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A catalog of solar stream interactions

Monday, 20 September 2021 12:21
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A catalog of solar stream interactions
An artist's rendition of the Parker Solar Probe approaching the Sun. Astronomers have used data from Parker, along with data from other solar missions, to detect and study Solar stream interactions. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

When a fast solar wind stream erupts from a coronal hole (a cooler region in the Sun's atmosphere) and overtakes a slower moving solar wind stream, a stream interaction region (SIR) can form. In the SIR, a density "pileup" of compressed plasma develops upstream of the interface; typically there is a peak in pressure followed by a rarefaction region in the fast solar wind component. As the SIR propagates away from the Sun, to distances of one astronomical unit or beyond, the compression can form a shock that efficiently accelerates charged particles.

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L3Harris announced Sept. 20 that the Space Development Agency has approved the company’s proposed design for a missile tracking satellite.

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How many satellites are orbiting Earth?

Monday, 20 September 2021 11:27
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How many satellites are orbiting Earth?
Thousands of the satellites orbiting Earth are small – like this cubical satellite seen here being released from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA, CC BY-NC

It seems like every week, another rocket is launched into space carrying rovers to Mars, tourists or, most commonly, satellites. The idea that "space is getting crowded" has been around for a few years now, but just how crowded is it? And how crowded is it going to get?

How many satellites are orbiting Earth?
CC BY-ND

I am a professor of physics and director of the Center for Space Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Many satellites that were put into orbit have gone dead and burned up in the atmosphere, but thousands remain.

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Swimmer at the Swim Serpentine event on 18 September

Athletes who participated in an open-air mass sporting event at the weekend had images of their sporting prowess sent to family and friends within seconds, thanks to a space-enabled app.

Joining forces for Aeolus

Monday, 20 September 2021 06:00
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Ground laser checking on Aeolus

For a team of scientists and technicians from Europe and the US, the fact of ‘going back to the office’ this September has meant heading off to the Cabo Verde islands in the Atlantic – not to extend their summer holidays, but for a complex international experiment campaign that will scrutinise the data being delivered by one of today’s most innovative Earth observation satellites: ESA’s Aeolus wind mission.

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Starship stacking

A draft environmental assessment released by the Federal Aviation Administration suggests that SpaceX will be able to proceed with orbital Starship launches from Texas, but with a number of mitigations required.

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The growing number of satellites in orbit is leading to calls to develop formal “right of way” rules, although there is no consensus on what those rules should be and how they should be established.

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Washington (AFP) Sept 19, 2021
Four SpaceX tourists returned to Earth safely on Saturday after spending three days in space, successfully concluding the first orbital mission in history with no professional astronauts on board. The SpaceX Dragon capsule, whose heat shield allowed it to withstand descent, was slowed down by four large parachutes before splashing into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at 7:06 pm (
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Wenchang, China (XNA) Sep 17, 2021
The combination of the Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft and a Long March-7 Y4 carrier rocket has been transferred to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said Thursday. The CMSA said the Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft will be launched in the near future at an appropriate time. The facilities and equipment at the Wenchang Spacecraft L
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Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 17, 2021
NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter provided a 3D view of a rock-covered mound during its 13th flight on Sept. 4. The plan for this reconnaissance mission into the "South Seitah" region of Mars' Jezero Crater was to capture images of this geologic target - nicknamed "Faillefeu" (after a medieval abbey in the French Alps) by the agency's Perseverance rover team - and to obtain the color pictures fro
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The ground stations and tracking antennas the U.S. military relies on to communicate with its satellites — known as the Satellite Control Network, or SCN — are decades old and short of the capacity needed to keep up with the projected growth in space activities.

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Trailblazing tourist trip to orbit ends with splashdown
In this image released by Inspiration4, passengers aboard a SpaceX capsule, from left to right, Hayley Arceneaux, Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski pose after the capsule was recovered following its splashdown in the Atlantic off the Florida coast, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. The all-amateur crew was the first to circle the world without a professional astronaut. Credit: John Kraus/Inspiration4 via AP
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Crew Dragon splashdown

SpaceX’s first private crewed mission ended with the splashdown of the Crew Dragon spacecraft off the Florida coast Sept. 18.

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SpaceX to launch Turksat 6A

Saturday, 18 September 2021 19:40
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Turksat 5A launch

Turksat will launch its first domestically built communications satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9, the Turkish government announced Sept. 17.

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Maxwell AFB AL (SPX) Sep 17, 2021
Just after 8 p.m. EST on Sept. 15, 2021, the next batch of space tourists lifted off aboard a SpaceX rocket. Organized and funded by entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, the Inspiration4 mission touts itself as "the first all-civilian mission to orbit" and represents a new type of space tourism. The four crew members are not the first space tourists this year. In the past few months, the world wit
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