What a night in Prague! Happy New Year 2009.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working to place humans in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) before 2015 and on the surface of the Moon by 2020 or 2021 says ISRO Chief Madhavan Nair.
"We're developing a capsule to carry humans to space. 2 astronauts are going to the earth's orbit for a week or so in 2015 and then 5 or 6 more years to send a man to the moon," Nair said in a recent interview.
Friday, December 26, 2008
The International Academy of Astronautics will hold its first conference on protecting our planet from impacts by asteroids and comets the week of April 27, 2009 in Granada, Spain. The 2009 conference will bring together worldwide experts to discuss:
- Detecting and tracking asteroids and comets that might be hazardous to our planet;
- Characteristics of these objects;
- The nature of impact disasters, and;
In late November 2008, a United Nations panel was advised to prepare protocols for a asteroid impact by creating an international decision-making program to respond to the threat of Near Earth Objects (NEOs).
The report -- Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response -- was compiled by the international Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation, a group comprised of members of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), as well as other experts tackling the NEO threat and repercussions to the Earth. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will meet in February 2009 to take-up the international poilcy issue.
The Soyuz TMA-14 be the final flight of a space tourist to the International Space Station. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the extension of the crew of the station to six crew members, all Soyuz crew positions in the foreseeable future should be occupied by the long duration Expedition crews.
Esther Dyson, the daughter of physicist Freeman Dyson and mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson, and sister to digital technology historian George Dyson is training as the back-up crew member for Simonyi [video].
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The orbiter [the LRO] will spend a year mapping the moon from an average altitude of approximately 30 miles. It will carry six instruments and one technology demonstration to perform investigations specifically targeted for preparing for future human exploration [video]. The instruments are provided by various organizations throughout the United States, and one is from Russia.
Along for the ride to the Moon will be the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite [LCROSS] with a defined mission to confirm the presence or absence of water ice at the moon's south pole. Both spacecraft will join Japanese, Chinese and Indian lunar probes now in orbit conducting remote sensing of the entire lunar surface. Several other lunar missions are planned in the decade ahead.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will provide global space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal human-caused driver of climate change. The spacecraft is currently scheduled for launch no earlier than (NET) February 23, 2009.
NASA's GLORY satellite will collect data on the properties of aerosols and black carbon in the Earth's atmosphere and climate system. It will enable a greater understanding of the seasonal variability of aerosol properties following the planned June 15, 2009 launch.
The European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 will will monitor the thickness of land ice and sea ice and help explain the connection between the melting of the polar ice and the rise in sea levels and how this is contributing to climate change. The observations made during CryoSat's lifetime will determine whether or not Earth's ice masses are actually thinning in response to climate change folliwng the November 2009 launch campaign [Video] following the loss of CryoSat-1.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Forty years ago the first human beings navigated the first human spacecraft around the Moon on Christmas eve 24 December 1968 following the launch from Earth. A little more than six months later the first humans set foot on the surface of the lunar surface marking a new epoch in the Space Age. The Chicago Tribune recently did a series on the Apollo 8 Christmas. Astronauts on the International Space Station paid tribute to the Apollo 8 crew of 40 years ago in this video.
NASA's Kepler mission is designed to search for exoplants within the habital zone of 100,000 stars where liquid water and possibly alien life might exist in the relative nearby region of our own Milky Way Galaxy. The mission will launch March 6th and it is now in the launch campaign at Cape Canaveral, Florida for the four-year mission [vid-1 and vid-2].
The NASA WISE mission is designed to study asteroids, the coolest and dimmest stars, and the most luminous galaxies. WISE will survey the entire sky in a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum called the mid-infrared with far greater sensitivity than any previous mission or program ever has seeking out brown dwarf planets, hundreds of asteroids, and inventory nearby young stars and their dusty disks.
Taken together, the two planned 2009 spacecraft missions will advance planetary science significantly answering critical questions about space in our neighborhood of the Milky Way galaxy and perhaps survey nearby asteriod threats.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The TacSat-3 will be the third orbital launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in a little over two years with the Minotaur I booster rocket. The TacSat-3 launch campaign has been delayed into 2009 because of glitches with the USAF satellite. But the Minotaur I has successfully boosted the TacSat-2 and the NFIRE from the spaceport [video] to low Earth orbit [LEO]. The TacSat 2 launch was seen by observers west of Detroit in late 2007.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport was selected by Orbital Sciences Corporation for the first test flights of the Taurus-2 NASA COTS flight to demonstrate re-supply capability to the International Space Station in late 2010.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The MIT team says we need to begin engagement with China as this could yield "enormous" benefits for both sides. Cooperation, the report says, "could encourage the Chinese to open their space program and help end speculation about their intentions in space," adding that doing so could help avoid a potentially dangerous space arms race, according to MIT's Technology Review.
SSP has gained support the past year resulting from a unique report from the National Security Space Office at the Pentagon. Last spring Lt. Col. Paul Damphousse spoke to the 2008 Energy Technology Conference at The University of Virginia's College at Wise on SSP with a traditional electric power provider warming to the concept to the extent of calling for public hearings in the House Energy & Commerce subcommittee on energy. Meanwhile, The Future Channel has recently completed a documentary on the project.
Post your comments today to the Obama Transition.
The $198 million spaceport (formerly known as the Southwest Regional Spaceport) will start construction early next year with commercial Virgin Galactic flights [5-min video] planned in late 2010 or 2011 [3-min. video of spaceport construction plan].
High resolution images taken by the spacecraft Cassini [video] indicate that the surface of Enceladus is active and changing. New surface crust is created from distinctive cracks known as "tiger stripes" that are similar to the mid-ocean ridges central to the tectonic system on our own planet states a NASA press release.
Two moons of Saturn -- Enceladus and Titan -- have taken on new scientific interest resulting from the Cassini mission.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Orbital's Taurus II design uses a pair of Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines to provide first stage propulsion for the new launch vehicle. Orbital anticipates the first engine will be delivered to Stennis in mid-2009. Linked is the complete NASA Stennis Space Center press release on the test project.
Kyle Botha has released an excellent space diving animation video this month vividly creating what a participant may do and see from a leap 100 km above the Earth. Xtreme Space of California along with Orbital Outfitters have been developing the space diving concept for some time.
Five of the six space shuttle missions are dedicated to station construction beginning with the planned February 12 launch of STS-119 Discovery taking the the fourth starboard truss segment to orbit to be followed by STS-127 Endeavour in June with the delivery of the exposed facility of Japan's Kibo laboratory to the ISS.
In mid-July 2009, NASA has now planned the first text launch of the Ares-1 booster configuration. The Ares I-X flight will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I, [video].
STS-128 Atlantis is now slated for launch in August will boost a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to carry experiment and storage racks to the ISS while STS-129 Discovery will deliver components including two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm in November.
Completing the busy 2009 space shuttle launch schedule, the December-planned STS-130 Endeavour which will deliver to orbit the final connecting node, Node 3, and the Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that provides a 360-degree view around the ISS.
The year 2009 will be one busy launch schedule for the Kennedy Space Center teams if the proposed schedule is sustained while marking a huge year for International Space Station construction and crew number expansion from three to six.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The teleconference participants are: - Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington - Jeff Hanley, Constellation program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston - Steve Cook, Ares projects manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. - Mark Geyer, Orion project manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
To participate in the call, parties should dial 800-790-1836 and use the pass code "ESMD update." Replays of the call will be available through Dec. 24, 2008 by dialing 866-507-3617 and entering the pass code 52368. The teleconference audio will be broadcast live here.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A 60-year-old Nobel laureate, Chu has been Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since August, 2004 (with a staff of 4,000 and a budget of about $600 million). Chu's Nobel credentials will be a first for the cabinet-level energy post in Washington. [Video]
It is expected that the Chu-lead Department of Energy will pay a critical role in the government's efforts in zero-carbon energy development and the climate change mitigation efforts. He may be friendly to the efforts of the Space Frontier Foundation to advance Space-based Solar Power [SSP]. [More Audio/Video on Chu]
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The significance of the HST find is that the basic chemistry for life can be measured on planets orbiting other stars setting the scientific standard on which finding the chemical biotracers of life as we know it on other worlds is now possible. Here is more from the ESA, Scientific American, and Wired.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Orbital Sciences Corporation is building the Taurus 2 booster to launch re-supply to the International Space Station using a new launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport facilities beginning in late 2010.
Virginians are urged to contact members of the Senate and House of Delegates in Richmond with support for the bonding authority in what has been one of the NewSpace stories of the year 2008. With the NASA COTS rebid and the ensuing competition among private launch firms and commercial launch pad sites, the Virginia-based Orbital and the Virginia spaceport have forged to the front of the new commercial space era.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Launch of the Orbital Sciences Corporation designed FTG-05 was programmed to simulate a missile attack by North Korea or Iran on the United States. The offensive missile launch test occured from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska. The interceptor defense missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California thereafter.
Reports from The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the BBC, and raw video 1 and video 2 from WSBY-TV6 provide more detail and reaction. Ten operational missile defense interceptors are expected to be deployed in Poland in 2011, if approved by President-elect Obama. More from Stars and Stripes.