samedi 16 juillet 2022

Dragon Docks Delivering Science Benefitting Humans


SpaceX - Dragon CRS-25 Mission patch.

July 16, 2022

Image above: The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station during an orbital sunrise above the Pacific Ocean. Image Credit: NASA TV.

While the International Space Station was traveling more than 267 miles over the South Atlantic Ocean, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module at 11:21 a.m. EDT today, with NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins monitoring operations from the station.

SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon docking

The Dragon launched on SpaceX’s 25th contracted commercial resupply mission for NASA at 8:44 p.m., Thursday, July 14, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dragon spends about one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.

Image above: SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon docked at ISS. Image Credits: NASA TV/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station are:

Mapping Earth’s Dust

The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, employs NASA imaging spectroscopy technology to measure the mineral composition of dust in Earth’s arid regions. Mineral dust blown into the air can travel significant distances and affect Earth’s climate, weather, vegetation, and more. For example, dust containing dark minerals that absorb sunlight can warm an area, while light-colored mineral dust can cool it. Blowing dust also affects air quality, surface conditions such as rate of snow melt, and phytoplankton health in the ocean. The investigation collects images for one year to generate maps of the mineral composition in the regions on Earth that produce dust. Such mapping could advance our understanding of the effects of mineral dust on human populations now and in the future.

Speedier Immune System Aging

Aging is associated with changes in the immune response known as immunosenescence. Microgravity causes changes in human immune cells that resemble this condition, but happen faster than the actual process of aging on Earth. The Immunosenescence investigation, sponsored the by International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, uses tissue chips to study how microgravity affects immune function during flight and whether immune cells recover post-flight. Tissue chips are small devices that contain human cells in a 3D structure, allowing scientists to test how those cells respond to stresses, drugs, and genetic changes.

Soil in Space

On Earth, complex communities of microorganisms carry out key functions in soil, including cycling of carbon and other nutrients and supporting plant growth. Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space sponsored by NASA’s Division of Biological and Physical Sciences, examines how microgravity affects metabolic interactions in communities of soil microbes. This research focuses on microbe communities that decompose chitin, a natural carbon polymer on Earth.

High School Student Weather Study

BeaverCube is an education mission that will teach high school students aerospace science by having them design a CubeSat. BeaverCube will host one visible and two infrared imagers to measure cloud properties, ocean surface temperatures, and ocean color to study Earth’s climate and weather systems. It also will demonstrate an application for the use of shape memory alloy technology via an in-orbit calibration technique.

Genes, No Cells

Cell-free technology is a platform for producing protein without specialized equipment of living cells that need to be cultured. Genes in Space-9, sponsored by the National Lab, demonstrates cell-free production of protein in microgravity and evaluates two cell-free biosensors that can detect specific target molecules. This technology could provide a simple, portable, and low-cost tool for medical diagnostics, on-demand production of medicine and vaccines, and environmental monitoring on future space missions.

Better Concrete

Biopolymer Research for In-Situ Capabilities looks at how microgravity affects the process of creating a concrete alternative made with an organic material and on-site materials, such as lunar or Martian dust, known as a biopolymer soil composite. Using resources available where construction takes place makes it possible to increase the amount of shielding.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars through NASA’s Artemis program.

Related articles:

We Have Liftoff! Dragon cargo CRS-25 en route to ISS

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX’s 25th Resupply Services Mission

NASA’s New Mineral Dust Detector on ISS

Soil, Sutures, and Climate Modeling Among Investigations Riding SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon to International Space Station

Related links:

Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT):

Immunosenescence investigation:

Tissue chips:

Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space:


Genes in Space-9:

Biopolymer Research for In-Situ Capabilities:

NASA’s Artemis program:


International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

CASC - Long March-2C launches SuperView Neo 2-01 and SuperView Neo 2-02


CASC - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

July 16, 2022

Long March-2C carrying SuperView Neo 2-01 & SuperView Neo 2-02 liftoff

A Long March-2C launch vehicle launched the SuperView Neo 2-01 and SuperView Neo 2-02 (Siwei-03 and Siwei-04) remote sensing satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, Shanxi Province, northern China, 15 July 2022, at 22:57 UTC (16 July, at 06:57 local time).

Long March-2C launches SuperView Neo 2-01 and SuperView Neo 2-02

According to official sources, the satellites have entered the planned orbits and will “provide commercial remote sensing data services for industries including surveying and mapping, environmental protection, as well as urban security and digital rural development.”

SuperView-1 Satellite Sensor

SuperView Neo 2-01 and SuperView Neo 2-02 (四维高景二号01、02), also knows as Siwei-03 and Siwei-0 (四维03/04), were developed by DFH Satellite Co., Ltd. of China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Technology Co. Ltd. (China Siwei).

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit:
Images, Video, Text, Credits: China Central Television (CCTV)/China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)/SciNews/Satellite Imaging Corp/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


vendredi 15 juillet 2022

Russia ousts boisterous director of ROSCOSMOS Dmitry Rogozin



July 15, 2022

Dmitry Rogozin, official photo. Image Credit: Wikipedia

Dmitry Rogozin, the blustering head of Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos, is out of the position following a big shake-up in the Russian government. He is being replaced by Yury Borisov, Russian deputy prime minister of space and defense, bringing an end to Rogozin’s dynamic reign as general director of the country’s space program.

Rogozin has been in charge of Roscosmos since his appointment as director general in 2018, though prior to that, he was deputy prime minister since 2011, overseeing space and defense. He’s been a controversial figure for most of that tenure, resulting in strained relations with NASA — Russia’s largest partner in space. Rogozin was sanctioned by the United States in 2014 and barred from entering the country due to his time as a deputy prime minister during Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Rogozin became known for making wildly outlandish statements and threats

As the head of Roscosmos, Rogozin became known for making wildly outlandish statements and threats, many of which put NASA in rather uncomfortable positions. His bombast got renewed focus when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine this year, prompting Rogozin to go into overdrive and make ludicrous claims that many interpreted as threats against NASA and the US / Russian space partnership. For instance, at the start of the war, Rogozin seemed to hint that Roscosmos might pull out of the International Space Station partnership and cause the ISS to come crashing down to Earth. And, after declaring that Russia would no longer supply rocket engines to the United States, Rogozin said NASA astronauts could use “broomsticks” to get to orbit.

Rogozin’s mouth made headlines even before Russia’s war in Ukraine, though. When the US placed sanctions on Russian industry during the Crimea invasion in 2014, Rogozin said the move would hurt Russia’s space industry and that American astronauts — who relied on Russia to get to space back then — could use a “trampoline” to get to orbit instead. Additionally, when NASA introduced an international effort to standardize rules for exploring the Moon, Rogozin scoffed at the initiative and likened NASA’s lunar plans to an “invasion” similar to the Iraq War.

The International Space Station (ISS). Image Credit: NASA

Typically, NASA has strayed away from commenting on the wild statements Rogozin has made, and both the US space agency and Roscosmos have continued to work together despite what the Russian space chief has said publicly. However, NASA did make a rare move recently when the agency publicly denounced the actions of the three Russian cosmonauts currently on board the ISS, who posed with flags in space considered to be anti-Ukraine propaganda. “NASA strongly rebukes Russia using the International Space Station for political purposes to support its war against Ukraine,” NASA said in a statement at the time.

Even with the tension increasing between the US and Russia on Earth, NASA and Roscosmos have maintained seamless operations on the ISS, which is currently home to three cosmonauts, three NASA astronauts, and an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency. And Russia is still working toward extending its partnership with NASA on the International Space Station, though a formal decision has not yet been made.

NASA confirmed that it has finalized an agreement with Roscosmos to perform an upcoming crew swap

Additionally, just today, NASA confirmed that it has finalized an agreement with Roscosmos to perform an upcoming crew swap — where Russian cosmonauts will fly on future SpaceX Crew Dragon missions to the space station in exchange for American astronauts flying on Russian Soyuz capsules to the space station. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio has been assigned to an upcoming Soyuz mission as well as NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, who’s been assigned to a separate Soyuz crew. Russian cosmonauts Anna Kikina and Andrei Fedyaev have been assigned to separate Crew Dragon missions. The first crew swap flights are set to occur in September.

SpaceX Crew Dragon docking to ISS. Image Credit: SpaceX

“Integrated crews have been the norm throughout the International Space Station Program in order to maintain safe operation of the space station,” Josh Finch, a NASA spokesperson, emailed in a statement to The Verge. The statement added, “The no-exchange-of-funds arrangement includes transportation to and from the International Space Station and comprehensive mission support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, flight operations, landing and crew rescue services.”

NASA may be breathing a sigh of relief with the Rogozin news, but it’s possible the recently ousted space chief could be getting a very different role soon. Rumors have swirled in Russian media that he might find himself in a new position overseeing territories in Ukraine during the invasion.

Related articles:

Roscosmos to halt cooperation over International Space Station

Russia threatens to shoot down the space station again with a demonstrative video

Russia stops space cooperation with US: 'Let them fly on brooms'

Russia halts launch of European satellites in retaliation for sanctions

Russia sells Soyuz space capsule and make movie in ISS (Financial problems v/s alternative sources)

Amur space (The failed Cosmodrome project)

Related links:




International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: The Verge/By Loren Grush.

Best regards,

Crew Awaits Dragon Filled with New Science Benefitting Humans


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

July 15, 2022

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

More than 5,800 pounds of new science experiments and crew supplies are on their way to the International Space Station after the successful launch of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft on Thursday. Dragon blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:44 p.m. EDT and reached orbit less than nine minutes later beginning its day-and-a-half-long trip to the orbital lab.

The U.S. space freighter is scheduled to dock automatically to the Harmony module’s forward port at 11:20 a.m. on Saturday. NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins will be on duty monitoring Dragon’s automated rendezvous and docking. NASA will begin live coverage on the agency’s app and website at 10 a.m. as Dragon approaches the station for a monthlong stay.

Image above: Expedition 67 astronauts (clockwise from left) Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristofroetti pose for a portrait during dinner time aboard the space station. Image Credit: NASA.

Hines and Watkins along with Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) called down to Mission Control today and discussed Saturday morning’s arrival of Dragon. The quartet also spent Friday configuring station systems to accommodate the critical research Dragon is delivering including a human immune system study, a protein production investigation, and a cancer treatment experiment.

Related article:

We Have Liftoff! Dragon cargo CRS-25 en route to ISS

Related links:


Expedition 67:

Harmony module:

Human immune system study:

Protein production investigation:

Cancer treatment experiment:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.


Space Station Science Highlights: Week of July 11, 2022


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

July 15, 2022

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations during the week of July 11 that included demonstrating an ultrasound device in microgravity, running a student robot programming challenge, and testing a method for processing complex glasses in space. The 25th SpaceX cargo resupply services mission (SpaceX CRS-25) launched to the space station this week carrying scientific research and technology demonstrations.

Image above: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:44 pm on July 14, 2022. This 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission delivers more than 5,800 pounds of cargo, including a variety of scientific investigations, to the space station. Image Credit: NASA.

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place aboard the orbiting lab:

Advancing ultrasound technology

Butterfly IQ Ultrasound demonstrates a portable ultrasound device paired with a mobile computing device for use in the space environment. Such commercial off-the-shelf technology could provide critical medical capabilities to crews on long duration missions where immediate ground support is not an option. The technology also has potential applications for medical care in remote and isolated settings on Earth. During the week, crew members conducted ultrasounds using an iPad for imaging purposes and downlinked the images and recording of the process to the team on the ground.

Robot rumble

Image above: NASA astronaut Bob Hines monitors one of the space station’s Astrobee robots. For JAXA’s Kibo Robot Programming Challenge, students write software to control one of these Astrobee free-flyers and observe the results. Image Credit: NASA.

This week, the preliminary round of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC) took place aboard station. To participate, students write software to control one of the space station’s Astrobee free-flying robots. The first several rounds of the competition, co-led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Innovation Learning Center, and many collaborators, use an online simulation. NASA downloads code from the finalists to the station’s Astrobee platform and students observe its performance. The experience helps inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.

Microgravity materials

UNIGLO tests the effects of microgravity on a glass optics module that uses artificial intelligence to help adapt materials processing techniques to microgravity and a sensor that measures microgravity’s effects on processing of complex glasses for a variety of applications in space and on Earth. Results could lead to development of novel optical communication fibers, fiber amplifiers, and fiber lasers with applications in planetary and space-based defense systems, cryptography networks, and space-based X-ray-optics astronomy. Sample exchanges were completed by the crew and two sample runs were performed this past week.

Other investigations involving the crew:

- Wireless Compose-2, an investigation from ESA (European Space Agency), demonstrates the Smart Shirt, a garment with sensors that measure body motion and heartbeat, and a wireless network for transmitting the data. This technology has the potential for uses such as monitoring the health of astronauts on future missions.

- ESA’s Lumina demonstrates a dosimeter using optical fibers to monitor in real time the radiation dose received by crew members. Monitoring radiation exposure is key to crew safety on future space missions, and this technology also has potential applications in the medical and nuclear industries on Earth.

- XROOTS uses hydroponic (liquid-based) and aeroponic (air-based) techniques to grow plants without traditional growth media, which could enable production of crops on a larger scale for future space exploration.

Image above: NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren participates in a ham radio session. These events provide students, teachers, parents, and others the opportunity to communicate with astronauts using amateur radio units, encouraging interest in careers in science and technology and inspiring the next generation of explorers. Image Credit: NASA.

- ISS Ham Radio provides students, teachers, parents, and others the opportunity to communicate with astronauts using amateur radio units. Before a scheduled call, students learn about the station, radio waves, and other topics, and prepare a list of questions based on the topics they have researched.

The space station is a robust microgravity laboratory with a multitude of specialized research facilities and tools. Over more than two decades of continuous operation, it has supported many scientific breakthroughs from investigations spanning every major scientific discipline. The orbiting lab conveys benefits to future space exploration, advances basic and applied research on Earth, and provides a platform for a growing commercial presence in low-Earth orbit.

Space to Ground: Something Incredible: 07/15/2022

Related links:

Expedition 67:

Butterfly IQ Ultrasound:

Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC):



ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Ana Guzman/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 67.

Best regards,

Hubble Snaps a Portrait of a Globular Cluster


NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

July 15, 2022

The globular cluster Terzan 2 in the constellation Scorpio is featured in this observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Globular clusters are stable, tightly gravitationally bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars found in a wide variety of galaxies. The intense gravitational attraction between the closely packed stars gives globular clusters a regular, spherical shape. As this image of Terzan 2 illustrates, the hearts of globular clusters are crowded with a multitude of glittering stars.

Hubble used both its Advanced Camera for Surveys and its Wide Field Camera 3 in this observation, taking advantage of the complementary capabilities of these instruments. Despite having only one primary mirror, Hubble’s design allows multiple instruments to inspect astronomical objects. Light from distant astronomical objects enters Hubble where the telescope's 8-foot primary mirror collects it. The primary directs that light to the secondary mirror that reflects the light into the depths of the telescope where smaller mirrors can direct the light into individual instruments.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency/NASA/Andrea Gianopoulos/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Cohen.


Progress Continues Toward Artemis I Launch


NASA - ARTEMIS-1 Mission patch.

July 15, 2022

Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians continue to prepare the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I.  

During work to repair the source of a hydrogen leak, engineers identified a loose fitting on the inside wall of the rocket’s engine section, where the quick disconnect for the liquid hydrogen umbilical attaches. The component, called a “collet,” is a fist-sized ring that guides the quick disconnect during assembly operations. Teams will repair the collet by entering the engine section in parallel with other planned work for launch preparations. Technicians have replaced the seals on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical and will reattach the umbilical plate once the loose collet is addressed.

Image above: Space Launch System rocket and Orion Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Image Credit: NASA.

NASA continues to target the late August launch period and will identify a specific target launch date after engineers have examined the collet.

Technicians continue work associated with battery activations, and plan to turn on the core stage batteries this weekend, before they are installed on the rocket. Next up, teams will start the flight termination systems operations, which include removing the core stage and booster safe and arm devices for calibration and removing and replacing the command receiver decoders with the flight units. The safe and arm devices are a manual mechanism that put the flight termination system in either a “safe” or “arm” configuration while the command receiver decoders receive and decode the command on the rocket if the system is activated.

Meanwhile on the Orion spacecraft, teams installed a technology demonstration that will test digital assistance and video collaboration in deep space. Engineers are also conducting powered testing on the crew module and European service module heaters and sensors.

Related articles:

NASA’s Moon Rocket and Spacecraft Arrive at Vehicle Assembly Building

Artemis I Rollback to VAB Rescheduled for July 1 (July 2 for Europa)

Teams on Track for Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Test

Artemis I Moon Rocket Heads Back to Launch Pad for Testing

Artemis I Moon Rocket to Return to Launch Pad 39B in Early June

Artemis I Mission Availability

Work Continues to Return Artemis I Moon Rocket Back to Launch Pad for Next Test

NASA’s Artemis I Moon Rocket to Depart Launch Pad 39B Today

Artemis I WDR Update: Teams Working Solution to Continue Propellant Loading Operations

Artemis I Update: Countdown is Underway for Wet Dress Rehearsal

NASA Prepares for Next Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Attempt

Artemis I WDR Update: Go to Proceed for Tanking – Countdown Resumes

NASA ‘Go’ for Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal

Standing tall: Moon rocket milestone for Artemis

NASA Readies Rocket for Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal

Related link:

Artemis I:

Space Launch System (SLS):

Orion spacecraft:

Image, Text, Credits: NASA/Antonia Jaramillo Botero.

Best regards,

CLEP - Yutu-2 studies the South Pole-Aitken basin


CLEP - China Lunar Exploration Program logo.

July 15, 2022

Yutu-2 studies the Moon South Pole-Aitken basin

Based on the data collected by Yutu-2, the Chang’e-4 mission’s rover, researchers propose new hypothesis on the formation of the South Pole-Aitken basin on the Moon. The Chang'e-4 lander and the Yutu-2 rover have been switched to dormant mode on 5 July 2022, for the duration of the lunar night (14 days on Earth).

Yutu-2 studies the South Pole-Aitken basin


Radiative Transfer Modeling of Chang'e-4 Spectroscopic Observations and Interpretation of the South Pole-Aitken Compositional Anomaly: Jian Chen, Zongcheng Ling, Bradley L. Jolliff, Lingzhi Sun, Le Qiao, Jianzhong Liu, Xiaohui Fu, Jiang Zhang, Bo Li, Changqing Liu, Xiaobin Qi, Xuejin Lu, Zhiping He, and Rui Xu. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 931, Number 2; DOI:10.3847/2041-8213/ac6e6c.

Related article:

CLEP - Yutu-2 has traveled over 1000 metres the far side of the Moon

Related link:

China National Space Administration (CNSA):

Image, Video, Text, Credits: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/China Central Television (CCTV)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


jeudi 14 juillet 2022

We Have Liftoff! Dragon cargo CRS-25 en route to ISS


SpaceX - Dragon CRS-25 Mission patch.

July 14, 2022

Image above: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the cargo Dragon atop, lifts off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on July 14, 2022, beginning the company’s 25th resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff occurred at 8:44 p.m. EDT. Photo Credit: NASA.

Ignition and liftoff! SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and uncrewed Dragon spacecraft are climbing away from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, beginning the company’s 25th resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff occurred right on time at 8:44 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX CRS-25 launch and Falcon 9 first stage landing

Dragon will deliver more than 5,800 pounds of cargo to the orbiting laboratory, and its arrival is planned for Saturday, July 16. Coming up in the next minute, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will pass through Max Q – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket. After this, the rocket’s first and second stages will separate.

Main Engine Cutoff; First Stage Separates

The nine Merlin engines in the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage have finished their burn, and the first stage has separated from the vehicle. As the second stage continues carrying Dragon on its journey, the first stage will attempt a landing on the drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas.” This coming up in just a little more than five minutes.

First Stage Sticks the Landing!

Image above: The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lands on the company’s drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” following liftoff from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on July 14, 2022, for the company’s 25th resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA.

The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has successfully landed on the company’s “A Shortfall of Gravitas” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the 130th time teams have recovered a first stage booster from Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy vehicles. Today’s launch marked the fifth flight for this Falcon 9, and it is the third Dragon flight to the International Space Station this year.

Up next, Dragon will separate from the rocket’s second stage for its solo journey to the International Space Station.

Dragon Flying Solo

Image above: The underside of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft can be seen as it separates from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket on its journey to the International Space Station for the 25th commercial resupply services mission. Liftoff occurred at 8:44 p.m. EDT from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Photo Credit: NASA.

SpaceX’s cargo Dragon spacecraft has separated from the Falcon 9 rocket, continuing its journey to the International Space Station to deliver a shipment of supplies and equipment critical for multiple science and research investigations that will take place in space.

Dragon is expected to arrive at the station Saturday, July 16, and will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module, while NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines monitor operations. The spacecraft will spend about one month attached to the orbiting laboratory before autonomously undocking and returning to Earth with research and return cargo.

Related articles:

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX’s 25th Resupply Services Mission

NASA’s New Mineral Dust Detector on ISS

Soil, Sutures, and Climate Modeling Among Investigations Riding SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon to International Space Station

Related links:


International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Danielle Sempsrott/NASA TV/SciNews.


Webb Images of Jupiter and More Now Available In Commissioning Data


NASA / ESA / CSA-ASC - James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) patch.

July 14, 2022

On the heels of Tuesday’s release of the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, data from the telescope’s commissioning period is now being released on the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes. The data includes images of Jupiter and images and spectra of several asteroids, captured to test the telescope’s instruments before science operations officially began July 12. The data demonstrates Webb’s to track solar system targets and produce images and spectra with unprecedented detail.

Image above: Jupiter, center, and its moon Europa, left, are seen through the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument 2.12 micron filter. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

Fans of Jupiter will recognize some familiar features of our solar system’s enormous planet in these images seen through Webb’s infrared gaze. A view from the NIRCam instrument’s short-wavelength filter shows distinct bands that encircle the planet as well as the Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to swallow the Earth. The iconic spot appears white in this image because of the way Webb’s infrared image was processed.

“Combined with the deep field images released the other day, these images of Jupiter demonstrate the full grasp of what Webb can observe, from the faintest, most distant observable galaxies to planets in our own cosmic backyard that you can see with the naked eye from your actual backyard,” said Bryan Holler, a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, who helped plan these observations.

Image above: Left: Jupiter, center, and its moons Europa, Thebe, and Metis are seen through the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument 2.12 micron filter. Right: Jupiter and Europa, Thebe, and Metis are seen through NIRCam’s 3.23 micron filter. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

Clearly visible at left is Europa, a moon with a probable ocean below its thick icy crust, and the target of NASA’s forthcoming Europa Clipper mission. What’s more, Europa’s shadow can be seen to the left of the Great Red Spot. Other visible moons in these images include Thebe and Metis.

“I couldn’t believe that we saw everything so clearly, and how bright they were,” said Stefanie Milam, Webb’s deputy project scientist for planetary science based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s really exciting to think of the capability and opportunity that we have for observing these kinds of objects in our solar system.”

Scientists were especially eager to see these images because they are proof that Webb can observe the satellites and rings near bright solar system objects such as Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Scientists will use Webb to explore the tantalizing question of whether we can see plumes of material spewing out of moons like Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Webb may be able to see the signatures of plumes depositing material on the surface on Europa. “I think that’s just one of the coolest things that we’ll be able to do with this telescope in the solar system,” Milam said.

Image above: Jupiter and some of its moons are seen through NIRCam’s 3.23 micron filter. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

Additionally, Webb easily captured some of Jupiter’s rings, which especially stand out in the NIRcam long-wavelength filter image. That the rings showed up in one of Webb’s first solar system images is “absolutely astonishing and amazing,” Milam said.

“The Jupiter images in the narrow-band filters were designed to provide nice images of the entire disk of the planet, but the wealth of additional information about very faint objects (Metis, Thebe, the main ring, hazes) in those images with approximately one-minute exposures was absolutely a very pleasant surprise,” said John Stansberry, observatory scientist and NIRCam commissioning lead at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Animation above: Jupiter and its moon Europa are seen in this animation made from three images taken through the NIRCam instrument 2.12 micron filter. Click on the image to play the gif again. Animation Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

Webb also obtained these images of Jupiter and Europa moving across the telescope’s field of view in three separate observations. This test demonstrated the ability of the observatory to find and track guide stars in the vicinity of bright Jupiter.

Animation above: Asteroid 6481 Tenzing, center, is seen moving against a background of stars in this series of images taken by NIRCam. Click on the image to play the gif again. Animation Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

But just how fast can an object move and still be tracked by Webb? This was an important question for scientists who study asteroids and comets. During commissioning, Webb used an asteroid called 6481 Tenzing, located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, to start the moving-target tracking “speed limit” tests.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Animation Credit: NASA

Webb was designed with the requirement to track objects that move as fast as Mars, which has a maximum speed of 30 milliarcseconds per second. During commissioning, the Webb team conducted observations of various asteroids, which all appeared as a dot because they were all small. The team proved that Webb will still get valuable data with all of the science instruments for objects moving up to 67 milliarcseconds per second, which is more than twice the expected baseline – similar to photographing a turtle crawling when you’re standing a mile away. “Everything worked brilliantly,” Milam said.

Related article:

First images from Webb telescope reveal unseen Universe

Related links:

Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes:

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):




Images (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/By Elizabeth Landau, NASA Headquarters.

Best regards,

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX’s 25th Resupply Services Mission


SpaceX - Dragon CRS-25 Mission patch.

July 14, 2022

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:44 p.m. EDT today, July 14, for SpaceX’s 25th commercial resupply (CRS-25) launch to the International Space Station. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for today’s launch, with the primary concerns revolving around the cumulus cloud rule and flight through precipitation.

Image above: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop, is raised to a vertical position at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on July 12, 2022, in preparation for the 25th commercial resupply services launch to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX.

Dragon will carry more than 5,800 pounds of cargo, including a variety of NASA investigations such as NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), which will identify the composition of mineral dust from Earth’s arid regions and analyze dust carried through the atmosphere from deserts to see what effects it has on the planet, further advancing NASA’s data contributions to monitoring climate change.

Other investigations include studying the aging of immune cells and the potential to reverse those effects during postflight recovery, a CubeSat that will monitor cloud top and ocean surface temperatures which could help scientists understand Earth’s climate and weather systems, and a student experiment testing a concrete alternative for potential use in future lunar and Martian habitats.

Related articles:

NASA’s New Mineral Dust Detector on ISS

Soil, Sutures, and Climate Modeling Among Investigations Riding SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon to International Space Station

Related links:


NASA Television:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Danielle Sempsrott.


CERN - ATLAS measures joint polarisation of carriers of the weak force


CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

July 14, 2022

Joint-polarisation measurements of the W and Z bosons provide new opportunities to look for physics beyond the Standard Model

Image above: ATLAS candidate event for a W and a Z boson produced simultaneously with a longitudinal polarisation. (Image: ATLAS/CERN).

In the Standard Model of particle physics, the Brout–Englert–Higgs mechanism provides mass to elementary particles. While physicists are carrying out direct studies of the Higgs boson to test this mechanism, probes of other particles that have mass can also provide insight. For instance, the W and Z bosons – the carriers of the weak force – get their mass from the Higgs mechanism. This impacts their polarisation, that is, the degree by which their quantum spin is aligned to a given direction. The W and Z bosons have a spin of 1 and can be longitudinally polarised as a direct consequence of their being massive – in other words, their spin can be oriented perpendicular to their direction of motion.

The simultaneous production of two W or Z bosons (or “diboson” production) allows physicists to study fundamental interactions between bosons. These rare processes have yet to be fully tested against Standard Model predictions, and studying the polarisation of the produced bosons is a way to potentially unveil new physics effects. While the polarisation of W and Z bosons separately has been studied since the era of the Large Electron–Positron (LEP) collider, the predecessor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), two such bosons produced simultaneously with a longitudinal polarisation have never been observed. With the wealth of data collected during Run 2 of the LHC and innovative analysis methods, ATLAS researchers are now able to study the joint-polarisation states of diboson production events.

In a new study presented at the ICHEP 2022 conference, ATLAS physicists have been able to observe events with both a W and a Z boson simultaneously polarised longitudinally for the very first time. To achieve this result, the researchers identified events containing both a W boson and a Z boson. They focused on events where the bosons transform, or “decay”, into particles called leptons, as these leave the clearest signature in the ATLAS detector. The polarisation of the parent bosons in such WZ events manifests itself in angular observables that have very distinct distributions for different polarisation states.

However, not all of the four possible WZ joint-polarisation states – longitudinal–longitudinal, longitudinal–transverse, transverse–longitudinal and transverse–transverse – are equally probable. The most interesting events, with both bosons exhibiting a longitudinal polarisation, are well hidden – they represent only about 7% of all WZ events, amounting to just 1200 of the 17 100 WZ events studied by ATLAS.

Collision event in the ATLAS detector. Animation Credit: CERN

To overcome the main experimental challenges, researchers developed dedicated machine-learning algorithms to extract the fractions of the four types of joint-polarisation events with a relative uncertainty of about 20%, at most. They found that the Standard Model predictions for these fractions always lie within the 95.5% confidence level region of the measurements, meaning that there is no significant tension with the theory. Researchers also found that the product of the two single-boson longitudinal polarisation fractions is about 50% below the actual longitudinal–longitudinal joint-polarisation fraction. This is a direct measure of the role played by correlations between the two bosons and demonstrates that the two single-boson polarisations are not independent.

This result is a fascinating look into some of the most fundamental structures of the Standard Model itself. And the feasibility of joint-polarisation measurements provides new opportunities to look for new physics phenomena, targeting more specific (and rarer) processes. Building on the novel techniques developed here, physicists can now envisage the even more challenging joint-polarisation measurement of the scattering of two longitudinally polarised bosons.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related article:

ATLAS result addresses long-standing tension in the Standard Model

Related links:

Large Electron-Positron (LEP):

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):


Higgs boson:

W boson:

W bosons:

Standard Model:

ICHEP 2022 conference:

ATLAS physicists new study:

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/By ATLAS collaboration.

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Swarm dodges collision during climb to escape Sun’s wrath


ESA - SWARM Mission logo.

July 14, 2022

In brief

The pressure is on at ESA’s mission control. An ESA satellite dodges out of the way of a mystery piece of space junk spotted just hours before a potential collision.

Now a crucial step in the spacecraft’s ongoing journey to safer skies has to be quickly rescheduled, as violent solar activity related to the ramping up of the solar cycle warps Earth’s atmosphere and threatens to drag it down out of orbit...

Artist's view of Swarm


A swarm? Of bugs?

Not quite – Swarm is ESA’s mission to unravel the mysteries of Earth’s magnetic field. It’s made up of three satellites, A, B and C – affectionately known as Alpha, Bravo and Charlie.

What happened?

A small piece of human-made rubbish circling our planet – known as space debris – was detected hurtling towards Alpha at 16:00 CEST, on 30 June. A potential collision was predicted just eight hours later, shortly after midnight. The risk of impact was high enough that Alpha needed to get out of the way – fast.

Swarm constellation

There’s rubbish in space?

A lot of it. Old satellites, rocket parts and small pieces of debris left over from previous collisions and messy breakups. Each little piece can cause serious damage to a satellite, larger ones can destroy a satellite and create large amount of new debris.

Sentinel-1 impact

Was this the first time this has happened?

That day? Maybe. Ever? No way. Each one of our satellites has to perform on average two evasive manoeuvres every year – and that’s not including all the alerts we get that don’t end up needing evasive action.

Then what’s the big deal?

Carrying out evasive action – known as a ‘collision avoidance manoeuvre’ – requires a lot of planning. You have to check that you’re not moving the satellite into a new orbit that puts it at risk of other collisions and you have to calculate how to get back to your original orbit using as little fuel and losing as little science data as possible.

ESA’s Space Debris Office analyses data from the US Space Surveillance Network and raises the warning of a potential collision to ESA’s Flight Control and Flight Dynamics teams, usually more than 24 hours before the piece of debris comes closest to the satellite.

In this case, we only got eight hours’ notice.

And worse, the alert meant that the Swarm team was now suddenly racing against two clocks. Another manoeuvre was planned for just a few hours after the potential collision and had to be cancelled to give Alpha enough time to duck out of the way of the debris. That manoeuvre was also very time sensitive and had to be entirely replanned, recalculated and carried out within a day.

Wait, the Sun is killing satellites?

Our Sun is entering a very active part of its ‘solar cycle’ right now. This activity is increasing the density of Earth’s upper atmosphere. Satellites are running through ‘thicker’ air, slowing them down and requiring them to use up more limited onboard fuel to stay in orbit. Alpha and Charlie were moving up into a less dense part of the atmosphere where they can stay in orbit and collect science data hopefully for many more years and mission extensions!

Solar cycle 25 prediction, NOAA, July 2022

What would have happened without this manoeuvre?

Alpha would have drifted towards Charlie and the orbits of the two satellites would have soon crossed. This would have left the overall Swarm mission ‘cross-eyed’, limiting its ability to do science until another set of manoeuvres realigned Alpha and Charlie.

Is Swarm OK now?

The Swarm team got to work with a reaction time to rival an Olympic sprinter. Working together with the Flight Dynamics team at ESA’s mission control, they planned and carried out the evasive action in just four hours, and then replanned and carried out the other manoeuvre within 24 hours.

Alpha is now safe from a collision with that piece of debris and has completed its climb to safer skies alongside Charlie. But there is lots of debris out there, and this shows with how little warning it can threaten a satellite.

How are your teams keeping up with all these collision alerts?

ESA's laser ranging station in Tenerife aims its green laser to the sky

With new tech, more sustainable behaviour and by taking our space debris responsibility very seriously. We’re building new technology to track more debris, developing new computational tools that will help us plan and carry out the rapidly increasing number of evasive manoeuvres, and working on guidelines that limit the amount of new rubbish we and other satellite operators add to the problem. We’re even working on ways to grab larger pieces of debris and remove them from orbit using a ‘space claw’.

Related links:

ESA’s mission control:

Space Safety:


Images, Text, Credits: ESA/P. Carril/NOAA.