Stunning new sun images show our star's popcorn-like magnetic field structure

Need a little more sun in your life? German scientists have just finished upgrading a solar telescope called GREGOR at the Teide Observatory in the Canary Islands, and the result is a spectacular new set of images of our star. “This was a very exciting, but also extremely challenging project,” Lucia Kleint, a scientist at…

Weightless wonder: Why people are choosing to fly with Zero-G in a pandemic

In the middle of a pandemic, people are finding their personal safe haven in the sky, floating in “zero gravity.” Zero Gravity Corporation (Zero-G) allows paying customers to float in “zero gravity,” or the sensation of weightlessness in microgravity, by taking them on parabolic flights that, by flying an airplane in a specially-designed arc pattern,…

Report sees ways Artemis supports sustainable human Mars exploration

WASHINGTON — NASA’s Artemis program of human lunar exploration can help pave the way for human Mars missions, according to a new report, although some tweaks to those plans may be required. The report, released by the space exploration advocacy group Explore Mars during its virtual Humans to Mars Summit, is based on a workshop…

Arianespace launches Vega on return-to-flight mission with 53 smallsats

WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace conducted a successful return-to-flight mission of Vega, its light-lift rocket, on Sept. 2, completing the vehicle’s first launch in 14 months.  Vega lifted off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 9:51 p.m. Eastern, carrying 53 satellites to low Earth orbit in the debut of Arianespace’s…

Vega rocket launches 53 satellites in return-to-flight mission

Europe’s Vega rocket is back in action. The four-stage booster, which is operated by French company Arianespace, lifted off tonight (Sept. 2) at 9:51 p.m. EDT (0151 GMT on Sept. 3) from Guiana Space Center in South America, carrying 53 satellites to orbit for 21 different customers from 13 countries. Today’s mission was the first…

Air Force Research Laboratory announces new space experiments

WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory announced Sept. 2 it will pursue two new space experiments — one will test the performance of satellite instruments in low orbits and the other is to advance sensor technology to monitor cislunar space The experiments are run by AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base,…

NASA and Northrop Grumman test SLS booster

WASHINGTON — NASA and Northrop Grumman successfully tested Sept. 2 a solid rocket booster developed for the Space Launch System that incorporates improvements intended for future SLS missions. The five-segment booster, built by Northrop Grumman for the Flight Support Booster 1 test, ignited at 3:05 p.m. Eastern at a company test site in Promontory, Utah.…

Vega rocket launching on return-to-flight mission tonight: Watch it live

Arianespace’s Vega rocket is scheduled to fly tonight (Sept. 2) for the first time in more than a year. The four-stage Vega last launched in July 2019, and that mission did not go well. The 98-foot-tall (30 meters) rocket’s second-stage motor suffered an anomaly, resulting in the loss of the Vega and its payload, the…

NASA test-fires its SLS megarocket booster for future moon missions (video)

NASA’s new moon rocket finished a full-scale flight support booster (FSB) test Wednesday (Sept. 2) as the agency gets its Space Launch System (SLS) ready to fly astronauts one day. The two-minute test was broadcast live from Promontory, Utah at 3:05 p.m. EDT (1:05 p.m. local time or 1905 GMT) on NASA Television, and the…

Space art-ifact: Uplift Aerospace offers to paint murals on Blue Origin spacecraft

A commercial spacecraft that has been designed to launch people on brief trips into space has inspired a new creative use — as a canvas for artwork. Uplift Aerospace has partnered with Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, to paint commissioned murals on the side of Blue Origin’s New…

MonacoSat planning second geostationary satellite

WASHINGTON — Newcomer satellite operator MonacoSat is close to ordering its second geostationary communications satellite, and could complete the process by year’s end, its chief executive said Tuesday.  “You cannot stop with one satellite, so now we are developing the new satellite,” Ilhami Aygün, CEO of MonacoSat, said during a Sept. 1 webinar for the…

Eutelsat renews major broadcast contract • Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions gets new CEO

To receive FIRST UP Satcom, a weekly SpaceNews newsletter for satellite and telecom professionals, sign up here. TOP STORIES Analysts see a limited opportunity for satellite broadband companies in the connected car market. Northern Sky Research projects revenue from the connected car market, in which it includes buses and trains, to crest $1 billion by 2029, even…

Future of space station commercialization needs fresh ideas and support, panel finds

Pushing commercialization on the International Space Station to the next level will take a combination of government will, tax incentives and regulatory clarity, said panelists at an online panel onThursday (Aug. 27). Participants in the “Building the [low Earth orbit] LEO Economy” panel at the ISS R&D (Research and Development) conference explored how the space…

The Moon Is Rusting, and Researchers Want to Know Why

While our Moon is airless, research indicates the presence of hematite, a form of rust that normally requires oxygen and water. That has scientists puzzled. Mars has long been known for its rust. Iron on its surface, combined with water and oxygen from the ancient past, give the Red Planet its hue. But scientists were…

No 'Space Jump': How David Blaine's 'Ascension' compares to other balloon dives

David Blaine’s aerial stunt may have been impressive and dramatic, but other ballooning skydivers have gone far higher. Blaine rose into the Arizona sky today (Sept. 2) beneath a bouquet of multicolored balloons, employing the escape strategy pioneered by curmudgeon Carl Fredricksen in the 2009 Pixar film “Up.” During the livestreamed event, called “Ascension,” Blaine…

A Machine-Learning Assist to Predicting Hurricane Intensity

NASA research could help to improve forecasts of whether a hurricane will suddenly intensify, which could give people in its path more time to prepare. In October 2015, Hurricane Patricia in the Northeast Pacific Ocean blew up from a Category 1 storm into a Category 5 monster within 24 hours, its winds leaping from 86…

Made In Space Europe and Momentus plan robotic spacecraft

SAN FRANCISCO – Made In Space Europe, a Redwire subsidiary, announced an agreement Sept. 1 with space transportation company Momentus to jointly develop a robotic spaceflight mission to launch in 2022. Under the memorandum of understanding, the companies will mount a Made In Space robotic arm on a Momentus Vigoride transfer vehicle. With the robotic…

Gravitational waves point scientists to elusive missing-link black hole

A new sound has joined the symphony of the universe as we hear it. Since 2015, astrophysicists have been using gravitational-wave detectors to “hear” chirp-like signals and decode massive collisions that send subtle ripples across spacetime. Now, scientists have heard a new kind of sound, a fast, deep “bang” that could unlock even more cosmic…

SpaceX will launch 60 new Starlink satellites Thursday. Here's how to watch live.

SpaceX plans to launch another big batch of its Starlink internet satellites on Thursday (Sept. 3), and you can watch the action live. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with 60 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off Thursday at 8:46 a.m. EDT (1246 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There’s an 80%…

NASA to seek proposals for lunar nuclear power system

WASHINGTON — NASA and the Department of Energy will seek proposals for industry later this year for the development of a compact nuclear power system that can support the agency’s long-term lunar and Martian exploration plans. In a Sept. 1 presentation to the Technology, Innovation, and Engineering Committee of the NASA Advisory Council, agency officials…