Science & Astronomy
21. February 2016

This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles I posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community. It’s been a bit of a curious week with no really major stuff happening after the big gravitational waves surprise before, but there were even some remnants of that to report. There were also two successful rocket launches in the US and Japan, the Cygnus transporter leaving from the ISS, the announcement of another new space telescope, some more news about the NASA budget, the unveiling of the new SpaceShipTwo and quite a few other tidbits. And I hope to post something else between the space news here soon, so stay tuned for that – meanwhile, here are the news!

» Did a Gamma Ray Burst Accompany LIGO’s Gravity Wave Detection? (Universe Today) – One detector says yes, another one no and it’s not entirely clear if the GRB was actually connected to the gravitational wave.

» NASA engineer awaits launch of CubeSat mission demonstrating virtual-telescope tech ( – One day, we might have telescopes in space with gigantic focal lengths – and this one might be the start.

» SLS upper stage caught in political tug-of-war ( – As if NASA’s Space Launch System didn’t already have delays and problems enough, now the upper stage

» Welcome to Spaceport America – your rocket will depart soon-ish (Wired) – A slightly rambling article about the struggling spaceport, which still really has to become one first to get properly operational.

» Russia wants to use these humanoid robots to replace humans on spacewalks (ScienceAlert) – This makes a lot of sense especially for routine maintenance work – on the ISS, some things are already halfway automated.

» NASA Introduces New, Wider Set of Eyes on the Universe (NASA) – The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope WFIRST will probably be launching in the mid-2020s and will be an ideal companion to the James Webb Space Telescope.

» In Pictures: Cygnus Takes out the Trash (Planetary Society) – OrbitalATK’s Cygnus space freighter is not designed for going back to Earth, so it is always loaded full of trash and burned up in the atmosphere.

» Entanglement is spooky, but not action at a distance (ScienceNews) – Fry your brain with this article, I couldn’t really get my head around this weird concept!

» Space Station completes Reboost to set up for Heavy Visiting Vehicle Traffic (Spaceflight101) – It’s going to be very busy on the ISS in March with a big crew change and several freighters arriving.

» Space archaeologist Sarah Parcak uses $1M TED Prize for crowdsourced quest (GeekWire) – Space Archaeology here of course refers to doing research FROM space, but not IN space. Several people told me about this who thought Sarah Parcak was an ALIEN archaeologist searching for little green men on other planets…!

» NASA’s New Budget Would Gut Europa But Otherwise Support Planetary Exploration (Planetary Society) – The good news is that all current and most future planetary missions are going to be funded… except Europa for some reason. Is someone taking Arthur C. Clarke too literal? No, it’s mostly politics again.

» Astro-H Space Observatory launches atop H-IIA to deliver unprecedented Views of the X-Ray Universe (Spaceflight101) – Japan’s new Astro-H mission has two x-ray telescopes and one gamma ray detector and runs in cooperation with the US, European and Canadian space agencies and researchers.

» Sentinel-3A enters Target Orbit, Rockot Booster observed from Finland & Greenland (Spaceflight101) – ESA’s new addition to the Copernicus Earth Observation Satellite Constellation has launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

» Test fire of SpaceX Falcon 9 with SES-9 delayed – impact on launch unclear (SpaceflightInsider) – This is actually a dead link because the website has deleted the article – it sort of whined about the delays and how the spaceflight industry could be affected by them. What really happened is that SpaceX is just being careful as usual – the test firing was only delayed until Monday, which is still early enough for the planned Wednesday launch.

» Virgin Galactic Unveils New SpaceShipTwo (Planetary Society) – After the tragic crash of SpaceShipTwo in 2014, Virgin Galactic has now unveiled its successor called VSS Unity – and has promised new safeguards against human or technical errors.

» NASA aeronautics budget proposes return of X-planes ( – This might be the return of the space plane research of the 1940s and 1950s. It’s not called National Aeronautics and Space Administration for nothing.

» Lost Tapes Reveal Apollo Astronauts Heard Unexplained ‘Music’ On Far Side Of The Moon (HuffPost) – This is still a bit of a mystery – when going around the far side of the Moon, the Apollo 10 mission heard some weird electric interferences on their radio.

Write a Comment