Using Sunlight to Save Satellites from a Fate of ‘Space Junk’

by Kayla Wiles
Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No satellite stays the same once launched into space. How much it changes can go unnoticed – until something bad happens.

Carolin Frueh is among only a handful of researchers who have persisted in using a complex technique that can diagnose a problem from thousands of miles away based on how the satellite reflects sunlight.

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Space Exploration in a Time of Social Turmoil

The Expedition 63 crew welcomes Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The contrast was jarring. In one browser window, two NASA astronauts were making their way to the International Space Station (ISS) after the first orbital launch of a crew from U.S. soil in nearly 9 years.

In another window, scenes of chaos played out as protests over the death of George Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police erupted into violent clashes across the country.

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China’s Ambitious Plans to Dominate Cislunar Space

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s plans to achieve a commanding position in cislunar space. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is determined to establish a commanding position in cislunar space, seeing it as a strategic location from which to dominate the final frontier.

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Buzz Aldrin Named 2019 Space Cowboy

Buzz Aldrin salutes during the 2019 State of the Union address. (Credit: U.S. Senate Photo Studio/John Shinkle)

AUSTIN, Texas (EarthLight Foundation PR) — The EarthLight Foundation is proud to announce the 2019 Space Cowboy Award will be presented to Dr. “Buzz” Aldrin, member of the Apollo mission to the Moon, and longtime activist for the human exploration and settlement of space. The award will be presented to Dr. Aldrin at the Space Cowboy Ball on November 16, 2019 at the prestigious Bullock Texas State History Museum, in Austin, Texas.

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House Science Chairwoman Slams Trump Administration’s Artemis Lunar Plans

Astronauts on a future lunar walk. (Credit: NASA)

Opening Statement (Excerpt)

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics Hearing:
Developing Core Capabilities for Deep Space Exploration: An Update on NASA’s SLS, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

….I also want to echo Chairwoman Horn’s comment about the lateness of NASA’s testimony. NASA was provided ample advance notice of this hearing and more than sufficient time to prepare testimony and have it reviewed by OMB and whomever else looks over NASA’s testimony these days. The fact that this testimony is overdue is not only frustrating, it leaves Members little opportunity to consider NASA’s testimony in advance of the hearing. If NASA and the Administration can’t meet simple hearing deadlines, it doesn’t inspire great confidence in their ability to meet the much harder deadline of landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024.

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One Giant Leap for Lunar Landing Navigation Taken in Mojave

This map of the Moon shows the five candidate landing sites chosen by the Apollo Site Selection Board in February 1968. Photographs gathered during earlier uncrewed reconnaissance missions gave NASA information about terrain features. (Credit: NASA)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

MOJAVE, Calif., September 13, 2019 (NASA PR) — When Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, it first flew over an area littered with boulders before touching down at the Sea of Tranquility. The site had been selected based on photos collected over two years as part of the Lunar Orbiter program.

But the “sensors” that ensured Eagle was in a safe spot before touching down – those were the eyes of NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

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Michael Collins Honored with 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

Michael Collins

WASHINGTON,DC (NAA PR) – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce that Major General Michael Collins has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for … “his lifelong dedication to aerospace and public service in the highest order, both as a pioneering astronaut and inspired director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.”

Established by NAA in 1948 to honor the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the trophy is awarded annually to a living American for “…significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” One of the most important, historic, and visible aerospace awards in the world, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy reflects a timeline of the most innovative inventors, explorers, industrialists, and public servants in aeronautics and astronautics.

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ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Endorses Lunar Gateway

Gateway with Orion over the Moon (Credit: ESA/NASA/ATG Medialab)

ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Joint Statement

The International Space Station (ISS) Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) met on August 6, 2019. Its members[1] acknowledged the recent 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission, praised the ongoing important work of the ISS, and discussed opportunities for the future of human exploration on and around the Moon and forward to Mars.  

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Michael Collins Answers All Your Questions About Apollo 11

Michael Collins

UPDATED for the 50th Anniversary July 2019
2009 Michael Collins Interviews Michael Collins

Statement from Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins

The following is a series of questions and answers prepared by Michael Collins, command module pilot for Apollo 11.

These are questions I am most frequently asked plus a few others I have added. For more information, please consult my book, the 50th anniversary edition of CARRYING THE FIRE, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys. All of the following sections in quotation marks are from that reference.

Q. Circling the lonely moon by yourself, the loneliest person in the universe, weren’t you lonely?

A. No.

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Vice President Unveils NASA Spacecraft for Artemis 1 Lunar Mission on Moon Landing Anniversary

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with an Orion spacecraft in the background. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Vice President Mike Pence visited and gave remarks in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing and announce to America the completion of NASA’s Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.

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Presidential Message on Space Exploration Day, 2019

President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviving the National Space Council. (Credit: The White House)

On Space Exploration Day, we marvel at our country’s accomplishments in space, commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, and pledge to launch a new era of discovery and exploration of our universe.

For more than a half century, the United States has led humanity’s quest into the great unknown.  Few moments in our American story spark more pride than the Apollo 11 mission, when Neil Armstrong, alongside Buzz Aldrin, planted our beautiful flag into the Moon’s surface on July 20, 1969.  Those first steps upon that “magnificent desolation” represent a remarkable era in American innovation that has inspired future generations to become scientists and engineers and has served as a catalyst for the technological revolution of the 21st century.  The Apollo 11 lunar landing was a spectacular demonstration of American technical prowess and space leadership, and it served as an enduring example of what can be accomplished, in the face of incredible odds, by American heart, courage, and grit.

To honor those who have come before us and for the future betterment of all humankind, we pledge to launch a new era of exploration, extending our pioneering spirit into the farthest reaches of the cosmos.  My Administration is committed to reestablishing our Nation’s dominance and leadership in space for centuries to come.  I have instructed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to send the next man and first woman to the Moon and to take the next giant leap—sending Americans to Mars.  Sustained exploration that extends from our Earth to the Moon and on to the Martian surface will usher in a new era of American ingenuity, drawing untold individuals into the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and defense.

On this Space Exploration Day, we celebrate our tremendous technological advancements, honor those we have lost in the pursuit of discovery, and embrace the American Spirit that has inspired our Nation to lead the world in space.

A Few Things Artemis Will Teach Us About Living and Working on the Moon

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The Lunar Module ascent stage with Moon-walking astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaches for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module staffed by astronaut Michael Collins. (Credit: NASA)

Humans have not had much of an opportunity to work on the Moon. The 12 Apollo astronauts who got to explore its surface clocked in 80 hours in total of discovery time. From their brief encounters, and from extensive analyses of Apollo samples and lunar meteorites that were found on Earth, scientists have learned nearly as much as is possible to learn about the lunar environment without much contact with the surface.

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NASA Releases Stunning Panoramas of Apollo Landing Sites for 50th Anniversary

A panorama of the moon from images taken during the Apollo 17 mission. (Credit: NASA)

NASA imagery experts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center have “stitched together” images from the Apollo landing sites on the Moon for a 50th anniversary reminder of what the 12 humans who walked on its surface experience visually.

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Individual images taken by the Apollo astronauts were pulled together by NASA imagery specialist Warren Harold at Johnson, and the accuracy of the unique perspective they represent was verified by  Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the only geologist to walk on the Moon.

 “The Valley of Taurus-Littrow on the Moon presents a view that is one of the more spectacular natural scenes in the Solar System,” Schmitt said about the images stitched together from his Moon base Station 5 at the Taurus-Littrow landing site.

“The massif walls of the valley are brilliantly illuminated by the Sun, rise higher than those of the Grand Canyon, and soar to heights over 4,800 feet on the north and 7,000 feet on the south,” Schmitt added. “At the same time, the summits are set against a blacker than black sky —  a contrast beyond the experience of visitors from Earth. And, over the South Massif wall of the valley, one can always see home, the cloud-swirled blue Earth, only 250,000 miles away.”

The Apollo 17 panorama also has been converted into an immersive panorama viewable on the NASA Johnson account on Facebook.

Inspect these images and learn more about the sites they depict at:

https://images.nasa.gov/https://flic.kr/s/aHsjHYKZe3

Immerse yourself in the view from the Apollo 17 landing site by visiting JSC Facebook at:

https://go.nasa.gov/2YXLtbh