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+ 0 - 2 | § Nearly 433,000 Watch NASA Launch Webcast

"That's more than twice the 175,000 streams that America Online Inc. had at its peak July 2 for the Live 8 concerts"

+ 0 - 2 | § Has Huygens found life on Titan?

From New Scientist.

+ 2 - 0 | § Blog In Space

Send your blog to the stars.

+ 1 - 1 | § Safe...Simple..Soon

A peek at a very likely future of spaceflight.

+ 0 - 2 | § To explore is human

An editorial by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin

+ 1 - 1 | § As NASA evolves, what will replace the shuttle?

From The Houston Chronicle, which hasn't mastered the countdown clock yet.


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31 July 2005

+ 1 - 2 | § Sunday Blogging

From the Baptist Hymnal, 1975 Edition:

God of earth and outer space,
God of love and God of Grace,
Bless the astronauts who fly
As they soar beyond the sky.
God who flung the stars in space,
God who set the sun ablaze,
Fling the spacecraft thro' the air,
Let man know your presence there.

(Words, Thad Roberts, Jr., Copyright 1970 by The Hymn Society of America.)

+ 1 - 1 | § One More Day

STS-114Per Spaceflight Now:
NASA's mission management team today extended the shuttle Discovery's flight by one day, giving the astronauts more time to assist and resupply the international space station's two-man crew, and concluded the shuttle's heat-shield tiles and insulation blankets are fit for a normal re-entry Aug. 8.

30 July 2005

+ 0 - 1 | § Eight, Nine Or Ten?

Tenth Planet?

Well, the other shoe has dropped.

First, there was Quauor, the large Kuiper Belt Object discovered recently that raised the discussion about what exactly, in our solar system, should be considered a planet. Quauor, though, was small enough that it obviously wasn't going to make the cut-off, so the issue remained academic at that point.

Then, there was Sedna, a KBO significantly larger than Quauor, but still smaller than Pluto. The discussion was raised again, but was taken seriously at this point only by those wanting a change.

Now, though, there is 2003UB313. And the issue can no longer be ignored.

2003UB313, while still a KBO, and much more than twice as distant as Pluto, has the distinction of being larger than Pluto.

The story on the front page of says outright that 2003UB313 is a planet, though a formal decision has yet to be made:

The planet is a typical member of the Kuiper belt, but its sheer size in relation to the nine known planets means that it can only be classified as a planet, Brown said.

It seems to me, though, that's not the only option. In my mind, there are at least three possibilities:

  1. There are eight planets. End the solar system with Neptune. Everything up through Neptune is a planet; everything beyond is a KBO, including Pluto, Quauor, Sedna and 2003UB313. Sad for Pluto, but probably the most practical solution, particularly since it saves making this decision every time a new large KBO is identified, which could easily be increasingly frequently. (One issue it raises, though, is what to do about Mercury on the off-chance that a KBO is discovered that is larger than the innermost planet.)

  2. There are nine planets. Period. Decide that Pluto is grandfathered in, but cut the list off there. No real scientific basis for this one; it has more to do with sentimental factors. That, really, are kind of irrelevant -- while almost everyone around today pretty much takes Pluto for granted, in the history of our knowledge of the solar system, the 75 years that we've known about Pluto is really not significant.

  3. There are ten (or more) planets. Pluto stays in the solar sytem, so 2003UB313, being larger, makes the list, too. And so, presumably, does anything else larger than Pluto discovered later. This route really needs for the International Astronomical Union to finally decide formally what the guidelines for planethood are, rather than just deciding it on a case-by-case basis. The only difference between 2003UB313 and Sedna is size, so where exactly is the line. Obviously, the cut-off can't be higher than Pluto, but is there any rationale for making Pluto the lower limit other than, again, sentimental reasons? The rocky planets and the gas giants are clearly different than other bodies in the solar system, but the only difference between KBOs and Kuiper Belt Planets (KBPs, I suppose?) would be an arbitrary size limit.

I did think this part of the story was interesting, though:

A name for the new planet has been proposed by the discoverers to the International Astronomical Union, and they are awaiting the decision of this body before announcing the name.

If 2003UB313 does become a planet, when the name is announced, Blogpoints will be awarded for the best mnemonic devices for remembering the new solar system.

For the sake of full disclosure, though, I do have to admit it was kind of exciting to read that the tenth planet had been found.

+ 3 - 0 | § A Future Yet

Mike GriffinPer Spaceflight Now:
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin mounted a spirited defense of the shuttle program and the beleaguered external tank project today, saying virtually all of NASA's post-Columbia improvements to the huge tank worked as expected during Discovery's launching Tuesday. While at least three relatively large pieces of foam debris fell away from the tank during ascent, Griffin said he's confident engineers will develop a fix and that flights will resume sooner rather than later.
"Discovery is the cleanest bird we've seen," Griffin said, referring to the overall number of dents, dings and chips seen in the shuttle's heat-shield tiles. "Six times cleaner than the average across 113 (previous) missions. So the fact that we have three or four things that we still need to clean up from our first test flight in two-and-a-half years - I'm not a spin kind of a guy, you all know that - but in the world of engineering, we did pretty well."
Griffin agreed NASA "missed" the threat posed by the PAL ramp foam, "but to extrapolate from that fact and say that we can't fix it, I think is just a bridge too far. I think we're going to fix it, I think we're going to fix it in short order, we're going to get back flying. All we ever said the other day was that we are not going to fly again until we fix it. And I think that's the right thing to do. But we don't expect this to be a long, drawn-out affair, to be honest with you. If that changes, we'll tell you, but that's what we're looking at now."

29 July 2005

+ 1 - 0 | § That Our Flag Was Still There...

A while back, I posted something about "The Empty Flagpole," a flagpole at Marshall that is used solely to fly flags representing the Orbiters only when one of the Shuttles is in space; a flagpole that had been unused for almost two and a half years.

Today, though, a flag is flying there. I finally made it over to see it, and I was glad I did. Somehow, with everything going on -- the concerns about the launch, the uncertainty about the future -- it was reassuring to see that flag flying. It was something of a Francis Scott Key moment, and my mind began to rip off echo his words:

Discovery flag pictureOh, say can you see,
In the void’s endless night
What so proudly we launched
On that bright Tuesday morning?

Whose bold thrust and brave crew
Did return us to flight,
While new worlds await,
A new era aborning?

And the rockets’ red glare,
The foam falling through air
Gave proof through their flight
Just how bravely they dare!

Oh, say does our Shuttle Discovery yet soar,
As we fly once again, and once more we explore?

+ 0 - 1 | § Editorial Note

STS-114From The New York Times:
HOUSTON, July 28 - Clara Olvera has worked in the cafeteria at the Johnson Space Center here for only a year, but on Thursday afternoon she could detect a shift in the mood of the engineers, astronauts and administrators who come in for lunch each day. The grounding of shuttle flights because of another pesky foam problem, she said, was clearly weighing on spirits.

"You can see it in their faces," Ms. Olvera said, wiping tabletops after the lunchtime rush. "It's been a very emotional week, after reaching the goal on Tuesday only to have it all turn around so quickly. We can only hope for the best."

The mood elsewhere around NASA's manicured campus, and in the restaurants, hotels and bars outside the center along Nasa Road 1, also stood in contrast to the euphoria that had accompanied the launching of the shuttle Discovery just two days earlier. It was clear that some NASA employees, and others who depend on the agency for their livelihood, had been hoping for the celebrations to continue after waiting more than two years for a launching in the wake of the Columbia disaster.

"There's disappointment in the back of people's minds," Charla Stuart, a NASA education program specialist, said of the grounding, although, referring to the program's astronauts, she added, "We need to remember these are people's lives we're talking about."

28 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § The Future

DiscoveryI've seen only a couple of stories along this line today. I've discounted similar pieces since the loss of Columbia, but I'm beginning to wonder if it may be true this time.

Tuesday may have marked the last launch of the Space Shuttle.

Hopefully, that will turn out not to be the case. Hopefully, the cause of debris shedding can be identified quickly, and the problem can be repaired quickly, simply and cheaply. Hopefully, Atlantis will launch on schedule in September.

But, at this point, I really wonder how much time, money and effort it could require to get the fleet flying again before the administrator decides it's not worth it. Mike Griffin has made it very clear that he's not a big fan of the Shuttle, and wants to retire the Orbiters as quickly as is reasonably possible. He also has made it clear that his main priority is moving ahead with execution of the Vision, and is willing to make cuts to bring that about quickly. It's not impossible to imagine a scenarion in which Griffin would decide that the cost and effort needed to get the Orbiters flying again would be better invested in new launch systems.

Agency officials have already said that the Shuttle may not fly again this year. Beyond that, only time will tell.

+ 0 - 3 | § Virgin Honeymoon

At the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin yesterday, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, announced that George Whitesides, the Executive Director of the National Space Society and his bride-to-be, Loretta Hidalgo, will be the first honeymoon couple to take a trip on the fledgling space tourism company’s sub-orbital craft when the company goes into operation.

Branson brought the couple on stage Tuesday night during an airshow gala event sponsored by Virgin Galactic, there he gave them a bottle of champagne and a pin to signify their future Virgin Galactic space trek.

“Loretta and I have tickets to be the first honeymoon couple on the Virgin Galactic service. It’s not going to happen for a few years, but it’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Whitesides told in a phone interview.

“We have put money down. We think the Virgin Galactic team is terrific. There’s a bunch of great groups out there…and I hope they’ll all succeed,” he added.

While Virgin Galactic suborbital operations are still several years away, Whitesides said he’s looking forward to his honeymoon trip into space.

And will they hold hands on liftoff? “You bet,” Whitesides said.

+ 1 - 0 | § Together At Last!

STS-114The Space Shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station, and the nine people now in space have begun joint operations.

So far, the checks of Discovery's thermal protection system have shown no problems. According to Administrator Mike Griffin: "We continue to examine the data but at this point, we think Discovery is a clean bird."

+ 2 - 0 | § Grounded

ET with missing foamDue to the concerns about ET foam shedding during Wednesday's launch, the Shuttle fleet is once again grounded until the problem can be resolved.

27 July 2005

+ 0 - 3 | § Russian Around

Blue MoonPer Cosmic Log:
Russian space officials are working out a plan to send high-rolling space passengers around the moon and back for a cool $100 million.

And just as the Soviet space shuttle looked like the American version, this idea has much in common with an American company’s proposal to use the international space station and a beefed-up Soyuz craft to offer an Apollo 8-style translunar excursion.

+ 1 - 0 | § Debris Events

Tile lossSpaceflight Now has an article giving background on the "debris events" during yesterday's launch of Discovery. It sounds like two of the three pose basically no risk, but I have yet to see a definitive analysis of the loss of the forward heat shield tile.

Addendum: Here's more info.

26 July 2005

+ 3 - 0 | § Go!

launch of Discovery

+ 2 - 1 | § Very Last RTF Update

STS-114And we have, in fact, returned to flight.

The sidebar has been updated to reflect that two more people have now been into space and that the STS-114 crew is now on orbit, and the launch countdown, at long last, has been taken down.

This concludes over two years of ATW RTF coverage.

+ 1 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114Perhaps today?

The entire crew is boarded, buckled and waiting, meaning that we are now further along in launch preparations than ever before.

Weather conditions are currently go for launch.

At this writing, it is one hours, 40 minutes until the scheduled launch.

Godspeed Discovery and the STS-114 crew!

25 July 2005

+ 2 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114I just watched the countdown clock on the blog tick away to less than one day until launch.

At this point, everything is go for launch.

As of this writing, we're at 23 hours, 57 minutes. And counting.

+ 0 - 2 | § In The House

Exploration logoPer
The House Friday overwhelmingly endorsed President Bush's vision to send man back to the moon and eventually on to Mars as it passed a bill to set NASA policy for the next two years.

The bill passed 383-15 after a collegial debate in which lawmakers stressed their commitment to not just Bush's ambitious space exploration plans but also to traditional NASA programs such as science and aeronautics.

22 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114Per Spaceflight Now:
Riding aboard astronauts' trademark T-38 jets, Discovery's crew is arriving at Kennedy Space Center for Tueday's launch. Commander Eileen Collins, pilot Jim Kelly and mission specialists Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda just touched down on KSC's three-mile runway.
Space shuttle Atlantis has arrived inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, two days later than planned because of a landing gear and tire pressure issues. The ship will be lifted upright and mated to the original external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters prepped for shuttle Discovery's return to flight STS-114 mission, now set for launch Tuesday. NASA decided to fly Discovery with a different tank and boosters, giving the first stack to Atlantis for the September STS-121 mission.
Tropical Storm Franklin formed in the Atlantic near the Bahamas Thursday, giving NASA something else to worry about as crews prepare Discovery for the space shuttle return to flight mission scheduled to blast off Tuesday from Kennedy Space Center.

21 July 2005

+ 2 - 0 | § RTF Update

STS-114The launch has been rescheduled for about 9:39 a.m. CDT on Tuesday.

The official countdown begins Saturday.

20 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § Today In History

"Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind."

Celebrate the 36th anniversary of the first Moon landing by checking out the anniversary package I put together for NASAexplores last year, including an Apollo Lander game that'll let you set down at Tranquility Base.

Then pop over to Google for their anniversary-inspired addition: Google Moon

+ 2 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114A first phase of testing is expected to be completed today in the search for the cause of the Shuttle's fuel sensor failure which scrubbed last week's Return to Flight launch.

NASA officials will be meeting around 2:30 p.m. CDT today to decide how to proceed from here, wih a Tuesday launch among the possibilities.

+ 0 - 2 | § The Next Step

STS-121Per Spaceflight Now:
While NASA hopes to get shuttle Discovery cleared for flight next week on the first post-Columbia mission, workers at Kennedy Space Center will move Atlantis from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building later today for mating with an external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters. Atlantis is being prepped to launch in September to haul supplies to the space station and conduct more shuttle demonstration tests.

15 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114No earlier than late next week.

And, confidential to my friend who said "It won't stay TBD; it's Saturday or September": Nyah!

+ 1 - 2 | § Today In History

Apollo SoyuzThirty years ago today, the U.S. crew of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project launched toward their rendezvous and docking with the Soviet crew.

(Here's a recent NASA history feature about ASTP, but I can't vouch for its accuracy. [I know the the listed landing date is wrong.])

14 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114There will reportedly be a press conference today about the status of the sensor failure investigation, but, to the best of my knowledge, it hasn't been scheduled yet. (It'll be one of those 'We'll call you when we're ready' things.)

Word I'm hearing -- and this is just speculation at this point -- is that it will be Saturday or September. If it's not an easy fix they can get repaired on the pad right away, there will probably be a rollback to the VAB and a delay past the end of the July window.

More as it develops, natch.

+ 0 - 2 | § Early Retirement?

ShuttlePer Spaceref:
NASA is considering retiring a Space Shuttle orbiter in 2007 and beginning modifications to one Shuttle launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center under a plan now being reviewed at NASA headquarters, according to senior agency sources.

Yet another example of the high-stakes game Mike Griffin is playing to get NASA back to the Moon -- if it pays off, it makes the exploration agenda imminently doable; if it doesn't, the current space program has been stripped past viability.

Either way, though, his plan will work -- with no option of maintaining the status quo, we have no option but to move forward.

The parallels between the current era of spaceflight and the end of the Apollo era are striking, with this plan more than a little reminescent of the decision to scrap Apollo flights 18-20. Hopefully, the transition will work a little more smoothly this time.

+ 1 - 1 | § Triple Sunset

trinary sunsFor the first time ever, astronomers have discovered an extrasolar world in a stellar system with three stars, making it 50 percent more impressive than Tatooine.

13 July 2005

+ 2 - 0 | § RTF Update

The launch is scrubbed.

No word on how long scrub will last.

Situation will be reviewed overnight, with a meeting around noon tomorrow.

Best case situation is Saturday.

+ 2 - 0 | § RTF Update

STS-114If all goes as planned, this will be my last RTF Update post. (Though reports are now that there's a 40 percent chance of a weather scrub.)

Less than six hours remain until launch.

It's time to fly!

12 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § Looking Back

As ATW's final "RTF Update" post draws near, I went back in my archive to find the first post to bear that title. It was published on Aug. 6, 2003, back when this blog was at a different address and still called "You Must Fight The Bear":
From AFP News Service: "Bill Readdy, NASA's associate administrator for space flight, said 'it appears that the window extending from March 11 to April 6 honored all the constraints that we know,' including a daylight launch and daylight external tank separation."

Yep -- that was talking about a March 11, 2004 Return to Flight.

+ 2 - 1 | § Countdown Explained

Countdown clockNASA's official countdown clock currently reads T -11 hours until launch, in contrast with the nearly 29 hours actually remaining. Why? Here's an explanation of the official countdown.

+ 2 - 0 | § RTF Update

STS-114Per The AP:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA managers forged ahead with the countdown to the launch of space shuttle Discovery, confident they would be able to fix a few minor problems and would remain untroubled by summer storms.
"I think we're on our way," Bill Parsons, manager of the space shuttle program, said Monday following a meeting to review any potential problems.

+ 0 - 2 | § Today In History

ISSAssembly of the International Space Station kicked into high gear five years ago with the launch of the long-delayed Zvezda service module on a Russian Proton rocket.

+ 1 - 2 | § The Empty Flagpole

empty flagpole at end of row of flags
On the right hand side of this picture, at the end of a row of flags outside the ISS Payload Operations Center at Marshall Space Flight Center, is an empty flagpole. While flags have flown on the other poles, none has been raised on that pole for almost two and a half years.

That pole is reserved for the flags of the Orbiters. Each Orbiter in the Shuttle fleet has its own flag (Discovery's is visible in this photo), and that flagpole is used to fly those flags when the Orbiter is in flight. With no Shuttle missions since Feb. 2003, the flagpole has been empty.

Tomorrow, however, that should change.

11 July 2005

+ 3 - 1 | § Today In History

skylab timeBuy this image at

On this date in 1979, the Skylab space station reentered Earth's atmosphere more than six years after its launch, breaking up over the Indian Ocean and western Australia.

+ 0 - 2 | § RTF Update

STS-114The official countdown clock is still underway and now reads only one day and three hours until launch (because of the built-in holds it includes.)

While everyone is looking ahead two days to the launch, The St. Petersburg Times has an article looking back 17 years to 1988's STS-26 Return to Flight mission; a very interesting story about the first post-Challenger mission.
Reading it, though, I was reminded about how Wednesday will be different from Sept. 29, 1988 -- STS-26's was successful less than a minute and a half after launch, when it made it past the point at which Challenger had been lost.
While Wednesday's launch will be a huge, huge thing, NASA won't really be able to breathe again until Discovery has all wheels safely on the ground.

The Huntsville Times has an article about the important role Marshall has played in making the Shuttle safer in preparation for RTF. Gotta include that as a shout-out to my homies!

And if anybody's interested in what STS-114 will be doing besides launching and landing, The Orlando Sentinel has a summary of the mission.

From the "New Beginnings" file: collectSPACE notes that the Solid Rocket Boosters used on the STS-114 mission include one segment that flew on the very first Shuttle flight, STS-1, over 24 years ago. (Which means that a small part of Columbia's first launch will be a part of returning the fleet to flight after her loss.)

Keywords: collectspace,history,launch_schedule,nasa,rtf,space,space_shuttle,sts_114,sts_26

+ 1 - 1 | § The Future Nears

Exploration logoWhile, since taking office, new NASA administrator Mike Griffin has been outspoken about the need to get more done by the time the Shuttle fleet is retired in 2010, I have seen very little he's said about the future after 2010. Apparently, that will soon change -- Griffin is expected to soon reveal details of his plan to impliment the Vision for Space Exploration.

10 July 2005

+ 2 - 0 | § RTF Update

STS-114The countdown is officially underway.

Launch officials estimate a 30 percent chance of a weather-related scrub Wednesday.

09 July 2005

+ 1 - 2 | § RTF Update

Due to the expected arrival of Hurricane Dennis in the Gulf Coast, the crew of STS-114 will now arrive at KSC a day early. Their new target arrival time is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility. Media need to be flexible because this time may be delayed due to the uncertainty of the weather.

I'm posting this at least half just 'cause I'm really digging on posting the constant RTF Updates at this point, and looking forward to not posting them anymore.

08 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § Favor Request

I've got a favor I would appreciate if the ATW Community could help me with. The awesome collectSPACE Web site that I talk about on here from time to time has been nominated as one of the best Houston-based blogs. Now that it's been nominated, The Houston Chronicle is letting people vote online to determine who will be the winner. It would be great to see cS win this, and I would really appreciate it if my readers would go vote for collectSPACE in the contest.

(I looked through some of the other contests, and a lot of them mean nothing to me, but, hey, where else can non-Texans get a chance to vote for [or against] Tom DeLay? And you know you're in Texas when you have a category for "Place To Buy Cowboy Boots.")

Keywords: blog,collectspace

+ 0 - 2 | § Heading To The Cape

Big Head Todd & The MonstersThough the old DM crowd will likely recognize the name from the band's frequent appearances in Oxford, I can't say that I've heard much about Big Head Todd & The Monsters in a decade or so. According to liveDaily, though, the group has written a new song that has become the Return-to-Flight theme song and will be on hand for the launch.
The song, "Blue Sky," will be available exclusively on iTMS starting Tuesday.

+ 2 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114In a midnight meeting last night, it was decided that Hurricane Dennis does not pose enough of a threat to merit rolling Discovery back from the pad and scrapping the July 13 launch date.

T -5 days, 6 hours, 17 minutes.
And still counting!

Addendum: Technically, the official countdown will begin Sunday.

07 July 2005

+ 1 - 3 | § RTF Update

STS-114During the night, Hurricane Dennis continued to the west, moving Kennedy Space Center out of its apparent likely paths.

T -6 Days, 5 Hours, 18 minutes. And counting.

+ 2 - 1 | § GO To Orbit Again Update

Greg OlsenItar-Tass is reporting that Roskosmos has announced that Greg Olson will become the third space tourist to visit the International Space Station on October's Soyuz launch.

06 July 2005

+ 1 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114In announcing the official launch date after the FRR last week, NASA officials said the biggest concern that could stop STS-114 from taking off on July 13 was weather. Now, one week before the launch, NASA is keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Dennis. While the storm is currently expected to move away from the Cape, the possibility that it could cause damaging winds at KSC could lead to the Shuttle being moved off the pad, and the launch delayed.

+ 1 - 2 | § Looking Back

STS-107 patchAs the world looks ahead to next week's launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, the AP's Marcia Dunn looks back to the disastrous last Space Shuttle mission, with a profile of four men tied to the loss of Columbia.

05 July 2005

+ 2 - 2 | § SDLV Times Two

In-line SDHLVsingle-stick SDLVThe concepts aren't really new, but NASA Watch is reporting than it's now official that NASA plans to use Shuttle-derived launch vehicles to support the Vision for Space Exploration.
A heavy lift vehicle for cargo would be created by placing a second stage and payload shroud vertically atop an ET/SRB stack, while a crewed spacecraft launch vehicle would be created by adding a second liquid stage on top of a five-segment SRB.
Among the advantages would be a potentially shorter curve in humanrating the vehicles and the ability to use a large amount of existing infrastructure.
The plan would still have to win approval from the powers-that-be in Washington.

+ 1 - 1 | § RTF Update

STS-114As NASA works down here to get the Shuttle ready for its Return to Flight launch next week, preparations are also taking place in space, as the Expedition 11 crew of the International Space Station prepare for the ISS's first visitors since December 2002.

On another RTF-related note, I fixed the countdown in the sidebar over the weekend so its correct in places other than the Central time zone, and now reflects the accurate launch time down to the second.

04 July 2005

+ 3 - 1 | § ...And The Rockets' Red Glare...

American flag in foreground of Apollo 11 launch

Here's wishing you and yours a happy Fourth of July!

+ 2 - 0 | § Impact Of Deep Impact

Deep Impact collides with Tempel 1

After 172 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million miles) of deep space stalking, Deep Impact successfully reached out and touched comet Tempel 1. The collision between the coffee table-sized impactor and city-sized comet occurred at 1:52 a.m. EDT.

"What a way to kick off America's Independence Day," said Deep Impact Project Manager Rick Grammier of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The challenges of this mission and teamwork that went into making it a success, should make all of us very proud."

"This mission is truly a smashing success," said Andy Dantzler, director of NASA's Solar System Division. "Tomorrow and in the days ahead we will know a lot more about the origins of our solar system."

01 July 2005

+ 3 - 0 | § Deep Thoughts

Deep ImpactI'll be doing the family thing Sunday and Monday for Independence Day, so I can't promise you'll get another Deep Impact reminder after this. This article has information on watching the event. (Most notably, NASA TV -- also available online -- will cover the impact.)

+ 1 - 2 | § To The Moon!

FTETTMBelieve it or not, I've never seen HBO's From The Earth To The Moon series, and so I'd kind of like to get the new signature edition coming out on Sept. 20, though it's a bit pricey for my DVD-buying tastes.
Also, I think I liked the old packaging better.