Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday afternoon Virginia's Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) aerospace panel endorsed a tax break (w/revisions) for space launch firms to use the Virginia spaceport. The legislature will consider the so-called ZeroGravity, ZeroTax measure to compliment the Virginia Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act adopted in 2007.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
ISS Commander Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani found more metal shavings to gum up the solar panel gears. Three, perhaps four, more spacewalks will be needed to make the repairs. The solar panel gear repair is essential for Kibo to draw energy from the station's electric solar panel grid. The December 6 launch of the Columbus lab remains on schedule.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute will develop a large-sized rocket capable of carrying 300 tons of freight into space by 2017, and will begin construction on a space shuttle launching system in 2020, according to another news report.
South Korea is building a significant launch pad and spaceflight facility in 2008.
There have been reports suggesting that the Chang'e 2 and 3 - to be used in the next stages of the lunar program - are likely to lift off atop the new carrier rockets. Chang'e 2 is to deploy a lunar lander for surface exploration in a limited area on the moon in 2012 while Chang'e 3 will return lunar soil samples in 2017.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Eyharts will be a member of the Expedition 16 crew to the ISS. He is set to fly there on Space Shuttle Atlantis mission STS-122 and will return home with the Endeavour STS-123 crew some two months later.
While Eyharts will remain onboard the Station to oversee activation and check-out of the Columbus laboratory, Schegel will take a Shuttle return trip home 14 days after the December 6 launch.
The two Europeans will go to space with Navy Cmdr. Stephen N. Frick, commander the STS-122 shuttle mission, Navy Cmdr. and shuttle pilot Alan G. Poindexter, mission specialists Air Force Col. Rex J. Walheim, Stanley G. Love, and Leland D. Melvin.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The European Space Agency's ExoMars project will continue to follow the water while looking for bio markers on the Red Planet's surface. The potential landuing sites have some of the red planet's oldest rocks. The proposed sites might once have been in contact with Martian water. A region rich in clay minerals would be ideal, the ESA mission scientists have said, since these so-called phyllosilicates contain water in their crystalline structure.
The shortlist for ExoMars includes a valley, two craters, two possible sites on one plain, and the surface of an impact fracture. Mawrth Vallis [video] is filled with light coloured clay minerals, while similarly clay-rich debris covers the surface of the Nili Fossae fracture [video] Holden Crater is thought to be an ancient lake bed, while Gale Crater is left from an impact, but has exposed layered deposits. The final two sites are both on the Meridiani Planum.
NASA is also considering new landing sites for a 2010 Mars mission known as the Mars Science Laboratory but there is no chance that NASA and ESA will down selected the same landing location.
Friday, November 16, 2007
American space access to re-crew the ISS will depend upon the Russians [video] under a contract valued at least $390 million from 2009 to 2011 to ferry astronauts to and from the space station. The Russians are providing no assurance that the Soyuz-taxi contract can be renewed after that. NASA is considering contracts with the Europeans and Japanese to re-supply the needs of its astronauts aboard the orbiting station. The Russians and Chinese will have the only government human-rated program in post-2010 for as long as five years.
SpaceX is seeking to achieve NASA milestones to provide a commercial space launch service that would enable both an astronaut and re-supply solution. SpaceX has yet to demonstrate flight readiness or an ability to achieve the launch rate the American space agency will need post-2010.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Arianespace said that the launch had set a new record for Ariane V, with 8,700kg of payload delivered to orbit from the French Guiana pad.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
With the flotilla of international spacecraft now enroute to map the Moon, Dr. Hartmann's accepted theory of lunar origin may be put to the test. Over the next two years, four spacecraft are to gather detailed data of the lunar surface and geological make-up.
Dr. Hartmann is known as the "Renaissance Man of the Solar System." He spends a lot of his time helping undergraduate and graduate students take interest in planetary science at the University of Arizona.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
On June 30, 1908, a ball of fire exploded about 6 miles (10 kilometers) above the ground in the sparsely populated region, scientists say. The blast released 15 megatons of energy—about a thousand times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima—and flattened 770 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of forest.
A team of Italian scientists from the University of Bologna has recently used acoustic imagery to investigate the bottom of Lake Cheko, about five miles (eight kilometers) north of the explosion's suspected epicenter, to tout the idea of an underwater impact crater, according to National Geographic News.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
The orbiter marks the first step of China's three-stage moon mission, which will lead to a moon landing and launch of a moon rover at around 2012. In the third phase, another rover will land on the moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research at around 2017. [video]
Japan's Kagula [SELENE] exploration spacecraft is now in lunar orbit and will soon commerce collection of data on element abundance, mineral assemblage, surface topography, sub-surface structure, magnetic and the unstable lunar gravity field.
A fleet of spacecraft from Japan, China, India, and United States are expected to be in lunar orbit before the end of 2008. The Russians are planning a lunar spacecraft called Luna-Glob in cooperation with India in 2012. The Germans are considering a luna probe in 2013 as well.
"I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears left aboard the international space station. What we are doing here is very important for all of human kind. It's worth the risk. It's worth the cost," astronaut Clay Anderson told his fellow astronauts and an audience that included colleagues in Mission Control before closing the hatch and commencing his departure after a 152-day stay on-orbit.
Discovery began its journey home at 5:32 EDT AM Monday leaving the ISS on schedule for the delivery of European and Japanese science modules, starting with a December shuttle launch.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
"We project this will be operational by mid-2010," Gomez said. "We will have our FAA license by September 2008."
Gomez also elaborated on the design, discussed long-term site development and said the project would create between 1,200 and 1,500 new jobs in Southern New Mexico.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Repair of the torn solar panel was essential to fully deploy the solar power array and locking it into position to its full 110-foot length. Failure to effect the repair may have hindered future space shuttle flights to complete the construction of the $100-billion science lab orbiting 200-plus miles above the Earth.
The repaired solar panel was tore in two places, one of them almost three feet long, when a guidewire snagged as it was being unfurled on Tuesday. The panel extended about 90 feet before the damage was spotted.
The space agency is now working on a plan for repairs to fix an identical solar power panel on the opposite side of the space station. That panel is unable to rotate because metal grit has entered its operating mechanism.
The Europeans and Japanese are awaiting shuttle missions in December, February and April to deliver science modules with each dependent on the solar panel power grid. NASA hopes to complete the station assembly prior to retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2010.
The Mars Science Laboratory will collect Martian soil and rock samples and analyze them for organic compounds and environmental conditions that could have supported microbial life now or in the past as we know it. It will also explore the role of water in the planet's history and measure the radiation hazard from the Sun and energetic charged particles from the galaxy called cosmic rays. [Video of possible landing site.]
The proposed landing sites have been narrowed to six and ongoing studies will continue to refine the potential of each site. Final selection of the one landing site will be determined following more careful analysis in October 2008 - one year prior to launch.
- Mawrth Vallis (24º north): an ancient water outflow channel with light-coloured clay-rich rocks;
- Nili Fossae Trough (22º north): a fracture that has been eroded and partly filled in by sediments and clay-rich ejecta from a nearby crater;
- Terby Crater (28º south): another ancient lakebed with diverse deposits including clays;
- Holden Crater (26º south): an ancient lakebed with layered clay-rich sediments;
- Jezero Crater (18º north): an ancient, once-flooded crater containing a fan-delta deposit rich in clays; and,
- Southwest Meridiani (3º south): a site where there is evidence for an ancient and widespread clay-rich layer near the surface, as well as slightly younger materials containing sulphates, which also require water to form.
The two Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity continue their surface science after having landed on the planet in January 2004. The design life of each of the two rovers was 90-days but the vehicles will soon be in operation for four years and still in good condition. The new Mars Science Laboratory will build on the work of the MER rovers and the upcoming Phoenix Mars Mission launched August 4.