Archive for September, 2013

Big Bang Monday: Go Nuts

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Ian O’Neill’s piece on a “supermassive peanut” at the center of our galaxy caught my attention.

The central bulge of our galaxy contains around 10,000 million stars and spans thousands of light-years, but due to the obscuring dust and gas intermingled with this stellar hive, the overall shape of the bulge is poorly understood. Previous data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) project suggested the central galactic bulge was X-shaped — in a similar fashion to other galaxies observed in the Universe.

But using high resolution infrared data from VISTA, a better idea of the bulge’s shape has been mapped.

By focusing on 2 million red giant stars whose properties are well understood, very precise distances could be calculated. By doing this, a 3-dimensional model of the galactic bulge could be constructed.

“We find that the inner region of our Galaxy has the shape of a peanut in its shell from the side, and of a highly elongated bar from above”, said Ortwin Gerhard, co-investigator and leader of the Dynamics Group at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany. “It is the first time that we can see this clearly in our own Milky Way, and simulations in our group and by others show that this shape is characteristic of a barred galaxy that started out as a pure disc of stars.”

The second team of astronomers led by Sergio Vásquez, of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, took a different approach to arrive at a similar conclusion. By comparing images of the central bulge 11 years apart using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope, tiny shifts due to the motions of the bulge stars across the sky were measured. This betrayed the shape of the bulge.

“The stars we have observed seem to be streaming along the arms of the X-shaped bulge as their orbits take them up and down and out of the plane of the Milky Way. It all fits very well with predictions from state-of-the-art models!” said Vásquez.

Both groups of astronomers believe that the center of the galaxy started out as a flat disk of stars, but over the aeons became buckled and warped, eventually settling into the modern day “peanut.”

Check out the ESO’s Top 100 images, some of which are available for purchase as HUGE prints here.


Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Yes, that’s a real frog.

LADEE Frog Photobomb
Date: 6 Sep 2012

A still camera on a sound trigger captured this intriguing photo of an airborne frog as NASA’s LADEE spacecraft lifts off from Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The photo team confirms the frog is real and was captured in a single frame by one of the remote cameras used to photograph the launch. The condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.

Credit: NASA Wallops Flight Facility/Chris Perry

There’s no way you can catch it when watching the video (duh)…

Space Gray

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

iPhone 5s: 64-bit processor and it comes in “Space Gray.” Awesome.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 09/06/2013

Saturday, September 7th, 2013
Published at Space News

Falcon 9

Musk says SpaceX is being “extremely Paranoid” as it readies for demonstration flight of an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket in California this month.
[Space News – 09/06/2013]

CubeSats’ communication range may be significantly extended with inflatable antennae.
[R&D Magazine – 09/06/2013]

ViaSat files another patent suit against Space Systems/Loral.
[socaltech – 09/06/2013]

Brazil will attempt to escape the prying eyes of the NSA with a new satellite and fiber optic cables.
[Reuters – 09/05/2013]

French government creates joint government-industry grouping called Cospace to avoid repeat of policy disputes between French industry and CNES in 2012.
[Space News – 09/05/2013]

Pressure mounts on Orbital Sciences; it may be needed for an additional cargo run to the International Space Station as soon as December because SpaceX will likely not be ready to fly.
[Space News – 09/05/2013]

Houston Texas announces that it is pushing forward with plans to build the nation’s latest spaceport.
[Space News – 09/05/2013]

Eutelsat and Samsung partner on world first Ultra HD satellite broadcast direct to Ultra HD TVs.
[The Wall Street Journal – 09/05/2013]

Iridium, Thales Alenia Space, and Harris to announce new hosted payload business initiative at World Satellite Business Week.
[4-traders – 09/05/2013]

European Satellite Day 2013 spotlights key benefits of satellite services for European citizens.
[Yahoo Finance – 09/05/2013]

DISA selects TeleCommunication Systems to provide managed satellite services.
[Satellite Spotlight – 09/05/2013]

Alphasat satellite

Euroconsult report puts growth of MSS terminal base at 10% over past five years, to 2.9 million active MSS terminals worldwide in 2012, and revenue of $1.5 billion in that year.
[Space Daily – 09/05/2013]

French Minister of Higher Education and Research announces that the government is allocating 25 million euros to an upgrade of the Ariane launcher.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 09/05/2013]

Gottlieb International Group to present “Battle of the Satellite Services” webinar on the future of Global Xpress, EpicNG, O3b and Viasat in maritime, Oil and Gas and Aviation on September 26, 2013.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 09/05/2013]

B-2 Bomber

B-2 bomber to get communications upgrade to use Very Low Frequency signals bounced off the atmosphere to replace Ultra High Frequency system using expiring DISA satellites, while waiting for new satellite systems.

[U.S. Air Force – 09/05/2013]

O3b and Kymeta sign agreement to develop flat panel satellite antenna for ultra-fast and affordable broadband services around the world.
[Fort Mill Times – 09/05/2013]

Comtech EF Data introduces new CDM-625A advanced satellite modem.
[Yahoo Finance – 09/05/2013]

Mano Cruises to further increase scope of communications for guests and crew using existing partner MTN.
[SatNews – 09/05/2013]

Thuraya is set to launch a new edition of its satellite adaptor for the iPhone. [Lync Migration Resource Center – 09/05/2013]

TrustComm expands its portfolio to include mobile satellite services in partnership with Inmarsat, Thuraya, Boeing, and Cobham.
[Yahoo Finance – 09/05/2013]

Eutelsat selects SAT Corporation to upgrade satID system.
[Via Satellite – 09/05/2013]

Doosan selects ORBCOMM to deliver end-to-end telematics solution for Doosan and their customers and dealers for global deployment.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 09/05/2013]

Global VSAT Forum to run a contest on its booth at IBC 2013 in the form of an interactive exercise in broadcast uplink (SNG) skills.
[SatNews – 09/05/2013]

NASA moon satellite to be launched this week will test laser communication back to Earth expected to provide record-breaking 600 megabits-per-second downloads.
[Technology Review – 09/04/2013]

Al Jazeera says it can categorically state that Egyptian authorities are deliberately jamming its satellite signals and forcing it to change frequencies so viewers can tune in.
[Space News – 09/04/2013]

Anatel awards O3b Networks rights to operate in Brazil.
[Via Satellite – 09/04/2013]

Inmarsat and Telespazio join to develop offerings for energy and M2M.
[Via Satellite – 09/04/2013]

C-Com Satellite Systems forms partnership with Vislink to promote, market, sell and support C-Com iNetVu products.
[Satellite Spotlight – 09/04/2013]

Iridium Transceiver Antenna System can communicate outside traditional cellular networks to provide fleet and asset management services worldwide.
[Thomasnet – 09/04/2013]

New NSR report foresees strong satellite operator revenue growth, but the potential for oversupply looms over the industry.
[Yahoo Finance – 09/03/2013]

India’s GSAT-7 satellite is successfully positioned in geosynchronous orbit.
[NetIndian – 09/03/2013]

USGS Landsat 8 Photo

USGS interactive photos show Yosemite National Park before and after the Rim fire devastation.
[USGS 09/03/2013]

Team works to build ferro-liquid ion thruster for nanosatellites.
R&D Magazine – 09/03/2013]

SSL-built multi-mission satellite, EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1, is successfully performing post-launch maneuvers.
[Your Communication News – 09/03/2013]

TeleCommunication Systems wins $58.3 million contract to supply managed satellite services to the U.S. Marine Corps.
[Satellite Spotlight – 09/03/2013]

Harris completes advanced weather-data simulators, part of $740 million program to help build the country’s next-generation weather-satellite network.
[Orlando Sentinel – 09/03/2013]

SatLink is selected by i24 News to distribute international news channels.
[Via Satellite – 09/03/2013]

Russia orbits Israeli communications satellite AMOS-4, the largest and most sophisticated commercial satellite built in Israel to date.
[Space Fellowship – 09/01/2013]

Satellite Executive September 2013 issue includes: “The Danger of Overcapacity” – Jan Grondrup-Vivanco, “4K TV Technology Push or Demand Pull?” – Elisabeth Tweedie, “What’s Behind a Satellite Dish?” – Robert Bell, and Verticals and Horizontals: Satellite’s Expanding Marketplace” – Martin Jarrold.
[Satellite Markets – September 2013]

 WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

All Fracked Up and No Place to Go

Friday, September 6th, 2013
bakken frackin

SkyTruth’s view of the Bakken from space. The red stuff at the upper left is rig lighting and flaring from oil and gas drillers working the Bakken Shale. The bright area on the right is the city of Minneapolis.

The folks over at SkyTruth are doing a really good job, using existing observation spacecraft and they’re ready to send up a balloon to document what other ways frackers are polluting.

I missed this coverage over the summer…

Thanks to that and lots of other people, they’ve met their funding goal on indiegogo. The project…

SkyTruth is teaming up with Space for All  for a skytruthing mission over the massive Bakken shale oil and gas fields in western North Dakota.  We’re planning to launch a sensor package from the ground to the edge of space tethered to a high altitude balloon rig, courtesy of Space for All.  We will combine on the ground observations with detections from the balloon rig and measurements we are making from space to measure the amount of natural gas flaring there.  This will help us test the accuracy of our satellite-based flaring detections so we can do a better job of monitoring and reporting on the amount of environmentally damaging (and unnecessary and wasteful) flaringthat happens in the Bakken and elsewhere in the world.  The more good data we can collect on when, where, and how much, the more we can help groups that are working to reduce and eliminate it. This is what we mean by skytruthing – using remote sensing and mapping to understand and change the world.

Read more about the Bakken and oil shale fracking in this great piece by National Geographic: The New Oil Landscape


Watch their video pitch…

Hat tip to Motherboard.

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 08/30/2013

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

The first four Galileo navigation satellites are unlikely to be launched this year because of delays in their preparation.
[Space News – 08/30/2013]

Ariane 5 launches from Kourou, French Guiana with Qatar’s 25B/Es’hail-1 and India’s GSAT-7 satellites aboard.
[NASA Spaceflight – 08/29/2013]

TSF connects 12 Syrian hospitals to internet via high speed satellite connectivity and sets up two ICT centres to help refugee children continue their education. [Satellite Evolution Group – 08/29/2013]

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awards grant to Azercosmos Open Joint Stock Company to investigate feasibility of second satellite for Azerbaijan.
[SIP Trun king – 08/29/2013]

C-COM announces global strategic partnership with Vislink.
[The Wall Street Journal. – 08/29/2013]

TeleCommunication Systems gets $58.3 million contract to supply managed satellite services to U.S. Marine Corps.
[Yahoo Finance – 08/29/2013]

iDirect to host a Technology Day on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 in Moscow, Russia, for satellite operators and service providers across the Russian satellite market.
[Satellite Evolution Group – 08/29/2013]

Airtel and Softbank to develop low-cost 3G for regions of Africa with difficult terrain, using a communications satellite as a transmitter.
[The Times of India – 08/29/2013]

Euroconsult to present awards for Global Operator of the Year, Regional Operator of the Year, Strategic M&A Transaction of the Year,. and Newcomer Satellite Operator of the Year, at awards ceremony September 11, 2013.
[SatNews – 08/29/2013]

America’s biggest rocket, Delta 4-Heavy rocket, launches top-secret spy satellite NROL-65.
[NBC News – 08/28/2013]

Eumetsat and NOAA formally extend their longstanding cooperative agreement.
[Space News – 08/28/2013]

Globalstar bills its satellite network as the world’s most modern, announcing that all second generation satellites are now in full commercial service.
[Yahoo Finance – 08/28/2013]

NASA’s satellites watch Rim fire creep into Yosemite.
[The Atlantic Cities – 08/28/2013]

NASA tests rocket engine injector fabricated using 3-D printing.
[SatNews – 08/28/2013]

Research and Markets announces addition of “Global Enterprise VSAT Market 2012 – 2016″ to its offerings; increasing adoption of hybrid routers with terrestrial and satellite capabilities among trends discussed.
[Satellite Spotlight – 08/28/2013]

Euroconsult report “Mobile Satellite Communications Markets Survey: Prospects to 2022″ released – MSS continues to make headway.
[SatNews – 08/28/2013]

Broadcasters and satellite operators urge the FCC to take action to minimize interference from proposed in-flight broadband services.
[Bloomberg – 08/28/2013]

Russia considers a ban on supplying the U.S. with powerful RD-180 rocket engines for military communications satellites as Russia concentrates on building its own new space launch center, Vostochny, in the Far East. – a ban could halt NASA’s space programs.
[Space Travel – 08/28/2013]

China plans first unmanned landing on moon by the end of 2013.
[Space News – 08/28/2013]

NASA continues preparation for SLS engine testing at its Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Missouri.
[Space Mart – 08/28/2013]

Titan Solara 50 solar drone with 150 ft. wingspan would orbit above 60,000 ft. for up to five years on solar energy alone, and could provide some functions currently offered by satellites.
[EV World – 08/28/2013]

South African Broadcasting Corporation to broadcast free-to-air channels from a Sentech satellite platform.
[The Media Online – 08/28/2013]

Hirschmann Solutions introduces ITAS, the Iridium Transceiver Antenna System, a high-performing antenna paired with the Iridium 9602 modem for asset tracking.
[Satellite Spotlight – 08/28/2013]

SpaceX to test reusable booster technology during launch of Canadian space weather satellite later this year.
[Space News – 08/27/2013]

Air Force Global Strike Command plans to buy satellite TV service for 15 missile alert facilities scattered around Wyoming and rural Colorado.
[Nextgov – 08/27/2013]

World’s most dynamic DTH market kicks it up a notch as Reliance Digital and Sun Direct propose to merge, forming India’s second largest DTH platform.
[NSR – 08/27/2013]

Director General of Nigeria’s National Air Space and Research Development Agency says satellite technology contributes N106 billion to the Nigerian economy, saying both government and the private sector must invest.
[All Africa – 08/27/2013]

On Call Communications will embed XipLink wireless WAN optimization software directly into its QuickSPOT broadcast satellite system.
[Via Satellite – 08/27/2013]

SpaceX will receive a loan of $104.5 million from the Export-Import bank for the launch of the Amos 6 communications satellite.
[Via Satellite – 08/26/2013]

Globecomm Systems agrees to be taken private by investment firm Wasserstein & Co. for about $340 million.
[Economic Times – 08/26/2013]

Hughes Network Systems receives Federal Government Distance Learning Association’s Pillar Award.
[Yahoo Finance – 08/26/2013]

Hispasat will again this year support Vuelta 2013 race organizers and reporters with two high-performance mobile satellite transmission units following the race.
[SatNews – 08/26/2013]

 WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services