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Archive for the ‘NASA’ tag

Dec 20, 2020

Filipino startup recognized in addressing SDG’s using space tech

Posted by in categories: health, space
2020 GEO SDG Award for CirroLytix

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino startup is recognized globally in developing a dengue hotspot prediction system using satellite and climate data in the 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards for the Sectoral category, For-Profit. The GEO SDG Awards recognize the productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development.

CirroLytix Research Services was formed to create social impact through big data. Through the application of machine learning, data engineering, remote sensing, and social listening, the Philippines-based data analytics firm hopes to help governments, researchers, non-government organizations (NGO), and social enterprises achieve positive change. The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) is one of the CirroLytix’s flagship projects developed during the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge. It combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue. Project AEDES process leverages normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), and normalized difference water index (NDWI) readings from Landsat and Sentinel-2 to estimate still water areas on the ground, which is correlated with dengue case counts from national health centers.

The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue.

Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix, describes Project AEDES as an “early detection of panics from online searches, anticipating case counts from environment readings, but most importantly pinpointing hotspots from mosquito habitat detection.”

The Pinoy-made dengue mapper tool won the annual international hackathon of NASA globally in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application. Aside from winning last year, CirroLytix also developed an integrated public policy information portal measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic using Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case counts, thus winning again in the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge for the same category in the best use of data. Named G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide), this dashboard for policy makers and economic planners shows the impact of COVID-19 on various countries and effects on the economy and environment.

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May 9, 2020

NASA, partners launch virtual hackathon to develop COVID-19 solutions

Posted by in categories: astronomy, computing, cosmology, engineering, events, hacking, health, information science, innovation, open source, satellites, science, software, space

The U.S. space agency National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are inviting coders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, artists, and technologists to participate in a virtual hackathon May 30–31 dedicated to putting open data to work in developing solutions to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the global Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge, participants from around the world will create virtual teams that – during a 48-hour period – will use Earth observation data to propose solutions to COVID-19-related challenges ranging from studying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and its spread to the impact the disease is having on the Earth system. Registration for this challenge opens in mid-May.

“There’s a tremendous need for our collective ingenuity right now,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “I can’t imagine a more worthy focus than COVID-19 on which to direct the energy and enthusiasm from around the world with the Space Apps Challenge that always generates such amazing solutions.”

The unique capabilities of NASA and its partner space agencies in the areas of science and technology enable them to lend a hand during this global crisis. Since the start of the global outbreak, Earth science specialists from each agency have been exploring ways to use unique Earth observation data to aid understanding of the interplay of the Earth system – on global to local scales – with aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak, including, potentially, our ability to combat it. The hackathon will also examine the human and economic response to the virus.

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May 7, 2020

New game-changing Inflatable Space Tech NASA to test in 2022… China just tested it.

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, engineering, space, space travel, transportation
inflatable heat shield
China inflatable heat shield: Credit CCTV

New spacecraft experience setbacks all the time. SpaceX Starship prototype violently disassembled several times. Boeing launched the CST-100 but ended up in the wrong orbit. China isn’t a stranger to setbacks either.

China tested a prototype spacecraft on May 5th, 2020 in efforts to prove the technology was ready. It’s good it was a test and not an actual mission since the spacecraft did not perform as expected. The news agency Xinhua reported the spacecraft launched from Hainan China, operated abnormally during its return.

Heat Shields Need to work or expect a terrible day.

Spacecraft experience tremendous heat during the last minutes of their mission. The heat shield protects the spacecraft from that heat. NASA looked at lots of materials and tested many before using for heat shields.

NASA’s Space Shuttle used a thermal soak heat shield approach. The Shuttle tiles act as an insulating material. The design absorbs and radiates the heat away from the spacecraft structure. A second common approach is an ablative heat shield like those used for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Orion spacecraft. These ablative heat shields commonly have a layer of plastic resin which experiences intense heating while entering the atmosphere. The heat shield wears away, carrying the heat away through convection.

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May 4, 2020

Star Wars and Space — May the 4th be with you

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space
It’s a real moon of Saturn. Credit NASA

You may have heard of the expression, May the 4th be with you. If you don’t already know, May the 4th is unofficially Star Wars Day. The date was chosen for the play on words on the classic catchphrase from the movies. “May the Force be with you” and “May the Fourth be with you”.

The pop culture fan base for Star Wars embraced the May 4th date and popularized it. Lucasfilm and later Disney could not have a better day to advertise Star Wars stuff. This is a testament to the many Star Wars fans across the world who have chosen to celebrate the holiday. Lucasfilm and parent company Disney now also wisely have embraced the date as an annual celebration of Star Wars.

So you might be a die-hard Star Wars fan, or maybe you enjoy the movie. If you don’t like Star Wars, well, not sure why you are reading. Maybe you have a loved one and you are trying to figure out what to do with them on this very important day to them. So we are going to go on the assumption that you know at least a little something about Star Wars.

Alright, to the Coruscant of the article. (Hey, it is a Star Wars article after all!)

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Apr 22, 2020

Dengue case predictor mapping system wins the 2019 NASA global hackathon

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, computing, disruptive technology, environmental, events, hacking, information science, innovation, machine learning, mapping, open source, satellites, science, software, space
Upper row Associate American Corner librarian Donna Lyn G. Labangon, Space Apps global leader Dr. Paula S. Bontempi, former DICT Usec. Monchito B. Ibrahim, Animo Labs executive director Mr. Federico C. Gonzalez, DOST-PCIEERD deputy executive director Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, PLDT Enterprise Core Business Solutions vice president and head Joseph Ian G. Gendrano, lead organizer Michael Lance M. Domagas, and Animo Labs program manager Junnell E. Guia. Lower row Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Frances Claire Tayco, Mark Toledo, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez of Aedes project.

MANILA, Philippines — A dengue case forecasting system using space data made by Philippine developers won the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s International Space Apps Challenge. Over 29,000 participating globally in 71 countries, this solution made it as one of the six winners in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application.

Dengue fever is a viral, infectious tropical disease spread primarily by Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes. With 271,480 cases resulting in 1,107 deaths reported from January 1 to August 31, 2019 by the World Health Organization, Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Mark Toledo, Frances Claire Tayco, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez from CirroLytix developed a forecasting model of dengue cases using climate and digital data, and pinpointing possible hotspots from satellite data.

Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellite data used to reveal potential dengue hotspots.

Correlating information from Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellites, climate data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PAGASA) and trends from Google search engines, potential dengue hotspots will be shown in a web interface.

Using satellite spectral bands like green, red, and near-infrared (NIR), indices like Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are calculated in identifying areas with green vegetation while Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) identifies areas with water. Combining these indices reveal potential areas of stagnant water capable of being breeding grounds for mosquitoes, extracted as coordinates through a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system QGIS.

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Apr 16, 2020

Earth-sized, habitable planet found hidden in early NASA Kepler data

Posted by in categories: astronomy, space
An illustration of Kepler-1649c orbiting around its host red dwarf star. This newly discovered exoplanet is in its star’s habitable zone and is the closest to Earth in size and temperature found yet in Kepler’s data.
Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter

A team of transatlantic scientists, using reanalyzed data from National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Kepler space telescope, has discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting in its star’s habitable zone, the area around a star where a rocky planet could support liquid water.

Scientists discovered this planet, called Kepler-1649c, when looking through old observations from Kepler, which the agency retired in 2018. While previous searches with a computer algorithm misidentified it, researchers reviewing Kepler data took a second look at the signature and recognized it as a planet. Out of all the exoplanets found by Kepler, this distant world – located 300 light-years from Earth – is most similar to Earth in size and estimated temperature.

A comparison of Earth and Kepler-1649c, an exoplanet only 1.06 times Earth’s radius
Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter


This newly revealed world is only 1.06 times larger than our own planet. Also, the amount of starlight it receives from its host star is 75% of the amount of light Earth receives from our Sun – meaning the exoplanet’s temperature may be similar to our planet’s, as well. But unlike Earth, it orbits a red dwarf. Though none have been observed in this system, this type of star is known for stellar flare-ups that may make a planet’s environment challenging for any potential life.

“This intriguing, distant world gives us even greater hope that a second Earth lies among the stars, waiting to be found,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The data gathered by missions like Kepler and our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will continue to yield amazing discoveries as the science community refines its abilities to look for promising planets year after year.”

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Apr 10, 2020

BepiColombo Slingshots Past Earth

Posted by in categories: astronomy, science, space, space travel
Mercury has only been visited by two spacecraft so far… Credit NASA

The ESA probe BepiColombo flew past Earth on the way to Mercury. The probe launched in 2018 and made the last visit of our home before continuing onward to the final destination. The spacecraft needs to shed velocity to arrive at Mercury in 2025 at a velocity to enter orbit. The spacecraft will make multiple additional planetary flybys of Venus and Mercury to slow down to enter orbit.

In space travel, mission planners need to balance mission resources. The amount of fuel required to either speed up or slow down a spacecraft greatly impacts the cost of the mission. Using a longer flight path can reduce the propellent requirements for a mission but the mission will take longer. Gravity assists can, therefore, allow a spacecraft to be launched on a cheaper, less powerful rocket.

Gravity assist flyby?

A Gravity assist flyby has other names including a gravitational slingshot, gravity assist maneuver, or swing-by. Gravity assistance maneuvers increase or decrease its speed or redirect the orbital path. The spacecraft slingshots around another object with a gravitational field and transfers some of the energy during that slingshot. In the case of BepiColombo, the spacecraft needs to slow down to be captured by Mercury…

Apr 4, 2020

Crew Dragon Demo-2 will be a Really Long Test Drive.

Posted by in categories: space, space travel

“Depending on when we launch they’re going to be up there for probably two to three months.” NASA Administrator Bridenstine

SpaceX and NASA
Elon Musk speaks with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, along with astronauts Victor Glover, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken and Mike Hopkins, in front of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule. Credit NASA

The next launch to the Space Station is planned for April 9th and is only a few days away. Preparations for the launch have been complicated with illness and coronavirus complications. AS OF NOW, the launch is still on track to rocket American astronaut Chris Cassidy and his two Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Originally, Ivanishin and Vagner were backup for expedition 63. Due to a temporary health condition, Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner were moved forward onto the prime crew. Because of delays in the US Commercial Crew Program, the crew on the ISS may be lower that normal.

Boeing and SpaceX delays put ISS operations at Risk

Since delays to the US Commercial Crew Program might leave Cassidy as the only crew member on the USOS for an extended period of time, Anatoli Ivanishin has been training on US EMU spacesuits. Cassidy has completed multiple EVAs in the past, including an unscheduled EVA. In the unlikely event that an unscheduled EVA is required before additional USOS crew members arrive on the station, then Ivanishin can support Cassidy. Should Ivanishin participate in EVA in the EMU he would be the first Russian cosmonaut to use an EMU since 2007 where Yuri Malenchenko performed the EVA with NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson. Vagner has been to training on operation the USOS Robotic Arm (Canadarm 2) should there be a need to robotically support any EVA carried out by Cassidy and Ivanishin.

At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 63 crewmembers Chris Cassidy of NASA (left) and Anatoly Ivanishin (center) and Ivan Vagner (right) of Roscosmos practice rendezvous techniques on a laptop simulator April 1 as they prepare for launch. They will launch April 9 on the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station. Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Credit NASA

The three astronauts are scheduled to be in space until October 2020 by which time a SpaceX Crew Dragon should be able to rotate a new crew onto the ISS.

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Apr 3, 2020

NASA Worm on Falcon 9 but do you know the story behind it?

Posted by in categories: government, space
NASA Worm logo on a Falcon 9

Yes, that’s right. The classic NASA “worm” logo is back! An image of the revived NASA worm logo was released on Twitter by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as well as press release on the NASA.gov website.

NASA explained that original NASA insignia is an iconic symbol widely recognized in the world. The NASA “meatball” logo as many know it by represented patriotic American colors. A red chevron wing piercing a blue sphere(Planet) with white stars, and an spacecraft orbiting. This “meatball” logo was not easy to reproduce with 1970’s technology so the Federal Design Improvement Program introduced in 1975 a new logo, the “worm.”

Some History about the logo

By the beginning of World War I, the United States lagged behind Europe in airplane technology. On March 3, 1915, Congress founded NACA as an independent government agency in response to the perception that the United States was falling behind in aeronautical technology. NACA would report directly to the President with the purpose to catch up. But technology had evolved, and once again the US was falling behind in technology. Russia launched Sputnik. The space race was being lost.

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Mar 28, 2020

SpaceX going to the Moon with NASA

Posted by in categories: astronomy, complex systems, disruptive technology, Elon Musk, satellites, space, space travel
Orion and Dragon XL near the Lunar Gateway Credit: NASA

By Bill D’Zio, Originally posted on www.westeastspace.com March 28, 2020

NASA may have sidelined the Lunar Gateway for a return mission to the Moon, but it is not stopping the momentum. NASA has awarded several contracts for the Lunar Gateway including the most recent one to SpaceX. This demonstrates the growing capabilities of New Space companies to capture contracts and complete missions.

This contract award is another critical piece of our plan to return to the Moon sustainably. The Gateway is the cornerstone of the long-term Artemis architecture and this deep space commercial cargo capability integrates yet another American industry partner into our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for a future mission to Mars.NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press release statement about the award to SpaceX.

NASA Awarded SpaceX the first Artemis Gateway Logistics Services (GLS) contract. The award for resupply services to the Gateway will require delivery of goods to a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). Not sure what a NRHO orbit is? A NRHO is a highly elliptical orbit that takes about 7 days for each orbit. Want some more details, just click here: Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). There are a few options for NRHO orbits, but NASA is leaning towards the L2 9:2 lunar synodic resonant southerly Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) which would be the likely location of the lunar Gateway. A simplification of the orbit is shown below.

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