Today’s Tidbits: November 15, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: November 15, 2017

Here are our tidbits for November 15, 2017:  another JPSS-1 launch delay; an amazing visualization of aerosols spread around the globe by this year’s hurricanes; two 2017 Pecora Award winners; House SS&T committee approves STEM bills.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Another JPSS-1 Launch Delay

Artist’s illustration of JPSS-1 satellite. Credit: NASA

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) tried again this morning to launch NOAA’s new JPSS-1 polar orbiting weather satellite, but it was scrubbed due to high winds in the upper atmosphere.  ULA said the range was red (red as in STOP) as well, meaning something was wrong at the launch site or along the rocket’s path, which must be evacuated at the time of launch lest a piece of debris fall and injure someone.  The announcement did not specify if a boat or a plane or what was in the way or if there was an equipment failure with systems operated by range control officers.

An airplane entering restricted airspace at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility one minute before launch delayed Saturday’s launch of Orbital ATK’s OA-8 cargo mission to the International Space Station, but it launched successfully the next day.

A new date for the JPSS-1 launch has not been announced.  The first try, on Tuesday morning, was scrubbed due to a red range and a technical problem with the Delta II rocket.

AMAZING Visualization of  Aerosols Spread Around the World By This Year’s Hurricanes

Whenever it does launch, JPSS-1 will join NOAA’s fleet of polar-orbiting and geostationary weather satellites that, along with NASA Earth sensing satellites, collect global data about various aspects of Earth’s environment, including aerosols.

Today, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which manages many of those satellite programs, released an amazing visualization of how sea salt particles, smoke from the fires in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and dust from the Sahara Desert were blown around the world and interacted with each other from August 1 to November 1 2017 when several major hurricanes took place.  More information about what the data show are on NASA Goddard’s website [].  The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang tweeted the visualization. Click the link in the tweet to go to the HD version, which also has narration:

Two Win 2017 Pecora Award

William T. Pecora (1913-1972). Photo credit: USGS website.

And speaking of Earth science, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA announced the two winners of the 2017 Pecora Award today.  USGS, which is part of the Department of the Interior, operates the Landsat land remote sensing satellites.

The Pecora award is named after William T. Pecora, a former director of the USGS (1965-1971).  He was a “motivating force” behind the 1966 announcement by then-Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall that initiated the USGS/NASA Earth Resources Observation Satellite (EROS) program.  EROS is now known as Landsat.  The first two satellites in the series, launched in the 1972 an 1974, were originally named EROS-1 and -2.

This year the award is presented to

  • Darrel L. Williams, who retired from NASA in 2010 after a 35-year career and now is chief scientist at Global Science and Technology, for his role in the Landsat-7 program; and
  • the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, a group of 16 agencies, for providing free satellite imagery, data and information to the global community during times of crisis.

The Pecora award has been presented annually since 1974.  Learn more here:[]

House SS&T Committee Approves Four STEM Bills

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved four bills today related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.  All four are aimed at the National Science Foundation (NSF), but one also would affect NASA.

The Women in Aerospace Education Act, H.R. 4254, sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), seeks to strengthen the aerospace workforce pipeline for women through an NSF teacher scholarship program and NASA internship and fellowship opportunities.

The other three bills are described in a committee press release: []

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