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Firefly Mission to Study Lightning


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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 11:20 PM


NASA-led Firefly Mission to Study Lightning

Somewhere on Earth, there's always a lightning flash. The globe experiences lightning some 50 times a second, yet the details of what initiates this common occurrence and what effects it has on the atmosphere - lightning may be linked to incredibly powerful and energetic bursts called terrestrial gamma ray flashes, or TGFs -- remains a mystery. In mid-November, a football-sized mission called Firefly, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, will launch into space to study lightning and these gamma ray flashes from above.

The NSF CubeSat program represents a low cost access to space approach to performing high-quality, highly targeted science on a smaller budget than is typical of more comprehensive satellite projects, which have price tags starting at $100 million. The CubeSat Firefly, by focusing its science goals, will carry out its mission in a much smaller package and at a considerably lower cost.

The Firefly mission also emphasizes student involvement as part of the ongoing effort to train the next generation of scientists and engineers. Students at Siena College, in Loudonville, N.Y., and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, in Princess Anne, Md., were involved in all phases of the Firefly mission.

The window for Firefly launch opens on Nov. 19, 2013, and it is scheduled to launch with 27 other cubesat missions, as well as a NASA experiment called the Total solar irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment, or TCTE, which will continue measurements from space of the total energy output of the sun.  

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Source: NASA Goddard - Multimedia

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

    Space Cadet

  • 29,772 posts
  • Joined:03 Mar 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bexleyheath, Kent, UK

  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    Oscar Wilde

Posted 09 January 2014 - 01:19 PM

NASA Has Made Contact with Firefly Cubesat


www.nasa.gov said:

UPDATE: A NASA team made first contact with the National Science Foundation-funded Firefly spacecraft at 7:33 p.m. EST on Jan. 6, 2014. On the first pass, the team based out of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. received enough data to show that the spacecraft was healthy and transmitting a strong signal.  

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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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