Space

April 13, 2012

NASA extends Kepler mission through 2016


nasa-kepler

The Ball Aerospace & Technologies’  Kepler Mission for NASA will continue its mission following a program extension through 2016.

Ball Aerospace is the mission prime contractor for Kepler, designed to search for Earth-size planets around other stars.

Ball Aerospace built the photometer and spacecraft, and managed system integration and test for the NASA Ames Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory-led Discovery class mission. Ball is currently managing on-orbit operation of the satellite for NASA Ames.

The extension will allow Kepler to continue its already successful search, four years past the original end-date of November 2012.  The additional observation time means Kepler will be able to determine what fraction of stars host Earth-size planets in our galaxy.  The extended mission will also allow Kepler to search for planets in longer period orbits, like Earth, in the habitable zones, the region in the planetary system where liquid water could exist. Kepler has identified more than 2,300 candidate planets and more than 900 are smaller than twice the size of Earth. Of the 46 planet candidates found in the habitable zone, 10 of these candidates are near-Earth-size.

“The Kepler mission has proven to be a terrific return on the nation’s investment and the extension will further our scientific understanding of other solar systems in our galaxy,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for the Ball Aerospace Civil and Operational Space business unit.

The Kepler mission is the 2012 recipient of three awards from the aerospace community:

  • Space Foundation John L. “Jack” Swigert Award for Space Exploration
  • Aviation Week & Space Technology Laureate Award for Space

National Space Club Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Year in space starts for one American, one Russian

Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m., EDT, March 27. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend about a year living and working aboard the...
 
 
NASA photograph

Orion parachute testing conducted at AEDC NFAC facility

AEDC engineers were part of a test team that performed wind tunnel testing on the parachutes for NASA Orion spacecraft in January. The test team also consisted of NASA, Airborne Systems, Jacobs Engineering and NFAC personnel. P...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 

 
NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph

NASA asteroid hunter spacecraft data available to public

NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph The NEOWISE spacecraft viewed comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) for a second time on January 30, 2015, as the comet passed through the closest point to our sun along its 14,000-year orbit, at a solar distanc...
 
 
NASA and ESA image

NASA’s Hubble, Chandra find clues that may help identify dark matter

NASA and ESA image Here are images of six different galaxy clusters taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (blue) and Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) in a study of how dark matter in clusters of galaxies behaves when t...
 
 
SOFIA

SOFIA finds missing link between supernovae, planet formation

NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al SOFIA data reveal warm dust (white) surviving inside a supernova remnant. The SNR Sgr A East cloud is traced in X-rays (blue). Radio emission (red) shows expanding shock waves colliding with surr...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>