O/OREOS Mission: “Cost effective” CubeSat science

 

Astrobiology magazine posts a piece on the success of NASA’s O/OREOS mission that points out that serious science can be accomplished by tiny spacecraft:

‘The full success of the O/OREOS mission demonstrates convincingly that cubesats can be cost-effective platforms for performing science research and conducting technology demonstrations,’ said Mary Voytek, senior scientist of NASA’s Astrobiology Program at NASA Headquarters, in a statement from NASA. ‘The capabilities of cubesats are growing steadily, making them good candidates to operate precursor experiments for missions on larger satellites, the International Space Station, lunar surface exposure facilities, and planetary exploration.’

O/OREOS monitored the effects of the space environment on microorganism growth and metabolism in a high-inclination, low-Earth orbit.

Wayne

Image credit: NASA Ames

O/OREOS Mission: "Cost effective" CubeSat science

 

Astrobiology magazine posts a piece on the success of NASA’s O/OREOS mission that points out that serious science can be accomplished by tiny spacecraft:

‘The full success of the O/OREOS mission demonstrates convincingly that cubesats can be cost-effective platforms for performing science research and conducting technology demonstrations,’ said Mary Voytek, senior scientist of NASA’s Astrobiology Program at NASA Headquarters, in a statement from NASA. ‘The capabilities of cubesats are growing steadily, making them good candidates to operate precursor experiments for missions on larger satellites, the International Space Station, lunar surface exposure facilities, and planetary exploration.’

O/OREOS monitored the effects of the space environment on microorganism growth and metabolism in a high-inclination, low-Earth orbit.

Wayne

Image credit: NASA Ames

ARISS ham radio space contact planned with school in Ortona, Italy

Space station

Space station

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact has been planned Sunday 18 March 2012 at approximately 11.31 UTC with students at Istituto Tecnologico Statale Trasporti e Logistica “Leone Acciaiuoli”, Ortona, Italy.

The contact will be performed by the radio station IQ6LN and the downlink signal will be audible over Europe on 145.800 MHz FM.

The Ortona Maritime Institute “Leone Acciaiuoli” (I.T.N) is a technical high school preparing the students to a career as officer on merchant ships or to university studies in the field of engineering disciplines.
The subjects that characterize the I.T.N. programme are: Navigation, Astronomy, Celestial navigation, Satellite navigation, Telecommunications (including satellite telecommunications), Technical English, Nautical and Aeronautical Meteorology, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Physics. Many courses deal with matters related to space technologies. The student population is about 400.

The event will be broadcast in streaming video onhttp://www.livestream.com/AMSAT_Italia/

Students will ask as many of following questions as time allows.
1. Loris: We all believe you are special people working together to achieve one common great goal. Are you proud of the great moral and scientific value of your commitment?
2. Mauro: What is the relationship among you being forced to live together in a confined place for an extended period of time?
3. Pierluigi: What cultural requirements must an astronaut satisfy besides very hard physical and psychological training?
4. Andrea: Is it easier for astronauts to get used to being weightless or to get used to gravity again when they come back to Earth?
5. Antonio: What height is ISS orbiting at and why was this specific height chosen?

6. Nichol: How is the ISS flight path controlled?
7. Giada: When working outside the ISS how are you protected from the space environment and the risk of flying away?
8. Angela: How long does the voyage back down to the earth take? And how does it take place?
9. Iary: How do you feel when watching the earth from the spacecraft window?
10. Causarano: Do you think living in space might change your perception of the world and influence your future life on earth?

11. Agnese: People say human beings age slower in space than on earth. Is that true?
12. Tamara: How do days and nights alternate up there and how often do you see the sun rising?
13. Francesca: How do you receive news from the earth?
14. Federica: Do you ever happen to miss your ordinary life on earth while being up there?
15. Carmen: What does astronauts’ diet consist in and how is it usually prepared?

16. Giulia: How are water and oxygen generated on board?
17. Mario: What research are you doing and what benefits will result from it?
18. Matteo: We know you are growing plants on board. Why?
19. Alessia: How do you dispose of waste?
20. Francesco: Do you think people will travel to space in the next future?

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the space agencies, NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, JAXA and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers on-board the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters’ interest in science, technology, and learning.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Chairman

ARISS educative contact planned with Italian school

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact has been planned with participants at 1° Circolo Didattico Nicola Fornelli, Bitonto, Italy on 24 Feb. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 14:01 UTC.

The duration of the contact is approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds. The contact will be direct between OR4ISS and IZ7RTN. The contact should be audible over Italy and most of Europe. Interested parties are invited to listen in on the 145.800 MHz downlink. The contact is expected to be conducted in English.

1° Circolo Didattico “N. Fornelli” Bitonto is an educational primary school, placed in the centre of the pleasant town of Bitonto, Apulia, south of Italy, the “olive town” famous all over the world. This is the oldest elementary school in Bitonto, an architectural building in the centre of the city. In the primary school there are 810 students. There are 4 nursery schools with 415 pupils. The school has large open spaces, a gym, a library with about 6000 books and 4 laboratories.

Participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:
1. What do you feel when you float weightlessly in the Space Station?
2. What is the temperature outside the ISS?
3. How can you avoid collisions with meteoroids or space debris?
4. On board the Space Station, is there a system to recycle oxygen?
5. How long is the rehabilitation to the Earth’s gravity when returning on Earth?

6. What feelings do you experience living for such a long mission surrounded by the immensity of space, do you feel privileged?
7. What inspired you to become an astronaut?
8. What temperature are tolerable by a space suit?
9. What kind of studies did you attend to become an astronaut?
10. What is the most difficult task for the commander of the International Space Station?

11. What kind of experiments are currently underway aboard the ISS?
12. Which part of our planet are you looking at right now?
13. During the day do you have free time?
14. Do you feel safe on board the ISS?
15. Who would you like to dedicate this experience in space?

16. How would your life change after this adventure in space?
17. Are you in contact with your family and how do you communicate with them?
18. What is the future for space exploration?
19. In your opinion is life possible in the universe?
20. Do you believe that it is possible to create a human colony on the Moon?

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers on-board the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters’ interest in science, technology, and learning.

73

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Chairman

Launch date fixed for Esa’s Vega rocket

Europe has named Thursday 9 February as the day it intends to launch its new Vega rocket for the very first time.Vega

The 30m-tall vehicle has been developed to take payloads up to 1.5 tonnes into a polar orbit, and will fly from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

The project has been led by Italian industry and is years behind on its original schedule.

But European Space Agency Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, said he would not force the pace.

“Today, the target date is 9 February, but it’s a target,” he told BBC News.

“I shall never say this is the definitive launch date because it is a maiden flight, and with a maiden flight I shall take no risk. There will be no compromise on any question which could still be open on 9 February.”

The caution is well advised. Statistics show that some two-thirds of the rockets introduced in the past 20 years have had an unsuccessful first outing.

It is for this reason that the satellites carried on the “qualification” flight have been given a free ride.

Biannual operations

Vega is a four-stage rocket. Its first three segments burn a solid fuel; its fourth and final stage uses liquid propellants, and can be stopped and restarted several times to get a spacecraft into just the right orbit.

Esa expects an operational Vega to be launching about twice a year, carrying mostly small scientific and government satellites.

If the rocket should need to delay from 9 February to deal with technical issues, it will only be given a short window to resolve the problems before being asked to stand down for several weeks.

Vega’s big “brother” at Kourou, the Ariane 5 rocket, is booked to launch Europe’s third ATV cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) on 9 March, and this mission will take precedence if there is a conflict.

The frequent comings and goings at the orbiting platform require a carefully co-ordinated traffic schedule, and this will not be disrupted for an unrelated, experimental rocket flight.

“I have to respect my commitments to my International Space Station partners,” Mr Dordain explained.

“It’s clear that if we are arriving in a situation where the launch of Vega starts to interfere with the date of the launch of ATV 3, I will choose to switch and go for ATV first and Vega next.”

Long-term planning

Vega is just the beginning of what is expected to be a busy year for Esa.

Metop-BMetop-B will launch in May/June

Other highlights include the launch of two major weather satellites, Meteosat 10 and Metop-B, and a trio of craft called Swarm that will measure the Earth’s magnetism in unprecedented detail.

Policy-wise, 2012 will also be a significant year because it will see the first Ministerial Council since 2008. This gathering of the member states, to take place in Italy in November, will set programmes and budgets for the next three to five years.

Key decisions will need to be made on the next evolution of Ariane, on funding for Esa’s participation in the ISS project, and on the development of a next-generation of polar orbiting weather satellites to succeed the Metop series.

Nations are likely to go to the meeting in a much weaker position economically than they did in 2008.

Nonetheless, Mr Dordain expressed satisfaction with Esa’s current budget profile.

The agency will have essentially a flat income this year of 4.02bn euros (£3.32bn), when all contributions, including from the EU, are taken into account).

“I am trying to implement the Esa programmes with just the payments that are necessary – less and less margin, more and more efficiency, and more and more reduction of internal costs,” Mr Dordain said. “This is a daily challenge, but on the other hand it makes life interesting.”

Germany and France continue to be the lead contributors to Esa, although it is noteworthy that the former’s agency contribution now exceeds that of the latter (750m euros from Germany versus 717m euros from France). Italy (350m euros) and the UK (260m euros/£215m) make up the rest of the “big four”.

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk

Launch date fixed for Esa's Vega rocket

Europe has named Thursday 9 February as the day it intends to launch its new Vega rocket for the very first time.Vega

The 30m-tall vehicle has been developed to take payloads up to 1.5 tonnes into a polar orbit, and will fly from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

The project has been led by Italian industry and is years behind on its original schedule.

But European Space Agency Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, said he would not force the pace.

“Today, the target date is 9 February, but it’s a target,” he told BBC News.

“I shall never say this is the definitive launch date because it is a maiden flight, and with a maiden flight I shall take no risk. There will be no compromise on any question which could still be open on 9 February.”

The caution is well advised. Statistics show that some two-thirds of the rockets introduced in the past 20 years have had an unsuccessful first outing.

It is for this reason that the satellites carried on the “qualification” flight have been given a free ride.

Biannual operations

Vega is a four-stage rocket. Its first three segments burn a solid fuel; its fourth and final stage uses liquid propellants, and can be stopped and restarted several times to get a spacecraft into just the right orbit.

Esa expects an operational Vega to be launching about twice a year, carrying mostly small scientific and government satellites.

If the rocket should need to delay from 9 February to deal with technical issues, it will only be given a short window to resolve the problems before being asked to stand down for several weeks.

Vega’s big “brother” at Kourou, the Ariane 5 rocket, is booked to launch Europe’s third ATV cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) on 9 March, and this mission will take precedence if there is a conflict.

The frequent comings and goings at the orbiting platform require a carefully co-ordinated traffic schedule, and this will not be disrupted for an unrelated, experimental rocket flight.

“I have to respect my commitments to my International Space Station partners,” Mr Dordain explained.

“It’s clear that if we are arriving in a situation where the launch of Vega starts to interfere with the date of the launch of ATV 3, I will choose to switch and go for ATV first and Vega next.”

Long-term planning

Vega is just the beginning of what is expected to be a busy year for Esa.

Metop-BMetop-B will launch in May/June

Other highlights include the launch of two major weather satellites, Meteosat 10 and Metop-B, and a trio of craft called Swarm that will measure the Earth’s magnetism in unprecedented detail.

Policy-wise, 2012 will also be a significant year because it will see the first Ministerial Council since 2008. This gathering of the member states, to take place in Italy in November, will set programmes and budgets for the next three to five years.

Key decisions will need to be made on the next evolution of Ariane, on funding for Esa’s participation in the ISS project, and on the development of a next-generation of polar orbiting weather satellites to succeed the Metop series.

Nations are likely to go to the meeting in a much weaker position economically than they did in 2008.

Nonetheless, Mr Dordain expressed satisfaction with Esa’s current budget profile.

The agency will have essentially a flat income this year of 4.02bn euros (£3.32bn), when all contributions, including from the EU, are taken into account).

“I am trying to implement the Esa programmes with just the payments that are necessary – less and less margin, more and more efficiency, and more and more reduction of internal costs,” Mr Dordain said. “This is a daily challenge, but on the other hand it makes life interesting.”

Germany and France continue to be the lead contributors to Esa, although it is noteworthy that the former’s agency contribution now exceeds that of the latter (750m euros from Germany versus 717m euros from France). Italy (350m euros) and the UK (260m euros/£215m) make up the rest of the “big four”.

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk