Launch Time and Window, H-IIA F37 (with upgraded function) Encapsulating SHIKISAI and TSUBAME
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
MHI and JAXA set the launch time and window of H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 37 (with upgraded function) which carries aboard the Global Changing Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C) and the Super Low Altitude Test Satellite "TSUBAME" (SLATS). Refer to the following details;
December 23 (Sat.), 2017
10:26:22 a.m. (Japan Standard Time, JST)
10:26:22 a.m. through 10:48:22 a.m. (JST)
Reserved Launch Period:
December 24 (Sun.), 2017 through January 31 (Wed.), 2018
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA successfully launched H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 37 (H-IIA F37) (with upgraded function) which encapsulates the Global Changing Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C) and the Super Low Altitude Test Satellite "TSUBAME" (SLATS) at 10:26:22, 2017 (JST) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center. The launch and flight of H-IIA F37 proceeded as planned. So did the separation of SHIKISAI and TSUBAME, which was confirmed respectively at approximately 16 minutes and 13 seconds and 1 hour and 47 minutes 59 seconds after liftoff. We express sincere appreciation for all.
Dec. 23, 2017 Updated
SHIKISAI Solar Array Deployment – Images
The reception of telemetry data from JAXA's SHIKISAI satellite was made at 10:44 a.m. at the JAXA Mingenew Station, Australia, confirming SHIKISAI’s solar array deployment above Australia.
Images Captured by the SHIKISAI onboard Cameras Following Solar Array Deployment
Solar array paddle 1 (Plus Y Side)
Solar array paddle 2 (Minus Y Side)
In a first for Japan, JAXA puts two satellites into orbit using one rocket
An H-IIA rocket carrying two satellites lifts off Saturday from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. One of the satellites will aid climate research and the other is meant for low-altitude tests. | KYODO
TANEGASHIMA, KAGOSHIMA PREF. – Japan placed two satellites into separate orbits with a single rocket on Saturday morning, achieving a feat it hopes will lead to cheaper launches in the future.
The H-IIA rocket took off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at 10:26 a.m., carrying a Shikisai climate research satellite and a low-altitude test satellite named Tsubame. The satellites will orbit at altitudes of 800 km and under 300 km, respectively.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), working in conjunction with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., hopes the success will allow it to orbit multiple satellites using one rocket in the future. Until now, each JAXA satellite had been launched individually.
The H-IIA rocket released the Shikisai first before decelerating and dropping to an altitude of around 480 km to release the Tsubame.
Shikisai will travel on a path that will see it return to the same orbit after a certain period, allowing it to investigate changes in water circulation and the mechanisms involved in climate change over a set period.
Tsubame, driven by an ion engine that uses fuel more efficiently than gas jet propulsion, will maneuver into lower orbits of 300 km or below and be assessed for its ability to stably travel at low altitudes. At such altitudes, atmospheric resistance is about 1,000 times greater than that experienced by most observation satellites, which orbit at around 600 km to 800 km above Earth.
When Tsubame reaches an altitude of 270 km about 15 months later, a test will determine whether it can maintain that altitude using its thrusters, the goal being to have it gradually descend to an altitude of 180 km.
Orbits lower than 300 km remain underdeveloped for satellite use, according to JAXA.
Putting a satellite in a low orbit makes it possible to capture high-resolution images, among other potential functions. JAXA hopes to put such images to use during and after natural disasters.
Quelle: the japan times
Completion of Critical Operations Phase, SHIKISAI and TSUBAME
December 24, 2017 (JST)
National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
JAXA received telemetry data from SHIKISAI and TSUBAME, confirming that their satellite attitude control system had transitioned to the steady state. Current status of both satellites is stable. Subsequently, the following procedure occurred – power generation that supports the satellites’ operation by the deployed solar array wings, ground communications and sound attitude control that maintains those operations. Combined by the completion of the series of other operations, such as powering up of the bus and mission equipment, the satellites have entered the state where they can be sustained in orbit. This concludes their critical operations phase*¹.
SHIKISAI and TSUBAME will move on to the next operations phase*², where the functions of the satellites’ onboard apparatus will be examined approximately in the next three-month period.
JAXA conveys deep appreciation for the support by all for the satellites’ launch and tracking.
*¹ Critical operations phase: the phase that follows satellite’s separation from a launch vehicle, solar array deployment, and powering up of instruments for the satellite’s regular operations. The critical operations phase comes to an end at the start of the satellite’s control mode for nominal operation.
*² Next operations phase: during this phase, the entire satellite, its observation/mission sensors and other onboard equipment are scrutinized.
SHIKISAI and TSUBAME critical operation phase successfully completed! Initial function verification starts!
JAXA received telemetry data from SHIKISAI and TSUBAME, confirming that their satellite attitude control system had transitioned to the steady state. Current status of both satellites is stable. Subsequently, the following procedure occurred - power generation that supports the satellites’ operation by the deployed solar array wings, ground communications and sound attitude control that maintains those operations. Combined by the completion of the series of other operations, such as powering up of the bus and mission equipment, the satellites have entered the state where they can be sustained in orbit. This concludes their critical operations phase. SHIKISAI and TSUBAME will take about three months to verify the function of its onboard equipment and instruments in space.
About Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C)
Forecasting future global climate
The purpose of the GCOM (Global Change Observation Mission) project is the global, long-term observation of Earth's environment. GCOM is expected to play an important role in monitoring both global water circulation and climate change, and examining the health of Earth from space. Global and long-term observations (10-15 years) by GCOM will contribute to an understanding of water circulation mechanisms and climate change.
GCOM consists of two satellite series, the GCOM-W and GCOM-C. The GCOM-C, carrying a SGLI (Second generation GLobal Imager), conducts surface and atmospheric measurements related to the carbon cycle and radiation budget, such as clouds, aerosols, ocean color, vegetation, and snow and ice.
Characteristics of Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI" (GCOM-C)
SGLI is an optical sensor for monitoring the long-term trends of aerosol-cloud interactions and for understanding the carbon cycle
The Second generation GLobal Imager (SGLI) on GCOM-C1 is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel observation at wavelengths from near-UV to thermal infrared wavelengths (380nm to 12µm.) SGLI also has polarimetry and forward / backward observation functions at red and near infrared wavelengths. SGLI obtains global observation data once every 2 or 3 days, with resolutions of 250m to 1km.
The SGLI observations will improve our understanding of climate change mechanisms through long-term monitoring of aerosols and clouds, as well as vegetation and temperatures, in the land and ocean regions. These observations will also contribute to enhancing the prediction accuracy of future environmental changes by improving sub-processes in numerical climate models. SGLI-derived phytoplankton and aerosol distributions are also used for mapping fisheries and for monitoring the transport of yellow dust and/or wildfire smoke.
Rocket lights sky as it carries satellites from California
A reused SpaceX rocket carried 10 satellites into orbit from California on Friday, leaving behind a trail of mystery and wonder as it soared into space.
The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications.
The launch in the setting sun created a shining, billowing streak that was widely seen throughout Southern California and as far away as Phoenix.
Calls came in to TV stations as far afield as San Diego, more than 200 miles south of the launch site.
Cars stopped on freeways in Los Angeles so drivers and passengers could take pictures and video.
The Los Angeles Fire Department issued an advisory that the "mysterious light in the sky" was from the rocket launch.
Jimmy Golen, a sports writer for The Associated Press in Boston who was in Southern California for the holidays, said he and other tourists saw the long, glowing contrail while touring Warner Bros. studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank.
"People were wondering if it had something to do with movies, or TV or a UFO," he said. "It was very cool."
The same rocket carried Iridium satellites into orbit in June. That time, the first stage landed on a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean. This time, the rocket was allowed to plunge into the water.
It was the 18th and final launch of 2017 for SpaceX, which has contracted to replace Iridium's system with 75 updated satellites. SpaceX has made four launches and expects to make several more to complete the job by mid-2018.
The satellites also carry payloads for global aircraft tracking and a ship-tracking service.
That streak across the Phoenix sky wasn't a UFO
SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH VISIBLE IN METRO PHOENIXSpaceX rocket launch time lapse | 2:00
A view of the SpaceX rocket launch from a City of Phoenix roof cam — in just two brief minutes on Dec. 22, 2017.
1 of 5
Rocket launch seen from Phoenix
SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH VISIBLE IN METRO PHOENIXRocket launch seen from Phoenix | 0:58
The SpaceX rocket that launched from Southern California on Dec. 22, 2017, was visible in Phoenix. L.T. Kidd/Special for The Republic
SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH VISIBLE IN METRO PHOENIXRocket launch seen from White Tanks | 0:15
A streaking light from a rocket launch was observed on the west side of White Tanks, south of Wittman, on Dec. 22, 2017. JB Samson
SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH VISIBLE IN METRO PHOENIXRocket launch seen from Phoenix | 2:08
A dashboard view of the sky on Dec. 22, 2017, captures a rocket launch seen from Phoenix. John Sebald/Special for
SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH VISIBLE IN METRO PHOENIXStreak of light captured in the Phoenix night sky | 0:46
SpaceX, a private space-exploration company, reported that it had launched a rocket carrying satellites from Southern California earlier in the evening. Credit: https://m.facebook.com/tapsmediallc/.
Scores of Phoenix-area residents spotted a streak of smoke and blue light across the night sky Friday, prompting speculation about what it could be.
Relax, no UFOs this time.
SpaceX, a private space-exploration company, reported that it had launched a rocket carrying satellites from Southern California earlier in the evening.
Numerous area residents were posting photos on Twitter and contacting The Arizona Republic about the stunning sight.
Pam Sutton of Maricopa said she and her husband were driving around 7 p.m. when it was pitch black outside.
"We saw this really bright, bright light shining from an object moving away," Sutton said. "It looked like a UFO to us."
She said everyone was also pulled over on the side of the road taping the event.
Even former Gov. Jan Brewer saw it.
"It was a traveling, quite expedient, little light. It was bright blue, leaving a trail of light particles," Leona Henry, an officer at Lewis Prison in Buckeye, told The Republic.
Henry ruled out Northern Lights since Arizona is too far south, then wondered if it was a missile from North Korea.
"It left this gorgeous blue trail across the entire sky," she said. "It just lit up the sky."
SpaceX tweeted around 4:30 p.m. that its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara would occur in about an hour.
The Iridium-4 is the fourth set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for its global satellite constellation, the company said on its website. A SpaceX spokesman did not immediately return a request for confirmation.
Es gibt berechtigte Zweifel an der Story von NYT und so kommen nun auch die "Außerirdischen Artefakte" in den Focus. Wenn es aus dem Weltraum käme, würde diese Reise auch verräterische Zeichen im Metall hinterlassen, in Form von Debris und Ionisierung (Veränderungen der elektrischen Ladungen der Atome in der Substanz).
The Truth About Those 'Alien Alloys' in The NY Times UFO Story
What to make of a Las Vegas building full of unidentified alloys?
The New York Times published a stunning story Saturday (Dec. 16) revealing that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) had, between 2007 and 2012, funded a $22 million program for investigating UFOs. The story included three revelations that were tailored to blow readers' minds:
Many high-ranking people in the federal government believe aliens have visited planet Earth.
Military pilots have recorded videos of UFOs with capabilities that seem to outstrip all known human aircraft, changing direction and accelerating in ways no fighter jet or helicopter could ever accomplish.
In a group of buildings in Las Vegas, the government stockpiles alloys and other materials believed to be associated with UFOs.
Points one and two are weird, but not all that compelling on their own: The world already knew that plenty of smart folks believe in alien visitors, and that pilots sometimes encounter strange phenomena in the upper atmosphere — phenomena explained by entities other than space aliens, such as a weather balloon, a rocket launch or even a solar eruption.
Point No. 3, though — those buildings full of alloys and other materials — that's a little harder to hand wave away. Is there really a DOD cache full of materials from out of this world?
One of the authors of the Times report, Ralph Blumenthal, had this to say on MSNBC about the alloys: "They have, as we reported in the paper, some material from these objects that is being studied so that scientists can find what accounts for their amazing properties, this technology of these objects, whatever they are." When asked what the materials were, Blumenthal responded, "They don't know. They're studying it, but it's some kind of compound that they don't recognize."
Here's the thing, though: The chemists and metallurgists Live Science spoke to — experts in identifying unusual alloys — don't buy it.
"I don't think it's plausible that there's any alloys that we can't identify," Richard Sachleben, a retired chemist and member of the American Chemical Society's panel of experts, told Live Science. "My opinion? That's quite impossible."
Alloys are mixtures of different kinds of elemental metals. They're very common — in fact, Sachleben said, they're more common on Earth than pure elemental metals are — and very well understood. Brass is an alloy. So is steel. Even most naturally occurring gold on Earth is an alloy made up of elemental gold mixed with other metals, like silver or copper.
"There are databases of all known phases [of metal], including alloys," May Nyman, a professor in the Oregon State University Department of Chemistry, told Live Science. Those databases include straightforward techniques for identifying metal alloys.
If an unknown alloy appeared, Nyman said it would be relatively simple to figure out what it was made of.
For crystalline alloys — those in which the mixture of atoms forms an ordered structure — researchers use a technique called X-ray diffraction, Nyman said.
"The X-ray's wavelength is about the same size as the distance between the atoms [of crystalline alloys]," Nyman said, "so that means when the X-rays go into a well-ordered material, they diffract [change shape and intensity] … and from that diffraction [pattern] you can get information that tells you the distance between the atoms, what the atoms are, and how well-ordered the atoms are. It tells you all about the arrangement of your atoms."
With noncrystalline, amorphous alloys, the process is a bit different, but not by much.
"These are all very standard techniques in research labs, so if we had such mysterious metals, you could take it to any university where research is done, and they could tell you what are the elements and something about the crystalline phase within a few hours," Nyman said.
"There are no alloys that are sitting in some warehouse that we cannot figure out what they are. In fact, it's pretty simple, and any reasonably good metallurgical grad student can do it for you," he said.
Nyman said that if metals did fall from some mysterious aircraft, some forensics experiments would quickly answer a lot of questions about that aircraft.
"How has the hunk of metal changed?" Nyman said. "From my scientist's perspective, that's the kind of question I'd be asking. Maybe, if it has to do with world politics, and we want to know where the metal comes from, maybe there's some analysis that can lead you to where it was mined, or what country uses that particular alloy, that kind of thing."
If the aircraft had come from space, Nyman said, that travel would leave telltale signs in the metal as well, in the form of spacefaring debris and ionization (changes to the electrical charges of the substance's atoms).
Even if a chunk of alloy that hadn't been seen before did fall to Earth from outer space, both Nyman and Sachleben agreed that it wouldn't necessarily have come from an alien craft. In fact, Sachleben said, alloys strike the planet regularly — space-traversing alloys like those found in fairly common nickel-iron meteorites — leaving behind telltale signs. The meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs was even identified by the rare-Earth metals it left behind in certain geological formations in Earth's crust.
It's important to point out that while Blumenthal did go on cable news and say the alloys were unidentifiable mysteries, helping to spur speculation, that's not what his article actually stated. Here's the full quote from Saturday's piece:
"The company [involved in the DOD research] modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that … program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft."
From this statement, there's no actual sign that there's anything unusual about the alloys themselves. All the Times wrote was that the DOD researchers tasked with finding weird UFO stuff collected some metal, interviewed some people who had claimed startling experiences with it, and decided that it was UFO-related.
In an email to Live Science regarding these metal alloys, Blumenthal said, "We printed as much as we were able to verify. Can't go beyond that."
As for whether there's an explanation at least for the metals themselves, Sachleben said: "There's not as many mysteries in science as people like to think. It's not like we know everything — we don't know everything. But most things we know enough about to know what we don't know."
All of the discussion about whether they're talking about the flir pod rotating.. "LOOK AT THAT THING!" etc. That is of course assuming, am i correct, that we are hearing from 2 pilots in the same jet who are not looking at this object through their windscreen, but purely seeing this and commenting on it while viewing it on a TV screen? Aren't the tv displays in jets pretty small? I'm just trying to get more context here, from a total military layman/noob perspective. Thanks
Is this accurate? We're saying they're both watching one of these screens and misidentifying the rotation based on that?
You can see the rotation on a cell phone.
Again this is conflation with the Nimitz video. AFAIK, there is really nothing but the video from the "Gimbal event". It's not even clear if this was ever officially designated as an UFO incident.
The FLIR system does neither provide speed nor distance of the locked object.
It is indeed the GIMBAL video that features chat between F-18 pilots/pilot and WSO. As the FLIR does not provide distance information, we don't know if the object was visible or not at the time the commentary goes "My gosh!" or "It's rotating". It would clearly weaken the assertion here that perceived object rotation was actually IR glare if they were observing it visually.
Right, I've missed that. Anyway, lacking any contextual information there are many possibilities, including the one that this material has been explained DOD-internally already. We just don't know.
Given the poor quality of the image in the display it's likely that it's invisible to the naked eye. The ATFLIR system is designed with a powerful zoom to enable them to see things that are far away.
ATFLIR footage of a visible object would be more like:
Some are options that are "on" if they have a box around them like RTCL and DCLTR
TACT = Menu type ????? OPR = Operational, i.e. it's switched ona nd working. NAR = Narrow field of view. 1.5° Z 2.0 = Zoom factor 2.0 IR = Infrared mode 54° L = Heading of camera relative to aircraft ground track. "Lookpoint Azimuth Indicator" [RTCL] = Reticle on (boxed) V = ???????
Right Side SLAVE = OFF, "Trackfile Slaved Mode" L+S = OFF, "Launch and Steering" slaved mode BST = OFF Boresight slaved mode.
LST = Laser Spot Tracker (LST) OFF "The LST scans for and detects coded laser energy from outside sources, which can be converted into a designation for attack conversion and ordinance delivery." (i.e. someone else lights up the traget) 1688 = "Laser code. a tri-service PRF modulated, 4-digit code" - i.e what the LST is looking for 1688 = probably the same thing for the LTD/R LTD/R = Laser Target Designator/Ranger (LTD/R) OFF "Provide automatic or manual laser designation and ranging data. With the LTD is it possible to create a designation and lase it from ownship completely autonomously, allowing delivery of laser-guided weapons completely autonomously." UFC = Up Front Control (OFF, unboxed) when this is ON (boxed) the pilot can enter a new code for LST or LTD/R G1 = ??? SETUP = ???
238 = Air speed in knots M Q.58 = Mach number WHT = WHT or BLK color of "hot" in IR 5246 = Mission Time in minutes and seconds, sometimes followed by "A"?? 25010 = Altitude in feet B = ????????? DCLTR = Declutter off (not boxed). If on then airspeed etc is not shown, to declutter the display.
We can get some ballpark figures for distance from this. Let's say the target is about the size of an F/A-18 Hornet, 44 ft wingspan with a bit extra for IR flare, like 50 feet. If the apparent long axis of the object is representative of the wingspan, then it's 64/1074 of the width of the image. i.e. 0.75°*64/1074 = 0.0447° (note: linear to angular conversion are fine for small angles)
So converting that to distance, tan(angle) = object size/object distance
50/tan(0.0447 degrees) = 64089 feet. (12 miles away).
Alternatively if it's actually a distant airliner with a 200 foot wingspan, and the "saucer" shape is actually flare, then the effective length on the long visual axis there would be more like 500 feet. Hence 120 miles away.
Ha, I was typing the exact same stuff simultaneously. I got a smaller angle though. I think your measurements are a bit off, as if I resize the image to 464px then the longest dimension of the apparent object is (generously) 34 pixels not 42.
Here's an illustration of the type of thing we are looking at.
It was basically invisible to the naked eye.
The naked eye view was just with the viewfinder magnification the same as naked eye. It does not represent human eye FOV, just human eye magnification. At actual wide angle, it's more like:
Half-billion-year-old microscopic animal fossils found in Greenland
Scientists have found a treasure trove of tiny fossils in the rocks of Greenland.
The microscopic organisms date to more than half a billion years ago, offering new insights into the Cambrian Explosion, a dramatic increase in the planet's biodiversity that began 541 million years ago.
During this period, Earth's shallow seas teemed with life, and the first modern ecosystems formed -- animal and plant life as we recognize it today was born.
The details of this dramatic evolution have been revealed by world-famous excavation sites like the Burgess Shale, a bed of shale exposed in the Canadian Rockies. Similarly aged strata has also been found in Greenland, but most of the fossils at Sirius Passet belong to larger creatures and hard-bodied organisms.
Heat generated by tectonic activity over the last 500 million years has melted Greenland's rocks several times, destroying much of the fossilized evidence of soft bodied organisms from the Cambrian Period.
But a team from Uppsala University in Sweden discovered an outcropping of rocks that escaped much of the heating and subsequent damage. There, just south of Sirius Passet, an acid extraction procedure used to dissolve layers of mudrock revealed a multitude of tiny fossils representing soft-bodied Cambrian life.
The rocks are filled with tiny fossils, most of them smaller than a millimeter in length and requiring a microscope for examination. Among other fossils, researchers discovered the preserved hook-like teeth of priapulid worms, which the predators used to burrow into the mud in search of prey.
Scientists found fragments of the oldest known pterobranch hemichordate, a rare group of tube-dwelling filter feeders. The rocks also revealed fossilized defensive spines belonging to a variety of arthropods.
Researchers described their impressive fossil haul in a new paper published this week in the journal Geology.
"The sheer abundance of these miniature animal fossils means that we have only begun to scratch the surface of this overlooked resource, but it is already clear that this discovery will help to reshape our view of the non-shelly animals that crawled and swam among the early Cambrian seas more than half a billion years ago," Uppsala researcher Sebastian Willman said in a news release.
Oldest fossils EVER found suggest life on Earth began more than 3.5 billion years ago at a time when the planet was devoid of oxygen
Experts used state of the art secondary ion mass spectrometer to analyse fossils
They say they were able to determine the microfossils are an early form of life
They hope to end a more than 20 year debate among the scientific community
The revelation could suggest the lifeforms may be widespread in the universe
The oldest fossils ever discovered suggest life on Earth began at least 3.5 billion years ago in modern day Australia, a new study claims.
Experts claim to have confirmed that microscopic fossils are the oldest ever found and the earliest evidence of life on Earth, before an oxygen atmosphere existed.
The revelation could suggest that the microbial lifeforms may be widespread in the universe.
The oldest fossils ever discovered show life on Earth began at least 3.5 billion years ago - in modern day Australia. Researchers confirmed that microscopic fossils are the oldest ever found and the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth, at a time before the presence of oxygen
The microfossils - so called because they are not evident to the naked eye - were first described in the journal Science in 1993 by Professor William Schopf.
His team identified them based largely on the fossils' unique, cylindrical and filamentous shapes.
Professor Schopf, director of UCLA's Centre for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life, published further supporting evidence of their biological nature in 2002.
He collected the rock in which the fossils were found in 1982 from the Apex chert deposit of Western Australia, one of the few places on the planet where geological evidence of early Earth has been preserved.
Professor Schopf's earlier interpretations have been disputed, as critics argued they are just odd minerals that only look like biological specimens.
But Profess John Valley, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. says the new findings put these doubts to rest - the microfossils are indeed biological.
Professor Valley said: 'I think it's settled.'
The findings were made by researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Their study describes 11 microbial specimens from five separate organisms, linking their form and structure to chemical signatures characteristic of life.
Scientists say some represent now-extinct bacteria and microbes from a domain of life called Archaea, while others are similar to microbial species still found today.
They say the results show that the microfossils are from a primitive, but diverse group of organisms, which could be widespread throughout the universe.
They also suggest how each organism may have survived on an oxygen-free planet.
The team identified a complex group of microbes, including phototrophic bacteria that would have relied on the sun to produce energy.
It also includes Archaea that produced methane and gammaproteobacteria that consumed methane, a gas believed to be an important constituent of Earth's early atmosphere.
The findings were made using a state of the art secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) - one of just a handful of such instruments in the world.
Using this, the team was able to separate the carbon composing each fossil into its constituent isotopes and measure their ratios.
Isotopes are different versions of the same chemical element that vary in their masses, due to a different number of neutrons in the nucleus of each atom.
Boeing has unveiled its MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system, which is designed to refuel U.S. Navy jets operating from aircraft carriers.
The Navy has been seeking an unmanned aerial system with refueling capabilities to support and extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters.
Boeing says their version of the MQ-25, unveiled Tuesday, can be integrated with the same catapult, launch and recovery system on a U.S. Navy carrier to deploy the unmanned aerial system.
The company teased the unveiling of the MQ-25 a week ago on its Twitter account, showing the aircraft under a black sheet, and saying, "Robust? Check. Ready? Check hanging future air power? Check it out! See the reveal 12/19! #PhantomWorks." Phantom Works is Boeing's in-house design team.
"Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years," Don Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Phantom Works, said in a press release. "Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded."
Boeing's unmanned aerial system is completing engine runs before heading to the next phase, which involves deck handling demonstrations, in early 2018.
In October, Northrop Grumman pulled out of the U.S. Navy's competition for the MQ-25 unmanned tanker aircraft, leaving General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Boeing to pitch their concepts.
Proposals for the MQ-25, the final requirements for which were released in October, are due to the Navy on January 3.
Das Programm zur Weltraumlage-Erfassung (SSA - Space Situational Awareness) ist ein optionales Programm der Europäischen Weltraumorganisation und wird von 19 Mitgliedsstaaten der ESA finanziert. 2009 gestartet wurde das SSA-Programm 2016 nach einem Beschluss des Ministerrates der ESA bis ins Jahr 2020 verlängert. Das aktuelle Budget bis 2020 liegt bei 95 Millionen Euro.
Ziel des Programms ist die Unabhängigkeit Europas bei der Entdeckung, Vorhersage und Beobachtung möglicher Risiken durch Objekte oder Naturphänomene im Weltraum, die für das Leben auf der Erde oder die Infrastruktur im All gefährlich werden könnten. Das SSA-Programm der ESA konzentriert sich auf drei wesentliche Bereiche:
Das Weltraum-Wetter (Space Weather, SWE): Die Beobachtung und Prognose der Sonnenaktivitäten und der Planetenumgebung, inklusive des Magnetfeldes, der Ionosphäre und Thermosphäre der Erde, die die Infrastruktur am Boden und im Weltraum sowie die Gesundheit und Sicherheit der Menschheit beeinflussen können.
Für alle diese Bereiche wurden eigene Abteilungen gegründet, deren Arbeit von Überwachungs- und Mess-Systemen, Datenzentren und Service-Einheiten der ESA unterstützt werden. Bis 2020 liegt der Schwerpunkt auf der Entwicklung von Vorhersage-Diensten für das Weltraumwetter und erdnahe Objekte. Auch bei der Weltraumüberwachung arbeiten die Wissenschaftler/innen an neuen Technologien und dem Aufbau eines Netzwerkes aus Experten-Zentren und Radaranlagen.
Das Büro für das SSA-Programm der ESA hat seinen Sitz im Satellitenkontrollzentrum ESOC in Darmstadt, Deutschland. Die Teams, die für die Forschung, technische Entwicklung, Projektplanung und industrielle Verträge verantwortlich sind, arbeiten über ganz Europa verteilt, vor allem in den ESA-Zentren ESOC, ESRIN, ESTEC und bei Industriepartnern.
Entwicklungen 2009-2012 der SSA-Infrastruktur
Planungsstart des Weltraumwetter-Koordinationszentrums, Space Pole, in Brüssel, Belgien
Etablierung Weltraumwetter Datenzentrum, ESA Redu Zentrum, Belgien
Planungsbeginn für das NEO Koordinationszentrum, ESA/ESRIN, Italien
Etablierung des SST-Datenzentrums, ESA/ESAC, Madrid, Spanien
Entscheidung für SSA Zentrum, ESA/ESOC, Darmstadt, Deutschland
Entwicklung und Einrichtung des Monostatic Test Radar in Santorcaz, Spanien, und des Bistatic Test Radar in Frankreich
Erster Entwurf für das SSA FlyEye Teleskop für die NEO-Beobachtung
Die beiden Weltraumwetter- und NEO-Koordinationszentren wurden 2013 eingeweiht. Sie verteilen bereits eine steigende Anzahl an Informationen und Daten an europäische Nutzer.
Entwicklungen 2013 -2016
FlyEye-Teleskop zur NEO-Beobachtung
Während dieser Jahre begannen die Entwicklungsarbeiten unter anderem für Prototypen, Testläufe und deren Validierung. Gearbeitet wurde unter anderem an:
Der Erweiterung der Daten- und Koordinationszentren
Der Verbesserung von Sensorsystemen, Anwendungen und Benutzeroberflächen
Den Möglichkeiten der Platzierung etwa von Weltraumwetter-Sensoren als Payload auf anderen Missionen
Der erweiterten Datennutzung von Satelliten, die schon im Orbit sind wie beispielsweise Proba-2, SOHO, Gaia oder auch Swarm
Der Integration schon existierender europäischer Infrastruktur in ein SSA Weltraumwetter Netzwerk
Der Beschaffung flugerprobter Instrumente
Der weiteren Datenauswertung der Proba-2 Mission
Der Studie für ein verbessertes Weltraumwetter-Überwachungssystem, das Satelliten an den Lagrange-Punkte L1 und L5 einbezieht
Der Erweiterung und Unterhaltung der Datenzentren
Der Kampagne für die NEO Beobachtung
Der Entwicklung des FlyEye Teleskopes
Konzepten und Studien, um die Auswirkungen von Asteroiden-Einschlägen zu minimieren
Der Weiterentwicklung von SST-Systemen
An Tests für neue Radarerkennungs-Technologien
Der Entwicklung spezieller Software-Anwendungen und Daten-Systemen und der Forschung an Laser Ranging und optischen Überwachungstechnologien
Pläne für die Jahre 2017 bis 2020
Während der aktuellen Phase des SSA-Programms konzentrieren sich die ESA-Aktivitäten vor allem auf die Verbesserung und Fortentwicklung bereits erreichter Anwendungen und Dienste. Darunter befinden sich unter anderem:
Produkte und Dienste für die Weltraumwetter-Beobachtung und –vorhersage
Die Erweiterung des Weltraumwetter Netzwerkes durch weitere Europäische Anbieter
Die Entwicklung von Sensoren und deren Platzierung als Payload auf gastgebenden Missionen
Der Abschluss der Studie für die geplante Lagrange Weltraumwetter-Mission
Partner des SSA-Programms
Optische Bodenstation der ESA auf Teneriffa
Eine steigende Anzahl an europäischen und internationalen Partnern tragen mit ihrer Expertise, ihrem Wissen, ihren Diensten und Einrichtungen zum SSA-Programm der ESA bei. Das sind insbesondere die Weltraumwetter-Dienste und -Zentren in ganz Europa, die nationalen Radareinrichtungen, ESAs Optical Ground Station auf Teneriffa, Spanien, oder auch das ESA Test-Teleskop in Cebreros, Spanien, sowie die Anlage, die in Chile auf dem Areal des „European Southern Observatory“ geplant ist. Weitere Partner des SSA–Programms sind die Vereinten Nationen, andere internationale Weltraumagenturen oder auch Organisationen wie die amerikanische NOAA oder das US-Verteidigungsministerium.
Große Auswirkungen auf die Wirtschaft
Das SSA-Programm fördert die europäische Wirtschaft. Allein in der Anfangsphase von 2009 bis 2012 vergab die ESA über 25 Verträge in die Industrie mit einem Wert von rund 30 Millionen Euro. In den Jahren 2013 bis 2016 kamen weitere Aufträge in Höhe von 35 Millionen dazu. Insgesamt wurden von 2009 bis 2016 über 100 Industrie-Verträge abgeschlossen und weitere werden folgen.
Bis 2020 beträgt das SSA-Budget 95 Millionen Euro – der Großteil wird in die Entwicklung neuer Technologien, Märkte, Dienstleistungen und in High-Tech Arbeitsplätze in Europa fließen.
ESA’s next miniature satellite will be its first able to change orbit. Thanks to a compact thruster resembling a butane cigarette lighter, the cereal box-sized satellite will fly around its near-twin to test their radio communications.
Ready to be launched with its counterpart from China on 2 February, GomX-4B is built from six standard 10 cm CubeSat units.
Much quicker to build and cheaper to launch than traditional satellites, ESA is making use of CubeSats for testing new technologies in space.
The main goal is to test the radio link at varying distances, routing data from one satellite to the other, then down to the ground. GomX-4A, from the Danish Ministry of Defence, will remain in position while ESA’s GomX-4B manoeuvres up to 4500 km away.
Supplied by Swedish firm NanoSpace, the thrusters fitted along one side will allow it to adjust its motion by a total of 15 m/s – a speed equivalent to a kicked football.
“We have two pressurised fuel tanks linked to two pairs of thrusters,” explains Tor-Arne Grönland, head of NanoSpace.
“Rather than burning propellant, these are simpler ‘cold-gas’ thrusters designed specifically for such a small mission. And simpler means cheaper and smaller.
“The fuel is stored under pressure, then released through a tiny rocket nozzle. Even though it’s cold gas, we achieve a substantial velocity change by using liquid butane that turns to gas as it exits.
“Storing it as a liquid, like in a cigarette lighter, allows us to pack as many butane molecules as possible inside the small available volume – its liquid form being some 1000 times denser than its gas.”
Each thruster will provide only 1 millinewton – the weight you would feel holding a feather in your hand – but enough to move the 8 kg satellite over time.
The thrusters will typically be fired in pairs although they can also work individually, for a few minutes at a time and up to an hour.
“Compared to a typical half-tonne satellite with 1 N hydrazine thrusters, we are almost a hundred times lighter and a thousand times weaker,” adds Tor-Arne.
“All of the elements such as the chamber, nozzle and sensors are fitted into a 1x2 cm chip, just 1 mm thick.”
NanoSpace already has flight experience behind its cold-gas thruster, with a smaller version carried on China’s TW-1 in 2015.
The company plans to demonstrate a great many different operating methods during the GomX-4B mission: “We’ll do different kinds of burns: long, short, pulsing and throttling up and down. It’s important to do these things early in the mission then again late on, to show it can survive and perform well in space.”
NanoSpace began as a commercial spin-off from Sweden’s University of Uppsala, and was acquired last year by Danish company GomSpace, builder of the GomX-4 satellites. The companies are currently working together on a constellation of more than 200 CubeSats for a commercial customer.
NanoSpace is also developing an ESA thruster for flying several satellites in formation, rendezvous and docking, and for controlling the orientation of CubeSats in deep space.
Thank you, Bruce McCandless, for this iconic space photo
An astronaut floats alone with the blackness of space behind him and the bright blue limb of the Earth below.
He's untethered with nothing but a NASA-made jetpack to protect him.
NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless — who died at the age of 80 on Thursday — is that untethered astronaut in one of the most iconic space photos of all time.
"My wife [Bernice] was at mission control, and there was quite a bit of apprehension," McCandless said in 2015 of the 1984 spacewalk that led to the photo.
"I wanted to say something similar to Neil [Armstrong] when he landed on the moon, so I said, 'It may have been a small step for Neil, but it’s a heck of a big leap for me.' That loosened the tension a bit."
McCandless's spacewalk marked the first untethered walk in space by a U.S. astronaut.
He was also the first person on Earth to speak to Armstrong from the surface of the moon, according to space historian Robert Pearlman.
"His call, 'Neil, this is Houston. We're copying,' were the first ever words spoken to a human standing on the moon," Pearlman wrote on collectSPACE.com.
McCandless flew to space twice over the course of his career at NASA, spending 312 hours in space.
But perhaps McCandless's most significant spaceflight moment — the one that defines his career — is his untethered spacewalk and the photos from it.
That stark image of McCandless flying free in space is evocative of so many of the things that capture the imagination about spaceflight.
From that glorious view of Earth to simply being alone out there in the vastness of space, photos of McCandless during his flight with nothing but a special jetpack show not just the beauty but also the fear inspired by human spaceflight.
And thanks to these photos, McCandless brought all of that back home to the rest of us.
Astronaut's untethered leap captured in NASA's iconic spacewalk picture
Nasaspaceflight.com claims the first satellite belongs to the Yaogan series, a designation used to for classified, military spacecraft, and is likely an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite.
The satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), which researches, development, and manufactures satellites and spacecraft and is a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the Chinese space programme.
The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), another CASC owned entity, developed the Long March 2D launch vehicle.
The launch was the 17th for China in 2017, and the ninth since late September. The country was aiming to launch around 30 times this year, but two launch issues in June and July - most notably the failure of the new Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket - brought a halt to all launches for 89 days.
China's overall record for Long March rocket launches now stands at 259, with the first taking place on April 24, 1970. Of these, 245 have been successful, with eight failures and six partial failures, with a success rate of 94.6 percent.
China launches land exploration satellite
China launches a land exploration satellite into a preset orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, northwest China's Gansu Province, Dec. 23, 2017. The satellite is mainly used for remote sensing exploration of land resources. A Long March-2D rocket carried the satellite into space. (Xinhua/Zhen Zhe)
JIUQUAN, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China launched a land exploration satellite into a preset orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert at 12:14 p.m. Saturday Beijing Time.
The satellite is mainly used for remote sensing exploration of land resources.
A Long March-2D rocket carried the satellite into space.
The launch was the 259th mission of the Long March rocket series.
China launches a land exploration satellite into a preset orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, northwest China's Gansu Province, Dec. 23, 2017. The satellite is mainly used for remote sensing exploration of land resources. A Long March-2D rocket carried the satellite into space. (Xinhua/Zhen Zhe)