Posts Tagged Satellites

Will NASA find new worlds with the help of Kepler observatory?

The answer is “yes” if there are alien worlds to be found. And we all know that statistically there should be.

NASA’s prolific Kepler space observatory, which has found signs of thousands of alien planets, will keep hunting strange new worlds for at least four more years, the space agency announced.

Funding for the Kepler mission, which has discovered more than 2,300 potential alien planets to date, was slated to run out this November. But a NASA review committee has recommended the telescope’s planet-hunting effort be extended through at least fiscal year 2016.

The $600 milllion Kepler observatory launched in March 2009 on a mission to find Earth-size planets in the so-called habitable zones of their parent stars — a just-right range of distances that could support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it.

The telescope finds alien planets using what scientists call the transit method: It detects the telltale dips in brightness caused when an alien world crosses in front of, or transits, its star from Kepler’s perspective. The Kepler spacecraft typically needs to witness three of these transits to firmly identify a planet candidate.

The instrument has been extremely productive, finding 61 confirmed alien planets to date, along with roughly 2,300 “candidate” worlds that still need to be vetted by follow-up observations. Kepler team members have estimated that the vast majority of these candidates — 80 percent or more — will likely end up being the real deal.

Every two years, NASA conducts a peer-reviewed assessment of the missions in its astrophysics division, an activity called a Senior Review. This year’s committee gave Kepler high marks for both performance and potential.

“The Kepler mission is an outstanding success,” committee members wrote in their report. “Kepler is not only a unique source of exoplanet discoveries, but also an organizing and rallying point for exoplanet research.”

Extending Kepler’s mission could yield big dividends for several reasons, researchers have said. Because of the three-transit requirement, most of the worlds Kepler has found so far zip around their stars relatively quickly, in close-in orbits.

So granting Kepler at least four more years gives it a chance to look for planets in more distant orbits, allowing the telescope to survey the habitable zones of warmer stars. (It could take a hypothetical alien version of Kepler up to three years, after all, to see Earth transit the sun three times.)

Seeing more transits will also increase the signal-to-noise ratio for closer-in planets, allowing more of them to be detected, researchers have said.

The review committee’s report did not explicitly lay out funding for Kepler’s extended operations, but Kepler team members have said that it costs about $20 million per year to operate the mission at its current level.

The review looked favorably on all nine astrophysics missions it examined — which also include the Hubble, Chandra, Fermi and Spitzer space telescopes — saying all had performed well and should continue operating through at least fiscal year 2014.

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CleanSpace One- The World’s First Space Janitor To Clean Up Space Debris!

What distinguishes the Swiss? Ingenuity and tidiness!

The researches from Swiss Federal Institute for Technology announced yesterday that they will be designing the world’s first janitor satellite. The project is called CleanSpace One and will be launched within 3-5 years.

Space debris is a really big issue.

The U.S. space agency NASA says over 500,000 pieces of spent rocket stages, broken satellites and other debris are orbiting Earth. The debris travels at speeds approaching 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kilometers per hour), fast enough to destroy or inflict expensive and time-draining damage on a satellite or spacecraft. Collisions, in turn, generate more fragments floating in space.

Space junk has collided with satellites at least twice: In 1996, a French satellite was damaged by a rocket fragment, and in 2009, a satellite owned by U.S.-based Iridium Communications was destroyed in a collision with a derelict Russian satellite.

“It has become essential to be aware of the existence of this debris and the risks that are run by its proliferation,” said Claude Nicollier, an astronaut and EPFL professor.

Building the satellite means developing new technology to address three big problems, scientists say.

The first hurdle has to do with trajectory: The satellite has to be able to adjust its path to match that of its target. EPFL said its labs are looking into a new ultra-compact motor that can do this.

Next, the satellite has to be able to grab hold of and stabilize the debris at high speeds. Scientists are studying how plants and animals grip things as a model for what would be used.

And, finally, CleanSpace One then has to be able to guide the debris, or unwanted satellites, back into Earth’s atmosphere, where both the Swiss-made satellite and the floating garbage it collects would burn on re-entry.

The Swiss Space Center’s director, Volker Gass, said it hopes to someday “offer and sell a whole family of ready-made systems, designed as sustainably as possible, that are able to de-orbit several different kinds of satellites.”

It remains to be seen how cost-effective the satellites are since each one would be destroyed after its mission, but governments might provide some funding if governments agree to rules to limit debris.

In 2007, China purposely destroyed one of its own satellites with a missile in a test, putting an estimated 150,000 smaller pieces of debris into space and 3,000 big enough to be tracked by radar on the ground.

More recently, Russia’s $170 million planned Mars moon probe got stranded in Earth’s orbit after its Nov. 9 launch. Efforts by Russian and European Space Agency experts to bring it back to life failed. It was one of the heaviest and most toxic pieces of space junk ever to crash to Earth.

There have been no reports of anyone ever being hit by it on Earth, but the problem it poses has slowly gained traction in political circles in the decades since the space age began more than a half-century ago.

The European Union has proposed its own draft rules for operating in space and the United States views that document as a starting point.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned last month of the space environment is threatened by space junk, and said the U.S. will hold talks with the EU to set informal rules aimed at limiting debris.

What is your opinion? Please comment below.


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Do You Think Satellites are Sexy and not Lady Gaga?

Earth: As Seen from Geostationary Orbit…ohhhhh!

Video Clip: Click to Watch

ATI presents:

An overview of commercial satellite communications hardware, operations, business and regulatory environment

This three-day introductory course has been taught to rave reviews to thousands of industry professionals for over two decades. The material is frequently updated and the course is a primer to the concepts, jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms of the industry, plus an overview of commercial satellite communications hardware, operations, and business environment.

Here is Dr. Mark R. Chartrand, course instructor, on YouTube.

Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex satellite systems in a short time. You will become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues.

Here is more about the course.

SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS COURSE — AN ESSENTIAL INTRODUCTION

The first section provides non-technical people with the technical background necessary to understand the space and earth segments of the industry, culminating with the importance of the link budget. The concluding section of the course provides an overview of the business issues, including major operators, regulation and legal issues, and issues and trends affecting the industry.

What You Will Learn:

• How do commercial satellites fit into the telecommunications industry?

• How are satellites planned, built, launched, and operated?

• How do earth stations function?

• What is a link budget and why is it important?

• What legal and regulatory restrictions affect the industry?

• What are the issues and trends driving the industry?

The course is intended primarily for non-technical people who must understand the entire field of commercial satellite communications, and who must understand and communicate with engineers and other technical personnel. The secondary audience is technical personnel moving into the industry who need a quick and thorough overview of what is going on in the industry.

Concepts are explained at a basic level, minimizing the use of math, and providing real-world examples. Several calculations of important concepts such as link budgets are presented for illustrative purposes, but the details need not be understood in depth to gain an understanding of the concepts illustrated.

Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes

Our short courses are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and satellite systems.

Don’t believe it?

Here is what one of our recent students had to say about this course.

“I truly enjoyed your course and hearing of your adventures in the Satellite business. You have a definite gift in teaching style and explanations.”

Still not convinced?

You can see for yourself the value of our course before you sign up.

View Satellite Course Sampler

You can also check out some of our other short courses on the ATI YouTube channel.

Attendees receive a copy of the instructor’s new textbook, Satellite Communications for the Non-Specialist, and will have time to discuss issues pertinent to their interests.

After completing the course, you will also receive a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information.

About ATI and the Instructors

Our mission here at ATI is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses.

ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology.

Dr. Mark R. Chartrand is a consultant and lecturer in satellite telecommunications and the space sciences. For more than 25 years he has presented professional seminars on satellite technology and telecommunications to satisfied individuals and businesses throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Dr. Chartrand has served as a technical and/or business consultant to NASA, Arianespace, GTE Spacenet, Intelsat, Antares Satellite Corp., Moffett-Larson-Johnson, Arianespace, Delmarva Power, Hewlett-Packard, and the International Communications Satellite Society of Japan, among others.

He has appeared as an invited expert witness before Congressional subcommittees and was an invited witness before the National Commission on Space.

He was the founding editor and the Editor-in-Chief of the annual The World Satellite Systems Guide, and later the publication Strategic Directions in Satellite Communication. He is author of six books and hundreds of articles in the space sciences. He has been chairman of several international satellite conferences, and a speaker at many others.

Times, Dates, and Locations

The times, dates and locations of our Satellite Communications – An Essential Introduction short course are as follows:

Sep 20-22, 2011 Cocoa Beach

Nov 29-Dec 1, 2011 Laurel, MD

Apr 17-19, 2012 Columbia, MD


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ATI Releases New Radar Systems Analysis & Design Using MATLAB Technical Training Short Course Sampler

On March 15, 2011 ATI released new Radar Systems Analysis & Design Using MATLAB technical training short course sampler.

    This course provides a comprehensive description of radar systems analyses and design. A design case study is introduced and as the material coverage progresses throughout the course, and new theory is presented, requirements for this design case study are changed and / or updated, and the design level of complexity is also increased. This design process is supported with a comprehensive set of MATLAB-7 code developed for this purpose. By the end, a comprehensive design case study is accomplished. This will serve as a valuable tool to radar engineers in helping them understand radar systems design process. Each student will receive the instructor’s textbook MATLAB Simulations for Radar Systems Design as well as course notes.
    The course is scheduled to be presented on May 2-5, 2011 in Columbia, MD.  Register here.

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      Additional information about NASA New Space Plans

      Additional information about NASA New Space Plans. Have you read and reviewed the recent NASA plans published?

      http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-ocLfVN8v3ONGVlNzIyNDItOGEwZC00OTJmLWE1OTUtZWY2NTJiYzlmNWUw&hl=en

      http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-ocLfVN8v3OMDIwYTU4YjYtNDFhNC00ZWIxLTg2NTEtZGFkYzE2ZjkwNDAw&hl=en

      If you enjoyed this information:


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      NASA Data for Climate Warming Says Warming Continues for Decade Ending 2009

      Global warning continues to make the news. Do you think
      1. Global warming is proven?
      2. Are the costs associated with Cap and Trade reasonable?

      NASA WASHINGTON — A new analysis of global surface temperatures by NASA scientists finds the past year was tied for the second warmest since 1880. In the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year on record.

      Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade because of a strong La Nina that cooled the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to a near-record global temperatures as the La Nina diminished, according to the new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The past year was a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest on record, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with a cluster of other years –1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 — for the second warmest on record.

      “There’s always interest in the annual temperature numbers and a given year’s ranking, but the ranking often misses the point,” said James Hansen, GISS director. “There’s substantial year-to-year variability of global temperature caused by the tropical El Nino-La Nina cycle.
      When we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find global warming is continuing unabated.”

      January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record.
      Looking back to 1880, when modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, although there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s.

      In the past three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.36 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) per decade.
      In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) since 1880.

      “That’s the important number to keep in mind,” said GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt. “The difference between the second and sixth warmest years is trivial because the known uncertainty in the temperature measurement is larger than some of the differences between the warmest years.”

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