NASA awarded a $73.3-million contract to Made In Space for them to demonstrate the ability to 3D-print and assmeble spacecraft parts in orbit using Archinaut One. This robotic manufacturing ship is set to launch in 2022 aboard the Rocket Lab Electron rocket and 3D-print two 32-foot beams on each side. These beams will unfurl into two solar arrays that could produce up to five times more power than traditional panels found on spacecraft this size. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA’s Hubble space telescope discovered a supermassive black hole that shouldn’t exist, since it defies existing theories about the universe. The black hole, which is approximately 250 million times heavier than the sun, lies at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147 and is about 140 million light-years from Earth. What’s really strange is they found a thin “accretion disk” around the black hole that contains debris and gas rapidly pacing around the edge. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this incredible image of the Curiosity Rover from space on May 31, 2019, which appears as a bluish speck. Curiosity was examining a location called “Woodland Bay” in an area referred to as the “clay-bearing unit” on the side of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall mountain inside of Gale Crater. When it was photographed, the rover was facing 65° counterclockwise from north, placing the mast in the right location to produce this bright spot in the upper-left corner. Read more for another video and additional information.
Make sure your telescope is ready tonight as Saturn with its ring system shines brighter than any other time of the year. Beginning Tuesday, Saturn will be at opposition, which means it will rise opposite the sun in the Earth’s sky, thus providing the best views of the gas giant and a number of its moons. The planet will be visible to the naked eye, but you’ll need a telescope to see its iconic rings, and can be spotted in the “teapot” of the Sagittarius constellation. Read more for a another video and additional information.
Dutch astronomer Ralf Vandeberg spotted something unusual in the sky, and no, it wasn’t a UFO, but rather the top secret U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane. So far, the public knows absolutely nothing about its mission, which has lead some conspiracy theorists to claim that the payload could be used for intelligence-gathering. “Thanks to the amateur satellite observers-network, it was rapidly found in orbit again and I was able to take some images on June 30 and July 2,” said Mr Vandebergh on Twitter. The craft measures about 29 feet (8.8 meters) long and 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall, with a wingspan of less than 15 feet (4.6 m). Read more to see the image that Vandeberg shot of the craft.
When Zalzala Koh, or “Earthquake Island,” was first created by a mud volcano, it stood 20 meters (65 feet) high, 90 meters (295 feet) wide and 40 meters (130 feet) long, making researchers to believe that it wouldn’t last very long, and several years later, that prediction came true. The strange island appeared off the coast of Pakistan near the port city of Gwadar after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the country. “Zalzala Koh may be out of sight for now, but that does not mean it is completely gone. In 2019, hints of the island persist in Landsat imagery. As recently as June 2019, Landsat observed trails of sediment circulating around the submerged base,” said NASA in a blog post. Read more for a video and additional information.
The LEGO Apollo 11 Lunar Lander is a magnificent kit with 1,087 pieces, but what could make it even better? Turning it into a short film, complete with NASA sound effects. That’s exactly what aerospace engineer Adam Woodworth did. However, there were some modifications that needed to be made, starting with clearing out the ascent stage for a battery, and then adding a flight controller as well as some rotors. Read more for the video and additional pictures of the build.
Want to own a piece of NASA history? Sotheby’s will offer the only surviving, first generation videotape recordings of the historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing on June 20th. This footage on the three reels of 2-inch Quadruplex videotape has only been viewed a total of three times since June 1976. If you’re the lucky winner, you’ll get transported to the big screen monitor at Mission Control, with images far clearer than those viewed by than half-billion-person television audience live on their home sets. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.
NASA is set to test the Orion launch escape system in the Ascent Abort-2 mission, which will be used to verify the spacecraft’s abort system that is designed to pull the crew module away from an emergency during its ascent to space. A booster will throw the test capsule about six miles into the atmosphere to experience high-stress aerodynamic conditions during approximately three minutes of flight. Once that happens, the abort sequence will trigger to carry the crew module a safe distance from the rocket. Read more for a video tour of Orion and additional information.
Photo credit: Chris Chacon | GlobalNews
Amateur rocket enthusiasts from Western Canada were celebrating the Apollo 11 anniversary in Alberta, Canada today at the 21st Rock Lake rocket launch. However, there was one particular rocket that stood out among the rest, and it’s called “Kronos Pente”. This scale model of Apollo 11 Saturn V was built specially to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing. “We’ve never seen a rocket like this built and flown in Canada and we wanted to bring that to our community. This project took us about a year and a half to build. It was very challenging. There’s a lot of different or innovative ideas that we put into it,” said Shane Weatherill, Kronos E Project team member. Read more for a video and additional information.