Purple Gaze: Parker Solar Probe’s Solar Arrays Pass Laser Illumination Testing

Parker Solar Probe team members use lasers to ensure that the spacecraft’s solar arrays have survived harsh environmental testing and are operating correctly.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe passed laser illumination testing the week of Nov. 27, 2017. During this test, each segment of the spacecraft’s solar panels was illuminated with lasers to check that they were still electrically connected after the vigorous vibration and acoustic testing completed earlier this fall.
The spacecraft is in the midst of intense environmental testing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in preparation for its journey to the Sun. These tests have simulated the noise and shaking the spacecraft will experience during its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, scheduled for July 31, 2018.
Parker Solar Probe’s integration and testing team must check over the spacecraft and systems to make sure everything is still in optimal working condition after experiencing these rigorous conditions – including a check of the solar arrays, which will provide electrical power to the spacecraft.
The rest of the article and video are here.

Sound Effects: Parker Solar Probe Passes Acoustic Testing

Members of the integration and testing team roll Parker Solar Probe into the Acoustic Test Chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

When NASA’s Parker Solar Probe lifts off on top of a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in summer 2018, it will undergo both intense vibration from the physical forces of the rocket engines, as well as acoustic effects from the sound of the engines and the rocket going through the atmosphere.
Verifying the spacecraft and its systems are ready for the rigors of launch is one of the most important parts of testing. On Nov. 3, Parker Solar Probe passed vibration testing at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Maryland, where it was designed and built. On Nov. 14, the spacecraft successfully completed acoustic testing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and is now being prepared for further environmental tests.
Read the complete article with photos here

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:

NuSTAR Probes Black Hole Jet Mystery

A paper with participation by many members of the NuSTAR X-ray binaries group (and SSL) entitled, “An elevation of 0.1 light-seconds for the optical jet base in an accreting Galactic black hole system” by Gandhi et al. was published in the journal Nature Astronomy this week.  The primary result was based on X-ray and optical observations of V404 Cyg, which is an accreting black hole transient that had an extremely bright outburst in 2015.  It was found that fluctuations in the optical light from the black hole were delayed by 0.1 seconds relative to the X-ray fluctuations, providing a measurement of the location of the optical emission zone in the jet.  The delay was only seen after a plasma jet was detected at radio wavelengths, demonstrating that the optical emission arises from the jet.  A news release is available at https://www.nustar.caltech.edu/news/nustar20171030

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

Lin Fellows Seminar

Announcing the Lin Fellows Seminar at the Space Sciences Laboratory

  • On Monday, October 9th at 2 pm
  • SSL Addition Conference Room
  • Speakers will include:
    • David Smith (UC Santa Cruz)
    • Chris Möckel (Lin Fellow pictured below),
    • Aashrita Mangu (Lin Fellow pictured below)
  • A reception will follow the seminar

The Robert P. Lin Graduate Fellowship was established in 2012 with a gift from Lily Lin.  It is used to support outstanding UC Berkeley graduate students who pursue research related to space sciences.

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

Eclipse Megamovie Movies

August 21st, 2017 was the astronomical event of a lifetime, a total solar eclipse. This eclipse would span the entire United States from Oregon to South Carolina with a 70 mile swath of totality for over two minutes.

The hype had been building for months. Reservations for lodging had been made years in advance for some while others waited to see what the weather would bring and made a last minute excursion toward totality. For some, the weather, the location did not cooperate and we had to settle for NASA Live Streaming, Local News or Social Media.

Social media made it possible for folks to see totality no matter where they were and we have compiled a series of video presentations of the 2017 Great Solar Eclipse.

Like a Premium Edition DVD or Blu-Ray, watch the “making of” the Google sponsored video, the Eclipse Megamovie
….Now that the preview is over watch the complete Eclipse Megamovie:

There were also other movies made by the The Crowd & The Cloud.
Video about the Eclipse Megamovie:

Here is a behind the scenes video of the Crowd and Cloud Eclipse Road trip, with interviews, insights and a generally fun time with Eclipse Megamovie volunteers: