NSS Phoenix Space News

February 2010

Posted by drdave on August 6, 2010

28 February 2010

  • A faulty valve has delayed the launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) spacecraft until Wednesday, 3 March 2010, during an hour-long window that will open at 6:18 p.m.
  • Mark Sykes, director of Tucson’s Planetary Science Institute and an investigator on NASA’S Dawn Mission to Ceres and Vesta (protoplanets in Pluto’s neighborhood in the far reaches of the solar system) takes part in a NOVA episode on PBS with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the status of Pluto. Ten years ago, Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, decided to demote Pluto from its status as a planet.

27 February 2010

  • Yesterday, SpaceX engineers loaded 75,000 gallons of propellant aboard the Falcon 9 during a simulated countdown. Friday’s countdown wet dress rehearsal was “the smoothest test we have conducted to date,” said Tim Buzza, the Falcon 9 launch director.
  • NASA plans to transform the Italian built Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) known as “Leonardo” into a Permanent Multipurpose Module . The supply-laden PMM will be flown aboard shuttle Discovery during the STS-133 mission in September and attached to the station. The added space within the PMM will enable efficient positioning of experiments throughout the station complex. Inside the PMM, experiments in fluid physics, materials science, biology, biotechnology and other microgravity experiments may be conducted.

26 February 2010

  • The X37B, a secretive Air Force orbital space plane project, arrived at Cape Canaveral Friday, according to Air Force sources. It is schedule for launch aboard and Atlas V on 19 April 2010.
  • The GOES-P meteorological satellite completed its Flight Readiness Review yesterday. The satellite is scheduled for launch on a Delta IV rocket on March 2.

25 February 2010

  • Attacks by Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana on Deputy Administrator Lori Garver have produced fireworks. Sources on the Hill blame rocket maker ATK, the developer of the Ares I rocket first stage, for putting Vitter up to the attack.
  • The New Scientist reviews NASA Administrator Bolden’s commitment to produce a road map to Mars.

24 February 2010

  • Charles Bolden told skeptics in Congress that “If you gave me an infinite pot of money, I could not get a human to Mars in the next ten years, because there are some things we just don’t know.”
  • Space News discusses the organizational overhaul of NASA by Administrator Charles Bolden.

23 February 2010

22 February 2010

21 February 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour is undergoing routine system checks in preparation for its return to Earth tonight.

20 February 2010

  • Endeavour undocked just before 8 PM EST Saturday for the two-day trip back to Earth. The shuttle’s six-astronaut crew spent nine days at the station, where they attached the new Tranquility module and a seven-window space observation deck.
  • SpaceX hoisted the first Falcon 9 rocket atop the Complex 40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral today. After emerging from the hangar Friday, the 15-story rocket was rotated vertical around midday.

19 February 2010

  • Endeavour is preparing to undock prior to a return Sunday night.
  • CryoSat 2, built to monitor trends in polar ice, was supposed to launch Feb. 25 on a converted Ukrainian SS-18 ballistic missile from an underground silo at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will be grounded for up to a week because of an issue with the steering system on its Dnepr launcher.
  • The Stardust spacecraft fired its thrusters Wednesday to tweak its planned 2011 arrival at the Comet Tempel 1. NASA intentionally slammed its Deep Impact probe into Comet Tempel 1 in 2005 just to see what it was made of. Stardust is slated to swing by Comet Tempel 1 on Feb. 14, 2011 (Valentine’s Day), just under a year from now, to see how it has changed since the Deep Impact mission. Stardust’s mission was originally aimed at collecting samples of a different comet, called Wild 2 (pronounced “Vilt 2”). It successfully made that rendezvous in 2004 and sent its sample canister containing the comet bits back to Earth in 2006.

18 February 2010

  • Some of the oldest, and purest, stars in the Universe have been discovered by astronomers working with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory.
  • In 2007, Australian National University (ANU) astronomer Donna Burton became the first Australian woman to discover a comet, naming it “Siding Spring” after the NSW observatory where she worked. Now, NASA’s WISE observatory has sent back a beautifully detailed image.

17 February 2010

  • The Italian Observation Deck is open for business.
  • NASA has announced that the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-131 launch date has been set for 5 April 2010. Discovery will deliver a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks to be transferred to laboratories on the International Space Station. The mission will feature three spacewalks.

16 February 2010

  • Discovery.com highlights a new Cassini image of Mimas, the moon of Saturn that looks like “The Death Star” from Star Wars.
  • Speed Kills – The New Scientist throws cold water on the Star Trek warp drive. To a starship approaching the speed of light, the thin hydrogen gas in interstellar space hitting the starship would mean the crew would be standing in front of a proton beam as intense as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
  • NASA’s WISE observatory spots a new comet.

15 February 2010

  • Scientific American reports on new research on the 1969 Murchison meteorite. Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin and his colleagues found more than 14,000 unique molecular compositions, or collections of atoms, in the samples; there may be 50,000 or more such compositions in the meteorite.
  • The Planetary Society has Buzz Aldrin and Andrew Chaikin discussing the new NASA Budget.
  • The Cupola gets bolted on to the Tranquility module.

14 February 2010

  • Tonight’s planned relocation of the International Space Station’s Cupola, the new, dome-shaped observation deck may be delayed by at least a day because of concerns about its fit on a berthing port.
  • British-born astronaut Nicholas Patrick has taken part in a spacewalk to provide a cooling system for the newest room on board the International Space Station. Patrick was hit by a small amount of ammonia after undoing a connection, but none of the toxic substance stuck to his suit. The spacewalk ended slightly early as a result, so he and Robert Behnken could go through safety checks.

13 February 2010

  • Astronauts of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and ISS opened the hatches between Node-1 and Node-3 (Tranquility – built by the European Space Agency) at 03:17 CET (02:17 GMT) this morning and entered their new module. For the moment, the module remains passive, with temporary lighting and ventilation, while it is prepared for the relocation of the Cupola window module.
  • Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick continued outfitting operations of the Node 3 “Tranquillity” module during the mission’s second EVA (Spacewalk), which including a bit of drama via a small ammonia leak during one of Patrick’s tasks.

12 February 2010

  • Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick (EV-1 and EV-2, respectively) completed one of the final spacewalks dedicated to the construction efforts of the ISS – with the installation of the newly mated Node 3 conducted in tandem with the productive EVA.
  • International Launch Services (ILS) successfully carried the Intelsat 16 satellite to orbit for Intelsat S.A. on an ILS Proton. The ILS Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 6:39 a.m. local time (7:39 p.m. EST, 00:39 GMT). After a 9 hour 34 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the Intelsat 16 satellite into a near geostationary orbit. The spacecraft then utilized its on board fuel to maneuver to its geostationary orbit location at 58 degrees West Longitude.

11 February 2010

10 February 2010

  • The launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory was scrubbed due to high winds. It is rescheduled for tomorrow, and conditions should be much calmer, although colder.
  • Discovery.com discusses the possible existence of liquid water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
  • Late Tuesday night, the Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station.

9 February 2010

  • The New York Times Opinion Page describes the Constellation program as “begun by former President George W. Bush, … behind schedule and its technology increasingly outdated.” It continues, “If done right, the president’s strategy could pay off handsomely. If not, it could be the start of a long, slow decline from the nation’s pre-eminent position as a space-faring power. “
  • This week, Astronomy & Astrophysics publishes new 3D maps of the interstellar gas situated in an area 300 parsecs around the Sun.

8 February 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour was successfully launched early this morning.
  • Wayne Hale’s blog reminds us these words from James Michener’s “Space”:
    “‘An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.'”
  • Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station at 10:09 PM Phoenix time on Tuesday, 9 February (12:09 AM EST Wednesday) over the northern coast of Spain.

7 February 2010

  • The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) launch aboard an Atlas V 401 has been pushed back to 10 February due to the scrub of the Endeavour early this morning.
  • Managers officially have scheduled space shuttle Endeavour’s next launch attempt for Monday, 8 February, at 2:14 AM Phoenix time (4:14 AM EST).

6 February 2010

  • Sunday Crew ingress is scheduled for 1:19 AM EST. Launch is scheduled for Sunday at 2:39 AM Phoenix time (4:39 AM EST). Weather is 80 percent Go for Launch, primary concern is high winds at Pad-A.”

5 February 2010

  • A Progress M-04M cargo carrier delivered over 2.5 tons of food and water supplies, fuel and scientific equipment to the International Space Station late Thursday night. A Soyuz-U carrier rocket carrying the Progress freighter lifted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan at 06:45 Moscow time (03:45 GMT) on Wednesday.
  • Aviation Week discusses the NASA budget.
  • Astronaut Leroy Chiao writes about Commercial Human Spaceflight on Discovery.com.

4 February 2010

  • New maps of Pluto from Hubble images reflect rapid changes in Pluto’s surface. “It’s a surprise that we’ve seen this much change, this fast,” said astronomer Marc Buie.
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) has a new article on the formation of massive spiral galaxies.
  • Most of the spiral galaxies that decorate our universe have emerged from surprisingly violent pasts, says a new study. They grew their delicate spiral arms after being mashed into a pulp by vast collisions.

3 February 2010

  • JPL scientists reported on a new technique used with a relatively small Earth-based telescope to identify an organic molecule in the atmosphere of a Jupiter-size planet nearly 63 light-years away.
  • NASA prepares to launch STS-130.
  • Anybody who likes, loves, devotes their lives to the American Space Program should read Wayne Hale’s blog from time to time.

2 February 2010

1 February 2010

  • The NASA Budget presentation is now scheduled for 10:30 AM Phoenix time this morning (12:30 EST) at http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio. This is a change from the previously announced 1:00 PM Phoenix (3:00 PM EST)
  • Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will participate with Dr. Holdren in a briefing by the Office of Science and Technology Policy about the federal government’s 2011 research and development budget. The briefing will take place at 11:00 AM Phoenix (1:00 PM EST), Monday, Feb. 1 in the auditorium of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The association is located at 1200 New York Avenue, NW, with an entrance at 12th St. and H St. NW.
  • On Tuesday, Administrator Bolden, Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will introduce new commercial space pioneers, launching a game-changing way of developing technology to send humans to space. The announcement will take place at 8:00 AM Phoenix (10:00 AM EST) in the National Press Club’s ballroom, located at 529 14th Street NW in Washington.
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