Five launches and a clotheslined Piper this week

Fire response after Piper N3586M became entangled in power transmission lines in Louisville Township, Scott County, Minnesota, 23 November 2019 (Scott County Sheriff)

Regional News
20 Nov 2019 – Wisconsin Space Grant features Katherine Kolman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
23 Nov 2019 2157 UT – Piper PA-12 N3586M tangled in power lines on approach to Shakopee, MN
26 Nov 2019 – Wyoming Supreme Court rules Jackson Hole Airport Authority can purchase intangible assets as part of FBO acquisition
27 Nov 2019 – FlyTrex drones deliver to Grand Forks golf course, eye new markets
27 Nov 2019 – Fargo-based Elinor to participate in aerospace coatings research
28 Nov 2019 ~ Michael Haubrich of Racine wants to land at every airport in the Midwest

Further News
18 Nov 2019 – ThrustMe completes on-orbit test of I2T5 iodine fuel thruster
27 Nov 2019 ~ ISS Thanksgiving Menu : Forgot the Pumpkin Pie!

Late News
20 Sep 2019 ~ Conference discussion on need for automated orbital collision avoidance
24 Oct 2019 ~ University of Dubuque opens new aviation building

Orbital News
23 Nov 2019 0055 UT – Xichang CZ-3B Beidou (launch destroyed a house)
26 Nov 2019 2123 UT – Kourou Ariane 5 TIBA-1 Inmarsat GX-5
27 Nov 2019 0358 UT – Sriharikota PSLV Cartosat-3
27 Nov 2019 1752 UT – Plesetsk Soyuz-2.1v Russian Military payload
27 Nov 2019 2352 UT – Taiyuan CZ-4C Gaofen-12

KZ-1A flew twice in less than a week

A KZ-1A rocket lifts off from Jiuquan with two commsats from German company KLEO Connect, 1000 UT 17 Nov 2019. (Weibo)

Orbital News
17 Nov 2019 ~1000 UT – KZ-1A KL-Alpha x2

Regional News
Recently – Lance Nichols (Montana State University) featured by Montana Space Grant
11 Nov 2019 – Mary Claire Mancl (University of Wisconsin-Madison) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
13 Nov 2019 – Kelsey Mueller (Iowa State University) named Iowa EPSCoR coordinator
15 Nov 2019 – Jack Stutler (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) featured by Minnesota Space Grant
15 Nov 2019 – Omaha NOAA WSR-88D Weather Radar refurbished
18 Nov 2019 – Nicholas Hennigan (Milwaukee School of Engineering) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
19 Nov 2019 – South Dakota Space Grant awardee Brad Goff (Lake Area Technical Institute) featured by KELO-TV
21 Nov 2019 – Skies features Natalie Esser, Albertan kit-plane builder and sport-flyer

Further News
15 Nov 2019 – Structural failure caused SARGE crash
19 Nov 2019 – SNC fêtes ‘Shooting Star’ external cargo module for Dream Chaser
20 Nov 2019 2126 UT – Starship Mk 1 suffers BLEVE during Liquid Nitrogen fill, SpaceX will move on to Mk 3 model

Late News
11 Nov 2019 1456 UT – CCAFS F9 Starlink
13 Nov 2019 0105 UT – Hayabusa2 departs from asteroid Ryugu
13 Nov 2019 0340 UT – Jiuquan KZ-1A Jilin-1 Gaofen-02A
13 Nov 2019 0635 UT – Taiyuan CZ-6 Ningxia-1 x5

Bismarck remembers flight disaster

Hundreds gathered in Bismarck to mark the first anniversary of a fatal aviation incident, according to the Tribune. On 19 November 2018 0330 UT, a Bismarck Air Medical flight departed Bismarck Airport for Williston’s old airport, Sloulin Field. However, at about 0340 UT, the 36-year-old Cessna 441, registration number N441CX, broke apart mid-flight, killing 3 onboard. 20 hectares of rural Morton County were showered with the shattered wreckage. The final NTSB report on the incident is expected early 2020.

Minnesota Space Grant hosts second Short Talks event

Minnesota Space Grant held another Short Talks event on 14 November 2019. The online videoconference provided a glimpse into the diverse expertise at midwest universities supported by NASA Space Grant on topics of interest. The talks will eventually be posted on MnSGC’s YouTube channel.

The flipped classroom is just one of several modern teaching methods used for projects at Iowa State Aerospace Engineering (Iowa State University/Matthew Nelson)

Dr. Matthew Nelson (Iowa State) presented information about the M:2:I “Make to Innovate” initiative at Iowa State University’s Department of Aerospace Engineering.

The academic program recasts student aerospace projects as the work products of a technical elective, offered as a hands-on “flipped classroom” experience, with a common project management approach and support from Faculty and Industry experts.

What will lunar communications look like in a decade? One option is satellite swarms at Earth-Moon L1 and L2 – which opens up problems that are tricky to model and challenging to execute. (Missouri S&T/Henry Pernicka)

Dr. Henry Pernicka (Ohio Northern University) is studying how to corral swarms of small satellites when they’re tossed into a halo orbits at Earth-Moon L1 and L2.

Swarms solve some of the reliability problems always feared in solo spacecraft in “deep space” that can’t easily be replaced. But they’re also difficult to fly in formation near the Lagrange points, where even slight differences in trajectory can quickly turn a tight formation into an M. C. Escher painting.

750m resolution photometric data shows light pollution in the upper midwest, 2019. (Suomi NPP/Ohio Northern University/Bryan Boulanger)

Dr. Bryan Boulanger (Ohio Northern University) is a Civil Engineer active in the International Dark Sky Association, who shared developments in floodlight design and photometry, key parts of the battle to curb light pollution and return stars to the night sky.

The talk went beyond the familiar photos of Earth at night – one striking slide showed hard data taken at 750 meter resolution by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite, showing the excessive light generation in places like Minneapolis-St. Paul and the industrialized portions of western North Dakota. The hard photometric numbers show just how much the problem has worsened – and where.

Cygnus, Gaofen, and flight tests headline the week

Flight path of Wyoming Space Grant balloon mission from Newcastle, Wyoming to Wanblee, South Dakota, 11 Nov 2019 (StratoStar/Google Maps)

Orbital News

02 Nov 2019 1359 UT – Wallops Antares Cygnus NG-12
03 Nov 2019 0209 UT – Kounotori 8 deorbit
03 Nov 2019 0322 UT – Taiyuan CZ-4B Gaofen 7
04 Nov 2019 1743 UT – Xichang CZ-3B Beidou

Regional News
03-09 Nov 2019 – Saskatchewan Aviation and Aerospace Week
05-07 Nov 2019 – Four Colorado companies gain USAF SBIR funds
(Braxton Technologies, Numerica Corporation, Roccor, Stratagem Group)
05-07 Nov 2019 – USAF may speed commercial access to VAFB, CCAFS
06 Nov 2019 – Deceased recovered after Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba plane crash
06 Nov 2019 – Wyoming Space Grant balloon mission reaches 30.3 km in a flight between Newcastle, WY and a remote site near Wanblee, SD.

Further News
01 Nov 2019 ~ Chang’e 5 lunar sample return scheduled for late 2020
03 Nov 2019 ~ SpaceX announces Crew Dragon parachute test results
04 Nov 2019 – Boeing Starliner abort test passes even with 1 failed chute
07 Nov 2019 – ISS optical fiber manufacturing results announced

Next Week
11 Nov 2019 1235-1804 UT – Transit of Mercury

Cygnus NG-12 carries regional cubesats to orbit

An Antares rocket carries Cygnus NG-12, SS Alan Bean, on a mission to the International Space Station, 2 Nov 2019 1359 UT (NASA TV)

Apart from 3729 kg of cargo bound for the International Space Station, CRS 12 was also the launch platform for ELaNa 25A, the latest in NASA’s ongoing university space access program, including missions from Montana and Minnesota: RADSAT-U and SOCRATES.


RADSAT-U internal structure (Montana State University)

How can you build a computer you can count on in deep space, where stray radiation can randomly crash the average PC? RADSAT-U, a 3U cubesat project from Montana State University, aims to demonstrate a radiation-tolerant computer hardware architecture that users can count on in space, an environment that’s never been kind to silicon wafers.

The final push to complete the computer experiment was lead by Chris Major, a computer engineer and Ph.D candidate in electrical engineering at Montana State, who picked up the effort from the previous student design team in the early months of 2019, running up to final completion and delivery for payload integration a few months before the launch.

In addition to the primary computing experiment, a second experiment aboard RADSAT-U studies how the effects of radiation environment affect solar cells. An additional solar cell of the same type used on the craft’s exterior is mounted inside the craft. Montana State undergraduates will study the experiment’s results.

Data from the craft will be relayed directly to the university in quarter-kilobyte packets transmitted over amateur radio frequencies. After Montana State’s SSEL calculates the pass time, a team member will be on hand to collect the data packets when the craft passes overhead.

Three members of the RADSAT-U team, including Major, attended the launch at Wallops Island, Virginia.

RADSAT-U is expected to be in orbit for up to two and a half years. The mission was student-built at Montana State University under the supervision of Dr. Brock LaMeres, with technical support from the university’s Space Science Engineering Laboratory and supplemental expertise from the Montana Space Grant Consortium.

Aside from its recent success in the ELaNa program, Montana State University is also one of 12 universities working with NASA to reach the surface of the moon along with one of the robotic landers in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.


SOCRATES internal structure (University of Minnesota / Kennedy Space Center)

SOCRATES is a project from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a 3U cubesat that includes a gamma ray burst detector with a unique purpose.

How can spacecraft navigate without GPS in the far reaches of the solar system? SOCRATES, from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, is a 3U cubesat carrying an experiment to answer that question. At its heart are four bricks of Thallium-doped Caesium Iodide, which glow in the dark whenever a cosmic ray happens to pass.

Those flashes of light can become space-GPS by taking careful measurements and referencing the satellite’s highly accurate onboard clock, then exchanging information with other similar observatories. As members join the network, each spacecraft can determine its position relative to the others, based on the time each of them detected the gamma ray burst.

SOCRATES is expected to be in orbit for just over two years. A companion satellite, EXACT, is hoped to be launched while SOCRATES is still in space. Both are projects of the UMN Smallsat team supervised by Dr. Demoz Gebre-Egziabher and Dr. Lindsay Glesener at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department.