[VIDEO] 600 Days & Counting: US Air Force’s Unmanned Space Plane, X-37B, on Verge of Breaking Record for Longest Time in Space

In a testing procedure, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle taxis on the flightline March 30, 2010, at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, FLa. (Courtesy photo)

In a testing procedure, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle taxis on the flightline March 30, 2010, at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, FLa. (Courtesy photo)

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Moon Landing Documentary Airs Today

Apollo 11 Moon Documentary Launches on Decades Network Today

 A TV documentary set to premier today (July 20) will tell the incredible story of the first moon landing, which took place 47 years ago today.

The documentary, called “Go: The Great Race,” will air four times today on the Decades TV Network, as a special episode of the show “Through the Decades.” A trailer for the documentary leads off with footage from President John F. Kennedy delivering his famous 1961 speech that called for the U.S. to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.

“He had no reason to believe that we could even come close to doing something like that,” says one of the documentary’s interviewees (supposedly someone who worked on the Apollo, referring to Kennedy’s challenge. Read the rest of this entry »


SpaceX Lands Fourth Booster after Successful Falcon 9 Launch

 reports: SpaceX enjoyed a trio of successes on Friday when it launched its Falcon 9 rocket, landed the first stage and deployed a communications satellite.Falcon 9 blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:39 p.m. Eastern time with the Thaicom 8Wochit

SpaceX on Friday landed its third consecutive rocket on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, during a mission that successfully launched a commercial communications satellite to orbit.

“Falcon 9 has landed,” a member of SpaceX’s launch team confirmed about 10 minutes after a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket’s 5:39 p.m. blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

About 20 minutes later, the rocket’s upper stage deployed the Thaicom 8 satellite in orbit as planned.

“All looks good,” reported SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral

Photos: SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral with Thaicom 8

Later, Musk said the rocket stage had landed at close to the top speed it was designed to handle, possibly undermining its stability on the ship floating more than 400 miles offshore.

“Prob ok, but some risk of tipping,” he said on Twitter.

[Read the full story here, at floridatoday.com]

If it staid upright, crews planned to board the unpiloted “drone ship” to weld shoes over the rocket’s four landing legs and sail it back to Port Canaveral within a few days.

Musk’s comment was a reminder that despite a remarkable run of three straight booster landings and four in the company’s last six missions, the landings remain experimental.

SpaceX’s long-term goal is to cut launch costs by reusing rockets. Musk wants to achieve aircraft-like operations, with teams needing only to hose down down and refuel rockets between flights.

But the rockets landed Friday and three weeks ago have sustained more damage, possibly too much to allow them to fly again.
Read the rest of this entry »


Kennedy Space Center Displays Suit Worn By Buzz Aldrin While Lobbying For NASA Funding

CHANTILLY, VA - DECEMBER 5: A member of the media walks by space paraphernalia in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Smithsonian's new addition to the National Air and Space Museum December 5, 2003 in Chantilly, Virgina. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center sits nearly 30 miles west of Washington DC in Virginia and is home to such flying objects as the Space Shuttle Enterprise, Enola Gay B-29 Bomber, the Concord, SR-71 Spy Plane, and others. The center is scheduled to open December 15, 2003. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—Expressing their excitement to share the historic item with visitors, Kennedy Space Center officials confirmed Thursday that the suit worn by Buzz Aldrin on February 24, 2015 when he lobbied the Senate to increase NASA funding was now on display for public viewing. “We are honored to add to our collection the actual jacket and trousers Dr. Aldrin wore that fateful day when he stepped out into room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building and uttered the immortal words ‘I wish to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak with you about the future of American human spaceflight,’” the facility’s associate director, Kelvin Manning, said of the charcoal single-breasted suit, which was displayed together with the crisp button-down shirt, mission patch–patterned tie, and various lapel pins the former astronaut donned as he made the case for expanding the U.S. space program through strategic investments…(more)

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[VIDEO] Elon Musk’s SpaceX Returns to Flight and Pulls Off Dramatic, Historic Landing

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SpaceX Falcon rocket blasts off, booster lands safely

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Christian Davenport reports: Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at its landing pad here Monday evening in its first flight since its rocket exploded six months ago.

The historic landing, the first time a rocket launched a payload into orbit and then returned safely to Earth, was cheered as a sign that SpaceX, the darling of the commercial space industry, has its momentum back.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida before the reusable main-stage booster turned around, soaed back to Cape Canaveral and landed safely near its launch pad. (Reuters)

“The Falcon has landed,” a SpaceX commentator said on the live webcast, as workers at its headquarters went wild, chanting “USA! USA!”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Unveils Company's New Manned Spacecraft, The Dragon V2

Monday’s flight, initially delayed because of technical concerns, was the second time in a month that a billionaire-backed venture launched a rocket to space and recovered it. And it represents yet another significant step forward in the quest to open up the cosmos to the masses.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

In a call with reporters, Musk said that it appeared the stage landed “dead center on the landing pad. … We could not have asked for a better mission.” He called it a “revolutionary moment.”

Typically, rocket boosters are used once, burning up or crashing into the ocean after liftoff. But Musk, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and Tesla, and Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com who has his own space company, have been working on creating reusable rockets that land vertically by using their engine thrust. If they are able to recover rockets and fly them again and again, it would dramatically lower the cost of space flight.

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Reusing the first stage, which houses the engine and is the most expensive part of the rocket, was thought impossible by many just a few years ago. But last month Bezos’s Blue Origin flew a rocket to the edge of space, and landed it in a remote swath of West Texas. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

On Monday, SpaceX’s first flight since its Falcon 9 rocket blew up in June, Musk topped his fellow tech billionaire and space rival, by landing a larger, more powerful rocket designed to send payloads to orbit, and not just past the boundary of what’s considered space. It was a much more complicated feat that was celebrated as another leap forward for Musk and his merry band of rocketeers.

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SpaceX’s unmanned — and recently upgraded — Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral at 8:29 p.m. on a mission to deliver 11 commercial satellites into space for Orbcomm, a communications company. A few minutes later, the second stage separated and headed further on while the towering booster performed an aerial U-turn and headed back to Earth, hurtling back through gusty winds and using its engine thrust to slow down. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Toy: Kennedy Space Center Astronaut

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Buzz Aldrin Joins Florida Institute of Technology, Forming ‘Master Plan’ for Colonizing Mars within 25 Years

 In this July 20, 1969 file photo, astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. stands next to a U.S. flag planted on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. During a ceremony in Melbourne, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, Aldrin announced he is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology to develop "a master plan" for colonizing Mars within 25 years. (Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP)

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Marcia Dunn reports: Buzz Aldrin is teaming up with Florida Institute of Technology to develop “a master plan” for colonizing Mars within 25 years.

“The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn’t wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement.”

— Buzz Aldrin

The second man to walk on the moon took part in a signing ceremony Thursday at the university, less than an hour’s drive from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The Buzz Aldrin Space Institute is set to open this fall.

The 85-year-old Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, will serve as a research professor of aeronautics as well as a senior faculty adviser for the institute. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Joan Higginbotham: The Second Black Woman to Become an Astronaut

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Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham (born August 3, 1964) is an American engineer and a former NASA astronaut. She flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 as a mission specialist.

Higginbotham began her career in 1987 at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, as a Payload Electrical Engineer in the Electrical and Telecommunications Systems Division.[2][3] Within six months she became the lead for the Orbiter Experiments (OEX) on OV-102, the Space Shuttle Columbia. She later worked on the Shuttle payload bay reconfiguration for all Shuttle missions and conducted electrical compatibility tests for all payloads flown aboard the Shuttle. She was also tasked by KSC management to undertake several special assignments where she served as the Executive Staff Assistant to the Director of Shuttle Operations and Management, led a team of engineers in performing critical analysis for the Space Shuttle flow in support of a simulation model tool, and worked on an interactive display detailing the Space Shuttle processing procedures at Spaceport USA (Kennedy Space Center’s Visitors Center). Higginbotham then served as backup orbiter project engineer for OV-104, Space Shuttle Atlantis, where she participated in the integration of the orbiter docking station (ODS) into the space shuttle used during Shuttle/Mir docking missions. Two years later, she was promoted to lead orbiter project engineer for OV-102, Space Shuttle Columbia. In this position, she held the technical lead government engineering position in the firing room where she supported and managed the integration of vehicle testing and troubleshooting. She actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her 9-year tenure at Kennedy Space Center.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Higginbotham reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Since that time, she had been assigned technical duties in the Payloads & Habitability Branch, the Shuttle Avionics & Integration Laboratory (SAIL), the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Operations (Ops) Support Branch, where she tested various modules of the International Space Station for operability, compatibility, and functionality prior to launch, the Astronaut Office CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) Branch in the startup and support of numerous space station missions and space shuttle missions, the Robotics Branch, and Lead for the International Space Station Systems Crew Interfaces Section. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] July 26, 1971: Apollo 15 Launch

tumblr_n99pd1Uo2m1ql9k3fo1_1280 tumblr_n99pd1Uo2m1ql9k3fo9_1280 tumblr_n99pd1Uo2m1ql9k3fo7_1280 Read the rest of this entry »


Ready for the heat: Engineers install Heat Shield on the NASA Orion Spacecraft


[VIDEO] Morpheus Free Flight 13

The Morpheus/ALHAT team completed Free Flight 13 (FF13) at the KSC SLF on Thursday, May 22, 2014. This was Bravo’s 11th and ALHAT’s 4th free flight; the 1st with ALHAT running in closed-loop mode. For this test initial data indicated nominal performance of all Bravo systems, and of ALHAT Hazard Detection System (HDS), though not of the ALHAT navigation system. Read the rest of this entry »


Rare Chinese Star Wars Comic-Book Adaptation Unearthed

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An unusual Chinese comic-book adaptation of the original Star Wars film has been unearthed by a US academic, it is reported.

There is a vague Cold War feel about the comic book published in Guangzhou in 1980, while some of the characters are Chinese in appearance. The palm-sized picture book follows the plot of the 1977 George Lucas classic, but bears striking visual differences from it. The film was not actually shown in Chinese cinemas, so artists had to rely on their imagination or possibly promo materials to create the book.

_75168916_75168915At the time, China was still culturally isolated from the West, emerging from the Cultural Revolution that had just ended, says Maggie Greene, the assistant history professor at Montana State University who found the book. In a blog post, Greene says she stumbled across it at a book fair at a tranquil Confucian temple in Shanghai.

The book is in the format of a so-called lianhuanhua – small picture storybooks published in vast quantities in China in the 20th Century and often used for propaganda purposes by the Chinese government. “It was simply so incongruous I couldn’t leave it behind. It also cost about a dollar,” she writes. Read the rest of this entry »


[Photo] The NASA Clean Assembly Room

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The NASA clean assembly room on Merritt Island, FL has never been opened to the public. Yesterday it was opened to friends and family of employees. Here’s a panorama.

spaceexp –Exploring Space : Photo


[PHOTO] Saturn V Propellers

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Kennedy Space Center, Saturn V propellers

Source: benjetpascal01

Exploring Space


[VIDEO] NASA and JAXA ISS Astronauts Congratulate ‘Gravity’ on Academy Awards

Where’s the Best Place to Watch The Movie ‘Gravity’?

IN OUTER SPACE

From the Daily Caller, Real-Life ‘Gravity’ photos from NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center Flickr stream

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Astronaut Steven L. Smith retrieves tools used to service the Hubble Space Telescope from the Shuttle’s remote manipulator system.

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The sun rises on Space Shuttle Atlantis during its final mission before landing at Kennedy Space Center on July 21, 2011, concluding NASA’s 30-year shuttle program.

Read more @ dailycaller.com, and check out all of  ‘Gravity’ – NASA’s Real-Life Images from Space” on the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Flickr stream

NASA and JAXA ISS Astronauts Congratulate Gravity on Academy Awards – YouTube


Why Is This Woman Smiling?

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Apollo 17, 41 Years Ago this Week

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Apollo 17 and a piece of space history.

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Apollo 17, 41 Years Ago this Week (Archive: NASA, Marshall, 12/12/72) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr.

APOLLO 17 : The voyage of Apollo 17 marked the program’s concluding expedition to the moon. The mission lifted off after midnight on Dec. 7, 1972 from Kennedy Space Center and touched down on the lunar surface on Dec. 11. The crew spent almost 75 hours on the lunar surface, conducted nearly 22 hours of extravehicular activities (EVAs), and traveled almost 19 miles in the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). During lunar lift-off on Dec. 14, Apollo 17 Mission Commander Eugene A. Cernan remarked that the astronauts were leaving as they came, “with peace and hope for all mankind.” In this photo, taken during the second EVA on Dec. 12, 1972, Cernan is standing near the lunar rover designed by Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Image credit: NASA/MSFC

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