Archive for the ‘Space’ Category
LONGUEUIL, Que. – Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became a worldwide sensation thanks to his tweets, musical performances and stunning photos from the International Space Station, was back on the ground Monday night.
Hadfield touched down in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz capsule which was also carrying Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn – the same pair the Canadian astronaut blasted off with on Dec. 19, 2012.
During his five-month mission at the International Space Station, the 53-year-old space veteran became the first Canadian to command the orbiting laboratory.
It looks like the Soyuz capsule heated up real good!
An Antares rocket, one of two launchers developed with NASA backing to fly cargo capsules to the International Space Station, blasted off on its debut mission on Sunday, successfully depositing a dummy spacecraft into orbit.
Launch from a new commercial spaceport on Wallops Islands, Virginia, had been delayed from last week by a technical problem and two days of bad weather.
By Sunday, the skies had cleared and the 13-story rocket — the biggest ever to fly from the Wallops Flight Facility — lifted off its seaside launch pad precisely at 5 p.m. EDT.
An onboard camera showed the rocket riding a bright pillar of flame as it hurtled over the Atlantic Ocean, heading toward an orbit 158 miles above Earth.
With the 4-ton dummy Cygnus capsule safely deposited into orbit, the Orbital Sciences mission control team broke into cheers and applause. They will regroup for a second and final Antares test flight slated for late June or early July when a real Cygnus capsule will attempt to fly itself to the station.
NASA hired Orbital Sciences and startup Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to fly cargo to the station following the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011.
SpaceX completed three test flights and last year began the first of 12 supply runs to the station under a $1.6 billion contract. NASA also contributed $396 million toward development and testing of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule.
Orbital has one more test flight under its $288 million development contract before it is clear to begin the first of eight planned cargo runs under a $1.9-billion NASA contract. (Orbital’s Cygnus capsule is larger and can carry more cargo than SpaceX’s Dragon, hence the price difference.)
“It’s been a long slog,” NASA administrator Charlie Bolden told the Orbital Sciences launch team after the mission. “It’s absolutely incredible what this team has done.”
NASA radioed the space station crew about the successful test flight.
“Wahoo, that’s super, that’s great news,” said station commander Chris Hadfield. “Good for them. Congratulations to all concerned. That bodes well for all of our futures.”
The dummy capsule is expected to remain in orbit for about two weeks before it will be pulled back into the atmosphere by Earth’s gravity and incinerate.
||Medium expendable launch system
|Country of origin
||40.5 m (133 ft)
||3.9 m (12.8 ft)
||~240,000 kg (530,000 lb)
||2 to 3
|Payload to LEO
||5,000 kg (11,000 lb)
||Athena III Delta II
||April 21, 2013
The two giant ships, a NASA-like mission control and a launch pad floating on the ocean, form part of an audacious, outrageously expensive, multi-national venture for blasting commercial satellites into space. Sea Launch was established in 1995 as a consortium of four companies from Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States, managed by Boeing with participation from the other shareholders. Operated by the Russians, this commercial spacecraft launch service uses a mobile sea platform for equatorial launches of payloads on specialized Zenit 3SL rockets. Since the first rocket flight on March 1999, it has assembled and launched thirty-one rockets, with three failures and one partial failure.
But why launch from the sea when there are land based launching sites, you may ask? Launching from a vessel allows engineers to move the launch pad closer to the equator of the earth, and take advantage of the greater rotational speed of the Earth to provide an extra boost to the launch. Earth’s rotation speed at the equator is 1,674 km/hr. In contrast, the rotational speed of the Earth at Kennedy Space Center, for example, which is located at 28.59° North latitude, is 1,470.23 km per hour. Rockets launched from near the equator thus gains an additional 200 km/hr boost, compared to those launched from Kennedy Space Center.
Launching satellites into geosynchronous orbit (allowing the satellite to keep pace with the earth’s rotation) from the equator has another advantage: there is no need to change plane, as the satellites are launched from the same plane as that of the geostationary orbit. This provides another boost as no energy is spent orienting the vehicle. This allows 17.5%-25% more mass to be launched to geostationary orbit than the same rocket launched from Kennedy Space Center.
The ship and launch platform operate from the home port in Long Beach, California., where the customer satellite is encapsulated in a Boeing-built fairing/adapter. The satellite is moved to the ship, where it is mated to the three-stage rocket, which then is moved to the launch platform for transportation to the launch site, where it is moved into upright position. The rocket is automatically fueled and launched as engineers and customers control events from the nearby command ship.
Sea Launch rockets are assembled in Long Beach, California. The typical assembly is done on board the Assembly and Command Ship (the payload is first tested, fueled and encapsulated in the nearby Payload Processing Facility). The rocket is then transferred to a horizontal hangar on the self-propelled launch platform.
Following rocket tests, both ships then sail about 4,828 km to the equator at 154° West Longitude,
0°N 154°W / 0°N 154°W / 0; -154, in international waters about 370 km from Kiritimati, Kiribati. The platform travels the distance in about 11 days, the command ship in about eight days.
With the platform ballasted to its launch depth of 22 m, the hangar is opened, the rocket is mechanically moved to a vertical position, and the launch platform crew evacuates to the command ship which moves about five kilometers away. Then, with the launch platform unmanned, the rocket is fueled and launched. The final ten seconds before launch are called out simultaneously in English and Russian.
||EchoStar IX/Telstar 13
||Telstar 14/Estrela do Sul 1
||Atlantic Bird 7
The astonishing 90-mile high solar eruption on the Sun’s surface that burns at 4MILLION degrees C
- Pictures provide evidence of magnetic ‘braids’ that play a key role in heating the Sun’s atmosphere
- They occur when the swirling of plasma in the Sun’s surface wraps magnetic fields around each other
Spectacular pictures of the Sun’s 90-mile high solar eruptions have been captured in the highest ever resolution by NASA scientists.
The images of the star’s outer atmosphere provide evidence of magnetic ‘braids’ believed to heat this region up to four million degrees Celsius.
A collage of solar images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows how Nasa has captured the solar surface in different wavelengths
NASA used the High-resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) launched on a rocket last July that obtained roughly five minutes of data before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
The extreme-ultraviolet telescope looks at coronal plasma with temperatures of around 1.5 million degrees Celsius – and has a resolution five times higher than previously achieved.
NEAR SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE — A massive new telescope that will unveil the faintest, most distant objects in our universe is officially inaugurated today, with great fanfare and anticipation from the world’s astronomical community. Scientists gathered in the desolate Chilean Andes this week say the new Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array could revolutionize cosmology. It it is the largest, most complex and most ambitious telescope project in history.
ALMA, whose acronym means “soul” in Spanish, will uncover some of the most mysterious and yet most common phenomena in the cosmos. From its perch on the 16,400-foot Chajnantor Plateau, it will see the birth pangs of stars, the collision of cosmic crumbs that turn into planets, and possibly even the formation of moons around faraway worlds.
“This is much more than an astronomers’ observatory. ALMA will allow us to get deeper into this universe, but also to get deeper into our own nature, and our own lives,” said the president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera. “The native Chilean people that lived here since 10,000 years ago knew this from the beginning. In their native language, Chajnantor means ‘point of observation.’ … We know that Chile is a very small country, but with your help, in astronomy, we want to become a real giant.”
Pinera led a delegation of luminaries who drove on winding unpaved roads, past grazing llamas and looming cactus, before traipsing through the soft gray dirt at ALMA’s Operations Support Facility.
A week prior to the ceremony, a shaman and other indigenous Andeans traveled to the array and blessed the telescope’s antennas. Even the astronauts orbiting Earth on the International Space Station joined in the celebration with a surprise message Wednesday. Along with future observatories, including the James Webb Space Telescope, ALMA “will enable the exploration of the universe with unprecedented power,” said Chris Hadfield, who recently turned over the commander’s seat. “We congratulate the scientific communities of North America, and Europe and east Asia. …”Enjoy your new discoveries.”
The ceremonies Wednesday capped 30 years of planning and a decade of construction. The U.S. spent $500 million on the ALMA project, making it the largest investment ever by the National Science Foundation in any facility in the world, according to Subra Suresh, the outgoing director of NSF. Along with its potential for groundbreaking new science, the technology behind ALMA will translate to countless new innovations we might not even imagine now, he said–just as the Apollo moon program set off new products that had nothing to do with the moon.
“We put man on the moon before we put wheels on a suitcase, but wheels on a suitcase is also an important innovation,” he said. “ALMA will not only lead to innovations [in astronomy], it will lead to many, many seemingly small innovations that will improve humanity.”
The technology that makes ALMA possible only came into existence in the past few years, astronomers said. Throughout its expected 30-year lifetime, it can also be upgraded with even more powerful receivers that could probe even deeper.
“There’s no way this could have happened any sooner, because the technology is state-of-the-art,” said Alison Peck, former head of ALMA commissioning and now an associate scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, an ALMA partner.
What is ALMA?
Half of all light in the universe is in millimeter-wavelength light between the far infrared and radio waves. ALMA can detect this light, which is emitted by cool objects and distant objects. It’s possible thanks to the telescope’s location at 16,400 feet in the driest desert on Earth, and because of the incredible precision of its 66 antennas.
All telescopes are limited in their angular resolution by the ratio of their aperture to the wavelength they observe, explained Michael Thornburn, head of the ALMA department of engineering. ALMA is an aperture synthesis telescope.
“We cannot make a single aperture 15 kilometers across, so we do it in pieces,” he said. “The signals from individual dishes are combined to build up the image from a single large aperture.”
Radio signals from distant cosmic sources arrive at each dish at ever-so-slightly different times, and these are combined with the signals from every other antenna. This technique, interferometry, allows ALMA to operate like a single huge dish with an adaptable radius.
In a carefully choreographed ballet, each dish moves in unison with the others to change the telescope’s observing area. Along with moving in place, giant transporter trucks, specially designed for the dishes, can pick them up and cart them across the Chajnantor Plateau to one of 192 concrete pads. At their greatest distance apart–16 kilometers–ALMA’s angular resolution will be equivalent to the Hubble Space Telescope, Peck said.
ALMA is observing sources that are 10 times weaker than those observed with other arrays, explained Pierre Cox, ALMA’s incoming director. This is key to ALMA’s capability for observing phenomena like star formation, he said.
“Future observations should allow us to detect dark matter substructure and shed light on its nature,” he added.
There’s much more to learn about how ALMA works, and why astronomers are so excited about it–stay tuned for more dispatches from the Atacama.
Meteorite crash in Russia: UFO fears spark panic in the Urals
A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteor shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones stopped working.
A bright flash was seen in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan.
Lifenews tabloid reported that at least one piece of the fallen object caused damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk. According to preliminary reports, it crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the fiber-optic connections of internet providers and mobile operators.
Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it resembled an earthquake and thunder at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.
Police in the Chelyabinsk region are reportedly on high alert, and have enacted the ‘Fortress’ plan in order to protect vital infrastructure.
Office buildings in downtown Chelyabinsk are being evacuated. Injuries were reported at one of the city’s secondary schools, supposedly from smashed windows. No other injuries have been reported so far.
An emergency message published on the website of the Chelyabinsk regional authority urged residents to pick up their children from school and remain at home if possible.
The regional Emergency Ministry said the phenomenon was a meteorite shower, but locals have speculated that it was a military fighter jet crash or a missile explosion.
“According to preliminary data, the flashes seen over the Urals were caused by [a] meteorite shower,” the Emergency Ministry told Itar-Tass news agency.
The Emergency Ministry reported that no civil aircraft were damaged by the meteorite shower, and that “all flights proceed according to schedule.” No local power stations were damaged, either.
Residents of the town of Emanzhilinsk, some 50 kilometers from Chelyabinsk, said they witnessed a flying object that suddenly burst into flames, broke apart and fell to earth. A black cloud was reported hanging above the town.
Witnesses in Chelyabinsk said the city’s air smells like gunpowder.
This is the first time a non-American/Russian has commanded the I.S.S. Hadfield is definitely a man who has the right stuff.
Chris Hadfield, (born 29 August 1959) is a Canadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space. A former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions, STS-74 in 1995 and STS-100 in 2001, and served as capsule communicator for both Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) expeditions. On 19 December 2012, Hadfield launched in the Soyuz TMA-07M flight for a long duration stay on board the ISS as part of Expedition 35. He arrived at the station on 21 December as scheduled, and is the first Canadian to command the ISS.
Hadfield attended White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario until his senior year and then graduated as an Ontario Scholar from Milton District High School in 1977. As a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, he earned a glider pilot scholarship at age 15 and a powered pilot scholarship at age 16. After graduating from high school in 1978, he joined the Canadian Forces and spent two years at Royal Roads Military College followed by two years at the Royal Military College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1982. Before graduating, he also underwent basic flight training at CFB Portage la Prairie. In 1983, he took honours as the top graduate from Basic Jet Training at CFB Moose Jaw, and then went on to train as a tactical fighter pilot with 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron at CFB Cold Lake, flying the Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter and the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet. After completing his fighter training, Hadfield flew CF-188 Hornets with 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying intercept missions for NORAD. He was the first CF-188 pilot to intercept a Soviet Tupolev Tu 95 long-range bomber in the Canadian Arctic.
In the late 1980s, Hadfield attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base and served as an exchange officer with the U.S. Navy at Strike Test Directorate at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. His accomplishments from 1989 to 1992 included testing the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and LTV A-7 Corsair II aircraft; performing research work with NASA on pitch control margin simulation and flight; completing the first military flight of F/A-18 enhanced performance engines; piloting the first flight test of the National Aerospace Plane external burning hydrogen propulsion engine; developing a new handling qualities rating scale for high angle-of-attack test; and participating in the F/A-18 out-of-control recovery test program.
In 1993, Hadfield conducted post-graduate research and obtained a master’s degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. In total, Hadfield has flown over 70 different types of aircraft.
Hadfield was selected to become one of four new Canadian astronauts from a field of 5,330 applicants in June 1992. Three of those four (Dafydd Williams, Julie Payette and Hadfield) have flown in space. He was assigned by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in August of the same year, where he addressed technical and safety issues for Shuttle Operations Development, contributed to the development of the glass shuttle cockpit, and supported shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. In addition, Hadfield was NASA’s Chief CAPCOM, the voice of mission control to astronauts in orbit, for 25 space shuttle missions. From 1996 to 2000, he represented CSA astronauts and coordinated their activities as the Chief Astronaut for the CSA.
Hadfield served as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-74 in November 1995. It was NASA’s second space shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. During the flight, the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis attached a five-tonne docking module to Mir and transferred over 1,000 kg of food, water, and scientific supplies to the cosmonauts. He flew as the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit, and the only Canadian ever to board Mir.
In April 2001, he served as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-100, International Space Station (ISS) assembly Flight 6A. The crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered and installed Canadarm2, the new Canadian-built robotic arm, as well as the Italian-made resupply module Raffaello. During the 11-day flight, Hadfield performed two spacewalks, which made him the first Canadian to ever leave a spacecraft and float freely in space. In total, Hadfield spent 14 hours, 50 minutes outside, traveling 10 times around the world during his spacewalk.
Hey, he’s from southern Ontario, he has to be a Leafs fan.
Iran sends monkey into space
Iran has apparently sent a live monkey into space in a capsule, which was later retrieved intact.
There is however, a somber end to this story. Iranian Monkey Astronaut One grabbed a banana from the V.I.P. bowl while he was being transferred to the interrogation room. Under Iranian Sharia Law this is a Amputatable Offense (“the goat that steals the extra carrot must have a hoof chopped off”, (Mohammad-book 12-verse 8958- paragraph 4- line 2- word 8). The leading Iranian beheader and amputator, Moschsa Allibadallmohamid, performed the amputation of Monkey One. He had to be hounded by the Sharia Mullah to find the time, Moschsa was busy executing 19 men and 4 women for offenses varying from jaywalking to heroin trafficking.
The Iranians have never mentioned the conditionof Monkey One. Doesn’t look good for that simian.
Are those Iranian devils developing an intercontinental ballistic missile for their nuclear warheads!!?