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Space Force launch sends the X-37B space plane on a new mission – CNET

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The X-37B sits ready for launch.


US Space Force

On Wednesday, the US Space Force announced its second launch since becoming the newest branch of the American military in December: the liftoff into orbit of the X-37B space plane on May 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The autonomous spacecraft lifted off Sunday at 9:14 a.m. ET, some 24 hours after poor weather conditions forced the launch’s postponement on Saturday.

Barbara Barrett, secretary of the US Air Force, which has been overseeing the X-37B program, announced the liftoff on her Twitter page, calling the mission “a prime example of government-industry partnerships enhancing National Security Space.”

The uncrewed spacecraft, which looks like a mini space shuttle, has been a secretive Air Force project for years, staying in orbit for up to two years per flight and doing who knows what. This first X-37B flight under the Space Force comes with a new window into some parts of the mission. 

Barrett  said the space plane will be deploying a small satellite called FalconSat-8, carrying several experiments on behalf of the Air Force, NASA and US Naval Research Lab. Among other things, the experiments will look at the effects of radiation on seeds and transforming solar power into frequencies that could be transmitted to the surface.  

Barrett announced the next flight of the X-37B during a livestreamed event hosted by the Space Foundation, alongside the Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond. 

“This will be the first X-37B mission to use a service module to host experiments,” Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said in an accompanying release

X-37B maker Boeing on Wednesday tweeted a short video showing the space plane going through its paces.

The first Space Force launch took place in March, when a national security communications satellite blasted off from Cape Canaveral.

The US Space Force got its first push in an aside by President Trump during a speech in 2018, and it was formally established in December 2019. The first new branch of the US armed forces in decades, Space Force comes under the supervision of the secretary of the Air Force.

The last X-37B mission ended in October when the space plane — there are two of them — landed after 780 days in orbit. In total, over the course of five missions, the two orbital vehicles have spent seven years and 10 months (or 2,865 days) circling Earth.


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SpaceX Sent NASA Astronauts Into Orbit Using Linux – Futurism

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Club Penguin

This past weekend, Elon Musk-led private space company SpaceX made history by launching a pair of NASA astronauts into orbit, an accomplishment that could upset the balance of the international space industry.

According to a terrific breakdown by ZDNet, the historic launch also contributed to a shift in power from proprietary software to open source — by running the Falcon 9 rocket on a version of the open source operating system Linux.

Kernel Space Program

The unspecified version of Linux, according to ZDNet, runs on three dual-core x86 processors — a redundancy system that keeps the astronauts safe by making sure all three units agree before executing each command.

ZDNet also pointed to a 2013 Reddit post in which SpaceX employees confirmed that Dragon and Falcon 9 both on Linux.

Linus Spacevalds

SpaceX isn’t the first group to bring open source software into orbit.

The International Space Station itself, where the NASA astronauts launched by SpaceX are now residing, reportedly switched to Linux from Microsoft’s proprietary Windows operating system in 2013.

READ MORE: From Earth to orbit with Linux and SpaceX [ZDNet]

More on Linux: Linux Creator: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Are “A Disease”

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How to watch the 'strawberry moon' eclipse from anywhere Friday – CNET

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A brilliant full moon rises at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.


NASA/Kim Shiflett

Get ready to look to the night sky on Friday. A full “strawberry moon” is on the calendar, and it will come with an understated partial eclipse for some parts of the world. While the moon will be at its absolute fullest on Friday around noon PT, you’ll have several opportunities to enjoy the view. The moon will  still look full from early Thursday morning through early Sunday morning, NASA said Monday.

North America will miss the eclipse, but the Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the lunar event from Italy above a view of the Rome skyline. Mark your calendar for noon PT on Friday, June 5, and visit the project’s web TV page to join in.   

A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total eclipse. The moon slips through the Earth’s outer (penumbral) shadow, which can trigger a slight darkening of the moon. If you didn’t know it was happening, you might miss it. A partial penumbral eclipse like the one on Friday makes it even harder to spot a difference.

Denizens of the moon, however, would notice the effects. “For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable,” NASA said.

Unfortunately, the “strawberry” nickname for the June full moon doesn’t refer to a color, but seems to be an old reference to the strawberry harvest season. NASA’s Gordon Johnston rounded up a list of alternative names for this month’s moon, including mead moon, honey moon, hot moon and planting moon.

Even if the eclipse is too faint to detect, you can still take a moment to bask in the light of a lovely full moon this week. 

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What to expect from the ECB today [Video] – FXStreet

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– Overview of market sentiment at the European open (00:00).

– Detailed look at what to expect from the ECB announcement today (2:22).

– Merkel over delivers on the latest German stimulus package (17:40).

– Oil volatility here to stay as OPEC+ meeting looms (19:17).

– UK hits out at China over HK security law as they look for 5G alternatives (26:18).

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