[VIDEO] ‘The Vehicle Experienced an Anomaly on Ascent': SpaceX CRS-7 Explodes Moments After Liftoff, Mission Ends In DisasterPosted: June 28, 2015
The latest Dragon spacecraft cargo run to the International Space Station blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28th, 2015 and exploded during flight. SpaceX wanted to attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a ocean platform. [The last attempt crashed into the platform – see the tracking cam video]
Christian Davenport reports: An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded a couple of minutes after liftoff Sunday morning. It was the third cargo mission to the space station to be lost in recent months.
SpaceX tweeted: “The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.”
NASA officials said it was not clear what caused the explosion.
SpaceX was carrying more than 4,000 pounds of food and supplies to the space station, where American Scott Kelly is spending a year in space. There were no astronauts on board.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 28, 2015
The failure follows two earlier mishaps. An Orbital Antares rocket blew up in October, and then a Russian Progress 59 spun out of control after reaching orbit.
Before the launch, Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokeswoman, said that the station had plenty of supplies on board and that the crew would be fine even if there was another failure. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] HOLY MACKEREL! Cooking in Microgravity with Samantha Cristoforetti: Quinoa Salad & Leek Cream TortillaPosted: June 25, 2015
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is
currently living on board (Update: Cristoforetti returned to earth in early June) the International Space Station for her long duration mission Futura. Food is an important item in space, also on the psychological side; that’s why astronauts are allowed a certain quantity of the so-called “bonus food” of their choice that reminds them of their home cooking tastes. We asked Samantha to show us how she manages to cook one of her bonus food recipes in microgravity: a quinoa salad with dried tomatoes, mackerel and leek cream, all wrapped in a warm tortilla.
Boeing and Lockheed aren’t the enemy, but accelerating a competitive launch business is worth some risks
“Should Congress, however bad the precedent, climb down from sanctions enacted last December curtailing the Pentagon’s reliance on a Russian-made engine to put U.S. military satellites in orbit?”
Witness how frequently the words “to compete with SpaceX” appear in industry statements and press coverage. To compete with SpaceX, say multiple reports, the United Launch Alliance, the Pentagon’s traditional supplier, is developing a new Vulcan rocket powered by a reusable engine designed by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.
Because of SpaceX, says Aviation Week magazine, Japan’s government has instructed Mitsubishi to cut in half the cost of the Japanese workhorse rocket, and China is planning a new family of kerosene-fueled Long March rockets. “Stimulated by SpaceX’s work on reusable rockets,” reports SpaceNews.com, Airbus is developing a reusable first stage for Europe’s venerable Ariane rocket.
“Yes, say the Pentagon, the national intelligence leadership and the White House, because avoiding disruption to crucial military launches is more important than any symbolic weakening of sanctions against Russia.”
All this comes amid one of those Washington battles ferocious in inverse relation to the certainties involved. Should Congress, however bad the precedent, climb down from sanctions enacted last December curtailing the Pentagon’s reliance on a Russian-made engine to put U.S. military satellites in orbit?
Yes, say the Pentagon, the national intelligence leadership and the White House, because avoiding disruption to crucial military launches is more important than any symbolic weakening of sanctions against Russia. Read the rest of this entry »
Watch as Boeing’s expert crew rehearses the flying display that will be performed at the 2015 Paris Air Show. Get a preview before the show
Air Aviv, branded as “The World’s Sexiest Airline,” flies to over 40 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas
Boaz Bulbulovitz reports: Tel Aviv – For the first time in aviation history, Tel Aviv-based carrier Air Aviv will offer a restricted, clothing-optional “Adults-Only Class” on selected trans-Mediterranean routes.
“Air Aviv, branded as ‘The World’s Sexiest Airline’… is known for its risqué marketing campaigns, rainbow plane liveries, scantily clad flight attendants, top-notch vegan cuisine and delectable in-flight hash brownies.”
The separate section – to be located at the rear of each aircraft – will offer five rows of business class-quality seats, each with widescreen flat screen with over 10,000 free adult films, retractable privacy shutters, complimentary lubricant, hand towel and one disposable sex toy per passenger.
“With our adults-only class, we are taking the pleasure of flying to a new level.”
— Air Aviv CEO Dana Dagdani
Exclusive double and triple pods will also be available, and an inflight “Sky Spa” will offer an assortment of massage and beauty therapies.
“With our adults-only class, we are taking the pleasure of flying to a new level,” said Air Aviv CEO Dana Dagdani. “Just wait till we launch entire adults-only flights to selected destinations – themed, chartered and perfect for bachelor or bachelorette parties, Gay Pride convoys and groups of kinky Arabian princes.” Read the rest of this entry »
Tesla’s impresario is right about one thing: Humanity’s preservation is a legitimate government interest
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: There is often a large difference between what people imagine they are doing and what they are actually doing. Especially in politics, any relationship between the effect of policy, the goal of policy and the stated goal is often incidental to the point of randomness.
“He’s not the first to suggest that dramatically reducing the cost of earth orbit is a key to future space endeavors. He isn’t the only dot-com millionaire to turn his attention to space.”
Adding to the complexity, the doers themselves are often confused about the relationship between rhetoric and reality.
Which naturally brings us to a new biography of Elon Musk, whose entrepreneurial energy is a marvel; the world would be better off if there were more like him, even if a “nonstop horrible” childhood was a precursor to his adult achievements. That said, the “change the world” stuff, let alone the “save humanity” stuff, that fills Ashlee Vance’s admired “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” is a tad overdone.
“If he succeeds, though, in delivering his cheap, reusable heavy-lift vehicle, vast new possibilities will open up. Fifty years from now if there are hotels and factories in orbit, they may well be SpaceX hotels and factories.”
Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House roof. GM rolled out its EV1 electric car in 1996. Mr. Musk has been selling back to affluent, middle-aged baby boomers their own youthful ideals in the shape of roof panels and plug-in cars.
These items sell not because the moment is ripe to transition the world economy to solar but as vanity trinkets for the rich that even the rich wouldn’t buy without a large helping of taxpayer money.
“If a human outpost materializes on Mars, it may well be a SpaceX outpost.”
Yes, Mr. Musk deserves credit for organizing his enterprises and getting them off the ground. The bureaucratic obstacles to starting a car business are especially daunting. And his Tesla Model S is a lovely object and wonderful machine.
[Order Ashlee Vance’s book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” from Amazon.com]
Nowhere in Mr. Vance’s book, though, does the figure $7,500 appear—the direct taxpayer rebate to each U.S. buyer of Mr. Musk’s car. You wouldn’t know that 10% of all Model S cars have been sold in Norway—though Tesla’s own 10-K lists the possible loss of generous Norwegian tax benefits as a substantial risk to the company. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »