Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The NASA review covered twenty-three specific hazards, with extra attention paid to the danger of collision -- one of the most difficult hazards to mitigate. The issue of preventing a collision with the ISS was a primary topic of the safety review, and is generally considered one of the more difficult visiting vehicle topics. According to the Safety Review Panel's approval letter, the Phase I collision hazard report for Dragon was approved on the first attempt.
"To date, no other group has passed the Hazard of Collision report the first time through or completed the overall review in such a short time," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. "The fact that we passed in under a week speaks well of our team's capabilities."
As part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition, SpaceX intends to demonstrate its launch, maneuvering and docking abilities by 2009 -- a year before NASA has scheduled the conclusion of Space Shuttle operations.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
A modified Minuteman II booster vehicle, the Chimera, was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. silo, at about 1:30 a.m. PDT and was then "successfully tracked by the NFIRE satellite," the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a statement.
"This exercise provided an opportunity for the NFIRE satellite to collect high- and low-resolution images of a boosting rocket that will improve understanding of missile exhaust plume observations and plume-to-rocket body discrimination. Data from the NFIRE satellite was downlinked to the Missile Defense Space Experimentation Center at the Missile Defense Integration & Operations Center at Schriever AFB, Colo.," the MDA said.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
On April 24 the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia successfully lofted the US Missile Defense Agency's Near Field Infrared Experiment (NFIRE), the second orbital launch from the spaceport within a year with the first being TacSat 2. The recent delay of the Vandenberg AFB launch is so that program officials can continue to optimize data collection equipment on board the orbiting NFIRE satellite.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
STS-120 Discovery is targed for launch in late October, NASA said.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
The gash occurred when insulating foam and possibly ice from the shuttle fuel tank struck Endeavour's underside as it launched from Florida on August 8 on a construction mission to the International Space Station.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Two days of presentations, panel discussions and interview sessions will cover topics ranging from vehicles and launch systems to space tourism and spaceports. The theme of the symposium, presented by New Mexico State University and the X PRIZE Foundation, is "Our Next Giant Leap: Progress and Next Steps."
"The symposium is the best way to meet the space explorers and the people developing the vehicles and systems to launch this next giant leap in transportation." said Patricia Hynes, director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium at NMSU and organizer of the symposium. "Here in New Mexico we have begun the first steps toward creating the platform for the success of commercial spaceflight in Spaceport America."
Robert A. Dickman, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), will serve as master of ceremonies for the event. The AIAA is a professional technical society with more than 35,000 members in 79 countries. Dickman is a retired Air Force major general.
Confirmed participants include Anousheh Ansari, who became the world's first female private space explorer when she spent $20 million to fly to the International Space Station last September. She will discuss her experience in a session on space tourism.
Ansari provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first nongovernmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks - a prize captured in 2004 by aerospace designer Burt Rutan.
The symposium's opening session will feature Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which is designing and building a launch vehicle and spaceship to transport cargo and then astronauts to the International Space Station; Clayton Mowry, president of Arianespace Inc. (USA), the world's leading satellite launch company; and Alex Tai, vice president for operations for Virgin Galactic, which will use New Mexico's Spaceport America as a base for space tourism flights.
ISPS 2007 will be held at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, which proved popular as the venue for last year's symposium. The Wirefly X PRIZE Cup "rocket festival" will follow on Oct. 27 and 28 at nearby Holloman Air Force Base. This is the third year that the symposium has preceded the annual X PRIZE competition.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The original launch date was postponed due to the replacement work of parts in the two onboard baby satellites of the "KAGUYA" as announced on July 20, 2007. The replacement was successfully completed thus the new launch date was set.
China's Chang'e No. 1 and India's Chandrayaan-1 are also planning treks to the moon in 2007 to be joined by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to be launched by the United States in 2008.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
The ticket price would include 18 weeks of preparation for space on a tropical island, the flight to space and back, three nights in a hotel 450 kilometres from the earth in space, and would allow guests to travel around the world in 80 minutes, so in 24 hours the sun will rise and set behind our planet 15 times.
Xavier Claramunt, who runs Catalan company Galactic Suite Projects, estimates around 40,000 people in the world will be rich enough to buy a capsule at the hotel. The design would be capable of accommodating 350 guests a year.
"There is fear associated with going into space," said Claramunt. "That's why the shuttle rocket will remain fixed to the space hotel for the duration of the guests' stay, so they know they can get home again."
Private investors from the United, the United Arab Emirates and Japan are in talks in joining the Barcelona-based project. It is reported that a space enthusiast has decided to make the science fiction fantasy a reality by fronting most of the $3 billion needed to build the hotel. MORE IMAGES of the design for Galactic Suite .
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
"We congratulate Barbara Morgan on the beginning of this historic voyage," said Space Frontier Foundation Executive Director Jeff Krukin. "NASA is keeping a commitment to education that was made more than 20 years ago. Now, we need to take the next step. The Educator Astronaut program takes a teacher out of the classroom to join the NASA astronaut corps. Our goal is to let many teachers experience spaceflight and return to American classrooms to educate and inspire the next generation."
"We're returning to that original vision," said Teachers in Space project manager Edward Wright," and expanding on it. The average teacher touches thousands of students during a teaching career. Imagine the impact of hundreds or even thousands of astronaut teachers, men and women who have been to space, in American schools. For 40 years, we've held forth the false promise that if students studied math and science, they would have a chance to go into space. A student still has a better chance of playing professional basketball than flying as a NASA astronaut.
"Today, we're changing that. Private companies are developing a new generation of reusable suborbital vehicles that promise dramatic reductions in the cost of human spaceflight. We are working with leading suborbital companies. When they're ready to fly, we will have teachers who are trained and ready to go."
The rules for the first competition will be announced at the Wirefly X-PRIZE Cup on October 26-28, and where applications will be accepted for teachers to fly in space.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
The interceptor 'cradle' could carry as many as six nuclear tipped missile-like interceptor vehicles that would each carry one 1.2MT B83 nuclear warhead to break-up or standoff the near-Earth object (NEO) that is known as 99942 Apophis asteroid. Apophis will pass by the Earth within the orbit of the Moon in April 2029. Apophis is the Greek name of the Ancient Egyptian god Apep, "the Destroyer", who dwells in the eternal darkness of the Duat (underworld) and tries to destroy the Sun during its nightly passage.
In a report earlier this year, made public only after a Freedom of Information Act request, NASA says that "the nuclear interceptor option can deflect NEOs of [100-500m diameter] two years before impact, and larger NEOs with at least five years warning".
The United Nations is beginning to think about asteroid deflection and mitigation. Orbit of nuclear asteroid weapons by the United States would violate Article IV the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. However, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space [COPUOS] is slated to begin discussion of an asteroid strike mitigation framework in the spring of 2009.
Dr. David Morrison [profile] of NASA Ames and Dr. Mike Gaffey of the University of North Dakota Department of Space Studies spent the past week discussing asteroid deflection and mitigation [video] with a number of University of North Dakota Space Studies graduate research students. The adult students had studied the problem for nine months (which this blogger was among one of the study teams).
The graduate-level capstone studies focused on the nuclear option [video] such as one recently adopted by NASA. Others looked an options ranging from a gravity tractor to commercial asteroid mining. There was also a discussion of the need for funds to expand NASA's NEO search.
An asteroid strike will happen again. "It is just a question of when?" [video]. NASA now appears to be planning an 'Armageddon' mission over the next twenty years. A number of interesting treks to the asteroids demand attention.
Friday, August 03, 2007
A Delta II launch vehicle will carry the Phoenix Mars Lander into Earth orbit and, about 90 minutes later, give it the push needed to send it to Mars. A three-week period when planetary positions are favorable for this launch begins with an opportunity at 5:26:34 a.m. EDT on Aug. 4. A second opportunity the same day, if needed, will come at 6:02:59 a.m. EDT.
"We have worked for four years to get to this point, so we are all very excited," said Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. "Our attention after launch will be focused on flying the spacecraft to our selected landing site, preparing for surface operations, and continuing our relentless examination and testing for the all-important descent and landing on May 25 of next year."
Phoenix will travel 679 million kilometers (422 million miles) in an outward arc from Earth to Mars. It will determine whether icy soil on far northern Mars has conditions that have ever been suitable for life.