samedi 19 août 2017

Successful Launch of H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 Encapsulating Michibiki No. 3

JAXA - Quasi.Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) patch.

August 19, 2017

H-IIA 204 rocket launches the Michibiki-3 satellite

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA successfully launched H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 (H-IIA F35) which encapsulates Michibiki No. 3, (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System; geostationary orbit) at 2:29:00 p.m. on August 19, 2017 (JST) from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center.

H-IIA No.35 launches QZS-3 (Michibiki 3)

The launch and flight of H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 proceeded as planned and the separation of the satellite was confirmed at approximately 28 minutes and 37 seconds after liftoff.

Michibiki 3 (QZS 3) satellite

Quasi-zenith Satellite System (QZSS)  is a constellation of Japan’s geographic positioning satellites that significantly improve the accuracy of positioning in areas where GPS signals are not fully received due to interference caused by skyscrapers and mountainous terrain. The H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 frame configuration is a H2A204 launch vehicle utilizing four SRB-As, because QZS-3 has a launch mass of 4,700 kilograms, around 700 kilograms more than QZS-2.

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 35 Flight Sequence (Quick Estimation) PDF:


MHI Launch Services:

H-IIA Launch Vehicle:

Quashi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS):

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/National Research and Development Agency/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd./SciNews/Günter Space Page/ Aerospace.


vendredi 18 août 2017

Station Crew Ends Week Preparing for Eclipse 2017

ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.

August 18, 2017

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

The Expedition 52 crew wrapped up a busy week on Friday with more science work, cargo unloading and cleanup after a Russian spacewalk on Thursday. They are also busy preparing for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse on Monday with the chance at several unique views of the event.

The crew participated in several studies including Vascular Echo Ultrasound, a Canadian Space Agency investigation that examines changes in blood vessels and the heart while the crew members are in space. They also completed weekly questionnaires for the ESA Space Headaches investigation which collects information that may help in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms and improvement in the well-being and performance of crewmembers in space.

Image above: The station crew will have three chances to see the solar eclipse from space. The third pass will offer the most coverage with the sun 84% obscured by the moon. Image Credit: NASA.

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy performed cleanup tasks following their Thursday spacewalk which lasted seven hours and 34 minutes. The duo completed a number of tasks including the manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

Station crew members will have their cameras outfitted with special filters on Monday for three chances to photograph the solar eclipse from windows aboard the orbiting laboratory. For more information on their opportunities and what they expect to see, visit NASA’s Solar Eclipse website:

Related links:

Expedition 52:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Dan Huot.

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Large Asteroid to Safely Pass Earth on Sept. 1

Asteroid Watch logo.

Aug. 18, 2017

Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles, (7.0 million kilometers, or about 18 Earth-Moon distances). Florence is among the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles is size; measurements from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE mission indicate it’s about 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) in size. 

Animation of the asteroid trajectory. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.”

Image above: Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

This relatively close encounter provides an opportunity for scientists to study this asteroid up close. Florence is expected to be an excellent target for ground-based radar observations. Radar imaging is planned at NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar in California and at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The resulting radar images will show the real size of Florence and also could reveal surface details as small as about 30 feet (10 meters).

Asteroid Florence was discovered by Schelte "Bobby" Bus at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in March 1981. It is named in honor of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing. The 2017 encounter is the closest by this asteroid since 1890 and the closest it will ever be until after 2500. Florence will brighten to ninth magnitude in late August and early September, when it will be visible in small telescopes for several nights as it moves through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus.

Radar has been used to observe hundreds of asteroids. When these small, natural remnants of the formation of the solar system pass relatively close to Earth, deep space radar is a powerful technique for studying their sizes, shapes, rotation, surface features and roughness, and for more precise determination of their orbital path.

JPL manages and operates NASA's Deep Space Network, including the Goldstone Solar System Radar, and hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies for NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program, an element of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office within the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects can be found at: and

For more information about NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office, visit:

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Laurie Cantillo/Dwayne Brown/Tony Greicius/JPL/DC Agle.


Atlas V Rocket Launches with TDRS-M Satellite

NASA - TDRS-M Mission patch.

Aug. 18, 2017

Image above: Liftoff of NASA’s TDRS-M spacecraft on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Image credit: NASA TV.

Liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 8:29 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.

Atlas V Rocket Launches with TDRS-M Satellite

Video above: The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) launches atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch time was 8:29 a.m. EDT. Video Credit: NASA TV.

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) System is the solution to an early spaceflight problem: Officials on Earth had to rely on a pieced-together network of ground-based stations to communicate with spacecraft in orbit. The first TDRS satellite, TDRS-A, launched on space shuttle mission STS-6 in April 1983.

Today there are nine TDRS satellites in orbit at fixed points more than 22,000 miles above Earth’s surface. Two ground-based stations in White Sands, New Mexico, and one in Guam form the NASA Space Network. Together, the NASA Space Network and TDRS System provide a reliable high-bandwidth link to the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and a host of other orbiting missions.

Image above: This illustration depicts the NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M, in orbit. Image credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The TDRS-M satellite that launched earlier today is the third and final in the system’s third generation of spacecraft. Once TDRS-M separates from the Centaur and begins its mission in space, it will go through a three- to four-month period of testing and calibration, followed by an additional three months of initial testing. At that time TDRS-M will be renamed TDRS-13, and it will either be put into service or stored in orbit until it’s needed by NASA’s Space Network.

Related article:

TDRS: An Era of Continuous Space Communications

For more information about TDRS, visit:

Related links:

SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation):

TDRS (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite):

Space Network (SN):

Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Anna Heiney.


jeudi 17 août 2017

Cosmonauts Spacewalk Completed Successfully

ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch / EVA - Extra Vehicular Activities patch.

August 17, 2017

Cosmonauts Begin Spacewalk

Image above: Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Sergey Ryazanskiy are pictured in the Orlan spacesuits they are wearing during today’s spacewalk. Image Credit: @SergeyISS.

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a planned six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

Space Station Cosmonauts take a Walk in Space

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Yurchikhin is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Spacewalk Comes to a Close

Image above: Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, have completed a seven hour and 34 minute spacewalk. They re-entered the airlock at 6:10 p.m. EDT. Image Credit: NASA.

The two spacewalkers exited the Pirs Docking Compartment Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT. Among their accomplishments was manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

Image above: Illustration of 3-D printing technology nano-satellites or CubeSat (the one at right). Image Credit: ESA.

One of the satellites, with casings made using 3-D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3-D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

They also collected residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station.

During their work, the cosmonauts mounted scientific equipment on the external surface of the station for the experiments "Restoration" and "Impact", took samples for microbial contamination in four working areas, installed new samples of materials for long exposure in open space, was launched with a hand and using a trigger Five nano-satellites, photographed the outer surface of Russian modules and their individual structural elements. To ensure movement along the surface of the station, astronauts installed soft handrails and struts. The handrail is not installed - the transition from the module "Search" (MIM-2) to the module "Dawn" (FGB).

Roscosmos cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy completed the first in 2017, the way out of the International Space Station (ISS) for the Russian program. The astronauts fulfilled their assigned tasks.

Related links:

ROSCOSMOS Press Release:

Sputnik 1:

Expedition 52:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA TV), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/Melanie Whiting/ROSCOSMOS/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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NASA’s LRO Team Wants You to Wave at the Moon

NASA - Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) patch.

Aug. 17, 2017

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team invites the public to wave at the Moon on Aug. 21 as LRO turns its camera toward Earth.

The LRO Camera, which has captured gorgeous views of the lunar landscape and documented geologic activity still occurring today, will turn toward Earth during the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 at approximately 2:25 p.m. EDT (11:25 a.m. PDT) to capture an image of the Moon’s shadow on Earth.

Image above: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has observed solar eclipses from its vantage point at the moon before. The image LRO takes of Earth on Aug. 21, 2017, is expected to look similar to this view, which the satellite captured in May 2012. Australia is visible at the bottom left of this image, and the shadow cast on Earth's surface by the moon is the dark area just to the right of top-center. Image Credits: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University.

“I’m really excited about this campaign because it is something so many people can be a part of,” said Andrea Jones, LRO public engagement lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “So much attention has been focused on the lucky folks who will get to experience eclipse totality, but everyone in an entire hemisphere of the Earth can wave at the Moon as LRO takes our picture!”

During the eclipse the Moon will be far enough from Earth that the resolution of the images are 2.5 miles per pixel. While the LRO Camera won’t be able to see people or buildings, it will be able to see the continents, clouds and large surface features.

“While people should not expect to see themselves in the images, this campaign is a great way to personalize the eclipse experience,” said Noah Petro, LRO deputy project scientist at Goddard.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Animation Credits: NASA/GSFC

A note of caution: the only time it’s safe to look at the Sun without eye protection is if you’re in the 70-mile-wide path of totality and only during the minutes of totality. Do not look directly at the Sun at any other time without certified eclipse glasses. For more information on eclipse eye safety:

The LRO Camera has imaged a solar eclipse previously. To see an example of the type of image captured, go to:

Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the Moon. LRO is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

For more information on LRO, visit:

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rob Garner/Goddard Space Flight Center, by Nancy Neal Jones.

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Jupiter: A New Point of View

NASA - JUNO Mission logo.

Aug. 17, 2017

This striking Jovian vista was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

The tumultuous Great Red Spot is fading from Juno's view while the dynamic bands of the southern region of Jupiter come into focus. North is to the left of the image, and south is on the right.

The image was taken on July 10, 2017 at 7:12 p.m. PDT (10:12 p.m. EDT), as the Juno spacecraft performed its seventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was 10,274 miles (16,535 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of -36.9 degrees.

JUNO spacecraft orbiting Jupiter

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at:     

More information about Juno is at: and

Image, Animation, Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran.

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