Geomagnetic storm struck the earth, and NASA announced the date of the first launch of the SLS: News Digest

Selection of the most interesting space news for breakfast: China plans to switch to a reusable superheavy launcher after Starship. Super-earths can maintain habitable conditions for 80 billion years, and we continue to talk about the exoplanets of the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Solar wind affects auroras

In March, scientists recorded a coronal mass ejection (CME), and this week the solar wind reached our planet, which led to the appearance of a geomagnetic storm on Earth. The first consequences of this storm – strong auroras and failures in radio communication and GPS navigation systems have already been felt in Canada and the USA.

CME is the release of charged particles from the upper layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona, which can interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and cause geomagnetic storms. Such storms, in addition to creating beautiful auroras, can disrupt satellite communications and throw some spacecraft out of orbit. They can also sometimes cause power outages.

Super-Earths could retain habitable conditions for billion years

Super-Earths live up to their name when it comes to maintaining a habitable atmosphere. That’s because massive Super-Earth planets can retain their atmosphere and water for tens of billions of years.

The Earth-like exoplanets are, in theory, capable of supporting life for much longer periods than Earth, with scientists on the new study estimating they could be habitable for up to 80 billion years. As a point of comparison, the entire universe is thought to be 13.7 billion years old.

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The next-generation rocket Space Launch System. Photo: NASA

NASA announced the date of the first launch of the SLS

NASA chose three days in late August and early September for the first attempt to launch a superheavy SLS rocket. These are August 29, September 2 and September 5. If the rocket fails to launch on the specified days, the next launch windows for the flight to the Moon will be open from September 20 to October 4 and from October 17 to October 31. As part of the Artemis I mission, it will send an unmanned Orion spacecraft to the Moon, which will spend about a week in a retrograde selenocentric orbit, after which it will return to Earth.

Northrop Grumman to conduct FSB-2 SLS solid rocket booster test

As the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket prepares for its first flight as soon as late August, Northrop Grumman is preparing to conduct the program’s Flight Support Booster-2 test firing at its facility in Promontory, Utah. The test is currently scheduled for Thursday, July 21.

The Flight Support Booster-2 test is part of an ongoing program to ensure the continued safety and flight-worthiness of the large solid rocket boosters (SRBs) that will provide 75% of the SLS system’s total thrust through its first two minutes of flight.

China could shift to fully reusable super heavy-launcher in wake of Starship

China’s launch vehicle makers appear to be designing a fully reusable version of the Long March 9 super heavy-lift rocket needed for future megaprojects.

The Celestial Empire intends to make significant changes to its space transportation plans. This is evidenced by the appearance of its plans to create new reusable launch vehicles on methane and liquid oxygen, which should be ready by 2035.

China’s government last year signaled approval for the continued development of a super heavy-lift launcher, known as the Long March 9. The long-planned, expendable launcher is planned to be operational by 2030. 


An artistic image of TRAPPIST-1e, a potentially habitable Earth–sized planet orbiting a red dwarf 40 light-years away. Authors and rights: NASA

TRAPPIST-1. Planets capable of sustaining life (article)

The most interesting features of the TRAPPIST-1 system is the planets that are as similar to Earth as possible. They are comparable to our own planets by size and they potentially might cherish life. There are three of them: TRAPPIST-1d, TRAPPIST-1e and TRAPPIST-1f. Each of them is terrestrial in its own way, and scientists have their own questions for each.

Scientists found out why the inner region of the Solar system rotates so slowly

The inner solar system spins much more slowly than the laws of modern physics predict. According to a new study, the movement of a few charged particles may solve the long-standing mystery of the relatively thin gas disks orbiting young stars. We are talking about features called accretion disks. They existed for tens of millions of years in the early phase of the evolution of the solar system. They contain a small fraction of the mass of the star they orbit — imagine a ring like Saturn’s, the size of the solar system. They are called accretion disks because their gas slowly spirals towards the star.

Read also: SpaceX to launch the USD 255 million Roman Space telescope into orbit, and the US military has completed tests of a hypersonic aircraft rocket: News Digest

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