Cloud Cover Prediction from Satellites – Solar Plants

Solar power plants are dependent on weather updates. Cloud cover is essential in estimating the quantity of sunlight reaching the solar receivers. Though this weather data is necessary, it remains an estimate. 

An excerpt from the Journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy says that cloud cover data is obtainable from satellites. The method for achieving this aspect is Spectral Cloud Optical Property Estimation also, SCOPE. Though the process is an estimate, it is the best and the only available choice.

NASA’s launch of satellites to appropriate SCOPE is commendable. Since 2016, NASA is utilizing its satellites to predict weather patterns. A recent move is a GOES-R series of satellites in stationary positions over the earth to observe the surface. Every one of these satellites is instrumental in imaging the planet as well as detecting radiation frequencies on earth.

The satellites investigate three cloud properties that are essential in determining the quantity of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface. One of the features is the cloud height. The other aspect is cloud thickness, which is the distance between the bottom and top of the cloud. The final variable is the optical cloud depth, which is also the intensity of sunlight obstruction.

Clouds are visible bundles of condensed water. The water absorbs sunlight in different ratios, therefore, affecting the optical cloud depth. The absorption rate of light by clouds depends on the wavelength of the sunlight. The frequency ranges with various wavelengths of sunlight.

The satellites approximate the three cloud properties using the SCOPE method. After this, other weather aspects are collectible from earth stations. These aspects are relative humidity and temperature change. These aspects are essential in the modification of the cloud cover model.

The comparison of this cloud cover data estimates and the actual sunlight at the solar power plant is laudable. The data proves to be instrumental in adjusting solar power equipment. It helps the plants plan. The plants can utilize the sunlight effectively and put countermeasures in the case of the winter season. 

Solar power plants are thankful to NASA for providing essential information to advance renewable energy. The satellites are very useful because their use is not limited to the day. They are a 24hour system and thus a valuable partner for solar plants.

Finally, SCOPE is an essential method in cloud cover estimation. These estimates are vital for solar power plants to plan. These plants can modify their systems so that there is maximum solar energy generation. NASA satellites put into this use are great partners with the solar power industry. Their partnership is going to enhance the use of renewable energy and minimize emissions.


BepiColombo sets the course to Mercury as it displays its last views on Earth

Over the years, space exploration has aimed to explore deeper into space and discover if other life-forms exist apart from Earth. Also, space exploration seeks if other planets support human life. In the quest to find new worlds, life-forms, and understand the formation of the universe, several technological advancements have occurred to support such discoveries as the satellites of different resolutions. Additionally, NASA, the body responsible for space exploits, had inspired innovation in the robotic industry since different gadgets had to be innovated to study the moon and the universe before humans were launched.

BepiColombo, a mercury bound spacecraft, was launched to set course to Mercury by 2025. The majority of the probe is powered by solar energy and is endowed with PV cells that store energy and distribute it throughout the spacecraft. However, if the sun rays are blocked by an object, then the satellite can use the energy stored in the cells to reposition it back to the sun’s inclination. Like any other satellite, the BepiColombo satellite is solar-powered and enhances PV cells in energy storage.  

On the other hand, recent photos from the spacecraft reveal a crescent view of the Earth at about 12, 700 kilometers. The distance is tabulated as 32 times higher than the International Space Station in altitude. The European Space Agency (ESA) issued a report that the spacecraft displayed images of the Earth shining through space as it drifted away. However, in the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of craft operators are required to work in the station to minimize contamination. Likewise, NASA has instigated the government measures on social distancing and advised its employees to work from home. In operations that require a human resource, the staff work in isolation in the facility. 

Nevertheless, Colombo experienced the most challenging time when it was overshadowed for 30 minutes.  The mission operators charged the cells to their maximum capacity to avoid power shortages, as this will lead to the termination of the multibillion spacecraft. The mission controllers operated the satellite from Germany while observing social distancing as recommended by the state. The ESA issued a statement stating that the effort paid off as the spacecraft was successfully positioned to the sun’s rays.

The BepiColombo spaceship manager, Elsa Montagnon, stated that knowing that the spacecraft’s solar panels failure to receive sunlight is scary, however, when the solar panels jacked back to life, they received a relief since they knew that BepiColombo is out of the shadow as setting course on Mercury. 

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NASA Budgetary Allocation is Raising Eyebrows

At NASA’s press briefing, Sean McCarville, the NASA Chief Financial Officer’s project account manager, acknowledged that considering Earth’s research and astrophysics cuts into consideration, the expenditure demand for research, in general, is the second largest to date. Once questioned why NASA wanted to terminate such projects again when the Senate vetoed previous plans, he acknowledged that there were financial limitations, “and we had to decide.”

Nonetheless, one of the primary senators still challenges these reductions. Senator Jerry Moran (Can.) chairperson of the Senate Appropriations sub commission, which finances NASA, said on Feb. 10 that “I’m concerned that the Budget will decrease STEM education, which plays a crucial role in making sure we can accomplish our mission. “While it is nice to see a draft expenditure to help American astronauts ‘ trip to the moon, I still want to get adequate spending information for our optimistic ambitions for deep space exploration.”

The discretionary spending announcement of the financial year 2021 was coupled with a “Day of Action” by the advocate group “The Planetary Society” which brought together more than 100 key members of the Congress to seek support for NASA’s work in the areas of human space exploration, planetary systems solid defence and life searching beyond Earth.

This is an excellent time to be a space champion, Casey Dreier, the organization’s Chief Counsellor, told the press release. Therefore, we are now discussing strategies for the next couple of years of crewed space flight. That is the vision of Mars and even beyond human travel. While executives are planning for Key Planetary safety initiatives are to provide a promising future for a space adventure, the citizenry must play an active role.

The Budget provides funding for a variety of many other lunar projects, comprising of 175 million dollars for luminous expansive helmets, 212 million dollars for early work on lunar rovers and surface shelter, and 430 million dollars for the new approach to promote technological evidence of such power generation and use of lunar energy. NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLPS) will earn $254 million to provide NASA exploration launch vehicles for lunar command module missions.

It is important to note that congress has not been able to display so much enthusiasm for the numerous space priorities given particularly by President Trump. The Senate as well as House Committee, which have the NASA agency in their purview, have been able to release the authorization bills that has represented big picture priorities, not allotment of the money, neither of which does require 2024 landing deadline. 

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Regulator Focuses on Satellite Services, Supports Satellite Connectivity

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is up-to-date in the nation’s attempts to introduce broadband facilities to improve the digital landscape in Nigeria.

The Commission has confirmed that it is not excluding broadband satellite networks while reviewing all the methods. 

NCC said this at a visit yesterday by Viasat, a commercial satellite provider, to the Commission in Abuja to make an update on its preparation to launch broadband satellite services in Nigeria.

Augustine Nwalunne, director of NCC Spectrum Administration, received the Viasat delegation on behalf of Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice President. He confirmed that the Operator had been exploring its plans to secure regulatory approval for entry into the commercial Nigerian satellite communications industry.

   At the session, Viasat requested authorization and consent from the Commission to secure and use the country’s KA frequency band of 28 GHz to provide reliable Internet access and high-speed satellite communication via its established Nigerian subsidiary Viasat Nigeria.

The organization further disclosed its proposal for carrying out a test Proof of Concept (POC) in Abuja in 2020 to the Commission. And after that, Viasat intends to expand its services in a community, and then subsequently broaden its services throughout a state, then proceed to widen broadband Satellite Services countrywide by 2022.

  He said the GTH satellite services of Viasat intend to cover for homes, estates, schools, and micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), among several others. 

The organization has shown confidence that its services will be of real benefit to the unserved regions of Nigeria. 

Over the years, Viasat has invested more than $2.2 billion on geostationary satellite networks worldwide, having a footprint in Nigerian space to bridge the existing digital divide in the nation. 

Initially a satellite contractor, but currently an operator and services supplier, Viasat has been equipped to provide efficient Internet access via satellite and to offer high-performance broadband services via satellite in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Communications satellite service (NigComSat) now links its customers throughout Africa and Asia to the Ku-band, C-band, and Ka-band channels on the NigComSat-1R network, providing various alternatives to their communication demands.

The NigComSat satellite internet services can be implemented almost anywhere, especially for enterprise continuity and remote connectivity in brief periods, in areas that are hard to reach or on temporary sites. The company clarified that its services are reliable, cost-effective, high-speed Internet and data links optimized for efficient communications delivery, disaster recovery, and applications in Security.

Nigeria has 72 million or 37.8% broadband penetration, while 126 million citizens of Nigeria have GSM technology,  through the narrow band, which connects to the Internet.

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Space Operations Command gets control of AEHF-5 satellite control authority

On February 3, the United States of America Space Force and fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite of Missile Systems Center was forcefully relocated to Space Operations Command of Space Force.

After effective finishing of AEHF-5 on-orbit trying, Space and Missile Systems Center relocated Satellite Control Authority to the SpOC with AEHF-5 currently under the military operator control situated at Schriever Air Force Base in Colo. This significant accomplishment marks the last AEHF-5 landmark and the initial satellite transition to the warfighter underneath the Space Force of the United States of America.

Col John Dukes, who is a senior material leader at Space Production Corps Geosynchronous Orbit Division, stated that was a great deal a team effort coming from their firm associates and dedicated professionals of the government, with their aim on the success of the mission, this huge milestone was attained. He added that AEHF satellites play a primary role in the warfighter and the protection of their country. Space is essential to their lifestyle, their economy depends on space, and the reliance will keep on growing.

Debuted on August 8, 2019, on board was a United Launch Alliance Atlas-V 551 launch car, AEHF-5 of Space Force ensures constant health of the defended satellite communications constellation and its essential national security mission.  AEHF is a combined service satellite system of communications offering survivable, world, and protected, secure, and jam-resisting communications for military ground high priority sea and air belongings. AEHF provides ten times the throughput with a considerable increment in coverage for customers, giving satisfaction to the ever-growing requirement to offer higher data rates in a bid to support the warfighter globally.

AEHF offers coverage all over the spectrum of mission locations; this includes air, land and water warfare, special missions; strategic nuclear missions; planned defense, and operations of space and intelligence. AEHF also offers secluded satellite communications to international associates Canada, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Australia. AEHF is the Milstar system follow-on that augments, enhances, and expands the Military Satellite Communications architecture of DOD.

The sixth and the last AEHF-6 satellite of Space Force is set for a send-off in the coming month, aboard an Atlas V of Air Force Station of Cape Canaveral. 

Space and Missile Systems Center of Space Force is based at the Air Force Base of Los Angeles in California.

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WFSS Partners with NASA on Atmospheric Carbon dioxide Assessment

The newest West Ferris Near Space balloon mission flight into inner space will be released anytime between May 1 and June 20.

But it will be strongly supported by southern Canada / United States. 

NASA will work with the students and teachers participating in the project launch –labeled the Underpass mission–to ensure that the ISS looks in the correct direction.

Kelly Shulman stated on Thursday, as students from the STEAM Program met in the hall to listen to a lecture and  ask questions to a scientist from NASA on climate change, “it is indeed the feather in the cap for the institution.’

The lengthy launch time is in effect–for roughly two months–to prepare the balloon for extreme weather conditions and guarantee that the ISS remains positioned in its orbit as the ball flies up.

During the launch of the balloon, it is possible to direct the camera-like array of the space station, which contains CO2 measuring equipment –  the OCO-3. It must be in the reach of an 80-kilometer path from the city at that moment.

“There is no vertical aspect, NASA atmospheric CO2 data is flat,” Shulman adds.

NASA has computer systems regarding atmospheric dispersion of CO2, she says, but information that the West Ferris initiative will provide helps to evaluate their validity.

“We have been evolving gradually in what we do here,” says Shulman.

There is a variety of equipment under test, that will push the balloon to ensure that its sensors detect CO2 on the highest limits of the balloon flight.

She adds, “The environment will be so low-pressured that our concern is that it probably wouldn’t work.” She also anticipates that the local initiative will contribute to global effort incorporating many schools in Canada and elsewhere to improve the knowledge base.

Following its Apollo 19 balloon mission, Shulman did a presentation to NASA last year, May. The program got its name in honor of NASA and recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first human-crewed moon landing in 1969. Dr. Ben Poulter of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., indicated that the high school would work with NASA in a short conversation “since then, we have gone back and forth.”

Poulter works using satellite technology and spectroscopic methods in the remote sensing of the Earth’s CO2 production. He based his presentation on the carbon budget, cutting emissions to below a two-degree rise in global temperature and the importance of remote sensing in global carbon inventory tracking.

Poulter, who spoke to students over Skype, stated that since their first test in 1957, atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen “quite significantly.” He reported that the levels have increased to approximately 410 parts per operation from only under 320 ppm, over the 63 years after the first assessments in Hawaii.

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Rocket Lab Focuses on the Satellite Research

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — In 2020, Rocket Lab, a small launch vehicle developer, plans to concentrate on its satellite scheme, providing a highly efficient spacecraft bus to complement its current rocket.

Whereas Rocket Lab is primarily known for the small startup Electron Vehicle, last year, the company announced the development in the Electron kick stage of a satellite bus named Photon. The firm believes that the phase could be a perfect platform for companies wishing to orbit sensors or other payloads quickly.

The company’s primary objective in 2020 is to get Photon into commercial operation. Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, stated in an interview on February  4, during the SmallSat Symposium here. “It’s a satellite year for us.” He said that the company already considers launch services as a “solved issue” for the electron, even though it is trying to increase the vehicle’s flight rate and open new launch facilities.

“This year, our attention is on the spacecraft because that is the next significant thing to solve,” he added. “Most people understand Rocket Lab as a launch firm, but we are putting much focus on becoming a space company.”

Beck said Rocket Lab views Photon as a highly-performing satellite bus serving a broad range of government and business customers. The Photon is an “LEO sandbox” since it allows them to examine payloads in orbit “on nearly absurd time frames, according to him. Companies are also willing to participate in the platform and can focus on their business models and distinct technologies. There is a particular concern from the state users. He said, “certain startup firms ought not to be the satellite itself, but to focus on their sensors and incomes.” “On that, we have some solid uptake.” 

Well into the second quarter, Rocket Lab intends to deploy its first Photon. Beck said it’d be a prototype satellite and that potential users will be able to test its performance. If practical, he states but does not reveal any specific customers, that the business would move swiftly to working missions.

The Photon wouldn’t be at the lower end of the market, he recognized. “We’re not going to be the least expensive option,” he said unless Photon is entitled to payloads that instead would have flown on several satellites. “We are looking for best-in-class construction.”

This year, Rocket Lab will continue its attempts to recover and re-utilize the electron’s first stage. At the latest launch, Beck said the first phase was kept intact and regulated all through to the ocean surface. After yet another “block upgrade” to the rocket, reusability trials will continue later this year to include parachutes that permit a slow descent into the ocean.

In the small launch market, the organization is facing new rivalry. In the coming weeks, two firms, Astra and Virgin Orbit, are planning to try their first satellite flights, and dozens of other spacecraft are developing in the world.

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‘Terminator tape’ to take care of space remains by deorbiting satellites professionally

One might think that lifting off a satellite is the hardest part of the lifecycle. However, it is not only a challenge to get a satellite into orbit since you have to decide what to do with it when it no longer functions. Abandoned satellites add up to the problem of space remains, making it harder and more hazardous to lift off other satellites or spaceship in the coming days.

To curb this problem, a firm named Tethers Unlimited has displayed a cheap and lightweight answer for safely positioning of satellites when they no longer needed. The solution involves a 230-foot long band of conductive tape positioned from the orbiter that pulls it into the low orbit named delightfully adequate, terminator Tape. 

To examine out the system, Tethers Unlimited devoted a Terminator Tape module to the Prox-1 CubeSat that launched in ten last month of June. The module weighs two pounds, sized like a notebook, and attached to the outer side of the orbiter. After Prox-1 no longer needed, the module activated by an electronic signal that could be either preset to a convinced time or triggered by the orbiter itself. 

After the activation of the module, they deploy the conductive tape like a tail from the satellite. The tape produces drag from its connections with both magnetic field of Earth and gravity, slowly pulling the orbiter into the low orbit. While its orbit lowers, finally the orbiter burns up in the atmosphere of the planet. 

Satellites logically fall into the minor orbit once not powered. However, this happens very gradually. With the help of the Te ruminator Tape, the satellite under the testing fell 24 times quicker than it would usually do. 

Rob Hoyt who is the chief executive officer of Tethers Unlimited, stated during a press release that months after the sendoff, as strategized, their timer unit ordered the Terminator Tape to the position. They are in a place to look from the observations by the United States of America Space Surveillance Network that the orbiter instantly started to de-orbit over twenty-four times quicker. He added that instead of residual in orbit for dozens of years, rapidly removing dead satellites in this way would assist in combating the growing problem of space debris. The successful experiment shows that this lightweight and low-cost knowledge is an actual means for orbiter programs to encounter orbital debris extenuation necessities. 

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First satellites of OneWeb’s new Florida assemblage line ready to blast-off this week

On a dispenser, a team of professionals attached the 34 satellites reserved for liftoff on 6 Feb from Kazakhstan. 

The first 34 satellites made from the factory will mount on a new viable space capsule assemblage. This will occur in line on the exterior the gates of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They plan to lift off on a Soyuz rocket Thursday midway around the sphere in Kazakhstan, thrusting off a series totaling up to 20 sendoffs from three nation-states to enable them set up approximately 650 satellites for OneWeb’s global Internet network.

The 34 OneWeb satellites are all loaded in a vending machine, which is in the interior of the cargo shroud of Soyuz-2.1b satellite. They will soar into a revolving path at around 2142 GMT (4:42 p.m. EST) Thursday from the Complex 31 liftoff spot situated at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The approximated time for the sendoff is 2:42 a.m. local time on Friday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

It is the first of approximately 20 liftoffs anticipated taking place in 2022.  Each lift was booked through a French takeoff supplier of services, Arianespace, having 32 to 36 satellites on-board to facilitate building out the initial stage of the OneWeb assemblage.

OneWeb, situated in London, says that its system is in preparation to handle restricted services sometime this year as well as packed global connectivity next year (2021). OneWeb Satellites is a combined project that involves OneWeb and Airbus Defense and Space, which constructs the space pods for OneWeb in an industrial division. The unit opened last year at Exploration Park, Florida, located on the outer gates of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

 The Chief Executive officer of OneWeb Satellites, Tony Gingiss, said he is contented with the startup of the innovative industrial unit. 

The 105,500-square-foot (9,800-square-meter) factory contains two assembly lines, all with posts where skilled workers will be performing incorporation of boards, aerials, thrust structures, stellar assortments and other constituents of the satellite by the name modules. The facility has a blueprint designed in a U-shaped layout, having sets of satellite constituents incoming from providers on one end. Lastly, it has a whole space pod powered with xenon propellant.

Robots present in the industrial unit surface help in moving the satellites and pieces of sheets from one station to another. They as well mount batteries and fasten thermal coverings to the spaceship. Gingiss anticipates adding more computerization to the industrial unit in the future.

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European team finishes mock moon operation on a volcano in Hawaii

A group of six scientists came back from the “lunar surface” on Saturday to complete two weeks discovering a simulated lunar setting on the volcano side of Hawaii.

The experts started their mission on January, 18 and have been operating and staying at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, habitation as piece of the third EuroMoonMars operation (EMMIHS-111), which is a chain of analog missions operated in conjunction with the Space Agency of Europe, the HI-SEAS and the International MoonBase Alliance.

The habitation, situated on a distant Mauna Loa slope on the large Island of Hawaii, has housed crews of researchers and explorers on analog lunar and red planet missions ever since its fixing back in the year 2013. Analog missions like this place researchers in distant environments that imitate a stay on the red planet or, in this case, the lunar surface. In this environment, they could research while trying what it might feel like for people to spend time at a distant location far away from Earth.

The operation led by Michael Musilova, who is an astrobiologist and a serving commander of the operation, is the HI-SEAS director. Musilova confirmed to the in an email that the mission was immense and not pleased that it is almost over.

In addition to Musilova, the team comprised of Kyla Edison who is a resident Hawaiian coming from the Kaui Island and also is a materials science technician and a geologist, Priyanka Das Rajkakati who is the crew executive officer, an aero scope expert and Marc Heemskerk who is a visual artist, lead scientist and earth scientist specializing in in-situ resource utilization, Robert Heemskerk who is brother to Marc and also a mechanical engineer and Lucas Brasileiro who is an aerospace expert and even a doctoral student.

Apart from Musilova, who has always been part of other analog operations, this was the initial time for the rest of the crew members, who were all delighted to participate. 

Das Rajkakati confirmed before entering the habitation that he has always been zealous about space and when you are zealous about space, being an astronaut is a dream, and he is anticipating to that skill at least to find out if he is capable of an analog operation at least on the Earth surface before ascending to the space.