Posted by drdave on April 1, 2012
- The hot fire test of the Falcon 9 was successful, although an hour and 15 minutes later than scheduled due to a hold to correct an out of limit parameter (Overly restrictive redline on second stage engine position).
- SpaceX plans to carry out a “hot fire” test of its Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad today, one of the final tests leading up to next Monday’s scheduled launch of a Dragon spacecraft on a test flight to the International Space Station. SpaceX has scheduled the test, where the Falcon 9′s nine first-stage engines are briefly ignited, for 3:00 PM Phoenix time (1900 UTC) today. The test will be webcast on the SpaceX web site starting at 11:30 AM Phoenix time (1830 UTC).
- A Long March 3B rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 1:50 PM Phoenix time Sunday (2050 GMT Sunday, 4:50 am Beijing time Monday) and placed two Beidou-2 satellites into medium Earth orbits. The satellites will be used as part of China’s Beidou satellite navigation system
- A European weather satellite that was scheduled for launch in May will be delayed until at least July because of a dispute between Kazakhstan and Russia regarding the drop zones for the rocket’s stages. ESA had hoped to launch its MetOp-B polar-orbiting weather satellite on May 23 from Baikonur on a Soyuz-2.1a rocket. However, Kazakhstan protested those launch plans, which require the booster stages of the Soyuz to fall on Kazakh territory north of Baikonur, a different area than the customary drop zone for Soyuz launches to lower-inclination orbits.
- Discovery Magazine reports that “Of all the hurdles facing Planetary Resources, a startup firm that this week unveiled its plan to survey and mine asteroids for water, precious metals and other resources, legal jurisdiction is not at the top of the list. ‘We as a U.S. company certainly have the right to go an asteroid and make use of its resources,’ Planetary Resources co-founder Eric Anderson told Discovery News.”…But?…
- On Monday, April 30, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will take the final step on the road to orbit before launching one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets May 7. The NewSpace firm will conduct what is known as a static test fire of the rocket’s nine Merlin engines. During this test, the engines will be ignited in a final test before the upcoming launch. The Falcon 9 will essentially go through everything that the rocket will need to do on launch day – except conduct liftoff. For those wanting to view the static test fire, they need only visit http://www.spacex.com on April 30. SpaceX will kick things off at 2:30 PM EDT (11:30 AM Phoenix time). The test fire itself is slated to take place at 3 p.m. EDT (12 p.m. EDT). SpaceX will also webcast the launch live at http://www.spacex.com.
- A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three ISS crewmembers landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan on Friday. The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft touched down near Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, at 7:45 am EDT (1145 GMT), three and a half hours after undocking from the space station.
- NASA flew the space shuttle Enterprise from Washington, DC, to New York on Friday, where it will be displayed at a museum there starting later this year. The 747 carrying Enterprise took off from Dulles International Airport outside Washington at 9:39 am EDT (1339 GMT) and landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York at 11:22 am EDT (1522 GMT). Once arriving in the New York area, the 747 and Enterprise made an aerial tour of the city, allowing people to view the orbiter as it flew up along the Hudson River and over various city landmarks.
- The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on 24 April 1990, 22 years ago. See the latest composite image: The Tarantula star forming region.
- Weighing 1,858 kilograms, Risat-1 was launched by an enhanced variant of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) during the early morning hours from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota Island
- NASA managers, in consultation with Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum officials, have selected Friday, April 27, to ferry space shuttle Enterprise from Washington Dulles International Airport to John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York.
- The Senate and House budgets for NASA may kill Commercial Crew Development. At the east, cripple the effort to escape having Russia ferry our astronauts.
- Asteroid Mining for Fun and Profit. A recently formed company called Planetary Resources has announced ambitious plans to extract billions of dollars’ worth of water and precious metals from near-Earth asteroids.
- U.S forces on the ground, air and sea routinely enter into coalitions with allies. It is time for similar cooperation to exist in space.
- Just posted on Facebook by SpaceX: “May 7th, 9:38 AM ET launch target for the upcoming COTS 2 mission confirmed by NASA and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station”.
- SpaceX announced late Monday that it will push back the launch of its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station by about a week to allow time for additional tests. SpaceX had been planning to launch the Dragon spacecraft on April 30. No new launch date has been announced, but will likely be after the launch of an Atlas 5 carrying a military satellite now planned for May 3.
- A Proton rocket successfully launched a communications satellite for a Middle Eastern company on Tuesday. The Proton M lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:18 PM Phoenix time Monday (2218 UTC) carrying the Yahsat 1B (Y1B) satellite.
- Fireball over Nevada and California: “I have been looking at the sky for 30 years, and I have never witnessed something so amazing and puzzling. It is an event that makes you glad to be alive,” said Matthew Neal of San Francisco. “The main body was bright green and the head was bright red and white.” Greg Giroux of June Lake, Calif., located along the eastern Sierra just west of Yosemite National Park, also was impressed. “This was by far the brightest fireball/shooting star I’ve ever seen, especially since it was in full sunlight,” he said. “After the flash, it broke up into pieces, then I lost sight of it as it went behind a mountain.”
- The ISS crewmen opened the hatches between the International Space Station (ISS) and the freighter Progress M-15M, which docked successfully to the ISS in the automatic mode on Sunday.
- Chris Kraft (former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and former director of JSC Mission Control) and Tom Moser (former director of JSC Engineering, and former director of NASA’s Space Station Program), take aim at the Space Launch System in an op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle. “The current national human exploration strategy, which is based on development of the SLS, is economically unaffordable. The SLS-based strategy is unaffordable, by definition, since the costs of developing, let alone operating, the SLS within a fixed or declining budget has crowded out funding for critical elements needed for any real deep space human exploration program.”
- India is preparing to launch the Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1) from the spaceport at Sriharikota at 5.45 a.m. local time on Thursday (2345 UTC and 4:45 PM Phoenix time Wednesday). The four stages of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL) have been stacked up at the first launch-pad on the island of Sriharikota and the satellite has been mated to the vehicle.
- Progress M-15M, carrying 2.8 tons of food, water, propellant, and other supplies, is successfully docked with the International Space Station at 7:39 AM Phoenix time (1439 UTC) Sunday.
- Optical, radar and laser observations of the Envisat satellite show that it is still in a stable orbit. Efforts to regain contact with the satellite have been under way since 8 April, when it unexpectedly stopped sending data to Earth.
- Boeing has signed an agreement with NASA’s Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) at Johnson Space Center to collaborate on mission planning, training and flight operations for the company’s Commercial Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft.
- Russia has successfully launched the Progress M-15M resupply spacecraft on course to the International Space Station. Docking is scheduled for Sunday at 8:40 AM Phoenix time (1500 UTC).
- A spacecraft that would study three of Jupiter’s largest moons, including going into orbit around one of then, is the top choice of a committee selecting Europe’s next major space science mission. A European Space Agency (ESA) committee met this month and select the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer, or Juice, as its preferred option for ESA’s Cosmic Vision competition for large-scale science missions. Juice would launch in 2022 on an Ariane 5 and arrive at Jupiter in 2030.
- A new study sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) has concluded that it would be possible to return an asteroid weighing approximately 500 metric tons to high lunar orbit where it would be mined for resources by 2025. The Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study, published on April 2, was prepared for KISS, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
- On April 24, Planetary Resources officials will announce details of their space exploration plans in a press conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Investors include Charles Simonyi and James Cameron.
- Appropriations committees in the US House of Representative and Senate have drafted spending bills that would fund NASA at close to the administration’s request for 2013. A Senate appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill Tuesday that would give NASA $19.4 billion in fiscal year 2013, but over $1.6 billion of that represents funding for weather satellite programs transferred from NOAA. Without the NOAA funding, the NASA budget is a little over $17.7 billion, and includes an additional $100 million for Mars science programs cut in the administration’s proposal.
- The space shuttle Discovery made its final trip on Tuesday, flown on its 747 carrier aircraft from the Kennedy Space Center to Washington to be put on display at the National Air and Space Museum. The 747 carrying Discovery took off from the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC at around 7 am EDT (1100 GMT) and landed at Dulles International Airport in the Virginia suburbs of Washington four hours later.
- Aviation Week reports that “The Pentagon has declared that the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) project has exceeded its original projected per-unit cost by 58.4%, triggering a rigorous review under the Nunn-McCurdy program oversight law.”
- For the first time in history, NASA’s extensive Flight Readiness Review (FRR) process has concluded that a privately-owned spacecraft is tentatively cleared to visit the International Space Station (ISS). With a launch date still tracking April 30, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will lift off toward a space station that is now fully prepared to extend a robotic handshake to the commercial space industry, pending the closure of a few open items.
- The Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks this week on 21-22 April.
- Windy conditions at Cape Canaveral have delayed the lifting and mating of the shuttle Discovery to the 747. The shuttle will be delivered Tuesday, 17 April, to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D. C. It will be on permanent display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
- The spacecraft Cassini will make a second pass today through the jets spraying from the south pole of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. Less than three weeks ago, Cassini made a similar pass through the jets (27 March). Combined with a previous pass on 1 October, these three passes should allow the ion and neutral mass spectrometer to determine the three dimensional structure of the jets and how they change over time.
- NASA will partner with the US Air Force (USAF) to study next-generation upper stage propulsion, formalizing the agencies joint interests in a new upper stage engine to replace the venerable Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL-10. NASA hopes to find a less expensive RL-10-class engine for a third stage of the Space Launch System (SLS)
- A huge embarrassment for Kim Jong Un and North Korea.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed Thursday that it has lost contact with its Envisat earth observing satellite. ESA announced in a statement that contact with Envisat was unexpectedly lost on April 8, and has yet to be restored.
- New Mexico-based Virgin Galactic, which now expects to fly its first paying customers in 2013, was told by the U.S. government that the company may fly non-U.S. citizens to the edge of space without first obtaining an export license from the State Department.
- A regulatory filing released Monday is the latest evidence that SpaceX is pursuing plans for a new spaceport on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The notice by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation states that the office is starting work on an environmental impact statement for a proposed spaceport in Cameron County, Texas, north of Brownsville, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
- The United Launch Alliance (ULA), best known in recent years for their high end payload launch services, are continuing their transition back into Human Space Flight operations. With an early history in human launches stretching back to safely sending astronaut John Glenn into space, ULA’s Atlas V is the preferred launch vehicle for several Commercial Crew suitors.
- Russia’s new Angara rocket family, which began development by Khrunichev after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, will finally fly next year after two decades of effort. Providing, of course, that work is completed in time on the rocket’s launch facility and other ground infrastructure at Plesetsk.
- Given the delays launching the year’s first Atlas 5 rocket due to high-altitude winds and scheduling conflicts with a Navy submarine missile test off Cape Canaveral, the next Atlas mission is moving out a week or so as a result. The targeted April 27 Launch date will slide into early May.
- The rocket for the planned satellite launch later this month by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been installed on the launch pad, Xinhua correspondents saw at the launch site Sunday. We shall see.
- Venus, a planet without its own magnetic field, may still be able to generate auroral activity, scientists reported this week. Data collected by Europe’s Venus Express spacecraft shows evidence of reconnection of magnetic fields in Venus’s magnetotail, a region on the opposite side of the planet from the Sun created by the solar wind’s interaction with the planet’s upper atmosphere. This reconnection, which converts magnetic energy to kinetic energy, creates auroral activity for planets with their own magnetic fields, like the Earth; scientists hypothesize this reconnection activity in Venus’s magnetotail could do the same. Similar phenomena could also take place on comets, scientists said, causing their tails to break off.
- Engineers and astronomers are celebrating the much anticipated first light of the MOSFIRE instrument, now installed on the Keck I telescope at W. M. Keck Observatory. MOSFIRE (Multi-Object Spectrometer For Infra-Red Exploration) will vastly increase the data gathering power of what is already the world’s most productive ground-based observatory.
- United Launch Alliance stated that a crew-carrying version of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket, which is slated to loft the space taxis built by Boeing, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin, requires about three more years of work. That means the rocket’s development is on track to help the companies start flying astronauts to the International Space Station by NASA’s desired 2017 start date.
- Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) “Edoardo Amaldi” raised the International Space Station’s orbit by nearly four kilometers on Thursday evening, aiding the phasing requirements for its Russian cousins. ATV-3 continues to have its power loss issue evaluated, while one of its Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) channels apparently failed on Thursday.
- A NASA panel has concluded the agency should extend the mission of Kepler, a space telescope searching for extrasolar planets, as well as a number of other current astronomy missions. NASA’s Senior Review examined the effectiveness of current astronomy missions seeking funding to extend their operations. For Kepler, the panel concluded spacecraft operations should continue through fiscal year 2016. Kepler was launched in March 2009 for a prime mission of 3.5 years. The panel also supported extending the mission of several other astronomy missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope.
- A Delta 4 rocket placed a classified military satellite into orbit on Tuesday. The Delta 4 Medium-Plus (5,2) lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:12 pm EDT (2312 GMT) Tuesday on a mission designated NROL-25 for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). United Launch Alliance (ULA) declared the launch a success, but neither it nor NRO provided additional details about the mission.
- NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) X-ray astrophysics observatory, grounded in March by concerns with its Pegasus XL rocket, will have an opportunity to launch in June. Engineering reviews of the air-launched Orbital Sciences Corp. Pegasus rocket continue, according to NASA, with officials focusing on software to be used by a new computer flying on the Pegasus for the first time.
- NASASpaceFlight has a two part series (part 1 and part 2) on preliminary design work for the Deep Space Habitat (DSH) destined to house astronauts on missions to the Moon, asteroids, the moons of Mars and Mars itself.
- A Chinese Long March rocket successfully launched a French-built communications satellite on Saturday. The Long March 3B rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 6:27 am EDT (1027 GMT, 6:27 pm Beijing time) and released the Apstar-7 satellite into a geosynchrous transfer orbit 26 minutes later. Apstar-7 is a Spacebus 4000C2 model satellite built by French company Thales Alenia Space for Hong Kong-based satellite operator APT Satellite Holdings.
- The launch of a Delta 4 rocket carrying a top-secret spy satellite has been delayed again due to the ongoing evaluation of the upper stage engine, moving the next liftoff attempt to Tuesday afternoon at 4:12 PM Phoenix time (2312 UTC) at the earliest.
- Chances are not good for tomorrow’s launch of a Delta IV carrying the NROL-25 satellite. The weather outlook continues to remain the same for Monday, with a 70 percent chance the winds will be too strong for launch or a 30 percent chance of the Delta 4 blasting off as scheduled at 4:04 PM Phoenix time (2304 UTC). United Launch Alliance has completed its assessment of the RL10B-2 upper stage engine that prompted delay of this National Reconnaissance Office mission by a few days, clearing the way for the countdown to resume on Monday.
- Europe’s ATV-3 unmanned resupply spacecraft, which docked with the ISS earlier this week, readjusted the space station’s orbit on Sunday. Two main engines of ATV-3 were switched on at 1:54 Moscow time on Sunday [21:54 GMT on Saturday] to raise the International Space Station (ISS) orbit by 1.7 km, to 389.8 km.
Posted in Asteroid, China, Commercial Space, Earth, European Space Agency, International Space Station, Jupiter, Meteor, NASA, Roscosmos, Russian Space Agency, Saturn, Solar System, Soyuz, Space Shuttle | Tagged: Angara, Apstar-7, APT Satellite Holdings, Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study, Atlas V, ATV-3, Automated Transfer Vehicle-3, Beidou, Blue Origin, Boeing, California Institute of Technology, CalTech, Cameron County, Cassini, Commercial Crew, Commercial Crew Development, CST-100, Deep Space Habitat, Delta IV, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Discovery, DPRK, Dragon, DSH, Edoardo Amaldi, EELV, Enceladus, Envisat, ESA, European Space Agency, Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, FAA, Flight Readiness Review, FRR, Hubble Space Telescope, International Space Station, ISS, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, Juice, Jupiter, Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer, Keck I, Keck Institute for Space Studies, Kepler, Khrunichev, Long March 3B, Lyrid Meteor Shower, Magnetotail, MOSFIRE, Multi-Object Spectrometer For Infra-Red Exploration, NASA, National Air and Space Museum, National Reconnaissance Office, National Space Symposium, New York City, NROL-25, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, Nunn-McCurdy, NuSTAR, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Orbital Sciences Corp, Pegasus XL, Planetary Resources, Plesetsk, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Progress M-15M, Radar Imaging Satellite, RISAT-1, RL-10, Saturn, Sierra Nevada, SLS, Soyuz-U, Space Launch System, Space Shuttle, Spacebus 4000C2, SpaceX, TDRS, Texas, Thales Alenia Space, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, ULA, United Launch Alliance, US Air Force, USAF, Venus, Virgin Galactic, Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Xinhua, Yahsat 1B, Yuri's Night | Leave a Comment »
Posted by drdave on August 4, 2010
31 October 2009
- Headlines in the space news world will talk about Masten coming from behind with only minutes to spare to beat Armadillo. See the details. Also here for Jonathon Goff’s comments.
- LROC continues with spectacular views of the Moon. Frozen Impact Melt on the far side of the Moon.
- A NASA press release announced the upcoming transfer of the Tranquility pressurized module from the the European Space Agency to NASA. Tranquility will provide room for many of the station’s life support systems. Attached to the node is a cupola, a unique work station with windows on its six sides and top. The module will be delivered to the station during space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-130 mission, targeted for launch Feb. 4, 2010.
30 October 2009
- The JAXA HTV-1 resupply spacecraft is set to depart the ISS with the latest garbage dump and burn up in the atmosphere.
- NASA is working to recover the Ares I-X first stage. One of the three parachutes collapsed, and the lower segment of the rocket buckled, possibly on impact with the ocean.
- BOOM. Two teams report in Nature on a gamma-ray burst that occurred a mere 630 million years after the Big Bang (that’s 13.1 billion years ago). It is the youngest gamma-ray burst ever seen. The previous youngest burst happened 825 million years after the Big Bang.
29 October 2009
- LROC unveils Apollo 17 landing site. Great resolution.
- The most distant object in the universe.
- Give credit where credit is due. NASA launched its first new rocket in thirty years. Successfully. Lots to be learned from the data. Cheers.
- “Ruh Roh”. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is still in “Safe” mode after six weeks. Engineers are now working to create a safeguard against that worst-case scenario as well as finding the cause of the mysterious voltage signals.
28 October 2009
- The scrubbed launch of Ares I-X is now scheduled for launch on Wednesday. There is a four-hour launch window, extending from 8 a.m. until 12 noon EDT. See NASA TV.
- The number of close encounters between objects in orbit will rise 50 per cent in the next decade, and quadruple by 2059. Countermeasures will add greatly to the cost of future missions.
- Good news for America’s Space Exploration program. “Representatives from most of the 27 member governments of the European Union (EU) on Oct. 23 expressed support for a major, if still undefined, financial investment in space exploration alongside the European Space Agency (ESA) but conceded it will take a year before they are ready to set firm budget and policy goals. Meeting here as part of the EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration, they said that by late 2010 they should be able to make initial decisions on a space exploration roadmap that includes robotic and manned missions in collaboration with the United States, Russia, Japan and other nations including China and India. They also acknowledged that the United States, which they view as the natural coordinator of a major exploration initiative, will need the next 12 months to align U.S. space exploration objectives with NASA’s likely budget.”
27 October 2009
- Following the announcement of a hole on the Moon into a sub-lunar lava tube (see below 23 October), comes the announcement of a similar find on Mars. Glen Cushing, a physicist with the US Geological Survey, discovered the series of “collapse depressions” in extinct lava flows from a Martian volcano.
- NASA publishes a list of upcoming launches.
- In a case of being in the right place at the right time, the MESSENGER spacecraft was able to capture an average-sized solar flare, allowing astronomers to study high-energy solar neutrons at less than 1 astronomical unit (AU) from the sun for the first time.
26 October 2009
- The Ares I-X is scheduled for launch on Tuesday. There is a four-hour launch window, extending from 8 a.m. until 12 noon EDT. If weather scrubs Tuesday’s attempt, the launch team will try again on Wednesday, maintaining the same launch window.
- Jeff Foust has a discussion about political and other perspectives of the Augustine Commission Report on The Space Review.
25 October 2009
- The Orlando Sentinel has an interview with Jeff Greason from the Augustine Commission: “It’s time to base U.S. space policy on the “truth”
- “A plethora of boulders surrounds braided flows of impact melt along the inside wall of crater Epigenes A.” Latest LROC image.
- Neat images on Astronaut Nicole Stott’s Blog.
24 October 2009
- Follow NASA on your iPhone with the NASA App. The App delivers up-to-the-minute NASA content directly from Agency sources in one easy-to-use mobile platform.
- Interested in the missions to Mars over the past 50 years? Check out this poster.
- Two ESA satellites are set for launch on 2 November 2009 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. SMOS will provide the data to produce global maps of soil moisture at least every three days and global maps of sea-surface salinity averaged over 30 days. Proba-2 incorporates a total of 17 technology developments and four scientific experiments that focus on solar and space weather.
23 October 2009
- A deep hole on the Moon that could open into a vast underground tunnel has been found for the first time.
- NASA has begun to shift focus toward longer range research in technology.
- JPL has completed operational testing of procedures to extract Spirit from the soft sand it became trapped in five months ago. “Current plans call for an independent panel to review Spirit driving plans in late October, following analysis of results from the readiness test. Unless that review recommends any further preparations, Spirit will probably begin extraction moves within two weeks after the review.”
22 October 2009
21 October 2009
- The New Scientist rates the five options of the Augustine Commission.
- The Russians are preparing to launch the Mini-Research Module 2, or MRM 2, aboard a Soyuz rocket on Nov. 10 at 1422 GMT (9:22 a.m. EST) for attachment to the International Space Station
20 October 2009
- NASA rolled out the Ares I-X rocket to the launch pad early this morning.
- Ames Research Center has announced the winners of the Regolith Excavation Challenge, held on Oct. 17-18, 2009. Competitors were required to use mobile, robotic digging machines capable of excavating at least 330 pounds of simulated moon dirt, known as regolith, and depositing it into a container in 30 minutes or less. The winning excavator lifted 1,103 pounds within the allotted time.
- The Orionid Meteor Shower will be in full swing tonight. Observers in the Northern Hemisphere will see around 20 meteors per hour at maximum, while observers in the Southern Hemisphere will see around 40 meteors per hour. Best viewing is thought to be around 3:00 AM Phoenix time.
19 October 2009
- The Augustine Commission is expected to release its final report on Wednesday, 21 October 2009.
- On Monday, Oct. 19 at 3pm PDT, Mr. David Thompson will join Conrad Foundation’s The Exchange webinar to discuss his thoughts on what innovation means for the Aerospace Industry, and the AIAA winners of Aerospace Exploration and Space Nutrition challenge categories. Registration is open to the public.
- NASA postponed the roll-out of the ARES I-X from this morning to tomorrow morning. Live NASA Television coverage with commentary will start at 11:45 p.m., Oct. 19
- It is expected that approval of the Range Safety waiver for the Flight Termination System on the Ares I-X rocket will be granted.
18 October 2009
17 October 2009
- NASA announced that the shepherding spacecraft did capture the plume from the impact of the Centaur rocket. “With the spacecraft returning data until virtually the last second, the thermal and near-infrared cameras returned excellent images of the Centaur impact crater at a resolution of less than 6.5 feet (2 m). The images indicate that the crater was about 92 feet (28 m) wide.”
- Sometimes progress is fast, but the results are slow coming to light. Hubble observations taken Dec. 9 and 10, 2005, showed Xena’s diameter as 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles), while Pluto has a diameter of 1442 miles. That makes the “tenth” planet the ninth largest.
- NASA has released this Cassini image of Janus, one of the moons of Saturn.
16 October 2009
- NASA has released the first all sky map from its Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft, showing the solar System’s interaction with the Milky Way’s interstellar medium.
- The 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge Oct. 17-18, with a $750,000 prize, will pit 23 teams using robots they designed and built to excavate simulated lunar soil. To qualify, a robot must dig up at least 330 pounds of regolith and deposit it into a container in 30 minutes.
- ESA astronaut Frank De Winne took over the command of the International Space Station – the first non-American and non-Russian to take on this role.
- In an Op-Ed article in the Wall Street Journal, thirteen former astronauts urged NASA to let commercial space firms handle crew to low Earth orbit. They quote Sally Ride, from the Augustine Commission, “We would like to be able to get NASA out of the business of getting people to low Earth orbit.”
15 October 2009
- Spectacular fireball over the Netherlands.
- The Planetary Society has the latest Mars rover updates for Spirit and Opportunity.
- European Space Agency (ESA) reports that an Engineering Test Unit (ETU), a test model of ESA’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) for the James Webb Space Telescope has been completed and will be shipped to NASA.
- Robert Bigelow’s open letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden about commercial cargo and crew launch.
14 October 2009
- NASA has announced an update to the IBEX Mission (Interstellar Boundary Explorer). A briefing will be held Thursday, 15 October 2009
- From the Orlando Sentinel: “People are very worried [our] efforts are a threat to Constellation rather than an enabler,” says Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut hired by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). “We don’t want to compete like that. We want to enable. We want to provide a cheap way to get to station so you can spend money to do the exciting exploration things”. Liberate the NASA exploration program from mundane tasks.
- Bunk: Apolinario Chile Pixtun, a Mayan Indian elder, is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly “running out” on Dec. 21, 2012. “I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff.”
13 October 2009
12 October 2009
- National Geographic “Map of the Day” – 50 Years of Solar System Missions.
- The Hubble Space Telescope was focused on the Moon Friday morning when the LCROSS Centaur stage and the shepherding spacecraft impacted the Moon. There was no immediate indication of the impact and additional processing is expected.
- The 60th International Astronomical Congress will be held this week in Korea. NASA Administrator Gen. Charles Bolden will attend, although he has expressed his trepidation about being abroad when the Augustine Commission releases its final report.
- Rockets and Such – we are back wandering in the desert
11 October 2009
- Read Eric Berger’s interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson says “The question is: What’s the value of visible projects by NASA in the overall portfolio to the hearts and minds of Americans? I think we have to do it, otherwise we should just close up shop and watch the rest of the world lead us into the future.”
- A Russian cosmonaut, an American astronaut and the world’s first space clown departed the International Space Station and returned to Earth, winding up their expeditions to the orbiting outpost.
- ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Frank De Winne has become the first European commander of the International Space Station this weekend. The current commander Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has left the ISS on board Soyuz TMA-16.
- Mars rover Spirit is in day 2049 of it 90 day mission and Opportunity is in day 2028 of its 90 day mission. Both are well outside their warranty date. Spirit has traveled 7,729.93 meters, and Opportunity has traveled an incredible 17,962.44 meters.
10 October 2009
- ESA (European Space Agency) Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain told the 18-nation agency’s ruling council he expects to finalize an agreement with NASA by mid-November for a 2016 launch of a 600-kilogram ESA lander that will include exobiology experiments, and a 2018 mission. NASA will supply two Atlas V rockets and will feature ESA’s rover deployed to the Mars surface by the same Sky Crane system — with the rover, attached by chord to the descent module, gently lowered to the surface — that NASA plans to use for its large Mars Science Laboratory rover to be launched in 2011.
- The LRO Diviner instrument obtained infrared observations of the LCROSS impact this morning. LRO flew by the LCROSS Centaur impact site 90 seconds after impact at a distance of ~80 km.
- Space Daily that the ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains enough oxygen to support life.
9 October 2009
- Prepare for the LCROSS impact on the Moon. Live NASA web coverage at 6:30 AM EDT, Friday (Yes, that’s 3:30 AM Phoenix time). Impact is at 4:31 AM Phoenix time.
- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: “We should not fool ourselves. We should not pretend that if we decide we’re going to take a break from human spaceflight that nobody’s going to do that. That’s not going to happen … China, Russia — they’re the natural leaders and they will ascend to leadership.”
- The New Scientist reports that while Apophis is less likely to impact the Earth in 2036, 2068 is looming as a threat.
8 October 2009
- The Augustine Commission holds its final public session via phone conference call at 10:00 AM Phoenix time. A link to the streaming audio may be found half way down on this page. Toll-free number: 1-888-373-5705 Participant Passcode: 190078
- NASA has released the refined orbit of the asteroid APOPHIS. The risk of its hitting Earth in 2036 has been reduced dropped from one-in-45,000 to about one-in-250,000.
- Masten Space Systems completed their Level 1 flight in the Lunar Lander Challenge and are awaiting a final ruling by the judges. All looks good.
7 October 2009
- NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has found a GIANT ring around Saturn. GIANT.
- ITAR reform is needed to expand U.S. exports and competitiveness.
- Boeing and Energia have announced plans to build a future common docking system.
6 October 2009
- Dr. Steve Squyres (Cornell University) has been awarded the Carl Sagan Medal by the American Astronomical Society for his work explaining the Mars Exploration Rover mission to millions of people.
- SpaceX has announced completion of acceptance testing of both the Falcon 9 first and second stages in preparation for the first flight of Falcon 9.
- Opportunity, one of two Mars rovers and now in its fifth year of a 90 day mission, has discovered another meteorite on the Martian surface.
5 October 2009
- World Space Week. “The theme this year is Space for Education. Teachers can inspire students by using the excitement of space. It’s a powerful tool to fuel their motivation to learn.”
- Dr. David Livingston’s The Space Show – “The Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, 11 AM-12:30 PM PDT Program is the special AIAA/Space Show Augustine Commission panel discussion featuring Bob Dickman, “Doc” Horowitz, Frank Culbertson, John Klineberg, Elliot Pulham, and Harrison Schmitt.” Listen Live.
- Humor – “Seti Fails“
4 October 2009
- Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Luna 3, the first to photograph the lunar farside. Details of Luna 3 are here.
- The Star Wars in Concert has performances at 2 PM and 7 PM today, Sunday.
- NASA has released the latest images from the Herschel Infrared space telescope. One of the images “reveals a cold and turbulent region where material is just beginning to condense into new stars. It is located in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, 60 degrees from the center. Blue shows warmer material, red the coolest, while green represents intermediate temperatures. The red filaments are made up of the coldest material pictured here — material that is slightly warmer than the coldest temperature theoretically attainable in the universe”. Check in with Phil Plait and his observations at Bad Astronomy.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) continues work on the Advanced Re-entry Vehicle. The vehicle is large enough to eventually give ESA access to the International Space Station for a crew of four.
3 October 2009
2 October 2009
- The Soyuz spacecraft docked with the International Space Station at 1:35 AM Phoenix time today, Friday, after executing a rendezvous burn Thursday. Image of the combined members of expedition 20 and 21.
- Jeff Greason, reflecting on his experience with the Augustine commission, said that with NASA overhead at $6-7 billion a year, “The bottom line is that they can’t afford to keep the doors open with they money they’ve got, let alone do anything with it.”
- A German team – c-base Open Moon Team – has entered the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
- The latest rumor about the release of the Augustine Commission final report comes from the Huntsville Times.
1 October 2009
- The fifth Ariane 5 of the year is poised to launch between 14:59 and 16:10 Phoenix time today, Thursday. Watch live launch coverage.
- Discover.com reports on a minor power glitch suffered by the Messanger spacecraft while making its third pass by Mercury prior to settling into orbit in 2011. glitch
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) is working on a concept that replaces large satellites with clusters of wirelessly-linked modular spacecraft flying in loose formation has the potential to drive cultural change, Aviation Week reports.
- NASA has released a study of the Scientific work done at the International Space Station during its first eight years.
- Soyuz TMA-16, launched yesterday, is scheduled to reach the International Space Station tomorrow, Friday, 2 October 2009.
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