Sodak strato-selfies and lunar program plans this week

Wisconsinites earn Level 1 High Power Rocket certifications (Wisconsin Space Grant)

Regional News
26 Oct 2019 – 35 km stratospheric selfie stunt sails from South Dakota to Michigan
28 Oct 2019 – Iowa Space Grant names fourteen 2019-2020 fellows
28 Oct 2019 – Nikki Noughani (University of Wisconsin-Madison) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
29 Oct 2019 – Elise Linna (Augsburg University) featured by Minnesota Space Grant
29 Oct 2019 ~ Wisconsin Space Grant rocket workshop yields 9 new Level 1 Certs

Further News
26 Oct 2019 – SARGE launched at Spaceport America – crash lands
26 Oct 2019 – InSight “mole” heat probe fails to burrow on second major attempt
27 Oct 2019 – X-37B returns to Earth after two years on orbit
28 Oct 2019 – First polar launch from Florida since 1960 scheduled for March 2020
29 Oct 2019 – NASA gets into practical details of Artemis lunar program
30 Oct 2019 – Starship Mk1 arrives at Boca Chica for 20 km test
31 Oct 2019 – Kepler Communications releases IoT SpaceComm DevKit

Missing Cessna found crashed near Aberdeen; Airman mourned

After air searches ended on 18 October, a passing hunter found a missing Cessna aircraft in a ravine just 5 km from Aberdeen, at about 2310 UT 21 Oct 2019, the American News reports. The Brown County (SD) Sheriff Department confirmed the only deceased to be Gerald W. Seliski, 70, of Hecla, SD. Seliski owned the plane but only held a student pilot certificate.

Last week, the Rapid City Journal reported the deceased Ellsworth AFB servicemember to be SrA William T. Horton, 24 (28th AMXS).

Electron and Long March end the week

Regional News

11 Oct 2019 South Dakota blizzard claims aviation lives
14 Oct 2019 Wisconsin Space Grant features Katiya Fosdick (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
14 Oct 2019 Minnesota Space Grant features Mike Alves (Augsburg University, University of California-San Diego)
15 Oct 2019 Wyoming Space Grant balloon mission
17 Oct 2019 Wisconsin Science Fest begins – will run through 20 Oct

Orbital News

11 Oct 2019 0159 Cape Canaveral Pegasus ICON
17 Oct 2019 0122 Māhia Electron Palisade
17 Oct 2019 ~1520 Xichang CZ-3B TJSW-4

Further News

11 Oct 2019 – New Mexico EOS operator Descartes Labs raises funds, names new CFO
14 Oct 2019 – SpaceX upgrades vertical test stand for Raptor
15 Oct 2019 – Fault postpones battery swaps on ISS; BCDU repair (Meir, Koch) planned 18 Oct
15 Oct 2019 – Lockheed Martin delivers DreamChaser airframe core to Sierra Nevada Corporation in Colorado
16 Oct 2019 – Satellites arrive at CSG for next Ariane launch
17 Oct 2019 – InSight Mole Heat Probe back in action on Mars
17 Oct 2019 – Boeing CST Starliner readies for test at White Sands

Late News

2 Oct 2019 – JAXA’s Tsubame low-orbit satellite reenters
10 Oct 2019 – Bowersox admits SLS flight slipped to 2021
10 Oct 2019 – NASA needs Soyuz thru 2021Q2, new enabling law from Congress
10 Oct 2019 – George Nield calls for more US spaceports

South Dakota aviation loses two to blizzard

Approximate flight path of N6483B, lost 10 Oct 2019. Search and rescue operations are covering 85 km of the James River valley. (FAA / SkyVector / The Fargo Orbit)

Civil Air Patrol and the US Air Force continue to search for the pilot of a missing Cessna 172, N6483B, lost en route to Oakes, North Dakota after departure from Aberdeen Regional Airport at about 10 October 2019 0315 UT, just before a blizzard began to cross the plains. Weather and crop cover has hampered the response effort.

Also in the wake of the weather, a servicemember assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base was found dead near their off-base residence, 14 October 2019.

USGS sample data teases Landsat Collection 2

This image of the Florida Keys was collected by Landsat 8 in 10.60-11.19 µm infrared on 07 May 2013, and was one of the first datasets released for Landsat Collection 2, on 30 September 2019. (Credit: USGS / The Fargo Orbit)

On 30 September 2019, The US Geological Survey released new samples of Landsat data, leading up to Landsat Collection 2, a global multi-instrument survey of Planet Earth. Data processing will continue all through next year and is expected to be fully available in 2021.

If you’d like to try your own hand at processing Earth Observation Satellite data, you can take a look at the sample datasets at the USGS Landsat website.

GPS glitch grounds airliners

Outage regions for the Global Positioning System, 8 June 2019. (Credit: FAA)

Passenger airline flights were affected Saturday and Sunday 8 and 9 June 2019, due to an expected minor signal outage, plus a glitch with a particular type of GPS receiver. The affected planes were mostly Bombardier CRJ-200 and CRJ-700s, but also included CRJ-900s, as well as Boeing 737 and 767s.

Reports on indicate particular concerns with GPS receivers supplied by Rockwell Collins. In case the airplane’s barometer were to fail, the onboard GPS receiver must be able to track altitude accurately enough to maintain normal operations in the Class A airspace above FL180. This requires a GPS vertical accuracy within 500 feet (152 meters), and that the GPS constellation be in fairly good alignment – which, every now and then, just doesn’t happen.

That’s what occurred this weekend over a region over the Great Lakes and extending out over much of North Dakota and Manitoba, such that certain areas can expect, in theory, up to 40 minutes of signal loss on Sunday. The FAA estimated still further regions in the US could be affected by the outage. As affected planes wait for a technical fix, they are flying below 18000 feet, or simply being replaced by unaffected aircraft.

Airliners with the strictest requirements for their their GPS accuracy had to rely on alternative navigation modes when operating in the red region. (Credit: FAA)

In addition to highlighting the performance of one supplier’s GPS solution in an edge case, the incident also serves to highlight an increasing dependence on GPS for airline operations. Aviators have expressed concern about the trend of airports turning off their ILS, VOR, and NDB navigation systems. Many of these decisions assume that GPS will always be available, which may well be more than 98% correct. It’s the last 2% that may lead to unexpected problems.