Japan is working on its newest launch vehicle, known as H-3, that will be more powerful and cost-efficient than the H-2A (H-IIA) booster currently in service. On Wednesday, July 20, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that it has completed the basic design of the rocket scheduled to be ready for its maiden flight in 2020.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
NASA announced on Thursday, July 21, that it has named Rick Burt new director of its Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Burt, a veteran NASA employee, serving the agency for 26 years, will take its new position July 31.
Friday, July 22, 2016
One of the biggest takeovers in the European space industry has just got approved. On July 20, the European Commission (EC) informed that it has cleared the way for the acquisition of Arianespace by Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), after both companies agreed to conditions imposed by the European Union’s executive body.
Scientists at Hokkaido University have revealed temperature-dependent energy-state conversion of molecular hydrogen on ice surfaces, suggesting the need for a reconsideration of molecular evolution theory. Molecular hydrogen, the most abundant element in space, is created when two hydrogen atoms bond on minute floating ice particles. It has two energy states: ortho and para, depending on the direction of proton spins. Ortho-hydrogen converts to para-hydrogen on extremely low temperature ice particles, though its mechanism remained unclear.
In order to precisely deliver the Schiaparelli landing demonstrator module to the martian surface and then insert ExoMars/TGO into orbit around the Red Planet, it’s necessary to pin down the spacecraft’s location to within just a few hundred meters at a distance of more than 150 million km. To achieve this amazing level of accuracy, ESA experts are making use of ‘quasars’ – the most luminous objects in the Universe – as ‘calibrators’ in a technique known as Delta-Differential One-Way Ranging, or delta-DOR.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
New software is enabling ChemCam, the laser spectrometer on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, to select rock targets autonomously—the first time autonomous target selection is available for an instrument of this kind on any robotic planetary mission. Developed jointly at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France, the ChemCam (chemistry and camera) instrument aboard Curiosity “zaps” rocks on Mars and analyzes their chemical make-up. While most ChemCam targets are still selected by scientists, the rover itself now chooses multiple targets per week.
The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which operates beneath a mile of rock at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has completed its silent search for the missing matter of the universe. Today at an international dark matter conference (IDM 2016) in Sheffield, UK, LUX scientific collaborators presented the results from the detector’s final 20-month run from October 2014 to May 2016.