Saturn Dawn

NASA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft peers toward a sliver of Saturn’s sunlit atmosphere while the icy rings stretch across the foreground as a dark band.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 7 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 31, 2017.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 620,000 miles (1 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 38 miles (61 kilometers) per pixel.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A Nice Look at Jupiter

Take a look at this beautiful contribution on the JunoCam website. Very nice work!

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Three of the white oval storms known as the “String of Pearls” are visible near the top of the image. Each of the alternating light and dark atmospheric bands in this image is wider than Earth, and each rages around Jupiter at hundreds of miles (kilometers) per hour. The lighter areas are regions where gas is rising, and the darker bands are regions where gas is sinking.

Juno acquired the image on May 19, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. PST (2:30 p.m. EST) from an altitude of about 20,800 miles (33,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at for the public to peruse and process into image products.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

SpaceX Launch – Replay

If you miss the launch, I will have a replay up shortly.

WOW! Great landing on the drone ship in the Pacific, just about perfect. Imagine that, one company, two launches from two locations and even two successful first-stage landing on drone ships in two different oceans in what? Two days! (23 and 25 June).

The video as posted is actually still rendering so it might not be available straight-away.

Space X to Launch – Again

SpaceX will attempt another launch TODAY (25 June) at 20:25 UTC / 16:25 EDT / 13:25 PDT. This launch is an Iridium-2 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A backup launch date is tomorrow (26 June) at 20:19 UTC / 16:19 EDT / 13:19 PDT.

Come back for a live link to be up at 20:00 UTC / 16:00 EDT / 13:00 PDT.

Space X Replay – BulgariaSat 1

Fast forward to 16 minutes for the launch (16:25)
Good luck!

NOTE: Apparently the time listed here (and by Space X) do now match up with the the stated start of the live stream if you click on the video above.

Looks to be 19:10 UTC or 15:10 EDT. Ah, I just check the SpaceX site and it does say 19:10 UTC, must be the graphic and not updated.

Update 2: The one hour delay was for additional system checks.


YES! GREAT LANDING OF THE 1st stage, will they reuse it a second time?

I’ll put a replay here when it is available.

Space X to Launch

Space X will attempt to launch Bulgaria’s first geostationary satellite today.

The launch window opens at 19:10 UTC / 15:10 EDT and will feature the Falcon 9 rocket – recycled from the Iridium-1 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base this past January. The original launch window was on 19 June and then 20 June so maybe this time will be the charm.

The first-stage will attempt to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The weather looks pretty good. Temperatures around 32 C / 90 F and no rain forecast.

Check back shortly before 18:00 for a live link.


Finally the sounding rocket launched from the Wallops yesterday morning after many-many delays.

If you think I was getting impatient, imaging the undergrads who had experiments onboard. Ha! Well it got off and all is well – good luck you guys and hope you get more data then you can use!

NASA – The mission carried experiments built by undergraduate students from universities and community colleges across the country through the RockOn! and RockSat-C programs.

The experiments, launch on a 36-foot long Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket, flew to an altitude of 72 miles and landed, via parachute, in the Atlantic Ocean. The payload has been recovered and the students are expected to receive their experiments this afternoon to begin their data analysis.

RockOn! and RockSat-C are part of Rocket Week at Wallops. Nearly 130 students and instructors participated in the two programs this week conducted in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia.

Ice Giant Mission Concept Studied


Well this is interesting, there is hope of a mission at least. Just my personal opinion here, but I think there should have been one in the works before now. These missions are not cheap to be sure, they are however very rich in they return and not just for the scientists, the general public gains an enormous amount in these days of the internet and that translates to support the the agencies meaning not just NASA.

Will there be a mission coming out of NASA? Too soon to say for sure and all we know for sure they are looking
at the possibility. I say do it.

Here’s NASA — A NASA-led and NASA-sponsored study of potential future missions to the mysterious “ice giant” planets Uranus and Neptune has been released—the first in a series of mission studies NASA will conduct in support of the next Planetary Science Decadal Survey. The results of this and future studies will be used as the Decadal Survey deliberates on NASA’s planetary science priorities from 2022-2032. The study identifies the scientific questions an ice giant mission should address, and discusses various instruments, spacecraft, flight-paths and technologies that could be used.

“This study argues the importance of exploring at least one of these planets and its entire environment, which includes surprisingly dynamic icy moons, rings, and bizarre magnetic fields,” said Mark Hofstadter of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, one of the two co-chairs of the science team that produced the report. The European Space Agency (ESA) also participated in the study.
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