Space

PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission

PSLV-C40

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its forty second flight (PSLV-C40), successfully launched the 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 613 kg at lift-off. PSLV-C40 was launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

The co-passenger satellites comprise one Microsatellite and one Nanosatellite from India as well as 3 Microsatellites and 25 Nanosatellites from six countries, namely, Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and USA. The total weight of all the 31 satellites carried onboard PSLV-C40 is about 1323 kg.

The 28 International customer satellites were launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), a Government of India company under Department of Space (DOS), the commercial arm of ISRO and the International customers.

PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission was launched on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 09:29 Hrs (IST).

00

Advertisements
Space

EchoStar 105/SES – 11 Mission

Mission Overview

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver EchoStar 105/SES-11, a commercial communications satellite, to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). SpaceX is targeting launch of EchoStar 105/SES-11 from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The two – hour launch window opens on Wednesday, October 11 at 6:53 p.m. EDT, or 22:53 UTC . A two – hour backup launch window opens on Thursday, October 12 at 6:53 p.m. EDT, or 22:53 UTC. The satellite will be deployed approximately 36 minutes after
liftoff. Falcon 9’s first stage for the EchoStar 105/SES-11 mission previously supported
SpaceX’s 10th resupply mission to the International Space Station(CRS-10) in February of this year. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt a landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone-ship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean
aaaaa

Payload

EchoStar 105/SES-11, a high-powered hybrid Ku and C-band communications satellite, is a dual-mission satellite for US-based operator EchoStar and Luxembourg-based operator SES. EchoStar 105/SES-11 provides EchoStar with 24 Ku-band transponders of 36 MHz, marketed as EchoStar 105, while it provides SES with a C-band payload of 24 transponders, marketed under the name SES-11. EchoStar 105/SES-11 replaces Ku-band capacity for AMC-15 and C-band capacity for AMC-18 at SES’ well-established 105
degrees West orbital slot. EchoStar 105 was tailored to meet the Ku-band capacity needs of EchoStar’s enterprise, media and broadcast, and U.S. government service provider customers, offering coverage of the 50 U.S. states and expanded reach to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
SES-11, designed to accelerate the development of SES’s U.S. prime video neighborhood
and the delivery of High definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) channels , joins SES-1 and SES-3 at the center of SES’s robust North American orbital arc, which reaches more than a hundred million TV homes. It also replaces C-band capacity for AMC-18, which SES offers over North America, including Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean, empowering businesses and governments to capture new
opportunities and expand their reach.

Launch Facility

Launch Complex39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center has a history dating back to the early 1960s. Originally built to support the Apollo program, LC-39A supported the first Saturn V launch (Apollo 4),
and many subsequent Apollo missions, including Apollo 11 in July 1969. Beginning in the late 1970s, LC-39A was modified to support space shuttle launches, hosting the first and last shuttle missions to orbit in 1981 and 2011, respectively. In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-
year lease with NASA for the use of Launch Complex 39A. Since then, the company has made significant upgrades to modernize the pad’s structures and ground systems, while
preserving its important heritage. Extensive modifications to LC-39A have been made to support launches of both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. These upgrades will also enable the pad to serve as the complex from which SpaceX will launch crew rotation missions to and from the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Space

NASA Team First to Demonstrate X-ray Navigation in Space

In a technology first, a team of NASA engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space — a capability that could revolutionize NASA’s ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond.

The demonstration, which the team carried out with an experiment called Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology, or SEXTANT, showed that millisecond pulsars could be used to accurately determine the location of an object moving at thousands of miles per hour in space — similar to how the Global Positioning System, widely known as GPS, provides positioning, navigation, and timing services to users on Earth with its constellation of 24 operating satellites.

nasa

“This demonstration is a breakthrough for future deep space exploration,” said SEXTANT Project Manager Jason Mitchell, an aerospace technologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “As the first to demonstrate X-ray navigation fully autonomously and in real-time in space, we are now leading the way.”

This technology provides a new option for deep space navigation that could work in concert with existing spacecraft-based radio and optical systems.

Although it could take a few years to mature an X-ray navigation system practical for use on deep-space spacecraft, the fact that NASA engineers proved it could be done bodes well for future interplanetary space travel. Such a system provides a new option for spacecraft to autonomously determine their locations outside the currently used Earth-based global navigation networks because pulsars are accessible in virtually every conceivable fight regime, from low-Earth to deepest space.

Exploiting NICER Telescopes

The SEXTANT technology demonstration, which NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate had funded under its Game Changing Program, took advantage of the 52 X-ray telescopes and silicon-drift detectors that make up NASA’s Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER. Since its successful deployment as an external attached payload on the International Space Station in June, it has trained its optics on some of the most unusual objects in the universe.

“We’re doing very cool science and using the space station as a platform to execute that science, which in turn enables X-ray navigation,” said Goddard’s Keith Gendreau, the principal investigator for NICER, who presented the findings Thursday, Jan. 11, at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington. “The technology will help humanity navigate and explore the galaxy.”

NICER, an observatory about the size of a washing machine, currently is studying neutron stars and their rapidly pulsating cohort, called pulsars. Although these stellar oddities emit radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, observing in the X-ray band offers the greatest insights into these unusual, incredibly dense celestial objects, which, if compressed any further, would collapse completely into black holes. Just one teaspoonful of neutron star matter would weigh a billion tons on Earth.

Although NICER is studying all types of neutron stars, the SEXTANT experiment is focused on observations of pulsars. Radiation emanating from their powerful magnetic fields is swept around much like a lighthouse. The narrow beams are seen as flashes of light when they sweep across our line of sight. With these predictable pulsations, pulsars can provide high-precision timing information similar to the atomic-clock signals supplied through the GPS system.

a

Veteran’s Day Demonstration

In the SEXTANT demonstration that occurred over the Veteran’s Day holiday in 2017, the SEXTANT team selected four millisecond pulsar targets — J0218+4232, B1821-24, J0030+0451, and J0437-4715 — and directed NICER to orient itself so it could detect X-rays within their sweeping beams of light. The millisecond pulsars used by SEXTANT are so stable that their pulse arrival times can be predicted to accuracies of microseconds for years into the future.

During the two-day experiment, the payload generated 78 measurements to get timing data, which the SEXTANT experiment fed into its specially developed onboard algorithms to autonomously stitch together a navigational solution that revealed the location of NICER in its orbit around Earth as a space station payload. The team compared that solution against location data gathered by NICER’s onboard GPS receiver.

“For the onboard measurements to be meaningful, we needed to develop a model that predicted the arrival times using ground-based observations provided by our collaborators at radio telescopes around the world,” said Paul Ray, a SEXTANT co-investigator with the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory. “The difference between the measurement and the model prediction is what gives us our navigation information.”

The goal was to demonstrate that the system could locate NICER within a 10-mile radius as the space station sped around Earth at slightly more than 17,500 mph. Within eight hours of starting the experiment on November 9, the system converged on a location within the targeted range of 10 miles and remained well below that threshold for the rest of the experiment, Mitchell said. In fact, “a good portion” of the data showed positions that were accurate to within three miles.

“This was much faster than the two weeks we allotted for the experiment,” said SEXTANT System Architect Luke Winternitz, who works at Goddard. “We had indications that our system would work, but the weekend experiment finally demonstrated the system’s ability to work autonomously.”

Although the ubiquitously used GPS system is accurate to within a few feet for Earth-bound users, this level of accuracy is not necessary when navigating to the far reaches of the solar system where distances between objects measure in the millions of miles. “In deep space, we hope to reach accuracies in the hundreds of feet,” Mitchell said.

nicerclose2

Next Steps and the Future

Now that the team has demonstrated the system, Winternitz said the team will focus on updating and fine-tuning both flight and ground software in preparation for a second experiment later in 2018. The ultimate goal, which may take years to realize, would be to develop detectors and other hardware to make pulsar-based navigation readily available on future spacecraft. To advance the technology for operational use, teams will focus on reducing the size, weight, and power requirements and improving the sensitivity of the instruments. The SEXTANT team now also is discussing the possible application of X-ray navigation to support human spaceflight, Mitchell added.

If an interplanetary mission to the moons of Jupiter or Saturn were equipped with such a navigational device, for example, it would be able to calculate its location autonomously, for long periods of time without communicating with Earth.

Mitchell said that GPS is not an option for these far-flung missions because its signal weakens quickly as one travels beyond the GPS satellite network around Earth.

“This successful demonstration firmly establishes the viability of X-ray pulsar navigation as a new autonomous navigation capability. We have shown that a mature version of this technology could enhance deep-space exploration anywhere within the solar system and beyond,” Mitchell said. “It is an awesome technology first.”

NICER is an Astrophysics Mission of Opportunity within NASA’s Explorers program, which provides frequent flight opportunities for world-class scientific investigations from space utilizing innovative, streamlined and efficient management approaches within the heliophysics and astrophysics science areas

Space

Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

Aperture Radar

Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) is a form of radar that is used to create two- or three-dimensional images of objects, such as landscapes. SAR uses the motion of the radar antenna over a target region to provide finer spatial resolution than conventional beam-scanning radars. SAR is typically mounted on a moving platform, such as an aircraft or spacecraft, and has its origins in an advanced form of side looking airborne radar (SLAR). The distance the SAR device travels over a target in the time taken for the radar pulses to return to the antenna creates the large synthetic antenna aperture (the size of the antenna). Typically, the larger the aperture, the higher the image resolution will be, regardless of whether the aperture is physical or synthetic this allows SAR to create high-resolution images with comparatively small physical antennas.
To create a SAR image, successive pulses of radio waves are transmitted to “illuminate” a target scene, and the echo of each pulse is received and recorded. The pulses are transmitted and the echoes received using a single beam-forming antenna, with wavelengths of a meter down to several millimeters. As the SAR device on board the aircraft or spacecraft moves, the antenna location relative to the target changes with time. Signal processing of the successive recorded radar echoes allows the combining of the recordings from these multiple antenna positions. This process forms the synthetic antenna aperture and allows the creation of higher-resolution images than would otherwise be possible with a given physical antenna.
As of 2010, airborne systems provide resolutions of about 10 cm, ultra-wideband systems provide resolutions of a few millimeters, and experimental terahertz SAR has provided sub-millimeter resolution in the laboratory.

1234

Basic principle

A synthetic-aperture radar is an imaging radar mounted on a moving platform. Electromagnetic waves are sequentially transmitted, and reflected echoes are collected, digitized and stored by the radar antenna for later processing. As transmission and reception occur at different time, they map to different positions. The well ordered combination of the received signals builds a virtual aperture that is much longer than the physical antenna length. This is why it is named “synthetic aperture”, giving it the property of being an imaging radar.[4] The range direction is parallel to flight track and perpendicular to azimuth direction, which is also known as along-track direction because it is in line with the position of the object within the antenna’s field of view.
Basic principle
The 3D processing is done in two steps: the azimuth and range direction are focused for the generation of 2D high-resolution images, after which a digital elevation model is used to measure the phase differences between complex images, which is determined from different look angles to recover the height information. This height information, along with the azimuth-range coordinates provided by 2-D SAR focusing, gives the third dimension, which is the elevation direction. The first step requires only standard processing algorithms, for the second step, an additional pre-processing stage such as image co-registration and phase calibration is used.

viv

The instrument is designed to fly aboard a NASA Gulfstream III aircraft and eventually on uninhabited aerial vehicles.
Acronym: UAVSAR
Type: Airborne/Ground
Status: Current
Launch Date: August 18, 2007
Launch Location: Edwards Air Force Base, California
Target: Earth
Space

SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft designed to carry humans to the International Space Station and other destinations.

Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the space station, a feat previously achieved only by governments. But Dragon was also designed from the beginning to carry people, and today SpaceX is finalizing the necessary refinements to make that a reality.

Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested in the spring of 2015) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland

h4

Crew Dragon’s displays will provide real-time information on the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities – anything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board. Crew Dragon has an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable and safe environment for crew members. During their trip, astronauts on board can set the spacecraft’s interior temperature to between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crew Dragon will be a fully autonomous spacecraft that can also be monitored & controlled by on board astronauts and SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, CA.