...the who's who,
and the what's what 
of the space industry

Copernical Team

Copernical Team

Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:19

Week in images: 18 - 22 January 2021

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Week in images: 18 - 22 January 2021

Discover our week through the lens

Thursday, 21 January 2021 12:57

SpaceX to send TU Dresden satellite into space

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Countdown for science: SpaceX sends TU Dresden satellite into space.
Rendering of the Falcon-9 rocket upper stage during satellite ejection. Credit: Exolaunch GmbH, SpaceX

TU Dresden's SOMP2b satellite will be lifted into orbit by SpaceX on January 22, 2021. It will be used to investigate new nanomaterials under the extreme conditions of space, to test systems for converting the sun's heat into electricity and to precisely measure the residual atmosphere around the satellite. SOMP2b will begin its journey around the Earth at an altitude of 500 km—slightly higher than the ISS space station. It will orbit the Earth in a special polar, sun-synchronous orbit, always flying over the TU Dresden ground station at approximately the same time of day and sending measurement data.

SOMP2b is a follow-up satellite to SOMP2, a nanosatellite jointly developed by students, Ph.D. candidates and scientists from TU Dresden's Faculty of Mechanical Science and Engineering. SOMP2b stands for Student On-Orbit Measurement Project 2b. It is 20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm in size and weighs a little less than 2 kilograms.

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Magnetic waves explain mystery of Sun's outer layer
Credit: University College London

The Sun's extremely hot outer layer, the corona, has a very different chemical composition from the cooler inner layers, but the reason for this has puzzled scientists for decades.

One explanation is that, in the middle (the chromosphere), magnetic waves exert a force that separates the Sun's plasma into different components, so that only the ion particles are transported into the corona, while leaving neutral particles behind (thus leading to a build-up of elements such as iron, silicon and magnesium in the outer atmosphere).

Now, in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers combined observations from a telescope in New Mexico, the United States, with satellites located near Earth to identify a link between magnetic waves in the chromosphere and areas of abundant ionized particles in the hot outer atmosphere.

Lead author Dr. Deborah Baker (UCL Space & Climate Physics) said: "The different chemical compositions of the Sun's inner and outer layers were first noted more than 50 years ago. This discovery generated what is one of the long-standing open questions in astrophysics.

Thursday, 21 January 2021 09:00

Earth from Space: Sardinia

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Video: 00:03:23

This week's edition of the Earth from Space programme features a Copernicus Sentinel-2 image of Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

See also Sardinia, Italy to download the image.

Thursday, 21 January 2021 09:00

Sardinia, Italy

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Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is featured in this false-colour image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. Image: Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is featured in this false-colour image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.
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Iodine thruster used to change the orbit of a small satellite for the first time ever

For the first time ever, a telecommunications satellite has used an iodine propellant to change its orbit around Earth.

The small but potentially disruptive innovation could help to clear the skies of space junk, by enabling tiny satellites to self-destruct cheaply and easily at the end of their missions, by steering themselves into the atmosphere where they would burn up.

Thursday, 21 January 2021 09:58

Counting elephants from space

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Bath UK (SPX) Jan 20, 2021
For the first time, scientists have successfully used satellite cameras coupled with deep learning to count animals in complex geographical landscapes, taking conservationists an important step forward in monitoring populations of endangered species. For this research, the satellite Worldview 3 used high-resolution imagery to capture African elephants moving through forests and grasslands.
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Aboard Yuanwang-5 (Xinhua) Jan 22, 2021
China's space tracking ship Yuanwang-5 completed its mission in the Pacific Ocean to monitor and ensure the launch of the Tiantong 1-03 satellite on Wednesday. China successfully launched the mobile telecommunication satellite at 12:25 a.m. (Beijing Time) on Wednesday. The satellite entered its planned orbit. As the only maritime monitoring site for the launch, Yuanwang-5 was respons
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Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Jan 20, 2021
A group of international scientists, including an Australian astrophysicist, has used knowhow from gravitational wave astronomy (used to find black holes in space) to study ancient marine fossils as a predictor of climate change. The research, published in the journal Climate of the Past, is a unique collaboration between palaeontologists, astrophysicists and mathematicians - to improve th
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Moscow, Russia (SPX) Jan 22, 2021
A research team from the Skoltech Center for Design, Manufacturing, and Materials (CDMM) comprising 2nd year Ph.D. student Maxim Isachenkov, Senior Research Scientist Svyatoslav Chugunov, Professor Iskander Akhatov, and Professor Igor Shishkovsky has prepared an extensive review on the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies (also known as 3-D-printing) in crewed lunar exploration.
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