoretical physicist at New York University.

The question is, how large will the CP-violation factor be? “The fear was that it would be small,” said Patricia Vahle, a physicist at the College of William & Mary — so small that the current generation of experiments wouldn’t detect any difference between neutrinos’ and antineutrinos’ behavior. “But it is starting to look like maybe we will be lucky,” she said.

To search for CP violation, the T2K scientists looked for evidence that neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillated between muon and electron flavors with unequal probabilities as they traveled between Tokai and Kamioka. The amount of CP violation once again works like a seesaw, with the rate of muon-to-electron neutrino conversions on one side, and corresponding antineutrino conversions on the other. The larger the value of the factor in the matrix, the greater the seesaw’s tilt.

If the seesaw is balanced, signifying perfect CP symmetry, then (accounting for differences in the production and detection rates of neutrinos and antineutrinos), the T2K scientists would have expected to detect roughly 23 electron neutrino candidates and seven electron antineutrino candidates in Kamioka, Tanaka said. Meanwhile, if CP symmetry is “maximally” violated — the seesaw tilted fully toward more neutrino oscillations and fewer antineutrino oscillations — then 27 electron neutrinos and six electron antineutrinos should have been detected. The actual numbers were even more skewed. “What we observed are 32 electron neutrino candidates and four electron antineutrino candidates,” Tanaka said.

With so few total events, it’s too soon to know whether the apparent tilt of the seesaw, signifying a large amount of CP violation, is real or a statistical aberration. Two other new hints of CP violation, however, strengthen the case. First, the newly running NOvA experiment, which generates a beam of muon neutrinos in Illinois and measures electron neutrinos in Minnesota, found a large number of these oscillations, again suggesting that the seesaw may be tilted in favor of neutrino oscillations and away from antineutrino oscillations. Second, researchers at the Super-Kamiokande observatory detected a similar enhancement of electron neutrinos coming from Earth’s atmosphere. (T2K and NOvA both plan to submit their findings for publication later this year.)

Vahle, who presented NOvA’s new results this month in London, urged caution; even when the T2K and NOvA results are combined, their statistical significance remains at a low level known as “2 sigma,” where there’s still a 5 percent chance the apparent deviation from CP symmetry is a random fluke. The results “do give me hope that finding CP violation in neutrino oscillations won’t be as hard as many feared it would be,” she said, “but we aren’t there yet.”

If CP violation among neutrinos is real and as large as it currently seems, then the evidence will slowly strengthen in the coming years. T2K’s signal could reach 3-sigma significance by the mid-2020s. “It’s a very exciting time as we look forward to a lot more data from both experiments,” said Peter Shanahan, a NOvA co-spokesperson.

It isn’t yet known exactly how CP violation in the light neutrino oscillations would translate into CP-violating decays of the heavy set. But discovering the former would point physicists in the latter’s general direction. “If we are starting to see [CP violation] in the neutrino sector, it is certainly a critical result,” Weiner said.




Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016 - 15:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ATV-Docking-Ring welcher von der ESA verwendet wird


    ATV docking ring
ATV docking ring

The docking ring used by ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehiclecargo spacecraft for five missions to the International Space Station is displayed in the laboratory corridor of ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands.

Supplied by Russia’s space agency, and carried by Russia’s own ferry craft, it is design


ATV docking ring

The docking ring used by ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehiclecargo spacecraft for five missions to the International Space Station is displayed in the laboratory corridor of ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands.

Supplied by Russia’s space agency, and carried by Russia’s own ferry craft, it is designed to work with docking ports on the Russian part of the Space Station.

The extended probe made contact with the Station’s receptor and then retracted to join the vehicles together.

Sensors on the ring detected that the interface was safely tightened, after which a set of four hooks engaged to strengthen hold of the 20-tonne ATV on the orbital complex. Four further hooks extended from the Station side for a firm grip.

Embedded within the ring are electrical and data connections so that ATV could receive power from the Station and their computers could communicate. Fluid links transferred propellants and air into the Station’s tanks.

The ring also includes the hatch for the crew to enter and unload the ferry. At the end of ATV’s mission, springs gently pushed it away from the Station without the need for firing any thrusters.

Tours of ESA’s site offered by the Space Expo visitor centre include the laboratory corridor. Space Expo also has an example of the Station side of the docking system on display.

The docking ring will also be on show to visitors during this year’s Open Dayon Sunday 2 October 

Quelle: ESA




Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016 - 12:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Deep Space Exploration könnte schlecht für das Herz sein


The 24 astronauts on the Apollo missions are dying of heart disease at an unusually high rate. Scientists are trying to figure out why. 

Future deep-space explorers and Mars colonists may have a new worry to consider: Heart disease.

A team of space radiation researchers, led by Michael Delp at Florida State University, has just come across a troubling relationship. The 24 moon-bound astronauts that flew the Apollo missions are dying of cardiovascular diseases at an unusually high rate. These men were only humans ever to have left the protection of Earth's magnetic field—a natural barrier which reaches beyond the International Space Station and helps deflect deadly space radiation. According to Delp nobody had expected that deep-space travel might take a long-term toll on the heart, until now. The scientists' findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.






"This is actually quite important to investigate and understand now. The International Space Station is scheduled to be shut down in 2024, and nations from Japan, to Russia, to China, to the United States are already planning on returning to the moon, visiting mars and forging elsewhere into deep space within the next 10 years," Delp told Popular Mechanics. "This finding raises a whole host of questions about deep space travel and its long-term cardiovascular effects," he says.

Delp came across this troubling correlation between heart disease and deep space travel after statistically comparing three groups of deceased astronauts. Seven Apollo astronauts, 35 trained-but-untested astronauts that never flew space missions, and 35 astronauts with recorded flight time, but only in lower Earth orbit—such as those stationed on the International Space Station. The difference in heart disease fatalities among the three groups was incredibly clear.

All the non-Apollo astronauts have succumbed to fatal heart disease at roughly the same rate; with about 10 percent of deaths attributed to heart disease. That's about what you'd expect for non-astronauts as well. But Delp found that of the first 7 Apollo astronauts that have died, 43 percent (three) have died of heart disease. Delp's study did not include the 8thApollo astronaut to pass away, the heroic Edgar Mitchell, who died this February. Mitchell's family has not yet released information on the cause of his death.





Delp and his colleagues believe this anomaly in high cardiovascular deaths is due to the extra dose of space radiation that effected men on the Apollo missions. So, how does this extra radiation impact heart health decades later? Delp says that nobody really knows, an that any explanation at this point would be pure conjecture.

To be sure, Delp is very upfront about the possibility that this high rate of heart disease could be inflated (or even wrong) just because the sample size of deceased Apollo astronauts is so incredibly small. For example, had just one Apollo astronaut passed away from some other cause by total chance, that 43 percent rate of heart disease deaths would drop down to 29 percent. That's still more than double the average rate of fatal heart disease for other astronauts, but very close to being statistically insignificant.

"Certainly, that small sample size is something to keep in mind," says Delp, "but in almost all space studies with humans you're dealing with a small number of individuals," simply because not a lot of people have left Earth.





Still, Delp has other reason to believe that the intense irradiating environment outside of Earth's magnetic field could cause long term damage to your cardiovascular system. In his study, he also irradiated a host of male mice with roughly the amount of space radiation you'd expect on a round-trip to the Moon. That's 1Gy of of 56Fe ions, a common type of galactic cosmic ray. The radiation was delivered over a 10 minute period, at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Those mice developed cardiovascular issues at an unusually high rate as they aged—chiefly injury to blood vessels and arteries.

Delp says he has two takeaways from this surprising finding. The first is for his fellow researchers. "All previous studied have shown that there's no long-term negative cardiovascular effects from deep space flight. Understanding if [long-term heart health] is really a concern we need to worry about is going to require a lot more research and studies, and especially if we want to develop countermeasures for the next generation of space explorers," he says.

But for readers of Popular Mechanics, "I think that for people interested in space travel and space exploration, it's good to understand that although spaceflights can become routine, it's still a very dangerous endeavor," Delp says. "I hope your readers find a new appreciation for the risks our astronauts take in their jobs."

Quelle: PM



Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016 - 12:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Startvorbereitung für ISRO´s GSLV Träger-Rakete mit INSAT-3DR-Satelliten



ISRO to launch weather satellite
India will launch a weather satellite next month with its heavy rocket, the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-Mk II), Indian space agency chief A.S. Kiran Kumar said in a meeting in Chennai.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch INSAT-3DR next month with its GSLV rocket, said Dr Kiran Kumar. He was speaking at the Madras Institute of Technology Alumni Association meeting held in Chennai.
He also said ISRO is targeting to increase the number of its satellite and rocket launches from the current six-eight per year to 12-18 per year.
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director K. Sivan said that ISRO will also be launching ScatSat — a weather monitoring and forecasting satellite — with the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, he said that the Indian satellite will be a co-passenger to an Algerian satellite.
“Both the satellites will be put into different orbits. So the fourth stage/engine of the rocket will be switched off after ejecting ScatSat first. Then after a gap of around 30 minutes, the engine will be switched on and put the Algerian satellite into its intended orbit,” Sivan said.
According to him, the year end is expected to see the launch of GSLV-Mk-III with communication satellite GSAT 19 weighing around 3.2 ton — the heaviest satellite to be lifted by an Indian rocket from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh.
Dr Sivan also said ISRO will soon be testing its scramjet or air breathing engine for use future use to power Indian rockets.
The scramjet engine used only during the atmospheric phase of the rocket’s flight will help in bringing down the launch cost by reducing the amount of oxidiser to be carried along with the fuel.
Quelle: The Hindu
Update: 31.07.2016

Preparations on for August 28 launch of Indian weather satellite

Preparations for the launch of weather satellite INSAT-3DR with the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-MkII) next month are progressing at Sriharikota, officials said on Friday.
"The weather satellite INSAT-3DR will be put into orbit by a GSLV rocket August end. Preparations for the launch are going on," P. Kunhi Krishnan, Director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), told IANS.
India's rocket port is located in SDSC in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
It is learnt that the launch is tentatively slated for August 28.
A senior official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS that the satellite is yet to reach the rocket port.
Normally the satellites reach the rocket port around a couple of weeks before the launch date.
"With improved shock absorbing aspects during the transit, nowadays Indian satellites are first sent to filling of fuel and then to the clean room. We have avoided one testing stage of the satellite and thereby cutting down the launch time," a senior ISRO official told IANS.
"However foreign satellites that ISRO launches with its PSLV rockets will be tested in full without skipping even the first clean room," he added.

In September 2016, ISRO will launch ScatSat -- a weather monitoring and forecasting satellite -- with polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).

The Indian satellite will be a co-passenger to an Algerian satellite.
Both the satellites will be put into different orbits. So the fourth stage/engine of the rocket will be switched off after ejecting ScatSat first. Then after a gap of around 30 minutes, the engine will be switched on and put the Algerian satellite into its intended orbit.


Tags: Raumfahrt 


Samstag, 30. Juli 2016 - 13:45 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - Mars Rinnen wahrscheinlich nicht durch flüssiges Wasser gebildet

Martian gullies
Martian gullies as seen in the top image from HiRISE on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter resemble gullies on Earth that are carved by liquid water. However, when they are observed with the addition of mineralogical information from CRISM (bottom), no evidence for alteration by water appears.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHUAPL

New findings using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. This new evidence will allow researchers to further narrow theories about how Martian gullies form, and reveal more details about Mars' recent geologic processes.


Scientists use the term "gully" for features on Mars that share three characteristics in their shape:  an alcove at the top, a channel, and an apron of deposited material at the bottom. Gullies are distinct from another type of feature on Martian slopes, streaks called "recurring slope lineae," or RSL, which are distinguished by seasonal darkening and fading, rather than characteristics of how the ground is shaped. Water in the form of hydrated salt has been identified at RSL sites. The new study focuses on gullies and their formation process by adding composition information to previously acquired imaging.


Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, examined high-resolution compositional data from more than 100 gully sites throughout Mars. These data, collected by the orbiter's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), were then correlated with images from the same spacecraft's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and Context Camera (CTX).


The findings showed no mineralogical evidence for abundant liquid water or its by-products, thus pointing to mechanisms other than the flow of water -- such as the freeze and thaw of carbon dioxide frost -- as being the major drivers of recent gully evolution.


The findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters.


Gullies are a widespread and common feature on the Martian surface, mostly occurring between 30 and 50 degrees latitude in both the northern and southern hemispheres, generally on slopes that face toward the poles. On Earth, similar gullies are formed by flowing liquid water; however, under current conditions, liquid water is transient on the surface of Mars, and may occur only as small amounts of brine even at RSL streaks. The lack of sufficient water to carve gullies has resulted in a variety of theories for the gullies' creation, including different mechanisms involving evaporation of water and carbon dioxide frost.


"The HiRISE team and others had shown there was seasonal activity in gullies -- primarily in the southern hemisphere -- over the past couple of years, and carbon dioxide frost is the main mechanism they suspected of causing it. However, other researchers favored liquid water as the main mechanism," said Jorge Núñez of APL, the lead author of the paper. "What HiRISE and other imagers were not able to determine on their own was the composition of the material in gullies, because they are optical cameras. To bring another important piece in to help solve the puzzle, we used CRISM, an imaging spectrometer, to look at what kinds of minerals were present in the gullies and see if they could shed light on the main mechanism responsible."


Núñez and his colleagues took advantage of a new CRISM data product called Map-projected Targeted Reduced Data Records. It allowed them to more easily perform their analyses and then correlate the findings with HiRISE imagery.


"On Earth and on Mars, we know that the presence of phyllosilicates -- clays -- or other hydrated minerals indicates formation in liquid water," Núñez said. "In our study, we found no evidence for clays or other hydrated minerals in most of the gullies we studied, and when we did see them, they were erosional debris from ancient rocks, exposed and transported downslope, rather than altered in more recent flowing water. These gullies are carving into the terrain and exposing clays that likely formed billions of years ago when liquid water was more stable on the Martian surface."


Other researchers have created computer models that show how sublimation of seasonal carbon dioxide frost can create gullies similar to those observed on Mars, and how their shape can mimic the types of gullies that liquid water would create. The new study adds support to those models.


APL built and operates CRISM, one of six instruments with which the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project has been examining Mars since 2006. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the Caltech in Pasadena, California manages the project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver built the orbiter and supports its operations.

Quelle: NASA



Samstag, 30. Juli 2016 - 09:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA bestellt zweite SpaceX Besatzung Mission zur Raumstation


artist's concept shows a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station
This artist's concept shows a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station, as it will during a mission for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. NASA is partnering with Boeing and SpaceX to build a new generation of human-rated spacecraft capable of taking astronauts to the station and back to Earth, thereby expanding research opportunities in orbit.
Credits: SpaceX

NASA took another important step Friday in returning U.S. astronaut launches from U.S. soil with the order of a second post-certification mission from commercial provider SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. Commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station will restore America’s human spaceflight launch capability and increase the time U.S. crews can dedicate to scientific research, which is helping prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the Journey to Mars.


"The order of a second crew rotation mission from SpaceX, paired with the two ordered from Boeing will help ensure reliable access to the station on American spacecraft and rockets," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. "These systems will ensure reliable U.S. crew rotation services to the station, and will serve as a lifeboat for the space station for up to seven months."


This is the fourth and final guaranteed order NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. Boeing received its two orders in May and December of 2015, and SpaceX received its first order in November 2015. Both companies have started planning for, building and testing the necessary hardware and assets to carry out their first flight tests, and ultimately missions for the agency.


At a later time, NASA will identify which company will fly the first post-certification mission to the space station. Each provider’s contract includes a minimum of two and a maximum potential of six missions.


SpaceX met the criteria for this latest award after it successfully completed interim developmental milestones and internal design reviews for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9 rocket and associated ground systems.


"We’re making great progress with Crew Dragon, with qualification of our docking adapter and initial acceptance testing of the pressure vessel qualification unit completed" said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate the trust NASA has placed in SpaceX with the order of another crew mission and look forward to flying astronauts from American soil next year."


SpaceX is building four Crew Dragon spacecraft at its Hawthorne facility -- two for qualification testing and two for flight tests next year. The company also is in the process of modifying Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, from which the company will launch future crewed missions to the space station.


A standard commercial crew mission to the station will carry as many as four crew members and about 220 pounds of pressurized cargo, and remain at the station for as long as 210 days, available as an emergency lifeboat during that time.


“With the commercial crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX, we will soon add a seventh crew member to space station missions, which will significantly increase the amount of crew time to conduct research,” said Julie Robinson, NASA’s International Space Station chief scientist. “Given the number of investigations waiting for the crew to be able to complete their research, having more crew members will enable NASA and our partners to significantly increase the important research being done every day for the benefit of all humanity.”


Orders under the CCtCap contracts are made two to three years prior to actual mission dates in order to provide time for each company to manufacture and assemble the launch vehicle and spacecraft. Each company also must successfully complete a certification process before NASA will give the final approval for flight.


NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manages the CCtCap contracts and is working with each company to ensure commercial transportation system designs and post-certification missions will meet the agency’s safety requirements. Activities that follow the award of missions include a series of mission-related reviews and approvals leading to launch. The program also will be involved in all operational phases of missions.

Quelle: NASA


Freitag, 29. Juli 2016 - 08:15 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Lichter am Himmel über Westen der USA war Re-Entry von Weltraumschrott


28.07.2016 / 8.13 MESZ

Vor wenigen Stunden gab es ein spektakuläres Schauspiel am Himmel über der westlichen USA, welche dazu führte das wir einen Anruf bei unserer UFO-Meldestelle bekommen haben mit dem Hinweis "eine ganze UFO-Flotte" sei über der USA zu sehen gewesen. Erst dachten wir an die Airshow in Oskosh, bei welcher Kunstflüge bei Nacht mit Pyrotechnik ausgeführt werden, aber nach Sichten der ersten Videos war klar, es kann nur ein Re-Entry gewesen sein.

Nachfolgend Frams von Videos aus den USA:





Inzwischen wurde der Raumschrott auch identifiziert:



Update: 13.15 MESZ


Re-entering Chinese rocket stage streaks across Western U.S.

A flaming fragment of space junk from China’s newest satellite launcher blazed through Earth’s atmosphere over the Western United States late Wednesday.
Darting across the skies of California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Colorado, the object disintegrated into numerous chunks before disappearing. The relatively slow speed of the fireball — it took nearly a minute to cross the sky — ruled out a natural origin, experts said.
The video above was captured by Matt Holt in Utah County, Utah.
The source of the unexpected sky show around 9:40 p.m. PDT Wednesday (12:40 a.m. EDT; 0440 GMT Thursday) was the second stage from China’s Long March 7 rocket, which took off June 25 on its maiden test flight, according to Jonathan McDowell, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks global satellite and launch activity.
A notice issued a few hours later by the Joint Space Operations Center, the U.S. military unit responsible for monitoring space traffic, confirmed the Long March 7’s re-entry over the United States.
McDowell matched the time of the event with the Long March 7 rocket’s orbit, which carried the object from west to east over the Western United States. He said the second stage of the Long March 7 booster initially launched into an orbit ranging between 126 miles (203 kilometers) and 234 miles (378 kilometers) above Earth, but natural drag from the rarefied outer layers of Earth’s atmosphere pulled the uncontrolled rocket to an altitude of less than 90 miles (140 kilometers) by Wednesday.
The U.S. military’s space traffic trackers issued re-entry predictions for the Long March 7 rocket body before Wednesday night’s fall from orbit, but such events are impossible to predict with specificity. Re-entry forecasts usually predict an object will reach the atmosphere some time during multi-hour windows with geographic footprints spanning the globe.
While the exact dimensions for the Long March 7’s second stage have not been published by China’s government, McDowell estimates the rocket segment measures 36 feet (11 meters) long and 11 feet (3.35 meters) in diameter. After consuming its liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants during launch, the rocket fragment’s mass was likely around 13,000 pounds, or 6 metric tons, he told Spaceflight Now via email early Thursday.
That ranks among the largest objects to come back to Earth unguided over the last few years. Small debris rains down on Earth every day, vaporizing from the scorching temperatures of re-entry, but the re-entry of chunks space junk as large as the Long March 7 second stage are less common.
McDowell said the last time such a big piece of debris came down uncontrolled was in January, when a stage from a Ukrainian-built Zenit booster re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over Vietnam, littering the countryside with small bits of rocket components.
The Long March 7 stage’s size and mass were comparable to NASA’s Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite, a defunct Earth science observatory that crashed back into the atmosphere in 2011, generating widespread public attention despite a quantifiably low risk of causing injury or death to someone on the ground.
Most of the Long March 7 rocket that fell Wednesday night burned up in the atmosphere, but a few parts could have survived and landed intact.
This image of the Long March 7 rocket was taken before launch. Credit: Xinhua
The Long March 7 rocket is the most powerful rocket ever launched by China. Its debut flight June 25 from a new spaceport on Hainan Island in the South China Sea deployed a payload of several small research satellites and a sub-scale unpiloted prototype capsule for a next-generation Chinese crew spaceship in the early stages of development.
The rocket’s second stage was abandoned in orbit.
Future Long March 7 missions will launch supplies to China’s planned space station, with test deliveries due to begin in 2017 to the Tiangong 2 space lab, a pathfinder to a larger research complex in the early 2020s. The Long March 7 will also be certified to launch astronauts in the future, Chinese officials said.
In development for eight years, the Long March 7 is one of several new rockets Chinese officials plan to replace the country’s existing launcher fleet.
The Long March 2, 3 and 4 series of rockets are based on technology originally developed in the 1970s and 1980s. They also burn a toxic mix of hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants, chemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment.
The Long March 7, together with the smaller Long March 6 and bigger Long March 5, burns kerosene and liquid oxygen, a more environmentally-friendly propellant combination.
Quelle: SN
Update: 29.07.2016

Western U.S. Saw An Amazing Light Show Last Night, Courtesy Of China

Maybe it was a meteor? Or space junk? People on the West Coast weren't sure what the bright object was that streaked across the sky Wednesday night, but they knew it was spectacular. Now comes word that the object — which separated into bright fragments — was a stage of China's large new rocket.
Americans who spotted the flaring object Wednesday night could be forgiven for not knowing that. "Oh my gosh!" was a common reaction, as in a video taken in Utah by Matt Holt.
The light show appeared in skies over the western U.S. around 9:30 p.m. PT, sparking a flood of reports to meteor-monitoring groups, a flurry of tweets and a number of striking videos. While first-person accounts on Meteorite News differed, some details were constant: The string of objects moved from west to east, with alternating colors and a bright trail.
We got in touch with Holt to ask him about his experience — and whether he, like others in his video, was worried by what he saw.
"I was not concerned at all; just in awe at the science of space," he says. Noting the reports that the object has since been identified as a large Chinese rocket booster re-entering Earth's atmosphere, Holt adds, "I think a world-ending light show would be, um, over a lot quicker."
"What the hell is it?" is how another video starts — one that, we warn you, also includes some profanity. Taken by Ian Norman in an open area in Alabama Hills, Calif., near the Sierra Nevada mountains, the video shows the object streaking across the sky and over the horizon, in a scene that lasts for well over a minute.
The object was the second stage of China's Chang Zheng 7 rocket that was launched on June 25, according to astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who cites confirmation from the Space-Track organization and the Joint Space Operations Center.
This was the first CZ-7 launched, McDowell says, adding that it's rare for objects of more than 5 tons to re-enter Earth's atmosphere.
A spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command confirmed the re-entry, saying that its Joint Space Operations Center, which tracks objects that orbit our planet, "removed a Chinese rocket body, a CZ-7 rocket body, from our U. S. satellite catalog as a 'decayed object' last evening."
As McDowell tells NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce, "The only bigger event this year was a Russian rocket stage that re-entered over Vietnam on New Year's Day."
"It's pretty. You can immediately tell that it's probably space junk. It lasts longer, moves slower than a natural meteor or fireball, and it has this characteristic sort of shedding material," he says. "Because what's happening of course is that you're dropping a several ton hunk of aluminum into the atmosphere at 18,000 miles an hour and parts of it melt and then you get several separate chunks falling through the sky."
McDowell also tells Nell that while the risk of anyone being struck by objects falling to Earth's surface is very low, many engineers and designers make sure that a re-entry takes place over an ocean or another safe place.
Discussing China's space program, McDowell says, "It's a bit surprising that their new, fancy modernized launch system didn't include the ability to safely dispose of the upper stage."
At the Joint Space Operations Center, Air Force Capt. Nicholas Mercurio tells Nell that the rocket section was more than 30 feet long, and that it had been tracked for the past month. In 2015, Mercurio says, there were 110 re-entries of tracked objects — his agency keeps track of those objects that are 10 cm or larger.
People had time to stare at the fragmented object as it sparkled in the sky — reportedly as bright as the moon or any star — and also to record the scene, because it persisted for at least 20 seconds, and in some cases for much longer, according to observers who sent a record of their impressions to the American Meteor Society.
The society says it received 47 reports about the fragmented object, from as far north as Montague, Calif., as far east as Salt Lake City, and as far south as San Diego. Sightings were also reported in Las Vegas and in Big Bear, Calif.
One TV reporter who happened to snag footage of the spectacle had the same reaction, saying as the bright fragments trailed across the dark sky, "Holy... no way!"
That's the impression of Nicole Vowell of KSL 5 TV, who then added, "I don't know, that's pretty much the sweetest thing I've ever seen in my life."
Quelle: npr


Tags: UFO-Forschung 


Freitag, 29. Juli 2016 - 07:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Erfolgreicher Start von Atlas-V 421 mit NROL-61-Satelliten



Rocket/Payload: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 421 configuration rocket will launch the NROL-61 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
Date/Site/Launch Time: Thursday, July 28, 2016, from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Webcast: Look for details about the launch broadcast closer to launch day.
Mission Description: The mission will be launched for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense.
Launch Notes: NROL-61 will mark ULA’s sixth launch of 2016 and the 109th since the company was founded in 2006. It also will be the sixth Atlas V to launch in the 421 configuration.
Quelle: ULA
Update: 10.07.2016

Mystery payload for spy satellite agency launching aboard next Atlas 5

The NROL-61 poster. Credit: United Launch Alliance
CAPE CANAVERAL — United Launch Alliance is preparing an Atlas 5 rocket to boost an undercover satellite into orbit for national security later this month.
Details are scarce and informed speculation is nonexistent in the lead up to launching the clandestine NROL-61 mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.
Liftoff is scheduled for July 28 during a four-hour unclassified launch period of 8 a.m. to 12 noon EDT (1200-1600 GMT).
Stacking of the rocket began Friday, July 8.
Satellite-deployments for the NRO are a mainstay in the U.S. launch industry as the agency sends up fresh replacements for its constellations of imaging, eavesdropping, surveillance and data-relay spacecraft.
This will be the 45th launch for the NRO in the past 20 years.
Although the NRO never discloses details about its operational satellites or the missions they will perform in orbit, experts who track the launches invariably figure out ahead of time what kind of payload is going up.
Repeat launches using the same variant of rocket time and again is one of the easiest clue to solving the mystery of a given NRO flight.
But NROL-61 is unique. Never before has the NRO used an Atlas 5 rocket in its 421 configuration with a four-meter-wide payload shroud and two solid rocket boosters.
That indicates something new — either a new generation that advances an existing type of NRO spacecraft or else something completely different from current methodologies.
“Inconclusive,” said Ted Molczan, a respected expert in satellite observing. “Looks like we will have to wait for the NOTAM coordinates.”
The NROL-61 mission patch. Credit: NRO
Understanding what NROL-61 will require the experts to wait for the NOTAMs — notices sent to airmen a few days before liftoff detailing hazard areas for the launch that will depict the rocket’s trajectory, thereby narrowing the list of possible payload candidates.
“If headed northeastward, then probably SDS/Quasar. If due east, then apparently some new type or model of GEO sat,” Molczan said.
Since this Atlas 5 is on the low-end of payload capacity scale, a data-relay satellite going into a highly elliptical, highly inclined Molniya-type orbit currently used by such NRO spacecraft or a bird for similar uses headed for geosynchronous transfer orbit are hypothetical possibilities.
Today’s NRO communications craft that route transmissions from polar-orbiting imagery-collection satellites are known in the public sphere as the Satellite Data System with the codename Quasar.
Experts caution, however, clues about this enigmatic satellite could remain murky until hobbyist observers find it in orbit and watch its behaviors to truly solve the puzzle.
In preparation for the launch, the 64th for an Atlas 5 and United Launch Alliance’s 109th, workers Friday morning delivered the 106.6-foot-long, 12.5-foot-diameter first stage to Cape Canaveral’s Vertical Integration Facility, used a crane to lift it upright and then placed it aboard the mobile launch platform to accomplish LVOS — Launch Vehicle On Stand.
File photo of an Atlas 5-421. Credit: United Launch Alliance
The stacking will continue by attaching the twin solid rocket boosters and mating the barrel-like interstage and the single-engine Centaur upper stage. The payload, already encapsulated in nose cone, will be mated in the final week before flight.
The completed launcher will roll to the Complex 41 pad on July 26.
It will be the NRO’s third launch this year, following a Delta 4 flight in February from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California that placed a radar-imaging satellite in a retrograde orbit and a Delta 4-Heavy in June from Cape Canaveral that flew to geosynchronous orbit to deploy an eavesdropping craft.
For the Atlas 5, it will be the fourth of 10 launches planned in 2016. It has another hush-hush payload to launch in December, the NROL-79 mission, from Vandenberg.
Quelle: SN
Update: 22.07.2016
Update: 26.07.2016

Nice forecast for Atlas V launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral


United Launch Alliance on Tuesday will roll a 195-foot-tall Atlas V rocket to its pad in preparation for a Thursday morning launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Liftoff from Launch Complex 41 with a National Reconnaissance Office mission is targeted for 8:37 a.m. Thursday.
There's an 80 percent chance of favorable weather, with a rain shower possible. The full launch window for the classified mission labeled NROL-61 won’t be disclosed, but it is believed to last about an hour.
The weather odds are the same if the launch is delayed until Friday morning.
ULA and the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing on Monday completed readiness reviews giving go-aheads to proceed toward a first launch attempt on Thursday.
The rocket is expected to start rolling at 9 a.m. Tuesday from its processing tower to the pad, a distance of about a third of a mile.
The Atlas V is flying with two solid rocket boosters strapped to the first stage powered by a Russian-made RD-180 engine.
Quelle: Florida Today
Update: 27.07.2016

Preview: New satellite for spy agency awaits launch into space Thursday

File photo of Atlas 5-421 rollout. Credit: ULA
CAPE CANAVERAL — An Atlas 5 rocket carrying a classified national security satellite was rolled to the launch pad this morning for Thursday’s flight to bolster the U.S. intelligence-gathering space architecture.
Liftoff will occur at 8:37 a.m. EDT (1237 GMT). The duration of the day’s usable launch window remains classified.
Weather forecasters expect favorable conditions for liftoff, placing 80 percent odds on launching. The only concern is a stray coastal shower impeding the rules.
United Launch Alliance will perform the satellite-delivery mission using a 421-configured Atlas 5 rocket that is distinguished by a nose cone 14 feet in diameter and two solid-fuel boosters for added takeoff thrust.
The rocket will head eastward across the Atlantic on a 99-degree flight azimuth to deploy the NROL-61 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the government agency responsible for the country’s spy satellites.
The satellite’s purpose and final orbit have not been disclosed.
The NRO was created in 1961 and operated in total secrecy as a black organization until its existence was declassified in 1992. It began acknowledging in advance the launches of its payloads in 1996.
Today, the agency operates imaging and eavesdropping spacecraft, naval surveillance birds and data-relay satellites for the constellations.
“NRO systems fly from hundreds to thousands of miles from Earth. They provide policymakers and warfighters a unique perspective, worldwide reach and the flexibility only possible through space-based access,” said NRO Director Betty Sapp.
Atlas 5 has performed a dozen missions for the NRO since 2007 among its 63 flights overall dating back to 2002. But the NRO has never used a 421 version of the workhorse.
For United Launch Alliance, Thursday marks the company’s 23rd flight in service to the NRO, the third just this year and 109th mission overall since 2006.
Officials held the Launch Readiness Review on Monday to grant final approval to proceed with the mission as scheduled.
The Atlas 5 rocket, assembled aboard a mobile launch platform inside the Vertical Integration Facility, was rolled out to the pad at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 this morning.
The slow drive from the 30-story assembly building to the launch pad, which began at 9:05 a.m., used a pair of specially-made “trackmobiles” to carry the rocket’s 1.4-million pound launching platform along rail tracks for the 1,800-foot trip.
Countdown clocks will begin ticking early Thursday for the seven-hour sequence of final testing and fueling to launch.Tanking begins about two hours before liftoff to load 66,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the vehicle.
The NROL-61 launch will be the 64th Atlas 5 flight and the fourth of 10 planned this year.
It also marks the 80th rocket launch from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41. Since December 1965, the pad has hosted 27 Titan launches and 52 Atlas 5s.
Quelle: SN
Update: 22.15 MESZ
Update: 28.07.2016 / 8.45 MESZ
Quelle: ULA
Update: 14.15 MESZ  Lift Off LIVE-Frams:
Quelle: ULA
Update: 29.07.2016

45th Space Wing supports successful Atlas V NROL-61 launch

The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the NROL-61 spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., July 28, 2016, at 8:37 a.m. ET. Before any spacecraft can launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provide the mission assurance to ensure a safe and successful lift-off for range customers. (Photo/United Launch Alliance)
The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the NROL-61 spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 here July 28, 2016, at 8:37 a.m. ET.
The ULA Atlas V rocket is carrying a national security payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. 
Before any spacecraft can launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provide the mission assurance to ensure a safe and successful lift-off for range customers.
According to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and mission Launch Decision Authority, this launch is the culmination of many long hours and hard work by the entire mission team.
“Our team diligently prepared for this important mission through a series of rigorous rehearsals, readiness reviews and pre-operational checkouts,” he said. “This mission, once again, clearly demonstrates the successful collaboration we have with our mission partners at NRO, Space and Systems Missile Center and ULA as we continue to shape the future of America's space operations. This successful launch helps to ensure that vital NRO resources will continue to bolster our national defense while showcasing why the 45th Space Wing is the ‘World's Premiere Gateway to Space.’”
Quelle: USAF

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Donnerstag, 28. Juli 2016 - 21:48 Uhr

Raumfahrt - SpaceX Red Dragon Mars Lander Mission wird um $ ​​300 Millionen kosten


SpaceX's Mars lander mission said to cost $300 million
Estimated price tag is revealed for Red Dragon, the mission that will lay the groundwork for the company's long-term goal of getting humans to Mars.
NASA has suggested that SpaceX is spending around $300 million on its Red Dragon Mars lander mission, according to Space News.
The space exploration company has not disclosed how much it's spending on the Red Dragon mission it announced in April. But the price tag was revealed, indirectly, by a NASA administrator at a meeting on Tuesday, Space News reported. NASA estimates that the space agency will spend approximately $32 million on the mission, which it's supporting in exchange for data collected.
"They did talk to us about a 10-to-1 arrangement in terms of cost: theirs 10, ours 1," NASA's Jim Reuter is quoted as saying. "I think that's in the ballpark." Given NASA's investment, SpaceX's expenses would amount to more than $300 million.
NASA didn't immediately respond to a request for confirmation and comment on the Space News report. A SpaceX spokesman declined to comment other than referring back to NASA's estimate.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has long talked about a goal of putting people on Mars in 10 years. Red Dragon lays the groundwork for that dream to become reality. SpaceX has said the Dragon lander will reach Mars as soon as 2018.
Quelle: cnet

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Donnerstag, 28. Juli 2016 - 21:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - 2 ISRO Wissenschaftler sollten 1986 ins All bevor Traum durch Challenger-Absturz platzte


Bengaluru: Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who partnered Neil Armstrong on man's first visit to the Moon, on Wednesday tweeted an image of his reimbursement form, which shows $33 in claims 46 years ago.
While Aldrin got to live his dream, two Indian scientists who worked with Isro weren't as lucky. NC Bhat and P Radhakrishnan could have had their moment in space 30 years ago had the US' Challenger mission not gone up in flames. Both of them are now away from Isro's radar.
TOI has been trying to contact them for three months, after Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar confirmed they would have been the first Indian civilians to go to space. Isro hasn't even been able to locate their photographs.
"They had completed more than two years of training but their mission was aborted. Just weeks before they were about to embark on the journey, the Challenger mission exploded and the US decided that no civilians will be taken to space," Kiran Kumar told TOI in April.
At that time, Isro didn't have the self-reliance it has today. The duo was supposed to travel in a space shuttle in 1986 that was to inject INSAT-1c - the third satellite in the series developed by the US for India's domestic communication requirement. That was two years after Rakesh Sharma's historic space odyssey. "They were supposed to travel in the shuttle and perform the operations to inject the satellite into the orbit, but the dream remained unfulfilled," an Isro spokesperson said.
NSAT-1c was to be launched by Ford Aerospace and the duo had travelled to the US for the launch.
"Before they went there for the last cycle of the training and eventual travel to space, they had already completed some rigorous training in 1984-85 in India," another scientist said.
While Bhat retired as a group director (spacecraft mechanisms), Radhakrishnan was an expert in liquid propulsion. While Indians like Rakesh Sharma, Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla have had their tryst with space, an indigenous manned mission continues to remain on the drawing board.
Isro's recent success with the Re-usable Launch Vehicle (RLV) demonstrator is seen as a step in the direction, but those in the loop, including Kiran Kumar, say they have a long way to go. The UPA-led government had sanctioned Rs 145 crore for the Human Space Mission. The objective of the programme is to carry a crew of two to Low Earth Orbit and get them back safely.

Tags: Raumfahrt 


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