NASA’s Deep Space Network Ground Testing with Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander a Success

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic Technology PR) — Last month, the Deep Space Network (DSN) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) successfully completed end-to-end test communications with Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. These tests demonstrated compatibility with space-to-ground communications that will occur during Peregrine’s mission to the Moon.

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NASA Awards Next-Generation Spaceflight Computing Processor Contract

(Image Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA HQ PR) — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California has selected Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler, Arizona, to develop a High-Performance Spaceflight Computing (HPSC) processor that will provide at least 100 times the computational capacity of current spaceflight computers. This key capability would advance all types of future space missions, from planetary exploration to lunar and Mars surface missions.

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NASA Commences Review of Delayed Psyche Asteroid Mission

NASA’s Psyche mission to a distant metal asteroid will carry a revolutionary Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package. This artist’s concept shows Psyche spacecraft with a five-panel array. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin)

NASA Mission Update

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have commissioned an independent review to examine project and institutional issues that led to the Psyche mission missing its planned 2022 launch opportunity, and to review the mission’s path forward. The 15-member review board will be chaired by retired NASA official Tom Young and is slated to begin work on July 19.

The review will study factors of workforce environment, culture, communication, schedule, and both technical and programmatic risks. Results of this study will help inform a continuation/ termination review for the mission, as well as provide NASA and JPL with actionable information to reduce risk for other missions. The board is expected to brief their findings to NASA and JPL leadership in late September.

Dragon Docks Delivering Science Benefitting Humans

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station during an orbital sunrise above the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: NASA TV)

NASA Mission Update

While the International Space Station was traveling more than 267 miles over the South Atlantic Ocean, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module at 11:21 a.m. EDT today, with NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins monitoring operations from the station.

The Dragon launched on SpaceX’s 25th contracted commercial resupply mission for NASA at 8:44 p.m., Thursday, July 14, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dragon spends about one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.

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Swarm of Tiny Swimming Robots Could Look for Life on Distant Worlds

In the Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers (SWIM) concept, illustrated here, dozens of small robots would descend through the icy shell of a distant moon via a cryobot – depicted at left – to the ocean below. The project has received funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A concept in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory would allow potential planetary missions to chase interesting clues in subsurface oceans.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Someday, a swarm of cellphone-size robots could whisk through the water beneath the miles-thick icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus, looking for signs of alien life. Packed inside a narrow ice-melting probe that would tunnel through the frozen crust, the tiny robots would be released underwater, swimming far from their mothercraft to take the measure of a new world.

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Breakthrough NXM Autonomous Security Technology Protects Space Infrastructure and IoT Devices from Cyberattacks

Next generation zero-trust cybersecurity software eliminates network-wide device hacks and defends against critical IoT vulnerabilities

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NXM Labs, Inc. PR) — NXM Labs, Inc., a leader in advanced cybersecurity software for connected devices, today unveiled its NXM Autonomous Security™platform that prevents hackers from gaining unauthorized access to commercial, industrial, medical, or consumer internet of things (IoT) devices. Tested in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), NXM successfully demonstrated the ability of its ground-breaking technology to enable future Mars rovers to automatically defend themselves and recover from cyberattacks. Caltech manages JPL on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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NASA Marshall Team Delivers Tiny, Powerful ‘Lunar Flashlight’ Propulsion System

Lunar Flashlight is a low-cost, innovative CubeSat set to investigate the shadowy surface of the Moon’s South Pole. The Lunar Flashlight mission was developed and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. (Credits: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have built some of the largest rocket engines ever to light up the icy reaches of space. Now Marshall and its commercial partners have delivered one of the smallest propulsion systems in its history, designed to help propel an upcoming NASA mission to shed new light on the Moon’s South Pole – in search of a much more useful type of ice.

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NASA Announces Launch Delay for Psyche Asteroid Mission

This illustration depicts NASA’s Psyche spacecraft (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announced Friday the Psyche asteroid mission, the agency’s first mission designed to study a metal-rich asteroid, will not make its planned 2022 launch attempt.

Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft’s flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on Oct. 11. The mission team needs more time to ensure that the software will function properly in flight.

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CubeSat Set to Demonstrate NASA’s Fastest Laser Link from Space

The completed TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) payload at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. (Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory)

By Kendall Murphy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA’s Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 (PTD-3) mission, carrying the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) system, will debut on May 25 as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-5 rideshare launch. TBIRD will showcase the high-data-rate capabilities of laser communications from a CubeSat in low-Earth orbit. At 200 gigabits per second (Gbps), TBIRD will downlink data at the highest optical rate ever achieved by NASA.

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Planetary Defense Exercise Uses Apophis as Hazardous Asteroid Stand-In

Clockwise from top left are three of the observatories that participated in a 2021 planetary defense exercise: NASA’s Goldstone planetary radar, the Mount Lemmon telescope of the Catalina Sky Survey, and NASA’s NEOWISE mission. At bottom left is an illustration of the path of Apophis’ close approach in 2029. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Over 100 participants from 18 countries – including NASA scientists and the agency’s NEOWISE mission – took part in the international exercise.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Watching the skies for large asteroids that could pose a hazard to the Earth is a global endeavor. So, to test their operational readiness, the international planetary defense community will sometimes use a real asteroid’s close approach as a mock encounter with a “new” potentially hazardous asteroid. The lessons learned could limit, or even prevent, global devastation should the scenario play out for real in the future.

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Voyager’s Space Micro Completes Delivery of Seven Flight Level Single Board Computers to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for SunRISE

SAN DIEGO (Voyager Space PR) — Space Micro Inc., powered by Voyager Space, recently delivered a total of seven (7) flight-level Single Board Computers (SBCs) to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of Pasadena, CA for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE). 

Slated for a 2024-2025 launch, SunRISE will collect data obtained by a small-sat array to help scientists better understand how the Sun generates and releases solar particle storms into space and how these storms influence the interplanetary environment. Space Micro’s SBCs contribute to the mission by performing on-board data processing.

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International Satellite to Track Impacts of Small Ocean Currents

SWOT’s solar panels unfold as part of a test in January at a Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes, France, where the satellite is being assembled. SWOT will measure elevations of Earth’s ocean and surface water, giving researchers information with an unprecedented level of detail. (Credits: CNES/Thales Alenia Space)

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission will explore how the ocean absorbs atmospheric heat and carbon, moderating global temperatures and climate change.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Though climate change is driving sea level rise over time, researchers also believe that differences in surface height from place to place in the ocean can affect Earth’s climate. These highs and lows are associated with currents and eddies, swirling rivers in the ocean, that influence how it absorbs atmospheric heat and carbon.

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NASA Extends Exploration for 8 Planetary Science Missions

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and beyond.

The missions – Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), InSight lander, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, OSIRIS-REx, and New Horizons – have been selected for continuation, assuming their spacecraft remain healthy. Most of the missions will be extended for three years; however, OSIRIS-REx will be continued for nine years in order to reach a new destination, and InSight will be continued until the end of 2022, unless the spacecraft’s electrical power allows for longer operations.

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video of Solar Eclipse on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera to shoot video of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, eclipsing the Sun. It’s the most zoomed-in, highest-frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/SSI)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has captured dramatic footage of Phobos, Mars’ potato-shaped moon, crossing the face of the Sun. These observations can help scientists better understand the moon’s orbit and how its gravity pulls on the Martian surface, ultimately shaping the Red Planet’s crust and mantle.

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US Space Force Releases Decades of Bolide Data to NASA for Planetary Defense Studies

This photograph taken by an International Space Station astronaut shows a bright meteor from the Perseid meteor shower in Earth’s atmosphere. The brightest meteors are known as fireballs, or bolides. (Credit: NASA)

Hosted by JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, the data can be used by the science community to better understand how asteroids break up when entering the atmosphere.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — An agreement between NASA and the U.S. Space Force recently authorized the public release of decades of data collected by U.S. government sensors on fireball events (large bright meteors also known as bolides) for the benefit of the scientific and planetary defense communities. This action results from collaboration between NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) and the U.S. Space Force to continue furthering our nation’s efforts in planetary defense, which include finding, tracking, characterizing, and cataloguing near-Earth objects (NEOs). The newly released data is composed of information on the changing brightness of bolides as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere, called light curves, that could enhance the planetary defense community’s current ability to model the effects of impacts by larger asteroids that could one day pose a threat to Earth.

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