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President Trump Space Exploration a National Priority

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President Donald J. Trump signs Space Policy Directive 1
Representatives of Congress and the National Space Council joined President Donald J. Trump, Apollo astronaut Jack Schmitt and current NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, for the president’s signing of Space Policy Directive 1, a change in national space policy that provides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with private sector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.
Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
 
NASA has been through various ups and downs.  There seems to be a renewed interest in supporting Space Exploration.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)
  
Dec. 11, 2017
RELEASE 17-097

New Space Policy Directive Calls for Human Expansion Across Solar System

Lunar Sample 70215
Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface and returned by NASA’s Apollo 17 crew. The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found in Hawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowed from the Camelot Crater. Sliced off a parent rock that originally weighed 8,110 grams, the sample weighs 14 grams, and is very fine grained, dense and tough.
Credits: NASA

President Donald Trump is sending astronauts back to the Moon.

The president Monday signed at the White House Space Policy Directive 1, a change in national space policy that provides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with private sector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

The policy calls for the NASA administrator to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.” The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” said President Trump. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA’s existing effort to send humans to an asteroid. The president revived the National Space Council in July to advise and help implement his space policy with exploration as a national priority.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, America will lead in space once again on all fronts,” said Vice President Pence. “As the President has said, space is the ‘next great American frontier’ – and it is our duty – and our destiny – to settle that frontier with American leadership, courage, and values. The signing of this new directive is yet another promise kept by President Trump.”

Among other dignitaries on hand for the signing, were NASA astronauts Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Buzz Aldrin, Peggy Whitson and Christina Koch. Schmitt landed on the moon 45 years to the minute that the policy directive was signed as part of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, and is the most recent living person to have set foot on our lunar neighbor. Aldrin was the second person to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Whitson spoke to the president from space in April aboard the International Space Station and while flying back home after breaking the record for most time in space by a U.S. astronaut in September. Koch is a member of NASA’s astronaut class of 2013.

Work toward the new directive will be reflected in NASA’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request next year.

“NASA looks forward to supporting the president’s directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. “This work represents a national effort on many fronts, with America leading the way. We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement. Our workforce is committed to this effort, and even now we are developing a flexible deep space infrastructure to support a steady cadence of increasingly complex missions that strengthens American leadership in the boundless frontier of space. The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path.”

A piece of Moon rock was brought to the White House as a reminder of the exploration history and American successes at the Moon on which the new policy will build. Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface and returned by Schmitt’s Apollo 17 crew. Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission to land astronauts on the Moon and returned with the greatest amount of rock and soil samples for investigation.

The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found in Hawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowed from the Camelot Crater. Sliced off a parent rock that originally weighed 8,110 grams, the sample weighs 14 grams, and is very fine grained, dense and tough. During the six Apollo surface excursions from 1969 to 1972, astronauts collected 2,196 rock and soil samples weighting 842 pounds. Scientific studies help us learn about the geologic history of the Moon, as well as Earth. They help us understand the mineral and chemical resources available to support future lunar exploration.

For information about NASA’s missions, programs and activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

-end-

Jen Rae Wang
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600
jenrae.wang@nasa.gov

Last Updated: Dec. 11, 2017
Editor: Karen Northon
December 11, 2017 |

High Altitude Aerial Platform Satellite Replacement?

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High-altitude pseudo-satellites
There have been various attempts at solutions to replace traditional satellites.  The High-Altitude aerial platform has the ability to provide an interesting solution between drones and satellites.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)
 

CROSSING DRONES WITH SATELLITES: ESA EYES HIGH-ALTITUDE AERIAL PLATFORMS

28 November 2017ESA is considering extending its activities to a new region of the sky via a novel type of aerial vehicle, a ‘missing link’ between drones and satellites.

High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites, or HAPS, are platforms that float or fly at high altitude like conventional aircraft but operate more like satellites – except that rather than working from space they can remain in position inside the atmosphere for weeks or even months, offering continuous coverage of the territory below.

The best working altitude is about 20 km, above the clouds and jet streams, and 10 km above commercial airliners, where wind speeds are low enough for them to hold position for long periods.

From such a height they can survey the ground to the horizon 500 km away, variously enabling precise monitoring and surveillance, high-bandwidth communications or back up to existing satellite navigation services.

Record-breaking Zephyr

Several ESA directorates have teamed up to investigate their potential, explains future-systems specialist Antonio Ciccolella: “For Earth observation, they could provide prolonged high-resolution coverage for priority regions, while for navigation and telecoms they could shrink blind spots in coverage and combine wide bandwidth with negligible signal delay.

“ESA is looking into how these various domains can be best brought together.”

Earth observation specialist Thorsten Fehr explains, “We’ve been looking into the concept for the last 20 years but now finally it’s becoming reality.

“That’s come about through the maturing of key technologies: miniaturised avionics, high-performance solar cells, lightweight batteries and harness, miniaturisation of Earth observation sensors and high-bandwidth communication links that can deliver competitively priced services.”

Navigation engineer Roberto Prieto Cerdeira adds “There’s obvious potential for emergency response. They could also be employed semi-permanently, perhaps extending satnav coverage into high, narrow valleys and cities.”

European companies have already unveiled product lines. For instance, Airbus has developed the winged, solar-powered Zephyr, which in 2010 achieved a world record 14 days of continuous flight without refuelling.

Lighter-than-air Stratobus

Zephyr-S is designed to fly payloads of a few tens of kilograms for up to three months at a time, with secondary batteries employed to keep it powered and aloft overnight. A larger Zephyr-T version in preparation will support larger payloads and power needs.

Thales Alenia Space is meanwhile preparing the lighter-than-air Stratobus, with its first flight expected in 2021.

The buoyant Stratobus airship can carry up to 250 kg, its electric engines flying against the breeze to hold itself in position, relying on fuel cells at night.

November 30, 2017 |

NASA Spacecraft Preparing for Human Deep Space

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Orion with European Service Module

9 November 2017

There has been a tremendous amount of energy devoted toward placing humans in deep space.  NASA’s Orion Spacecraft is on track to developing the latest vehicle to help support effort.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

The Road to Orion’s Launch

NASA’s Orion spacecraft aims to send humans further into space than ever before, and ESA’s European Service Module will provide the essentials for keeping the astronauts alive and on course.

A review of the programme by NASA to assess progress is now showing a launch date from December 2019 to June 2020.

The first Exploration Mission-1 will circle the Moon without astronauts to lay the foundation and prove the technology for a second mission with a crew.

In Bremen, Germany, integration of the service module is well under way, with work already starting on the second.

More than 11 km of cables are being laid and connected to send the megabytes of information from the solar panels, fuel systems, engines, and air and water supplies to the module’s central computers.

Recently, the Orion’s 24 orientation thrusters were installed, complementing the eight larger engines that will back up the main engine.

The module’s complex design requires 1100 welds for the propulsion system alone, with only 173 left to complete.

European Service Module

Teams in Bremen at the Airbus integration room are on eight-hour shifts to keep work running 24 hours a day, aiming for a shipment of the completed module to the USA in the summer of 2018.

It will be flown to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will be combined with the crew module before they are moved to NASA’s Plum Brook station in Ohio for extensive tests to ensure they are ready for launch and the voyage into deep space.

The service module is based on technology from ESA’s tried-and-tested Automated Transfer Vehicles that flew to the International Space Station on five missions. For Orion, the design is more complex with more systems but the technology behind it has been miniaturised to fit into the smaller Orion structure.

ESA’s David Parker, Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, says: “The Orion spacecraft and service module is an inspiring international cooperation at the forefront of technology and humanity’s drive for exploration. All the teams involved are justly proud to be part of such a complex and important project.”

November 13, 2017 |

Arianespace Makes Launches Look Easy

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Vega lifts off

While we sometimes forget the amount of effort that goes into a successful launch, it is even more compelling when the launch is taking into consideration the disposition of excess debris.  Arianespace makes this all look easy.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

Find this article and others on ESA’s website here.

8 November 2017

Vega Launches Earth Observation Satellite for Morocco

Arianespace has launched a Vega rocket to deliver an Earth observation satellite into orbit for the Kingdom of Morocco.

Liftoff of Vega’s 11th mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana came at 01:42 GMT on 8 November (02:42 CET; 22:42 local time on 7 November).

With a mass at liftoff of 1110 kg, Mohammed VI-A was manoeuvred into its target Sun-synchronous orbit about 55 minutes into the mission after a series of burns of Vega’s upper stage.

Complying with debris regulations to help keep space clean, Vega’s upper stage fired a final time to burn up high in the atmosphere over the ocean.

Vega is a 30 m-high, four-stage vehicle designed to accommodate small scientific and Earth observation payloads of 300–2500 kg, depending on the orbit.

November 7, 2017 |

Game-Changing Electric Propulsion Deployed

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Eutelsat-172B
The satellite industry has recognized the significance of All-Electric Satellites.  Boeing has had a successful program for some time.  Airbus has improved their competitiveness with their latest platform.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

ESA ROLE IN EUROPE’S FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC TELECOM SATELLITE

17 October 2017Europe’s first all-electric telecom satellite has reached its final working orbit above the Pacific Ocean. Eutelsat-172B, built for Eutelsat by Airbus, carries new technologies developed through ESA-led projects, including fully articulated thruster arms.

The satellite relied entirely on electric thrusters to climb from its initial orbit into its planned slot over the equator some 35 800 km up, and is now using them to hold position.

“Electric propulsion is at least an order of magnitude more efficient than standard chemical propulsion for satellites,” explains ESA electric propulsion specialist Jose Gonzalez Del Amo.

“By electrically charging propellant and accelerating it using electrical power from solar arrays, much more energy is squeezed out of each breath of gaseous propellant.

Robotic arm

“This opens up the option of flying lighter satellites because they can fly on smaller launchers. Or a greater percentage of the same mass can be dedicated to the revenue-earning payload in place of bulky propellant tanks.

“The main trade-off is that all-electric satellites take much longer to reach their final orbit because electric propulsion provides low thrust, firing continuously to accelerate gradually over time.”

Eutelsat-172B – the first to fly of six Eurostar E3000 all-electric platforms sold so far to telecom companies by Airbus – reached its working orbit some four months after its 2 June launch.

ESA propulsion laboratory

Already a commercial success, this platform includes several innovations developed through ESA’s long-running Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme, as well as the equivalent Plan d’Investissements d’Avenir programme of France’s CNES space agency.

“All-electric telecom satellites have been in service globally since 2015, but Eurostar E3000 has a novel addition: a pair of 3 m-long three-jointed arms carrying thrusters on the end,” explains ESA structural engineer Mario Toso.

“Instead of having different thrusters embedded at corners of the satellite, the twin arms can be moved freely about its body.

 “One big advantage is that the thrusters can always be aligned precisely with the satellite’s centre of gravity for orbit raising and stationkeeping – saving propellant to elongate mission life.

“And this flexibility means the thrusts can be choreographed around antennas and solar wings which might otherwise be struck by thruster plumes.”

A second project developed the thrusters’ power processing unit – the interface between them and the rest of the satellite’s power system.

Satellite in testing

“The thrusters operate on a high voltage, receiving lower voltage inputs from the rest of the satellite,” says ESA power systems engineer Michail Tourloukis. “This unit helps to ensure that electrical noise from their operation does not come back inside the satellite.”

Improved versions of E3000’s thruster arms and power unit are now included in Airbus’s next-generation satellite platform, Eurostar Neo, which they are developing under ESA’s Neosat programme.

ESA’s Giorgio Saccoccia comments: “This game-changing electric propulsion on European commercial and scientific satellites is the result of more than two decades of development by ESA, in strong collaboration with national agencies and European companies.

“The achievement of Eutelsat-172B is a reward for the role that ESA has played with our partners, boosting the competitiveness of European products.”

October 25, 2017 |

The Future is Bright for Space Tech Expo

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Gordy McHattie, Event Director from Space Tech Expo speaks with EPIQ Space at this year’s Conference in Pasadena California. The conference has done well in the U.S. as well as Europe.  The next conference is scheduled October 24 – 26 in Bremen Germany.

The space industry is expanding to address advancements in SmallSats and CubeSats.  After 6 years, the conference is a great place to hear the latest from industry leaders and to meet with suppliers from throughout the supply chain.

Editor – EPIQ Space

July 24, 2017 |

Important Discovery of Seven Planets

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This illustration shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, one of the newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.
Feb. 22, 2017
RELEASE 17-015
NASA Telescope has had many firsts, but the discovery of seven planets is truly amazing.  Congratulations to the team.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

This illustration shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, one of the newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Scientists using the Spitzer Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes have discovered that there are seven Earth-size planets in the system.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

Continue reading at NASA website here.

February 23, 2017 |

Boeing Continues GPS Legacy

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The GPS program has pushed the boundaries of satellite capabilities for decades.  Boeing has been at the heart of this innovative program and will continue for years to come.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

Boeing, U.S. Air Force Extend Partnership to Sustain GPS Constellations

Agreement enables persistent GPS capability as Boeing works on next-generation GPS

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 2, 2017 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force recently signed a Global Positioning System (GPS) sustainment agreement that will ensure the navigation capabilities relied upon by millions of military and commercial users remain robust for years to come.

Under the agreement, Boeing will support GPS IIA and IIF satellites currently on orbit for the next five years. Boeing, which has been the prime GPS contractor for more than 40 years, is now part of the Air Force effort that may lead to the next generation of GPS satellites.

“This agreement continues Boeing’s strong legacy of GPS innovation and mission support,” said Dan Hart, vice president, Government Satellite Systems. “We are focused on delivering reliable, affordable and resilient GPS capability now and for generations to come.”

Collectively, Boeing GPS satellites have accrued more than 550 years of on-orbit operation. In March 2016, the company delivered its 50th GPS satellite on orbit to the Air Force and has built more than two-thirds of the GPS satellites that have entered service since 1978.

For more information on Defense, Space & Security, visit www.boeing.com. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

# # #

Contact:

Addrian Brooks
Network & Space Systems
Office: +1 310-335-6463
Mobile: +1 310-529-3079
addrian.brooks@boeing.com

February 2, 2017 |

ÅAC Microtec and York Space Systems Announce Agreement to:

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Supply Advanced Avionics for Small Spacecraft Platform

For Release August 8th, 2016, Logan, UT: York Space Systems and AAC Microtec announced a definitive agreement for the supply of advanced command and data handling avionics for York’s S-Class small spacecraft platform. The avionics leverage AAC’s unique design approach with low cost and high reliability. Under the agreement, the electronics will be manufactured by York in the United States; enabling broad reach across US Government and commercial markets. (read more)

October 18, 2016 |

DSCS Satellite Going Strong after 21 Years

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DSCS Satelite Takes OVer Role of Linking Antarctic Researchers to the World
A legacy U.S. Air Force communications satellite built by Lockheed Martin enhances Internet access at the South Pole. Photo Courtesy of National Science Foundation
With many satellite programs still trying to figure out how to produce a satellite with a life of 10 – 15 years, the DSCS Satellite is still going strong after 21 years!  It is pretty impressive that the program is still delivering world-class performance.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

Long-Serving DSCS Satellite Takes Over Role of Linking Antarctic Researchers to the World

CHRIST CHURCH, New Zealand, Oct. 11, 2016 – Nearly 21 years after its launch, a Lockheed Martin-built satellite within the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) recently turned its attention to a new mission—supporting the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole, where communicating with the rest of the world has always been a challenge.

Amundsen-Scott Station’s location at 90 degrees south, right at the South Pole, makes communications with the remote science station difficult. Even for orbiting satellites, the extreme geographic latitude makes maintaining continuous communication links impossible for a station that up to 100 researchers call home. With few other options, periodic connections are still better than none, but the time to upload and download valuable research data and other communications is invaluable.

In June, the U.S. Air Force’s DSCS III B7 satellite took over the role of providing communication and data links between Amundsen-Scott and the U.S. Antarctic Program facility in Christchurch, New Zealand, which serves as the station’s link to the rest of the world. Replacing the NSF’s decommissioning GOES-3 satellite, DSCS III B7 provides the station with Internet access for 3.5 hours a day at speeds of up to 30 megabits per second (MBPS), an upgrade from about 1.5 MBPS they had under GOES.

DSCS III B7 has already begun relaying health and welfare data links to and from the remote facility. In June, the satellite played a key role in relaying telemedicine data leading up to the medical evacuation of two NSF employees in need of additional medical care.

“The DSCS constellation has been a legacy workhorse for the U.S. military’s super-high frequency communications,” said Chris Ayres, director of Operations, Sustainment and Logistics at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “Now operating past twice its design life, it is gratifying to see DSCS III B7 still delivering value, providing significant return on investment by furthering scientific research and providing potentially life-saving communications with a location that is otherwise unreachable.”

Originally built by Lockheed Martin and launched on July 31, 1995 with a ten year-design life, DSCS III B7 builds on the constellation’s reputation for providing extended service life. Six on-orbit DSCS III satellites remain operational with more than 259 years of combined service life, already providing nearly 120 extra years of mission life.

Lockheed Martin sustains the DSCS constellation, as well as the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system and Milstar blocks I and II, under the Air Force’s Combined Orbital Operations Logistics Sustainment (COOLS) program.

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 98,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

October 11, 2016 |
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