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Nov 24, 2021

NASA And SpaceX Launch Experimental Spacecraft That Will Collide With An Asteroid —But It’s Not ‘Armageddon’

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, satellites

NASA on Tuesday night successfully launched its experimental asteroid deflecting spacecraft which is set to smash into an asteroid at 15,000 miles per hour and serve as a test run for countering any future doomsday scenario where a large space rock could end up on a collision course with the Earth.

KEY FACTS The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), developed by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base at around 10.20 a.m. local time Tuesday, aboard SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rocket.

Sometime in 2022, the DART spacecraft is expected to smash into the asteroid Dimorphos which orbits a larger satellite called Didymos—neither of which pose a threat to Earth at the moment—with the hope of deflecting its course.

Nov 20, 2021

Musk, Brazilian govt discuss deal to provide rural Internet, monitor Amazon

Posted by in categories: education, Elon Musk, government, health, internet, satellites

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 16 (Reuters) — Elon Musk and Brazilian Communications Minister Fabio Faria met in Austin on Tuesday to discuss a potential partnership that would leverage SpaceX technology to bring Internet to rural schools and cut back on illegal deforestation.

In a statement, the Brazilian government said the two talked about how SpaceX and Starlink, a satellite broadband service offered by the firm, could help monitor the Amazon rainforest for illegal cutting, while also providing Internet connections to remote schools and health centers.

“We’re working to seal this important partnership between the Brazilian government and SpaceX,” Faria said, according to the statement. “Our objective is to bring Internet to rural areas and remote places, in addition to helping control fires and illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.”

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Nov 20, 2021

Amazon Project Kuiper: Launch date, specs, beta, plans for Starlink alternative

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, internet, satellites

Amazon is planning a satellite internet constellation that could rival SpaceX Starlink, touted by CEO Elon Musk as a means of getting more people online.

Nov 20, 2021

Elon Musk and Brazil is in talks to provide Internet access to the Amazon Rainforest

Posted by in categories: education, Elon Musk, health, internet, satellites

Brazilian Communications Minister Fabio Faria met with the billionaire tech mogul in Austin, Texas. SpaceX would send its satellite internet service, Starlink, to rural schools and health institutions.

Nov 20, 2021

Three CERES satellites for French DGA successfully launched

Posted by in category: satellites

The French Armament General Directorate’s (DGA) ‘Capacité de Renseignement Electromagnétique Spatiale/Space-based Signal Intelligence Capability’ satellites have been successfully launched.

An Arianespace Vega rocket lifted off with the satellites from the European spaceport in French Guiana.

Known by the French acronym CERES, the satellites were designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space, and Thales.

Nov 18, 2021

New Electric Propulsion Engine For Spacecraft Test-Fired in Orbit For First Time

Posted by in categories: particle physics, satellites

For the satellites spinning around Earth, using electricity to ionize and push particles of xenon gets them to go where they need to go. While xenon atoms ionize easily and are heavy enough to build thrust, the gas is rare and expensive, not to mention difficult to store.

Thanks to new research, we could soon have an alternative. Enter iodine.

Full in-orbit operation of a satellite powered by iodine gas has now been carried out by space tech company ThrustMe, and the technology promises to lead to satellite propulsion systems that are more efficient and affordable than ever before.

Nov 18, 2021

Smart Sensing Satellite Shows Power Of Brains In Space

Posted by in categories: food, internet, robotics/AI, satellites

A new European satellite will use machine learning to provide rapid, low-cost information on soil conditions to enable smarter agriculture. The project is a model for what novel sensors and artificial intelligence technology can do in a vehicle no bigger than a shoebox.

Edge computing is a fashionable buzz-phrase for the technique of shifting the processing power away from the server farms of the internet and out to where the data is being collected. According to some, edge computing is the next great tech revolution, and in the case of satellites, where communications bandwidth is severely limited, it could be transformational.

The Intuition-1 satellite program will provide soil data to drive European precision agriculture projects, which involve applying fertilizer only when and where needed rather than treating an entire field. Precision agriculture is both more economical and easier on the environment — the catch is that it requires detailed information about soil conditions on a small scale. At present, establishing levels of soil nutrients in sufficient detail involves taking samples from multiple locations and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. This typically takes about three weeks.

Nov 17, 2021

Russia’s missile test could have easily obliterated the International Space Station

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, satellites

In the wee morning hours of Tuesday (Nov. 16), the seven-person crew of the International Space Station (ISS) awoke in alarm. A Russian missile test had just blasted a decommissioned Kosmos spy satellite into more than 1,500 pieces of space debris — some of which were close enough to the ISS to warrant emergency collision preparations.

The four Americans, one German and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the station were told to shelter in the transport capsules that brought them to the ISS, while the station passed by the debris cloud several times over the following hours, according to NASA.

Ultimately, Tuesday ended without any reported damage or injury aboard the ISS, but the crew’s precautions — and the NASA administrator’s stern response to Russia — were far from an overreaction. Space debris like the kind created in the Kosmos break-up can travel at more than 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h), NASA says — and even a scrap of metal the size of a pea can become a potentially deadly missile in low-Earth orbit. (For comparison, a typical bullet discharged from an AR-15 rifle travels at just over 2,200 mph, or 3,500 km/h).

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Nov 17, 2021

To Save Earth, NASA Is Testing Hitting An Asteroid With A Spacecraft

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, satellites

“We know of no asteroids that are coming in to hit the Earth,” Rivkin emphasizes. DART, he says, is part of a multi-pronged effort to examine the asteroid collision problem. “Asteroid impacts are really the only natural disaster that humanity can see coming years or decades in advance and do anything about.”

NASA calls DART its “First Planetary Defense Test Mission.” Rivkin is the DART investigation team lead at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which is running the experiment for NASA.

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Nov 17, 2021

BREAKING ISS astronauts forced to board Crew Dragon and Soyuz to prepare for a possible evacuation

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

The United States said Monday it was investigating a “debris-generating event in outer space” after astronauts on the International Space Station were forced to prepare for a possible evacuation. It came amid unconfirmed reports that Russia had carried out an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) test…


“US Space Command is aware of a debris-generating event in outer space. We are actively working to characterize the debris field and will continue to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to maneuver satellites if impacted,” the agency said.

“We are also in the process of working with… the State Department and NASA, concerning these reports and will provide an update in the near future.”

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