Fifty years ago next month, Ed White made America’s first space walk
Josh Gelernter writes: We’re coming up to the 50th anniversary of one of the best-known photographs in history: astronaut Ed White floating in space with a gem-like blue Earth floating beneath him. Ed White made America’s first space walk on the first day of NASA’s Gemini 4 mission, June 3, 1965. Ed White, tethered to the Gemini capsule by a gold hose, was on the cover of Life; White and his photographer, Gemini 4 commander Jim McDivitt, were on the cover of Time.
White and McDivitt were both members of NASA’s second astronaut class, the “New Nine,” who followed the original “Mercury Seven.” The New Nine are generally considered the all-time greatest group of astronauts. They included Frank Borman, who commanded the first flight to the moon, Apollo 8, and Jim Lovell, who navigated Apollo 8 and commanded Apollo 13. Lovell was the first man to fly in space four times, and the first to fly to the moon twice.
Also: Pete Conrad, who commanded the first American space station and the second moon landing, and Tom Stafford, the pilot for the first space-rendezvous mission (Gemini 6A), the commander of the “dress rehearsal” for the first moon landing (Apollo 10), and the commander of the first joint American–Soviet space mission, Apollo–Soyuz.
And John Young, who flew on the first Gemini mission, flew to the moon twice, on Apollo 10 and Apollo 16, which he commanded; commanded the first Space Shuttle flight and the first Spacelab mission, and became the first man to fly in space six times. Read the rest of this entry »
“It was a great, great outcome,” Musk said after the test. “Had there been people on board, they would have been in great shape.”
The two-minute video shows the Dragon capsule blasting off from its Florida launchpad, separating from its trunk and reaching a maximum velocity of 345 mph, according to SpaceX. The Crew Dragon flew about 5,000 feet into the air before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean under its parachutes….(read more)
Photos of a replica of Star Trek flagship, USS Enterprise, in south China’s Fujian Province have hit social media.
The USS Enterprise is the central starship in CBS’s fictional Star Trek. It is one of the sci-fi genre’s most iconic images.
The building is reportedly the office headquarters of a software company in Fuzhou city. It is the brainchild of a man named Liu Dajian, who is the founder and chairman of NetDragon Websoft.
It is also the only officially licensed Star Trek building on the planet.
Mr. Liu says he is a super fan of the sci-fi series. He licensed the rights to build the replica from CBS and says he spent 160 million US dollars on the project.
This story also made a buzz on Sina Weibo. As some are amazed by the life-sized USS Enterprise, many others say they are proud of the man who actually paid for the copyright, instead of making it another knockoff.
For Space.com, Elizabeth Howell writes: A Swedish university student has created a design for an “International Flag of Planet Earth” that could be planted on alien worlds during future human exploration missions.
“The scientific study of flags is called vexillology, and the practice of designing flags is called vexillography. Both of these are an outcome of heraldry. In these practices there are different unofficial design rules/customs, about colors, placement, proportions, typography and aestethics in general. This proposal is accurate according to the regulations regarding flags.”
The student project, which Oskar Pernefeldt undertook for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, features several interlocked white circles on a blue background. (See more views of the International Flag of Planet Earth.)The flag is intended to remind people that we all share planet Earth, regardless of nationality, Pernefeldt said.
“Current expeditions in outer space use different national flags depending on which country is funding the voyage. The space travelers, however, are more than just representatives of their own countries. They are representatives of planet Earth,” Pernefeldt wrote on his project’s website.
And international cooperation will likely be a big part of any future human missions to Mars and other farflung destinations, not least because of the high costs associated with such an undertaking, exploration advocates say. Read the rest of this entry »
An American Atlas V rocket in the 501 configuration has successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral carrying the US Air Force‘s X-37B spaceplane, a smaller version of the Space Shuttle. This will be the fourth mission of the X-37B which conducts top secret missions in orbit via payloads in it’s payload bay. Liftoff occurred at 11:05 Local time, 15:05 UTC time on May 20th 2015.
— National Review (@NRO) May 15, 2015
Bill Gertz reports: China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.
“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.”
China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.
“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report said.
China’s ability to use drones is increasing and the report said China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV.”
Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report said.
The drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon identified as a decades-long military buildup that last year produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of submarines and ships.
“China will likely continue to invest considerable resources to maintain a limited, but survivable, nuclear force to ensure the PLA can deliver a damaging responsive nuclear strike.”
Additionally, the Pentagon for the first time confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.
“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.
“The United States and China acknowledge that the Chinese tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014,” the report noted.
It was the first time the Pentagon confirmed the existence of what is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, a strike weapon that travels at the edge of space at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.
The Wu-14, designed to deliver nuclear weapons through U.S. missile defenses, was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on three tests conducted in 2014.
“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »
SpaceX has put its Dragon astronaut capsule through a practice abort.
The demonstration simulated what would happen to the crewship in the event of a rocket failure on the launch pad.
Wednesday’s test was conducted at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and saw a test vehicle – carrying no humans, only a dummy – hurled skywards by a set of powerful in-built thrusters.
The Dragon ship was propelled to a safe distance, lowering itself softly into the Atlantic via three parachutes.
SpaceX expects to start launching astronauts in 2017.
— NASA (@NASA) May 6, 2015
Both have to demonstrate effective launch escape technologies for their rockets and capsules to receive certification. Only with the necessary assurance will Nasa permit its astronauts to climb aboard.
SpaceX has elected to use a so-called pusher system on the Dragon.
Eight SuperDraco thrusters have been integrated into the side of the ship, and these fired in tandem for just over five seconds at the start of the test to hurl the ship up and to the east of the Cape. Read the rest of this entry »
Popular Mechanics, 1953
“To boldly brew….”
Cosmic rays could leave travelers to Mars confused, forgetful and slow to react
“These sorts of cognitive changes could manifest during the mission and could be a real problem.”
In a NASA-funded study of radiation-exposed mice published Friday in Science Advances, researchers at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Nevada warned that prolonged bombardment by charged particles in deep space could affect the brain cells involved in decision-making and memory, with implications for possible manned forays into deep space.
“I don’t think our findings preclude future space missions. But they suggest we need to come up with some engineering solutions.”
— UC Irvine radiation oncologist Charles Limoli
“These sorts of cognitive changes could manifest during the mission and could be a real problem,” said Cary Zeitlin at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, who wasn’t involved in the study. In 2013, Dr. Zeitlin reported radiation levels between Earth and Mars detected by the Mars Science Laboratory craft during its cruise to the red planet, and found that the exposure was the equivalent of getting “a whole-body CT scan once every 5 or 6 days.”
“Apollo crews, who ventured furthest from Earth’s protective shield on their journeys to the Moon, reported seeing flashes of light when they closed their eyes, caused by galactic cosmic rays speeding through their retinas.”
Deep-space radiation is a unique mix of gamma rays, high-energy protons and cosmic rays from newborn black holes, and radiation from exploding stars. Earth’s bulk, atmosphere and magnetic field blocks or deflects most deep-space cosmic rays. Shielding on spacecraft also helps. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — Jeff Foust writes: The failure of a Russian Progress spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station is unlikely to have a significant near-term effect on station operations, but will place a greater burden on upcoming resupply missions and could alter the cargo those missions carry.
A Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying the Progress M-27M spacecraft lifted off on schedule from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:09 a.m. Eastern time April 28. The launch appeared to take place normally, putting the spacecraft on track to dock with the ISS about six hours later.
However, shortly after the Progress reached orbit, controllers reported that two antennas used as part of the spacecraft’s docking system failed to deploy properly. NASA initially announced that the docking would be delayed until early April 30 to give engineers time to resolve the antenna problem.
“Roscosmos announced that the Progress will not be docking and will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future.”
— NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, April 29, 2015
Within hours, though, it was clear the problem with the Soyuz was more serious than a faulty antenna. The spacecraft entered a roll, and Russian controllers reported problems maintaining communications with the spacecraft. NASA announced later April 28 that it had called off an attempted April 30 docking.
The U.S. Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center, tracking the Progress, said in an April 28 statement that the spacecraft was rotating “at a rate of 360 degrees every five seconds,” or 12 RPM. The Air Force also reported tracking 44 pieces of debris in the vicinity of the Progress and its Soyuz upper stage, but could not determine from which object the debris originated.
NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos ruled out any attempt to dock the Progress with the ISS on April 29. “Roscosmos announced that the Progress will not be docking and will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future,” NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, currently on the station, said in an interview on NASA Television April 29.
The cause of the Progress failure, including whether it is a flaw with the spacecraft or its launch vehicle, is unclear. Roscosmos, in an April 29 statement, said telemetry from the Progress was interrupted 1.5 seconds before the Progress was scheduled to separate from the Soyuz upper stage. When contact was restored after separation, the spacecraft was in a spin.
With no ability to control the spacecraft, the Progress’s orbit will decay and the spacecraft will reenter some time in early May. Holger Krag, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, said April 30 that he estimated the Progress would reenter on May 9, with a margin of error of two days.
Most of the spacecraft will burn up in the atmosphere. “However, we cannot exclude the chance that some portion of its structure, for example the heavy docking mechanism or tanks and thrusters, could survive reentry to reach the surface,” Krog said. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Robotic Spacecraft MESSENGER Is Out of Fuel, Doomed to Crash Into Mercury This Afternoon at More Than 8,750 MPHPosted: April 30, 2015
The robotic spacecraft MESSENGER has run out of fuel. With no way to make major adjustments to its orbit around the planet Mercury, the probe will smash into the surface at more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 kilometers per second). The impact will add a new crater to the planet’s scarred face that engineers estimate will be as wide as 52 feet (16 meters).
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) April 28, 2015
It has been 50 years since two Avro Lancaster bombers flew side by side. The Canadian Warplane.
Coming Summer 2015 – Worldwide TV release followed by DVD/Blu-ray (all formats).
Happy 25 years to the Hubble Space Telescope! The largest orbital telescope ever launched was deployed on April 25, 1990, during the mission of STS-31 Discovery. Launch occurred the day prior, on 24 April.
Although the telescope’s optics were flawed upon arrival into orbit, Servicing Mission 1 installed corrective lenses that allowed the telescope to return some of the most spectacular imagery ever returned from space.
The telescope is expected to be operational until at least the mid 2020′s.
Good night from #space.
When their spaceship was severely damaged 200,000 miles from Earth – 45 years ago this week, it was like a bad dream from which the Apollo 13 crew could not wake.
Moments after they finished a TV broadcast late on April 13, 1970, a spark ignited one of the oxygen tanks on the Apollo 13 spacecraft. The resulting explosion plunged an entire nation into an anxious three-and-a-half day drama.
The blast obliterated one of three fuel cells and an oxygen tank. Oxygen jetted into space from the command module’s remaining tank.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” astronaut Jack Swigert told mission control in Houston at what was then NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center).
“We’ve had a main B bus undervolt,” Mission Commander James Lovell said. One of the command module’s two main electrical circuits had experienced a drop in power.
The Manned Space Flight Network at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, made Swigert and Lovell’s reports possible. The network’s tracking stations linked the spacecraft to Earth, where its signals were transmitted through Goddard. Nearly three million circuit miles of communication channels in the NASA Communication Network conveyed the messages received at Goddard to the Mission Control Center in Houston.
Less than two hours after Swigert’s message was transmitted to Houston, mission control pronounced the command module mortally wounded. With only 15 minutes of power left, astronauts Swigert, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise escaped to the “life boat” of the lunar module.
President Richard Nixon learned of the crisis shortly after the explosion, and he met with Goddard Center Director John F. Clark the following day for an update. William C. Schneider, director of NASA’s Skylab program, briefed the president on the status of the rescue mission in Goddard’s Manned Space Flight Network control room, through which communications to and from Apollo 13 passed.
The nation watched for the latest updates from their television sets, transfixed, as the rescue mission unfolded.
The crew spent three-and-a-half grueling days in the lunar module. They rationed food and water, which mission designers had only intended to last two men a day and a half, not three men three days. Carbon dioxide reached dangerous levels in the lunar module before the team managed to convert square filters from the command module to fit in the round openings on the lunar module. When the crew shut the instruments off to conserve power, the inside temperature reached an icy 38 F.
But reorienting the lunar module to a return-to-Earth trajectory from a lunar landing course proved to be one of the most difficult and important obstacles to hurdle. Read the rest of this entry »
After six successful missions to the International Space Station, including five official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are set to liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for their sixth official Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)