space

April 24, 2013

The U.S. Defense Department has signed a space situational awareness (SSA) memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Australia’s Department of Defence. The MOU permits the the two countries to exchange SSA data, which facilitates transparency and improve flight safety.

Advanced data exchanges support launches, maneuver planning, on-orbit anomaly resolution, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation. In addition, sharing this information assists in identifying launch anomalies and decommissioning activities as well as supports on-orbit conjunction assessments.

March 15, 2013
George I. Seffers

NASA has selected three companies to provide engineering solutions and products to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The companies are Radiance Technologies Inc. and Teledyne Brown Engineering Inc., Huntsville, Ala., and Wyle Laboratories Inc., Houston, Texas. The performance-based, cost-reimbursement fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts have a potential value of $350 million. The contracts have a five-year performance period with a minimum order quantity value of $1 million.

March 8, 2013

To facilitate multinational operations, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has set a future communications project in motion to study the terrestrial and satellite communication network systems in European Union (EU) countries. In this initial step of what will be a four-phase project, the primary EU member states’ existing and future assets will be inventoried. During the first phase of the project, operational scenarios and capability requirements will be identified. The second and third phases will involve identifying the required technical specifications to support these scenarios and the potential capability gaps. During the final phase, radio frequency spectrum will be analyzed to determine which bands are available.

November 9, 2012
George I. Seffers

 
Pacific Defense Solutions LLC, Kihei, Hawaii is being awarded a $9,724,737 cost plus fixed fee contract for space situational awareness research and development. The contracting activity is Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. 

December 7, 2011

Students age 14 to 18 can compete to have astronauts in space carry out their experiments if they win the Space Lab challenge. Budding scientists must upload a video outlining their idea, but they don't have to carry out the experiments themselves. A public vote and international panel of experts will judge the finalists from each age group (14 to 16, and 17 to 18) and each region-the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. The two global winning experiments will be performed on the International Space Station and beamed live via YouTube. The winners also receive additional prizes.

November 1, 2011

A new strategy for certifying commercial launch vehicles aims to expand the number of companies qualified for space launch missions. The entrant launch vehicle certification strategy is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Air Force, the National Reconnaissance Office and NASA. The three agencies outlined the joint strategy for certifying new entrants to encourage competition and provide a level playing field for all competitors.

September 2, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower

No matter how vast it seems, even space gets a little crowded. Hundreds of active satellites and thousands of pieces of space junk clutter the area surrounding Earth-from lost astronaut tools to pieces of rockets. With the potential to travel at 17,500 miles per hour, even the smallest objects pose a big risk to spacecraft. To help track and identify the debris, the U.S. Air Force is replacing its aging and outdated Air Force Space Surveillance System, which has been in service for 50 years.

March 1, 2011
By George Seffers

The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory, State College, has been awarded a $150 million contract modification to increase the contract ceiling, providing up to 1,560,000 additional staff hours to provide research, development, engineering, test and evaluation. The core areas include guidance, navigation and control of undersea systems, advanced thermal propulsion, materials and manufacturing technology, atmosphere and defense communications and other related technologies. Research and development areas include, but are not limited to, missiles, radar, sonar, space, undersea warfare, anti-air warfare, command, control and communications, and other related technologies.

January 7, 2011
By George Seffers

NASA has awarded a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Systems Engineering for In-Space Servicing. This 18-month contract has a value of $31 million. Lockheed Martin will provide systems and discipline engineering support to develop and execute two demonstrations to test and verify new robotic servicing capabilities using the Dextre robot aboard the International Space Station. The Canadian Space Agency's Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, is a two-armed robotic system designed to perform intricate maintenance and servicing tasks, which previously would have required spacewalks.

November 23, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower

The Sky Map application from Google turns Android phones into a stargazing tool with the click of a button. And a new "time travel" feature lets you see images of the sky from the past and the future. Users can identify constellations, planets, grids and deep sky objects just by holding their device towards the sky. The free app determines the locations of the planets and stars, zooms in and out, and directs users towards specific objects using a search function. The app utilizes sensors built into the device to portray a map or chart of any place the user is located without accessing the phone's camera.

September 15, 2010
By Henry Kenyon

Throughout time, humans have explored their surroundings, crossing oceans and landmasses in pursuit of knowledge and glory. This thirst for knowledge also turned eyes skyward, causing the curious to try to understand the vastness of existence around the planet Earth. As technology advanced, the desire to venture into the cosmos became increasingly possible, until man walked on the moon and equipment traveled much farther away. Fortunately for those who are still on terra firma, gathering information about the universe is much easier than launching on a rocket ship. People can learn and discover more about deep space through adventures in cyberspace without the need for oxygen tanks or special suits.

August 20, 2010
By George Seffers

NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, has awarded a one-year contract option to ASRC Aerospace Corporation of Greenbelt, Maryland, for technical, engineering and scientific services in the areas of aeronautics, microgravity science, space exploration and related science and technology activities in support of Glenn's Lewis Field and Plum Brook Station, Sandusky, Ohio. The option has a value that will not exceed $50 million and increases the value of the contract to $260 million.

July 23, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The United States military has for decades invested in sophisticated and expensive technologies that take years, sometimes even decades, to develop. While those systems provide an advantage on the battlefield, the nation can no longer afford to continue the same strategy, according to Dr. Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s premier agency for developing advanced technologies.

July 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Air Force’s newest secure satellite communications terminal draws from existing U.S. Army and Navy systems already in operation. The new production for the Family of Advanced Beyond-Line-of-Sight Terminals, or FAB-T, evolved from technologies established in the Army’s Secure Mobile Antijam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T) and the Navy’s Multiband Terminal (NMT).

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Seaman Alex Snyder, USN, right, explains the functions of the helm on the navigation bridge of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to Maj. Gen. Chen Weizhan, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army, Hong Kong Garrison, center, and Col. Li Jiandang, Hong Kong Garrison liaison officer during a distinguished visitor embark.

China and Russia represent two of the most robust, comprehensive concerns to worldwide stability. Almost every major geostrategic threat—cyber attack, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, capable military forces, political influence, economic power, sources of and high demand for energy—is resident in those two countries that often find themselves at odds with the United States and its allies. Decisions by their leaders on how to engage with the rest of the world, and how the two sovereign states decide to relate to each other, will have major effects on geopolitics.

May 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Alerted by the Global ASNT system, aircrews rush to their B-52H Stratofortresses during a training exercise at Minot Air Force Base in November.

U.S. Air Force officials are working to replace by 2019 aging command and control terminals that are part of the U.S. Air Force’s nuclear bomber mission. The new terminals will communicate with advanced satellite constellations and also will add capabilities not in current systems.

October 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

NASA’s core culture is to push the boundaries of what has been to create what can be. And within this cutting-edge organization is an entire group dedicated solely to ensuring that the revolutions continue to expand. The Game Changing Development Program exists to find the disruptive technologies available in relevant fields, then move them into the proper channels for development and deployment.

October 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
Senior Amn. Xavier Rubio, USAF, tests a satellite communications dish aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor.

China’s activities in space have caught the attention of U.S. and other countries’ officials, altering how personnel must consider the domain. The importance of the area outside of Earth to military operations makes the location critical for any nation looking to put itself into a terrestrial position of power. During 2012, China conducted 18 space launches and upgraded various constellations for purposes such as communications and navigation. China’s recent expansion into the realm presents new concerns for civilian programs and defense assets there.

October 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
Defense Satellite Communication System satellites provide critical communication links used by the Defense Department and U.S. allies.

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have updated doctrine for future warfighters to realign space situational awareness as the fifth mission area and to offer direction on operating in a contested or degraded space environment. The updated document will guide combatant commanders and other warfighters for years to come, influencing training, mission planning and global operations.

August 8, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

NASA is requesting information from U.S. companies interested in pursuing unfunded partnerships to develop integrated systems that will advance the development of commercial space products and services for human space exploration and operations. NASA officials describe the effort as a win-win-win for industry, NASA and the nation.

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