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  • richardmitnick 8:27 am on January 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Showtime for ColKa", ColKa will connect the Columbus module to the European Data Relay System- satellites in geostationary orbit that transfer data via European ground stations., Columbus Ka-band or ColKa terminal, , ISS   

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU): “Showtime for ColKa” 

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    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    26/01/2021

    1

    Lights, camera, action for NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover. The duo will install European payloads outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk on 27 January, guided by the know-how of their colleagues.

    ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen is seen in this image installing the Columbus Ka-band or ColKa terminal that will enable faster communication with Europe during a ‘dress rehearsal’ in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in 2018.

    Andrea will serve as ground IV, directing Mike and Victor through the installation of the small fridge-sized device by radio from NASA’s mission control.

    ColKa will connect the Columbus module to the European Data Relay System, satellites in geostationary orbit that transfer data via European ground stations. This will enable faster uplink and downlink speeds between the European segment of the Space Station and European researchers on the ground.

    In addition to installing ColKa, the pair will also complete cable and antenna rigging for the Bartolomeo science platform outside Columbus.

    The Bartolomeo service will provide end-to-end access for external payloads on the Space Station. A new community of start-ups and space entrepreneurs will benefit from an unobstructed view of Earth, direct control of experiments from the ground and the possibility of retrieving samples.

    Tomorrow’s spacewalk will begin at 13:00 CET and will be streamed live via NASA TV. Follow live updates on the spacewalk on social media via @esaspaceflight.

    Credit: NASA EVA NBL.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA) (EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 8:00 am on May 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Spider eyes in space", , , , , ISS, Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic camera   

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe: “Spider eyes in space” 

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    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe

    05/05/2020

    1

    Not everyone can fly to the International Space Station, but astronauts are working hard to bring the experience to Earth – including through a virtual reality (VR) film project known as ISS Experience.

    This Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic camera, shown above, was launched to the Space Station in December 2018. It shoots high quality 360-degree footage, documenting life and research on the Space Station for people to experience in VR on Earth.

    ISS Experience is a commercial project and technology demonstration, developed by a team at Felix and Paul Studios in partnership with TIME and the US ISS National Laboratory responsible for managing all non-NASA research on Station. Through the VR series, the team hope to transport audiences to space and make spectators feel like crew members on a mission.

    On Station, the camera is used to film up to four hours of footage each week. Every one to two weeks, this footage is transferred from the camera onto solid state drives that are used for storage and downlinking.

    ESA astronauts Luca Parmitano, Thomas Pesquet, Samantha Cristoforetti and Alexander Gerst discussed the project following Luca’s return from the Space Station, including the need to keep objects away from the lenses to ensure these did not take over the scene.

    Initially scheduled to end with Luca’s increment, the project has now been extended. “That’s because this year and into next year, they’re going to have one version of ISS Experience that’s going to go EVA. They’re going to take one outside,” Luca says.

    Before a VR camera is taken out on a spacewalk, there are some challenges to overcome. These include power source, as the current camera must be plugged in. However, if successful, it will provide unprecedented insight into the daily lives of astronauts in a way never experienced before.

    Watch the full conversation about ISS Experience here.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 8:04 am on April 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "European Microgravity Science Glovebox", , , , ISS   

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe: “European Microgravity Science Glovebox” 

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    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe

    1

    28/04/2020

    ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (left) and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson using the European Microgravity Science Glovebox in the International Space Station during Thomas’ six-month Proxima mission 13 February 2017.

    The device allows astronauts to run experiments in a sealed and controlled environment, isolated from the rest of the International Space Station.

    The gloves are the access points through which astronauts manipulate experiments, in the field of material science, biotechnology, fluid science, combustion science and crystal growth research.

    Scientific gloveboxes are common on Earth. To build a glovebox that will last at least ten years in weightlessness, however, was a much tougher proposition. The Microgravity Science Glovebox had to fit in a standard International Space Station equipment rack and be versatile enough to accommodate a huge range of experiments and materials – including a few that no one had thought of during the design stage.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 10:42 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, , Four spacewalks, ISS   

    European Space Agency – United space in Europe: “Leading the way” 

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    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe

    United space in Europe

    12/11/2019

    ISS

    1

    Four spacewalks in the coming weeks means a lot of prep work. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is gearing up the first in a series of historic extravehicular activities or EVAs taking place 15 November. He is pictured here creating tape flags that will be used to mark tubes during the spacewalks.

    The spacewalks are to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer or AMS, a cosmic ray detector that is searching for dark matter, antimatter, and completely unexpected physics well beyond its three-year mission.

    CERN Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

    The space-based Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the ISS

    Installed outside the International Space Station in 2011, the instrument has recorded over 140 billion particles to date along with their mass, velocity, and charge and direction of travel. This data is helping scientists track down the origin of cosmic rays and search for dark matter, the invisible matter component of our universe, as well as the antimatter counterpart that should have been created at the birth of our universe in the Big Bang.

    As expected, the harsh environment of space began to wear down the facility. One by one, the cooling pumps keeping a vital detector at a constant temperature began to fail, affecting the data collection.
    Plans for spacewalks to upgrade the pumps have been in the making for years to keep the science going.

    Never intended to be serviced in orbit, the AMS maintenance will be complex.

    For starters, AMS-02 has over 300,000 data channels. There are also no handrails or foot restraints installed around the instrument to access the cooling system that needs maintenance. New tools are also needed, as astronauts have never cut and reconnected fluid lines in a bulky spacesuit before.

    Luca trained well in advance for these spacewalks at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA. New tools and procedures were extensively tested, with a lot of know-how drawn from the last series of complex spacewalks to extend the life of a valuable space instrument, the Hubble Space telescope.

    Now that the latest Cygnus cargo supply mission has brought the final tools needed, Luca and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan are ready to go.

    Luca will play a leading role as EV-1, wearing a white spacesuit with red stripes while Andrew wears the white spacesuit with no stripes. It is the first time a European astronaut has held the lead position.

    The pair will be supported by NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir who will operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm from inside the Station. This will help position the astronauts around their hard-to-reach work site, located on top of the Station’s S3 Truss structure between a pair of solar arrays and radiators.

    The entire spacewalk is expected to take around six hours and it will set the scene for at least three more.

    The spacewalk will be streamed live on ESA Web TV from 12:50 CET (11:50 GMT) and ESA’s Facebook page. The first two hours of the broadcast will feature commentary from astronaut and operation experts at ESA’s astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany, as well as a live cross with scientists at the CERN European Laboratory for Particle Physics.

    Got questions about AMS, the spacewalk, and dark matter? Tweet your questions to @esaspaceflight or @cern using #SpacewalkForAMS. Experts will answer them throughout the day.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 7:53 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , ISS   

    From European Space Agency: “Cargo load” 

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    From European Space Agency

    05/11/2019

    1
    The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle hangs out after arriving to the International Space Station on 4 November.

    The latest resupply mission includes over 4 tonnes of science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It also crucially includes components essential for the series of spacewalks taking place this month.

    In a few weeks ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan will venture out to perform a series of spacewalks four years in the making. The extravehicular activities, or EVAs, will service and enhance the dark matter-hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

    CERN Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

    The space-based Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the ISS

    The dark-matter hunter was launched in 2011 and records over 17 billion cosmic rays, particles and nuclei a year. Results from the particle physics detector are among the top five most-cited publications from International Space Station research.

    The instrument was initially meant to run for only three years but has been so successful that its mission has been extended. However, three of the four cooling pumps have stopped functioning and will require multiple spacewalks to repair.

    Luca will take a leading role in the spacewalks with the first intended to determine just how and where to intervene, and what tools will be needed for the process.

    Listen to the ESA Explores podcast on spacewalks to learn how astronauts prepare to venture into the cold dark of space.

    In the meantime, the crew are unloading the supplies, which also include fresh food and hardware for the rover-driving Analog-1 experiment, parts for ESA’s next-generation life support system as well as a software upgrade for boiling experiment Rubi and parts for the commercial external platform Bartolomeo that will be installed outside Europe’s space lab Columbus.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on May 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ACES clock: French space agency engineers working on the Pharao atomic space clock., , Comparing time down to a stability of hundreds femtoseconds – one millionth of a billionth of a second – requires techniques that push the limits of current technology., Einstein-Eddington eclipse experiment, ISS, Pound-Rebka experiment first measured the redshift effect induced by gravity in a laboratory   

    From European Space Agency: “Clocks, gravity, and the limits of relativity” 

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    From European Space Agency

    1

    23 May 2019

    The International Space Station will host the most precise clocks ever to leave Earth. Accurate to a second in 300 million years the clocks will push the measurement of time to test the limits of the theory of relativity and our understanding of gravity.

    Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted that gravity and speed influences time, the faster you travel the more time slows down, but also the more gravity pulling on you the more time slows down.

    On 29 May 1919 Einstein’s theory was first put to the test when Arthur Eddington observed light “bending” around the Sun during a solar eclipse.

    Eddington/Einstein exibition of gravitational lensing solar eclipse of 29 May 1919

    Forty years later, the Pound-Rebka experiment first measured the redshift effect induced by gravity in a laboratory – but a century later scientists are still searching for the limits of the theory.

    Pound-Rebka Experiment

    “The theory of relativity describes our Universe on the large scale, but on the border with the infinitesimally small scale the theory does not jibe and it remains inconsistent with quantum mechanics,” explains Luigi Cacciapuoti, ESA’s Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) project scientist. “Today’s attempts at unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics predict violations of the Einstein’s equivalence principle.”

    Einstein’s principle details how gravity interferes with time and space. One of its most interesting manifestations is time dilation due to gravity. This effect has been proven by comparing clocks at different altitudes such as on mountains, in valleys and in space. Clocks at higher altitude show time passes faster with respect to a clock on the Earth surface as there is less gravity from Earth the farther you are from our planet.

    Flying at 400 km altitude on the Space Station, the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space will make more precise measurements than ever before.

    Internet of Clocks

    3
    ACES clock: French space agency engineers working on the Pharao atomic space clock. Pharao is part of the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space, ACES, that will fly to the International Space Station. Pharao is accurate to a second in 300 million years. This will allow scientists to test fundamental theories first proposed by Albert Einstein to an accuracy that is impossible in laboratories on Earth. The final 375 kg experiment will be installed on a platform outside Europe’s Columbus space laboratory. Credit CNES

    ACES will create an “internet of clocks”, connecting the most accurate atomic timepieces the world over and compare their timekeeping with the ones on humankind’s weightless laboratory as it flies overhead.

    Comparing time down to a stability of hundreds femtoseconds – one millionth of a billionth of a second – requires techniques that push the limits of current technology. ACES has two ways for the clocks to transmit their data, a microwave link and an optical link. Both connections exchange two-way timing signals between the ground stations and the space terminal, when the timing signal heads upwards to the Space Station and when it returns down to Earth.

    The unprecedented accuracy this setup offers brings some nice bonuses to the ACES experiment. Clocks on the ground will be compared among themselves providing local measurements of geopotential differences, helping scientists to study our planet and its gravity.

    The frequencies of the laser and microwave links will help understand how light and radio waves propagate through the troposphere and ionosphere thus providing information on climate. Finally, the internet of clocks will allow scientists to distribute time and to synchronise their clocks worldwide for large-scale Earth-based experiments and for other applications that require precise timing.

    “The next generation of atomic clocks and the link techniques that we are developing could one-day be used to observe gravitational waves themselves as ESA’s proposed LISA mission,” adds Luigi, “but right now ACES will help us test as best we can Einstein’s theory of general relativity, searching for tiny violations that, if found, might open a window to a new theory of physics that must come.”

    The clocks have been tested and integrated on the ACES payload and the microwave link for ACES is undergoing tests before final integration with the full experiment. ACES will be ready for launch to the Space Station by 2020.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 8:13 am on May 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Canadian space robotics, , ISS   

    From Canadian Space Agency: “Canadian space robotics ace critical procedure to restore full power to the ISS” 

    From Canadian Space Agency

    International Space Station news

    1

    Canadian space robotics ace critical procedure to restore full power to the ISS

    2
    Dextre during replacement operations on May 2, 2019. The failed electrical unit is visible at the bottom of the image. (Credit : NASA)

    2019-05-03
    A swift international effort resulted in the successful completion of a critical robotics operation that saw Canadarm2 and Dextre restore full power to the International Space Station (ISS) in the early hours of May 2.

    Three days earlier, on April 29, the failure of an electrical component known as a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) caused an outage of approximately 25% of the Station’s power.

    An international team, including the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), NASA and MDA robotics specialists, worked quickly and diligently to plan how Canadarm2 and Dextre would remove the failed unit and install a spare.

    The power failure had no immediate impact on the ISS’s crew, who connected jumper cables to reroute electrical power to science experiments and other hardware inside the orbiting laboratory.

    This intensive operation marks only the second time this type of unit has been replaced robotically. The accelerated achievement – completed in a record-setting 72 hours – was made possible by applying invaluable expertise gained two years ago. A previous May 2017 replacement required around-the-clock work lasting three times longer, a total of almost 10 days.

    Without Canadian space robotics, the recent failure would likely have required an unscheduled spacewalk, a complex activity that pulls astronauts away from their core task of conducting science in microgravity.

    The successful operation also paves the way for the May 4 launch of the Dragon cargo vehicle, which will be captured on May 6 by Canadarm2, controlled by David Saint-Jacques. It will be the first time a CSA astronaut performs a “”cosmic catch.””

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Canadian Space Agency (CSA; French: Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC) was established by the Canadian Space Agency Act which received Royal Assent on May 10, 1990. The agency reports to the federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.

    The headquarters of the CSA is located at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Longueuil, Quebec. The agency also has offices in Ottawa, Ontario, at the David Florida Laboratory, and small liaison offices in Houston, Washington, D.C., and Paris.

    The origins of the Canadian upper atmosphere and space program can be traced back to the end of the Second World War. Between 1945 and 1960, Canada undertook a number of small launcher and satellite related projects under the aegis of defence research, including the development of the Black Brant rocket as well as series of advanced studies examining both orbital rendezvous and re-entry. In 1957, scientists and engineers at the Canadian Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) under the leadership of John H. Chapman embarked on a project initially known simply as S-27 or the Topside Sounder Project. This work would soon lead to the development of Canada’s first satellite known as Alouette 1.

    With the launch of Alouette 1 in September 1962, Canada became the third country to put an artificial satellite into space. At the time, Canada only possessed upper atmospheric launch capabilities (sounding rockets), therefore, Alouette 1 was sent aloft by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. The technical excellence of the satellite, which lasted for ten years instead of the expected one, prompted the further study of the ionosphere with the joint Canadian-designed, US-launched ISIS satellite program. This undertaking was designated an International Milestone of Electrical Engineering by IEEE in 1993. The launch of Anik A-1 in 1972 made Canada the first country in the world to establish its own domestic geostationary communication satellite network.

    These and other space related activities in the 1980s compelled the Canadian government to promulgate the Canadian Space Agency Act which established the Canadian Space Agency. The Act received royal assent on May 10, 1990 and came into force on December 14, 1990.

    In 1999 the CSA was moved from project-based to “A-base” funding and given a fixed annual budget of $300 Million.[1] The actual budget varies from year to year due to additional earmarks and special projects.

    The mandate of the Canadian Space Agency is to promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians. The Canadian Space Agency’s mission statement says that the agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:39 am on December 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , HPC Spaceborne Computer, ISS, , Spaceborne Computer is first step in helping NASA get humanity to Mars,   

    From Science Node: “Launching a supercomputer into space” 

    Science Node bloc
    From Science Node

    03 Dec, 2018
    Kevin Jackson

    1
    HPC Spaceborne supercomputer replica.

    Spaceborne Computer is first step in helping NASA get humanity to Mars.

    The world needs more scientists like Dr. Mark Fernandez. His southern drawl and warm personality almost make you overlook the fact that he’s probably forgotten more about high-performance computing (HPC) than you’ll ever know.


    The Spaceborne Computer is currently flying aboard the International Space Station to prove that high-performance computing hardware can survive and operate in outer space conditions. Courtesy HPE.

    Fernandez is the Americas HPC Technology Officer for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). His current baby is the Spaceborne Computer, a supercomputer that has spent more than a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

    In this time, the Spaceborne Computer has run through a gamut of tests to ensure it works like it’s supposed to. Now, it’s a race to accomplish as much as possible before the machine is brought home.

    Computing for the stars

    The Spaceborne Computer’s history extends well before its launch to the ISS. In fact, Fernandez explains that the project began about three years prior.

    “NASA Ames was in a meeting with us in the summer of 2014 and they said that, for a mission to Mars or for a lunar outpost, the distance was so far that they would not be able to continue their mission of supporting the space explorers,” says Fernandez. “And so they just sort of off-handedly said, ‘take part of our current supercomputer and see what it would take to get it operating in space.’ And we took up the challenge.”

    When astronauts send and receive data to and from Earth, this information is moving at the speed of light. In the ISS, which is 240 miles (400 kilometers) away from Earth, data transmission still happens very quickly. The same won’t be true when humans begin our journey into the rest of the cosmos.

    “All science and engineering done here on Earth requires some type of high performance computing to make it function,” says Fernandez. “You don’t want to be 24 minutes away and trying to do your Mars dust storm predictions. You want to be able to take those scientific and engineering computations that are currently done here on Earth and bring them with you.”

    To get ready for these kinds of tasks, the Spaceborne Computer has spent the past year performing standard benchmarking tests in what Fernandez calls the “acceptance phase.” Now that these experiments are done, it’s time to get interesting.

    The sky’s not the limit

    For traditional supercomputers, powering and cooling the machine often represents a huge cost. This isn’t true in space.

    “The Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) is how the environment for the human astronauts is maintained at a certain temperature,” says Fernandez. “Our experiments are allowed to tap into that MTL, and that’s where we put our heat. Our heat is then expelled into the coldness of space for free. We have free electricity coming from the solar cells, and we have free cooling from the coldness of space and therefore, by definition, we have the most energy efficient supercomputer in existence anywhere on Earth or elsewhere.”

    The cost-neutral aspect of the Spaceborne Computer allows HPE to give researchers access to the machine for free before it must return to Earth. One of these experiments, announced at SC18, concerns Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) software.

    “If you’re going to build a Mars habitat, you need to land carefully,” says Fernandez. “This EDL software runs in real time, it’s connected to the thrusters on the spacecraft, and in real time determines where you are and adjusts your thrusters so that you can land within 50 meters of your target. Now, it’s never been tested in space, and the only place it will ever run is in space. So they’re very excited about getting it to run on the Spaceborne Computer.”

    While Fernandez is delighted that his machine will be able to test important innovations like this, he seems dismayed by all the science he won’t be able to do. The Spaceborne Computer will soon be brought back home by NASA, and he’s doing what he can to cram in as many important experiments as possible.

    Fernandez’s attitude speaks volumes about the mental outlook we’ll need to traverse the cosmos. He often uses the term “space explorers” in place of “astronauts” or even “researchers.” It’s a term that cuts to the heart of what scientists like him are attempting to do.

    “We’re proud to be good space explorers,” says Fernandez. “I say, let’s all work together. We’ve got free electricity. We have free cooling. Let’s push science as far and as hard as we can.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Science Node is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, Science Node is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read Science Node via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

     
  • richardmitnick 3:20 pm on November 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISS, White Mars: the ESA experiments   

    From ESA Chronicles From Concordia: “White Mars: the ESA experiments” 


    European Space Agency

    From ESA Chronicles From Concordia

    ESA Concordia Sunrise Sunrise

    02/11/2018
    laylan

    1
    Soyuz spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. Credits: ESA/NASA

    Dr. Carmen Possnig is the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She facilitates a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. In the following post, Carmen discusses the European experiments she is performing in Antarctica.

    “Next scenario: You are a pilot in the Soyuz, autopilot docking doesn’t work, you have to do it manually. At the same time you realize that the International Space Station has a problem: it is out of control and rotates around an axis. Good luck!”

    I enter the scenario into the computer and wait until my respondent has completed the preflight checks and selected a target. Then I close the curtain and my colleague is now undisturbed – with his monitors he can fully concentrate on docking to the Space Station. Then I lean back and watch the flight progress.

    2
    Testing fine motor skills. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–M. Buttu

    For one of the ESA experiments my crew members fly a Soyuz capsule simulator every month. The Soyuz is the Russian spacecraft that currently brings astronauts to the International Space Station. If the radar navigation system fails on its way to the Space Station, the pilots have to dock manually. If the target monitor also fails, docking must be purely visual and with the help of a periscope. If the Space Station were out of control and would move randomly through the area, this would also have to be mastered. So we have many scenarios available to test my subjects.

    The whole point is to find out how motor skills change in the course of isolation. Do they deteriorate, do they stay the same? In addition to the simulator, my subjects also complete motor and cognitive tests, as well as questionnaires.

    3
    In the Soyuz Simulator. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–C. Verseux

    The whole point is to find out how motor skills change in the course of isolation. Do they deteriorate, do they stay the same? In addition to the simulator, my subjects also complete motor and cognitive tests, as well as questionnaires.

    Astronauts on a long-duration flight to Mars, for example, may not have to steer the spaceship themselves for months. Upon arrival to the Red Planet, would they still be able to land the spacecraft and bring it back to Earth safely? After months of isolation, would they still be able to do that? How often do they need to train to perform well?

    Like the real Soyuz, the simulator has three monitors, one of which is the periscope viewer. With two joysticks, one for rotational and one for translational movements, the test subject can steer the spaceship. Flying is trained for hours over the summer; now in winter I don’t give any more tips – my crewmates are on their own.

    More science
    4
    Early in the morning at the blood test. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–F. Calì Quaglia

    Concordia is the place on Earth that has most similarities with a station on another planet, or a long-term space flight. Similar to future astronauts, we are completely isolated from the outside world – for nine months at least –, we have unusual light conditions – three and a half months night, followed by long twilight and then three and a half months sunlight –, we have to dress carefully with special clothing before we can go outside, where it is not uncommon to have -80°C and we always have to be in contact by radio; we are at 3233m altitude with very low air pressure and low humidity; we are a crew of 13 people. Lovingly we call our surroundings “White Mars”. Accordingly, the environment is optimal for human spaceflight research. I do it, and my crewmates are the test subjects.

    One of the other three experiments I carry out is mainly concerned with height adjustment. For this I take blood samples, urine collections every 24 hours, and various parameters like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature of the feet and hands, and oxygen saturation. In addition, there are several questionnaires.

    5
    Working at Concordia’s lab. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–F. Calì Quaglia

    Two further experiments focus on the immune system. Since no pathogenic viruses, bacteria or fungi survive outside our station, and we are always the same thirteen people for nine months, our immune systems have no new inputs and not much to do. This is also a similar situation as it would be during a long-term spaceflight. It is therefore particularly exciting to observe what our cells say about this. I take monthly blood samples, urine collections, saliva, hair, and, especially popular, stool samples. And again many questionnaires.

    The immune system is a bit like a muscle: it gets stronger the more we have to use it. It is no wonder that when the first new people arrive at the beginning of summer, the winter overs get slightly sick.

    I analyse some of these blood samples in the laboratory. We have a flow cytometer which sorts and counts cells according to all possible values. Sometimes fast, mostly rather slow, and always quite loud. But everyone is fascinated when they can observe their cells unraveled on the screen.

    6
    The blood samples are processed and analysed on site. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–C. Possnig

    We also have the possibility to take complete blood pictures, and other blood values can be determined in the hospital. I regularly watch our cholesterol levels rise. The adaptation to the altitude is also clearly recognisable: my haemoglobin is currently at 15.4g/dl, after all an increase of almost 30%. We are looking forward to fleeting sporting successes when returning to normal oxygen conditions.

    I don’t get bored. The adventures of my colleagues in the simulator are always worth seeing, even if less and less gets lost in space. Watching our blood cells get used to the strange conditions here is no less exciting.

    And if the temptation gets too big, I jump into my simulator myself, let the Space Station rotate and the target monitor fail and save my spaceship with semi-elegant docking manoeuvres. At least my motor skills don’t suffer here.

    To read Carmen’s adventures at Concordia in German, see her personal blog.

    See the full article here .

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    ESA Concordia Base

    Concordia research station in Antarctica is located on a plateau 3200 m above sea level. A place of extremes, temperatures can drop to –80°C in the winter, with a yearly average temperature of –50°C.

    As Concordia lies at the very southern tip of Earth, the Sun does not rise above the horizon in the winter and does not set in the summer. The crew must live without sunlight for four months of the year.

    The altitude and location mean that the air in Concordia is very thin and holds less oxygen. Venturing outside the base requires wearing layers of clothes and limits the time spent outdoors.

    During the harsh winter no outside help can be flown in or reach the base over land – the crew have to solve any problems on their own.

    In addition, Concordia sits in the largest desert in the world. The air is extremely dry, so the crew suffer from continuously chapped lips and irritated eyes.

    No animals can survive in this region – even bacteria find it hard coping with the extreme temperatures. The nearest human beings are stationed some 600 km away at the Russian Vostok base, making Concordia more remote than the International Space Station.

    In the great open landscape covered in darkness, colours, smells and sounds are almost non-existent, adding to the sense of loneliness.

    The isolation and sensory deprivation can wreak havoc on crewmembers’ biological clock, making it hard to get a good night’s sleep.

    Despite all these hardships, up to 16 people spend around a year at a time living in Concordia in the name of science. Far removed from civilisation, the white world of Antarctica offers researchers the opportunity to collect data and experiment like no other place on Earth.

    The base is so unlike anything found elsewhere in the world that ESA participates in the Italian-French base to research future missions to other planets, using the base as a model for extraterrestrial planets.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 10:21 am on November 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISS, Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank, Newton’s apple seeds, , The apple tree in Isaac Newton’s mother’s orchard where Newton saw the famous apple fall, The next step will be to find suitable welcoming homes for the young trees so that they can help tell the intertwining stories of Newton seed science and space travel, The tree is still flourishing at Woolsthorpe Manor Newton’s home near Grantham 330 years after he wrote his great work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica,   

    From UK Space Agency Blog: “Newton’s apple seeds” 

    UK Space Agency

    UK Space Agency Blog

    6 November 2017
    Steven Watson

    I’ve just met some remarkable seedlings at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, where Kew Gardens keeps its Millennium Seed Bank. They are the experts when it comes to anything to do with storing and growing plant seeds.

    The seeds in question were flown on the International Space Station with Tim Peake and were collected from the apple tree in Isaac Newton’s mother’s orchard where Newton saw the famous apple fall, which helped him figure out the laws of gravity. Isaac Newton (born in 1643) was a physicist and mathematician who developed the principles of modern physics including the laws of gravity and motion.

    The tree is still flourishing at Woolsthorpe Manor, Newton’s home near Grantham, 330 years after he wrote his great work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which set out the laws of gravitation on which every space mission depends. This was the great work that Tim Peake’s Principia mission was named after.

    1
    Newton’s apple tree – and the seeds being presented by Dallas Campbell and Jannette Warrener to the Agency’s Head of Education and Skills, Jeremy Curtis.

    The National Trust’s Operations Manager at Woolsthorpe Manor, Jannette Warrener, and her team harvested the seeds and presented them to the UK Space Agency during Grantham’s annual Gravity Fields festival in October 2014. We then delivered them to Wakehurst Place to dry and pack them for their epic journey into space.

    The seeds were delivered to space in SpaceX-8, a cargo supply to the International Space Station, on the 16 April 2016 and spent 198 days in space before returning to Earth with SpaceX-9 on 26 August 2016.

    2
    Tim with seeds on ISS. No image credit.

    On their return from space, the well-travelled seeds then went back to Wakehurst Place where they spent 90 days sitting on a bed of agar jelly at 5°C to simulate the winter cold needed to break dormancy. Spring arrived for them in May 2017 when they were warmed to 15°C and the young seedlings started to emerge.

    Since then they have grown fast and we now have ten healthy young plants. The Kew staff, led by Hugh Pritchard (Head of Comparative Seed Biology) and Anne Visscher (Career Development Fellow), will continue to nurture them until they are large enough to fend for themselves.

    3
    The healthy young apple trees with the Kew team. From left to right: Jannette Warrener, Joanna Walmisley, Jeremy Curtis, Eliana Van Der Schraft, Anne Visscher, Cristina Blandino, David Cleeve, Hugh Pritchard.

    The next step will be to find suitable welcoming homes for the young trees so that they can help tell the intertwining stories of Newton, seed science and space travel. Watch this space for details of how to make your bid to host one of these precious plants.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The UK Space Agency is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

    At the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space, we are responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. We lead the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefit to all citizens.

    We work to:

    co-ordinate UK civil space activity
    encourage academic research
    support the UK space industry
    raise the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
    increase understanding of space science and its practical benefits
    inspire our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
    licence the launch and operation of UK spacecraft
    promote co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

    We’re an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, made up of about 70 staff based in Swindon, London and the UK Space Gateway in Oxfordshire.

    We are responsible for:

    leading the UK civil space policy and increasing the UK contribution to European initiatives
    building a strong national space capability, including scientific and industrial centres of excellence
    co-ordinating strategic investment across industry and academia
    working to inspire and train a growing, skilled UK workforce of space technologists and scientists
    working on national and international space projects in co-operation with industry and academia
    regulating the UK civil space activities and ensuring we meet international treaty obligations

    The categories menu to the right will give you an idea of what we’re currently working on and you can also join in the conversation on Twitter. Please also sign up for email alerts, delivered straight to your inbox too.

    When posting comments, please observe our blog participation guidelines and moderation policy.

     
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