An image of Haiti from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000 Credit: NASA
NASA is helping provide information to support disaster recovery efforts in Haiti in the wake of Tuesday’s killer earthquake.
According to the space agency, two NASA Earth monitoring satellites — the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, and NASA’s Earth Observing-1 ,or EO-1 — are beaming down images of areas hardest hit by the quake. Before-and-after pictures will be used to help damage assessment and recovery efforts.
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For NASA, 2009 proved to be a stellar year, one filled with five extremely successful Space Shuttle missions (one of which repaired the Hubble Space Telescope), the test flight of the Ares I-X rocket, the launch of the Kepler Space Telescope, the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and companion spacecraft the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), and the launch of the WISE spacecraft earlier this month.
In all, the first half of 2009 proved an extremely challenging and rewarding time for NASA. Form January to June, NASA completed a complicated analysis of the Space Shuttle fleets Flow Control Valves, launched the Kepler Space Telescope to search for extra-solar Earth-like planets, conducted the STS-119 Shuttle mission, performed a dual-pad flow for STS-125 and STS-400 and the subsequent and highly successful STS-125 mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, and launched LRO/LCROSS.
In a recent interview with NASASpaceFlight.com, Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager Mike Moses talked extensively about the incredible year the Shuttle processing teams had and their ability to accomplish everything they did in 2009.
“It was all about the teams and their ability to create triple and quadruple redundancies in schedules,” Moses said.
“On the surface, it didn’t appear that we had all that challenging of a year. But if you take it month by month you can really see the issues the teams worked through and the amazing jobs those teams did to get us into a launch posture six times this year.”
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Earth as seen from Apollo 17 Credit: NASA Public domain
Myhrvold, is the president and founder of Intellectual Ventures and a former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer, who started his own company in 2000 to provide capital for new patents, innovative ideas, and software.
The former Microsoft engineer entered college at age 14 to study mathematics, space physics, and geophysics at UCLA, where he earned Masters and Bachelor of Science degrees. At age 23, he entered Princeton and completed his PhD in theoretical mathematics and earned a Masters in mathematical economics.
On a recent interview with CNN’s Zareed Zakaria, Myhrvold talked about how venture capital should be available, but in today’s market, it’s not.
“No one funds inventers,” Nathan said, and he wants to change that, because inventers from other countries, who used to come to the United States to get funding for their inventions innovative ideas, are no longer doing so. Without venture capital, Microsoft, Apple, and Intel would not exist today.
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Taken by astronaut William Anders from the Apollo 8 spacecraft, this December 1968 photo of Earth rising over the lunar surface would become one of the most famous images of the 20th century. Credit: NASA
NASA heads into 2010 with the bittersweet assignment of retiring the space shuttle after nearly three decades. But that’s not all the agency has planned: There are also launches of three new satellites aimed at better understanding the Earth’s climate and oceans, and the sun.
Two of the probes will examine Earth — specifically the concentration of salt in the world’s oceans and the presence of aerosol particles, such as soot, in the atmosphere. A third mission will study the sun and its effect on space weather including solar flares that can disrupt communication on Earth.
All three come at a critical time for NASA. Data from the two Earth probes will likely influence global-warming research, and the trio of launches could serve as bright spots in a year otherwise dominated by debate over the future of the agency’s manned space program.
“They are extraordinary timely,” said Michael Freilich, head of NASA’s Earth-science division, of the two Earth probes. “It is a quest for understanding of the Earth system and [to improve] our ability to predict how our wonderful environment and our planet is going to change in the future.”
Combined, the three missions will cost more than $1.5 billion.
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The Arianne 5 rocket lifts off into space with the French observation satellite Helios 2B by Arianespace center from Kourou launch site in French Guiana, Southern America, December 18, 2009. Credit: AFP Photo
The delayed French observation satellite Helios 2B was finally launched atop Arianne 5 rocket into space on Friday by Arianespace center from Kourou launch site in French Guiana, Southern America.
The Ariane 5 rocket carrying the military satellite lifted off at 1626 GMT Friday. The mission, initially scheduled to be launched on Dec. 9, has been postponed two times. The latest on Thursday halted the countdown during the final minutes as an incoherence of records emerged.
The 4.2-ton Helios 2B satellite, heading into sun-synchronous polar orbit, will enable French Defense Ministry to access to better images and identification on sites, areas of military interest during its around the clock service.
A French official at the launch site said that the satellite would be “eyes of our defense system” and reinforce France’s capability to develop new intelligent system in the future.
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CAYENNE, French Guiana (Reuters) – A European Ariane rocket launched a French spy satellite on Friday from French Guiana, space officials said.
The Ariane-5 rocket blasted off at 1.26 p.m. (4:26 p.m. British time) from the European Space Agency’s launch site in Kourou, on the northeast coast of South America.
Aboard the rocket was the Helios 2 B satellite, developed to help France prepare missions and assess threats worldwide, as well as drawing up maps of uncharted zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chad and the neighbouring Sudanese region of Darfur.
French defence officials said Helios was an integral element in France’s military intelligence arsenal.
(Reporting by Franck Leconte in Cayenne, French Guiana, and Alexander Miles)
A tiny piece of a defunct Russian satellite zipped by the International Space Station Tuesday, but was far enough away that outpost’s two-man crew did not have to strap into their lifeboat to wait out the close shave, NASA officials said.
The debris — a small piece of a Cosmos satellite less than four inches (10 cm) wide — zoomed by the station at 1:19 p.m. EST (1819 GMT) and came less than a mile (1 km) of the outpost at its closest point.
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