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Making 3D Images With Hubble and Webb Space Telescopes

The two most powerful optical/IR telescopes in history -- NASA's Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes -- will be in space at the same time.

Photonics And Future Space Missions

A largely unrecognized field called photonics may provide solutions to some of NASA's most pressing challenges in future spaceflight.

European Astronaut Field Training At A Mars Analog

ESA astronauts Luca Parmitano and Pedro Duque, together with Eurocom Matthias Maurer are starting the second phase of their ESA 'Pangaea' planetary geological field training on a landscape very similar to Mars at Geoparque Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands.

The Fluid Dynamics of Saturn's Clouds

Saturn's clouds are full of raw beauty, but they also represent a playground for a branch of physics called fluid dynamics, which seeks to understand the motion of gases and liquids.

US vigilante hacker, 'The Jester,' defaces Russian government website (+video)

In what he describes as a warning to the Russian government to stop attempting to influence the US presidential election, a self-styled patriotic American hacker known as 'The Jester' has defaced the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Space Foundation CEO resigns amid criticism

WASHINGTON — Elliot Pulham, the longtime chief executive of the Space Foundation, has resigned effective immediately, the organization announced Oct. 24.

In a brief statement, the Space Foundation said that Pulham was stepping down and that a search for a permanent replacement was underway. The statement gave no reason for his resignation, and Space Foundation spokeswoman Carol Hively said the organization was not disclosing additional details.

“We want to thank Elliot for his many years of service to the Space Foundation, and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities,” said Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., chairman of the board of the organization, in the statement. “We are committed to an open and competitive process to select the Foundation’s next leader, and are grateful for the continued support of the space community.”

Pulham’s name and biography had already been removed from the Space Foundation’s website at the time his resignation was announced. Shelli Brunswick, the organization’s chief operating officer, will serve as acting chief executive until a permanent replacement is hired.

Pulham had been the chief executive of the Space Foundation since 2001. The organization, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is best known for its annual conference, the Space Symposium, that attracts thousands of space professionals. The organization also organizes smaller events and supports educational activities, including its Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.

In a speech Oct. 13 at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Pulham gave no indication he was planning to leave the organization, at least of his own volition. He primarily discussed the culture he helped create at the organization that, in recent years, led it to be ranked among the best nonprofit organizations to work for in the United States.

Pulham, though, was facing criticism after the website NASA Watch published in early October a number of Facebook posts from him. Several of the Facebook posts described his travel experiences flying first class — a job perk Space Foundation provided Pulham in addition to his $275,000 salary, according to the tax return the nonprofit filed last year.  Another post, from early this year, was crudely critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A link to Pulham’s Facebook page, listed on his personal website, returned a “page not found” error message.

SpaceNews editor in chief Brian Berger contributed to this report.


Another U.S. Air Force weather satellite just broke up in orbit
A rendering of a DMSP Block 5D weather satellite. Credit: USAF/SpaceNews

WASHINGTON — A third U.S. Air Force weather satellite that launched more than 20 years ago has broken up in orbit, Air Force Space Command disclosed Monday evening.

Air Force officials confirmed the breakup of the long-retired Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 12 satellite (DMSP F-12) after the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, detected an additional object orbiting alongside the 22-year-old satellite.

DMSP F-12, which the Air Force retired from service in 2008, had the same battery assembly that was implicated in the February 2015 breakup of DMSP F-13.

While both satellites were built by Lockheed Martin and launched less than a year apart, DMSP F-13 was still in service when it suffered its breakup, producing nearly 150 pieces of debris.

DMSP F-12, in contrast, was shut down in 2008 — a process that entails burning off the satellite’s remaining fuel, releasing compressed gasses, and discharging the battery. The Air Force said Monday evening it was tracking just one piece of debris associated with DMSP F-12’s breakup.

Properly shutting down a DMSP satellite at the end of its service life is no guarantee that it won’t suffer a catastrophic breakup, however. In 2004,  a 13-year-old DMSP spacecraft, dubbed DMSP-F11, broke apart and  produced 56 pieces of cataloged space debris, even though it had been taken out of service and gone through the normal end-of-life showdown procedures.

Following the February 2015 breakup of DMSP F-13, the Air Force said a total of nine DMSP satellites launched between 1982 and 1997 all had the same failure-prone battery assembly. At the time, only seven were still in orbit. With the breakup of DMSP F-12, that number is down to six. Of those, only one — DMSP F-14 — is still in service.

The Air Force said determining the cause of DMSP F-12’s breakup will be especially difficult since they have no telemetry from the long-silent satellite to help assess the incident.

The Air Force still has five DMSP satellites in service. The youngest, DMSP F-18, was launched in 2009. The oldest, DMSP F-14, was launched in 1997.

In February, the DMSP suffered another setback when the Air Force lost the ability to command DMSP F-19 due to an onboard power failure. The satellite had been in orbit less than two years when the failure occurred.


Extrasolare Planeten: Viele erdgroße Planeten um Zwergsterne?
Was für Planeten könnten um rote Zwergsterne kreisen? Dieser Frage haben sich Astrophysiker der Universität Bern mithilfe von Computersimulationen angenommen. Das Ergebnis: Häufig entstehen offenbar Planeten in ähnlicher Größe wie die Erde, die zudem vielfach auch über größere Mengen Wasser verfügen. Was dies für ihre Lebensfreundlichkeit bedeutet, ist hingegen nicht klar. (24. Oktober 2016)
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