Solar Eruptions - A Coronal Mass Ejection 

The swirling inner layers of our sun cause charged particles to generate magnetic fields. As charges accumulate on the surface, magnetic field lines readjust themselves and release huge quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation into space. This particular Mass Ejection is traveling at over 900 miles per second and has an energy level equivalent to 160,000,000,000 megatons of TNT. 

Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory/Goddard Spaceflight Center


Goddard Space Flight Center has published a beautiful photo gallery commemorating Hubble’s 25th anniversary. Goddard installed the telescope’s instruments as well as performed final pre-launch checkouts before being shipped towards NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch.

In the first and third images above, Hubble is seen undergoing testing at Goddard. The first photo is Hubble in the Vertical Assembly and Test Area and the second is Hubble undergoing final assembly at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California plant.

For more on Hubble’s 25th anniversary, click here.


Happy #NationalAviationDay!

Today’s post was written by Grace DiAgostino, Student Trainee at the National Archives at Philadelphia.

In honor of National Aviation Day, this post features photographs from the Office Records of the Scout Launch Vehicle (NAID: 616672), a series from our substantial NASA holdings. The Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test, otherwise known as Scout, Launch Vehicle Program began in 1957 after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite. The launch of Sputnik ignited the Space Race, during which the United States and the Soviet Union competed to conquer the next frontier— outer space.  To gain a lead on the USSR, the United States initiated the Scout Launch Vehicle Program to produce an inexpensive, reliable, versatile, solid fuel launch vehicle for smaller payloads.

The first stage of the Scout Program began in 1957 and consisted of development and design at the Langley Airfield Research Center. Scout, an acronym for Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test, is a four-stage solid fuel satellite system capable of launching a 385-pound satellite into a 500-mile orbit, and the rocket consists of four stages: Algol, Castor, Antares, and Altair. The goal of the Scout Project was to produce a relatively inexpensive, reliable, solid fuel vehicle that could be used to launch small satellites into orbit around Earth. Scout was the first orbital launch vehicle to be entirely composed of solid fuel stages.

Keep reading

Full Disk Image of Earth Captured August 26, 2011 by NASA Goddard Photo and Video on Flickr.

Hurricane Irene can be seen on the U.S. East Coast.

Update: This satellite movie, released earlier today (August 27) by NASA, shows Hurricane Irene moving through the Bahamas and making landfall at Cape Lookout, North Carolina at around 8 a.m. EDT today.


JWST mirror taking shape

by European Space Agency
This photograph shows the James Webb Space Telescope mirror taking shape, with 12 of the 18 mirror segments that make up the primary mirror installed. The first of the hexagonal-shaped mirror segments was installed on 22 November 2015, and since then a team of scientists and engineers have worked tirelessly to install the remaining mirror segments onto the telescope structure in the large cleanroom at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The twelfth mirror was installed on 2 January 2016. The individual segments are placed on the telescope’s backplane using a robotic arm, guided by engineers. Each mirror segment measures just over 1.3 metres across and weighs approximately 40 kilograms. After being pieced together, the 18 primary mirror segments will work together as one large 6.5-metre mirror. The primary mirror will unfold and adjust to shape after launch using actuators on the back of each segment. The mirror segments are made of ultra-lightweight beryllium chosen for its thermal and mechanical properties at cryogenic temperatures. Since JWST will search for infrared light from the first stars and galaxies in the early Universe, the mirrors need to be cold, below -220 degrees C, to minimise any glow from the mirror itself. A thin gold film, chosen for its ability to reflect infrared light, coats each mirror. During the installation process, the mirrors are protected with black covers, as can be seen in this picture. The mirrors were built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and lightweight mirror system. The installation of the mirrors onto the telescope structure is performed by Harris Corporation of Rochester, New York. Harris Corporation leads integration and testing for the telescope. The James Webb Space is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency. Credit: NASA/C. Gunn

In this image, a Goddard Space Flight Center photographer is assembling a camera system inside the dynamic test chamber at the Center’s test and evaluation facilities. Thorough testing in facilities that simulate the space environment has become a hallmark at Goddard. After spending years on a single project, no scientist or engineer wants to lose a key instrument or an entire satellite because of a faulty component or electrical connection. As a result, developing thorough test and evaluation facilities and procedures has always remained a high priority.

Spotlight on Webb Telescope test

Dressed in a clean room suit, NASA photographer Desiree Stover shines a light on the Space Environment Simulator’s Integration Frame inside the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Shortly after, the chamber was closed up and engineers used this frame to enclose and help cryogenic (cold) test the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module.

Image source: NASA