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segunda-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2016

NASA WEB · Jason-3 Launches to Monitor Global Sea Level Rise

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DAY IN REVIEW
NASA JPL latest news release
Jason-3 Launches to Monitor Global Sea Level RiseJason-3, a U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission with NASA participation that will continue a nearly quarter-century record of tracking global sea level rise, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday at 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Jason-3 is an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with NASA, the French space agency CNES, and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.
"Jason-3 will take the pulse of our changing planet by gathering environmental intelligence from the world's oceans," said Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.
The mission will improve weather, climate and ocean forecasts, including helping NOAA's National Weather Service and other global weather and environmental forecast agencies more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones.
"Jason-3 is a prime example of how our nation leverages NASA's expertise in space and scientific exploration to help address critical global challenges in collaboration with NOAA and our international partners," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The measurements from Jason-3 will advance our efforts to understand Earth as an integrated system by increasing our knowledge of sea level changes and the ocean's roles in climate."
Minutes after Jason-3 separated from the rocket's second stage, the spacecraft unfolded its twin sets of solar arrays. Ground controllers successfully acquired the spacecraft's signal, and initial telemetry reports showed the satellite was in good health.
Jason-3 entered orbit about 16 miles (25 kilometers) below Jason-2. The new spacecraft will gradually raise itself into the same 830-mile (1,336-kilometer) orbit and position itself to follow Jason-2's ground track, orbiting about a couple of minutes behind Jason-2. The two spacecraft will fly in formation, making nearly simultaneous measurements for about six months to allow scientists to precisely calibrate Jason-3's instruments.
Jason-3 will begin full science operations after a six-month checkout phase, joining Jason-2, which launched in 2008. From low-Earth orbit, Jason-3 will precisely measure the height of 95 percent of the world's ice-free ocean every 10 days.
Coordinating orbits and combining measurements from Jason-2 and Jason-3 should allow even more frequent coverage of the global ocean. Together, the two spacecraft will double global data coverage. This tandem mission will improve our knowledge of tides in coastal and shallow seas and internal tides in the open ocean, while improving our understanding of ocean currents and eddies.
Measurements of sea-surface height, or ocean-surface topography, reveal the speed and direction of ocean currents and tell scientists how much of the sun's energy is stored by the ocean. Combining ocean current and heat storage data is key to understanding global climate changes.
Since the Topex/Poseidon-Jason satellite missions began in 1992, researchers have observed a total global sea level rise of 2.8 inches (70 millimeters) - an average rate of 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) a year. Because it is a measure of both ocean warming and loss of land ice, sea level rise is an important indicator of human-caused climate change.
"As human-caused global warming drives sea levels higher and higher, we are literally reshaping the surface of our planet," said Josh Willis, NASA project scientist for Jason-3 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "These missions tell us how much and how fast."
Data from Jason-3 will be used for other scientific, commercial and operational applications, including modeling of deep-ocean waves; forecasts of surface waves for offshore operators; forecasts of tides and currents for commercial shipping and ship routing; coastal forecasts to respond to environmental challenges such as oil spills and harmful algal blooms; coastal modeling crucial for marine mammal and coral reef research; and forecasts of El Niño and La Niña events.
CNES provided the Jason-3 spacecraft bus. NASA and CNES are jointly providing the primary payload instruments. NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management and countdown operations for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
For more information about the Jason-3 mission

sábado, 16 de janeiro de 2016

NASA WEB ·NOAA's Jason-3 Spacecraft Ready for Launch

GLOBE NEWS · NEWS WORLD-GOOD EVENING-NEWS AND NEWSPAPERS OF 27 COUNTRIES



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Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surfaces, is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, Jan. 17. Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42:18 p.m. EST) at the opening of a 30-second launch window. If needed, a backup launch opportunity is available on the Western Range on Jan. 18 at 10:31:04 a.m. PST (1:31:04 p.m. EST).
Jason-3 will maintain the ability to monitor and precisely measure global sea surface heights, monitor the intensification of tropical cyclones and support seasonal and coastal forecasts. Data from Jason-3 will support scientific, commercial and practical applications related to ocean circulation and climate change. Additionally, Jason-3 data will be applied to fisheries management, marine industries and research into human impacts on the world's oceans.
The mission is planned to last at least three years with a goal of five years.
Jason-3 is a four-agency international partnership consisting of NOAA, NASA, the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) and EUMETSAT (the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites). Thales Alenia of France built the spacecraft.
NOAA, in collaboration with the European partners, is responsible for the Jason-3 mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is responsible for NASA Jason-3 project management. NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is NASA's launch service provider of the Falcon 9 rocket.
PRELAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE/JASON-3 MISSION SCIENCE BRIEFING
Friday, Jan 15: The Jason-3 Mission Science Briefing and prelaunch news conference will be held starting at 4 p.m. PST (7 p.m. EST) at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The pre-launch news conference will be first at 4 p.m. PST, followed by the mission science briefing at 4:45 PST.
Both events will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed on NASA.gov and

NASA WEB ·SPACEX- Jason-3 Ocean-Monitoring Satellite: Launch Timeline



GLOBE NEWS · NEWS WORLD-GOOD EVENING-NEWS AND NEWSPAPERS OF 27 COUNTRIES


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will loft the Jason-3 oceanography satellite into orbit is rolled out to Space Launch Complex 4 East
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will loft the Jason-3 oceanography satellite into orbit is rolled out to Space Launch Complex 4 East at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base in preparation for launch on January 17. Image credit: SpaceX
› Larger image
The Jason-3 international oceanography satellite mission is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California on Sunday, Jan. 17. Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42:18 p.m. EST) at the opening of a 30-second launch window. If needed, a backup launch opportunity is available on Monday, Jan. 18 at 10:31:04 a.m. PST (1:31:04 p.m. EST).
Jason-3 will add to a 23-year satellite record of global sea surface heights, a measurement with scientific, commercial and practical applications related to climate change, currents and weather. Jason-3 data will be used for monitoring global sea level rise, researching human impacts on oceans, aiding prediction of hurricane intensity, and operational marine navigation. The mission is planned to last at least three years, with a goal of five years. It is a four-agency international partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), and EUMETSAT (the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites).
Launch Timeline
About 154 seconds (just over two minutes) after the Falcon-9 rocket lifts off, the main engine will cut off. About three seconds after that, the rocket's first stage will separate. Second-stage ignition will follow in about eight seconds. Half a minute into the second-stage burn, the payload fairing, or launch vehicle nose cone, will be jettisoned -- a bit over three minutes after launch. The first cutoff of the second-stage engine will take place nine minutes after liftoff.
The Jason-3 spacecraft and second stage will then coast in an intermediate orbit for about another 46 minutes. The second-stage engine will fire a second time about 55 minutes after launch to place Jason-3 in the desired orbit. Separation of the rocket and spacecraft will occur about half a minute later, or almost 56 minutes after liftoff. A little more than two minutes later, Jason-3 will begin to deploy its twin solar arrays to prepare for operation.
Where to Find Launch Coverage

quarta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2016

NASA WEB · Space travel: Houston's great probem


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Space travel: Houston's great probem

At the Johnson Space Center, Winston Aldworth meets men from the brave past and bold future of space travel.

VIDEO-IMAGENS-PHOTO

The NASA Saturn V rocket is a huge attraction at the Houston Space centre. Photo / Nick Reed
The NASA Saturn V rocket is a huge attraction at the Houston Space centre. Photo / Nick Reed
Better work stories? You want better work stories? Talk to Fred Haise. He has the mother of all work stories.
Y'see, Fred was travelling to work one day, with two colleagues, when their vehicle had a problem. A soon-to-be famous problem. They contacted their bosses immediately: "Houston," said Commander Jim Lovell. "We've had a problem."
Fred was one of the crewmen aboard Apollo 13, the third scheduled moon-landing mission launched by Nasa. He was going to be the sixth man to walk on the moon.

Retired NASA astronaut, Fred Haise who was involved in the dramatic failed lunar mission of Apollo 13. Photo / Nick Reed
Retired NASA astronaut, Fred Haise who was involved in the dramatic failed lunar mission of Apollo 13. Photo / Nick Reed

Instead his mission became - after Neil Armstrong's initial landing - the second-most famous of the moon shots. Apollo 13 was Nasa's most glorious failure.
It started with a bang. Two days into their flight to the moon, an oxygen tank exploded, shredding part of their spaceship. Landing on the moon was no longer an option.
All the crew, and their support staff back in Houston could now hope for was to get the men home safely.
We met Fred at Nasa's Johnson Space Center, in Houston, where he showed us around some of Nasa's grandest hardware.
Fred's dry, laconic demeanour makes him just the kind of guy you'd want sitting next to you during an emergency in space. In Ron Howard's fine movie Apollo 13, the crew argue. It's hard to imagine the real Fred getting heat up about anything.

Fred Haise at Nasa's Johnson Space Center, in Houston. Photo / Nick Reed
Fred Haise at Nasa's Johnson Space Center, in Houston. Photo / Nick Reed

"They added it in for drama," Fred says with a chuckle. "They wanted to make the scene more human, they said."
Consider how often tempers get frayed in your own workplace. It's a luxury you can't afford in a space crisis. Nor could these right-stuff men muck around fretting about their mortality.
"We didn't think about dying. We were pretty focused on doing our jobs," says Fred. "Everytime you go into space, you're taking a risk."
The most stunning thing on display at the Johnson Space Center lies on its side in a giant hangar. The Saturn V is the biggest, most powerful vehicle ever built.
It's also the single coolest thing to fly. When the Apollo moon-landing program was wrapped up in 1972, there were three Saturn V rockets left over. If you stood all three on top of each other, they would be a few metres taller than the Sky Tower.
To the casual observer, these rockets ushered in Nasa's finest hour. The biggest rockets today can only carry about one-tenth the weight of the Saturn Vs.
Brave, cool-headed lunatics like Fred pretty much sat themselves in a tin can that was bolted to the top of another - bigger - tin can, which contained a massive explosion of fuel.
Off to work we go.
The awesome power of the rockets contrasts with the tiny, flimsy parts of the spaceships in which the astronauts sat. A moon lander on display looks like a tent frame covered in tinfoil.

The NASA Apollo 17 Command module from the last moon mission. Photo / Nick Reed
The NASA Apollo 17 Command module from the last moon mission. Photo / Nick Reed

The command module of Gemini 7, in which Jim Lovell (along with Frank Borman) set an endurance record of 14 days in space, sits in a darkened room. The interior is little bigger than a two-man tent.
The most fragile part of all these ambitious programs was the people perched on top of the rockets.
At its peak, the Apollo program employed 400,000 people and hoovered up four per cent of the USA's GDP. Great fun. An awesome achievement. But wildly unsustainable.
Today, lying on its side like a giant fallen Corinthian column in the ruins of an abandoned Roman city, this Saturn V is a reminder of the vast, ambitious empire that created it.
Where the Romans conquered the known world, the post-war American empire had designs on other worlds.
Adam Steltzner also has a couple of good work stories. Like the one about the time he successfully landed a 3893kg robot on Mars by lowering it from a crane system attached to a rocket-powered platform hovering above the surface of the planet.
Adam is also showing us around.
"I led the landing team that put Curiosity [the Mars rover] on the surface of Mars," Adam says. "Our landing system was called the sky crane. We lowered the rover beneath a sort of jet backpack."

Fred Haise with Adam Steltzner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Photo / Nick Reed
Fred Haise with Adam Steltzner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Photo / Nick Reed

We used to be able to put a man on the moon, and today we can't even put a man on the moon. Maybe we don't need to.
Adam says robotics can do the leg work from here, paving the way for manned explorations in the future. Like the rest of us on the tour, he's in awe of the bravery of the astronauts (he also knows to within a kilogram or two how much all those life-support systems weigh).
The next big mission to Mars, again using Adam's funky sky crane to place a robot vehicle on the surface, is set for 2020. Much of the work on that mission is being done in Houston.
The Johnson Space Center isn't just a tourist attraction. Astronauts are still trained there, Mission Control is based there (visitors can see the old one and the new one, which runs the International Space Station) and it's home to much of Adam's robotics projects. It's a workplace.
The American empire's grand vision of men exploring space aboard gigantic rockets might not have worked out quite how John F. Kennedy had imagined, but the dream is still alive. There are still more cool work stories to be told.

Checklist - Houston

• Getting there: Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Houston from Auckland five times a week. One-way Economy class sale fares start from $749, and one-way Premium Economy sale fares from $1599. Sale ends January 18.
• Details: For more on the Johnson Space Center, including details of tours on which you can meet astronauts, go to Spacecenter.org.

quarta-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2016

NASA WEB · EXOMARS-ExoMars 2016 Schiaparelli Module in Baikonur



ExoMars 2016 Schiaparelli Module in Baikonur



©ESA
Schiaparelli
On 14 March, the launch window opens for ExoMars 2016, ESA's next mission to Mars, composed of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli.
Last month, the two spacecraft left Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France, where they had been for the final few months of assembly and testing, and headed towards the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
With both now in Baikonur, preparations are under way for the launch on a Russian Proton rocket during a window that remains open until 25 March.
The 600 kg Schiaparelli pictured here being unpacked in a cleanroom in the cosmodrome will ride to Mars on the Trace Gas Orbiter. Three days before they reach the Red Planet, Schiaparelli will separate from the orbiter, which will then enter orbit for a five-year mission of studying atmospheric gases potentially linked to present-day biological or geological activity.
Schiaparelli will enter the atmosphere at 21 000 km/h and slow by aerobraking in the upper layers, then deploying a parachute, followed by liquid-propellant thrusters that will brake it to less than 5 km/h about 2 m above the surface.
At that moment, the thrusters will be switched off and it will drop to the ground, where the impact will be cushioned by its crushable structure.
Less than eight minutes will have elapsed between hitting the atmosphere and touching down in a region known as Meridiani Planum.
Scientific sensors on Schiaparelli will collect data on the atmosphere during entry and descent, and others will make local measurements at the landing site for a short period determined by its battery capacity.
Schiaparelli will remain a target for laser ranging from orbiters using its reflector.
The module is named in honour of the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who mapped the Red Planet's surface features in the 19th century.

domingo, 3 de janeiro de 2016

NASA WEB-SPACE INDIAN-·Potential delay for first test flight of India's spaceplane demonstrator

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Potential delay for first test flight of India's spaceplane demonstrator

                         Artist's concept of the RLV-TD spaceplane (Credit: ISRO)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) may have to delay the first test flight of its experimental Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) spaceplane. The unmanned sub-orbital spacecraft, which is similar in design to the US Air Force's X-37B, was scheduled to be launched in February, but technical difficulties may put back the flight to the first week of April.
According to a report in the New Indian Express, a minor leak in the flight systems of the RLV-TD led to the potential setback. K Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), where the craft is being developed, told the paper that the spacecraft needed to be reassembled, which could cause a significant delay if more problems occur.
The RLV-TD is a two-stage scaled prototype of India's Avatar spacecraft designed to drastically reduce the cost of launching payloads into orbit from US$5,000 per kilogram (2.2 lb) to US$500. RLV-TD is a winged technology demonstrator for testing flight and propulsion systems that will allow the completed Avatar to return to Earth for a controlled landing like a conventional aircraft.
A series of flights of the will test the RLV-TD's ability to carry out hypersonic flight, landings, return flight, and scramjet propulsion before a full-sized vehicle is built. The demonstrator will lift off atop a conventional rocket booster, which will accelerate it to Mach 5 (3,800 mph, 6,125 km/h). After separation, the winged craft will coast to an altitude of 100 km (62 mi) before making a controlled reentry.
When the atmosphere is thick enough, the flight surfaces take over and the RLV-TD will glide to the recovery area for a splashdown in the Bay of Bengal. The sea recovery is necessary because the spaceplane requires a 5 km- (3.1 mi-) long runway, which India does not currently possess.
This is the third delay for the program, which had an initial launch date in mid-2015.
Source: ISRO