September 15

Originally launched in 2006, GOES-13 was a geostationary satellite designed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to track hurricanes approaching the United States. On September 1, the US military repurposed the satellite to monitor weather conditions in the Middle East.

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September 14

Just north of Interstate I-10 along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a gigantic, orange core stage that will soon be used to send NASA’s most powerful rocket ever to the Moon. The 212-foot-tall core stage of Space Launch System, the vehicle for Artemis lunar missions starting next year, is currently hoisted up on the red, white, and meatball’d B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center.

Engineers at the space center in south Mississippi are responsible for ensuring that the giant fuel tank and RS-25 engines are ready for action before being transferred to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Steps range from testing flight electronics to loading and draining 350 tons of rocket fuel.

The ultimate step in the Green Run test is to fire up the four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines fueled by the core stage. The static fire test will occur for up to eight minutes, creating a thunderous roar as the SLS core stage is held down by the B-2 Test Stand. Make no mistake: This engine test fire will be epic.

So how far along is NASA’s Green Run test for the Space Launch System core stage? Follow along here as NASA completes each step of the Green Run test:

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NASA has closed its space center in Mississippi and secured a critical piece of Moon-bound rocket hardware ahead of Hurricane Sally’s impact on the Gulf Coast this week. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is home to the B-2 Test Stand where NASA engineers have been busy testing the rocket core stage for Space Launch System.

Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speeds) Tuesday night before weakening to a tropical storm on Wednesday. The current trajectory shows Stennis Space Center directly in the storm’s path.

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While it’s far too soon to claim that life has been discovered beyond our planet, a new scientific discovery provides a tantalizing clue that Venus may be the best place to search for extraterrestrial life. The Royal Astronomical Society announced today that phosphine molecules have been observed from Earth in the atmosphere of Venus.

Why does that matter? The phosphine molecule is created either artificially on Earth or “by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments,” as RAS describes.

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September 11

Since 2012, NASA”s International Space Apps Challenge is a yearly hackathon that engages people across the globe to find solutions to challenges using NASA’s large array of open data. This is the second challenge NASA has set up this year alone. The first was during the end of May during the middle of the nationwide lockdowns that were happening across the world. About 15,000 hackers joined that event, and you can see who won here. This year, it will take place remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic over a 48-hour spring starting Friday, October 2.

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September 10

Sending the first woman and next man to the Moon isn’t the only lunar goal NASA has for 2024. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced today that the space agency is seeking a commercial company capable of collecting moon rocks for NASA to purchase.

The interesting twist is that the company or companies awarded contracts won’t be required to bring the Moon rocks back to Earth. The objective is simply to demonstrate commerce on the Moon as a concept toward building a sustainable presence on the lunar surface and beyond.

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September 9

It turns out that Titan, one of Saturn’s many moons, is a relatively optimal place to fly a drone. This is due to the fact that Titan’s atmosphere is four times denser than the Earth’s. So when NASA chose Titan as the next location to “search for the building blocks of life,” they decided to take advantage of that by using a drone instead of a typical rover.

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September 8

Since 2009, SpaceX has been developing their next generation rocket engine called the Raptor. The Raptor engine is a full flow stage combustion engine using liquid methane as it’s fuel, which will be used on SpaceX’s Starship Superheavy rocket. A full flow stage engine is basically an engine that uses a combination of two pre-burners so not to dump any fuel off the side of the rocket and be super efficient.

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September 7

This is the start of a new series of articles by myself, Seth Kurkowski, discussing different space-related books. The goal is to grow the historical knowledge of myself and all of you who enjoy Space Explored. With the hope that understanding how we got to where we are now, we can better grasp how quickly we are moving into the new era of space exploration.

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September 5

At Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday, China successfully launched an experimental spacecraft using a Long March-2F rocket. Unfortunately, not much is currently known about the mission that the spacecraft will fulfill. However, Chinese state-affiliated media has stated that it “will test reusable technologies during its flight.”

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