Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Orbital Sciences Corporation has released information relating to the status of the new Taurus II rocket expected to loft cargo to the International Space Station in the spring of 2011 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2011.
The report notes that the hardware is globalized with supplies in Ukraine, Russia and the United States in final stages of testing prior to the booster configuration and the start of a final launch campaign at a new launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia. Orbital Sciences Corporation have a contract to launch eight cargo flights to the ISS from Virginia's spaceport.
Virginia is providing Virginia-based commercial space launch firms with state income tax benefits for cargo and other payloads launched to space. In addition thereto, the state has been the 'Change Agent' with regard to human spaceflight liability and immunity.
The agenda for the meeting includes an overview of the intended objectives for the Commercial Space Committee and preliminary discussions on some of the topic areas that will be explored by the Committee in future meetings. These topic areas include but are not limited to exploring opportunities to stimulate and encourage commercial space as well as the progression of commercial capability to the ISS and to Low Earth Orbit/LEO.
The committee will explore opportunities for interagency collaboration on commercial space initiatives, and fostering commercialization on the International Space Station as a National Lab. [Hat tip to Fred McKee]
Friday, January 29, 2010
The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site. Questions will be taken from media representatives at headquarters and participating field centers. NASA budget and supporting documents will be here at 12:30 PM, Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Today many lunar landing advocates must feel the same way as Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell as he pasted by the Moon failing to fulfill his dream of walking on the lunar surface in the pursuit of science.
With the next federal budget to be submitted by the President February 1, 2010, there will be no human return to the Moon in this decade leaving potentially ten thousand talented NASA space workers scrambling for private sector NewSpace jobs in the proposed $6-billion commercial space launch program, potentially with future American astronauts.
The last time American astronauts left Earth orbit was aboard Apollo 17 in 1972. It is now unclear how many years - even decades - it will be before American astronauts will be on an Earth departure trajectory again as the President and the Congress chart the course ahead in space.
Most of the children of Apollo will not be around to bear witness to the second return to the Moon by American astronauts. The best hope for a human return to the Moon in the decade of 2020 may now rest with the Chinese. Nonetheless, a new era is opening in American space with the commercial space launch sector.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
AVRC has been awarded a contract by Wise County's Industrial Development Authority to manage a $7 million energy research center now under construction in the Lonesome Pine Business and Technology Park in Wise, VA. One of many alternative energy projects that they expect to develop is inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) aneutronic fusion energy. The energy research center is called the Appalachia America Energy Research Center, and IEC fusion is only one of several projects they are developing in a significant energy technology portfolio.
Plans are in the works to conduct a multimillion-dollar research project in Wise to develop fusion technology into an economic source for everything from electricity to medical applications. Invented by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Dr. George Miley, the process involves pumping aerosol boron plasma into a spherical container where it is made very, very hot. The atoms begin to fuse, creating energy.
The project will start small, with about 6-8 researchers, and could employ 20-28 researchers within 18 months. If the project becomes commercially viable, it could move to a bigger location and could grow to employ up to 100 people and involve four major research universities. The initial fusion research proposed is $3.5 million.
With offices in Raleigh, NC and headquarters in Danville, VA, the Advanced Vehicle Research Center has been involved in the transportation energy sector since 2001.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
This Blogger previously suggested a joint Chinese-Russian-US mission to the planned space lab that would have included a spacewalk in 2012. The Chinese will launch their fourth human-rated mission in 2011 with an anticipated crew of three. Many believe that the Chinese will attempt a human landing on the Moon by 2022.
The controversial proposal, expected to be included in the Obama administration's next budget, would open a new chapter in the U.S. space program. The goal is to set up a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar initiative allowing private firms, including some start-ups, to compete to build and operate spacecraft capable of ferrying U.S. astronauts into orbit—and eventually deeper into the solar system. More ->
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Concept-engineered by NASA in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the National Institute of Aerospace, and M-DOT Aerospace, the Puffin aircraft design shows just how far personal, electrically propelled flight could change the ways we live and get around, according to Scientific American.
The Puffin features vertical-takeoff and landing capability. But rather than tilting the rotors forward for horizontal flight, the whole craft — cockpit and all — pitches forward, meaning the pilot flies from a prone position. During takeoff and landing the tail splits into four legs that serve as landing gear, and flaps on the wings deploy to keep the aircraft stable as it lifts and descends. When landing, the extending spring legs would support the 3.7-meter-long, 4.1-meter-wingspan craft, which is designed with carbon-fiber composites to weigh in at 135 kilograms, not including 45 kilograms of rechargeable lithium phosphate batteries.
In theory Puffin’s can cruise at 150 miles per hour (240 km/h) and peak at more like 300 miles per hour 480 km/h). Puffin’s range would be the most limiting characteristic, at just 50 miles, but that's simply a matter of battery density. Batteries are growing more dense by the day, so in coming years that range could be drastically improved. [Hat Tip to Richard Dell, Jr.]
The meeting will be open to the public. Any interested person may call the USA toll free conference call number (866) 844-9416, passcode PSS, to participate in this meeting by telephone. The WebExlink is https://nasa.webex.com/, meeting number 993131217, and password PS$M33ting. International callers may contact Ms. Marian Norris(email@example.com) for country-specific conference call numbers.
Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner will attempt a 'space dive' to seek to top the nearly 50-year-old record for the highest jump this year, becoming the first person to go supersonic in freefall using a helium balloon.
Potentially breaking records for the highest parachute jump, as well as the fastest and longest freefall, Baumgartner should reach supersonic speeds 35 seconds after he jumps. The jump height is above a threshold at 19,000 metres called the Armstrong line, where the atmospheric pressure is so low that fluids start to boil, according to a report in New Scientist.
In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion among NewSpace advocates of a 'Spacediver' attempt by blasting off on a small rocket booster to the edge of space and then the human spacediver jumping back to Earth. The current record is held by US Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger by jumping out of a balloon at an altitude of some 31,333 metres on August 16, 1960 near White Sands, New Mexico.
Meanwhile, a National Research Council report released Friday said the Congress and the President have not requested or appropriated funding to complete a survey mandated in the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 reports SpaceFlightNow, ScienceInsider, The Daily Telegraph, Scientific American, and NPR.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Fast Future consulted a series of futurists and trend predictors as well as examining recent science and technology developments to create a list of 20 new jobs that could be created in the coming years. It predicted the advent of space tourism would create demand for architects to design hotels and other facilities, both in space and on other planets, by 2015, according to one report of the study.
In an online survey, space architect beat virtual lawyer, body-part maker and vertical farmer to rank as the most aspirational future job, alongside space pilot and space tour guide, [see page 28]. The 149-page study report is worthy of reading for any interested in future trend analysis.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
China successfully launched its third (3rd) Compass/Beidou satellite into geostationary orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province at about 0:12 a.m. Beijing Time on Sunday, January 17, 2010 with Chinese officials reasserting plans to complete an initial regional system by 2012 and a complete 35-satellite constellation by 2020 [Inside GNSS].
China's Compass, Russia's Glonass, and Europe's Galileo are each independent satellite navigational systems similar but not yet as developed as compared to the United States NavStar GPS. The systems have significant military and commercial applications. There are discussions about inoperatability of the systems in the years ahead. Combined the United States, Russia, Europe and China will soon have over 100 navigational satellites in orbit around the Earth adding even greater precision to future seamless receivers.
There is active research and development of a LunarGPS system by the United States called Lunar Astronaut Spatial Orientation and Information System (LASOIS). No deployment date has been set at this time but it expected prior to 2020.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Pulsar PSR B1937+21 is the second fastest spinning pulsar yet cataloged, and spins about 642 times around every second. The radio pulse from the pulsar is suspected to have picked up some of the excess speed by passing through a cloud of neutral hydrogen atoms, which causes the radio waves to increase their electromagnetic wavelength (a process called "anomalous dispersion"), reports Physics.org. [Hat tip to Jacob Atkins.]
With the help of filmmaker Duncan Copp and state-of-the-art space images, the Houston Symphony has created The Planets — An HD Odyssey. The production is a musical and visual performance piece that features a high-definition movie of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the other movements of Holst's suite, according to The Houston Chronicle. The premier is set for January 21, 23, 24, 2010.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is to review all Heavy Lift alternatives to the current plan (Ares-V). NASA Spaceflight.com is reporting that the DIRECT Jupiter launch vehicle will be among those considered today. The Sidemount HLV may also be in the review contention but the referenced report says it may be loosing policy traction. Civil space policy is expected to have President Obama's imprint on or prior to February 1, 2010 when the next federal budget proposal is announced by the White House.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The report notes that "a planet-wide network of micro-organisms came to life underground on Mars 3.6 billion years ago during the first billion years after Mars had formed along with the rest of the planets in the solar system." The scientists also reflect upon the 1976 Viking lander data and the up-dated report on Mars Allan Hills 84001 meteor found on Earth that hinted life had been found. New meteor data is being reviewed with new scientific instruments while ground-truthing spaceprobes continue to gather more evidence.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
STS-130 Endeavour is at the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center being readied for a Sunday, February 7 2010, 4:39 AM EST launch to the orbiting International Space Station. Endeavour's payload bay carries the docking Node 3 Tranquility Module. STS-130 will also bring the Cupola, a large window module and robotics work station to the ISS which will be attached to the side of Tranquility. Recent problems with Node 3's plumbing could delay the February 7 launch but no firm decision has yet to be made by NASA flight managers. STS-130 will be the first of the final five launches of the space shuttle program ending late this year.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has been guaranteed space shuttle Discovery. There it will join other legendary space vehicles such as space shuttle Enterprise and the Apollo 11 Lunar Module.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
The International Space Station may be viewed at various times this week beginning Monday, January 4, 2010, in the early evenings across North America. For exact times and dates at your location visit SpaceWeather Satellite Flybys and enter your zip code. Dress warmly if your skies are clear even if the flyby is but a little more than 2-minutes. Encourage several friends to take interest in the ISS in 2010 - the final year of space shuttle flights to the ISS.
And, this Blogger thought India's spaceflyers were 'gaganauts' rather than ‘vyomanauts!'
Friday, January 01, 2010
Lunar Networks blog recently provided depth to the recent Journal Geophysical Research Letters research study led by Junichi Haruyama of the Japanese Space Agency JAXA and published in October 2009 from image and other data gathered by the moon-orbiting Japanese SELENE spacecraft. Linked is a radio show about lunar lava tubes.
Andrew Daga, a fellow grad of the University of North Dakota, recently proposed to The Planetary Sciences Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Decadal Survey to study lunar lava tubes stating that "such a habitat would be completely protected from radiation, extreme temperature variations, and regolith dust. The implications for logistical and mission planners are that a substantially larger fraction of the landed mass can be dedicated to life support and science mission support. This could enable longer duration missions without risk of radiation overdosing, better reliability and a more diverse set of scientific technology, and a larger habitat area in which to work."