Update for 12:58 p.m. EDT: NASA has announced the discovery of much more water on the moon than previously thought, including water in a sunlit region of the moon for the first time. Read our full story here.
NASA will hold a teleconference today, Oct. 26, at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) to announce "an exciting new discovery" about the moon from the agency's flying observatory.
The announcement will feature a new discovery that "contributes to NASA's effort to learn about the moon in support of deep space exploration" and was made by scientists using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA.
SOFIA is a flying telescope that rides aboard a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The observatory is a joint effort by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
"As the world’s largest airborne observatory, SOFIA is a modified 747 that flies high in the atmosphere to provide its nearly 9-foot telescope with a clear view of the universe and objects in our solar system," NASA officials said in an update. "Flying above 99% of the atmosphere’s obscuring water vapor, SOFIA observes in infrared wavelengths and can detect phenomena impossible to see with visible light."
NASA will announce an exciting new discovery about the Moon from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) at a media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 26. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.
This new discovery contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration. Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency will send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 to prepare for our next giant leap – human exploration of Mars as early as the 2030s. Understanding the science of the Moon also helps piece together the broader history of the inner solar system.
Briefing participants are:
Paul Hertz, Astrophysics division director at NASA Headquarters, Washington
Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters
Casey Honniball, postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Naseem Rangwala, project scientist for the SOFIA mission, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, California
As the world’s largest airborne observatory, SOFIA is a modified 747 that flies high in the atmosphere to provide its nearly 9-foot telescope with a clear view of the universe and objects in our solar system. Flying above 99% of the atmosphere’s obscuring water vapor, SOFIA observes in infrared wavelengths and can detect phenomena impossible to see with visible light.
For more information about NASA’s Artemis program, visit:
For more information about the SOFIA mission, visit:
Delayed: SpaceX GPS satellite launch for US Space Force
Update for 9:57 p.m. EDT, Oct. 2: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the GPS III SV04 navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force suffered an abort just two seconds before tonight's liftoff. A new launch date has not yet been announced.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the GPS III SV04 satellite for the U.S. Space Force and Air Force from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
SpaceX is targeting Friday, October 2, for a Falcon 9 launch of the GPS III Space Vehicle 04 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 15-minute launch window opens at 9:43 p.m. EDT, or 01:43 UTC on October 3.
Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft will deploy approximately 1 hour and 29 minutes after liftoff.
Last week, the United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) announced an agreement with SpaceX to launch previously flown boosters on future National Security Space Launch (NSSL) missions.
You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.
Nov. 3: ULA Delta IV Heavy launching NROL-44 spy satellite
Update for Sept. 30, 11:59 p.m. EDT: Tonight's launch attempt was scrubbed after the rocket's Terminal Countdown Sequencer Rack detected an issue. A new launch target has not been announced.
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office Wednesday night (Sept. 30).
The mission, titled NROL-44, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, at 11:54 p.m. EDT (0354 GMT on Oct. 1). Watch it live in the window above, courtesy of ULA.
Rocket: Delta IV Heavy
Mission: NROL-44 Launch
Date: Sun., Sept. 27, 2020
Launch Time: 12:10 a.m. EDT
Launch Location: Space Launch Complex-37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Mission Information: A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Launch Notes: This will be 141st mission for United Launch Alliance and our 29th for the NRO. It is the 385th Delta launch since 1960, the 12th Delta IV Heavy and the 8th Heavy for the NRO.
Launch Updates: To keep up to speed with updates to the launch countdown, dial the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch; hashtags #DeltaIVHeavy #NROL44
'ISS Live!' Tune in to the space station
Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the "ISS Live" broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.
"Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During 'loss of signal' periods, viewers will see a blue screen.
"Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below."
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