NASA's Juno Probe Finds Out How Much Water Jupiter Really Has

Stunning view of Jupiter from the Juno spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstäd/Seán Doran © CC NC SA

Jupiter is not known as a water world since it has no oceans, lakes or other kinds of liquid water or ice. It doesn’t even have a solid surface beneath its deep, turbulent atmosphere. But there is some water in the giant planet’s atmosphere, and now thanks to NASA’s Juno spacecraft, we have a much better idea just how much.

The first science results regarding the amount of water have just been published in the journal Nature Astronomy. These are the first direct measurements taken since the Galileo mission in 1995.



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SpaceX Launches 80th Successful Falcon-9 Mission with 60 More Starlinks

Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX successfully delivered another large batch of Starlink internet communications satellites to low-Earth orbit earlier today (Monday, 17 February) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Liftoff of the fourth Falcon 9 of 2020—and the fourth booster core to fly a record-tying fourth mission—took place on time at 10:05 a.m. EST. However, it appeared that the core narrowly missed the deck of the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), “Of Course I Still Love You”, and instead impacted the ocean.

Having wowed the world in December 2015 when it triumphantly brought a Falcon 9 core to a bullseye touchdown on solid ground for the very first time, SpaceX has logged 31 offshore landings on Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS) on either the East or West Coasts of the United States and 18 “land” landings at either Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., or Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. It will be left to another mission to secure the milestone 50th landing.



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SpaceX Falcon 9 - Starlink-4 Launch Video

SpaceX launched the fifth batch of Starlink communications satellites from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch took place at 10:05am Eastern. The booster performed perfectly placing the Starlink satellites into orbit correctly.

Booster attempted to land on the ASDS but narrowly missed, this can be clearly seen as a cloud of spray engulfs the drone ship as the booster splashed into the ocean.

Follow the launch on our LAUNCH TRACKER

NG-13 Cygnus Begins ISS Chase with 8,000 Pounds of Cargo for Space Station

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket lofting the Cygnus cargo ship on the NG-13 mission to resupply the ISS for NASA. Photo: NASA

The roar of rocket engines shook Wallops Island, Va., earlier today (Saturday, 15 February), as the first of two Northrop Grumman Corp. Cygnus missions planned for 2020 began its journey to the International Space Station (ISS). Liftoff of the Antares 230+ booster occurred at 3:21 p.m. EST from picturesque Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS).

Laden with 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg) of payloads, supplies and equipment for Expedition 62 Commander Oleg Skripochka and Flight Engineers Drew Morgan and Jessica Meir—newly reduced to a three-person increment following last week’s departure of Soyuz MS-13—the NG-13 Cygnus will spend two days in transit, before being robotically captured early Tuesday, 18 February, and berthed at the Earth-facing (or “nadir”) port of the Unity node.



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Northrop Grumman NG-13 Launch Video

Northrop Grumman launched an Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport. The launch took take place at 3:21pm Eastern on February 15th.

Follow the launch on our LAUNCH TRACKER

SpaceX to Launch Next Set of Starlinks from Florida on Sunday

This weekend’s Starlink-4 launch marks its fourth flight in under a year and promises to set a new record for the shortest interval between two missions by a single Falcon 9 core. Photo Credit: SpaceX

With three launches already under its belt from January, SpaceX has had no time for “rookie” Falcon 9 cores so far this year. The organization successfully launched a pair of four-times-used boosters last month to deliver a batch of Starlink low-orbiting internet communications satellites aloft and complete a spectacular In-Flight Abort Test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft. Then, another Falcon 9 core on its third mission was utilized to heave yet another Starlink load into space at month’s end.

This dramatic tempo will continue at 10:25 a.m. EST Sunday, 16 February, when the B1056 core—a veteran of three previous launches and only the fourth Falcon 9 in history to log a fourth mission—rises from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., to continue SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s pledge to put thousands of Starlinks into orbit by the mid-2020s. A customary Static Fire Test of the nine Merlin 1D+ first-stage engines took place Friday.



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Solar Orbiter Launches to the Sun, Kicking Off Ambitious 2020 Manifest for ULA

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying Solar Orbiter lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 11:03 p.m. EST on Feb. 9, 2020. Solar Orbiter is an international cooperative mission between ESA and NASA. Photo: ULA

Rocket launches out of Cape Canaveral, whilst not necessarily an everyday sight, do tend to have a measure of regularity about them. But Sunday night’s spectacular 11:03 p.m. EST launch of Solar Orbiter—a European Space Agency (ESA)-led mission which will venture nearer to the Sun than ever before, achieve higher heliographic latitudes and even “hover” over portions of our star’s broiling surface—proved a peculiar sight, for it flew atop the rarely-used “411” variant of the mighty Atlas V.

Flown by United Launch Alliance (ULA) only six times since April 2006, the 411 boasts a 13-foot-wide (4-meter) payload fairing, a single-engine Centaur upper stage and one side-mounted, strap-on rocket. And it is the presence of this singular side booster that creates an unusually asymmetric “look” for the exhaust plume of the ascending vehicle. As one of few 411s to launch in the hours of darkness, that asymmetry created an unusual perspective for spectators along the Space Coast.



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We Will Shake Your Hand: 25 Years Since STS-63’s Near-Mir Mission (Part 2)

Valeri Polyakov, pictured at Mir’s windows during the STS-63 shuttle rendezvous mission in February 1995, is the incumbent record-holder for the longest single spaceflight. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Last week, U.S. astronaut Christina Koch returned safely to Earth, wrapping up the longest single space mission ever accomplished by a woman; an astonishing 328 days, easily surpassing the previous record-holder, Peggy Whitson, and coming less than two weeks shy of exceeding the 340-day mission of Scott Kelly in 2015-2016. Women have been setting records off-Earth for almost six decades, ever since Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first female spacefarer in June 1963. Since then, women have spacewalked, they have worked for hundreds of days aboard space stations and—25 years ago, this week—they entered the spacecraft’s “front seat” for the first time. In February 1995, Eileen Collins became the first woman to serve as a Space Shuttle pilot. In time, her career would also see her command two missions, including the first flight after the Columbia tragedy.



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Weather 90% GO for Solar Orbiter Launch to the Sun Tonight from Florida, Watch Live

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands poised to launch the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter from Cape Canaveral, on a mission in collaboration with NASA to explore the sun and its poles up-close. Photo: ULA

More than two decades since it was first conceived as a logical “next step” from the hugely successful Ulysses and Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) missions, Europe’s Solar Orbiter finally stands atop an Atlas V booster on Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., ready to fly at 11:03 p.m. EST Sunday, 9 February.

This ambitious mission—which seeks to employ multiple Venus flybys to draw itself into a five-month elliptical orbit around the Sun that will bring it closer to our parent star than ever before and achieve the first close-range views of its poles—is spearheaded by the European Space Agency (ESA), but its complement of ten scientific instruments represents the collaborative efforts of solar scientists from several sovereign nations.



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Antares to Launch NG-13 ISS Resupply Tonight from VA, Spacecraft Named After Robert Lawrence

As America honors Black History Month through February, Sunday’s scheduled sunset launch of the next Northrop Grumman Corp. Cygnus mission to the International Space Station (ISS) appropriately memorializes Robert H. Lawrence, the U.S. Air Force major who became the first African-American to be selected for astronaut candidate training and might—had the hands of fate turned more kindly—have been selected into NASA’s own corps and become one of the early Space Shuttle test pilots. Photos: USAF / NASA

As America honors Black History Month through February, Sunday’s scheduled sunset launch of the next Northrop Grumman Corp. Cygnus mission to the International Space Station (ISS) appropriately memorializes Robert H. Lawrence, the U.S. Air Force major who became the first African-American to be selected for astronaut candidate training and might—had the hands of fate turned more kindly—have been selected into NASA’s own corps and become one of the early Space Shuttle test pilots.



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