NASA’s ‘Forgotten Astronaut’

Who is Michael Collins?

Neil Armstrong may have been the first person to walk on the moon, but he wasn’t the only astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission; someone had to stay onboard the ship.

Molly Fosco writes: Michael Collins is one of three astronauts that were aboard the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. You’re probably a little more familiar with the other two astronauts from the mission, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. That’s because Collins is the only one that didn’t get to actually walk on the moon, which is why he’s sometimes referred to as the “forgotten astronaut.”

Collins was the command module pilot on Apollo 11 so he stayed behind to man the spacecraft while Armstrong and Aldrin took their famous moonwalk. Ultimately, this means that Collins isn’t a household name, but he’s still a very important part of space history. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] NASA’s First Asteroid-Sampling Mission Lifts Off 

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NASA on Sept. 8 launched the first U.S. mission to collect and return an asteroid sample, in hopes of learning more about how the solar system coalesced and life came to be.


Best of 9-11 Remembered: The Strange, Harrowing Journey of Air Force One, As Told by the People Who Were On Board

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Where was the president in the eight hours after the Sept. 11 attacks? The strange, harrowing journey of Air Force One, as told by the people who were on board.

Nearly every American above a certain age remembers precisely where they were on September 11, 2001. But for a tiny handful of people, those memories touch American presidential history. Shortly after the attacks began, the most powerful man in the world, who had been informed of the World Trade Center explosions in a Florida classroom, was escorted to a runway and sent to the safest place his handlers could think of: the open sky.

President Bush visits MacDill AFB

For the next eight hours, with American airspace completely cleared of jets, a single blue-and-white Boeing 747, tail number 29000—filled with about 65 passengers, crew and press, and the 43rd president, George W. Bush, as well as 70 box lunches and 25 pounds of bananas—traversed the eastern United States. On board, President Bush and his aides argued about two competing interests—the need to return to Washington and reassure a nation and the competing need to protect the commander in chief.

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO Magazine]

All the while, he and his staff grappled with the aftermath of the worst attack on American soil in their lifetimes, making crucial decisions with only flickering information about the attacks unfolding below. Bush struggled even to contact his family and to reach Vice President Dick Cheney in the White House bunker.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The story of those remarkable hours—and the thoughts and emotions of those aboard—isolated eight miles above America, escorted by three F-16 fighters, flying just below the speed of sound, has never been comprehensively told. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] NASA Just Launched a Spacecraft to Steal Some Asteroid Particles 

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NASA just successfully launched its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on an Atlas V rocket. Now, the vehicle is on its way to scoop up pieces of an asteroid and bring them back to Earth, a journey that will take seven years to complete. But if successful, those asteroid pieces could tell researchers a lot about the early Solar System and how life got started on our own planet. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Yo Yos in Space 


Back Home After 172 Days in Space

 


LOOK, UP IN THE SKY: U.S. Bombers to Buzz Europe in Show-of-Force Exercise

Two Air Force B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and a single B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, last week for the NATO exercise.

Three U.S. long-range bombers will be flying over the Czech Republic this week for Joint Terminal Attack Controller Exercise Ample Strike, U.S. European Command announced this weekend.

Two Air Force B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and a single B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, last week for the NATO exercise, which kicked off Aug. 30.

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The Czechs are hosting the exercise, aimed to train partners in air-land scenarios, for the third time, according to NATO. The bombers will conduct day and night operations Sept. 5-16, EUCOM said. Approximately 300 participants from 18 countries will attend.

[Read the full text here, at Defensetech]

The Air Force also is adding air-to-air refueling missions during tactical aircraft and bomber missions. “US Air Force KC-135R tankers will refuel not only the German Tornado jets, Czech and Hungarian Gripen aircraft, but also US Air Force strategic bombers,” Col. Zdenek Bauer of the Czech Air Force Command, the exercise director, said in a release. Read the rest of this entry »


Top 10 Star Trek Planets Chosen by Our Scientists


[PHOTOS] NASA 1965 Space Suit Test Robot


20 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sept 2, 1996, French Astronaut Claudie Haigneré Returns Home After 16 Days on the Mir Space Station 

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Space Shuttle Almanac – spaceexp


Detail from a 1958 Soviet Space Propaganda Poster

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Heritage Auctions


[VIDEO] Jupiter’s Red Spot Is Red Hot

What Jupiter’s spot is not, is tranquil. New infrared images taken by Boston University scientists on a NASA telescope in Hawaii show that whereas Jupiter’s north and south poles are heated by strong magnetic fields, its large, stormy red spot generates its own heat by a different mechanism. Shock waves from turbulent winds in the spot and other storms help explain how the planet’s upper atmosphere stays warm so far from the sun. Read the rest of this entry »


China To Develop Next-Generation Modular Missiles with Artificial Intelligence 

Next-generation cruise missiles equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of being tailored for specific combat scenarios, are set to debut in China.

Ryan Pickerel reports: Future conflicts will demand cost-effective and versatile weaponry, such as modular cruise missiles outfitted with artificial intelligence, Wang Changqing told the China Daily, at the 2016 Hiwing Forum in Beijing.

“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements.”

Changqing is the director of the General Design Department of the Third Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.

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“Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation.”

— Wang Changqing

“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements,” explained Changqing. “Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation.”. Changqing indicated that China is already a global leader in artificial intelligence.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

The new cruise missiles will “allow commanders to control them in a real-time manner, or to use a fire-and-forget mode, or to add more tasks to in-flight missiles,” Changqing said.

U.S. Navy leadership and senior officers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) meet for lunch aboard the Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) marking the conclusion of a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise between Harbin and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released)

A modular missile is well-suited for future combat. The “destructive capacity, flight mode, and range” of the missiles can be easily adjusted to counter threats on the ground and at sea, Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, informed China Daily. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] A Quick History of Space Exploration 

Orbital Sciences will once again attempt to rendezvous with the International Space Station when it launches the Cynus spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket, shown here in a file photo of an earlier launch. Photo courtesy Orbital Sciences

Orbital Sciences will once again attempt to rendezvous with the International Space Station when it launches the Cynus spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket, shown here in a file photo of an earlier launch. Photo courtesy Orbital Sciences

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Artist's concept of the new SpaceX Dragon, which may one day fly from Brownsville, Texas (Image: SpaceX)

Artist’s concept of the new SpaceX Dragon, which may one day fly from Brownsville, Texas (Image: SpaceX)

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From the first rocket launch in 1926 to Gagarin, Armstrong, Hubble, Curiosity and beyond, take a fast ride through the 90 years of human space exploration. Read the rest of this entry »


Getting to Mars: What It’ll Take


[VIDEO] High-Speed SpaceX Footage from Launches of Falcon 9 Rockets  

New camera views of past launches and reentries.Missions in order of appearance: May JCSAT-14; July CRS-9 launch, stage separation, engine plume interaction, and re-entry burn; December 2015 ORBCOMM landing burn; July CRS-9 landing burn.

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[VIDEO] Vault: V-2 Rocket; Assembling and Launching, 1947 

Reel 1 shows a V-2 rocket assembled from German parts at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico. The alcohol tank, oxygen tank, propulsion unit, and tail housing are placed in position.

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The rocket is carried to the firing area and raised to a vertical position. Reel 2, final checks are made and the rocket is fired. Its course is followed by radar. Parts are recovered after the rocket has crashed.


BREAKING: North Korea Unveils Mission to ‘Plant Flag on the Moon’

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean space officials are hard at work on a five-year plan to put more advanced satellites into orbit by 2020, and don’t intend to stop there: They’re also aiming for the moon, and beyond.

“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon.”

— Hyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration

In an interview with The Associated Press, a senior official at North Korea’s version of NASA said international sanctions won’t stop the country from launching more satellites by 2020, and that he hopes to see the North Korean flag on the moon within the next 10 years.

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“Even though the U.S. and its allies try to block our space development, our aerospace scientists will conquer space and definitely plant the flag of the DPRK on the moon,” said Hyon Kwang Il, director of the scientific research department of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration.

North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

An unmanned, no-frills North Korean moon mission in the not-too-distant future isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. Outside experts say it’s ambitious, but conceivable. While the U.S. is the only country to have conducted manned lunar missions, other nations have sent unmanned spacecraft there and have in that sense planted their flags.

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“It would be a significant increase in technology, not one that is beyond them, but you have to debug each bit,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains an exhaustive blog on international satellites and satellite launches, said in an email to the AP. Read the rest of this entry »