Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Space Highlights - July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016

The U.S. Navy's newly launched Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite has experienced an "anomaly" during transfer between low earth orbit and its targeted, geosynchronous orbit.  The Navy has placed the satellite into a temporary, intermediate orbit while they diagnose the problem.

China's second space lab, intended to allow two astronauts to stay in orbit for up to 30 days, has been delivered to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.  The lab, Tiangong-2 is scheduled to be launched later this year.

Arianespace has been attempting to market its launch service to potential military satellite customers in the Far East, including Australia, Indonesia and Japan.

Launch start-up Rocket Lab has signed an agreement with the Earth-imaging satellite provider Planet for the launch of three satellites aboard its Electron rocket, which is currently under development.  The first satellite is expected to be launched in 2017.

NASA has released a time-lapse video, depicting the moon passing in front of the Earth, as seen from the Deep Space Climate ObserVatoRy's (DSCOVR's) EPIC imaging system.

NASA has released images of Saturn's moon, Pan as captured together with Saturn and its rings by the Cassini spacecraft.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is back up and working, after a software glitch put it temporarily into a "safe" mode a week ago.  The glitch is belived to have been tied to how the rover was storing temporary image files for relay to Earth.

A new dwarf planet has been identified in the far reaches of the solar system - beyond the orbit of Neptune.  The new Kuiper belt object, labeled 2015 RR245, orbits the sun once every 700 years, traveling in a highly elliptical orbit.

A newly discovered exoplanet has been identified orbiting in a triple star system - the first such discovery of its kind.  The planet, HD 131399ab is roughly four times the mass of Jupiter, and orbits its parent star some 340 light years away.  Two smaller stars also orbit the massive planet's host.  The finding sheds new light on what conditions planets can form under, and still maintain a stable orbit.

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