December 17, 1972 — Apollo 17 astronaut Ron Evans takes a spacewalk outside the command module during the trans-Earth coast to home. He is retrieving film cassettes, a mapping camera, and panoramic camera. The total time for his EVA was one hour, seven minutes, 18 seconds.
Margaret Hamilton is a computer scientist and mathematician. She was the lead software engineer for Project Apollo. Her work prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 moon landing. She’s also credited for coining the term “software engineer.”
Those stacks are the code she wrote for Apollo 11. Incredible.
During the Dec. 16 launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which will send SpaceX’s robotic Dragon capsule toward the orbiting lab, the California-based company will try to bring the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth for a controlled landing on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
“There are a lot of launches that will occur over the next year. I think it’s quite likely that [on] one of those flights, we’ll be able to land and refly, so I think we’re quite close.”
The bold maneuver marks a big step forward in SpaceX’s development of reusable-rocket technology, which the company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, says could eventually cut the cost of spaceflight by a factor of 100 and perhaps make Mars colonization economically feasible. [SpaceX’s Quest For Rocketry’s Holy Grail: Exclusive Video]
Musk shared photos of the Falcon 9 and landing platform via Twitter late last month, ratcheting up interest in the cargo mission, the fifth of 12 unmanned resupply flights SpaceX will make to the space station for NASA under a $1.6 billion contract. Read the rest of this entry »
The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light. The images filtered at 890 nanometers are projected as blue. The images filtered at 728 nanometers are projected as green, and images filtered at 752 nanometers are projected as red. In this scheme, red indicates low clouds and green indicates high ones.
The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light. The images filtered at 890 nanometers are projected as blue. The images filtered at 728 nanometers are projected as green, and images filtered at 752 nanometers are projected as […]
— NASA (@NASA) December 7, 2014
Orion descends to the Pacific Ocean
NASA’s Orion capsule has splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after its first, unmanned, two-orbit test flight.
It came down on the surface of the ocean at 11:29 a.m. ET about 270 miles off the coast of Baja California, NASA said.
NASA’s new Orion spacecraft lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral and rocketed to orbit Friday morning — the first test flight for a program that NASA hopes eventually will get astronauts to asteroids and Mars.
The 4½-hour, uncrewed, two-orbit flight is taking Orion farther from Earth than any craft designed for human flight has been since the Apollo 17 mission to the moon in 1972.
Then, two hours later, a milestone: The second stage lifted Orion higher for its second orbit, expected to be about 3,600 miles above Earth, or 15 times higher than the International Space Station. Read the rest of this entry »
At 7:05 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, December 4, an unmanned, unpressurized version of NASA’s Orion crew capsule will lift off from Cape Canaveral for its first test flight, called Exploration Flight Test-1. This will mark the debut of the first new NASA spacecraft meant to fly astronauts since the Space Shuttle took flight in the early 1980s. And while this first flight will be unmanned, it will see a crew capsule travel farther from the planet’s surface than any manned vehicle design has gone since the Apollo moon mission…(read more)
Three interesting stories from Parabolic Arc, a great site covering “New Space:”
Burt Rutan, arguably the greatest living aerospace engineer and designer of the SpaceShip One and SpaceShip Two vehicles, expresses the opinion that all the evidence is pointing to: The loss of the SpaceShip Two vehicle was due to pilot error. And here’s Bill Whittle, former aerospace journalist and now political commentator, on how things like this happen — and why they have to:
Elon Musk provides some new details on how SpaceX will recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Spoiler: It’s amazingly cool.
NEW REACTIONLESS SPACE DRIVE?
Finally, here’s an article about something I’ve been hearing about for years: A physicist who seems to have developed a true “reactionless drive,” a staple of science fiction. It’s only at the miniature demonstrations stage but, as this longer article at Boing Boing describes, the theoretical foundation for the work seems sound. Well worth reading.
The International Space Station is getting a fresh jolt with the first coffee machine aboard the station. The world of instant powdered coffee is giving way in low earth orbit to freshly brewed Italian espresso.
An oral history of the epic space film “The Right Stuff” http://t.co/rfNH71hrYS
— WIRED (@WIRED) November 24, 2014