Posted by drdave on October 1, 2010
31 October 2010
- China has launched the sixth satellite in their growing navigation system on Sunday, via the launch of their Long March 3C (Chang Zheng-3C) launch vehicle, carrying the BeiDou-2 Compass-G4 satellite. The launch of took place from the Xi Chang Satellite Launch Center, in Sichuan Province at 16:26UTC on October 31.
30 October 2010
- The launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-133) has been pushed back to 1:52 pm Phoenix time (1952 UTC) on Wednesday, with a 70-percent chance of acceptable weather.
- The Eutelsat W3B communications satellite launched Thursday evening fell victim to a significant propellant leak shortly after separating from its Ariane 5 rocket, prompting the company to declare the five-ton spacecraft a total loss.
29 October 2010
- Virgin Galactic’s six-passenger spaceship has performed a second glide test after being dropped from its mothership over the Mojave Desert. Builder Scaled Composites LLC says on its website that the latest flight of SpaceShipTwo was conducted Thursday and all objectives were met.
- Exactly one week before the world gets a new look at comet Hartley 2 via NASA’s EPOXI mission, observations of the comet by the Arecibo Planetary Radar in Puerto Rico have offered scientists a tantalizing preview. “It kind of looks like a cross between a bowling pin and a pickle,” said EPOXI project manager Tim Larson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Only it’s about 14-thousand-times larger and hurtling through space at 23 miles per second.”
28 October 2010
- On Thursday, October 28, Arianespace orbited two communications satellites: W3B for the European operator Eutelsat, and BSAT-3b for the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), as part of a turnkey contract with Japanese operator Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT).
- A study on the environmental impacts of space tourism suggests that a surge in private access to space could speed global warming. Led by Martin Ross, an atmospheric scientist at the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, it shows that sooty emissions from 1,000 rocket launches per year would add as much to climate change as current emissions from the global aviation industry. It has been accepted for publication by Geophysical Research Letters.
27 October 2010
- A Russian Progress resupply vehicle has been launched to the International Space Station (ISS) Wednesday, bringing with it fresh supplies for the Expedition 25 crew ahead of STS-133/ULF-5 next week.
26 October 2010
- SYDNEY: After a three-year search for the lost Apollo 11 tapes and an exhaustive six-year restoration project, digitally remastered footage of the historic Moonwalk is almost complete.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing to make the Cryosat spacecraft operational. Since its launch in April, engineers and scientists have been hard at work to ensure the CryoSat Earth Explorer mission is in working order with everything properly tuned.
- Virgin Galactic plans to join the growing list of companies vying to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and is considering options for competing in the agency’s upcoming Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) follow-on program.
25 October 2010
- Space shuttle Discovery has new seals and is no longer leaking. It also has an official launch date. NASA’s senior managers met Monday and set Discovery’s last liftoff for next Monday. Launch time is 4:40 p.m.
- The Progress M-05M cargo spacecraft will be undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, and “buried” at a “spaceship cemetery” in the southern Pacific in mid-November. A new Progress M-08M cargo ship will be launched from the Baikonur space center on October 27.
24 October 2010
- SpaceX has pushed back the target date for its first NASA demonstration flight of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to Nov. 18.
23 October 2010
- Planetary geologists have spotted a lava flow on Venus they say is just decades old. If confirmed, it would be the youngest evidence for volcanism on Venus.
22 October 2010
- The two mile runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico was dedicated Friday, 22 October 2010. One of the highlights of the celebration was the flyover and landing of Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two carrying the rocket plane Space Ship Two, named Enterprise by Virgin Galactic.
- The launch of the manned spaceship Soyuz TMA-20 with the next International Space Station (ISS) crew will be postponed from December 13 to December 15, the head of the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said on Friday.
21 October 2010
- Concerning Comet 103P/Hartley: “On Earth, cyanide is known as a deadly gas. In space it’s known as one of the most easily observed ingredients that is always present in a comet,” said Mike A’Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park. A’Hearn is principal of EPOXI, an extended mission that utilizes the already “in flight” Deep Impact spacecraft. “Our observations indicate that cyanide released by the comet increased by a factor of five over an eight-day period in September without any increase in dust emissions,” A’Hearn said. “We have never seen this kind of activity in a comet before, and it could affect the quality of observations made by astronomers on the ground.”
- NASA today awarded United Launch Alliance a $187 million contract for the planned November 2013 launch of a Mars orbiter from Cape Canaveral. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, or MAVEN, will launch atop ULA’s Atlas V rocket.
- A tiny galaxy from the depths of cosmic space and time has become the most distant astronomical object known. At a distance of 13.071 billion light-years, the galaxy is so remote that the light now reaching Earth left the starlit body less than 600 million years after the Big Bang.
20 October 2010
- The seals on a leaky fuel line flange in Discovery’s Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) will be replaced, without an immediate affect on the scheduled Nov. 1 liftoff, NASA managers decided Oct. 19.
19 October 2010
- An Arianespace Soyuz 2-1A launch vehicle has lofted six Globalstar 2 mobile phone and data satellites into orbit on Tuesday.
- Responding to unexplained damage to a piece of the next Soyuz spacecraft, the Russian builder of the capsule has shipped a replacement descent module to Kazakhstan for preparations to launch the next three-person crew to the International Space Station in December.
18 October 2010
- This is the 80th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto.
- Discovery’s IPR-47 (Interim Problem Report) has become a potential schedule concern, after the replacement of a flight cap failed to stop a vapor leak in the orbiter’s aft. The leak is now believed to be in the crossfeed flange area, with the forward plan requiring the draining of the left and right Orbiter Maneuvering System (OMS) tanks and a unique in-situ repair at the pad. If repairs fail, rollback to the VAB is a threat.
17 October 2010
- Endeavour’s final mission will be officially extended next week, when mission managers approve a Change Request (CR) to add a fourth EVA and a subsequent increase of the mission duration by two days. Originally a 12+1 mission, Endeavour is being tasked with the delivery of the AMS-02 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02) to the International Space Station (ISS) on February 26.
16 October 2010
- The annual Orionid meteor shower will peak before sunrise on 21 October 2010. The meteors will be seen to fan out from a region to the north of the Orion constellation’s second brightest star, ruddy Betelgeuse.
15 October 2010
- NASA announced that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has passed another development test. “Using flight-like sunshield membranes, the tests are designed to mimic the rapid change in air pressure the folded sunshield will experience the first minutes of launch. Several different folding configurations each underwent a series of 90-second depressurization tests and proved that the stowed sunshield will retain its shape during launch and allow trapped air to escape safely, both critical to sunshield deployment and performance.”
- A new spacecraft to broadcast music, news and variety programming for Sirius XM Radio blasted off at 1853 GMT (2:53 p.m. EDT) Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will take more than nine hours for the Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage to reach the planned orbit.
14 October 2010
- ESA’s comet chaser Rosetta has cleared up the mystery about the comet / asteroid/ debris trail imaged by Hubble in January of 2010. See the nssphoenix Part – II
13 October 2010
- Astronomers using the South Pole Telescope report that they have discovered the most massive galaxy cluster yet seen at a distance of 7 billion light-years. The cluster (designated SPT-CL J0546-5345) weighs in at around 800 trillion Suns, and holds hundreds of galaxies.
12 October 2010
- Discovery Magazine muses on the possibility of life on the newly discovered Earth-like planet circling Gliese 581.
11 October 2010
- The Guardian has an excellent article on the progress of comet 103p / Hartley 2 across the night sky for the next two weeks, including a very good chart.
- NASA announced this afternoon that an asteroid will pass between the Earth and the Moon tomorrow, Tuesday 12 October 2010. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will have its closest approach to Earth’s surface at an altitude of about 45,000 kilometers (27,960 miles) at 3:50 AM Phoenix time. At that time, the asteroid will be over southeastern Asia in the vicinity of Singapore. Estimates are that at least one asteroid in the 5 to 10 meter range passes between the Earth and the Moon every day. Its crowded out there.
10 October 2010
- Soyuz TMA-01M has docked with the International Space Station (ISS) – at 00:01 GMT on Sunday – following a two-day free flight, returning the population of the ISS to six people.
- Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Makes First Glide Flight. See the NSS Blog.
9 October 2010
- After nine years of scanning the sky, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) space mission has concluded its observations of the cosmic microwave background, the oldest light in the universe.
- Black widow pulsar is fattest collapsed star yet
8 October 2010
- China’s second lunar probe completes second braking
- The top 100 images from the European Southern Observatory.
7 October 2010
- Russia successfully launched their upgraded manned Soyuz spacecraft (TMA-M) this afternoon (4:10 PM Phoenix time – 5:10 AM 8 October Baikonur time).
- Solar Dynamics Observatory caught this fine spun solar flare.
6 October 2010
- China successfully placed two “Shijian VI-04” environmental research satellites in orbit to investigate space environment and radiation. The satellites were launched from China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province.
5 October 2010
- Rita Schulz of the European Space Agency commented yesterday on the dust covering the asteroid Lutetia. Scientists have calculated that there is at least 600 meters of dust covering Lutetia. Schulz made her comments at a conference organized by the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences.
- NASA has given a green light for development of a 2013 Mars orbiter mission to investigate the mystery of how Mars lost much of its atmosphere: the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (Maven) mission.
- Astronaut Buzz Aldrin continued to speak out about his support for the new NASA course proposed by the administration. This time at the Australian Geographic Society Awards on Wednesday in Sydney, Australia.
4 October 2010
- Wired News notes that, “After less than a year of sending us stunning infrared views, NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer ran out of the frozen hydrogen that kept it cool enough to peer through the dusty clouds of deep space. WISE is far from finished, however. NASA announced in a press release Oct. 4 that two out of four of the orbiting observatory’s detectors still work, even at warmer temperatures.
3 October 2010
- China announced that its Chang’e 2 spacecraft had completed its first mid-course correction on the way lunar orbit. The primary mission is to send back high-resolution photos of the Bay of Rainbows in preparation for the landing of the Chang’e 3 mission.
2 October 2010
- Nasa has released an image of Saturn’s moon Enceladus spewing water ice from four vents at the south pole.
1 October 2010
- A robotic spacecraft bound for lunar orbit blasted off from China on Friday, beginning the next phase of that country’s program to explore the moon with unmanned probes.