Two cubesats developed by Kentucky Space and California students are scheduled for launch tomorrow, March 27 on a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket from the Wallops range in Virginia. The launch window is 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT, and a live stream of the event starts at 9 a.m.
"ADAMASat" will test components that will be used on an orbital mission now slated for November. Ground stations in Kentucky will collect performance data from the craft during its brief stay in space.
For the latest, Kentucky Space and ADAMASat are on on Twitter @KySpace and @KySpaceADAMASat, respectively. Please follow.
Swooping by at an altitude of just 141.7 miles, images from MESSENGER'S third flyby of Mercury this week are now being posted. The surface in the lower right corner of this image is near Mercury's terminator, the line between the day and night side of the planet.
The craft will settle into orbit around Mercury beginning on March 18, 2011.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Chairman and CEO of the X-PRIZE Foundation, Peter Diamandis, writes that finding water on the Moon could be a turning point in human history.
Revealing water in significant quantities on the Moon could truly be a turning point in space exploration. Who will set up the first water mining plants? Given low-cost availability of water, hydrogen and oxygen, what type of off-Earth economies and exploration will this enable? The question is not too dissimilar to those questions asked when oil was discovered buried deep under the Earth or under the oceans. We eventually designed the technology to mine and extract this precious resource. It's what we do as humans and entrepreneurs.
Southgate Amateur Radio Club is reporting that SwissCube, one of four cubesats scheduled for a Sept. 23 launch from India, has debuted a website to track the satellite after launch. Along with Google Earth and the tracker provided by the space services company Solenix, you can also watch the progress of SwissCube in 3D.
For events prior to launch, check out the blog hosted by ISIS Launch Services.
Thanks for your comment yesterday, Joseph! Kentucky Space readers, check out the video demonstration below by the Cornell Space Systems Design Studio of its flux-pinning technology, an emerging science that one day may lead to radically reconfigurable spacecraft. Cornell:
Flux pinning describes the interaction between a high temperature superconductor (HTSC) and a magnetic field. The magnetic field induces current vortices in the HTSC, which are sensitive to and resist the change in magnetic flux through the HTSC surface. This effect creates mechanical stiffness and damping that influence the motion of the magnetic field’s source in multiple degrees of freedom. In a multibody space system, HTSC/magnet pairs placed on individual vehicles tie the dynamics of each body to that of its neighbors, creating a non-contacting virtual structure.
Joseph Shoer also demonstrated the technology in the lab in this August, 2008 video.
I also twittered it yesterday in case you're not yet following Kentucky Space.
The video, by the way, is from Sputnik Observatory, an intriguing new site documenting contemporary thought on a wide variety of scientific issues.
Paul Gilster's post today on new developments in Ion propulsion pairs nicely with an update from the Project System Engineer for Dawn on that ion-powered spacecraft's journey to Ceres and Vesta. Compared to the Space Shuttle's orbital speed of 18,000 mph, modern ion propulsion can reach 200,000 mph.
Credit for artist's image of Dawn at Ceres: NASA/JPL