Leah Beeferman

Monitoring the architecture of science: a studious, imaginative investigation of space-bound and land-based far-traveling and distant-looking orbiting and non-orbiting structures

an ongoing weekly project distributed by e-mail running from February 2009 to February 2010.

communication

In the past week, NASA has begun the process of relocating TDRS-1 – a newly retired 25+ year-old tracking and communications satellite – from its geosynchronous orbit to an orbit 300km (136mi) higher, one referred to as “supersynchronous orbit” and “graveyard orbit”

Collaborative data collection by the Centre Nationale D’Etudes Spatiales’ (CNES) COROT satellite and the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph at the La Silva Observatory in Chile suggests the size and speed of Corot 7B, the fastest-orbiting known exoplanet

Data collected using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) located in Hanford, Washington, USA and Livingston, Louisiana, USA and the Virgo Collaboration based in Cascina, Italy, suggests far fewer gravitational waves were produced by the Big Bang than once assumed

The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) – three jointly-operated telescopes in Arizona, USA and Coonabarabran, Australia – will soon become the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS), a reorganization indicative of a shift in astronomy towards the search for objects that change on short timescales: for example, a star which dims by 7500% in just 10 minutes and fully recovers only 10 minutes later

On Sunday, July 26, 2009, the Canberra (Australia) Deep Space Communication Complex – one of NASA’s three worldwide Deep Space Network (DSN) stations collectively providing continuous spacecraft monitoring – communicated with at least ten spacecraft using its four highly sensitive radio antennas

With new software loaded onto a computer aboard the International Space Station, “Interplanetary Internet” becomes a reality – revolutionizing communication between Earth and instruments flying in space

On June 29, 2009 at 11:45 GMT, one of NOAA’s eastern Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) documents the water vapor winds over the southern hemisphere – an ongoing image-taking process repeatedly performed every six hours

Cassini, NASA’s spacecraft orbiting and studying the Saturn System, makes a flyby of Titan – Saturn’s largest moon – on May 21 2009 to investigate Titan’s southern hemisphere dune field, referred to as ‘Shangri-La

On May 16, 2009, the Hubble Space Telescope’s 800lb COSTAR corrective optics package – installed in orbit in 1993 to compensate for the spherical aberration in the telescope’s primary mirror – was removed and replaced with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), an instrument designed to study interstellar medium, the space between stars, and the space between galaxies

NASA’s SWIFT satellite – a multi-wavelength space-based observatory making observations about gamma-ray burst (GRB) science – records the x-ray afterglow of an event called GRB090423, the most distant cosmic explosion ever seen

TACSAT3, an experimental tactical satellite designed by the US Military towards integrating low-cost space technology onto “tactical battlefields”, is set to launch around 8PM on Tuesday, May 5, from Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia

Drifting more than 4,461,000km from Earth and communicating with a round-trip light time of 29.7 seconds, the Kepler Space Telescope is turned on: it receives a 100 degree field of view containing 14 million stars, 100,000 of which are considered “ideal candidates” for Earth-sized planet-searching

Locating the production sites of the industrial team responsible for designing and building the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever infrared space observatory at the time of its launch, May 6 2009, part 2 of 2

Locating the production sites of the industrial team responsible for designing and building the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever infrared space observatory at the time of its launch later in 2009, part 1 of 2

The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) – a pair of nearly identical space-based observatories, one ahead of the earth in its orbit, the other behind – continues beyond its two year mission to observe and document the sun and its coronal mass ejections (CMEs), powerful eruptions spewing up to 10 million tons of the sun’s atmosphere into interplanetary space at speeds up to 1 million miles per hour

By analyzing data from optical satellite instruments such as ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) – an imaging device flying on the Terra satellite launched in 1999 – GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) monitors over 52,000 of Earth’s glaciers

Diagramming Earth’s orbits: An investigation prompted by NASA’s NOAA-N Prime weather satellite reaching its polar orbit (2/6/09); the proliferation of orbital debris as two satellites collide in Low Earth Orbit (2/18/09); NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory’s failure to make orbit (2/24/09); and two launches – by Norway and Canada respectively – of new communications satellites into geostationary orbit (Thor 5, 2/11/09 and Telstar 11N, 2/26/09)

Seventeen radio telescopes jointly and simultaneously observe three quasars using the technical process of electronic real-time very long baseline interferometry (e-VLBI) for 33 hours on January 15-16 2009