Parker Solar Probe Completes Launch Simulation Vibration Testing

Engineers and technicians at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab closely monitor vibration testing of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. The spacecraft is attached to a shaker table, which simulates the intense physical forces of launch and powered flight.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

To ensure that NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be able to withstand the physical stresses of launch, engineers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – where the probe was designed and is being integrated and tested – used a special device called a shaker table to simulate the forces of being hurled into space. The spacecraft successfully passed vibration testing, or “vibe,” as the engineers call it, in late October.

“Our vibration testing uses our 40,000-pound force shaker to simulate many of the dynamic events that occur during launch and powered flight,” said APL’s Dave Persons, Parker Solar Probe lead structural engineer. “By safely simulating that process here in the clean room, we’re able to fully monitor the spacecraft and make sure it’s cleared for flight. During the test, we actively monitored over 300 channels of data.”

The complete article is here:

Parker Solar Probe Thermal Protection System Installed for Testing

On Sept. 21, 2017, engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, lowered the thermal protection system – the heat shield – onto the spacecraft for a test of alignment as part of integration and testing. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

On Sept. 21, 2017, engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, lowered the thermal protection system – the heat shield – onto the spacecraft for a test of alignment as part of integration and testing.

This is the first time that the revolutionary heat shield that will protect the first spacecraft to fly directly into the Sun’s atmosphere was installed; also, this is the only time the spacecraft will have its thermal protection system — which will reach temperatures of 2,500 degrees F while at the Sun — attached until just before launch.

Parker Solar Probe is scheduled for launch on July 31, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The spacecraft will explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work. The resulting data will improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.

Watch a time-lapse video of the installation on YouTube

Download HD video of the time-lapse installation

Behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Parker SolarProbe Mission

Come inside the clean room at JHU Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) today at 1:45 ET – join NASA Sun Science for a Facebook Live look at the amazing spacecraft and people who are helping humanity touch the Sun in 2018.

Monday at 1:45pm ET, 10:45 PT: Join our NASA Sun Science team in a Facebook Live for a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Parker #SolarProbe, a mission set to touch the Sun

Total Solar Eclipse Aug 21st, 2017

Megamovie App makes photographing the Total Solar Eclipse a Snap

The Eclipse Megamovie project has released an app that makes it easy for citizen scientists with smart phones to photograph the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse and upload the images to the project team; a collaboration between the Space Sciences Laboratory’s Multiverse education group and Google’s Making & Science initiative to provide a lasting photo archive for scientists studying the sun’s corona.

The Eclipse Megamovie Mobile app, created by Ideum, is available for Android phones through Google Play store and for iPhones through iTunes’ App Store.

UC Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko, an admitted eclipse addict, advises on safe viewing and why you shouldn’t miss this rare event, the Great American Eclipse. Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally.

When downloaded and installed, the app walks users through a simple process to point your smart phone at the sun and automatically starts taking photos. Photos begin 15 seconds before totality and throughout the total eclipse – which will last a maximum of 2 minutes, 40 seconds, depending on where you are – and 15 seconds after the total eclipse has ended to capture what is known as the “diamond ring” effect.

The complete article on photographing the total eclipse using the Megamovie Mobile app is found here.

Delta IV Heavy Booster Cores Arrive for Parker Solar Probe

Framed by a series of cabbage palms, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy common booster core is transported by truck to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 37 Horizontal Processing Facility after arriving at Port Canaveral. The Delta IV Heavy will launch NASA’s upcoming Parker Solar Probe mission.
The mission will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. The probe will rely on measurements and imaging to revolutionize our understanding of the corona and the Sun-Earth connection. Liftoff atop the Delta IV Heavy rocket is scheduled to take place from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 37 in summer 2018.

Launch preparations are beginning to get off the ground for NASA’s upcoming Parker Solar Probe mission, scheduled to lift off in summer 2018 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.

Two of the three common booster cores comprising the rocket’s first stage have arrived on the company’s Mariner ship, which delivered the components to Port Canaveral in Florida. From there the cores were offloaded and transported to the Horizontal Processing Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37.

The Parker Solar Probe will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. The probe will rely on measurements and imaging to revolutionize our understanding of the corona and the Sun-Earth connection.

Van Allen Probes Surf through Waves in Space

The two populations of hiss, low and high frequency, inhabit two separate regions in near-Earth space.
Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

The space surrounding our planet is full of restless charged particles and roiling electric and magnetic fields, which create waves around Earth. One type of wave, plasmaspheric hiss, is particularly important for removing charged particles from the Van Allen radiation belts, a seething coil of particles encircling Earth, which can interfere with satellites and telecommunications. A new study published in Journal of Geophysical Research using data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes spacecraft has discovered that hiss is more complex than previously understood.

The new study looked at a newly identified population of hiss waves at a lower frequency than usually studied. These low-frequency hiss waves are particularly good at cleaning out high-energy particles — those that can cause damage to satellites — from the radiation belts. The authors of the study noticed that low-frequency waves are actually a separate and unique population, tending to cluster in different regions around Earth compared to their high-frequency counterparts.

The complete article is found here.