NSS Phoenix Space News

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June 2010

Posted by drdave on August 6, 2010

30 June 2010

  • John M Logsdon argues that Obama’s budget for NASA is attempting to finally end the Apollo Era and move us into a sustainable 21st century space program.
  • The Mollohan opening statement (pdf) to the 2011 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations, Subcommittee Bill covering NASA’s FY 2011 budget contains this note: “The program of record is fiscally unsustainable and will not serve the purpose of preserving this Nation’s leadership role in space exploration”. All this comes amidst criticism of President Obama’s attempt to redirect our National Space Policy.

29 June 2010

  • NASA is seeking an innovative path for human space exploration that strengthens its capability to extend human and robotic presence throughout the solar system. The information also may help lay the groundwork for humans to safely reach multiple potential destinations, including asteroids, Lagrange points, the moon and Mars. The total funding available under this announcement is approximately $8 million; maximum individual contract award is $625,000. The deadline for submitting proposals is July 29, 2010.

28 June 2010

27 June 2010

  • At 3:03 PM Phoenix time today, the Deep Impact spacecraft will pass 18,890 miles above the South Atlantic with a relative speed of 12,750 mph. The fly-by will be the final adjustment to the EPOXI (Deep Impact Extended Investigation) on its way to comet Hartley 2. On 4 July 2005, it sent an instrumented smart bomb into Comet Tempel 1, excavating the ancient materials buried inside the nucleus for scientists to examine.

26 June 2010

  • Third Time’s the Charm for Ariane V / Arabsat-5A and COMS launch.
  • The COMS satellite represents Korea’s first Geo Stationary Orbit (GSO) satellite.

25 June 2010

  • The Asia Sentinal reports that Hayabasa’s return capsule had arrived at JAXA’s laboratory in Kanagawa prefecture. Preliminary X-rays of the insides were not optimistic that it had collected enough asteroid material for serious analysis. Scientists did measure a small amount of gas inside the cylinder.

24 June 2010

23 June 2010

  • The BBC reports that JAXA has begun opening the return capsule from Hayabusa.
  • A pressure anomaly in the first stage of ESA’s Ariane V rocket scrubbed the Arabsat 5A and COMS launch 17 seconds before ignition.

22 June 2010

  • From Spaceflight Now.com: NASA managers Tuesday asked shuttle engineers to assess retargeting the final two space shuttle missions, moving launch of a mid-September flight with Discovery to Oct. 29 and a late November flight by Endeavour to Feb. 28. The changes would give engineers more time to optimize payloads bound for the International Space Station and avoid launch conflicts with other flights to the lab complex.
  • A new sentry is on guard atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, scanning the skies for potentially threatening asteroids and comets.

21 June 2010

  • Russia’s RS-20B rocketlaunched Germany’s TanDEM-X satellite, designed to generate a consistent, highly-accurate global digital elevation model.
  • The latest information on viewing Comet McNaught.

20 June 2010

  • The Hayabusa return capsule arrived in Japan.

19 June 2010

18 June 2010

17 June 2010

  • The Russian Soyuz TMA-19 successfully docked with the International Space Station at 22:21 UTC, 222 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina.
  • The space capsule from the Hayabusa mission has left Australia and begun its journey to Japan.

16 June 2010

  • Following on the heels of the successful launch of the Falcon-9 last week, Space-X has captured the lion’s share of the Iridium launch services market. Space-X has inked a $492 million deal to launch a new fleet of Iridium mobile communications satellites beginning in 2015.
  • Processing of Discovery (STS-133) proceeds as expected. Installation of the three SSMEs took around two days, starting with Engine 1, followed by Engine 3 and Engine 2. Other processing also took place at the same time as engineers worked on Discovery’s aft. The repair of the RH (Right Hand OMS) pod continues on schedule at the HMF (Hypergolic Maintenance Facility).

15 June 2010

  • Russia launched their Soyuz-FG rocket with three astronauts aboard heading for the International Space Station.
  • A Dnepr rocket carried three satellites into orbit: The French Picard satellite and the Swedish satellites Tango and Mango.

14 June 2010

  • JAXA has recovered the Hayabusa re-entry capsule and found both the front and back shells from the heat shield.
  • China successfully launched their Shijian 12 research satellite.

13 June 2010

  • The re-entry capsule from Hayabusa returned safely to Earth near Woomera, Australia on time and on target. The fireball was spectacular.
  • The roll-out of the Russian Soyuz rocket and manned space capsule has begun at the Baikonur space center in central Kazakhstan. Soyuz is scheduled for launch at 14:35 Phoenix time, Tuesday, 15 June.

12 June 2010

  • The re-entry capsule from the Hayabusa spacecraft is due back on 13 June at 6:51 AM Phoenix time (13:51 (UTC), creating a fireball over Western Australia.

11 June 2010

  • The UK Space Agency is announcing £10.5M for the development of instruments to search for signs of past or present life on Mars. The instruments are part of the scientific payload on the ExoMars rover to be launched in 2018 as part of a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and US space agency NASA.
  • Science Online Abstract: Oort cloud comets are currently believed to have formed in the Sun’s protoplanetary disk and to have been ejected to large heliocentric orbits by the giant planets. Detailed models of this process fail to reproduce all of the available observational constraints, however. In particular, the Oort cloud appears to be substantially more populous than the models predict. Here, we present numerical simulations that show that the Sun captured comets from other stars while it was in its birth cluster. Our results imply that a substantial fraction of the Oort cloud comets, perhaps exceeding 90%, are from the protoplanetary disks of other stars.
  • From JAXA: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) began to deploy the solar sail of the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” on June 3 (Japan Standard Time). On June 10 (JST,) we have confirmed that it was successfully expanded and was generating power through its thin film solar cells at about 770 km from the Earth.

10 June 2010

  • The Korea Space Launch Vehicle, or KSLV 1, blasted off from the Naro Space Center at 0801 GMT (4:01 a.m. EDT), and apparently exploded 137 seconds later.
  • NASA has dispatched a jet filled with scientists to Australia ahead of the long-awaited return of a Japanese asteroid probe, which began its final approach to Earth Wednesday.

9 June 2010

  • South Korea launched its satellite.
  • A NASA flying observatory has left California on a mission to track a Japanese asteroid-sampling spacecraft as it returns to Earth on a course for Australia.
    NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center says its DC-8 airborne lab left Palmdale Tuesday evening, carrying scientists from the U.S. and Japanese space agencies and other organizations. The group will study the meteor-like plunge of the Hayabusa spacecraft, which visited the asteroid Itokawa during a seven-year mission and is carrying a capsule that may contain a sample from the space rock.
  • Japan deploys the IKAROS Solar Sail.

8 June 2010

  • STS-135 is being considered for June of 2011.
  • The C/2009 R1 comet is nearing the Earth and will be visible in the Northern hemisphere with a naked eye in mid-June, NASA said on its website.

7 June 2010

  • Reaction to the successful flight of the Falcon-9.

6 June 2010

  • UFO nuts had a field day in Australia when the second stage of the Falcon rocket passed overhead at dawn 60 minutes after launch. Watch the video.
  • Orion’s role of transporting US astronauts into space has been reduced to little more than an assumption it may one day be involved in human space exploration, after contractor Lockheed Martin effectively washed its hands of the project due to fears relating to termination liability.
  • From the Alamogordo News: On June 1, 1921, Goddard performed an early experiment with liquid fuel, said the Web site astronautix.com. It was, the Web site history.nasa.gov said, one of many such tests from 1920-22, with Goddard experimenting with “liquid oxygen and various liquid hydrocarbons, including gasoline and liquid propane, as well as ether, as rocket fuel.”

5 June 2010

  • The Hylas communications satellite has completed thermal-vacuum testing in Bangalore, India. Final testing is underway, and the spacecraft will be shipped to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in August. Hyals will target the high demand for broadband services in Europe that cannot be met by terrestrial networks. It will provide capacity to serve hundreds of thousands of Internet users and broadcast up to 30 standard or 15 high-definition TV channels.
  • Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that’s new to human history. Many technologies of the 21st century are vulnerable to solar storms, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity.

4 June 2010

  • Space-X successfully launched their first Falcon-9. The first stage performed nominally. A bonus was the separation and operation of the second stage, which placed a boilerplate Dragon spacecraft in orbit.
  • SpaceX is set to attempt the initial launch of the Falcon 9 beginning at 8:00 AM Phoenix time this morning.

3 June 2010

  • International Launch Systems (ILS) launched the BADR-5 (Arabsat-5) Communications satellite aboard a Proton-M rocket.
  • A mineral-scouting instrument developed at ASU’s Mars Space Flight Facility has found an outcrop of rock rich in carbonate minerals in the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater on Mars, according to a report published online June 3 in the journal Science.
  • SpaceX ‘Go’ for Falcon 9 Launch Attempt

2 June 2010

  • A full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope was built by the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman, to provide a better understanding of the size, scale and complexity of this satellite. The model is constructed mainly of aluminum and steel, weighs 12,000 lb., and is approximately 80 feet long, 40 feet wide and 40 feet tall. This Flickr set shows the construction of the full-scale model at Battery Park, NYC for the World Science Festival, May 30, 2010.
  • China launched a new navigation satellite on Wednesday, using a CZ-3C Chang Zheng-3C (CZ3C-4/Y4) launch vehicle from the Xi Chang satellite Launch Center, in Sichuan Province.
  • Astronauts land safely in Kazakhstan after mission.

1 June 2010

  • In a truly transformative event, physicists have for the first time found direct evidence that a neutrino, a ghostly elementary particle that barely interacts with matter, morphs from one type into another.
  • The Russian Soyuz spacecraft TMA-17 undocked from the International Space Station late Tuesday and is headed back to Earth with three veteran spaceflyers eager to return home after nearly six months in orbit.
  • More news and comments on VASIMR. Can it result in a 39 day trip to Mars?
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May 2010

Posted by drdave on August 6, 2010

31 May 2010

  • Japan’s asteroid visiting, highly crippled, out of fuel spacecraft Hayabusa is on track for landing in two weeks. Launched from Japan in 2003, Hayabusa spent three months exploring asteroid Itokawa in late 2005.
  • With manifest meetings set to take place in the next couple of weeks, Discovery continues to be deep in processing for her upcoming STS-133 mission. Program managers are working on confirming a mission extension by three days – with two EVAs added. Processing on Discovery is now concentrating on the repair of the helium valve. The entire Right Hand OMS (Orbital Maneuvering System) Pod will soon to be demated from Discovery for repairs at the Hypergolic Maintenance Facility (HMF).

30 May 2010

29 May 2010

  • NASA’s Deep Impact/Epoxi spacecraft has successfully performed a trajectory correction maneuver to refine its orbit prior to an upcoming Earth flyby June 27. The maneuver, along with the Earth flyby, will place the spacecraft on a trajectory to fly past comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4.
  • The first flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is now being targeted for launch no earlier than Friday, 4 June 2010. The window for the test flight, which had been slated for Wednesday or Thursday, remains 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

28 May 2010

  • The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aboard a Boeing 747 has snapped its first in-flight images of the night sky.
  • Scientists at NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have determined that a small object that safely passed Earth on May 21 is more than likely an upper-stage of a rocket that carried a spacecraft on an interplanetary trajectory.

27 May 2010

  • The oft postponed launch of the GPS IIF SV-1 satellite finally got off the ground. Following several scrubbed attempts, the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV launched from Cape Canaveral at the start of a 19 minute window that had opened at 11pm Eastern.
  • NASA engineers have fully revived the far-flung Voyager 2 probe on the edge of the solar system after fixing a computer glitch that scrambled its messages home for nearly three weeks.
  • A sleek aircraft called the X-51A WaveRider has set the record for the longest hypersonic flight using an air-breathing “scramjet” engine. The engine operated for about 150 seconds

26 May 2010

  • Shuttle Atlantis managed to dodge unacceptable weather at the Kennedy Space Center, landing gracefully during the first of the two opportunities.
  • Masten Space Re-Lights Rocket Engine in Flight. Xombie, Masten’s most-flown vehicle, carried out the test Wednesday and became the first VTVL vehicle to successfully re-light a rocket engine in flight.
  • NASA has reassigned Jeff Hanley, the Constellation program manger. After 5 years and 10 $Billion with nothing to show for its efforts, the Obama administration wants to kill Constellation. What went wrong for Constellation? See here. It failed because of politics.

25 May 2010

  • NASA has declared the Phoenix Mars Lander mission ended.
  • Scrubbed – The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV launch vehicle – set to loft the GPS IIF SV-1 spacecraft into orbit – has suffered from a pad abort at around T-7 seconds, caused by a data anomaly in one of the SRB Thrust Vector Control (TVC) systems.
  • Space shuttle Atlantis and its six-member crew are expected to return to Earth on Wednesday, May 26, after a 12-day mission.

24 May 2010

  • Ceres is the only “dwarf planet” (by modern designation) easily visible to amateurs. In February 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes up orbit around Ceres and will begin imaging its unknown landscape in detail. Due to its high water content, Ceres could become the “gas station” for Solar System exploration and exploitation/
  • NASA has set the target launch date for the Mars Science Laboratory next fall, but the Curiosity rover’s landing site is still being debated by a team of researchers walking a tightrope between science and safety.

23 May 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Atlantis has undocked from the International Space Station for the last time.
  • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) acquired the signal transmitted from the IKAROS at the Usuda Deep Space Station and confirmed its solar power generation and stable posture, and established communications.

22 May 2010

  • Japan’s Akatsuki Venus atmospheric probe is en route to its target planet after launching on an H-IIA F17 rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Southeast Japan early on May 21 local time.
  • After a five month hiatus, an Ariane V rocket was launched from the French Guiana launch pad at 2201 GMT (6:01 p.m. EDT) Friday. The 12,063-pound ASTRA 3B television broadcasting satellite was released from the second stage about 33 minutes after liftoff.

21 May 2010

20 May 2010

  • Scaled Composites has successfully pressurized and powered up Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) from the WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft in flight for the first time. The milestone was achieved on the second captive-carry test flight, which took the vehicle to its planned launch altitude at around 51,000 ft.
  • The Opportunity rover broke a 28-year-old Mars duration record Thursday, surpassing the Viking 1 lander to become the longest-lived spacecraft to ever operate on the Red Planet, at least until the identical Spirit rover awakes from a winter snooze.

19 May 2010

  • The Japanese space agency is preparing to launch the IKAROS satellite (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun), which will piggyback on the launch of a Venus climate orbiter. They are scheduled for a May 20 liftoff at 2:58 PM Phoenix time (5:58 EST), according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
  • Recent speculation concerning the Air Force X-37B.
  • STS-132: Space-walkers are installing new batteries and free a snagged cable on the International Space Station.

18 May 2010

  • Russia’s Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1) “Rassvet” has been successfully docked and installed on to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). Meanwhile, the Mission Management Team (MMT) are close to clearing Atlantis’ Thermal Protection System (TPS) for Entry, after additional imagery of her Port Wing was acquired during EVA-1.

17 May 2010

  • The Japanese Space Agency JAXA were preparing to launch the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI” and the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” – along with several university-developed secondary payloads – via their H-IIA Launch Vehicle. However, launch from the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) – scheduled for 21:44 GMT – was scrubbed due to unacceptable weather.

16 May 2010

  • The space shuttle Atlantis docked with the International Space Station as planned Sunday morning. Atlantis docked with the Harmony node of the station at 10:28 am EDT (1428 GMT) and hatches separating the shuttle and station opened nearly two hours later.
  • Europe’s second robotic space cargo vessel (Kepler) is headed for its South American launch site in preparation for a delivery mission to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. The Automated Transfer Vehicle 2, or ATV-2, a cargo ship built by the European Space Agency (ESA), is slated to launch toward the station in December.

15 May 2010

14 May 2010

13 May 2010

  • On an interview with NPR, Commander Ken Ham says his crew is calling this mission “the first last flight of Atlantis. And I think that’s appropriate. Because we really don’t know what she’s going to do next.” Atlantis is supposed to be the first shuttle in the aging fleet to stop flying. During its planned final mission, the shuttle will carry up a Russian-built research lab that’s part of NASA’s collaboration with other countries to construct the international space station. NASA administrator Charlie Bolden testified at a Senate hearing this week that another flight could help supply the space station with spare parts and other essentials that will be harder to bring up after the shuttles no longer fly.
  • High flying observatory: Sofia will cruise at altitudes up to 45,000 ft., above 95% of the atmosphere’s infrared-absorbing water vapor, and it is expected to provide astronomers with 1,000 science observation flight hours per year for at least 20 years.
  • A new report on the state of NASA laboratories was based on NRC review of six key centers including Marshall. Upgrade the labs, reviewers told NASA, or risk not being able to do the basic research that has made NASA what it is today.
  • A giant cloud belt in the southern half of Jupiter has apparently disappeared according to new photos of the planet taken by amateur astronomers.

12 May 2010

  • Space Shuttle Atlantis will lift off on Friday evening with an important hardware delivery from Europe to the International Space Station: spare portions of the European Robotic Arm and the first Russian payloads to use the arm.
  • While other congress critters fret about the employment picture on their districts, Senator Rockefeller states: NASA budget not just about jobs
  • A team of astronomers including Ivelina Momcheva of the Carnegie Observatories has discovered the most distant cluster of galaxies ever found. In a surprising twist, the young cluster born just 2.8 billion years after the Big Bang appears remarkably similar to the much older present-day galaxy clusters. “We were looking for clusters of galaxies when the Universe was still very young,” says Carnegie’s Momcheva, who did the spectroscopic analysis which led to the discovery of the cluster. “One might think that the clusters we find would look young as well. However in this cluster we found a number of surprisingly ancient-looking galaxies. This cluster resembles modern-day clusters, which are nearly 10 billion years older.”

11 May 2010

  • ESA’s Herschel infrared space telescope has made an unexpected discovery: a hole in space. The hole has provided astronomers with a surprising glimpse into the end of the star-forming process.
  • When space shuttle Atlantis launches, currently scheduled for May 14, 2010, it will carry an experiment to study how microgravity affects bacterial growth and the formation of surface films. Funded by NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, N.Y., will conduct the experiment.
  • A super-massive black hole — heavier than one billion suns — appears headed on an exit out of its home galaxy at 670,000 miles-an-hour.

10 May 2010

  • JPL Invites the Public to Annual Open House – 15-16 May 2010.
  • Two Soyuz 2-1a rockets were transported from Russia to French Guiana in November, and engineers are putting the launchers together for the first time in a new integration building near the Soyuz launch pad, which is still under construction. Each Soyuz rocket includes four strap-on boosters, a core stage and a third stage, all fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen. A Fregat upper stage will be added atop the Soyuz to inject satellites into specific orbits.

9 May 2010

8 May 2010

7 May 2010

  • The first scientific results from the Herschel infrared space observatory have been unveiled by the European Space Agency (ESA). Some images reveal billowing clouds of gas and dust that astronomers believe will go on to form stars and planets. Others provide new views of the early universe, showing distant galaxies that are invisible to the likes of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • NASASpaceFlight discusses the upcoming Atlantis launch, with the following elements: OV-104 / ET-136 / SRB BI-143 / RSRM 111 (Pad A)
  • U.S. Heavy-Lift Effort Inches Ahead.

6 May 2010

  • Dark matter ‘no result’ comes under fire
  • Voyager 2 was originally launched on a 4-year mission to Saturn. But 33 years later, the spacecraft is continuing on its journey to the outer reaches of the solar system. Scientists hope it will make it past the heliosphere – the bubble of solar wind that encases our solar system. No spacecraft – man-made, at least – has ever crossed that threshold and gone into interstellar space. Voyager 1 is supposed to cross it in about 5 years; Voyager 2 will cross it later, if the glitches don’t continue. Voyager 2 is about 8.6 billion miles from Earth, while Voyager 1 is now about 10.5 billion miles away.
  • WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. — NASA’s Pad Abort 1 flight test, a launch of the abort system designed for the Orion crew vehicle, lifted off at 7 a.m. MDT Thursday at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) near Las Cruces, N.M. The flight lasted about 135 seconds from launch until the crew module touchdown about a mile north of the launch pad.
  • In the last week of May, thousands of square miles of airspace above the Pacific Ocean will be cleared to make way for a skinny, shark-nosed aircraft called the X-51.

5 May 2010

  • It’s been 24 years since Halley’s Comet last passed through the inner solar system, but remnants from the icy wanderer will light up the dawn sky this week in the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.
  • Aviation Week reports that prices for launching commercial satellites to geostationary orbit have dropped in the past decade and show signs of continuing the trend, a study backed by Arianespace with participation by International Launch Services (ILS) finds.

4 May 2010

  • Aviation Week reports that Space station Program Manager Mike Suffredini would prefer a summer 2011 flight if NASA moves forward with an extra shuttle mission using orbiter Atlantis.
  • Positively have to get there overnight? Discovery.com reports on a frequent topic: Plasma Rocket May Shorten Space Voyages.

3 May 2010

2 May 2010

  • A Russian cargo spaceship on Saturday docked at the International Space Station, authorities said, three days after launching from Kazakhstan with supplies that included sweets and chocolate.
  • Cornell University astronomers announced last week that they tracked a near-Earth object (NEO) named 2005 YU55 as it skimmed within 1.5 million miles of our planet last April 19. The giant radio antenna at Arecibo, Puerto Rico measured the intruder’s size at a planet-walloping 1,300 feet in diameter (pictured above). The speedy visitor is on a wanted list of “potentially hazardous asteroids” maintained by the Minor Planet Center, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.

1 May 2010

  • Discovery.com: The Mystery ‘Middle Child‘ of the Black Hole Family

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April 2010

Posted by drdave on August 6, 2010

25 April 2010

  • An ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 39 at the Cosmodrome at 5:19 PM. today local time (7:19 AM EDT, 11:19 GMT). After an eight-hour, 58-minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the SES-1 satellite directly into geostationary orbit.

24 April 2010

  • The first Minotaur IV Lite was launched from Vandenberg. The rocket launched the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2.
  • Asked about the secretive X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, deputy undersecretary for the Air Force for space programs Gary Payton said, “we don’t know when it’s coming back for sure”

23 April 2010

22 April 2010

21 April 2010

  • An object lesson in how to build the “railroad to space”. Wayne Hale’s Blog
  • Science News has published the first images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched 10 February 2010.
  • The Planetary Society has issued a “Statement of Support for New NASA Plan to Subcommittee of Senate Appropriations Committee”.
  • A “hidden galaxy” has been revealed in the infrared by the WISE Observatory. IC 342 is a spiral galaxy that is usually shrouded behind our own Milky Way.

20 April 2010

19 April 2010

18 April 2010

  • Indian space scientists confirmed that the cryogenic engine ignited for one second prior to fuel being blocked, causing the failure of the GSLV mission on Thursday.

17 April 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Discovery has undocked in preparation for landing on Monday.
  • The “one year” anniversary of the discovery of Neptune is approaching (12 July 2011). After 164 Earth years, Neptune has now returned to the place in the sky where it was first seen by Johann Galle, 23 September 1846.
  • While politicians and others continue to criticize President Obama for not announcing a super stupendous boots and flag mission doomed to fail (“we really don’t care what the mission is as long as NASA spends buckets of money in my district”), The Planetary Society recognizes the rational approach to exploration of the Solar System espoused by the President.

16 April 2010

  • The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite known as GOES-13 became the official GOES-EAST satellite on April 14, 2010. GOES-13 was moved from on-orbit storage and into active duty. It is perched 22,300 miles above the equator to spot potentially life-threatening weather, including tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
  • A recent study concludes that the interplanetary dust particles that cause Zodiacal light originates from Jupiter family comets.
  • The Orion space craft is being reconstituted as a rescue craft for the International Space Station.

15 April 2010

  • At the Kennedy Space Center, President Obama took on his critics: “We’ve got to do it in a smart way,” President Obama said, “and we can’t just keep on doing the same old things we’ve been doing and thinking that’s going to get us where we want to go.”
  • A new hydrogen-fueled third stage tumbled out of control during the launch of India’s most powerful rocket Thursday, dooming the $74 million test flight.
  • There is no shortage of debate in the Pentagon about how to proceed with maintaining a U.S. launch infrastructure.

14 April 2010

  • Ben Davies from the University of Leeds presented new images of the giant protostar W33A at the RAS’ National Astronomy Meeting this week at the University of Glasgow.
  • A MMOD (Micrometeoroid Orbital Debris) strike on Discovery’s Window 1 has been cleared as no concern.

13 April 2010

  • Aviation Week discusses President Obama’s upcoming speech at the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Ben Davies from the University of Leeds presented new images of the giant protostar W33A at the RAS’ National Astronomy Meeting this week at the University of Glasgow.
  • Newly released results from The Tauri Group, an independent, analytic consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia, reveal that the new NASA Commercial Crew and Cargo Program funding in the President’s FY2011 Budget Request will result in an average of 11,800 direct jobs per year over the next five years, nationwide.

12 April 2010

  • Yuri’s Night – Partying on the anniversary of Gagarin’s flight.
  • Angela Peura takes on the naysayers over at the Space Review: The new paradigm: Gemini on steroids. Well worth the read.
  • Air Force’s Mystery X-37B Space Plane Fuels Speculation. Launch is scheduled for 20 April 2010.

11 April 2010

10 April 2010

  • The Sun eats another comet.
  • “As an economic engine, there is very little that can compete with technology development.” Lori Garver, NASA’s deputy administrator, answers questions on the new NASA budget from Popular Mechanics.

9 April 2010

  • The Ariane 5 mission with the ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 satellites has been postponed following the detection of an anomaly in the launch vehicle’s pressurization system during final countdown to liftoff.
  • Aviation Week: “Proposed work assignments under NASA’s turnabout Fiscal 2011 budget request would spread the agency’s five-year, $6-billion total budget increase — and the new jobs that may go with it — across the agency’s 10 field centers.”
  • A dim object less than 10 light years from Earth appears to be the closest brown dwarf yet found.

8 April 2010

  • USAF Plans Reusable Booster Demonstrators.
  • Aviation Week: “Proposed work assignments under NASA’s turnabout Fiscal 2011 budget request would spread the agency’s five-year, $6-billion total budget increase — and the new jobs that may go with it — across the agency’s 10 field centers.”

7 April 2010

  • Discovery and her seven member crew have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) following a visually stunning R-bar Pitch Maneuver (RPM) 600 feet below the orbiting science laboratory. Following pressurization and leak checks of the ISS’s PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adaptor-2) and Discovery’s ODS (Orbiter Docking System), hatches between Discovery and the ISS will be opened at ~5:44a.m. EDT.
  • U.S. Signs New Deal for Soyuz Flights

6 April 2010

5 April 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Discovery rocketed into space with a pre-dawn launch.
  • Dorothy “Dottie” Metcalf-Lindenburger, robotic arm expert Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki, the second Japanese woman ever to reach space will join with Caldwell Dyson, who is living on the International Space Station after arriving at the orbiting laboratory on Sunday. This is a record number of women in space at the same time.

4 April 2010

  • A Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian spaceflyers Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Easter Sunday, boosting the orbiting lab’s population to six people just one day ahead of NASA’s planned launch of the shuttle Discovery toward the outpost.

3 April 2010

  • Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) plans to attempt the maiden launch of its Falcon 9 rocket no sooner than May 8.

2 April 2010

  • A Russian Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft blasted off from a facility in Kazakhstan Friday on a mission to the International Space Station.
  • Following a series of highly elaborative and successful Flight Readiness Reviews (FRRs), launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-131 mission is just three days away – as Launch Countdown (S0007) operations kicked off early on Friday morning.

1 April 2010

  • Astronomers have their eyes on a hot group of young stars, watching their every move like the paparazzi. A new infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the bustling star-making colony of the Orion nebula.
  • Aviation Week reviews the reasons to support NASA’s “Flexible Path”. “As successful as NASA has been over its 50-plus years, NASA’s new plan can enable both revolutionary new scientific capabilities from space and, at the same time, propel our human exploration of space forward.”

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March 2010

Posted by drdave on August 6, 2010

29 March 2010

28 March 2010

  • Joel Achenbach at the Washington Post blogs NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s answers to a series of questions about the NASA Space Program: There is no Plan B for Heavy Lift; the Augustine Committee’s findings made clear that Constellation was simply not affordable or executable under any reasonable budget scenario.
  • Major Timothy Peake, Britain’s first astronaut, discusses the launch of the UK Space Agency and other matters with the The Sunday Times in London.
  • Joel Achenbach at The Washington Post runs his full length discussion of the costs, goals and shock of cancellation of the Constellation program under the title “NASA’s $500 million launcher missing just one thing: the rocket it was made for”. He quotes Dale Ketcham, a University of Central Florida professor who runs a think tank called the Spaceport Research and Technology Institute on the $9.4 billion already spend on Ares I and the fact that Ares V would not be ready until 2028: “The taxpayers would really be ticked off: Sixty years later we go back and plant the flag and go home.”

27 March 2010

26 March 2010

  • Chris Bergin at NASASpaceFlight.com reports that “The decision to call a Special PRCB (Program Requirements Control Board) meeting on Tuesday paid dividends, as several outstanding issues gained the required flight rationale – with all dissenting opinions removed – to allow for Friday’s Agency-level Flight Readiness Review (FRR) to give a “go” for STS-131 to proceed towards an April 5 launch date”.
  • The New Scientist discusses Solar Sails as a tool for clearing orbiting space junk“.

25 March 2010

24 March 2010

  • The Mars Rover passed the twenty (20) kilometer mark on its odometer. JPL reports that, “Opportunity today surpassed 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) of total driving since it landed on Mars 74 months ago”.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope will be twenty a month from now. Science News has a review in its upcoming issue dated 10 April 2010.

23 March 2010

  • The British government on March 23 announced it will create a U.K. Space Agency to direct all British civil space investment, replacing the current British National Space Centre structure with a centralized space-policy command post that “will have the muscle it needs to coordinate space policy and boost our international standing,” according to a government policy document.

22 March 2010

  • Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two was carried aloft for its first test flight today.
  • The Board of Directors of Arianespace met on Monday, 22 March 2010 in Evry, near Paris. It congratulated the company on its technical performance and record order book, and decided to give it the resources needed for development by bolstering its financial structure.

21 March 2010

20 March 2010

  • An ILS Proton rocket with a Breeze-M upper stage has launched the EchoStar XIV telecommunications satellite.
  • The payload for Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-131) arrived and was transfered to the Payload Changeout Room. Meanwhile. engineers continue to work an issue with Discovery’s PCMMU (Pulse Code Modulator Master Unit), which first experienced a “momentary failure” on March 5, that kicked off a round of engineering evaluations and troubleshooting efforts.

19 March 2010

18 March 2010

  • International Space Systems has bid on the launch of 18 Galileo navigation satellites on three Proton Rockets. More business for the Russian Space Industry.

17 March 2010

16 March 2010

  • New thermal images from powerful ground-based telescopes show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before within Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, enabling scientists to make the first detailed interior weather map of the giant storm system.
  • Vadim Bobylev of the Pulkovo Observatory in St Petersburg, Russia, reports on the paths of neighbouring stars in Astronomy Letters. He found that the biggest threat comes from Gliese 710, an orange dwarf now some 63 light years away but zooming our way at 14 kilometres per second. Previous studies have suggested that Gliese 710 could pass through the Oort cloud in about 1.5 million years. This would scatter comets throughout the Solar System.
  • The Expedition 22 crew aboard the International Space Station prepared for the departure of two of its members.

15 March 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Enterprise, currently at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, has undergone rigorous testing to determine if it can once again be flown aboard the 747 carrier aircraft to a new home should the Smithsonian secure one of the now flying shuttles. Enterprise (OV-101) never flew in space, but was instrumental in proving flight worthiness in the atmosphere.
  • This Fall, law students at Sunderland University in the UK will be able to take a course in space law. Health, safety, satellite damage, land title and other topics are on tap.

14 March 2010

  • From NASASpaceFlight.com: “A leak relating to Discovery’s RCS (Reaction Control System) Helium Isolation Value – on the Right Hand (RH) OMS (Orbital Maneuvering System) fuel system – is undergoing troubleshooting at Pad 39A. Due to redundancy, flight rationale may be accepted to fly STS-131 “as-is” – should blowdown procedures fail to correct the issue – otherwise rollback and a long delay would occur due to the need to remove the OMS Pod to access the valve”.

13 March 2010

  • Florida Today reports on the 3.5 second successful firing of all nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9 rocket. The announcement form Space-X says, “SpaceX successfully completed a test firing of the inaugural Falcon 9 launch vehicle at Space Launch Complex 40 located at Cape Canaveral. Following a nominal terminal countdown, the launch sequencer commanded ignition of all 9 Merlin first stage engines for a period of 3.5 seconds”. This sets up a probable launch attempt for 12 April 2010.
  • Dramatic. SOHO captures a comet diving straight into the sun.

12 March 2010

  • Ethidium represents a class of molecules that prevents RNA chains from doubling back on themselves and forming short, circular chains. This has always been a major problem with the “RNA before DNA” theory of biogenesis. Nicholas Hud et. al., a chemist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, has proposed this solution. The New Scientist has the short version of the research.

11 March 2010

  • The heads of the International Space Station (ISS) agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States met in Tokyo, Japan, on 11 March 2010, to review ISS cooperation. Among other details, the Partnership is currently working to certify on-orbit elements through 2028.
  • A companion bill to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s proposal to keep the Space Shuttle flying until 2015 has been introduced in the House. This legislation, plus $2.4 Billion a year, could do it.
  • PhysicsWorld reviews another test of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity using data on more than 70,000 distant galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The average distance to the galaxies in the study is about 5.5 billion light-years.

10 March 2010

9 March 2010

  • The interior of Phobos, one of two Martian moons, is the subject of a series of 12 fly-bys by Europe’s Mars Express spacecraft. Six have been completed, including the closest ever pass of the moon, at 67 km, last week. The gravity data will help Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission, set to launch in 2011 or 2012, maneuver efficiently around the moon before coming in for a landing.
  • The New York Times discusses President Obama’s upcoming Florida forum to discuss NASA’s future, scheduled for 15 April 2010.
  • Buzz Aldrin gears up for Dancing with the Stars.

8 March 2010

  • The Space Review leads off this week’s set of five articles with Jeff Foust and NASA’s need to win hearts and minds. Of note, peculiar but interesting, “the odds of becoming a NASA astronaut are very long: there are far more professional athletes in the US today than members of the astronaut corps”. And the metaphor of “The Rider and the Elephant” is apropos the current controversy.
  • W00T. ESA (European Space Agency) gets its Tweet back. It had been taken several years ago by Esa Alanen, who works at Finnish telecom giant Nokia. In thanks for his Twitter address, ESA offered Esa Alanen and family a VIP visit to the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, and the chance to meet a real astronaut. This was especially fascinating for Esa’s six-year-old son Johannes, who “wants to be a spaceman”.

7 March 2010

6 March 2010

  • The Space shuttle Discovery will start its Flight Readiness Review (FRR) next week in preparation for its 5 April launch. Discovery will carry a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks for the laboratories aboard the station. The mission has three planned spacewalks, with work to include replacing an ammonia tank assembly, retrieving a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior, and switching out a rate gyro assembly on the S0 segment of the station’s truss structure.
  • Aviation Week reviews China’s Moon Rocket plans. Liang Xiaohong, the vice-president of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, says it will have a thrust at lift off of 3,000 tons. America’s Saturn V S-1C first stage generated 3,470 metric tons.
  • The New Scientist reports on the discovery of previously unknown Near Earth Objects (NEO) by the WISE infrared observatory. In its first six weeks of observations, it has discovered 16 previously unknown asteroids with orbits close to Earth’s. One of these objects is as dark as fresh asphalt, reflecting less than 5 per cent of the light it receives. But the objects are bright in the infrared.

5 March 2010

  • The Wall Street journal jumped the gun on NASA’s review of heavy lift candidates, calling it “Plan B”. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden then set the record straight. This error by the WSJ comes on the heels of the flap over the WSJ cherry picking phrases from Burt Rutan’ letter to Congressman Wolf (see 1 March below).
  • The 97-km long B-9B iceberg rammed into the Mertz Glacier Tongue in Eastern Antarctica in early February. The collision caused a chunk of the glacier?s tongue to snap off, giving birth to another iceberg nearly as large as B-9B. PhysOrg has a nice animation of this event

4 March 2010

  • The GOES-P weather satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral this evening at 4:57 PM Phoenix time heading for geostationary orbit.
  • Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-131) was rolled out to the launch pad Wednesday. Repairs will now take place to the stack’s External Tank following “avian induced damage” to the tank’s foam (TPS-Thermal Protection System) .
  • From NASA Space Flight: “Senator Kay Hutchison – in conjunction with Representatives Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey – has produced a 37 page Bill that proposes major refinements to NASA’s FY2011 proposal, and NASA’s forward plan. The Bill is centered around a shuttle extension to 2015, in support of fully utilizing the International Space Station (ISS), along with saving elements of Constellation – such as Orion and a Heavy Lift Launcher (HLV).”

3 March 2010

  • The GOES-P weather satellite is now due to be launched no earlier than 4 March aboard a Delta IV-M from Cape Canaveral at 4:17 PM Phoenix time. The launch Window closes at 5:17 PM.

2 March 2010

  • Cassini will fly by Rhea today at an altitude of 100 kilometers. Particle and fields instruments will try to determine what is coming off Rhea. The last targeted flyby of Rhea happened in November 2005.
  • Arianespace announced that OverHorizon has chosen Arianespace to launch its first communications satellite, OHO-1. OHO-1 will be launched into geostationary transfer orbit in mid-2012, using an Ariane 5 launcher from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. This is the fourth contract signed by Arianespace in 2010.
  • Speculation continues over whether the Mars Rover Spirit will rise again. Discovery.com reports on 34 centimeters of progress made by Spirit to get out of the sand trap before the Martian winter put a halt to activity. Survival is now the key.

1 March 2010

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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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January 2010

Posted by drdave on August 5, 2010

31 January 2010

30 January 2010

  • The Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) confirms that it can continue producing the External Tank for the Space Shuttle and Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicles (SDLV).
  • All the pieces of the Falcon 9 have arrived at complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. Space X says that liftoff is currently set for around March 8 during a four-hour launch window that opens at 11 a.m. EST.

29 January 2010

  • NASA / JPL released a new image of Prometheus, one of Saturn’s innermost moons. It orbits the gas-giant at a distance of 139,353 kilometers (85,590 miles) and is 86 kilometers (53 miles) across at its widest point.
  • Russia launched a Proton / Breeze-M rocket carrying a modernized Raduga, or Globus, communications satellite designed to link Russian troops and senior military commanders. The satellite was successfully placed in a Geo Stationary Orbit.

28 January 2010

  • Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Space Communication Ltd. (Spacecom) of Ramat-Gan Israel, operator of the AMOS satellite fleet, have signed an agreement for launch of a communication satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 as early as December 2012. Falcon 9 will insert the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), adding to Spacecom’s existing satellite fleet. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.
  • Paris, 28 January 2010 – Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) confirms that a technical anomaly occurred in the evening of January 27 on the W2 satellite located at 16° East. This incident is under full investigation by Eutelsat in collaboration with the satellite’s manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space.

27 January 2010

  • NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, will address a National Press Club Newsmakers press conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 in the Zenger Room on the 13th floor, National Press Building, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. This follows the release of NASA’s 2011 budget proposal the previous day.
  • 669 Teams of Student Rocketeers Launching for Team America Rocketry Challenge Finals. “This year’s challenge is for each 3- to 10-member team to design and build a model rocket that carries a single raw egg payload to a precise altitude of 825 feet with a flight duration of between 40 and 45 seconds, returning the egg to the ground unbroken.”

26 January 2010

  • NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is set to unveil NASA’s proposed 2011 budget at a press conference on Monday, 1 February 2010.
  • NASA / JPL has now conceded that the Mars rover Spirit will not be able to free itself from the sand it is in. They will now focus on setting up Spirit to survive the upcoming Martian winter.

25 January 2010

24 January 2010

  • STS-130 appears to be on track for its launch on 7 February 2010. It appears that the ammonia line problems on the Tranquility module (Node 3) will be resolved by launch time.

23 January 2010

  • Bob Werb of the Space Frontier Foundation, whacks Ares-I in the head in this article in today’s Orlando Sentinel. He labels the likely decision by the Obama administration “a small decision, big on political courage”, given the political pork behind this.
  • NASASpaceFlight has a very good article on the latest thoughts coming out of NASA on the “Flexible Path” program. The intermediate goal is Phobos, and the long term is Mars itself. Intermediate stops at asteroids, space telescopes, propellant depots, and the Moon.

22 January 2010

  • RIA Novosti reports on the movement of the Russian Soyuz TMA-16 from its usual docking port on the ISS to the new Poisk Module.
  • The Solar Dynamics Observatory is being prepared for launch from the Cape’s Complex 41 on February 9 during a one-hour window opening at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT).

21 January 2010

20 January 2010

  • >Efforts underway at JPL to see if Phoenix Mars Lander has survived the long Martian winter have come up empty so far. Several more days of listening are to come.
  • Amy Klamper at Space News >reports that it appears unlikely that NASA will receive any increase in its budget. Many had expected (wanted?) a $ 1 Billion dollar increase.
  • NASA has dropped its price for a retired Space Shuttle from $42 Million to $28.8 Million. Basically the cost of transportation.

19 January 2010

  • The European Space Agency has an update on the Herschel Infrared Telescope. The article includes an interesting animation of Hereschel looking at the Orion Nebula.
  • The University of Arizona reports on a “snowflake” shaped galaxy.

18 January 2010

17 January 2010

  • Nasa and the European Space Agency scientists are studying a meteorite which hit North Yorkshire in 1881. The study, including a 3D scan of the surface of the 4,500 million-year-old Middlesbrough Meteorite, is part of a plan to send a probe to Mars.
  • NASASpaceFlight.com reports on the first Chinese launch of the new Year. A Long March 3C lauedhed the BeiDou-2 (Compass-G1) into a Geo Stationary Orbit (GSO) as part of its GPS system.

16 January 2010

  • Aviation Week reports of development of the new Ariane 6 by the European Space Agency (ESA)>. The new vehicle would replace the Ariane 5 around 2025.
  • NASA has released this picture of a new Iceberg off Mertz Glacier Tongue. The Mertz Glacier flows off East Antarctica along the George V Coast.

15 January 2010

14 January 2010

  • Wired Magazine has images from yesterday’s close pass of asteroid 2010 AL30 . JPL has a diagram of the path taken between the Earth and the Moon.
  • Two Russian cosmonauts are conducting a space walk to activate the Poisk research module launched in November.

13 January 2010

  • Get up early (5:45 AM Phoenix time) and watch the space junk whiz past the Earth.
  • NASA is experiencing a shortage of Plutonium to power its spacecraft. “That puts a number of destinations off-limits”, says Jim Green, head of NASA’s planetary science division. “Without the plutonium, there’s just a huge dimension of science we’re going to be missing,” Green told New Scientist.

12 January 2010

  • A NASA tiger team expects to solve the ammonia tubing failures plaguing the cooling system on the Tranquility (Node 3) module due to launch 7 February on the Endeavour Shuttle (STS-130) by welding together short tubing segments that have previously passed inspection and flight qualification.
  • NPR reports on a mysterious object set to whiz past the Earth (80,000 miles) at 5:45 AM Phoenix time, well inside the Moon’s orbit. Space junk or a small asteroid (33-50 feet), who knows? See Wired’s article.
  • Reuters reports on NASA’s continuing saga with the waste water recycling equipment on board the ISS. Current speculation surrounds a higher than expected calcium concentration in urine, possibly due to bone loss.

11 January 2010

  • Marcel F. Williams published a good review of the problems confronting the American Human Space Flight program and rational methods of proceeding. Recommended.
  • NASA research into the diversity of landforms on Mars is highlighted in a January special issue of Icarus. The research is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • NASA has rescheduled its press briefing on the first Shuttle flight of the year to 29 January 2010.

10 January 2010

  • NASA has published a preliminary roadmap covering the Augustine Commission’s now famous “Flexible Path” scenario for human space exploration. This is the third in a series on the NASA white paper. Previously, NASASpaceFlight published Part I and Part II.
  • PISCES, a research facility at The University of Hawaii at Hilo, will sponsor NASA, Canadian and German scientists from 15 January through 11 February. They will use rovers to carry soil to a plant where they will generate electricity from oxygen and hydrogen in the soil and then liquefy the products. They will also test a new system of making oxygen directly from the moon-like soil.

9 January 2010

  • India’s newspaper The Hindu discusses the upcoming annular eclipse of the Sun on 15 January 2010.
  • NASA announced the successful testing of the 98 inch Sofia infrared telescope aboard a 747 aircraft. The telescope is expected to become operational in the Fall of 2010.

8 January 2010

  • STS-130 mission is threatened by continuing ammonia coolant line failures on the Tranquility Node, Endeavour’s cargo for the ISS.
  • Studies of two supernova remnants using the Japan-U.S. Suzaku observatory have revealed never-before-seen embers of the high-temperature fireballs that immediately followed the explosions.

7 January 2010

  • NASA has released the “first light” image from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) observatory.
  • Although the U.K.’s Telegraph published an article entitled, “Earth ‘to be wiped out’ by supernova explosion”, Discover.com notes that “Ray Villard who is currently attending the American Astronomical Society (AAS) conference in D.C. confirmed that the Telegraph article is 90 percent hype”.
  • On another note from the AAS, the dark matter halo around the Milky Way galaxy is shaped like a squashed ball.

6 January 2010

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour was rolled out to pad 39 A today prior to a 7 February launch.
  • New images from Hubble of ” target=”_out” >blobby blue galaxies” only 600 million years old were announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C. And it appears the local Small Magellanic Cloud (a satellite of our Milky Way) has been around for 13 Billion years.
  • NASA administrator Charles Bolden commented today that President Obama will not cut robotic exploration to pay for manned expllration, and that Obama is very supportive of space exploration.

5 January 2010

  • The Arizona Republic in Tucson, home of the University of Arizona and the Phoenix Lander polar mission, reports that Peter Smith, the mission’s lead scientist and a University of Arizona professor would “…like to think there’s a high probability (of reviving the lander), but there isn’t”. Nevertheless, NASA will give it a try following the long Martian winter.
  • NASA released a mosaic image of the past 12 Billion years. The images were taken by the newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
  • Ancient lakes on Mars suggested in new images.

4 January 2010

3 January 2010

  • NASA is offering interested parties a genuine Space Shuttle for $42 million.
  • My latest issue of Aviation Week names The Space Entrepreneur as Person of the Year.

2 January 2010

  • Mylswamy Annadurai, Project Director, Chandrayaan-I and II of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bangalore, confirmed that Chandrayaan-II would be launched as scheduled during the first quarter of 2013. According to The Hindu, “the Chandrayaan-II has been planned to land on the moon and make in situ chemical and mineral analysis to confirm the discovery of Chandrayaan-I.”
  • Although a rocket capable of putting 200mt into low Earth orbit (LEO) has been in the news, it remains to be seen whether development and launch costs could ever be afforded.

1 January 2010

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