Recent News from the Commercial Space Gateway

(Space Fellowship) Eclipsed in Southern Skies

This stunning panorama in southern skies was recorded on the colorful night of September 27/28 from Carngegie Las Campanas Observatory. A diffuse glow and dark rifts of the central Milky Way hang over domes of the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes. But most eye-catching is the deep red glow of the Moon. Immersed in Earth's shadow during the much anticipated perigee-total-lunar eclipse, the Moon's surface reflects the light of sunsets and sunrises scattered and refracted into the planet's cone-s [...]

(Space Fellowship) Flight VA226 success: with Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 in orbit, Arianespace serves Australia and Argentina

Maintaining Arianespace's 2015 launch cadence: Ariane 5 orbits Sky Muster and ARSAT-2. Two telecommunications satellites that will provide expanded relay capacity for Australia and Argentina were orbited today on Arianespace’s ninth mission in 2015 – putting the company on track to perform a record 12 flights this year using its three-member launch vehicle family, which consists of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega. Launch of nbn’s second spacecraft a [...]

(ScienceDaily) Walk the line: NASA studies physical performance after spaceflight

Walking an obstacle course on Earth is relatively easy. Walking an obstacle course after being in space for six months isn't so simple. NASA's Human Research Program is focusing on identifying key physical factors that contribute to a decrease in performance as we prepare for a journey to Mars.   

(ScienceDaily) Asteroids found to be the moon's main 'water supply'

Water reserves found on the moon are the result of asteroids acting as 'delivery vehicles' and not of falling comets as was previously thought. Using computer simulation, scientists have discovered that a large asteroid can deliver more water to the lunar surface than the cumulative fall of comets over a billion year period.   

(Space Fellowship) Dawn Team Shares New Maps and Insights about Ceres

Mysteries and insights about Ceres are being discussed this week at the European Planetary Science Conference in Nantes, France. NASA's Dawn spacecraft is providing scientists with tantalizing views and other data about the intriguing dwarf planet that they continue to analyze. "Ceres continues to amaze, yet puzzle us, as we examine our multitude of images, spectra and now energetic particle bursts," said Chris Russell, Dawn principal investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles. [...]

(Commercial Space Watch) Arianespace Successfully Launched Two Satellites This Evening

Arianespace successfully launched two satellites this evening: Sky Muster for the Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network) and ARSAT-2 for the Argentine operator ARSAT.


(Commercial Space Watch) Video: ULA Innovation - Vulcan SMART Reusability

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has released its latest video in its Innovation at ULA series. In this video we see how the booster stage main engines are recovered for reuse as part of their Sensible, Modular, Autonomous Return Technology (SMART) initiative.


(Discovery News) NASA: We Need YOUR Help to Solve Ceres Mystery

Throwing open the doors to the hallowed halls of science, stumped researchers welcomed help from the public Wednesday in solving a number of nagging mysteries about dwarf planet Ceres.   

(Space Fellowship) Progress Cargo Craft Ready for Thursday Launch

A new Russian cargo craft loaded with more than three tons food, fuel and supplies is ready for launch to the International Space Station. The crew inside the orbital lab continues ongoing science activities and routine maintenance. Russia’s ISS Progress 61 (61P) cargo craft is at the launch pad in Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a Thursday launch at 12:49 p.m. EDT. The 61P will dock after four orbits, or six hours later, to the Zvezda service module. NASA Television will [...]

(Discovery News) ExoMars Mission Will Arrive on Time, Despite Hiccup

Earlier this month, the ExoMars launch date was pushed back by a couple of months. Instead of launching in January 2016, the European mission will launch the following March -- but still get to Mars at nearly the same time. How is this possible?   

(ScienceDaily) Dawn team shares new maps and insights about Ceres

Mysteries and insights about Ceres are being discussed this week at the European Planetary Science Conference in Nantes, France. NASA's Dawn spacecraft is providing scientists with tantalizing views and other data about the intriguing dwarf planet that they continue to analyze.   

(Commercial Space Watch) Blue Origin Successfully Completes More Than 100 Staged-Combustion Tests in Development of BE-4 Engine

Blue Origin announced today the completion of more than 100 staged-combustion tests in development of the American-made BE-4 engine.


(ScienceDaily) Mars: New hypothesis on the origin of the megafloods

A recent study puts forward a new explanation for the Martian megafloods: enormous discharges of subterranean water that dug out the biggest flood channels in the solar system over 3 billion years ago.   

(ScienceDaily) Mechanism of explosions and plasma jets associated with sunspot formation revealed

Sunspots are planet-sized conglomerates of bundles of intense magnetic field lines on the surface of the Sun. They are known to cause explosions (solar flares) which can directly impact our technological infrastructure. What astrophysical mechanisms are responsible for the formation of sunspots and how do they drive explosive events are important questions in our quest to understand the Sun's activity and its magnetic effect on Earth.   

(euronews) Bringing the cost of space technology down to earth in Colombia

A group of engineers in Medellin, Colombia are building low-cost nanosatellites in order to provide real-time terrestrial observation data at an…


(Space Fellowship) Searching for Orphan Stars Amid Starbirth Fireworks

A new Gemini Observatory image reveals the remarkable “fireworks” that accompany the birth of stars. The image captures in unprecedented clarity the fascinating structures of a gas jet complex emanating from a stellar nursery at supersonic speeds. The striking new image hints at the dynamic (and messy) process of star birth. Researchers believe they have also found a collection of runaway (orphan) stars that result from all this activity.. Gemini Observatory has released one of the most  [...]

(Discovery News) Mars Mission: How Hard? NASA Astronauts Weigh In

How hard would a human mission to the Red Planet be? Two retired NASA astronauts, Clay Anderson and Steve Swanson, have very different takes.   

(Space Fellowship) Russian Ship Rolls to Launch Pad as Japanese Ship Descends to Earth

The latest Russian resupply ship, the Progress 61, rolled out to its launch pad today, getting set for a Thursday launch at 12:49 p.m. EDT (4:49 p.m. UTC) and a docking to the Zvezda service module at 6:54 p.m. Meanwhile, Japan’s cargo craft, the “Kounotori” HTV-5, is descending to Earth this afternoon after completing a five-week delivery mission attached to the International Space Station’s Unity module. The six-member Expedition 45 crew, including the One-Year Crew, worked a variet [...]

(Discovery News) So Liquid Water Flows on Mars -- Now What?

The discovery of seasonal water flows on the surface of Mars could galvanize both the search for indigenous life as well plans for future human settlements, but don’t pack your bags quite yet.   

(ScienceDaily) New precise particle measurement improves subatomic tool for probing mysteries of universe

In a post-Big Bang world, nature's top quark -- a key component of matter -- is a highly sensitive probe that physicists use to evaluate competing theories about quantum interactions. Now a new precise measurement of the top quark's mass by physicists improves that subatomic tool to help unravel deep mysteries of our universe. The new value confirms recent measurements by other physicists -- but adds growing uncertainty to physics' Standard Model.   

(euronews) Volume down, production up: Making wind work harder

Harnessing the power of the wind is not pollution-free. Noise is one of the main complaints for onshore turbines. At this windfarm near the Spanish…


(ScienceDaily) Earth-like planets around small stars likely have protective magnetic fields, aiding chance for life

Earth-like planets orbiting close to small stars probably have magnetic fields that protect them from stellar radiation and help maintain surface conditions that could be conducive to life, according to research from astronomers.   

(euronews) The Astronaut Academy: 'Things float. and you float.'

"Living and working in space can be a challenge, because things float, and you float. Which is a lot of fun of course, but you have to get used to…


(Discovery News) When Liquid Water Gushes on Mars: Photos

Once again the world is abuzz about water on Mars -- what's the fuss about this time?   

(Space Fellowship) Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse and Lightning Storm

What's more rare than a supermoon total lunar eclipse? How about a supermoon total lunar eclipse over a lightning storm. Such an electrifying sequence was captured yesterday from Ibiza, an island in southeastern Spain. After planning the location for beauty, and the timing to capture the entire eclipse sequence, the only thing that had to cooperate for this astrophotographer to capture a memorable eclipse sequence was the weather. What looked to be a bother on the horizon, though, turned out to  [...]

(Space Fellowship) NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today's Mars

New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locatio [...]

(Space Fellowship) Robotic Arm Releases Japanese Cargo Craft After Five Weeks at Station

Following a slight delay, Expedition 45 Flight Engineer Kimiya Yui of JAXA, backed up by NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren, commanded the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release JAXA’s H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-5 from the International Space Station at 12:53 p.m. EDT while the spacecraft was flying 256 miles above the Southern Pacific, after it unberthed from the space station at 7:12 a.m. EDT. The HTV-5 will now move away from the orbiting laboratory to a safe location where it wi [...]

(Commercial Space Watch) LauncherOne Engine Tests Successful

Successful test firings of key propulsion components marked the latest sign of progress for Virgin Galactic's dedicated small satellite launch vehicle, LauncherOne.


(Discovery News) Mystery Solved: Water DOES Flow on Mars

Scientists have their first evidence that trickles of liquid water play a role in sculpting mysterious dark streaks that appear during summertime months on Mars.   

(Discovery News) Rosetta's Comet is Actually 2 Comets Glued Together

Scientists have solved the mystery of why the comet being studied by Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft is shaped like a rubber duck -- it started off as two separate comets.