Sonntag, 24. September 2017 - 10:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Atlas 5 mit NROL-42 Mission auf Vandenberg


Atlas V to Launch NROL-42


  • Rocket: Atlas V 541
  • Mission: NROL-42
  • Launch Date: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017
  • Launch Time: 10:38 p.m. PDT
  • Live Broadcast: Stay tuned for how you can watch live
  • Launch Location: Space Launch Complex 3, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Launch Notes: This launch will be ULA’s sixth of 2017 and 121st overall. NROL-42 will be the 25th mission that ULA has launched for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) since the company was founded in 2006. This mission will mark the 73rd Atlas V launch since its inaugural launch on Aug. 21, 2002.
Quelle: ULA


Atlas V Rocket Launch Rescheduled at Vandenberg AFB After Delay Due to Hurricane Irma

After being delayed by Hurricane Irma, an Atlas V rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base has a new launch date.

Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance booster is now planned for Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base.

The launch window remains classified for the mission dubbed NROL-42 since the rocket will carrying payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.


The targeted launch time is 10:38 p.m., but the launch window does not extend beyond 11:30 p.m. based upon the notice to mariners warning boaters to remain away from the ocean off South Base.

ULA officials announced Sept. 8 that the mission was delayed a week to allow ULA crews temporarily working at Vandenberg to return home before Hurricane Irma, brewing in the Atlantic Ocean at the time, was set to hit Florida.

Following Atlas, at least two launches are planned from Vandenberg in October. 

At 6:06 a.m. Oct. 4, a Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket is set to lift another 10 Iridium Next satellites into orbit amid a push to replace the constellation of craft that allow communications anywhere on the globe. 

Additionally, Orbital ATK plans to conduct a Minotaur C launch of 10 commercial Earth-imaging spacecraft at 2:37 p.m. Oct. 17 from Vandenberg.

Planet’s six SkySat and four Dove spacecraft have all been designed and manufactured in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Quelle: Noozhawk

                       NRO satellite in Molniya orbit
		       Collects signals intelligence

Launch Date:           Thursday,  Sept. 21, 2017

Launch Time:	       10:38 p.m. local
		       1:38 a.m. EDT on Sept. 22
		       0538 GMT on Sept. 22    

Launch Period:         Four hours
                       7:25-11:35 p.m. local
                       0225-0635 GMT on Sept. 22

Launch Site:           Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
                       Space Launch Complex 3-East

Customer:              National Reconnaissance Office
		       Launch Enterprise Directorate, Air Force's 
				Space and Missile Systems Center

Launch Services
Provider:              United Launch Alliance, Centennial, Colorado

Launch Vehicle:        Atlas 5 designated AV-072
		       541 configuration
                       Weight at liftoff: 1.2 million pounds
		       Thrust at liftoff: 2.4 million pounds
                       Height: 197 feet (60 m)

                       Common Core Booster with RD-180 engine
			    73,800 gallons RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen
			    Thrust: 860,300 pounds

			Four side-mounted solid-fuel rocket boosters
			    World's largest monolithic SRB
			    Thrust: 380,000 pounds each

                        Centaur upper stage with RL10C-1 engine
			     16,450 gallons liquid hydrogen and oxygen
			     Thrust: 23,300 pounds

			5-meter Short Fairing 
			      18-foot-dia., 68-foot-tall composite shroud

Construction:          Atlas stage and Centaur upper stage built by 
			      United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Alabama
		       Fairing manufactured by RUAG Space in Zurich	
    		       RD-180 from NPO Energomash, Khimki, Russia
		       SRBs by Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sacramento, Calif.
		       RL10C-1 from Aerojet Rocketdyne, West Palm 
			       Beach, Florida

Payload Speculation:   NROL-42 is believed to be the second spacecraft
			       in the newest generation of Molniya-orbit 
			       signals intelligence satellites 
                               unofficially called Trumpet Follow-On. 
                               The highly-inclined orbit enables the craft 
                               to dwell over northern latitudes to collect 

			The fourth Space Based Infrared System-HEO 
                               missile-warning senor package is hosted 
                               aboard the NROL-42 satellite.

			The target orbit is roughly 1,000 by 24,000 
				miles at an inclination of 63 degrees.

About the NRO:		Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the 
				National Reconnaissance Office develops 
				and operates overhead reconnaissance 
				systems and conducts intelligence-related 
				activities for U.S. national Security.

NRO Uses:               The NRO is the nation's eyes and ears in 		
				space, supporting policy makers, the Armed 
				Services, the Intelligence Community, 
				Departments of State, Justice and 		
				Treasury, and civil agencies. All of them 
				depend on the unique capabilities NRO 
				systems provide.

NRO Capabilities:	    - Monitoring the proliferation of weapons of 
				mass destruction

			    - Tracking international terrorists, drug 
				traffickers, and criminal organizations

			    - Developing highly accurate military 
				targeting data and bomb damage assessments

			    - Supporting international peacekeeping and 
				humanitarian relief operations

			    - Assessing the impact of natural disasters, 
				such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and 

NRO Constellations: 	Exquisite-class electro-optical and 
			        radar-imaging observatories, 
				geosynchronous and Molniya-orbit 
				eavesdropping platforms, ocean 
				surveillance network and data-relay 
				support spacecraft
Quelle: SN
Update: 20.09.2017

Atlas V Rocket Launch On Track For Clandestine Mission from Vandenberg AFB

National Reconnaissance Office Payload will head to orbit aboard United Launch Alliance booster

Thursday night


With the spacecraft safely tucked in the Atlas V rocket’s payload fairing, a truck transports the cargo to Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base to be place atop the rocket. (United Launch Alliance photo)


Tags: Raumfahrt - Startvorbereitung für Atlas 5 mit NROL-42 Mission auf Vandenberg 


Samstag, 23. September 2017 - 11:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Russland plant mit der NASA eine Raumstation im Mond-Orbit zu errichten


Russia Will Team Up with NASA to Build a Lunar Space Station

Russia will soon announce its involvement with NASA's cislunar space station.


In a major space policy decision, Russia will promise to join a NASA-led effort to build an international human outpost in the vicinity of the Moon. Russian industry sources told Popular Mechanics that the head of Roscosmos State Corporation, Igor Komarov, is expected to announce the news next week during a meeting with other space agencies at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.


NASA and its partner agencies plan to begin the construction of the modular habitat known as the Deep-Space Gateway in orbit around the Moon in the early 2020s. It will become the main destination for astronauts for at least a decade, extending human presence beyond the Earth's orbit for the first time since the end of the Apollo program in 1972. Launched on NASA's giant SLS rocket and serviced by the crews of the Orion spacecraft, the outpost would pave the way to a mission to Mars in the 2030s.

Partners on the International Space Station program including the European, Canadian, and Japanese space agencies have been conducting quiet but intensive consultations with NASA about their contributions to the near-lunar station. But Roscosmos, which played a key role in building the ISS, has taken a back seat until now.


According to industry sources, some Russian space leaders saw the U.S.-led near-lunar station as a distraction from Kremlin's main goal of sending Russian cosmonauts to the surface of the Moon and building a long-term base. Roscosmos was also considering an indigenous Earth-orbiting space station to follow up the ISS, to be maintained either in parallel with its lunar exploration effort or as a backup strategy if the lunar idea was too expensive.


However, the TsNIIMash research institute, Russia's key space strategy think tank, concluded the agency would not be able to fund the Earth-orbiting space station and the lunar program at the same time. Moreover, the latest Russian plans for the development of a super-heavy rocket powerful enough to carry cosmonauts to the Moon were recently pushed back toward the very end of the 2020s.

Under these circumstances, Roscosmos probobaly realized that it would be beneficial to continue cooperating with its ISS partners on the near-lunar outpost. In exchange to providing modules and other hardware, the participating agencies could send their astronauts to ride NASA's Orion spacecraft to the near-lunar station. NASA also promised to make the near-lunar base available not only for preparing a trip to Mars but also for mounting expeditions to the lunar surface itself.


Although, the outpost's egg-shaped orbit will be less than ideal for sorties to the Moon, the partners expressed interest in providing a lander, which could shuttle between the orbiting facility and the lunar surface. If Russia joins the program, it could contribute its extensive expertise in the development of the lunar landers. During the past decade, engineers at RKK Energia, Russia's prime developer of piloted spacecraft, has been studying possible lunar landers and other Moon-based architecture.

The Russian space industry could also provide its rockets, such as the operational Proton booster, the new-generation Angara and the prospective super-heavy rocket to deliver cargo and eventually its own crews to the near-lunar station.

In the past two months, Russian space officials held a series of crucial meetings on the future of the nation's space program. On September 7, during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Igor Komarov told the official TASS news agency that Roscosmos was expecting very important negotiations with its partners. "We will discuss what we will do on the Moon, near the Moon, and the lunar orbital station," Komarov was quoted as saying, "It is important how (near-lunar station) will develop, what would be the contribution from each country, and what will be our participation."

During the same event, the Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed general support for working with the U.S. toward human exploration of deep space. "In particular, there is interest in joint (efforts) with the Americans in the exploration of Mars by 2030," Putin said.

Quelle: PM

Tags: Raumfahrt - Russland plant mit der NASA eine Raumstation im Mond-Orbit zu errichten 


Samstag, 23. September 2017 - 10:30 Uhr

Planet Erde - LUCA, unser gemeinsamer Vorfahr


LUCA, our Common Ancestor

Although it was named a mere twenty years ago, the last common ancestor of all living organisms on Earth is more than three billion years old. And scientists have an ever-better idea of what it may have looked like. 

In the twentieth century, molecular biology established that all living organisms shared the same information-carrying macromolecules (DNA, RNA and proteins), and the same genetic code to transfer information between these molecules. This unity of the living world points to a common origin, an ancestor that had all these characteristics. As a nod to Lucy, the common ancestor was dubbed LUCA (an acronym for Last Universal Common Ancestor) during an international symposium organized in France by the Fondation des Treilles in 1996. Using data from comparative genomics, a then emerging discipline based on sequencing organisms belonging to the three domains of the living world (archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes), this research community set out to reconstruct the characteristics of LUCA. Last year, a new forum was held at the Fondation des Treilles to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the naming of LUCA, review the data collected since 1996, and sketch out an initial outline of this ancestor.

Yet a frequent misunderstanding should first be cleared up: LUCA, which lived over three billion years ago, was not the first cell to appear on our planet. Comparative genomics has demonstrated the existence of three RNA molecules and 34 ribosomal1 proteins common to all living organisms and also therefore to LUCA. Given their complexity, these molecules could only have appeared after a long period of evolution. LUCA must therefore have shared the planet with many other organisms resulting from this same  time span.  However, its contemporaries left no descendants, which is not to say that they did not hand down certain genes to us, just as the Denisovans and Neanderthals did with our Homo sapiens ancestors. A parallel can also be made between LUCA and African Eve, the last mother common to all modern women: Eve was not the first Homo sapiens woman either, nor did she live alone in Africa at the time.  

Two branches, same tree

Comparative genomics in ribosomes has also revealed that, in addition to the 34 universal proteins, modern ribosomes contain a large number of proteins unique to bacteria, archaea, and/or eukaryotes. One of their remarkable features is that they are either specific to one of the three domains, or shared by archaea and eukaryotes. Over the course of evolution, these proteins were therefore acquired in two separate lineages: one leading from LUCA to the bacteria, and the other from LUCA to the archaea and eukaryotes. 


A widespread hypothesis is that LUCA gave birth to the three great domains of life, via two branches.


LUCA's ribosomes were therefore less complex than modern ones, with around half the number of proteins. Broadly speaking, comparison of molecular mechanisms in archaea and bacteria has shown that, in every case, these processes must have been considerably simpler in LUCA than in modern cells, and that increasing complexity occurred independently in bacteria on the one hand, and in archaea and eukaryotes on the other.

LUCA probably lacked the ultra-sophisticated molecular complexes found in modern organisms, which for instance enable them to produce energy very efficiently. Similarly, its genome was probably still composed of RNA, and it is possible that DNA and its replication mechanisms may have appeared twice independently, perhaps from very ancient viral lineages. The presence of viruses in LUCA's time is evidenced today by the existence of major virus families whose members infect either bacteria, archaea or eukaryotes. 

A cold (or tepid) ancestor

The discovery of archaea living at very high temperatures initially suggested that LUCA itself was a hyperthermophile. The reconstruction of some of its ancestral sequences by a Lyon-based CNRS team headed by Manolo Gouy2 showed that this was probably not the case. However, the same team's work demonstrates that the ancestors of both bacteria and archaea lived at high temperatures. How then could a cold (or tepid) LUCA have evolved into the hot ancestors of bacteria and archaea? I have put forward the idea that organisms in both domains could have developed into their current forms by adapting to increasingly high temperatures. This shift could therefore have played a crucial role in the formation of the living world we know today.  


Some thermophilic organisms derive their energy from hot springs rich in sulfur and iron oxide, as is the case with the Grand Prismatic Spring, a basin in Yellowstone Park (US). 


We have yet to understand the emergence of eukaryotes, organisms whose cells—unlike archaea and bacteria—have a nucleus and organelles such as mitochondria (responsible for respiration) and chloroplasts (responsible for photosynthesis). A popular hypothesis postulates that eukaryotes are descended from an archaean that, by endosymbiosis, assimilated the bacterium from which mitochondria are derived. In 2015, a team from Sweden announced the discovery of Lokiarchaeota, which could be the missing link between archaea and eukaryotes. Our team's work has nonetheless shown that this conclusion was biased by several methodological artefacts. We prefer the theory that eukaryotes did not descend directly from archaea but share a common ancestor with them. Certain features of eukaryotes may thus have existed in LUCA and subsequently been lost in archaea and bacteria. 

Without a time machine, drawing a portrait of LUCA and determining the shape of the universal tree of life will long remain controversial issues. However, the steady flow of fresh data from comparative genomics increasingly narrows down the possible scenarios. Watch this space!

The analysis, views and opinions expressed in this section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policies of the CNRS.

Quelle: CNRS









Samstag, 23. September 2017 - 10:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Höchste energetische kosmische Strahlung hat extragalaktischen Ursprung


Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin

A 50-year-old debate has at last been settled: the highest-energy cosmic rays do not originate in our own Galaxy but in galaxies located tens or even hundreds of millions of light years away. The evidence comes from the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, which has been gathering data since 2004 about these particles that constantly bombard the Earth. The CNRS is the observatory's principal French funding agency. The discovery is published in the journal Science dated 22 September 2017 by an international collaboration including researchers from the Institut de Physique Nucléaire d'Orsay (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), the Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et des Hautes Énergies (CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) and the Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie (CNRS/Université Grenoble Alpes/Grenoble INP).

Cosmic rays are atomic nuclei  that travel through space at speeds close to that of light. Low-energy cosmic rays come from the Sun or from our own Galaxy, but the origin of the highest-energy particles has been the subject of debate ever since they were first discovered fifty years ago: do they come from our Galaxy or from distant extragalactic objects? The question has now been settled by studying 30 000 cosmic-ray particles with energies a million times greater than those of the protons accelerated in the LHC . They were detected from 2004 to 2016 at the largest cosmic ray observatory ever built, the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. Analysis of the arrival directions of the particles showed that at such energies the flux of cosmic rays coming from a region of the sky located 120 degrees from the galactic center is approximately 6% higher than if the flux were perfectly uniform. This direction cannot be associated with potential sources in either the galactic plane or galactic center, providing the first convincing evidence that these cosmic rays have an extragalactic origin. 

The flux of these very high-energy cosmic rays (exceeding 2 joules) is about one particle per square kilometer per year . When the cosmic rays collide with molecules in the upper atmosphere, they create cascades of over 10 billion secondary particles, known as air showers, which can cover an area exceeding 40 square kilometers by the time they reach the ground. The Pierre Auger Observatory detects some of these secondary particles (electrons, photons and muons) by means of an array of 1 600 detectors, i.e. tanks of pure water spaced 1.5 kilometers apart and covering 3 000 square kilometers in the Argentinian pampas, an area slightly larger than Luxembourg. By comparing the arrival times of particles at the different detectors it is possible to determine where the cosmic ray particle that produced the air shower came from. 

This discovery clearly indicates an extragalactic origin for these cosmic rays, since there is a probability of only one in five million that the pattern observed in the sky is due to chance. However, the study has not yet succeeded in locating the sources precisely. This is because the region where cosmic rays are brightest covers a large part of the sky, where the number of galaxies is relatively high. In addition, our Galaxy's magnetic field deflects the paths of these charged particles , making it more difficult to locate their sources. 

Some cosmic rays have even higher energies than those focused on in this survey. They have the disadvantage of being even more unusual, but also the advantage that they are not as deflected by the magnetic field of our own Galaxy. Their direction of arrival may therefore more accurately indicate the region where they were produced. In 2007, an earlier study pointed to a correlation between active galactic nuclei and the arrival directions of the highest-energy cosmic rays then detected , but this correlation subsequently turned out to be not very significant. Research is currently being carried out on a much larger sample of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, and may provide some answers. At the same time, an upgrade program is underway at the Pierre Auger Observatory, which should make it easier to identify the sources.

400 scientists from 18 countries take part in the Pierre Auger Collaboration, which develops and runs the observatory of the same name. The CNRS is the observatory's principal French funding agency. The following French laboratories contribute to the collaboration: 
  • the Institut de Physique Nucléaire d'Orsay (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud) ;
  • the Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et des Hautes Energies (CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) ;
  • the Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie (CNRS/Université Grenoble Alpes/ Grenoble INP).


One of the 1 600 detectors at the Pierre Auger Observatory 
The detectors are tanks filled with 12 tonnes of pure water, which are used to detect particles from air showers, cascades of secondary particles produced when cosmic rays enter Earth's atmosphere. As they travel through the tanks of water, the secondary particles produce a flash of light caused by the Cherenkov effect. 
The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina is the world's largest cosmic ray detector. It is named after the French physicist who was the first to observe air showers, in 1938.


Artist's impression of an air shower over a particle detector at the Pierre Auger Observatory, seen against a starry sky.


Sky map showing the cosmic ray flux.
The region showing an excess of cosmic rays is circled.
The Galactic center is at the center of the ellipse.

Quelle: CNRS

Tags: Astronomie - Höchste energetische kosmische Strahlung hat extragalaktischen Ursprung 


Samstag, 23. September 2017 - 10:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Officials await damage report from Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo Observatory



Powerful Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Wednesday, wrecking buildings and disrupting power and communications across the island, home of the iconic Arecibo Observatory used for radio astronomy research.

Located on the northwestern part of the island, the observatory took a near-direct hit from Hurricane Maria as it trekked southeast-to-northwest as a Category 4 storm.

Officials with the Universities Space Research Association, or USRA, are working to assess and evaluate damage to the observatory, the organization said in a statement Thursday.

“Currently, we have no contact with the observatory,” USRA said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “One observatory staff member located in Arecibo Town contacted via short-wave radio reports that trees are down, power is out, houses damaged and roads impassable.”

USRA is part of a multi-institution team charged with operating Arecibo Observatory by the National Science Foundation.

“We have no reason to believe that staff sheltered at Arecibo Observatory are in immediate danger since they have generators, well water and plenty of food,” USRA said. “This is a rapidly changing situation, and we are trying to do the best we can to contact USRA employees and find out their status.”

USRA tweeted an update Thursday night saying they have re-established contact with the observatory, and all staff members and family members sheltered at the facility are safe. The observatory sustained some damage, USRA said, but no details were immediately available.


Workers readied the Arecibo Observatory for Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Credit: NAIC

A weather station at Arecibo detected sustained winds of 78 mph (126 kilometres per hour) Wednesday morning, with gusts measured up to 108 mph (174 kilometres per hour), according to the National Hurricane Center.

Officials at Arecibo Observatory announced Monday they began hurricane preparations. The staff planned to secure the telescope, facilities and research equipment.

Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico marked the second time in two weeks Arecibo prepared for a tropical cyclone. Hurricane Irma passed just north of the island Sept. 6, sparing the observatory significant damage.

Constructed in the early 1960s, the Arecibo Observatory is the world’s second-largest radio telescope, with a spherical dish antenna spanning 1,000 feet (305 metres) across nestled inside a natural karst depression.

Astronomers use Arecibo to investigate asteroids, planets, pulsars, galaxies and dark matter. The giant radio telescope has also sent signals into the Universe to probe for extraterrestrial life, and listened for signs of transmissions coming from other worlds.

One recent target of Arecibo was the triple asteroid Florence, which passed more than 4 million miles (7 million kilometres) from Earth on Sept. 1. Arecibo and other radars observing the asteroid detected it had two unexpected companions, or moons.

Arecibo is also famous for its use as a location in films, such as Contact and GoldenEye.

Quelle: AstronomyNow

Tags: Astronomie - Officials await damage report from Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo Observatory 


Freitag, 22. September 2017 - 21:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Feuerkugel über Deutschland und Niederlande 21.09.2017


Feuerkugel-Alarm bei unserer UFO-Meldestelle von CENAP am gestrigen Abend, 21.September. Pünktlich um 21.00 MESZ kam eine hellgrün leuchtende Feuerkugel von Nordwest Richtung Südost rein und danach wurde unser E-Mail-Postfach gefüllt von Beobachtungsmeldungen (bisher 25 Meldungen von Niederländische Grenze  über Hamburg, Hannover, Köln, Frankfurt, Offenbach, Mosbach, Würzburg, Nürnberg, welche von weiteren Tel-Anrufen begleitet wurden.


Mehrere Webcam´s haben die Feuerkugel erwischt:









Stand 22.09.2017 / 8.30 MESZ


Update: 15.00 MESZ


Inzwischen gab es weitere Beobachtungsmeldungen bei unserer UFO-Meldestelle, welche von den Zeugen so beschrieben wurden:  "Schönster Sternschnuppe welche ich in meinem Leben gesehen habe", 

"Sah aus wie kleine feurige Birne welche grünlich aufleuchtete", "Grelle Leuchtkugel welche rötliche Punkte verlor", "Habe vorher noch nach Sternenhimmel geschaut und war wie versteinert als diese Leuchterscheinung vorbei kam", "habe  eben gerade einen Kometen gesehen", "Warum kündigt man in der Zeitung nicht so ein Ereignis an?"

Tja, soweit ein paar Eindrücke der Beobachter, wobei die Erklärung von Allen gerne aufgenommen wurde und man sich freute Zeugen von so einem "kosmischen Besuch" geworden zu sein. Beobachtungen kamen aus: Düsseldorf, Köln-Portz, Hamburger Süden, Darmstadt-Roßdorf, Amsterdam, Luxemburger-Autobahn Richtung Deutschland, Fürth, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, Minden, Petershagen






Quelle: Express


Update: 21.00 MESZ


Zwei weitere E-Mails erreichte unsere Meldestelle über die Beobachtung der Feuerkugel aus Enscheid und Hamm.

Auf AKM-Forum stellte Herr Hans Schremmer seine Aufnahmen von der Feuerkugel vor und gab uns die Erlaubnis sie hier auf unserem Blog zu veröffentlichen:




Aufnahmen: © Hans Schremmer




Berichte über Feuerball am HimmelMeteorit über Mittelhessen

Für Aufregung hat eine abendliche Leuchterscheinung in Mittelhessen gesorgt. 

Mehrere neugierige Anfragen zu dem Feuerball am Himmel seien über Twitter bei ihnen eingegangen, berichtete die Polizei in Gießen am Freitag. Die Himmelserscheinung sei am Donnerstagabend zu sehen gewesen, sagte ein Sprecher. Die Polizei hörte bei der Weltraumbehörde Esa in Darmstadt nach, um welche Erscheinung es sich handeln könnte.

Es war wahrscheinlich ein Meteorit. Er sei von den Niederlanden bis Mittelhessen zu sehen gewesen, so die Polizei.

Quelle: Hessenschau HR

Tags: Astronomie - Feuerkugel über Deutschland und Niederlande 21.09.2017 


Freitag, 22. September 2017 - 19:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - China´s Tianzhou-1 reentiert in Atmosphäre der Erde nach der experimentellen Mission


Tianzhou-1 reenters Earth's atmosphere after experimental mission


Tianzhou-1 using its own propulsion to leave orbit, tracked from the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre.CCTV/Framegrab


China's Tianzhou-1 space freighter has reentered the Earth's atmosphere following five months in orbit testing refuelling techniques in microgravity and carrying out experiments.

China's first cargo spacecraft left orbit at 18:00 Beijing time on Friday (10:00 UTC), following commands from the ground.

The China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSE) had earlier released a statement that the spacecraft would be deorbited over September 22-23.

Tianzhou-1 was launched on April 20 in order to dock with the already orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab and verify technologies for refuelling in microgravity and delivering supplies required to maintain the planned modular Chinese Space Station.

After three successful refuelling tests and periods of free flight to carry out experiments, Tianzhou-1 used its own propulsion systems to move from an orbit of 390 km above the Earth, re-enter the atmosphere and burn up over the South Pacific.

Apparent footage from Tianzhou-1 as it reentered the atmosphere on September 22, 2017.


Apparent footage from Tianzhou-1 as it reentered the atmosphere on September 22, 2017. CCTV

Wang Zhaoyao, director of CMSE, told CCTV that the mission was a great success.

"It completed a fast space docking and the verifications of some key technologies for the construction of future space stations. Meanwhile, [we] conducted a series of extended experiments and applications including non-Newtonian gravity experimentation and the testing of a vibration suppressing device, and [we] made abundant achievements," Wang said.

The 13.5 tonne Tianzhou-1 spacecraft was China's largest so far, and will remain so until the core module of the future Chinese Space Station is launched around 2019.



"This mission bears great meaning of following the past and opening up opportunities for the future, and it means lot for the operation and construction of our space station," Wang added.

Tiangong-2, which was launched on September 15, 2016, last week marked one year in orbit and will continue to orbit alone after the Tianzhou-1 mission.

Tianzhou-1 undocks from Tiangong-2 on September 17, 2017.


Tianzhou-1 undocks from Tiangong-2 on September 17, 2017. CCTV/Youtube

Quelle: gbtimes






Tags: Raumfahrt - China´s Tianzhou-1 reentiert in Atmosphäre der Erde nach der experimentellen Mission 


Freitag, 22. September 2017 - 19:10 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - China is sending one of the most powerful deep space cameras to Mars



A region of the Noctis Labyrinthus formation on Mars, imaged by the HiRise camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. ASA/JPL/University of Arizona


The orbiter for China’s 2020 Mars mission will carry a powerful high-resolution camera which will boost understanding of the Red Planet and help with planning for future missions.

China will launch its first independent interplanetary mission in summer 2020 with a Long March 5 rocket, ambitiously attempting to send the orbiter to the Red Planet together with a lander and rover in one go.

Aboard the orbiter will be the Mars High-resolution Camera (MHC), which will have a maximum resolution of 0.5m per pixel at an altitude of 260 km above the Martian surface - the expected periapsis, or low point in the orbit - making it comparable to NASA’s HiRise imager.

While HiRise, currently in orbit aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), can return images at a greater resolution of 25 cm per pixel, China’s MHC will offer larger areal coverage, with a 9 km swath versus a 6 km swath for HiRISE.

The specifications for the 40 kg MHC imager were presented at the international forum on Lunar and Deep Space Exploration in Beijing this week.

An artist impression of China's combined orbiter, lander and rover spacecraft headed for Mars.


An artist impression of China's combined orbiter, lander and rover spacecraft headed for Mars, released in August 2016. Xinhua

The instrument is being developed by the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP) in the country's northeast province of Jilin, which operates under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The MHC is currently in the manufacturing and alignment phase.

'Great asset'

Dr Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist and Director of Research for Arizona State University's Space Technology and Science, says the MHC will make an important contribution.

"This will be a great asset to have in orbit at Mars to increase our high resolution coverage to look at things like change monitoring, including phenomena such as dune movement, gully activity, polar avalanches, and future landing site characterisation," Dr Harrison says.

A Mars sample return, to follow in the late 2020s, is also part of China's deep space exploration roadmap, and the MHC would be invaluable in analysing candidate landing sites. 

"It's not only a good compliment to the imagers aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's ExoMars Orbiter, but it will be good to have another high-res camera in orbit at the time the Mars 2020 [NASA mission] is operating since MRO is over a decade old at this point," Dr Harrison points out.

HiRISE being prepared before it is shipped for attachment to the MRO spacecraft.


HiRISE being prepared before it is shipped for attachment to the MRO spacecraft. NASA/JPL

HiRise has returned over a quarter of a million images, many of them stunning.

One issue yet unclear is if and how China will release and share the images publicly in a timely manner.

NASA's Opportunity and Curiosity rovers are still working on the Martian surface and returning great science, and they will be joined by a number of new missions due to launch in the 2020 window.

Potentially touching down in early 2021 will be NASA's Mars 2020 rover, the Chinese rover, the ExoMars 2020 rover involving the European Space Agency and Russia, and an Indian rover - Mangalyaan 2 - following up its 2013 success with the Mars Orbiter Mission.

New payloads, new challenges

China's mission will include 13 payloads, including a ground penetrating radar on the rover. A similar instrument allowed China’s Yutu rover to image around 400m below the lunar surface, making intriguing discoveries about the composition and history of the Moon, such as evidence of volcanic floods.

Another instrument expected on the orbiter is a spectrometer calibrated for detecting methane, the presence of which may indicate biological processes occurring on Mars.

China successfully soft-landed on the Moon in December 2013, and will use some of the experience and technology from the Chang'e-3 mission for the much trickier Martian landing.

Ye Peijian, a senior figure within China's space programme, states that the greater velocity, the thin but hazardous Martian atmosphere, and the remoteness of the planet pose addition hurdles.

China in 2016 tested a supersonic parachute which will be used to slow the lander's descent to the surface.

As such Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the mission, told press in Beijing on Wednesday that, "the Mars exploration program is well underway."

Quelle: gbtimes

Tags: Mars-Chroniken - China is sending one of the most powerful deep space cameras to Mars 


Freitag, 22. September 2017 - 19:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Sojus-2-1-Rakete mit GLONASS-M Nr. 52 Satelliten


Soyuz rocket delivers the GLONASS-M No. 52 satellite

Approaching the 35th anniversary since the birth of Russia's global navigation network, the nation's military launched the 55th mission to deploy and replenish the GLONASS constellation. The fresh satellite, designated GLONASS-M No. 52, rode a Soyuz-2-1b rocket from the northern spaceport in Plesetsk in the early hours of Sept. 22, 2017.



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GLONASS M No. 53 mission at a glance:

Satellite designation(s)
GLONASS-M No. 52 (a.k.a. Uragan-M; 14F113 No. 52; Kosmos)
Launch vehicle
Upper stage
Fregat 14S44
Launch vehicle payload fairing
Launch site
PlesetskSite 43, Pad 4 (Launch complex 17P32-S4)
Launch date and time
2017 Sept. 22, 03:02:32 Moscow Decree Time
Target orbital altitude
~19,000 kilometers
Target orbital inclination
64.8 degrees toward the Equator
Target orbital period
40,544 seconds

Preparing GLONASS-M No. 52

Like other spacecraft in the GLONASS constellation, the GLONASS-M No. 52 satellite was developed at ISS Reshetnev based in Zheleznogorsk, Russia. Before being pressed into service in 2017, this particular spacecraft had spent more than two years in storage along with six other satellites serving as spares. In the meantime, the further production of the M-series was winding down to give way to the more advanced GLONASS-K variant.

However the development of the new-generation satellites was severely delayed by Western sanctions introduced after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. As a result, ISS Reshetnev turned to its ground-based spares to replenish the constellation. 

The beginning of the launch campaign for GLONASS-M No. 52 (a.k.a. Vehicle No. 753) immediately followed the retirement of the GLONASS-M No. 715 satellite in orbit. Vehicle No. 715 was launched on Dec. 24, 2006, and after operating for more than a decade was put out of service by ground control on June 26. On July 3, it was declared "under review by the chief designer," which is a euphemism for the end of the satellite's operation. 

At the time, the GLONASS constellation officially listed 27 spacecraft, however two of them were classified as "under review by the chief designer," another one was listed as an orbital spare and one was undergoing testing. As a result, the network had only 23 satellites performing their navigational duties, and was thus one vehicle short of the fully deployed constellation. That number included 12 satellites operating beyond their warranty.

For the routine replenishment of the GLONASS network, a special commission would usually convene to oversee fast-reaction launches of replacement satellites.

On July 5, 2017, the official TASS news agency quoted the head of the ISS Reshetnev Nikolai Testoedov as saying that the new GLONASS-M satellite to replace the retired bird would be launched around the middle of September. According to industry sources, the launch of GLONASS-M No. 52 was first planned for Sept. 6, 2017, but in July 2017, it was postponed until September 22.

On July 27, 2017, a team from NPO Lavochkin, responsible for the processing of the Fregat upper stage before launch, was dispatched to Plesetsk, the company announced in its publication. On July 31, the specialists began electric, pneumatic and other tests of the stage, NPO Lavochkin said.

On Aug. 25, 2017, ISS Reshetnev announced that GLONASS-M No. 52 had been sent to Plesetsk aboard an Il-76 transport plane. At the time, the company said it still had had six GLONASS-M satellites in stand-by mode on the ground for the replenishment of the GLONASS constellation on an "as-needed" basis.

GLONASS-M No. 52 to go to orbit

The liftoff of a Soyuz-2-1b/Fregat-M vehicle took place as scheduled on Sept. 22, 2017, at 03:02:32 Moscow Time from Pad 4 at Site 43 in PlesetskThe rocket carried a GLONASS-M No. 52 satellite for Russia's GLONASS navigation constellation.

After several seconds of vertical ascent, the launch vehicle headed southeast to reach an orbit with an inclination 64.77 degrees toward the Equator. The four boosters of the first stage separated around two minutes into the flight and fell at drop zone S-19 in the eastern section of the Arkhangelsk Region. Around 45 seconds later, as the vehicle left the dense atmosphere, the payload fairing protecting the satellite split into two halves and its fragments likely impacted the ground at the S-20 drop zone in the Komi Republic. 

The second (core) stage of the rocket continued firing until around 4.7 minutes in flight and it separated moments after the ignition of the RD-0124 engine on the third stage. Moments later, the cylindrical aft section of the third stage split into three segments and separated as well. The core stage and the fragments of the aft section were aimed to fall at the S-21 drop zone in the Omsk Region.

The third stage of the rocket was scheduled to complete its initial powered ascent and separate from the payload section nine minutes and 22 seconds into the ascent. The third stage was then expected to reenter the Earth's atmosphere near the opposite side of the Earth from the launch site and its flaming remnants were to fall into the Pacific Ocean. On September 15, Russian authorities issued a warning to air traffic to avoid a long strip in a remote area of the ocean between New Zealand and Antarctica for the stage impact on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23, 2017.

Several minutes after the scheduled liftoff, the Russian military confirmed that its ground facilities had began tracking the vehicle at 03:06 Moscow Time. According to the Ministry of Defense, the Fregat upper stage and the GLONASS-M satellite successfully separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle at 03:12 Moscow Time on September 22. 


In the meantime, the Fregat-M upper stage used its propulsion system to deliver the spacecraft to its operational circular orbit more than 19,000 kilometers above the Earth's surface. 

Upon the release of the satellite, Fregat was programmed to initiate maneuvers to enter a burial orbit at an altitude of around 19,200 kilometers with several engine firings.

According to industry sources, GLONASS-M No. 52 will be deployed into the second plane of the three-plane GLONASS constellation.

Quelle: RussianSpaceWeb


Russia’s Soyuz-2.1b rocket takes navigational satellite to designated orbit

The launch took place at 03:03 on Friday from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia

Russia’s Glonass-M navigational satellite, launched atop the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket earlier on Friday, was successfully taken to the designated orbit, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press service said.

The launch took place at 03:03 on Friday from the Site 43 of the Pad 4 of the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia.

"The medium Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket took Russia’s Glonass-M navigational satellite to the designated orbit as scheduled," the ministry said.

The launch and orbiting was carried out without any emergency, the ministry said. All systems of the spacecraft operate normally.

Quelle: TASS

Tags: Raumfahrt - Start von Sojus-2-1-Rakete mit GLONASS-M Nr. 52 Satelliten 


Freitag, 22. September 2017 - 08:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Comet or Asteroid? Hubble Discovers that a Unique Object is a Binary



An Asteroid That Split in Two 5,000 Years Ago Is Spouting a Comet Tail

Astronomers categorize the minor bodies in the solar system according to their location and physical composition. Comets are a loose collection of ice and dust that fall in toward the Sun from beyond the orbits of the major planets, and grow long tails of dust and gas along the way. Asteroids are rocky or metallic and are relegated to a zone between Mars and Jupiter. But nature isn't that tidy. The Hubble Space Telescope photographed a pair of asteroids orbiting each other that have a tail of dust, which is definitely a comet-like feature. The odd object, called 2006 VW139/288P, is the first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet. Roughly 5,000 years ago, 2006 VW139/288P probably broke into two pieces due to a fast rotation.


NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope helped an international team of astronomers find that an unusual object in the asteroid belt is, in fact, two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. These include a bright halo of material, called a coma, and a long tail of dust.

Hubble was used to image the asteroid, designated 300163 (2006 VW139), in September 2016 just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the Sun. Hubble’s crisp images revealed that it was actually not one, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of 60 miles. 

Asteroid 300163 (2006 VW139) was discovered by Spacewatch in November 2006 and then the possible cometary activity was seen in November 2011 by Pan-STARRS. Both Spacewatch and Pan-STARRS are asteroid survey projects of NASA’s Near Earth Object Observations Program. After the Pan-STARRS observations it was also given a comet designation of 288P. This makes the object the first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet.

The more recent Hubble observations revealed ongoing activity in the binary system. “We detected strong indications for the sublimation of water ice due to the increased solar heating — similar to how the tail of a comet is created,” explained team leader Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany. 

The combined features of the binary asteroid — wide separation, near-equal component size, high eccentricity orbit, and comet-like activity — also make it unique among the few known binary asteroids that have a wide separation. Understanding its origin and evolution may provide new insights into the early days of the solar system. Main-belt comets may help to answer how water came to a bone-dry Earth billions of years ago.

The team estimates that 2006 VW139/288P has existed as a binary system only for about 5,000 years. The most probable formation scenario is a breakup due to fast rotation. After that, the two fragments may have been moved further apart by the effects of ice sublimation, which would give a tiny push to an asteroid in one direction as water molecules are ejected in the other direction.

The fact that 2006 VW139/288P is so different from all other known binary asteroids raises some questions about how common such systems are in the asteroid belt. “We need more theoretical and observational work, as well as more objects similar to this object, to find an answer to this question,” concluded Agarwal.

The research is presented in a paper, to be published in the journal Nature this week.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.


Quelle: NASA


Hubble Just Spotted a Bizarre New Object in Our Solar System

Astronomers have identified a weird pair of orbiting asteroids, called 288P, as the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet. 

This artist’s impression shows the binary main-belt comet 288P. From a distance the comet-like features of the system can clearly be seen: among them, the bright coma surrounding both components of the system and the long tail of dust and water pointing away from from the sun. Only a closer look reveals the two components of the system: two asteroids circling each other on an eccentric orbit. |ESA/Hubble, L. Calçada, M. Kornmesser 
This time-lapse video, assembled from a set of ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope images, reveals two asteroids with comet-like features orbiting each other. The asteroid pair, called 288P, was observed in September 2016, just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the sun. |NASA, ESA, and J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research) 

Tags: Astronomie - Comet or Asteroid? Hubble Discovers that a Unique Object is a Binary 


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