Space Stories: The End of Geotail, a Galactic Map, and Sweden Gets a Spaceport

Image (Credit): An artist’s rendering of the Geotail spacecraft. (NASA)

Here are some recent stories of interest.

NASA: “NASA’s Geotail Mission Operations Come to an End After 30 Years

After 30 years in orbit, mission operations for the joint NASA-JAXA Geotail spacecraft have ended, after the failure of the spacecraft’s remaining data recorder. Since its launch on July 24, 1992, Geotail orbited Earth, gathering an immense dataset on the structure and dynamics of the magnetosphere, Earth’s protective magnetic bubble. Geotail was originally slated for a four-year run, but the mission was extended several times due to its high-quality data return, which contributed to over a thousand scientific publications. While one of Geotail’s two data recorders failed in 2012, the second continued to work until experiencing an anomaly on June 28, 2022. After attempts to remotely repair the recorder failed, the mission operations were ended on November 28, 2022. “Billions of Celestial Objects Revealed in Gargantuan Survey of the Milky Way

Astronomers have released a gargantuan survey of the galactic plane of the Milky Way. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial objects—arguably the largest such catalog so far. The data for this unprecedented survey were taken with the Dark Energy Camera, built by the US Department of Energy, at the NSF’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NOIRLab.

Advanced Television: “Sweden Inaugurates Rocket Launch Site

While much of the world’s press recently focused on Virgin Orbit’s failed ‘horizontal’ aircraft launch of a batch of 9 small satellites from Spaceport Cornwall, other rivals are gearing up to tap into the growing demand for satellite launches. Sweden has claimed the crown as “mainland Europe’s first orbital launch site”. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, helped cut the ribbon at Kiruna, Sweden, saying: “This spaceport offers an independent European gateway to space. It is exactly the infrastructure we need, not only to continue to innovate but also to further explore the final frontier.”