Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 19:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - 1993: Zweite Deutsche Spacelab Mission

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Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 16:05 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - MIR´97 deutsch-russische Mission 1997 -Teil-2

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Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 16:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - MIR´97 deutsch-russische Mission 1997 -Teil-1

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Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 15:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Japan plant dem US-Mondstation Projekt beizutreten



Govt eyes manned lunar surface mission


The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government plans to launch a project to send astronauts to the moon’s surface on an exploration mission in cooperation with a similar U.S. space project, sources close to the government said.

Japan hopes to join the U.S. project to construct a spaceport in lunar orbit in the latter half of the 2020s, in an effort to realize a lunar surface exploration mission by a Japanese astronaut. The government plans to submit a draft report on the project to a meeting of a governmental panel of space policy experts.

By joining an international space probe, the nation is expected to obtain scientific results, and also boost its competitiveness in the space industry and assert Japan’s leadership in the field of space utilization, the sources said.

Japan has participated in the International Space Station. ISS operations have been arranged up through 2024 but operations beyond that year remain uncertain.

With an eye on the post-ISS era, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has formulated the space project “Deep Space Gateway.” Under this project, NASA plans to build a spaceport in lunar orbit, equipped with a habitat for astronauts and a fuel supply facility. The spaceport will be used as a base for manned exploration missions on the lunar surface and a relay base to explore deep space toward Mars. 

NASA hopes to begin sending construction materials into space in about 2020 to start the assembly of the gateway.

Tokyo has decided it is a realistic goal to send astronauts for the first time to the lunar surface for exploration activities, by joining the U.S. project and contributing its expertise in such areas as the docking of the space station and supply ship. Japan will draw on its experience of close cooperation with the United States regarding ISS operations. 

Promoting international cooperation also is expected to reduce costs.

The Japanese government plans to compile a report on the future of international space exploration through such forums as the Committee on National Space Policy, composed of experts. In mid-December, the government plans to revise the road map for the Basic Plan on Space Policy, including items such as technologies needed for a lunar exploration. The current plan was adopted at a Cabinet meeting in 2016. The government revises the road map every year based on the basic policy.


In the Japan-U.S. summit meeting on Nov. 6, both leaders agreed to promote cooperation in space exploration. Yet the details of the U.S. spaceport project have not been decided. Also, Japan’s share of the operation on the spaceport and its share of the cost have not been decided. Tokyo plans to start full-fledged negotiations with the United States over these matters after NASA’s new chief is confirmed by the U.S. Congress.Speech

Quelle: The Japan News

Tags: Raumfahrt - Japan plant dem US-Mondstation Projekt beizutreten 


Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 14:50 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Hier kommt der Sonnenbeobachter, Indiens Aditya-L1 Satelliten


Here comes the sun watcher, India’s Aditya-L1


An artistic rendition of the Aditya-L1 satellite with the sun and the earth in the background.ISRO, CESSI, IISER Kolkata  

Made in India probe prepares to study solar phenomena

Sometime in 2019 or 2020 India will send ISRO’s solar mission Aditya-L1 to a vantage point in space, known as the L1 Lagrange point, to do imaging and study of the sun. This launch will happen in the early part of the next solar cycle - an occurrence in which sunspots form on the face of the sun, growing in size and number and eventually diminishing, all over a period of eleven years. It will be a mission of many firsts.

The so-called L1 point is 1.5 million kilometres away. Here, due to the delicate balance of gravitational forces, the satellite will require very little energy to maintain its orbit. Also it will not be eclipsed from the sun. The 1,500-kg class satellite will be programmed to orbit this point and image the sun’s magnetic field from space for the very first time in the world. Scientists hope to capture the close-ups of the sun from here, uninterrupted by eclipses for years.

Few other space agencies have successfully placed their satellites at this location. Among the few, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a NASA-ESA collaboration involving America and Europe, and NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) are at L1 exclusively to study the sun and space weather, respectively. Aditya-L1 is expected to be the very first to study from space two months from the time of launch, the magnetic field of the sun’s corona. The corona is the outer layer that we see during total solar eclipses. It will be the first 100% Indian mission which will not only negotiate a challenging orbit, but will also benefit the global scientific community in understanding the sun.

Deeper look

Earlier, the NASA-ESA mission SOHO was launched in 1995, and while it made many discoveries, its coronagraph, meant to image the sun, broke down shortly after the mission commenced. Hence there is currently no satellite imaging the sun from space. Aditya-L1 will not only fill this gap it will also literally, look deeper into the sun than SOHO. “The nominal mission lifetime is expected to be five years, though it is expected to go on for much longer, perhaps even ten,” says Dipankar Banerjee from Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP), Bengaluru, which is collaborating with ISRO on this project.

The mission will carry seven payloads,consisting of a coronagraph, equipment that will image the sun using ultraviolet filters, X-ray spectrometers, and particle samplers all being made within the country.

The largest payload, or instrument, aboard the satellite, will be the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VLEC). This can view the sun more closely than has been done before even by SOHO.

Quelle: The Hindu



Tags: Raumfahrt - Hier kommt der Sonnenbeobachter, Indiens Aditya-L1 Satelliten 


Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 14:40 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Defense Measure Calls for Arlington Memorial to Apollo 1 Crew



Astronauts, from the left, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee stand near Cape Kennedy’s Launch Complex 34 during training for Apollo 1 in January 1967. (Credits: NASA)

The National Defense Authorization Act passed by both houses of Congress calls for the construction of a memorial marker to the crew of Apollo 1 at Arlington National Cemetery. The measure awaits President Donald Trump’s signature.

The United States Army will lead the effort to create the memorial in consultation with NASA, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery.

Astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed when a flash fire swept through their Apollo 1 command module during a practice countdown on Jan. 27, 1967. The astronauts had been scheduled to fly the first manned test of the spacecraft in Earth orbit the following month.

Grissom was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts who became the second American in space aboard Liberty Bell 7 and commanded Gemini 3, the first manned flight of that two-person spacecraft. White became the first American to walk in space during the Gemini 4 mission. Chaffee was scheduled to make his first spaceflight aboard Apollo 1.

The fire resulted in major overhaul of the troubled Apollo command module. The first manned flight of the Apollo program did not occur until October 1968, more than 20 months after the fire.


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Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 14:30 Uhr

Astronomie - Next Generation Astronomical Survey to Map the Entire Sky


The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V), directed by Juna Kollmeier of the Carnegie Institution for Science, will move forward with mapping the entire sky following a $16 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020


This artist’s impression shows a cutaway view of the parts of the Universe that SDSS-V will study.


SDSS-V will study millions of stars to create a map of the entire Milky Way. Farther out, the survey will get the most detailed view yet of the largest nearby galaxies like Andromeda in the Northern Hemisphere and the Large Magellanic Cloud in the Southern hemisphere. Even farther out, the survey will measure quasars, bright points of light powered by matter falling into giant black holes.

Image Credit: Artist’s Conception of SDSS-V: Image by Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science/SDSS


The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been one of the most-successful and influential surveys in the history of astronomy, creating the most-detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made, with deep multi-color images of one third of the sky, and spectra for more than three million astronomical objects. 

“For more than 20 years, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has defined excellence in astronomy,” says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “SDSS-V continues that august tradition by combining cutting-edge research, international collaboration, technological innovation, and cost-effective grassroots governance. The Sloan Foundation is proud to be a core supporter of SDSS-V.”

Under Kollmeier’s leadership, the survey’s fifth generation will build off the earlier SDSS incarnations, but will break new ground by pioneering all-sky observations, and by monitoring over time the changes in a million objects.

“With observations in both hemispheres, no part of the sky will be hidden from SDSS-V,” she said.

Juna Kollmeier

“With observations in both hemispheres, no part of the sky will be hidden from SDSS-V.”

In the tradition of previous Sloan Surveys, SDSS-V is committed to making its data publicly available in a format that is helpful to a broad range of users, from the youngest students to both amateur and professional astronomers.

“SDSS-V is proof that great science knows no borders and stands out for its commitment to diversity,” says Dr. Evan S. Michelson, Program Director at the Sloan Foundation. “It will create unparalleled opportunities for all scientists to participate in answering some of the most exciting questions in astronomy. We are thrilled to be supporting Juna Kollmeier, her team at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the entire SDSS Collaboration.”

“SDSS has long been a great example of hundreds of astronomers of all ages, from many continents, working together on a big project. We’re excited to continue that tradition!” adds Gail Zasowski, a professor at the University of Utah and the SDSS-V Spokesperson.

The survey operates out of both Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, home of the survey’s original 2.5-meter telescope, and Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, where it uses Carnegie’s du Pont telescope.

“I am delighted to see SDSS-V move forward and to see Carnegie’s collaboration with the survey expand,” said Carnegie Observatories Director John Mulchaey.

SDSS-V will make use of both optical and infrared spectroscopy, to observe not only in two hemispheres, but also at two wavelengths of light.

It will take advantage of the recently installed second APOGEE spectrograph on Carnegie’s du Pont telescope. Both it and its twin on Apache Point penetrate the dust in our galaxy that confounds optical spectrographs to obtain high-resolution spectra for hundreds of stars at infrared wavelengths. In the optical wavelengths, the survey’s twin BOSS spectrographs can each obtain simultaneous spectra for 500 stars and quasars. What’s more, a newly envisioned pair of Integral Field Unit spectrographs can each obtain nearly 2,000 spectra contiguously across objects in the sky. 

SDSS-V will consist of three projects, each mapping different components of the universe: The Milky Way Mapper, the Black Hole Mapper and the Local Volume Mapper. The first Mapper focuses on the formation of the Milky Way and its stars and planets. The second will study the formation, growth, and ultimate sizes of the supermassive black holes that lurk at the centers of galaxies. The Local Volume Mapper will create the first complete spectroscopic maps of the most-iconic nearby galaxies. 

“These data will enable scientists to study the chemical composition of galaxies and the interactions between stars, gas, and supernova explosions in unprecedented detail,” explained D. Michael Crenshaw, Chair of ARC’s Board of Governors and Georgia State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

“By surveying the sky rapidly and repeatedly like no spectroscopic survey has done before, SDSS-V will not only vastly improve the data to answer known unknown questions, but it can—perhaps more importantly—venture into astrophysical terra incognita.” said Hans-Walter Rix, the SDSS-V project scientist and director at the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy.

Mike Blanton

“It’s wonderful to see the scope and breadth of the next phase of this amazing survey take shape.”

The project’s fifth generation is building its consortium, but already has support from 18 institutions including the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, University of Utah, the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence, the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, Harvard University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Georgia State University, University of Wisconsin, Caltech, New Mexico State University, the Space Telescope Science Institute, University Washington, Vanderbilt University, University of Warwick, Leibniz Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, KULeuven, Monash University, and Yale University, with additional partnership agreements underway.

“It’s wonderful to see the scope and breadth of the next phase of this amazing survey take shape,” said Mike Blanton of New York University, the current SDSS Director and chair of the SDSS-V Steering Committee.

Quelle: Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) and The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Collaboration

Tags: Astronomie - Next Generation Astronomical Survey to Map the Entire Sky 


Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 10:05 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - VOYAGER-2 bei Uranus 1985 -Teil-2

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Sonntag, 26. November 2017 - 10:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - VOYAGER-2 bei Uranus 1985 -Teil-1

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Samstag, 25. November 2017 - 16:10 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Paul Allen’s Stratolauncher, the Biggest Airplane Ever, Gets Ready for Takeoff



Microsoft’s co-founder jumps into the billionaire space race with a plane to launch rockets. It’s not just ego: There’s a lucrative new industry up there.

When you have the wealth of billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen what do you want for Christmas? After all, the guy has two yachts, one of them one of the world’s largest, a 414-foot vessel named Octopus (suggestions of a Bond villain) with two helicopters and a 10-person submarine, plus nine mansions on Mercer Island in Seattle and homes in London, France, New York, Beverly Hills, and Hawaii. 

How about the world’s largest airplane?

During the last two months the desert around Mojave, California, has reverberated with the deep thunder of jet engines being tested. The Mojave airfield is home to a private collective of aerospace futurists, so the folks who live there are used to the sudden eruption of rocket motors flaring up on short runs. But this was different: recurrent and long runs of multiple jet engines.


The engines, six of them, belonged to an aviation goliath, the largest airplane by wingspan ever to emerge from a hangar anywhere. It’s called the Stratolauncher and it’s Paul Allen’s brainchild. As with most trips to the outer edge of what is possible, this project is well behind schedule. But, if Allen is lucky, by Christmas he could be within weeks of seeing his monster fly.

This is not a vanity project. It seeks to prove what seems like a very basic premise: that if you launch a rocket into orbit from 35,000 feet instead of from the ground it’s a lot more efficient. It doesn’t require the enormous thrust needed to initially defy gravity and leave a launch pad and so the conventional first stage of a rocket is eliminated.


Stratolauncher is designed to launch leaner, lighter rockets that, after being released from the airplane, scorch a path into low Earth orbit where they release not one satellite but a bundle of small satellites.

“Throughout the history of aviation there has been the temptation to equate size with progress, and it’s seldom had happy results.”

Sixty years after the Russians launched Sputnik, the first satellite to go into orbit, these so-called smallsats are the basis of the next generation of communications networks in space—and, therefore, the basis of a whole new opportunity in the rocket launching business.

The speed of change is remarkable. It took two decades to complete the 24-satellite constellation that supports America’s GPS network used by the whole world. Over the next five years at least 500 smallsats are expected to be launched, enabling everything from smartphone connection in places without it across the globe, like swathes of Africa, to real-time constant tracking of every airplane in the sky.

Allen isn’t alone in planning to capture a slice of this market. That perpetual dreamer of space enterprises, Richard Branson, has an outfit called Virgin Orbit in California that will use a converted Boeing 747, pulled from the fleet of Virgin Atlantic, to launch satellite-bearing rockets. But Branson’s rockets will be capable of shipping only 300 kilos of payload into orbit, while Allen’s will carry 6,000 kilos.

There are other billionaires in the game with their own ideas. The technology of ground-launched rockets has been transformed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Their major innovation has been re-usable rockets. This has lowered costs and made the market for satellite launches a lot more competitive.

However, preparing a launch pad anew after each launch still takes time and the timing of launches is restricted by the relationship between the fixed location of the pads and the limited window for reaching the desired orbit. Air-launching claims two advantages over this: it can be done with greater frequency and from any location in the world where there is a suitable runway. 

Of course, until Allen and Branson are able to demonstrate that their systems actually work, which won’t be until 2019 at the earliest, ground launches remain the only option. And neither Virgin Orbit or Allen have plans to build more launchers—the Stratoliner, in particular, looks like a one-off. 

As it happens, there is a clear evolutionary link between the Stratolauncher and Branson’s project. Branson originally intended to pioneer mid-air rocket launches into low Earth orbit using the White Knight motherships that carry his Virgin Galactic space tourism vehicle to launch altitude. 

Indeed, the Stratolauncher resembles a vastly larger version of the White Knight, which was designed by Burt Rutan, the founder of the Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Rutan sold Scaled Composites to Northrop Grumman in 2007 but his influence on the concept of the Stratolauncher, which was built by Scaled Composites, is unmistakable: long, thin wings with two fuselages and the space vehicle slung between them.

Unfortunately for Branson’s initiative, White Knight turned out not to be powerful enough to lift the weight of a satellite-bearing rocket—that was why, in order to compete with Allen, he suddenly switched to the 747. Allen, though, had understood from scratch that to meet the demand for launching satellites he needed a purpose-built machine that would dwarf a 747.

Nonetheless there is a lot of 747 in the DNA of the Stratolauncher—the engines came from two former United Airlines 747s, as did all 28 of its wheels and many parts of the wings. The empty weight (without fuel and payload) is half a million pounds—the largest 747 model weighs 435,000 pounds. But the world’s largest commercial jet, the Airbus A380, weighs 610,000 pounds.

So the bragging rights of actually owning the world’s biggest airplane rest on its wingspan of 385 feet. Its closest competitor by that measure is the Ukrainian-built Antonov Heavy Lifter cargo jet at 290 feet.

This is a good time to note that throughout the history of aviation there has been the temptation to equate size with progress, and it’s seldom had happy results.


The most bizarre example is the Tupolev ANT-20, created on the orders of Stalin to represent Soviet supremacy in the air, the first one of which flew in 1934, an eight-engine mammoth with a wingspan of 207 feet (a few feet larger than the first model of the 747) named the Maxim Gorky, for the writer exalted for his loyalty to the system. 


The whole thing was dreamed up as a propaganda exercise by a magazine editor, not as an airplane but as a version of Big Brother in the sky, able to broadcast party dogma through loudspeakers to cities below, as well as carrying its own printing press able to produce 12,000 leaflets an hour, also to be broadcast from above.

This enterprise ended disastrously. Although it cast a large shadow, the Maxim Gorky was a lumbering machine with a top speed of only 137 mph. After making 12 flights it took off for a 13th to fly low over Moscow, escorted by two small fighters—the tableau was intended to represent a giant accompanied by gnats.

One of the fighter pilots decided to liven up the show with aerobatics. He lost control and sliced through one of the Maxim Gorky’s wings. Both airplanes fell into a suburb, killing a total of 48 people, in the airplanes and on the ground.

But among the slender population of aviation’s goliaths one remains both the sexiest and, because of its record the most frustrating: Howard Hughes’ magnificent folly, the Spruce Goose. 



There is something uniquely obsessive in this saga that ends in November 1947, five years after the U.S. government gave the green light for Hughes to develop a massive military transport, officially designated the H-4 flying boat. On that day Hughes piloted the H-4 on its first and only flight over the harbor at Long Beach, California, in which it was airborne for only 26 seconds at a maximum altitude of 70 feet.

Hughes had an intuitive feel for what would make a great airplane. Through his airline, TWA, he was a hands-on patron of the singularly most exquisite and advanced airliner of the piston-engine age, the Lockheed Constellation. But by the time he embarked on the H-4 his perfectionism had crossed the threshold into clinical madness. Picking over every detail delayed the development for so long that the H-4 was obsolete by the time it made that momentary hop over the water.

Paul Allen has more money to play with than even Hughes ever dreamed of—a net worth of at least $17 billion. And he’s as passionate as Hughes about aviation. Among his expensive hobbies is a museum of vintage warplanes ranging from the World War II legend Supermarine Spitfire to the Cold War Soviet Mig 29. 

These days the lust for ever larger airplanes is over. There will never be another airliner as large as the Airbus A380. Its sales have slumped, dependent basically on airline, Emirates, to keep it in production. Boeing has no successor to the 747; the latest model is selling slowly and will be the last. In its place the company is about to produce the 777X, in the belief that slightly smaller twin-engine wide-body jets are the optimum in combining size with efficiency.

Just exactly how much the Stratolauncher is costing Allen has not been disclosed. The list price of a new Boeing 747-8 is $380 million. Even accounting for the savings made by cannibalizing two older 747s the development costs of designing something this large from scratch to build just one machine, plus the inevitable delays and then the costs of flight testing must be pushing toward half a billion dollars at the least.

Not even Allen can regard that as chump change. In some ways it is a glorious boy’s toy, something built because Allen dreamed it up and had the means to build it and because it will be a sensation when it flies. But it is also a shrewd business decision. 

The man who, with Bill Gates, turned personal computer software into a perpetual moneymaking machine, spotted that inner space is becoming a place for a new tech gold rush. By 2025 it is predicted that there will be a staggering 3,600 small commercial satellites. Allen is betting that many of them will make the ride there with the help of his new machine. In fact, it seems likely that, between them, Musk, Bezos, and Allen will own that market.


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