samedi 22 avril 2023

ISRO - PSLV-CA launches TeLEOS-2 and Lumelite-4


ISRO - Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

April 22, 2023

PSLV-CA carrying TeLEOS-2 and Lumelite-4 liftoff

For ISRO’s PSLV-C54 mission, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in the Core Alone configuration (PSLV-CA) launched Singapore’s TeLEOS-2 (741 kg) as primary satellite and Lumelite-4 (16 kg) as a co-passenger satellite.

PSLV-CA launches TeLEOS-2 and Lumelite-4

From the First Launch Pad (FLP) of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR), Sriharikota, India, on 22 April 2023, at 08:49 UTC (14:19 IST) and placed the them into the intended orbit. 

TeLEOS 2 - UPSC satellite

The mission has the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM-2), where the spent PS4 stage of the launch vehicle would be utilized as an orbital platform to carryout scientific experiments through non-separating payloads.

Related links:

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL):

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)/NewSpace India Limited (NSIL)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

SpaceX may have to deorbit some of its new Starlink V2 Mini satellites


SpaceX - Falcon 9 / Starlink Mission patch.

April 22, 2023

The first batch of Elon Musk's upgraded Starlink internet satellites experienced issues shortly after launching last month. "We're experiencing some issues," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.

Image above: Starlink V2 Mini satellites. Image Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX's newly-launched Starlink V2 Mini satellites appear to be experiencing issues, Elon Musk explained on Twitter this week. The SpaceX CEO explained that some satellites would likely have to be deorbited to burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

Last month, SpaceX launched 21 of the new satellites (Starlink V2 Mini satellites) aboard a Falcon 9 rocket as part of a test campaign ahead of the launch of its next-generation Starlink 2.0 satellites.

Image above: HEO Robotics captured this view of a Starlink V2 Mini satellite in orbit shortly after it launched. Image Credit: HEO Robotics.

SpaceX's new Starlink V2 Mini satellites

Despite the name, SpaceX's Starlink V2 Mini satellites are larger than the company's standard Starlink satellites, which it has been lifting to space in large batches since 2019. SpaceX's full-size Starlink V2 satellites will weigh 1.25 tons (1,130 kilograms) and be able to send service directly to cellphones, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

SpaceX on Twitter

However, the private space firm may be facing a slight obstacle on the road to the commercial launch of its V2 satellites. On Wednesday, Musk wrote "lot of new technology in Starlink V2, so we’re experiencing some issues, as expected." He also explained that some satellites "will be deorbited, others will be tested thoroughly."

Musk wrote his tweet in response to commentary from experts and satellite trackers who had noticed that some of the V2 Minis were lowering their altitudes while others were in a more eccentric orbit.

Jonathan McDowell and Elon Musk on Twitter

"I think they are debugging some issue with the new sats, and we’ll see in a few weeks if they resume orbit raising,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote on Twitter.

McDowell noted on Twitter that three of the Starlink V2 Minis were raising their altitudes in the attempt to reach their designated operational orbits, while one underwent a controlled deorbit maneuver. Other observers have also been monitoring the V2 Minis since their launch, including the unofficial SpaceX guide Starlink Insider, which noted the satellite’s deorbit trajectory before it reentered.

The satellite very likely burned up during its reentry.

Starlink Insider on Twitter

Last month, Starlink Insider was among the first to notice that the recently launched batch of satellites were slowly falling instead of rising. In response to speculation regarding the condition of the V2 Minis, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify that the satellites were “experiencing some issues” and that some of them will be deorbited while others would still be tested. The recently deorbited V2 Mini could be the first of more to come, but we currently don’t know for certain.

SpaceX launched 21 next generation Starlink satellites on board a Falcon 9 rocket on March 17. The company calls them V2 Minis, as the units are miniaturized versions of the company’s full-sized, next generation Starlinks. The V2 Minis are meant to help SpaceX increase the capacity of its internet megaconstellation, filling the gap for the increasing demand of Starlink until the company is able to launch batches of its full-sized next-generation satellites.

SpaceX Starlink V2 Deployment

However, in order to do that, SpaceX needs to see its heavy-lift Starship rocket take to the skies. But after the first test launch on April 20, given the result (unplanned rapid disassembly, according to Elon Musk), that is to say that the Starship Super Heavy is not yet ready and the launch-pad has been badly damaged (see related articles in links below), the project to send the second generation of Starlink satellites with the Starship is postponed to a later date.

How does Starlink Satellite Internet Work?

The company’s currently operational Falcon 9 rocket is not designed to carry the next-generation satellites, prompting SpaceX to create the diminutive versions. SpaceX was reportedly planning on launching a second batch of V2 Minis last month, but it’s unclear where the company now stands on its miniature satellites.

Related articles:

SpaceX Super Heavy booster had five engines out and powerful launch damaged the pad

SpaceX - Starship Super Heavy first launch, explodes in 'rapid unscheduled disassembly'

SpaceX Starlink 76 launch

Related links:



SpaceX Starship:

Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: SpaceX/Interesting Engineering/Gizmodo/Branch Education/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


vendredi 21 avril 2023

Robotic Arm Releases Cygnus Space Freighter from Station


Northrop Grumman - Cygnus Cargo NG-18 Mission patch.

April 21, 2023

At 7:22 a.m. EDT, Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was released from the Canadarm2 robotic arm which earlier detached Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying southwest of Ireland.

Image above: The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments after being released from the grip of the Canadarm2 robotic completing its stay at the space station. Image Credit: NASA TV.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the space station more than five months after arriving at the microgravity laboratory to deliver about 8,200 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo for NASA.

Following a deorbit engine firing later Friday evening, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

NG-18 S.S. Sally Ride Cygnus departure

Cygnus arrived at the space station Nov. 10, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 18th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft “S.S. Sally Ride” after late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space, Sally Ride, launched on an Antares rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops.

Related links:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/NASA TV/SciNews.


Space Station Studies Help Monitor Climate Change


ISS - International Space Station patch.

April 21, 2023

On Earth Day, people focus on the well-being of our planet, including how humans are affecting its climate. Every day of the year, the International Space Station, orbiting 250 miles above Earth, provides a wealth of data that helps with that focus.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

The station is one of dozens of NASA Earth missions in orbit and provides three main platforms for studying climate change: multiple Earth-observing instruments mounted on its exterior, a platform for deploying Earth-observing CubeSats, and windows that astronauts use to take photos of the planet. Because its orbit passes over 90 percent of Earth’s population and circles the planet 16 times each day, the astronauts and instruments have views of multiple locations at different times of day and night.

Scientists need to track the factors influencing climate over long periods, and the space station helps them do so. Its contributions, along with those from NASA’s Applied Sciences Program, are informing climate decisions and helping humans understand and care for the planet and solve challenges created by climate change.

Eyes on Earth

Some of the current investigations using instruments on the exterior of the space station to collect climate-related data include ECOSTRESS, EMIT, and SAGE III-ISS.


ECOSTRESS measures the temperature of the ground, which is hotter during the day than the air. This image of Houston, Texas in June 2022 shows temperature differences between urban surfaces, especially pavement, and cooler suburban areas.

During a heat wave in India and Pakistan in May 2022, ECOSTRESS clearly delineated urban “heat islands” that had night temperatures as high as 102 degrees Fahrenheit while nearby rural fields had cooled to about 60 F. Urban heat experts note that extreme temperatures can be deadly due to this urban heat island effect, a risk that is compounded when temperatures do not drop sufficiently at night.


Scientists are using maps created by EMIT’s imaging spectrometer, including these of regions of the Sahara Desert (top) and Nevada (bottom), to assess how dust particles affect the climate. When these particles are lifted into the atmosphere by wind, they can have heating or cooling effects, depending on their composition. The red box in the image from Nevada shows the presence of a light-colored clay mineral that reflects sunlight.

“Darker colors absorb sunlight and lighter colors reflect it, so the color of dust affects the temperature,” says Kate Calvin, chief scientist and senior climate advisor at NASA.

EMIT also identified more than 50 super-emitters, infrastructure that emits methane at high rates. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and limiting its emission is key to limiting climate change.


The thin dark layer below the blue stratosphere in this image taken in March 2022 by SAGE III-ISS contains particles from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apa volcanic eruption a few months earlier. This instrument measures these tiny particles or aerosols from volcanoes and wildfires, which can remain in the upper atmosphere for years, affecting climate around the globe by scattering light from the Sun.

The instrument takes measurements of light from the Sun or Moon as it passes through Earth's atmosphere at the edge, or limb, of the planet, called occulation. As of March 2023, SAGE III-ISS has collected more than 54,000 occultation events, the vast majority of them solar.

Other investigations on the space station also contribute to climate science, including GEDI, OCO-3, DESIS, TSIS (also known as TSIS-1), and HISUI.

Images from Above

Crew members have taken more than 3.5 million images of Earth from the space station for Crew Earth Observations, one of the longest running records of how our planet changes over time. This program currently supports a number of studies, including of surface features such as lakes, glaciers, and volcanoes, and atmospheric processes affected by volcanic eruptions.

These photographs record growth and decline at the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt from extreme weather events between Sept. 2002 and Nov. 2021. The lakes are natural depressions in the Sahara Desert filled by water diverted from Lake Nasser, a reservoir on the Nile River, and their water levels fluctuate depending on the flow of the river. The lakes, full in 2002 (left image) after several years of high floods, had mostly dried up by 2012 (middle image). The lakes shrank further in 2017 and 2018, then experienced rapid filling after record-breaking floods in Sudan in 2020 and 2021. The November 2021 photo (right) shows the lakes at their highest level ever, with new lakes that formed in depressions to the north and south of the eastern basin. The Toshka Lakes project was designed to provide irrigation for agricultural development and attract people away from the dense populations of the Nile Valley.

Chile’s Villarrica volcano emits plumes of steam and volcanic gases after a series of minor explosions in this photo taken from the space station on Jan. 17, 2023. A streak of ash is visible on the snow-covered volcano (bottom of photo). This type of low-level activity can be one indicator of imminent volcanic activity. Villarrica is one of South America’s most active volcanoes and one of the most dangerous in the southern Andes volcanic zone.

In this image taken from the space station on Sept. 26, 2022, Hurricane Ian spins just south of Cuba before heading toward Florida. Ian made landfall near Punta Gorda, FL, as a Category 4 storm on September 28. It ranks as the third most-costly U.S. hurricane on record, causing nearly $113 billion dollars in damage and 152 deaths. Studies show that climate change creates conditions leading to more rapid intensification of such storms.

Science from Small Satellites

CubeSats are small, box-shaped containers approximately used for technology demonstrations or tests of new types of climate science deployed from the station airlock.

NASA’s HARP CubeSat, shown ready for deployment from the space station, demonstrated that these small satellites could carry a compact imaging polarimeter, an instrument that observes how light scatters off particles to determine their size, shape, and chemical composition. Interactions between these particles and clouds are an area of significant uncertainty in climate models and HARP could help reduce that uncertainty. After 777 days in space, HARP successfully ended its mission, which pioneered new technologies for observing cloud and aerosol properties from space – crucial for learning more about Earth phenomena like air pollution and climate change.

This image shows deployment of JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) DIWATA-1 CubeSat, which observes meteorological disasters such as typhoons and localized heavy rains for the Philippines.

During its nearly 23 years in orbit, the space station has evolved into an important part of NASA’s work to study Earth’s climate and improve our understanding of how it is changing.

Related links:

NASA’s Applied Sciences Program:







TSIS (also known as TSIS-1):


Crew Earth Observations:




Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Carrie Gilder/JSC/International Space Station Program Science Office/Melissa Gaskill.

Best regards,

Hubble Spotlights a Swirling Spiral


NASA / ESA - Hubble Space Telescope (HST) patch.

April 21, 2023

The barred spiral galaxy UGC 678 takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The spectacular galaxy lies around 260 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Pisces and is almost face on, allowing its lazily winding spiral arms to stretch across this image. In the foreground, a smaller edge-on galaxy seems to bisect the upper portion of UGC 678.

Barred spiral galaxies have a bar-shaped structure of stars that extends from opposite sides of the galaxy’s central bulge. Bars form in spiral galaxies when the orbits of stars near the galaxy’s heart become unstable and stretched out. As their orbits lengthen, they create a bar. The bar grows as their gravity captures more and more nearby stars. UGC 678’s bar is faint. It is visible as a diagonal group of stars that stretches from the lower left (7 o’clock) to the upper right (1 o’clock) of the galaxy’s core.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Andrea Gianopoulos/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, C. Kilpatrick, R.J. Foley.

Best regards,

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of April 17, 2023


ISS - Expedition 69 Mission patch.

April 21, 2023

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations during the week of April 17 that included demonstrating a liquid-based carbon dioxide removal system, measuring eye changes during spaceflight, and offering students in Europe an opportunity to use computers on the space station for specific challenges.

Image above: This image shows a portion of Canyonlands National Park in Utah and the San Juan River as the International Space Station orbits 263 miles above. Image Credit: NASA.

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

Controlling Carbon Dioxide

Liquid-based systems for removing carbon dioxide, such as those used on submarines, are highly efficient, important for longer space missions. Since microgravity makes it difficult to control the flow of liquids, the space station has yet to take advantage of this efficiency. CapiSorb Visible System demonstrates a system using capillary forces, the interaction of a liquid with a solid that draws fluid into a narrow tube. Previous experiments have confirmed that capillary forces can control liquids in microgravity. Results also could improve researchers’ understanding of capillary flows and use of liquids to remove carbon dioxide in settings in space and on Earth. During the week, crew members performed a functional check of the system in preparation for runs of the investigation.

The Eyes Have It

Image above: ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst conducts an exam for a previous investigation on eye health. A current study, ISAFE, also measures eye changes in space. Image Credit: NASA.

From the earliest spaceflights, astronauts have experienced symptoms of Space-Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS), which include flattening of the eye shape and swelling in the optic disc, where the optic nerve enters the retina. Multiple studies on the space station have examined this syndrome and evidence suggests that several factors may be involved, including increased pressure in the head, overfilling of blood vessels, and inflammation. A current investigation, ISAFE, measures eye, brain, and blood vessel changes to examine whether SANS varies with mission length, whether these changes recover when crew members return to Earth, and how long such potential recovery takes. Results could support development of ways to protect astronaut vision on future long-duration spaceflights, such as trips to Mars. Crew members took measurements for the investigation during the week.

Student Computing in Space

Image above: These AstroPi computers on the space station support a student project that encourages interest in computing and coding and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Image Credit: NASA.

AstroPi, an investigation from ESA (European Space Agency), uses two augmented Raspberry Pi computers equipped with Sense Hardware Attached on Top (HAT) that measures the environment inside the space station, detects how the station moves through space, and picks up the Earth’s magnetic field. One AstroPi is equipped with an infrared camera and the other with a standard visible spectrum camera. Students use the computers to conduct thematic software and hardware challenges. ESA has an education program that uses human spaceflight and the space station to encourage students to study scientific and technical disciplines and to understand the benefits, challenges, and importance of space for Europe. During the week, crew members installed the computers for operations.

Other Investigations Involving the Crew:

- JEM Water Recovery System, a JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) investigation, demonstrated technology to generate potable water from urine. The system could contribute to life support systems on the space station and future exploration missions.

- Zero T2 examines the effects on physical and sensorimotor health and performance when crew members do not exercise on a treadmill. Treadmills, an important way to reinforce a walking motor pattern, are too bulky for future long-duration space missions. Zero T2 results could help determine exercise regimens that are adequate to maintain physical health on future missions.

- Cardinal Heart 2.0, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, tests drugs to reduce changes in heart cell function in space. Results could support development of effective drug combinations to improve the health of astronauts and patients on Earth.

- ISS Ham Radio provides students, teachers, 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.

- Food Physiology documents the effects of an enhanced diet on human adaptation to spaceflight. Results could support development of targeted, efficient dietary interventions to maintain crew health and performance and improve understanding of how complex organisms adapt to spaceflight.

Space to Ground: Making a Global Impact: April 21, 2023

The space station, a robust microgravity laboratory with a multitude of specialized research facilities and tools, has supported many scientific breakthroughs from investigations spanning every major scientific discipline. The ISS Benefits for Humanity 2022 publication details the expanding universe of results realized from more than 20 years of experiments conducted on the station.

ISS Benefits for Humanity 2022:

Related links:

Expedition 69:

CapiSorb Visible System:

Multiple studies:



ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Carrie Gilder/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 69.


Probing fundamental symmetries of nature with the Higgs boson


CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

April 21, 2023

The ATLAS collaboration tested Higgs-boson interactions with the carriers of the weak force, looking for signs of charge-parity symmetry violation

Image above: ATLAS candidate event for a Higgs boson decaying into two Z bosons, one decaying into two oppositely charged muons (red) and the other into two oppositely charged electrons (green tracks leading to yellow energy deposits). (Image: ATLAS/CERN).

Where did all the antimatter go? After the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts. Why we live in a Universe of matter, with very little antimatter, remains a mystery. The excess of matter could be explained by the violation of charge-parity (CP) symmetry, which essentially means that certain processes that involve particles behave differently to those that involve their antiparticles.

However, the CP-violating processes that have been observed so far are insufficient to explain the matter–antimatter asymmetry in the Universe. New sources of CP violation must be out there – and might be hiding in interactions involving the Higgs boson. In the Standard Model of particle physics, Higgs-boson interactions with other particles conserve CP symmetry. If researchers find signs of CP violation in these interactions, they could be a clue to one of the Universe's oldest mysteries.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Animation Credit: CERN

In a new analysis of its full dataset from Run 2 of the LHC, the ATLAS collaboration tested the Higgs-boson interactions with the carriers of the weak force, the W and Z bosons, looking for signs of CP violation. The collaboration studied Higgs-boson decays into two Z bosons, each of which transforms into a pair of leptons (an electron and a positron or a muon and an antimuon), thus resulting in four charged leptons. The researchers also studied interactions in which two W or Z bosons combine to produce a Higgs boson. In this case, one quark and one antiquark are produced together with the Higgs boson, creating ‘jets’ of particles in the ATLAS detector.

These interactions are ideal testing grounds for CP violation. When CP symmetry is conserved, the pattern of behaviour of the detected jets and leptons should be the same when particles are exchanged with their antiparticles and their directions of flight are reversed. However, if CP symmetry is violated, particles and antiparticles behave differently.

ATLAS scientists summarise all the information about the particles detected in these processes in a single number: the optimal observable. A special feature of this observable is that its value measured for antiparticles should be equal but opposite in sign to that of the particles. If a process conserves CP symmetry, the mean value of the optimal observable in the data should be zero. If it doesn’t, the mean value would shift away from zero.

In its new analysis, ATLAS used the observed values of the optimal observable to directly place limits on the possible amount of CP violation. The researchers also measured how often each value of the optimal observable occurred in the data, after correcting for any experimental effects. This measurement enabled ATLAS to compare the data with theoretical predictions in a model-independent way and to test the validity of the underlying theoretical assumptions. This is the first time that a measurement of a Higgs-boson decay into four leptons has allowed physicists to detect potential signs of CP violation in a model-independent way, without strongly relying on aspects of the Standard Model prediction other than CP symmetry.

All the results look compatible with the Standard Model expectation, representing another important confirmation of the current theory of nature. However, this is just the first step. Small CP-violating signals remain compatible with the data, and ATLAS is already collecting new collision data at unprecedented energies that will allow the precision of these measurements to be increased – further homing in on the nature of the Higgs boson.


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 links:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

ATLAS experiment:

Standard Model:

Higgs boson:

W boson:

Z boson:


New analysis of its full dataset from Run 2:

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

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

Best regards,

SpaceX Super Heavy booster had five engines out and powerful launch damaged the pad


SpaceX - Starship Super Heavy Test Flight patch.

April 21, 2023

Image above: SpaceX Super Heavy booster had five engines out. Image Credits: SpaceX/Screen capture: Aerospace.

The SpaceX Super Heavy booster had five engines out as it flew. 4 engines were mostly on one side and this led to an imbalance which became critical during the flip move for stage separation.

They were likely trying various thrust vectoring and other adjustments. This was a huge success. Looks like went up to about Mach 3.

Image above: Super Heavy Booster 7 (B7) inflicted severe damage on the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM), the Booster Quick Disconnect (BQD) housing, and launched shrapnel as far away as the launch pad west parking lot. Image Credits: Starbase Watcher on Twitter/LabPadre.

The power of the launch did wreck the concrete below the rocket. SpaceX will need to fix and improve the pad, but they will likely be read to fly again by July, 2023. Footage taken near the launch tower show surprising amounts of debris from the first test flight of Starship.

Starship Super Heavy first launch

Lifting off with record-breaking thrust, SpaceX’s Starship rocket was expected to produce an impressive launch plume and possibly cause damage to the launch pad. Early footage from the scene in Boca Chica, Texas, suggests the surrounding area did indeed take some damage—including an unfortunate minivan that got clobbered by a large rock.

Video above: Footage taken from a LabPadre camera shows a minivan getting owned by debris spewing out from the launch site. Video Credits: Lab Padre/Gizmodo.

The dramatic footage comes from LabPadre’s VR cam, which the popular YouTube channel placed uncomfortably close to the 469-foot-tall (142-meter) launch and catch tower. Cameras this close to the launch tower are controlled remotely, as everyone must leave the area prior to launch for safety reasons. If anyone doubted this rule before, these new videos should smarten them up.

Related article:

SpaceX - Starship Super Heavy first launch, explodes in 'rapid unscheduled disassembly'

Related links:


SpaceX Starship:

Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: SpaceX/SciNews/Starbase Watcher/Lab Padre/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


jeudi 20 avril 2023

Crew Works New Fluid Physics Study, Preps Cargo Ship for Departure


ISS - Expedition 69 Mission patch.

April 20, 2023

Fluid physics research and cargo craft departure activities kept the Expedition 69 astronauts busy aboard the International Space Station on Thursday. The cosmonauts were also back to work following an extended sleep period after they completed a spacewalk to move and install hardware on the orbital outpost.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: ESA

All four astronauts worked throughout the day on a new technology study demonstrating the potential of using a liquid-based carbon dioxide removal system in space. UAE (United Arab Emirates) Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi kicked off the experiment Thursday morning setting up hardware and performing a test run to verify liquid flows. Next, NASA Flight Engineers Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg performed a variety of experiment runs observing different ways to control liquids in weightlessness. Finally, NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio took over the experiment and performed the last flow observation of the day before powering off the research hardware.

During the mid-afternoon after completing their fluid research activities, Alneyadi and Hoburg partnered together configuring the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter for its departure. Bowen started the closeout work on Thursday morning depressurizing the vestibule between Cygnus and the station’s Unity module. Ground controllers will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from Unity and release it at 7:20 a.m. EDT on Friday after five-and-a-half months at the station. Alneyadi will be on duty monitoring the U.S. cargo craft’s departure. Cygnus will then reenter Earth’s atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean for a fiery, but safe demise.

Image above: The Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter is pictured in the grip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm as ground controllers remotely install the cargo craft to the International Space Station's Unity module. The space station was orbiting into a sunset 257 miles above the Indian Ocean off the coast of the African nation of Tanzania. Image Credit: NASA.

The next spacewalk is set for Tuesday, April 25, at 5:40 p.m. when Roscosmos Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin will once again exit the Poisk airlock in their Orlan spacesuits. The duo will spend about six hours moving an experiment airlock from the Rassvet module then installing it on the Nauka science module. Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev will also be back on duty during the spacewalk operating the European robotic arm from inside the station and maneuvering the experiment airlock.

Related article (NASA):

NASA Sets Coverage for Northrop Grumman Cygnus Departure from Station

Related links:

Expedition 69:

Liquid-based carbon dioxide removal system:

Cygnus space freighter:

Unity module:

Canadarm2 robotic arm:

Poisk airlock:

Rassvet module:

Nauka multipurpose laboratory module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

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

Best regards,

Hubble Celebrates 33rd Anniversary With a Peek Into Nearby Star-Forming Region


NASA / ESA - Hubble Space Telescope (HST) patch.

April 20, 2023

Astronomers are celebrating NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's 33rd launch anniversary with an ethereal photo of a nearby star-forming region, NGC 1333. The nebula is in the Perseus molecular cloud, and located approximately 960 light-years away.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI; Image Processing: Varun Bajaj (STScI), Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Jennifer Mack (STScI).

Hubble's colorful view, showcased through its unique capability to obtain images from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, unveils an effervescent cauldron of glowing gasses and pitch-black dust stirred up and blown around by several hundred newly forming stars embedded within the dark cloud. Hubble just scratches the surface because most of the star birthing firestorm is hidden behind clouds of fine dust – essentially soot – that are thicker toward the bottom of the image. The blackness in the image is not empty space, but filled with obscuring dust.

To capture this image, Hubble peered through a veil of dust on the edge of a giant cloud of cold molecular hydrogen – the raw material for fabricating new stars and planets under the relentless pull of gravity. The image underscores the fact that star formation is a messy process in our rambunctious universe.

Ferocious stellar winds, likely from the bright blue star at the top of the image, are blowing through a curtain of dust. The fine dust scatters the starlight at blue wavelengths.

Farther down, another bright, super-hot star shines through filaments of obscuring dust, looking like the Sun shining through scattered clouds. A diagonal string of fainter accompanying stars looks reddish because dust is filtering starlight, allowing more of the red light to get through.

The bottom of the picture presents a keyhole peek deep into the dark nebula. Hubble captures the reddish glow of ionized hydrogen. It looks like a fireworks finale, with several overlapping events. This is caused by pencil-thin jets shooting out from newly forming stars outside the frame of view. These stars are surrounded by circumstellar disks, which may eventually produce planetary systems, and powerful magnetic fields that direct two parallel beams of hot gas deep into space, like a double light saber from science fiction films. They sculpt patterns on the hydrogen cocoon, like laser-light-show tracings. The jets are a star's birth announcement.

This view offers an example of the time when our Sun and planets formed inside such a dusty molecular cloud, 4.6 billion years ago. Our Sun didn't form in isolation but was instead embedded inside a mosh pit of frantic stellar birth, perhaps even more energetic and massive than NGC 1333.

Hubble's 33rd Anniversary: Dark Nebula is a Cauldron of Star Birth

Video above: NASA is celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 33rd birthday with an ethereal image of a nearby star-forming region, NGC 1333. Located approximately 960 light-years away in the Perseus interstellar cloud, Hubble’s colorful view unveils glowing gasses and pitch-black dust stirred up, colliding, and blown around by several hundred forming stars within the dark cloud. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Lead Producer: Paul Morris; Narration: Dr. Jennifer Wiseman.

Hubble was deployed into orbit around Earth on April 25, 1990, by NASA astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. To date, the legendary telescope has taken approximately 1.6 million observations of nearly 52,000 celestial targets. This treasure trove of knowledge about the universe is stored for public access in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Animation Credits: NASA/ESA

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

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Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes:

Hubble Space Telescope (HST):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Andrea Gianopoulos/GSFC/Claire Andreoli/STScI/Ray Villard.


Balloon-Borne SuperBIT Telescope Releases 1st Research Images


SuperBIT - Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope logo.

April 20, 2023

The Super Pressure Balloon Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) that launched on a scientific super pressure balloon April 16, 2023, local time from Wānaka, New Zealand, captured its first research images from this flight of the Tarantula Nebula and Antennae Galaxies. These images were captured on a balloon-borne telescope floating at 108,000 feet above Earth’s surface, allowing scientists to view these scientific targets from a balloon platform in a near-space environment.

Image above: The Tarantula Nebula taken by the Super Pressure Balloon Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT). Image Credits: NASA, Durham University.

The advantage of balloon-based versus space telescopes is the reduced cost of not having to launch a large telescope on a rocket. A super pressure balloon can circumnavigate the globe for up to 100 days to gather scientific data. The balloon also floats at an altitude above most of the Earth’s atmosphere, making it suitable for many astronomical observations.

The SuperBIT telescope captures images of galaxies in the visible-to-near ultraviolet light spectrum, which is within the Hubble Space Telescope’s capabilities, but with a wider field of view. The goal of the mission is to map dark matter around galaxy clusters by measuring the way these massive objects warp the space around them, also called “weak gravitational lensing.”

Image above: The Antennae Galaxies taken by the Super Pressure Balloon Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT). Image Credits: NASA, Durham University.

The Tarantula Nebula is a large star-forming region of ionized hydrogen gas that lies 161,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and its turbulent clouds of gas and dust appear to swirl between the region’s bright, newly formed stars. The Tarantula Nebula has previously be captured by both the Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope.

The Antennae galaxies, cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, are two large galaxies colliding 60 million light-years away toward the southerly constellation Corvus. The galaxies have previously been captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope. A composite image of the galaxies combines data taken by all three telescopes.

Image above: The Super-pressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) is a highly-stabilized, high-resolution telescope that operates in the stratosphere via NASA's super-pressure balloon (SPB) system. At 40 km altitude above sea level, the football-stadium-sized balloon carries SuperBIT (at 3500 lbs) to a suborbital environment above 99.2% of the Earth's atmosphere in order to obtain space quality imaging. Image Credit: NASA.

SuperBIT’s first research images from this flight were released by Durham University. The SuperBIT team is a collaboration among NASA; Durham University, United Kingdom; the University of Toronto, Canada; and Princeton University in New Jersey.

Related links:

Durham University release:

University of Toronto - Welcome to SuperBIT:

Princeton University - SuperBIT:

NASA's super-pressure balloon (SPB):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Jamie Adkins.


New Stellar Danger to Planets Identified by NASA's Chandra


NASA - Chandra X-ray Observatory patch.

April 20, 2023

Astronomers using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes have identified a new threat to life on planets like Earth: a phase during which intense X-rays from exploded stars can affect planets over 100 light-years away. This result, as outlined in our latest press release, has implication for the study of exoplanets and their habitability.

Image Credits: Science: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Illinois/I. Brunton et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.

This newly found threat comes from a supernova’s blast wave striking dense gas surrounding the exploded star, as depicted in the upper right of our artist’s impression. When this impact occurs it can produce a large dose of X-rays that reaches an Earth-like planet (shown in the lower left, illuminated by its host star out of view to the right) months to years after the explosion and may last for decades. Such intense exposure may trigger an extinction event on the planet.

A new study reporting this threat is based on X-ray observations of 31 supernovae and their aftermath — mostly from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Swift and NuSTAR missions, and ESA’s XMM-Newton — show that planets can be subjected to lethal doses of radiation located as much as about 160 light-years away. Four of the supernovae in the study (SN 1979C, SN 1987A, SN 2010jl, and SN 1994I) are shown in composite images containing Chandra data in the supplemental image.

Images above: 4 of the 31 supernovas in the study. Images Credits: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Illinois/I. Brunton et al.

Prior to this, most research on the effects of supernova explosions had focused on the danger from two periods: the intense radiation produced by a supernova in the days and months after the explosion, and the energetic particles that arrive hundreds to thousands of years afterward.

If a torrent of X-rays sweeps over a nearby planet, the radiation could severely alter the planet's atmospheric chemistry. For an Earth-like planet, this process could wipe out a significant portion of ozone, which ultimately protects life from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation of its host star. It could also lead to the demise of a wide range of organisms, especially marine ones at the foundation of the food chain, leading to an extinction event.

After years of lethal X-ray exposure from the supernova’s interaction, and the impact of ultraviolet radiation from an Earth-like planet’s host star, a large amount of nitrogen dioxide may be produced, causing a brown haze in the atmosphere, as shown in the illustration. A “de-greening” of land masses could also occur because of damage to plants.

A separate artist’s impression (panel #1) depicts the same Earth-like planet as having been abundant with life at the time of the nearby supernova, years before most of the X-ray’s impacts are felt (panel #2).

Images above: Illustration of an Earth-like planet before and after radiation exposure. Images Credits: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.

Among the four supernovae in the set of images, SN 2010jl has produced the most X-rays. The authors estimate it to have delivered a lethal dose of X-rays for Earth-like planets less than about 100 light-years away.

There is strong evidence — including the detection in different locations around the globe of a radioactive type of iron — that supernovae occurred close to Earth between about 2 million and 8 million years ago. Researchers estimate these supernovae were between about 65 and 500 light-years away from Earth.

Although the Earth and the Solar System are currently in a safe space in terms of potential supernova explosions, many other planets in the Milky Way are not. These high-energy events would effectively shrink the areas within the Milky Way galaxy, known as the Galactic Habitable Zone, where conditions would be conducive for life as we know it.

Because the X-ray observations of supernovae are sparse, particularly of the variety that strongly interact with their surroundings, the authors urge follow-up observations of interacting supernovae for months and years after the explosion.

The paper describing this result appears in the April 20, 2023 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. The other authors of the paper are Ian Brunton, Connor O’Mahoney, and Brian Fields (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Adrian Melott (University of Kansas), and Brian Thomas (Washburn University in Kansas).

Chandra X-ray Observatory. Animation Credits: NASA/CXC

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

Related links:

The Astrophysical Journal:

Chandra X-Ray Observatory:


Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Lee Mohon.

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