Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2013-05-05

May 7, 2013

ESA's Vega launcher performes new success with commercials satellite and micro-satellite

Dear follower,

after the successful launch of +NASA few days ago+European Space Agency, ESA scores a second flight with the newest launch vehicle, Vega from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Two Earth observation satellites, ESA’s Proba-V and Vietnam’s VNREDSat‑1A, were released into different orbits, demonstrating the rocket’s versatility. Estonia’s first satellite, the ESTCube‑1 technology demonstrator, was also released into orbit.

After releasing the first satellite Proba-V, the upper stage performed a third burn and the top half of the egg-shaped Vega Secondary Payload Adapter was ejected. After a fourth burn to circularize the orbit at an altitude of 704 km, VNREDSat-1A was released around 2 hours into flight. ESTCube‑1 was ejected from its dispenser few minutes later.

ESTCube-1 is Estonia’s first satellite. This 1.3 kg CubeSat was designed and built by students from the University of Tartu with a contribution from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. It will deploy a 10 m-long tether to demonstrate electrostatic movement through the plasma flow, which could lead to electrostatic solar sails for propellant-less interplanetary travel.

Android Phone satellites sent by NASA down

Dear followers,

few days ago, we said you that +NASA has sent very small satellites called nano-satellite based on +Nexus one smartphone.  During the first day in orbit, the 3 satellites sent pictures taken in the space environment by the CMOS sensor. Both backgrounds received 100%, now receiving medium and high resolution packets.
here is presented 2 pictures received the April 24th.

The mission successfully ended Saturday, April 27, 2013, after predicted atmospheric drag caused the PhoneSats to re-enter Earth's atmosphere and burn up. No one has been able to hear from the satellites since, which confirms the predictions.

The PhoneSat team is continuing to develop the PhoneSats using consumer technology to greatly increase the capability of the satellite whilst developing with a low cost.
A next versions are launching late this year so stay tuned !!

May 6, 2013

Mars Curiosity rover back to work after 5 weeks break

Dear followers,

+NASA's Curiosity rover is back in business after a weeks-long communication gap caused by solar interference. The rover had been on its own since early April, when Mars slipped behind the Sun from Earth's perspective.

Sun can disrupt communications between the two planets in this alignment, which is known as a Mars solar conjunction, so Curiosity's handlers at Mission Control had temporarily stopped sending commands to the one-ton rover. Now, +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory  engineers from +NASA  and academics from the University of Leicester in UK will be unable to send commands to the rover due to solar interference from the Sun.

Curiosity landed inside the red planet's huge Gale Crater in August last year, kicking off a two-year surface mission to determine if Mars has ever been capable of supporting microbial life. The rover has already checked off its main mission goal. Before conjunction, Curiosity collected samples from a hole it drilled 6.4 centimetres into a rocky outcrop called John Klein.
The rover's analysis of these samples allowed mission scientists to determine that Mars was indeed habitable billions of years ago. Curiosity's post-conjunction plan involves drilling another hole nearby, to confirm and extend scientists' understanding of the John Klein area, mission officials have said.

When that work is done, Curiosity will likely begin the 10 kilometres trek to the base of Mount Sharp, the mysterious 5.4 km-high mountain that rises from Gale's center. Mars solar conjunctions occur every 26 months, so veterans of NASA's Mars missions are used to dealing with them, the report said.

Solar eclipse of May 10, 2013

Dear follower,

after an Lunar eclipse few days, a solar eclipse will take place on May 9 - 10 (UTC), 2013. This solar eclipse will be an annular solar eclipse with a magnitude of 0.9544. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. 

Actually, an annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking most of light coming from the Sun. An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometers wide.
Annularity will be visible from northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean, with the maximum of 6 minutes 3 seconds visible from the Pacific Ocean east of French Polynesia.

So Australian and Pacific followers, we are waiting from great images from you ! ;)