Hubble's impactful life alongside space debris

During its 30 years in orbit around Earth, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has witnessed the changing nature of spaceflight as the skies have filled with greater numbers of satellites, the International Space Station ...

Rehearsal time for NASA's asteroid sampling spacecraft

In August, a robotic spacecraft will make NASA's first-ever attempt to descend to the surface of an asteroid, collect a sample, and ultimately bring it safely back to Earth. In order to achieve this challenging feat, the ...

Extending the life of geosynchronous satellites

Space Logistics LLC, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, has launched a satellite that can extend the life of other satellites. The satellite is called MEV-1, or Mission Extension Vehicle-1. MEV-1 is the first of its kind.

Space station science return and spacecraft shuffle

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano's Beyond mission has kicked into high gear during the last two weeks. He has been keeping the International Space Station running smoothly as well as working remotely with European researchers—with ...

Solar physics with the Square Kilometre Array

Although solar physics is one of the most mature branches of astrophysics, the sun confronts researchers with a large number of outstanding fundamental problems. These problems include the determination of the structure ...

Melting a satellite, a piece at a time

Researchers took one of the densest parts of an Earth-orbiting satellite, placed it in a plasma wind tunnel then proceeded to melt it into vapour. Their goal was to better understand how satellites burn up during reentry, ...

Image: Instant space selfies

How many times have you taken a selfie and posted it instantly to your favourite social media channel? The Mercury Transfer Module of the BepiColombo spacecraft, currently en route to Mercury, is equipped with three 'selfie-cams' ...

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Photovoltaic array

A photovoltaic array is a linked collection of photovoltaic modules, which are in turn made of multiple interconnected solar cells. The cells convert solar energy into direct current electricity via the photovoltaic effect. The power that one module can produce is seldom enough to meet requirements of a home or a business, so the modules are linked together to form an array. Most PV arrays use an inverter to convert the DC power produced by the modules into alternating current that can plug into the existing infrastructure to power lights, motors, and other loads. The modules in a PV array are usually first connected in series to obtain the desired voltage; the individual strings are then connected in parallel to allow the system to produce more current. Solar arrays are typically measured by the peak electrical power they produce, in watts, kilowatts, or even megawatts.

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