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15 of the most outstanding achievements and spatial rarities of 2018



concludes a very productive year for the aerospace industry and space agencies around the world They began missions to explore several planets in our solar system, as well as our sun.

In addition, the space tourism company made its first orbital flight, and even the most powerful of the rockets was launched after the mythical Saturn-V, which delivered a man to the moon, and that he put an astronaut and a sports car as a cargo. Martian.

1) Saocom: Argentine radar satellite, which so far only Japan managed to build

The last shipment of the SAOCOM Argentinean satellite, produced entirely in the country, weighing 3 tons, was successfully launched in October. The device, which is a satellite network with four other Italian satellites, will be used to create early warning systems for floods, develop risk maps for crop diseases, monitor the Argentine sea for illegal fishing, and also support environmental emergency management.

The internationally recognized milestone is that in Argentina there was no experience in creating a polarimetric L-band radar instrument with a very large antenna of 35 meters and great sensitivity when welding by hand.

SAOCOM 1A (Argentine Microwave Observation Satellite), developed as part of the National Space Plan, was designed and built by the National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE) in cooperation with companies and organizations such as INVAP, VENG and the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA). ), with the participation of about 80 technology companies and institutions of the scientific and technical system of the country and in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

2) NASA InSight spaceship lands on Mars

NASA’s latest mission to Mars was the Curiosity rover, which landed in 2012 (and still operates on Mount Sharp). The space agency also plans to send another rover in 2020. Scientists praised the appearance of InSight, since the leak in the ship's seismometer caused a two-year delay from the launch date, originally scheduled for 2016.

3) Interrupted launch of the Soyuz crew

Soyuz spacecraft flew out of Kazakhstan, but never reached the International Space Station

Two men made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan in a safe and healthy way. The Hague and Ovchinin appeared in good physical shape and immediately promised another space flight attempt.
Roskosmos (Russian Space Agency) quickly completed the investigation and implemented a solution to secure the space station.

Thus, he planned the launch of Expedition 58, which lasted three weeks (it was December 3), to allow the orbital crew to return home on time. The activities of the space station will continue to rotate normally, but at the moment the crews will consist mainly of three people instead of six. The Hague and Ovchinin will finally fly on February 28, 2019.

4) Parker Solar Probe launched to “touch” the sun

One of the key mysteries of our star is why the crown is so hot. The temperature there ranges from 1 to 3 million degrees Celsius. Scientists suspect that solar convection and magnetic fields contribute to the high temperature of the corona, but they need observations to support the theory.

The mission pays tribute to the pioneering astrophysics of the University of Chicago, Eugene Parker, who predicted the solar wind (a constant flow of solar particles) in the 1950s. Parker, 91, attended the launch of the rocket carrying He is the first living person whose mission NASA is named for him.

5) SpaceX Falcon Heavy and its incredible debut

The private company SpaceX launched its largest rocket into space through an intelligent public relations campaign that caught the attention of people all over the world.

Falcon Heavy was launched on February 6, 2018 and quickly showed a gift to those who watched the live broadcast: the main charge was a dummy called “Starman” who was driving the Tesla X roadster (a tribute to one of the others SpaceX Company, Elon Musk). The upper stage of the rocket released the car and the passenger into outer space, directly into the orbit of Mars.

The launch has become viral around the world and has raised many expectations in the heavy traffic market, which is very profitable because it includes military satellites and the ability to launch scientific payloads to other planets on relatively short trips.

SpaceX and Musk are great defenders of Mars exploration, so they are developing a new giant combination of spacecraft to attract settlers in the coming decades.

6) Tess, on the hunt for exoplanets

NASA's search for another Earth gained momentum on April 18, when the Exoplanet Transit (TESS) satellite performed a flawless launch en route to space.

Unlike previous satellites, TESS is designed to search for planets near stars in our area. Finding planets near Earth provides some advantages, for example, allowing other telescopes to quickly focus on these worlds in order to learn more about their atmospheric composition. TESS will also act as a ground-breaking observatory for the James Webb Space Telescope (NASA), which will be launched in 2021 with a scientific mission that will include some research on exoplanets.

TESS was launched into a unique, highly elliptical orbit with a duration of 13.7 days, thanks to which it approaches relatively close to Earth (108,000 kilometers) to send data home, and then flies again to 373,000 km to conduct scientific observations. During his two-year main mission, he will explore the entire sky, although scientists hope that in his stable orbit he will be able to serve for much longer. On September 19, the first discovery of the probe on the planet was announced: the evaporation of the super-earth.

7) Launchers of China, landing on the other side of the moon

China, which conquered the world with the help of the robotic mission of a lunar robot in 2013, is trying to reach another lunar boundary: landing on the other side. The spaceship Chang & # 39; e 4 took off on December 7 in search of landing a rover and a stationary car in early January. Its purpose was the crater Von Karman, whose width is 115 miles (186 km). The crater is part of the largest Aitken South Pole basin complex, covering an incredible 1600 miles (2500 km).

The far side of the moon is not visible from Earth and, in fact, was not even photographed until the first Soviet satellites orbited the moon in the sixties. Landing there is another problem, because there is no way to transmit information to Earth without a satellite transponder. Then in May, China sent a satellite called Queqiao, which is located in a gravitationally stable point in space, which is called the Lagrange point 2 on Earth and on the Moon. In this place, beyond the Moon, the satellite can send information to Chang'e 4 and back and control the mission on earth.

8) Goodbye Kepler and Dawn

On October 30, NASA announced that its venerable telescope for hunting on the Kepler planets ran out of fuel, and it did not reach its original scientific mission any longer. It was an incredible journey that produced 70 percent of the 3,800 alien worlds confirmed today.

Kepler spent his first four years in space (from 2009 to 2013), observing a part of the sky in the constellation Cygnus, an investigation that gave 2327 confirmed exoplanet discoveries to date.

After the second of four pointing devices went down, NASA developed an innovative way to keep Kepler working; the ship used the pressure of the sun to remain stable in space and to explore various sectors of the sky over time. This new K2 mission (which lasted four years) not only gave knowledge of more exoplanets, but also studied comets, asteroids, supernovae, and other phenomena.

Dawn was launched in September 2007 and reached Vesta in July 2011. There remained 14 months to explore the surface of the asteroid; among his many discoveries, it was discovered that liquid water (from the effects of meteorites) once flowed over the surface. The second and last destination of Down was Ceres, where the probe found many bright spots: salts left after groundwater left the surface of Ceres and evaporated into space. Dawn is expected to remain in orbit around Ceres for at least 20 years.

9) Hayabusa2 from Japan arrives in Ryuga

After more than three years of space travel, the Japanese ship Hayabusa2 arrived on the asteroid Ryugu on June 27 and quickly set to work. The goal of Hayabusa2 is to return the asteroid sample to Earth, as the original Hayabusa spacecraft did almost ten years ago. But first, the Hayabusa2 threw two rovers and a landing gear at Ryugu, which sent images of a strange surface.

At the end of September, Hayabusa2 deployed two small solar-powered asteroid bunkers, now known as HIBOU and OWL. (HIBOU stands for High Intelligent Rebound Observation Unit; Hibou also means owl in French.) OWL is the abbreviation for Smart Wheel Locomotive Unit.) It is expected that together they will provide a lot of information about history and the composition of ryugu. Hayabusa2 still has another rover to be deployed next year.

10) NASA OSIRIS-REx arrives at Bennu asteroid

Skillfully named OSIRIS-REx (“Origin, spectral interpretation, resource identification, security, Regolith explorer”) arrived at the destination of his asteroid on December 3: the Bennu space rock, 500 meters wide. Eventually, OSIRIS-REx will fall to the surface of Bennu to collect the sample and send it to Earth. But first, scientists took the time to find out the asteroid and its surroundings, before choosing a place to land.

In the coming months, the spacecraft will perform a very complete mission, and the first important milestone on the way to safe orbit will take place on December 31. Over the past few weeks, mission leaders have not only studied Bennu's tempting goal, but also figured out how the spacecraft will be prepared for orbit. OSIRIS-REx has already conducted three Bennu studies in mid-December, covering about 30 percent of the asteroid's surface in some detail.

11) Hole in the International Space Station

On August 29, mission controllers who were following the International Space Station saw a small drop in air pressure, which quickly returned to a 2-mm hole in the Soyuz spacecraft attached to the orbital complex. The leak was never a real danger, but cosmonaut Sergei Prokopiev (after consulting with mission controllers in the US and Russia) quickly closed the problem area with epoxy resin, a solution that seemed effective to finish with the problem

It should be noted that on December 11, two Russian cosmonauts (Prokopiev and Oleg Kononenko) ventured into outer space in order to tear off the outer layers of the Soyuz using a knife and scissors and inspect the solution, including collecting epoxy resin samples for further analysis. ,

The hole was in that part of the spacecraft that was not used for re-entry, so it did not pose a danger to the returning astronauts of the Expedition 56.

The cause of the hole was not fully clarified, although the reports suggested that this was a production error that occurred during the construction of the Soyuz spacecraft in Russia. A full investigation and report should be completed by 2019.

12) Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space

On November 5, one of the most famous NASA spacecraft reached the space line when Voyager-2 crossed the border of interstellar space, a place where the influence of the sun yields to the influence of other stars. This is not the first NASA spacecraft to do this; the probe twin, Voyager 1, arrived in interstellar space in 2012. Thus, Voyager 2 now provides another data point on how the transition zone between the heliopause (solar neighborhood) and interstellar space works. ,

Arrival was only the last milestone for a long-duration spacecraft, which was launched in 1977 during the “big trip” on outer planets. This is the only NASA spacecraft that has advanced through the four great outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and their discoveries are numerous, including the fact that these four planets have circular characteristics. Members of the mission team said plutonium shipments from the spacecraft would begin to end in a few years, which would lead to the disconnection of instruments until 2025.

13) Virgin Galactic Reaches Space

The space tourism market reached milestones on December 13, when Virgin Galactic, which had been working to bring people into space for a decade and a half, finally saw a team of two test pilots reaching a height of 82.7 km. right after the space demarcation line of the USAF.

Hundreds of people have invested a lot of money to fly into the suborbital space with Virgin Galactic. The last ticket price was $ 250,000. Virgin space flight plans insist on numerous delays in development, the most famous of which is the design change made after an accident with a previous test vehicle, VSS Enterprise, during a test flight on rockets.

14) BepiColombo launches Mercury

Mercury has several years to prepare for the arrival of a new space mission. This is a joint mission BepiColombo, formed between the Europeans and the Japanese, which started on October 19. The spacecraft will fly around the solar system for 7 years, increasing the speed when the planets fly to Earth and Venus before entering the orbit of Mercury in 2025. The only mission Mercury has already accomplished in orbit is the NASA Messenger, so BepiColombo will provide a new look at the planet closest to the Sun.

Undoubtedly, the next seven years will still be busy for scientists. For example, BepiColombo will make accurate measurements of the orbits of the Earth and Mercury in order to find where the theory of general theory of relativity may fail. In addition, two BepiColombo spacecraft will perform several overflights (six from Mercury, two from Venus and one from Earth), providing ample opportunities for setting up instruments on board, as well as to search for something new or interesting on these planetary surfaces.

15) Kubezats makes space jumps

The launch of the space flight of the Rocket Laboratory accelerated significantly in 2018, when its first operational mission began on November 10, and the second – on December 16. In this final flight, the electronic impeller Rocket Lab launched 13 tiny satellites for NASA, which reached their target orbit 500 km above the ground. There, the satellites performed various missions, from measuring radiation to testing the usefulness of 3D-printed rockets.

A California company is seeking to expand access to space by launching cubes and other small satellites for frequent and economical orbits. But cubes create waves even outside the Earth. When the InSight mission was launched in May of this year, it was accompanied by the first two cubosates that left Earth orbit. WALL-E and EVE (since two spacecraft the size of a briefcase got the nickname) helped transfer local data to InSight when the ship made a Martian landing.


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