MUSES Facility Enables Investigation Opportunities For Future Users

ISS – International Space Station logo.

June 25, 2017

Artist’s view of MUSES Facility on ISS. Image Credit: NASA

The Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES) will inspire and enable numerous branches of research and science through its ability to support many different kinds of investigations and hardware aboard the International Space Station. Providing a platform for payloads such as high-resolution digital cameras and hyperspectral imagers, MUSES provides precision pointing and other accommodations for various kinds of research and science.

Orbiting approximately 250 miles above the Earth, the MUSES platform offers researchers a unique vantage point from the outside of the station for tasks like Earth observation, disaster response, maritime domain awareness, agricultural/land use applications, food security, air quality, oil and gas exploration, mining, atmospheric investigations, and fire detection.

Image above: The first investigation to be hosted aboard the MUSES platform will be the DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) (shown above attached to the MUSES platform in a digital mock-up), on Expeditions 51/52 and 53/54. Image Credit: Teledyne Brown Engineering.

“The space station’s path is ideal for Earth science,” said Paul Galloway, the project’s manager and lead systems engineer. “The repeated exposure to the Earth’s land masses gives you a good revisit time for target areas. MUSES’ ability to point and track ground targets also enhances the revisit opportunities and viewing angles.”

The space station’s orbit cover’s 90% of the Earth’s inhabited surfaces and allows for both day and nighttime passes, allowing a variety of observation and data collection times.

MUSES will provide Earth imagery data to NASA’s SERVIR team to provide disaster response information to aid in the team’s humanitarian missions, improving environmental decision-making among developing nations. The MUSES payload data can be used in response to disasters world-wide.

Image above: The MUSES platform accommodates up to four instruments simultaneously. Each instrument can be installed and removed robotically by the ISS robotic arm operators on the ground. Image Credit: Teledyne Brown Engineering.

Instruments flying aboard the platform will be able to detect phenomenon like flooding, coastal erosion, water pollution, red tide, and landslides. Space-based imagery is one of many tools used in the disaster response decision-making process.

The MUSES platform is a U.S. National Laboratory sponsored pointing system and can accommodate up to four instruments at a time. Each instrument can be installed and removed robotically. These payloads can be operated simultaneously, triggering a system that can communicate with all the systems aboard the space station and store and transmit large amounts of data back to the ground.  The system will be operated from the Teledyne Operations Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Developed in a cooperative agreement between Teledyne Brown Engineering and NASA, MUSES will provide many commercial companies the opportunity to conduct their science and research in space.

Image above: The MUSES platform includes a Star Tracker and Miniature Inertial Measurement Unit which are used to generate precise pointing knowledge information to be used by the hosted payloads. MUSES also uses the ISS External Wireless Communications system for image data transfer via custom built electronics and a NASA-provided antenna. Image Credit: Teledyne Brown Engineering.

MUSES provides low-cost access to space for instrument developers.  MUSES and the ability to return payloads from the space station to Earth provides an excellent platform for technology demonstration and the space qualification of hardware.

 “Unlike the Earth views from ISS’s internal viewing windows which are somewhat limited by surrounding structure, the view to the Earth from the ISS truss is essentially unobstructed,” said Galloway

The first investigation to be hosted aboard the MUSES platform will be the DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS), on Expeditions 51/52 and 53/54, and is planned for launch later this year. DESIS is a hyperspectral imager operating in the 400-1000 nanometer spectral range. “The German Space Agency, DLR, will use the DESIS imagery for scientific purposes.  Teledyne Brown Engineering will use the imagery for commercial purposes,” according to Galloway.

“MUSES was designed to interface with every possible data network on ISS and take maximum utilization of the downlink capability from ISS to ground to achieve our goal of getting large amounts of image and scientific data down from these instruments,” said Galloway.  

For more information about the science happening aboard the orbiting laboratory, follow

Related links:

Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES):


U.S. National Laboratory:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Kristine Rainey/JSC/Jenny Howard.


Soyuz 2-1v conducts secret military launch


June 24, 2017

On June 23, 2017 Russia undertook a low-key launch of a Soyuz-2-1v rocket with a military payload. The launch, out of the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia, took place at 21:04 local time (18:04 UTC).

Image (above) archive of Soyuz 2-1v rocket during second successful flight. Image Credit:  Russian Ministry of Defense.

A Russian Soyuz 2-1v rocket launches a payload designated 14F150. Details on the payload’s mission are unavailable.

For reading very informative article from my friend Anatoly Zak, visit:

Soyuz-2-1v launches a secret satellite

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: Aerospace/Roland Berga.


The future of the LHC takes shape

CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

June 23, 2017

While the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is at the start of a new season of data taking, scientists and engineers around the world are already looking ahead, and working hard to develop its upgrade, the High-Luminosity LHC. This upgrade is planned to start operation in 2026, when it will increase the number of collisions by a factor of five to ten. Physicists will be able to take full advantage of this increased number of collisions to study the phenomena discovered at the LHC in greater detail.

This major upgrade to the machine requires installation of new equipment in 1.2 kilometres of the 27km-long-accelerator. Among the key components that will be installed are a set of new magnets: around 100 magnets of 11 new types are being developed.

Image above: View of a short-model magnet for the High Luminosity LHC quadrupole. (Image: Robert Hradil, Monika Majer/

More powerful superconducting quadrupole magnets will be installed at each side of the ATLAS and CMS detectors. Their purpose is to squeeze the particles closer, increasing the probability of collisions at the centre of the two experiments. These focusing magnets will exploit an innovative superconducting technology, based on the niobium-tin compound, which makes the quadrupoles’ magnetic field far greater, 50% higher than current LHC superconducting magnets based on niobium-titanium.

The magnets are now in the prototype phase – shorter models, on which tests are run to assess the stability of the design and the mechanical structure. Last year, two 1.5 metre-long short model quadrupoles were tested at CERN and at Fermilab, in the US. A third short model will soon be tested at CERN.

The LHC’s future, part 1: The High-Luminosity quadrupole magnet

(Video: Noemi Caraban Gonzalez/CERN)

In January 2017, a full-length 4.5 metre-long coil – a world record-breaking length, for that kind of magnet – has been tested at the US Brookhaven National Laboratory and reached the nominal field value of 13.4 T. Meanwhile at CERN, winding the 7.15-metre-long coils for the final magnets has already begun.

The new magnets are being developed through a collaboration between CERN and the LHC-AUP (LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project) consortium, which involves three US laboratories.

This article is an excerpt from a feature article published here:


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

High-Luminosity LHC:



Large Hadron Collider:

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Image (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Corinne Pralavorio/written by Stefania Pandolfi.

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