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Blue Origin launches, lands NASA moon landing sensor experiment

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Oct. 13 (UPI) — Blue Origin successfully launched a NASA moon landing experiment aboard the company’s reusable New Shepard rocket Tuesday morning in Texas.

Liftoff took place from the company’s launch facilities about 150 miles east of El Paso.

The capsule separated from the rocket minutes into the flight and spent about three minutes at the height of an arc just over the Kármán line, the altitude at which space begins.

The rocket booster, with NASA sensors mounted on the exterior, landed smoothly about 7 minutes, 30 seconds after launch. The capsule landed with the aid of parachutes a few minutes later, kicking up a cloud of dust and sand.

The NASA experiment is part of the agency’s Tipping Point program, which seeks to demonstrate technology that can be adopted by private industry.

The project includes a collection of sensors designed to help locate a safe site on the moon for upcoming landings, according to NASA and Blue Origin’s mission description. Some of the sensors use LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging technology, which uses laser light to map out the surface.

“A NASA-developed sensor suite could allow robotic and crewed missions to land precisely on the lunar surface within half the distance of a football field,” NASA said of the project. “The rocket’s flight path is relevant to lunar landings, providing a unique opportunity to mature sensors and algorithms for potential use on Artemis [moon] missions.”

Those sensors require clear skies to function properly, which is why the mission had been delayed once in September due to cloudy weather at the launch site. But Tuesday’s weather was ideal, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.

“It’s a great day for us to actually try that new type of experimentation on the outside of the vehicle,” Smith said during a prelaunch

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SpaceX scrubs Starlink satellite launch Thursday due to ground sensor reading

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A Falcon 9 blasts off on Aug. 30.


SpaceX

The Falcon 9 rocket booster that sent NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in May is set to get recycled again when SpaceX sends 60 more Starlink satellites to orbit atop its column of fire, but it didn’t happen Thursday as planned. 

The launch, originally scheduled for September, has been postponed multiple times due to weather, including on Monday morning when heavy clouds above Florida’s Cape Canaveral prevented launch at the last second. On Thursday, another launch was scrubbed 18 seconds before blastoff due to an aberrant ground sensor reading. A new target launch date has not yet been announced. 

“All in a day’s work for the launch team. They’ll investigate, diagnose probable cause, fix the problem, and get us ready for the next launch attempt,” SpaceX spacecraft operator Siva Bharadvaj tweeted

Elon Musk’s trademark reusable rocket will be making its third flight when it lifts off from Kennedy Space Center. This specific unit sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit in May and then launched a South Korean satellite in July. So far, SpaceX has managed to launch and land the same rocket up to six times

When the launch finally gets off the ground, it should be fairly routine. It will be the 13th Starlink mission so far, and SpaceX is planning on dozens more as it grows its broadband mega-constellation.  

One half of the nose cone, or fairing, atop the rocket has also seen

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Intellisense Systems Wins Phase II Funding for Fire Weather Observation Sensor from USDA

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This sensor builds on the proven Micro Weather Sensor to include fuel moisture, solar radiation, particulate monitoring, and thermal imaging that will improve firefighting efforts.

Torrance ,CA, Sept. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — September 29, 2020 – Torrance, CA – Intellisense Systems, Inc., a leading provider of integrated environmental sensing solutions, won Phase II funding to continue development of the Fire Weather Observation Sensor (FWOS) from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FWOS is a stand-alone, unattended, field-deployable sensor for remote measurements of fire weather-related data. These devices will be placed throughout forests and areas prone to wildfire outbreak and transmit data via satellite from anywhere in the world. This development will integrate new sensing capabilities to the proven Micro Weather Sensor (MWS®) platform, including fuel moisture, solar radiation, particulate monitoring, and thermal imaging.

 

In 2020, the Western United States experienced a record-setting number of wildfires, which have displaced millions of residents, burned over 6 million acres, and destroyed nearly 10,000 structures. The FWOS will support fire departments to anticipate fire weather conditions and improve awareness in remote and densely forested regions.

 

“We’re very excited to continue the development of the Fire Weather Observation Sensor,” said David Miller, the Vice President and General Manager of Environmental Monitoring Systems at Intellisense. “New technology that facilitates the detection and management of wildfires is critical. The FWOS falls right in line with our strategic growth plan in applying our MWS system to the fire weather market and aligns with one of our primary goals of providing advanced solutions that ensure the safety and protection of people and property, especially our front-line firefighters.”

 

During Phase I, Intellisense demonstrated the feasibility of adding miniature fuel moisture, particulate, thermal infrared, and solar radiation sensors into the MWS package, and they have already developed a