David Kirkpatrick

August 9, 2010

ISS cooling system problem proving vexing

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:01 pm

Looks like the International Space Station crew will have to undertake a third spacewalk to attempt to repair the faulty cooling system. Best of luck to current batch of space travelers, this is a challenging issue.

From the link:

Despite making one of the longest spacewalks ever, Douglas Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson had to give up trying to remove a broken ammonia pump and retreat inside.

Disappointed managers said two more spacewalks now will be needed to replace the pump and get the International Space Station’s cooling system operating normally again. The original plan called for two spacewalks.

Another  won’t be attempted until Wednesday at the earliest. Engineers huddled following Saturday’s eight-hour, three-minute effort – the sixth longest spacewalk ever – to consider their options.

“We will get through this problem,” said space station program manager Mike Suffredini. “The challenge is to get through this problem before the next problem hits the other cooling system.”

The pump failure knocked out half of the space station’s cooling system last weekend, leaving the orbiting lab with only one good cooling loop. Another breakdown could leave the station in a precarious situation.

In this image taken from video and made available by NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock, foreground begins the first of two spacewalks to replace a broken ammonia pump Saturday Aug. 7, 2010. (AP Photo/NASA)

January 25, 2010

The spacesuit, redesigned

In prep for a new lunar mission, NASA is redesigning the spacesuit.

From the link:

If NASA returns to the moon in 2020 as planned, astronauts will step out in a brand-new space suit. It will give them new mobility and flexibility on the lunar surface while still protecting them from its harsh environment. The suit will also be able to sustain life for up to 150 hours and will even be equipped with a computer that links directly back to Earth.

The new design will also let astronauts work outside of the International Space Station (ISS) and will be suitable for trips to Mars, as outlined in NASA’s program for exploration, called Constellation. “The current suits just cannot do everything we need them to do,” saysTerry Hill, the Constellation space suit engineering project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We have a completely new design, something that has never been done before.”

NASA has proposed a plug-in-play design, so that the same arms, legs, boots, and helmets can be used with different suit torsos. “It’s one reconfigurable suit that can do the job of three specialized suits,” says Hill. The space agency has awarded a $500 million, 6.5-year contract for the design and development of the Constellation space suit to Houston-based Oceaneering International, which primarily makes equipment for deep-sea exploration. Oceaneering has partnered with the Worcester, MA-based David Clark Company, which has been developing space suits for the U.S. space agency since the 1960s.

And, most importantly, the picture:

To infinity and beyond: David Clark Company, in partnership with Oceaneering International, is designing a new U.S. space suit for missions to the space station, moon, and Mars. It has interchangeable parts, so the arms, legs, boots, and helmet can be switched. The first configuration, shown here, is designed for launch, descent, and emergency activities, while the second design is meant for lunar exploration.

Credit: Brittany Sauser

October 19, 2009

This is quite the publicity stunt

Getting the ISS involved in the marketing for “Planet 51.”

I’ll let the release hot from the inbox explain:

The International Space Station Discovers ‘Planet 51′

Upcoming Animated Comedy Hitches Ride on Space Shuttle

The Milky Way Galaxy, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ — To celebrate the Solar System Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ new animated comedy Planet 51, which will be released in theaters on Earth November 20, 2009, the film is currently orbiting the planet on the International Space Station!

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091019/LA94833)

The film was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on August 28, 2009, and was transferred to the space station by the astronauts a few days later.  The film is now cruising high above Earth at 17,500 miles per hour and orbiting the planet every 90 minutes, which is the exact running time of the movie, so it will make a full Earth orbit as the movie premieres on the ground.

In a joint statement, producers Guy Collins and Ignacio Perez said that, “Planet 51 is a fun film for all the family and one of its strong messages, particularly for children, is to not be afraid of the unknown. That is what NASA has been showing the world for 50 years and I hope that our film will encourage children to increase their understanding of the Universe and NASA’s work.”

Joshua Ravetch, a Senior Vice President at HandMade Films who arranged for the movie to get to the space station said, “What’s really amazing about this is that the movie will open day and date domestically, internationally and now, even a copy of the film will be available ‘orbitally’ circling the Earth for the astronauts to view at their leisure.”

In a photo accompanying the announcement, a disc of the film can be seen floating weightlessly in space, observing Earth as it floats by a Space Station window.  The photo mimics a shot from the film, in which Lem, an alien from Planet 51, observes his home planet from the window of a spaceship for the first time.

About the film:

Planet 51 is a galactic sized animated alien adventure comedy revolving around American astronaut Captain Charles “Chuck” Baker, who lands on Planet 51 thinking he’s the first person to step foot on it. To his surprise, he finds that this planet is inhabited by little green people who are happily living in a white picket fence world reminiscent of a cheerfully innocent 1950s America, and whose only fear is that it will be overrun by alien invaders…like Chuck! With the help of his robot companion “Rover” and his new friend Lem, Chuck must navigate his way through the dazzling, but bewildering, landscape of Planet 51 in order to escape becoming a permanent part of the Planet 51 Alien Invaders Space Museum.  The film is directed by Jorge Blanco, written by Joe Stillman, and produced by Guy Collins and Ignacio Perez Dolset.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 130 countries.  Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at www.sonypictures.com.

About HANDMADE FILMS INTERNATIONAL

HandMade is a UK public company quoted on the English Stock Exchange with offices in London and Los Angeles.  HandMade’s group activities include film production, sales and financing, and the license and exploitation of existing HandMade assets which includes ownership of a library of over 100 films.  HandMade Films International is the sales & marketing arm of the Group and is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Current films on the HandMade slate include animated CG feature Planet 51, which features the voices of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jessica Biel and Seann William Scott.  The film is released across the US on Thanksgiving weekend in November on 3,500 screens and will roll out from day & date across the rest of the world.  Cracks starring Eva Green, Juno Temple and Imogen Poots.  Executive Producer Ridley Scott’s daughter Jordan directs the film.  Other titles include 50 Dead Men Walking starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess, and 2010’s remake productions of The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa.

HandMade also owns and exploits the rights to Eloise, one of the best known and much-loved fictional characters in the United States.  A live action feature film to be directed by Charles Shyer  and featuring the mischievous character, Eloise In Paris, will shoot in Early 2010 starring Uma Thurman.

About ILION ANIMATION STUDIOS

Ilion Animation Studios was founded in 2002 to create state-of-the-art computer animated movies for worldwide theatrical release using its own purpose-built cutting-edge technology. Ilion Animation Studios and companies Zed and Pyro Studios, were founded and are run by Ignacio Perez Dolset (CEO of Ilion and Pyro) and Javier Perez Dolset (CEO of Zed).  Zed develops and markets entertainment and community products and services for mobile and the Internet. The company is the leading mobile value-added services (MVAS) player in the world in terms of revenue and geographical footprint, operating in 53 countries across 5 continents.  Pyro Studios, creator of the international best-seller video game saga Commandos is dedicated to latest generation video game development for the international market.

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091019/LA94833
http://photoarchive.ap.org/
AP PhotoExpress Network:  PRN20
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: Columbia Pictures

Web Site:  http://www.sonypictures.com/

September 10, 2009

Reporting on the International Space Station

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:51 am

News from NASA hot from this morning’s inbox:

NASA Publishes Report About International Space Station Science

HOUSTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer cells, and better materials for future spacecraft are among the results published in a NASA report detailing scientific research accomplishments made aboard the International Space Station during its first eight years.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

The report includes more than 100 science experiments ranging from bone studies to materials’ research.

“This report represents a record of science accomplishments during assembly and summarizes peer-reviewed publications to date,” said Julie Robinson, program scientist for the station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “As we enter the final year of station assembly, this report highlights the capabilities and opportunities for space station research after assembly is complete.”

One of the most compelling results reported is the confirmation that the ability of common germs to cause disease increases during spaceflight, but that changing the growth environment of the bacteria can control this virulence. The Effect of Spaceflight on Microbial Gene Expression and Virulence experiment identified increased virulence of space-flown Salmonella typhimurium, a leading cause of food poisoning. New research on subsequent station missions will target development of a vaccine for this widespread malady.

Another experiment produced a potential medical advance, demonstrating a new and powerful method for delivering drugs to targets in the human body. Microgravity research on the station was vital to development of miniature, liquid-filled balloons the size of blood cells that can deliver medicine directly to cancer cells. The research was conducted for the Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System experiment.

One of the most prolific series of investigations aboard the station tests how spacecraft materials withstand the harsh space environment. The results of the Materials International Space Station Experiment already have been used to develop solar cells for future commercial station cargo ships. This experiment has significantly reduced the time needed to develop new satellite systems, such as solar cells and insulation materials, and paved the way for materials to be used in new NASA spacecraft such as the Orion crew capsule.

The report compiles experiment results collected from the first 15 station missions, or expeditions, from 2000 to 2008. Results of some of the summarized investigations are complete. Preliminary results are available from other continuing investigations.

NASA’s research activities on the station span several scientific areas, including exploration technology development; microgravity research in the physical and biological sciences; human physiology research; Earth science and education.

The report details 22 different technology demonstrations; 33 physical science experiments; 27 biological experiments; 32 experiments focused on the human body; Earth observations and educational activities. In addition to science important to long-duration human spaceflights, most findings also offer new understanding of methods or applications relevant to life on Earth.

In 2008, station laboratory space and research facilities tripled with the addition of the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s three Kibo scientific modules, adding to the capabilities already provided in NASA’s Destiny Laboratory. In 2009, the number of crew members increased from three to six, greatly increasing crew time available for research.

The stage is set for increased station scientific return when assembly and outfitting of the research facility is completed in 2010 and its full potential as a national and international laboratory is realized. Engineers and scientists from around the world are working together to refine operational relationships and build on experiences to ensure maximum use of the expanded capabilities.

The International Space Station Program Scientist Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center published the report. A link to the full NASA Technical Publication, which provides an archival record of U.S.-sponsored research through Expedition 15, is available at:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090029998_200903090 7.pdf

For more information about the space station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

July 8, 2009

The internet — to the stars and beyond

Via KurzweilAI.net — This is just cool.

Interplanetary internet gets permanent home in space
New Scientist Space, July 6, 2009

The interplanetary Internet now has its first permanent node in space, aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

It could one day allow data to flow between Earth, spacecraft, and astronauts automatically, using delay-tolerant networking (DTN) to cope with the patchy coverage in space that arises when spacecraft pass behind planets or suffer power outages.

NASA aims to have the DTN protocol ready for use on future spacecraft by the end of 2011.

 
Read Original Article>>

June 30, 2009

Catch a view of the ISS July 4th weekend

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:13 pm

This coming weekend is a great opportunity to view the International Space Station from the ground. Think of it as satellite watching on steroids.

The release:

Space Station Appearing Nationwide Over July 4 Weekend

HOUSTON, June 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As America celebrates its 233rd birthday this holiday weekend, there will be an extra light in the sky along with the fireworks. Across the country, Americans will be treated to spectacular views of the International Space Station as it orbits 220 miles above Earth.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

Many locations will have unusually long sighting opportunities of as much as five minutes, weather permitting, as the station flies almost directly overhead.

  To find out when to see the station from your city, visit:

  http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings

The largest spacecraft ever built, the station also is the most reflective. It will be brighter than most stars at dawn and dusk, appearing as a solid, glowing light, slowly traversing the predawn or evening sky. It is visible when lit by the sun while the ground below is not in full daylight. It moves across the sky too fast for conventional telescopes, but a good set of binoculars can enhance the viewing experience, even revealing some detail of the station’s structure.

The station circles Earth every 90 minutes. It is 357 feet long, about the length of a football field including the end zones, and 45 feet tall. Its reflective solar arrays are 240 feet wide, a wingspan greater than that of a jumbo jet, and have a total surface area of more than 38,000 square feet.

An international crew of six astronauts, including American flight engineer Michael Barratt, is aboard the complex conducting research and continuing its assembly. Other crew members are from Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. For more information about the station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

March 28, 2009

Discovery lands

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:45 pm

The release from this afternoon:

NASA’S Shuttle Discovery Glides Home After Successful Mission

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Space shuttle Discovery and its crew landed at 3:14 p.m. EDT Saturday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, completing a 13-day journey of more than 5.3 million miles.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

The STS-119 flight delivered the space station’s fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station’s truss, or backbone. The additional electricity provided by the arrays will fully power science experiments and help support station operations.

During three spacewalks, astronauts installed the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and accomplished important tasks to prepare the station for future upgrades and additions later this year.

The flight also replaced a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water. Samples from the station’s Water Recovery System will be analyzed. It’s expected to take about a month for the analysis to be completed and the water to be cleared for the station crew to drink.

STS-119 spacewalkers were unable to deploy a jammed external cargo carrier on the Port 3 truss segment. It was tied safely in place. Because the issue is not yet understood, Mission Control cancelled the installation of a similar payload attachment system on the starboard side. Engineers are evaluating the problem and will address it during a future spacewalk.

On March 24, the 10 shuttle and station crew members gathered in the station’s Harmony module and spoke to President Barack Obama, members of Congress and school children from the Washington, D.C. area. From the White House’s Roosevelt Room, the president and his guests congratulated the crew on the mission and asked about a range of topics including sleeping in weightlessness to the station’s travelling speed.

Lee Archambault commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata remained aboard the station, replacing Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus, who returned to Earth on Discovery after more than four months on the station.

Acaba and Arnold are former science teachers who are now fully-trained NASA astronauts. They made their first journey into orbit and conducted critical spacewalking tasks on this flight. STS-119 was the 125th space shuttle mission, the 36th flight for Discovery and the 28th shuttle visit to the station.

With Discovery and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the launch of STS-125, targeted for May 12. Atlantis’ mission will return the space shuttle to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope for one last visit before the shuttle fleet retires in 2010. Over 11 days and five spacewalks, Atlantis’ crew will upgrade the telescope, preparing it for at least another five years of research.

  For information about the space station, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/station

  For more about the STS-119 mission and the upcoming STS-125 flight, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

March 26, 2009

Orion goes to the Mall

Fresh from the inbox:

NASA Brings Orion Spacecraft to National Mall for Public Viewing

WASHINGTON, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA will showcase the next generation of spacecraft that will return humans to the moon in a day-long public event March 30 on the National Mall in Washington. The full-size mockup of the Orion crew exploration vehicle will be parked on the Mall between 4th and 7th Streets, SW, in front of the National Air and Space Museum. Reporters are invited to attend a briefing by the vehicle at 10 a.m. EDT.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

The spacecraft mockup is on its way from water testing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division in Bethesda to open water testing in the Atlantic off the coast of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The goal of the operation, dubbed the Post-landing Orion Recovery Test, or PORT, is to determine what kind of motions the astronaut crew can expect after landing, as well as conditions outside for the recovery team.

NASA engineers and personnel will be available all day at the National Mall event to answer questions about the Orion crew module and the Constellation program.

Orion is targeted to begin carrying humans to the International Space Station in 2015 and to the moon in 2020. Along with the Ares I and Ares V rockets and the Altair lunar lander, it is part of the Constellation Program that is developing the country’s next capability for human exploration of the moon and further destinations in the solar system.

  For more information about the Orion crew capsule, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/orion

  For information about the Constellation Program, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/constellation

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

March 15, 2009

Discovery launches

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:00 pm

Good news after a few days of delay.

The release:

STS-119 Launches on Mission to Ready Station for Larger Crew

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., March 15 /PRNewswire/ — Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off today on a mission to deliver the International Space Station’s (ISS) final set of solar array wings that will help fully power science experiments and support an expanded crew of six.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080407/LAM060LOGO)

In addition to supporting the ISS with the delivery and installation of the Starboard 6 truss segment, Discovery is carrying technologies that will enhance the hardware, systems and operations of the next generation of exploration vehicles.  The mission is hosting two detailed test objectives (DTOs), or experiments, geared at gaining data to improve the next generation Constellation vehicles, and United Space Alliance played an important role in the development and implementation of both.

The Crew Seat DTO will measure the linear and vibrational acceleration of Shuttle flight deck seat three and mid-deck seats five and seven.  Each seat will have three accelerometers placed on the seat pan, the backrest, and the headrest.  Acceleration and g-loading data from this DTO will be used in conjunction with human factors data to determine the minimum readable font size during launch for the display formats on the next crew vehicle, Orion.

The Boundary Layer Transition DTO is designed to demonstrate that a protuberance on a BRI-18 thermal protection system tile is safe to fly.  Sensors on the tile, information from a long-range infrared camera and data collected by onboard instruments will help engineers evaluate the disruption of supersonic air across the BRI-18 tile, which is currently being considered for use on Orion.

“This mission exemplifies that the Shuttle is a reliable and versatile vehicle that has served and continues to serve our human space exploration needs well,” said Mark Nappi, USA Vice President Launch & Recovery Systems and Florida Site Executive.  “Its unique capabilities are being used as a test bed for experiments that directly impact the future of space flight.”

Since its first operational mission, STS-5, the Shuttle has hosted an array of tests and demonstrations that have enabled advancements in various fields including large scale assembly operations and multi-disciplinary sciences.

Large scale assembly operations on previous missions paved the way for current ISS construction work.  The EASE/ACCESS test on STS-61B challenged astronauts to construct the first large structures in space.  Crew members assembled small components to form larger structures, similar to what is done today in Station assembly.

Science conducted on previous missions demonstrated the ability of the Shuttle to support progressive research over long periods of time. STS-9 was the first flight of the Spacelab system that was designed for on-orbit scientific research in fields ranging from astronomy and meteorology to life science experiments that shed light on how the human body responds to microgravity.  This and subsequent Spacelab missions established research protocols and methodologies for long-duration space flight.

“Throughout its history, the Shuttle has served as a proving ground for establishing a productive and permanent human presence in space,” said Nappi.  “Its dynamic capabilities have resulted in continuing safety and performance improvements for the current system, as well as a wealth of knowledge that benefits future human space flight endeavors.”

About United Space Alliance:

United Space Alliance is a world leader in space operations with extensive experience in all aspects of the field. Headquartered in Houston, USA has 10,000 employees working in Texas, Florida and Alabama. Currently, USA is applying its broad range of capabilities to NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs as well as to space operations customers in the commercial and international space industry sectors.

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080407/LAM060LOGO
http://photoarchive.ap.org/
Source: United Space Alliance

March 12, 2009

Latest news on space shuttle Discovery

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:02 pm

A release fresh from the inbox:

NASA Holds Briefing Friday on Status of Space Shuttle Discovery

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA managers will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, March 13, to discuss the status of space shuttle Discovery’s launch to the International Space Station. Launch currently is targeted for no earlier than March 15 at 7:43 p.m. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency Web site.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

The shuttle launch was postponed Wednesday due to a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank. The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from the launch pad.

Discovery’s STS-119 flight will deliver the space station’s fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station’s truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station’s expanded crew of six in May. The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water.

For information about NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

  For information about the space station, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/station

  For the latest information about the STS-119 mission and its crew, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

March 11, 2009

Space shuttle Discovery’s launch postponed

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:51 pm

The release:

NASA Shuttle Launch Targeted for No Earlier Than March 15

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Space shuttle Discovery’s launch to the International Space Station now is targeted for no earlier than March 15. NASA managers postponed Wednesday’s planned liftoff due to a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank. The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from the launch pad.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

Liftoff on March 15 would be at 7:43 p.m. EDT. The exact launch date is dependent on the work necessary to repair the problem. Managers will meet Thursday at 4 p.m. to further assess the troubleshooting plan.

Discovery’s STS-119 flight is delivering the space station’s fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station’s truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station’s expanded crew of six in May. The 14-day mission will feature four spacewalks to help install the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and the deployment of its solar arrays. The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water.

Commander Lee Archambault is joined on STS-119 by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace space station crew member Sandra Magnus, who has been aboard the station for more than four months. He will return to Earth during the next station shuttle mission, STS-127, targeted to launch in June 2009.

  For the latest information about the STS-119 mission and its crew, visit:
  http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

  For information about the International Space Station, visit:
  http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

March 6, 2009

Space shuttle Discovery to launch March 11

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:42 am

A NASA release fresh from the inbox:

NASA Gives ‘Go’ for Space Shuttle Launch on March 11

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA managers completed a review Friday of space shuttle Discovery’s readiness for flight and selected the official launch date for the STS-119 mission. Commander Lee Archambault and his six crewmates are now scheduled to lift off to the International Space Station at 9:20 p.m. EDT on March 11.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

Discovery’s launch date was announced following Friday’s Flight Readiness Review. During the meeting, top NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle’s equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight.

The review included a formal presentation of the shuttle’s flow control valve work, initiated after NASA identified damage to a valve on shuttle Endeavour during its November 2008 flight. Using a detailed inspections, there are three valves that have been cleared of crack indications now installed in Discovery to support the STS-119 mission.

The three flow control valves, one for each space shuttle main engine, channel gaseous hydrogen from the engines through the main propulsion system and back to the external fuel tank. This flow regulation maintains the tank’s structural integrity and delivers liquid hydrogen to the engines at the correct pressure.

Discovery’s STS-119 flight will deliver the space station’s fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station’s truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station’s expanded crew of six in May. The 14-day mission will feature four spacewalks to help install the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and the deployment of its solar arrays. The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water.

Archambault will be joined on STS-119 by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace space station crew member Sandra Magnus, who has been aboard the station for more than four months. He will return to Earth during the next station shuttle mission, STS-127, targeted to launch in June 2009.

Former science teachers Acaba and Arnold are now fully-trained NASA astronauts. They will make their first journey to orbit on the mission and step outside the station to conduct critical spacewalking tasks.

For more information about the upcoming shuttle flights, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

February 19, 2009

NASA message for teachers and students

Filed under: Media, Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:47 pm

A release from a little while ago:

NASA Teachers Turned Astronauts Have Messages For Educators and Students

HOUSTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA astronauts and educators Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold, members of the next space shuttle crew, have special announcements for teachers and students.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

The messages from Acaba and Arnold, both former middle and high school science teachers, urge students and educators to take advantage of teaching materials on NASA’s Web site as a compliment to their mission. Acaba’s video also is available in Spanish.

The brief messages will air on NASA Television’s video file beginning Friday, Feb. 20.

The 14-day STS-119 shuttle mission will install a final set of solar arrays on the International Space Station and includes four spacewalks. Acaba and Arnold will conduct two and three spacewalks, respectively. The educational materials focus on NASA’s spacesuits.

To view the educational materials and the astronauts’ messages on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education/spacesuits

  For NASA TV downlink information and streaming video, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

February 12, 2009

Satellite collision over Siberia

Wow. I bet we see more of this as space becomes more cluttered. We may end up cutting ourselves off from space travel simply by filling the geoorbit with inert space trash.

From the link:

Two big communications satellites collided in the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station.

NASA said it will take weeks to determine the full magnitude of the crash, which occurred nearly 500 miles over Siberia on Tuesday.

“We knew this was going to happen eventually,” said Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA believes any risk to the space station and its three astronauts is low. It orbits about 270 miles below the collision course. There also should be no danger to the space shuttle set to launch with seven astronauts on Feb. 22, officials said, but that will be re-evaluated in the coming days.

The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be nonfunctioning. The Russian satellite was out of control, Matney said.

The Iridium craft weighed 1,235 pounds, and the Russian craft nearly a ton.

Here’s a few space junk facts from the article:

  • At the beginning of this year there were roughly 17,000 pieces of manmade debris orbiting Earth
  • From this collision — As for pieces the size of micrometers, the count will likely be in the thousands
  • Litter in orbit has increased in recent years, in part because of the deliberate breakups of old satellites.
  • Iridium satellites are unusual because their orbit is so low and they move so fast.

February 3, 2009

Shuttle launch no earlier than February 19

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:40 pm

A release from NASA:

Shuttle Discovery Launch now no Earlier than Feb. 19

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — During a review of space shuttle Discovery’s readiness for flight, NASA managers decided Tuesday to plan a launch no earlier than Feb. 19. The new planning date is pending additional analysis and particle impact testing associated with a flow control valve in the shuttle’s main engines.

Discovery’s STS-119 mission to the International Space Station originally had been targeted for Feb. 12.

The valve is one of three that channels gaseous hydrogen from the engines to the external fuel tank. One of these valves in shuttle Endeavour was found to be damaged after its mission in November. As a precaution, Discovery’s valves were removed, inspected and reinstalled.

The Space Shuttle Program will convene a meeting on Feb. 10 to assess the analysis. On Feb. 12, NASA managers and contractors will finalize the flight readiness review, which began Tuesday, to address the flow control valve issue and to select an official launch date.

The 14-day mission will deliver the station’s fourth and final set of solar arrays, completing the orbiting laboratory’s truss, or backbone. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station’s expanded crew of six in May. Altogether, the station’s 240-foot-long arrays can generate as much as 120 kilowatts of usable electricity — enough to provide about forty-two 2,800-square-foot homes with power.

Discovery also will carry a replacement distillation assembly for the station’s new water recycling system. The unit is part of the Urine Processing Assembly that removes impurities from urine in an early stage of the recycling process. The Water Recovery System was delivered and installed during the STS-126 mission in November, but the unit failed after Endeavour’s departure.

Joining Archambault on STS-119 will be Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, Richard Arnold, John Phillips, Steve Swanson and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace Sandra Magnus aboard the station. She will return home with the Discovery crew after three months in space.

Former science teachers Acaba and Arnold are now fully-trained NASA astronauts. They will make their first journey to orbit on the mission and step outside the station to conduct critical spacewalking tasks.

STS-119 will be Discovery’s 36th mission and the 28th shuttle flight dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.

For more information about the STS-119 mission, including images and interviews, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/
http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

December 19, 2008

Astronauts to drink own pee

Actually this is a great thing and will drastically improve the International Space Station.

From the link:

A new comprehensive life-support system for the International Space Station (ISS) centers on a water recycling system whose specially designed filters and chemical processes cleanse waste liquids–notably astronauts’ urine and perspiration–so that they become refreshing, drinkable water.

The system, which can produce 2,800 liters of water per year, is fundamentally important because it allows the ISS to house six crew members, up from three, and reduces how much fresh water must be expensively blasted off from Earth inside the Space Shuttle, says Bob Bagdigian, the project manager for the ISS life-support system project, which includes the water recovery system.

“It is a critical part for the next life of the station,” says Mary Beth Edeen, manager of the hardware projects office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in Houston. “It is like a sewage treatment plant and a water treatment plant all in one.” Such a system would be a key to future human trips to the moon and, someday, to Mars.

The system was developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, AL. It went into orbit in November onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour and was installed in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory on the ISS. It is currently being tested–samples were collected and returned to Earth on the shuttle for analysis–and is expected to be fully operational by May 2009.

The system is most notable for its ability to turn an astronaut’s urine into drinkable water. “Distilling urine in space with the absence of gravity is a significant challenge,” says Bagdigian. To compensate for the microgravity environment, the NASA engineers developed a centrifuge-like pretreatment system.

November 30, 2008

Endeavour lands safely

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:30 pm

The release:

NASA’s Shuttle Endeavour Glides Home After Successful Mission

EDWARDS, Calif., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew landed at 1:25 p.m. PST Sunday at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing a 16-day journey of more than 6.6 million miles.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

The STS-126 mission featured important repair work and prepared the International Space Station to house six crew members on long-duration missions beginning next year. The new station equipment includes a water recovery system, additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet and an exercise device. During four spacewalks, the crew serviced the station’s two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow its solar arrays to track the sun, and installed new hardware that will support future assembly missions.

Chris Ferguson commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus remained aboard the station, replacing Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff, who returned to Earth on Endeavour after more than five months on the station.

Weather concerns prevented the crew from returning to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the primary end-of-mission landing site. In 7-10 days, Endeavour will be transported approximately 2,500 miles from California to Florida on the back of a modified 747 jumbo jet. Once at Kennedy, Endeavour will be separated from the aircraft to begin immediate processing for its next flight, targeted for May 2009.

STS-126 was the 124th space shuttle mission, the 22nd flight for Endeavour and the 27th shuttle visit to the station.

With Endeavour and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the launch of STS-119, targeted for Feb. 12, 2009. Discovery will deliver the final pair of U.S. solar arrays, which will be installed on the starboard end of the station’s truss. The truss serves as the backbone support for external equipment and spare components.

Lee Archambault will command the 14-day flight that will include four planned spacewalks. Joining him will be Pilot Tony Antonelli, Mission Specialists John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Joseph Acaba and Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will replace Magnus on the station as a flight engineer.

For more about the STS-126 mission and the upcoming STS-119 mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

  For more about the International Space Station, visit:

                       http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  NewsCom:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web site:  http://www.nasa.gov/
http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
http://www.nasa.gov/station

November 28, 2008

Endeavour set for Sunday landing

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:34 pm

The release from a few minutes ago:

Space Shuttle Endeavour Set to Land Sunday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The space shuttle Endeavour crew is expected to complete its mission to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:19 p.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 30. This will conclude a 16-day flight, 11 of which were spent docked to the station.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

The STS-126 mission began Nov. 14 and prepared the space station to house six crew members for long-duration missions. The new station cargo includes a water recovery system, additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet and a resistance exercise device. During four spacewalks, the crew serviced the station’s two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow its solar arrays to track the sun, and installed new equipment in support of future assembly missions. The flight also delivered station resident Sandra Magnus to the outpost. Greg Chamitoff will return to Earth aboard Endeavour after spending more than five months aboard the complex.

The entry flight control team in Mission Control, Houston, will evaluate weather conditions at Kennedy before permitting Endeavour to return to Earth. Sunday landing opportunities at Kennedy are at 1:19 p.m. and 2:54 p.m.  The secondary landing site at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., will be activated Sunday for consideration as well. The opportunities at Edwards are 4:24 p.m. and 5:59 p.m.

Approximately two hours after landing, NASA officials will hold a media briefing to discuss the mission. The participants will be:

  — Michael Griffin, NASA administrator
  — Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations
  — Mike Leinbach, NASA space shuttle launch director

After touchdown in Florida, the astronauts will undergo physical examinations and meet with their families. The STS-126 crew is expected to hold a news conference at approximately 6 p.m. Sunday.  Both news events will be broadcast live on NASA Television.

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

  For the latest information about the STS-126 mission, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

  For more on the International Space Station, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  NewsCom:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

November 14, 2008

Endeavour launches

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:28 pm

The release:

NASA’s Shuttle Endeavour Launches on Home Improvement Mission

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 7:55 p.m. EST Friday to repair and remodel the International Space Station.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

Endeavour’s STS-126 mission will carry to space about 32,000 pounds, which includes supplies and equipment necessary to double the crew size from three to six members in spring 2009. The new station cargo includes additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet, a water reclamation system and a resistance exercise device.

The mission’s four planned spacewalks primarily will focus on servicing the station’s two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow the outpost’s solar arrays to track the sun. The starboard SARJ has had limited use since September 2007.

Shortly before launch, Commander Chris Ferguson thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible.

“It’s our turn to take home improvement to a new level after 10 years of International Space Station construction,” he said. “Endeavour is good to go.”

Joining Ferguson on Endeavour’s 15-day flight are Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus will replace current station crew member Greg Chamitoff, who has lived on the outpost since June. She will return to Earth on Discovery’s STS-119 mission, targeted for February 2009.

NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Endeavour’s mission, which is the 124th shuttle flight, the 22nd for Endeavour and the 27th shuttle mission to the station. NASA Television features live mission events, daily mission status news conferences and 24-hour commentary. NASA TV is webcast at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

NASA’s Web coverage of STS-126 includes current mission information, interactive features, news conference images, graphics and videos. Mission coverage, including the latest NASA TV schedule, also is available on the main space shuttle Web site at:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Daily news conferences with STS-126 mission managers will take place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. During normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Please contact your preferred NASA facility by its daily close of business to confirm its availability before each event.

On Monday, Nov. 17, the mission status briefing at 3:30 p.m. EST will include NASA’s International Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini. He will discuss the station’s upcoming 10th anniversary. The station’s first element, the Zarya module, was launched on Nov. 20, 1998. The briefing will originate from Johnson. NASA Television’s Video File will broadcast highlights from the station’s past 10 years, beginning at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17.

  For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Johnson will operate a telephone bridge for media briefings that occur outside of normal business hours. To be eligible to use this service, reporters must possess a valid media credential issued by a NASA center or for the STS-126 mission. Media planning to use the service must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of a briefing in which they wish to participate. Newsroom personnel will verify their credentials and transfer them to the phone bridge. The capacity of the phone bridge is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For information about the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

October 22, 2008

Space shuttle Endeavour prepping for November launch

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:18 pm

The release:

NASA’s Shuttle Endeavour Moves to Launch Pad, Practice Liftoff Set

Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to move from Launch Pad 39B to Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., as early as 8 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, as preparations for the STS-126 mission move forward. Endeavour is targeted to lift off Nov. 14 to the International Space Station.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

Early Thursday morning, NASA managers will decide when to move the shuttle based on the progress of removing the payload canister from the pad following installation into the pad’s changeout room.

The payload was delivered to Pad A early Wednesday morning. Endeavour had been scheduled to move Saturday, Oct. 25, but possibly severe weather now is forecast for the area.

The latest information about the rollaround will be available by calling 321-867-2525.

NASA Television will provide live video of Endeavour’s rollaround beginning at 8 a.m. Video highlights of the rollout will air on the NASA TV Video File.

Reporters with Kennedy credentials for this event are invited to a photo opportunity of the move and interview availability with Endeavour Flow Director Ken Tenbusch at 1:30 p.m. For the photo opportunity, media need to be at Kennedy’s News Center by 7 a.m. for transportation to the viewing site. For the Tenbusch interview, media need to be at the News Center at 12:30 p.m. for transportation to the launch pad.

The move will take approximately seven hours. After reaching its launch pad, Endeavour will await its next major milestone. A launch dress rehearsal, known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, is scheduled to take place at Kennedy from Oct. 27 to 29.

During Endeavour’s 15-day mission, the shuttle’s seven crew members will deliver supplies and equipment necessary to double the station crew size from three to six members and during four spacewalks, service the station’s two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow its solar arrays to track the sun. The shuttle also will deliver Expedition 18 crew member Sandra Magnus and return Expedition 17 flight engineer Greg Chamitoff, who has been aboard the station for more than five months.

Chris Ferguson will command Endeavour. Eric Boe is the pilot. Mission specialists are Steve Bowen, Shane Kimbrough, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Donald Pettit and Magnus.

The Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test provides each shuttle crew with an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training.

The following media events are associated with the test. All times are Eastern.

– Oct. 26: STS-126 crew arrival. The crew will arrive between 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Shuttle Landing Facility and make a statement. Arrival will be broadcast live on NASA TV.

– Oct. 28: STS-126 crew media availability. The astronauts will take questions from reporters at Launch Pad 39A at 8:30 a.m. The session will be carried live on NASA TV.

– Oct. 29: STS-126 crew walkout photo opportunity. The astronauts will depart from the Operations and Checkout Building at 7:45 a.m. in their flight entry suits in preparation for the countdown demonstration test at the launch pad. The walkout will not be broadcast live but will be part of the NASA TV Video File.

Schedule updates are available by calling 321-867-2525.

To attend crew arrival, reporters must pick up badges before 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at the Kennedy Badging Facility on State Road 405. For information about covering these events, including proper attire and meeting locations, credentialed media should visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/media.html

Video b-roll of the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test will be available on the NASA TV Video File. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

  For more information about the STS-126 mission and crew, visit:

  http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

  /PRNewswire-USNewswire – Oct. 22/

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   
Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/