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WEEK 48 2020 - This Weeks Big Space News!

The Top Stories in the Space Sector this Week

Sentinel6 Michael Freilich Launch

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), CCBY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Sentinel 6 was launched into orbiton a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch took place on the 21st of November at 12:17 Eastern, with the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite separating from the rocket’s upper stage just an hour later after arriving in orbit. With the twin sets of solar arrays unfolded the satellite will now undergo a series of checks and calibrations before starting to collect data in the coming months.

The mission is managed by the European Commission and  the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission is part of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation program. It is the largest ever earth observation satellite to be launched into space, used to measure the rising sea levels. Its incredible power means it can monitor the ocean within a mm of precision and its mission is to help researchers understand how climate change is affecting our seas and coasts and how quickly it is happening. Karen St. Germain, director of NASA's Earth Science Division said "This continuous record of observations is essential for tracking sea-level rise and understanding the factors that contribute to it.” The satellite works by sending out radar impulses which are reflected from the sea surface and then received again by the spacecraft, by doing this it will scan 95% of the global sea surface within 10 days.

Find out more on:

Space News

Space.com

DW

Relativity Space Raises $500 Million in Funding

Relativity Space, Inc., CC BY-SA 4.0<https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Relativity Space has raised $500 million in it's series D round of funding. The start-up company are reimaging the way orbital rockets are built and flown by using 3D printing technology. The investment was set to be used to scale up the production of Terran 1, their rocket which will take only 60 days to build from raw materials by 3D printing the structure. However the scale of new investments could mean the company can begin working towards it's overall goal to take these manufacturing technologies to Mars in order to support human settlements on the planet. Developing flexible, lightweight systems which operate with minimum human labour which would also have useful capabilities and applications on Earth. Tim Ellis, co-founder and chief executive of Relativity, said “All of those same parameters also happen to build a really lucrative business on Earth and a new, disruptive value chain for aerospace.”

Find out more on:

Tech Crunch

Space News

Geek Wire

China Launches Space Mission to Collect First Rocks from the Moon in 40 Years

China News Service, CC BY 3.0<https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

China has set off on an ambitious mission to bring back material from the moons surface to use for research which will broaden human understanding of the moon and the solar system. The last time any material was brought back from the moon was more than 40 years ago. The spacecraft Chang'e 5, named after the Chinese moon goddess, launched from Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre aboard the Chinese Long March-5 rocket. The 800,000 kilometre roundtrip is expected to take about three weeks with It 14 of those days being spent on the moon.

Find out more on:

AP News

Nature.com

Government Funding for Space Hubs in the UK

The UK Government has announced funding to support new 'space hubs' in the UK bringing together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how each hub can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race. The UK Space industry has trebled in size since 2010 accounting for more than 42,000 jobs and 15 billion pounds worth of income each year.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: "The UK’s space sector has shown incredible resilience to the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to play a key role in our recovery – from creating high-quality jobs to finding unique ways to support our NHS. This funding will arm local leaders up and down the UK with the tools they need to put their local areas at the front of the commercial space race, while refuelling the tank of the UK economy and helping Britain realise its ambitions as a global space superpower."

The UK authorities receiving funding are:

  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which will lead a project focused on North-West England
  • West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which covers Bristol, Bath and North-East Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • City-REDI of the University of Birmingham
  • University of Leeds and Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) working across West Yorkshire
  • Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, which will cover Surrey and Hampshire
  • Welsh Government, which will carry out activities across the whole of Wales
  • AstroAgency on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, which will look across all of Scotland

Find out more on:

GOV.uk

Faint 'Super-Planet' Discovered by Radio Telescope for the First Time

An artist's impression of the new brown dwarf BDR J1750+3809, or "Elegast." This faint, cold celestial body was detected using radio telescope observations for the first time.(Image: © ASTRON/Danielle Futselaar)

During a recent study by astronomers a cold 'brown dwarf' has been discovered using a radio telescope. Also known as a ‘super planet’-BDR J1750+3809, scientists have named the faint super-planet 'Elegast'. Undiscovered through standard infrared survey methods the super planet was first identified by using data from the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope in the Netherlands. After discovering Elegast, scientists were then able to confirm the observations using the International Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and Chile and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, operated by the University of Hawaii.

Find out more on:

Republic World

Live Science

New Atlas