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  1. #2326
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    The Edge of Space Just Crept 12 Miles Closer to Earth:


    (By Brandon Specktor July 26, 2018 Science & Astronomy)

    Where does Earth's atmosphere end and space begin? According to a new study, it might be just 50 miles above Earth — right about where the blue turns to black.


    Did you feel that? Does it suddenly feel a little bit stuffier in here to you? Does it feel like, I don't know… outer space just got 12 miles (20 kilometers) closer?

    Nothing actually moved, of course (unless you count the constant and increasing expansion of the universe). But according to a new study published online this week, it might be high time Earthlings shifted our mental and mathematical ideas about where, exactly, Earth's atmosphere ends and outer space begins.

    If astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell's calculations are correct, the cosmic boundary where the laws of airspace suddenly give way to the laws of orbital space might be a lot closer than we think — a full 12 miles closer than previous estimates suggest.

    "The argument about where the atmosphere ends and space begins predates the launch of the first Sputnik," McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in his new paper, which will appear in the October issue of the journal Acta Astronautica. "The most widely accepted boundary is the so-called Karman Line, nowadays usually set to be 100 km (62 miles) altitude."

    Here's the problem: According to McDowell, that Karman line that many scientists accept today is based on decades of misinterpreted information that doesn't actually take real orbital data into account. Luckily, data is McDowell's business (and his pleasure — in his free time he keeps meticulous records of every rocket launch on Earth) and he knew just where to look to find an evidence-based answer to the question, "Where does space begin?"


    Where satellites fall...

    In his new study, McDowell pored over data describing the orbital paths of some 43,000 satellites, which he collected from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors aerospace in the United States and Canada. Most of these satellites were negligible to McDowell's study — they orbited far higher than the proposed Karman line, and were well within the grasp of orbital space.

    About 50 of these satellites, however, stood out. While re-entering the atmosphere at the end of their missions, each of these satellites successfully completed at least two full rotations around the Earth at altitudes below 62 miles (100 km). The Soviet Elektron-4 satellite, for example, circled the planet 10 times at around 52 miles (85 km) before tumbling into the atmosphere and burning up in 1997.

    It seemed clear from these cases that the physics of space still held sway well below the Karman line. When McDowell used a mathematical model to find the exact point at which various satellites finally broke loose of their orbits and made a fiery return to the atmosphere, he found that this could occur anywhere between 41 to 55 miles (66 and 88 km). Usually though, when a craft dipped below the 50-mile (80 km) mark, there was no hope of escape.

    For this reason, McDowell chose 50 miles as the true lower edge of space. The number fit neatly with several other cultural and atmospheric factors, as well. For example, McDowell wrote, in the 1950s, US Air Force pilots were awarded a special set of "astronaut wings" for flying their planes above 50 miles, this being considered the outermost edge of the atmosphere.

    Atmospherically, the choice fits, too: The mesopause — the coldest belt of Earth's atmosphere — stretches roughly between 52 and 62 miles above the planet's surface. Here, the atmosphere's chemical composition begins to change drastically and charged particles become more abundant. (In other words, things look a lot spacier.) It's clear that, below the lower edge of the mesopause, Earth's atmophere becomes a stronger force for airborn objects to reckon with, McDowell wrote. [Infographic: Earth's Atmosphere from Top to Bottom]

    "It is noteworthy that meteors (traveling much more quickly) usually disintegrate in the 70 -100 km (43 miles to 62 miles) altitude range, adding to the evidence that this is the region where the atmosphere becomes important," McDowell wrote.

    So, what does it mean if the boundary between Earth and space is 20 percent lower than is generally accepted? It won't change the way rockets are launched or any other physical interactions with space, McDowell wrote, but it could raise some important political and territorial issues.

    The airspace above a given country is generally considered part of that country; outer space, on the other hand, is for everyone. If space is defined as beginning at 62 miles and the U.S. flies an unauthorized satellite at 52 miles over China, for example, that could be (justifiably) construed as an act of military aggression.

    For this reason, the U.S. has frequently opposed setting any universal space boundaries. That means that McDowell's proposed 50-mile line probably won't become a legal, universally accepted border anytime soon. Still, if the daily drudge of life on Earth starts to get you down, look up — and take heart that you may be a little bit closer to the heavens than you were last week.

    Originally published on Live Science.

  2. #2327
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    Close encounters? SpaceX satellites spark Dutch UFO frenzy

    A Dutch website set up to record UFO sightings was flooded early Saturday with reports after a "train of stars" was spotted crossing the Netherlands' skies, sparking fears of an alien invasion.

    But what some thought to be a close encounter of the third kind turned out to be a string of some 60 satellites launched by US-based SpaceX hours earlier as part of its "Starlink" constellation.
    You can see why it would get the public's attention.




  3. #2328
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    "The British Film Institute (BFI) has released remarkable footage of a solar eclipse shot during the Victorian era but painstakingly restored to stunning 4k, in what may be the world’s oldest surviving astronomical film.

    The incredible footage was shot in North Carolina in 1900 by Nevil Maskelyne, a British magician-turned-filmmaker, who was taking part in a Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) expedition."

    https://www.rt.com/news/461026-victo...eclipse-video/
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  4. #2329
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    China launches first rocket into space from platform at sea


    Space News thread-5cf74567a3101765669da0d3-jpeg

    The Long March 11 carrier rocket. [Photo/CCTV]

    "China carried out the country's first seaborne space launch on Wednesday, from a platform in its territorial waters in the Yellow Sea, opening a new chapter in its space industry.

    A Long March 11 solid-propellant carrier rocket blasted off at 12:06 pm from a mobile launch platform — a modified submersible craft — in the Yellow Sea off the eastern province of Shandong and then sent seven satellites into orbit about 600 kilometers above the Earth.

    The mission — the first seaborne space launch in the world in five years — showcased China's mastery of the technologies and capabilities required for such operations and indicates the country has found an alternative to its ground-based launch centers.

    China is striving to expand its launch service portfolio and promote its carrier rockets to more countries, especially those wishing to have their own affordable satellite networks.

    Designed and built by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the Long March 11 is the only solid-fuel carrier rocket in the Long March family, the pillar of the country's space programs.
    With a length of 20.8 meters, a diameter of 2 meters and a liftoff weight of 58 metric tons, it is capable of sending satellites to low-Earth orbit or Sun-synchronous orbit, according to the academy, which is part of State-owned space conglomerate China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

    Its first flight, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert in September 2015, ferried four satellites to a Sun-synchronous orbit.

    Six Long March 11 rockets had been launched before the seaborne mission, placing 25 satellites into orbit. All the previous missions were launched from the Jiuquan center and were successful.

    The mobile launch platform used in Wednesday's launch is owned and run by a Chinese maritime engineering company that asked not to be named due to contractual obligations.

    Li Tongyu, Long March 11's project manager at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, said more sea-based launches will be conducted to verify its capacity to lift payloads in various orbits.

    He said the academy plans to build a coastal port dedicated to supporting seaborne launch missions as well as a dedicated launch platform — instead of the current modified one — that will be capable of launching not only solid-propellant rockets but also liquid-propellant types, which are usually bigger and more powerful.

    The world's first launch at sea was made in April 1967 with a Scout B carrier rocket, developed by the United States, from the San Marco platform of the Italian-owned Luigi Broglio Space Center, off the coast of Kenya. The most recent sea launch took place in May 2014, when Sea Launch, a multinational joint venture, sent a Zenit-3SL rocket from the company's mobile launch platform Odyssey in the Pacific Ocean, near Kiritimati, into orbit carrying a communication satellite.

    Compared with conventional land-based launches, a sea mission has a lower risk of causing trouble for densely populated areas along the rocket's trajectory. The method also allows launches to be made near the equator, which increases the rocket's carrying capacity, lowers launch costs and extends the life span of some satellites, Li explained."

    China launches first rocket into space from platform at sea - Chinadaily.com.cn
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-5cf74567a3101765669da0d3-jpeg  

  5. #2330
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaitongBoy View Post
    The Edge of Space Just Crept 12 Miles Closer to Earth:


    (By Brandon Specktor July 26, 2018 Science & Astronomy)

    Where does Earth's atmosphere end and space begin? According to a new study, it might be just 50 miles above Earth — right about where the blue turns to black.


    Did you feel that? Does it suddenly feel a little bit stuffier in here to you? Does it feel like, I don't know… outer space just got 12 miles (20 kilometers) closer?

    Nothing actually moved, of course (unless you count the constant and increasing expansion of the universe). But according to a new study published online this week, it might be high time Earthlings shifted our mental and mathematical ideas about where, exactly, Earth's atmosphere ends and outer space begins.

    If astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell's calculations are correct, the cosmic boundary where the laws of airspace suddenly give way to the laws of orbital space might be a lot closer than we think — a full 12 miles closer than previous estimates suggest.
    I am back home after a week in München visiting a number of the space institutes there, very interesting but exhausting.

    This is not really new. In the time of the X-planes the US Airforce awarded astronaut wings to the pilots passing 80km instead of the commonly used 100 km.

    It is also very convenient for Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic space tourist endeavour. They have not been able to pass the 100km line yet and can now claim to transport tourists to space passing 80km. If they ever dare to fly tourists on that hybrid engine powered death trap. If I had the money and the choice I would rather trust Blue Origin and their New Shepard vehicle which does pass the 100km altitude level.

    Virgin Galactic
    Space News thread-ss2-aug2017-jpg

    Blue Origin New Shepard
    Space News thread-22601_blueorigin_newshepard_ns10_launch-rev-1548431292-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-ss2-aug2017-jpg   Space News thread-22601_blueorigin_newshepard_ns10_launch-rev-1548431292-jpg  
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  6. #2331
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    Close encounters? SpaceX satellites spark Dutch UFO frenzy
    Space News thread-dearcooperativeanophelesmosquitosize_res-1-gif


    This is really exciting news. SpaceX once more shocked the space community with this. It has been speculated that they would be able to launch ~25 sats of their starlink constellation in one launch. Turned out they launched 60. 6 more launches and they will be able to start initial service for northern latitudes like most of Alaska and Canada. Which may happen this year but more likely next year. 12 launches and they will be able to serve most of the world with high speed internet. Not competetive in urban centers but huge for rural areas that are presently underserved.

    There is some murmuring these sats will endanger ground based astronomy but these concerns are greatly overstated. Last week at ESO who operate the large telescopes in Chiles Atacama desert I had the chance to ask one of the astronomers there and he was not concerned at all.

    Their competition, One Web has satellites less capable and cost about 3-4 times as much to build and launch. Seems SpaceX will now also beat them to an initial operatonal constellation. It will take SpaceX longer to launch their full constellation of ~12.000 sats compared to the ~800 of One Web.

    60 starlink sats stacked like IKEA flatpacks maxing out the volume of the fairing and the lift capacity of F9 in reusable mode.

    Space News thread-d6vkkwiuuaabz_p-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-dearcooperativeanophelesmosquitosize_res-1-gif   Space News thread-d6vkkwiuuaabz_p-jpg  

  7. #2332
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    China launches first rocket into space from platform at sea
    Some more photos of the launch preparations.

    The barge
    Space News thread-2h5bs_o-jpg

    The rocket, a solid propellant booster
    Space News thread-dw5kw_o-jpg

    The launch. Method similar to how submarine based missiles are launched.
    Space News thread-01tek_o-jpg

    Launch viewing
    Space News thread-w0sqi_o-jpg

    The planned launch position
    Space News thread-d7_xt9nucaaitb2-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-2h5bs_o-jpg   Space News thread-dw5kw_o-jpg   Space News thread-w0sqi_o-jpg   Space News thread-d7_xt9nucaaitb2-jpg   Space News thread-01tek_o-jpg  


  8. #2333
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    ^ What's the advantage of launching a Rocket @ sea?

    Space News thread-11183714-3x2-700x467-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-11183714-3x2-700x467-jpg  

  9. #2334
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    What's the advantage of launching a Rocket @ sea?
    They can more freely chose the direction of launch without flying over land.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    They can more freely chose the direction of launch without flying over land.
    Thanks

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    ^They can also place the barge on the equator which increases the lift ability etc.

  12. #2337
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    ^They can also place the barge on the equator which increases the lift ability etc.
    Are they pushing the SCS that far south now?

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    It appears that the South China sea extends southwards to the Bangka Belitung Islands (Indonesian:

    On the South. The Eastern and Southern limits of Singapore and Malacca Straits [A line joining Tanjong Datok, the Southeast point of Johore (1°22′N 104°17′E) through Horsburgh Reef to Pulo Koko, the Northeastern extreme of Bintan Island (1°13.5′N 104°35′E). The Northeastern coast of Sumatra] as far West as Tanjong Kedabu (1°06′N 102°58′E) down the East coast of Sumatra to Lucipara Point (3°14′S 106°05′E) thence to Tanjong Nanka, the Southwest extremity of Banka Island, through this island to Tanjong Berikat the Eastern point (2°34′S 106°51′E), on to Tanjong Djemang (2°36′S 107°37′E) in Billiton, along the North coast of this island to Tanjong Boeroeng Mandi (2°46′S 108°16′E) and thence a line to Tanjong Sambar (3°00′S 110°19′E) the Southwest extreme of Borneo.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_China_Sea

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangka_Belitung_Islands

    Wiki's "facts" of course are open to revision, subject to Wiki's masters approval.

    Which , if my map drawing skills are correct, creates a southern extents line like this:

    Space News thread-scs-jpg

    I doubt China defined the South China Seas, more likely Great Britain's desires.

    So Yes, if China Launched a rocket from the SCS it may well be on the Equator.

    Allowing for the recognised 12 limit there appears to be plenty of "International Waters", although one would need the ameristani regimes permission to use it one presumes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-scs-jpg   Space News thread-scs-jpg  
    Last edited by OhOh; 06-06-2019 at 11:28 AM.

  14. #2339
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    So Yes, if China Launched a rocket from the SCS it may well be on the Equator.
    My post has a map showing where it was launched. Not near the equator. But equatorial launch is an option, a very valuable one for some orbits, especially GEO. No problem launching in international waters.

  15. #2340
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    ^
    Yes you did and as usual supplied some excellent info.

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    NASA will send a helicopter to Mars on the Mars 2020 mission. A rover very similar to Curiosity.

    The helicopter is supposed to do short hops and look ahead at the track the rover is going to drive. It was not clear for a while if they will actually send it but the decision is now made.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=95&v=VdRqSSYu4K8

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    Excellent, good luck to the team involved.

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    NASA opens International Space Station to visitors

    Space News thread-8547938-3x2-700x467-jpg

    You've heard about the International Space Station for years. Want to visit?

    Key points:

    • Accommodations will run for about $US35,000 per night for trips of up to 30 days long
    • Travellers don't need to be a US citizen, people from other countries are be eligible as long as they fly on a US-operated rocket
    • Depending on the market, the agency will allow up to two visitors per year, for now


    NASA announced that the orbiting outpost is now open for business to private citizens, with the first visit expected to be as early as next year.

    There is a catch, though: You'll need to raise your own cash, and it won't be cheap.

    Travellers likely will pay an estimated $US58 million ($83 million) for a round-trip ticket.
    And accommodations will run about $US35,000 per night, for trips of up to 30 days, NASA chief financial officer Jeff DeWit said.

    "But it won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points," Mr DeWit said during a news conference at Nasdaq in New York City.

    More Here
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Space News thread-8547938-3x2-700x467-jpg  
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  19. #2344
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    When will the budget spacelines be able to offer alternative trips to the "international" Space Station. Possibly using non US operated rockets?

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    So, my 5yo Boys are getting interested in Space and the like.

    We bought them a 3D book (fold out) and they can name each of the Planets, in order.

    Know that Pluto is no longer a Planet and have fun saying U-ranus and U run us ... thankfully they don't know what an anus is yet

    So, we were discussing the solar system etc and they went off, to watch their tablets and sing the Planet song when one of the Rugrats
    traversed the length of the house to inform me that if I (Dad) ever go to Neptune, I should take my umbrella as it's very stormy there ... his
    tablet told him so.

    The same Son last week also posed this question ... "Dad, can Santa see our sausages?"

    God love them

  21. #2346
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    When will the budget spacelines be able to offer alternative trips to the "international" Space Station. Possibly using non US operated rockets?
    Going to the ISS will remain rare and expensive as long as the ISS lasts.

    But how about a flight LA to Shanghai or similar distances at Mach 20 in 1:20 at business class flight price? SpaceX is planning to introduce that service in the not too distant future with their Starship. As a regular scheduled flight service. Nobody can quite believe it but they are serious about it. Mach 20 is just below orbital speed.

    Possibly a day or two in Starship in orbit, but that would be somewhat more expensive. Still affordable for many people who really want it.

    Edit: Sorry I was wrong about flight time. It would be in the range of 40 minutes or less. The present plan will limit the flight distance to ~10,000km. Hopefully that will get better.
    Last edited by Takeovers; 08-06-2019 at 11:35 PM.

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    I think you get bored pretty quickly on the ISS, that's why they keep them busy 18h a day with scientific experiments

    like hamsters in a lab

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    one astronaut was saying that after a few weeks it gets old very quickly, and the main thing that people were doing on the ISS was watching Earth and the pretty pattern on the surface

    quite ironic

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    that one guy said he kept dreaming about being able to simply sit at a table

    and taking a bath or a hot shower, and this is the first thing he did when he came home, jumped in his pool fully clothed and then proceed to take a 5h shower

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    we are water animals, we are not fit for space, we have space alien friends for that

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