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By European Space Agency
ESA’s Hera spacecraft for planetary defence is being prepared for a journey to the distant asteroid moon Dimorphos orbiting around its parent body Didymos. One of the first features Hera will look for is the crater left on Dimorphos by its predecessor mission DART, which impacted the asteroid to deflect its orbit. Yet a new impact simulation study reported in Nature Astronomy today suggests no crater will be found. The DART impact is likely to have remodelled the entire body instead – a significant finding for both asteroid science and planetary defence.
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During standard surveillance operations, a drone under the command of the 406th Battalion has recorded footage of a cigar-shaped UFO hovering above Ukraine's front line.
The object lacks wings or apparent means of propulsion, distinguishing it from conventional aircraft like airplanes or helicopters.
Speculation suggests it could be a reconnaissance balloon or drone or eventually an extraterrestrial craft observing activities in the area.
The brief 17-second recording of the strange object has stirred curiosity among viewers and experts alike, adding an additional layer of intrigue to the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
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In the Pose Bowl: Spacecraft Detection and Pose Estimation Challenge, solvers will help NASA develop algorithms that could be run on inspector (chaser) spacecraft. There are two tracks, with different associated prizes. In the Detection Track, solvers develop object detection solutions that identify the boundaries of spacecraft in an image. In the Pose Estimation Track, solvers develop solutions that identify changes in the position and orientation (pose) of the chaser spacecraft camera across a sequence of images.
Award: $40,000 in total prizes
Open Date: February 20, 2024
Close Date: May 14, 2024
For more information, visit: https://www.drivendata.org/competitions/group/competition-nasa-spacecraft/
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In the left two photos, workers with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) paint the bright red NASA “worm” logo on the side of an Artemis II solid rocket booster segment inside the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. The EGS team used a laser projector to mask off the logo with tape, then painted the first coat of the iconic design. The booster segments will help propel the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on the Artemis II mission to send four astronauts around the Moon as part of the agency’s effort to establish a long-term science and exploration presence at the Moon, and eventually Mars. In the right photo, the Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis II mission received its latest makeover. Teams adhered the agency’s iconic “worm” logo and ESA (European Space Agency) insignia on the spacecraft’s crew module adapter on Sunday, Jan. 28, inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.NASA/Glenn Benson and Rad Sinyak Art and science merge as teams add the NASA “worm” logo on the SLS (Space Launch System) solid rocket boosters and the Orion spacecraft’s crew module adapter at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the agency’s Artemis II mission.
The iconic logo was introduced in 1975 by the firm of Danne & Blackburn as a modern emblem for the agency. It emerged from a nearly 30-year retirement in 2020 for limited use on select missions and products.
NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and prime contractor Jacobs began painting the red logotype onto the segments that form the Moon rocket’s two solid rocket boosters Jan. 22. To do so, crews used a laser projector to first mark off the location of the logo with tape, then applied two coats of paint and finished by adding several coats of clear primer. Each letter of the worm logo measures approximately 6 feet and 10 inches in height and altogether, stretches 25 feet from end to end, or a little less than the length of one of the rocket’s booster motor segments.
The location of the worm logo will be moderately different from where it was during Artemis I. While it will still be located on each of the rocket’s 17 story boosters, the modernist logo will be placed toward the front of the booster systems tunnel cover. The SLS boosters are the largest, most powerful solid propellant boosters ever flown and provide more than 75% of the thrust at launch.
Workers with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) paint the bright red NASA “worm” logo on the side of an Artemis II solid rocket booster segment inside the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. The EGS team used a laser projector to mask off the logo with tape, then painted the first coat of the iconic design. The booster segments will help propel the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on the Artemis II mission to send four astronauts around the Moon as part of the agency’s effort to establish a long-term science and exploration presence at the Moon, and eventually Mars.NASA/Glenn Benson Around the corner inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy, personnel adhered the worm logo and ESA (European Space Agency) insignia Jan. 28 on the spacecraft’s crew module adapter. The adapter houses electronic equipment for communications, power, and control, and includes an umbilical connector that bridges the electrical, data, and fluid systems between the main modules.
In October 2023, technicians joined the crew and service modules together. The crew module will house the four astronauts as they journey around the Moon and back to Earth on an approximately 10-day journey. The spacecraft’s service module, provided by ESA, will supply the vehicle with electricity, propulsion, thermal control, air, and water in space.
The Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis II mission received its latest makeover. Teams adhered the agency’s iconic “worm” logo and ESA (European Space Agency) insignia on the spacecraft’s crew module adapter on Sunday, Jan. 28, inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.NASA/Rad Sinyak NASA is working to land the first woman, first person of color, and first international partner astronaut on the Moon through Artemis. SLS and the Orion spacecraft are central to NASA’s deep space exploration plans, along with advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway space station planned for orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems.
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Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
A sample of fabric burns inside an uncrewed Cygnus cargo craft during a previous Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment investigation, Saffire-IV.Credit: NASA NASA recently concluded the final mission of its Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment, or Saffire, putting a blazing end to an eight-year series of investigations that provided insights into fire’s behavior in space.
The final experiment, Saffire-VI, launched to the International Space Station in August 2023 and concluded its mission on Jan. 9, when the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft it was flying on safely burned up during planned re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Dr. David Urban, principal investigator, and Dr. Gary Ruff, project manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, have led the Saffire project from Northeast Ohio since its initial spark in 2016. Throughout the experiment series, researchers gathered data NASA will use to enhance mission safety and inform future spacecraft and spacesuit designs.
“How big a fire does it take for things to get bad for a crew?” Urban said. “This kind of work is done for every other inhabited structure here on Earth – buildings, planes, trains, automobiles, mines, submarines, ships – but we hadn’t done this research for spacecraft until Saffire.”
Like previous Saffire experiments, Saffire-VI took place inside a unit on an uninhabited Cygnus spacecraft that had already departed from the space station, ensuring the safety of the orbiting laboratory and a more representative flight environment. However, this final iteration of the experiment was unique because of the higher oxygen concentration and lower pressure generated in the test unit to simulate the conditions within crewed spacecraft.
NASA ignited the final set of space fire experiments for Saffire-VI inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft at the end of the NG-19 resupply mission to the International Space Station. Saffire, or Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment, was a series of six investigations that provided insights into how fires grow and spread in space. This research is especially important as it will inform future spacecraft designs bound for the Moon and Mars. Video credit: NASA During the 19 Saffire-VI experiment runs, the NASA team and counterparts at Northrop Grumman made various adjustments to air conditions. They then ignited a flame on materials such as plexiglass, cotton, Nomex, and Solid Inflammability Boundary at Low-Speed fabrics. A bead-lined wire inside the unit ignited the materials.
“The Saffire flow unit is a wind tunnel. We’re pushing air through it,” Ruff said. “Once test conditions are set, we run electrical current through a thin wire, and the materials ignite.”
Cameras inside allowed the team to observe the flame while remote sensors outside the Saffire flow unit collected data about what was happening in the Cygnus vehicle. The images and information were gathered in real-time before being sent to Earth for scientists to analyze.
“You’ve got a heat release rate and a rate of release of combustion products,” Ruff said. “You can take those as model input and predict what will happen in a vehicle.”
The next decade of exploration and science missions will see astronauts flying deeper into space and to locations that have yet to be explored. Though the Saffire experiments have been extinguished, NASA has learned valuable lessons and gathered mountains of data on fire behavior that will help the agency design safer spacecraft and accomplish its ambitious future missions.
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