Image by Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
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Satellites see unprecedented Greenland ice sheet surface melt

Posted July 25, 2012 by

For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite...

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NASA selects combined data services contract for polar satellites

Posted August 14, 2012 by staff

NASA has selected the Norwegian Space Centre of Oslo, Norway, for combined data support services for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System Program. This is a firm-fixed price contract with a value of about $22 million, which includes one base year and four one-year options to extend performance. This contract permits usage of the Svalbard Satellite…

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NASA announces asteroid naming contest for students

Posted September 5, 2012 by

Students worldwide have an opportunity to name an asteroid from which an upcoming NASA mission will return the first samples to Earth. Scheduled to launch in 2016, the mission is called the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). Samples returned from the primitive surface of the near-Earth asteroid currently called (101955) 1999 RQ36 could hold clues…

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NASA Orion splashdown tests ensure safe landings for astronauts

Posted September 28, 2012 by

The 18,000-pound test article that mimics the size and weight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft crew module recently completed a final series of water impact tests in the Hydro Impact Basin at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The campaign of swing and vertical drops simulated various water landing scenarios to account for different…

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Boeing on schedule to deliver next-gen tracking, data relay satellite

Posted October 29, 2012 by

Boeing photograph Boeing is on schedule to deliver the next-generation series of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, which will increase NASA’s signal processing and transmission capabilities among the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and dozens of unmanned scientific satellites in low Earth orbit. EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Boeing is on schedule to deliver…

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Lockheed Martin completes critical environmental test on GPS III Pathfinder

Posted November 21, 2012 by

The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next generation Global Positioning System III satellites has completed thermal vacuum testing for the Navigation Payload Element of the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed. The milestone is one of several environmental tests verifying the navigation payload’s quality of workmanship and increased performance compared to the current…

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Stratolaunch switches to Orbital for rocket

Posted December 7, 2012 by Raphael Jaffe

Stratolaunch Systems and SpaceX are ending their joint plan that would have had SpaceX supply the rocket that the mothership takes to launch altitude. Instead, Orbital Sciences Corp. is doing design studies for such a space vehicle. The parting of ways is amicable, and opens up a significant new project for Orbital. Stratolaunch CEO Gary…

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SOFIA spots recent starburst in the Milky Way galaxyís center

Posted January 10, 2013 by

NASA photograph SOFIA/FORCAST mid-infrared image of the Milky Way galaxyís nucleus showing the Circumnuclear Ring of gas and dust clouds orbiting a central supermassive black hole. The bright Y-shaped feature is believed to be material falling from the ring toward the black hole that is located where the arms of the ìYî intersect. Researchers using…

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NASA to launch ocean wind monitor to space station

Posted January 30, 2013 by

In a clever reuse of hardware originally built to test parts of NASA’s QuikScat satellite, the agency will launch the ISS-RapidScat instrument to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean-surface wind speed and direction. The ISS-RapidScat instrument will help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring, and understanding of how ocean-atmosphere interactions influence Earth’s…

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NASA’s NuSTAR helps solve riddle of black hole spin

Posted February 27, 2013 by

Two X-ray space observatories, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton, have teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a black hole with a mass 2 million times that of our sun. The supermassive black hole lies at the dust and gas-filled heart of…

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