Category Archives: Space

Out Now – UNISTELLAR Odyssey Pro Red Edition Stand Out, Look Up

17th April 2024, Marseille, France– UNISTELLAR, pioneer in developing the world’s most powerful and user-friendly smart telescopes, has once again redefined the stargazing experience with the launch of its much-anticipated UNISTELLAR ODYSSEY PRO Red Edition. It not only assures revolutionary functionality but elevates stargazing aesthetics to new heights with its striking Pantone 485 C red colour.

The UNISTELLAR ODYSSEY Pro Red Edition combines cutting-edge technology with sleek design to offer the most detailed views of the universe. Red is the most surprising colour in outer space, and whether you are a seasoned astronomer or an enthusiastic novice, it allows you to witness the universe in all its red-hued splendour – from the great red spot of Jupiter and the red band of the Cigar Galaxy to the crimson beauty of the Omega Nebula,

Compact and lightweight, this smart telescope transforms any location into an observatory. Its unique, modern design makes it the ideal companion for opening the doors to the cosmos wherever you are, even from a terrace in the heart of the city.

With product design by Philippe Arnaud, Designer and President at PAD, and the proposal of the stunning shade of red by Rodrigo Aguadé, Creative Director at Charlie Number Five, ODYSSEY PRO Red Edition boasts a suite of innovations:

  • Deep Dark technology eliminates light pollution from images, ensuring unparalleled clarity in observation, even in crowded city settings.
  • Nikon High Precision Optics ensure seamless and effortless astronomical observations without the need for manual adjustments.
  • Multi-Depth Technology enables seamless transition between observing nearby planets like Jupiter and distant marvels like the Whirlpool Galaxy, situated millions of light-years away.
  • Stellar Autofocus technology guarantees an extraordinarily sharp and detailed image, allowing you to take full advantage of the deep red hues of the Helix Nebula, 700 light-years away.
  • New Direct Data Download feature provides immediate access to RAW files, to unleash the creativity of every user by exploring the world of image post-editing.

The UNISTELLAR mobile app automatically guides you in real time to the best objects to observe in the cosmos, such as the Sculptor’s Galaxy, dotted with red thanks to its intense star formation activity.

 

 “The incorporation of the bold red colour serves as a pivotal element, symbolising both passion and heritage within the field,” says Rodrigo Aguadé. “Red holds particular significance for astronomers, as it is often used to preserve night vision during observations of stars. Its inclusion in the design not only pays homage to this practical aspect but also evokes a sense of reverence for the cosmos.

 

“The balance between black and red matte finishes conveys a functional elegance that blends naturally into the observer’s environment,” says Philippe Arnaud. “In every line and curve, there is a clear intention: to invite exploration without distraction.”

 

Available in limited stock from April 17th, UNISTELLAR ODYSSEY PRO Red Edition retails at $4,499 / £3,999. For more information or to order yours today, visit www.unistellar.com.

Brits don’t know their Uranus from their Venus – half of Brits admit they know nothing about the universe, according to new research

A staggering 49 percent of Brits admit they know nothing about space, according to a new survey from Livat Hammersmith ahead of the launch of the SpaceLab, giving the whole family a passport to space through a series of interactive and educational activities at the meeting place.

The research reveals that 61 percent of Brits have no idea how many planets are in our solar system, with one in five of those polled (20 percent) insist there are nine instead of the correct number of eight.

According to the study, 14 percent of the nation were unable to name ANY planets at all, while a significant three quarters (76 percent) had no idea that Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun.

One in five (22 percent) think that astrology (the study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars in the belief that they affect the character and lives of people) is just another word for astronomy (the scientific study of the universe and of objects that exist naturally in space). 33 percent admit they have more knowledge about astrology and horoscopes than the universe.

When it comes to extraterrestrial life, a third (33 percent) think it exists beyond Earth, with 16 percent believing aliens have already visited Earth. Three percent say they have seen a UFO.

Nearly half (48 percent) aren’t able to identify any of the major stars or star patterns, yet more than half (56 percent) said they feel in awe when they look up into the vastness of the night sky.

“Despite our study showing that 85 percent wished they knew more about astronomy and space, while more than half (55 percent) admitted that they find space interesting and fascinating (49 percent), the research also shows the relatively little we know about space. With the launch of the SpaceLab, we’re aiming to change that, and show that what happens beyond Earth’s walls is there to be both learnt and explored in equal measure.” says Anna Larsen, Marketing Manager at Ingka Centres.

The research also found that only a tenth (12 percent) would be able to identify Ursa Major – known as the plough – dropping to just eight percent for Ursa Minor – the little Bear.

In fact, 37 percent admitted they had no idea what Ursa Minor was, while three percent of those quizzed thought it might be a musical note rather than a pattern of stars.

When it came to the brightest star, just 38 percent said they would be able to locate the North Star, while only 25 percent could find the constellation of Orion.

A third (33 percent) have no idea when man landed on the moon (it was 1969) with nearly one in three (29 percent) thinking it happened in another year or not knowing at all.

A confused three percent went a step further and claimed the moon landings never happened at all and were actually a hoax.

10 percent thought that Buzz Aldrin was the first person to walk on the moon and utter the famous words ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’ and not Neil Armstrong.

One in twenty (four percent) think that Nebula is a medical condition rather than a formation of gas and particles which gives off light, while a fifth (20 percent) believe the Earth revolves around the moon, instead of the other way round.

A whopping 92 percent believe that everyone should have a basic understanding of the universe around them, even though for 86 percent the thought of endless space baffles them.

Natalia Petelina, Meeting Place Manager at Livat Hammersmith added: “To help inspire a better understanding of space and the world around us, Livat Hammersmith will open the SpaceLab this week, specially designed to encourage parents, children and visitors to unite under the planets and stars and explore beyond the Earth’s walls. The activities in SpaceLab are for all ages, those curious and young at heart, and are sure to be a galactic hit with parents in London”.The SpaceLab will be on at Livat Hammersmith from Monday 23rd – Saturday 28th October.

Research of 2,000 Britons was commissioned by Livat Hammersmith and was conducted by Perspectus Global in October 2023.

 

Scottish company partners with NASA for mission launch

Space firm’s vital software rockets atmospheric technology to success on the ISS

AN EDINBURGH company has developed mission-critical hardware and software for new NASA technology which has now been deployed from the International Space Station [ISS].

Alpha Data, which has offices in Edinburgh, Scotland as well as Denver, Colorado is celebrating the successful activation and early data collection of the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation [EMIT] after its installation on the space station’s exterior in July.

Developed in partnership with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory [JPL], EMIT will fill a critical gap in our understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere and specifically the dust cycle.

The instrument consists of a state-of-the-art imaging spectrometer that will investigate visible and infrared light to determine the makeup of mineral dust clouds, and their role in the warming and cooling of the atmosphere.

Image credit:NASA

EMIT will observe Earth from the outside of the ISS, and will deliver never-before-seen data, detailing how mineral dust clouds carried by high winds from arid regions over vast distances may heat or cool the atmosphere as they travel, with dark particles absorbing sunlight for a heating effect and light-coloured particles providing a cooling effect.

David Dolman

David Dolman, Senior FPGA, Electronics, and Software Design Engineer of Alpha Data who led the Alpha Data EMIT development said: “The EMIT mission will advance our knowledge and understanding of dust’s effects throughout the Earth system and to human populations now and in the future. This instrument sets a new standard in high-performance onboard processing and storage of data that is being used on the Space Station.”

 

Alpha Data’s Colorado-based team designed and manufactured the Focal Plane Interface Electronics – Digital [FPIE-D] which will handle a critical interface role between the spectrometer, the ISS and ground teams whilst handling a high rate of data against the backdrop of a hostile, high-radiation environment.

The software and firmware which is used to run and configure the FPIE-D through an adaptive system-on-chip Field Programmable Gate Array [SoC FPGA] was developed by the firm’s Edinburgh cohort.

The FPIE-D will digitise, store and relay the detailed images of target regions built up over the course of multiple revisits to teams on the ground and aboard the space station.

EMIT

Robert Green, EMIT’s principal investigator and senior research scientist at the JPL, said: “Decades ago, when I was in graduate school, it took 10 minutes to collect a single spectrum from a geological sample in the laboratory. EMIT’s imaging spectrometer measures 300,000 spectra per second, with superior quality.

“With this exceptional performance, we are on track to comprehensively map the minerals of Earth’s arid regions – about 25% of the Earth’s land surface – in less than a year and achieve our climate science objectives.”

 

EMIT will gather billions of new spectroscopic measurements across six continents, closing this gap in knowledge and advancing climate science.

 

Kate Calvin, NASA’s Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor, said: “The data we’re getting from EMIT will give us more insight into the heating and cooling of Earth, and the role mineral dust plays in that cycle. It’s promising to see the amount of data we’re getting from the mission in such a short time.”

EMITs findings will be delivered to the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center for use by other researchers and the wider public.

 

David Miller, Alpha Data Managing Director, said: “The successful deployment of EMIT is a landmark achievement for Alpha Data and further strengthens our relationship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Alpha Data’s crucial contributions to EMIT have led to a successful milestone accomplishment in this significant and accelerating industry and showcases the unrivalled ability of Alpha Data’s development frameworks to produce highly reliable, space-grade off-the-shelf electronics.”

 

Alpha Data and EMIT is yet another milestone within Scotland’s ever-growing space sector, which collaborates internationally on world leading research missions. EMIT follows hot on the heels of the Mid-Infrared Instrument [MIRI] – one of the four workhorse instruments onboard the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, with the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh being the lead institution that designed and built MIRI.

Established in 1993 and with offices in the US and UK, Alpha Data is the leading global supplier of state-of-the-art solutions targeted at compute-intensive applications, including high performance Commercial Off-The-Shelf [COTS] performance computing solutions and support software. A leading provider of high-performance networking applications, Alpha Data caters to deployment in extreme environments, such as areas of high altitude.

Alpha Data has been providing modified existing products and designs to NASA from the drawing board through to deployment and beyond.

 

Everton Free School launches space balloon to mark decade of success

Everton Free School – the school set up by Everton in the Community – has marked its milestone 10th anniversary by launching a weather balloon into near-space, kicking off its next decade in style.

Former students joined teachers, current pupils and key partners on Friday 23 September for the occasion at Welshpool, with the balloon travelling a total of almost 30km.

The event was the culmination of a week-long schedule of activities designed to inspire and encourage youngsters to consider a career in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).

Throughout the week, students had been given the chance to try their hand at a range of skills and hear from experts within areas such as forensics, medicine, astrophysics and web virtual reality development, as well as a visit to the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

The launch was an opportunity for them to track the balloon’s journey, while a 360-degree camera on board also captured images of Earth.

Set up by Everton in the Community, the club’s charitable arm, the school offers alternative educational opportunities to young people who have either been expelled or are at risk of exclusion.

Former student Zack Kelly, who says it “saved his life”, enrolled at the school when he was 13 years old after being expelled from the mainstream school he was attending, having spent much of his childhood in and out of the care system.

Zack, 23, who now works as an intervention mentor at Everton in the Community, said: “Looking back, mainstream education was just not right for me. I’d spent a long time in care and got into a lot of trouble at school – I was getting into fights and generally getting into trouble.

“But Everton Free School was completely different. I’d always been known by teachers as the ‘naughty kid’ or the ‘class clown’ but I felt I was seen as a person rather than a number at Everton and that made a huge difference to my behaviour.

“Being there 100% saved my life, I have no doubt about it. It scares me to think where I could have been now if I hadn’t gone to Everton Free School as I was headed down a very different path.

“It’s incredible to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary – it’s a real credit to the amazing teachers who go above and beyond every day.”

As part of the launch, a specially-created Everton kit designed by an Everton Football College student was attached to the balloon, as part of a school-wide competition.

Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Everton Women’s player Izzy Christansen selected Ethan Westray as the winner, with club sponsor hummel* bringing the design to life and creating 500 shirts for students and staff.

Both the men’s and women’s first teams signed the kits before they were launched into near-space, with plans to auction them to raise money for disadvantaged students in the school and college.

Jordan said: “Everton Free School is an incredibly special place and it’s a real honour to be helping the staff and students celebrate such huge milestone.

“Ethan’s design stood out to us as it’s creative and unique – it perfectly captures the theme of the occasion and looks great too. It’s amazing to see it being launched into near-space today.”

During the event, year 11 students used GPS technology to track the balloon as it descended back down to Earth, with it landing in Eccleshall.

Principal Steven Baker, who was awarded an OBE last year for his services to education, said: “Our success during the last 10 years is a true testament to the efforts of our fantastic team, together with our students’ ambition and drive.

“Our students’ achievements have gone from strength to strength each year. But it’s not just about the qualifications they take away – it’s the life skills and experience that they take into the world after education.

“We are incredibly proud to have reached such a milestone in our history and to mark it by taking Everton into near-space is extremely special, especially with our one-off kits on-board, thanks to our talented students and hummel*.

“Now, we’re looking forward to the possibilities of the next 10 years as we continue to build on our success.”

SUTUS 2022: First space hotel and Cousteau’s International Ocean Station to be explored at the world’s largest space and underwater tourism summit

The first space hotel planned for 2027 and the International Ocean Station which aims to be operational by 2026 are among the projects being presented at SUTUS 2022, the world’s largest space and underwater tourism event.

From 28-30 September, SUTUS – the Space & Underwater Tourism Universal Summit – will bring together prestigious institutions and international stakeholders for the third edition of this pioneering conference at Les Roches Marbella.

Taking place in a hybrid format, with the first day in person and two other virtual days, SUTUS has positioned itself as the benchmark forum for the world’s main space agencies. Last year it attracted NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and these organisations return alongside the International Space University, Space Tourism Society and Swiss Space Tourism.

More than 30 companies will also be present to update on the progress of their initiatives. These include Orbital Assembly, the first hotel with accommodation for tourists in space; Axiom Space, which aims to create cities in space; SpaceVIP, dedicated to “space literacy” and inspiring the next generation of private astronauts; and the Space Tourism Society, focused on “commercialising” the growing range of space experiences (real spaceflight, movies, games and even virtual worlds). Nancy Vermeulen, private astronaut trainer at the Space Training Academy, and retired astronaut commander Susan Kilrain, who will reflect on her experience beyond planet Earth, also feature.

Meanwhile, the still unexplored marine world will be evoked by international speakers such as Fabien Cousteau (grandson of famous undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau) and his International Ocean Station; Aaron Olivera, founder and CEO of Earth 300, a global environmental and science project created in a futuristic superyacht whose main objective is to combat climate change; and Scott Waters, president of Pisces VI Submarine, who will talk about diving tourism in the Canary Islands.

The creation of the Spanish Space Agency (AEE) is the main theme of the Spanish presence at this annual event. Álvaro Giménez Cañete, Special Delegate for AEE, will present the action plan for this new organisation, whose headquarters a dozen cities, including Seville, Tres Cantos (Madrid), Teruel, León, Puertollano (Ciudad Real), and the Canary Islands are currently vying to host.

In addition, SUTUS will welcome renowned speakers such as underwater archaeologist Carlota Pérez Reverte, aspiring ESA astronauts Carmen García-Roger and Jorge Pla-García, and Spanish companies in the space race including Green Moon Project, which is working towards space agriculture and habitability; and Zero 2 Infinity, a company that develops high-altitude balloons to provide access to the area around space and the low-Earth orbit using a capsule and launcher transported by balloons.

Organised by Les Roches Marbella with Medina Media Events, the event will host a demonstration area on campus where representatives of each company participating will be able to present their tourism-related projects, thus opening up the experience to all those visiting the school’s facilities. Virtual attendees and registered companies can follow all sessions via streaming and schedule video meetings with other participants and speakers, as well as visit exclusive online demos. All details, along with the agenda and registration for the three days, are now available at www.sutusummit.com.

Carlos Díez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches, said: “We are delighted that we have managed to bring the best agencies and representatives of the most exciting projects in the world to this congress, the most important in the world in the discussion of tourism in the two borders that we have over our heads and under our feet.”

Luxury tourism in Europe, which focuses on the cosmos and water, is worth between 130,000 and 170,000 million euros a year, 22% of the sector’s total income, according to consultancy firm Bain & Company. Last year saw the beginning of a revolution in the history of the cosmos, when Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, flew his rocket to an altitude of 106km for ten minutes, ushering in the era of commercial space travel. The search for both original and personalised experiences is propelling the future of luxury tourism towards new destinations, reaffirming the entrenchment of premium tourism across the world.

ST Engineering iDirect achieves European Space Agency certification, advancing aerospace manufacturing capabilities

The company will provide soldering services to QinetiQ, opening the door to further opportunities in the spaceflight sector

Herndon, Va. and Erpe-Mere, Belgium June 14, 2022 – The spaceflight industry planted a new flag in Belgium today as ST Engineering iDirect announced that it will be manufacturing components used in flight systems for spacecraft to European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS) standards at its Manufacturing Competence Center (MCC) in Erpe-Mere, Belgium.

Following the stringent certification process by the European Space Agency (ESA), ST Engineering iDirect will help to make components for QinetiQ, the British multinational defense and space technology company. This makes ST Engineering iDirect the sole subcontracting company offering these services in Belgium.

ST Engineering iDirect’s MCC will provide its specialist manual and automated soldering services to QinetiQ for its ADPMS-3 satellite board computer systems and for the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM) currently in development with ESA, enabling vehicles carrying cargo or passengers to dock softly, with less force. Furthermore, it will also assist in building components for payload projects.

“The process of becoming ESA-certified has been incredibly thorough in assuring the quality, the education and capabilities of the MCC and its workforce. This accreditation and the additional commencement of our automated soldering activity will open doors for our company to broaden our footprint in the industry, as well as strengthen the Belgian spaceflight ecosystem,” said ST Engineering iDirect’s MCC Sales and Marketing Manager, Danny De Smet. “We’re very appreciative of the support from QinetiQ and their recognition of our capabilities in providing larger scale component soldering.”

Erik Masure, QinetiQ’s Managing Director in Belgium said, “We’ve been consistently impressed by ST Engineering iDirect’s – and specifically the MCC team – ability to rise to the challenge of becoming ESA-accredited over the past few years. Working with a partner in close proximity to our space facilities in Kruibeke, Belgium, is incredibly beneficial for the success of our relationship. We look forward to deepening our partnership and working together in the future.”

ST Engineering iDirect’s MCC has Factory of the Future status, the highest possible recognition for the manufacturing industry in Belgium. It provides manufacturing and repair services and specializes in electronic assembly, testing and repair for a range of customers in the satellite and aerospace sectors including OHB and Panasonic.

For more information about ST Engineering iDirect, please visit: https://www.idirect.net/