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30 November 2006

+ 2 - 2 | § STS-116 Update

STS-116 patchPer
NASA managers today wrapped up a two-day flight readiness review and officially set December 7 as the target launch date for the shuttle Discovery on an unprecedented mission to rewire the international space station.

If all goes well, Discovery's countdown will begin at 11 p.m. EST Monday, setting the stage for a launch attempt at 9:35:45 p.m. EST Thursday. This will be NASA's first night launch since 2002.

But space station engineers are working two issues that must be resolved for Discovery to get off the ground next week.

27 November 2006

+ 3 - 2 | § Will To Fly

Per All Headline News:
Oddly enough, we may just have the "Fresh Prince Of Bel Air" leading us into the vast universal space sometime in the future.

Will Smith recently said he wants to boldly go where only a few people have gone before... space!

The handsome actor - who is a follower of Scientology, a sci-fi cult based on the belief that people descend from aliens - thinks it will be easy to fulfill his ambition of becoming a space shuttle pilot because somebody has already written down the instructions.

He said, "I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I know that I could learn how to fly a space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it and they put it in a book."

Will and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith were guests at TomKat's wedding in Italy over the weekend. Tom is also a devout Scientologist.

During the Scientology ceremony, the "Top Gun"actor promised his bride a comb and a cat, while the "Dawson's Creek" actress was told that "young men are free and may forget their promises."

23 November 2006

+ 0 - 4 | § cS ISS Tee

OK, collectSPACE has posted something on YouTube for the first time, so I'm embedding a YouTube video on my blog for the first time.

Keywords: collectspace,international_space_station,nasa,space,youtube

22 November 2006

+ 1 - 3 | § ISS Tee

spacewalk graphicPer
Two astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) today for a short round of orbital golf and laboratory maintenance.

ISS Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin are slated to spend six hours working outside the station in what will mark the first of four planned spacewalks during their six-month mission.

Among the highlights of today’s spacewalk—scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. EST (2300 GMT)—will be Tyurin’s golf shot, a stunt spurred by a commercial agreement between Russia’s Federal Space Agency and the Canadian golf equipment firm Element 21.

18 November 2006

+ 1 - 3 | § Hollywood Strong Arm Tactics

Slater as ArmstrongThere's a discussion over at collectSPACE about who should play Neil Armstrong in the movie adaptation of First Man that Clint Eastwood has talked about making, so I thought I'd turn the question over to the ATW crowd to see what thoughts y'all had.

Keywords: apollo,collectspace,history,movies,space

16 November 2006

+ 1 - 3 | § Path Of NEO

Orion with asteroidsIt's a long way from the moon to Mars.

The moon, of course, is conveniently close to Earth when it comes to planning a human mission. A good bit farther than we've been for the last 30 years, but, as Apollo 13 proved, close enough that you can still get back if something goes wrong.

Mars, on the other hand, is, at best, about 200 times further away from the Earth.

Back before Mike Griffin was the head of NASA, he was part of a commission that put together a report for The Planetary Society with recommendations on implementing the Vision for Space Exploration. Among the ideas (along with such things as building an inline SRB-based launch vehicle and a shuttle-derived heavy lift vehicle) was including a mission to an asteroid in the whole moon, Mars and beyond outline.

It would provide a logical steppingstone, farther from Earth than the moon, but much closer to Mars. In fact, the TPS report argued that the mission could actually be carried out, based on the architecture of the time, before the moon landing, since it would require only the CEV spacecraft and not the to-be-developed-later lander.

Anyway, point being, NASA is now giving serious thought to planning such a mission at some point, perhaps even in the 2010s.

15 November 2006

+ 2 - 2 | § Face From Space

Face From SpacePer SpaceDaily:
KFC Corporation claims to have became the world's first brand visible from outer space by unveiling a record-breaking 87,500 square feet, updated Colonel Sanders logo in the Area 51 desert. The event marks the official debut of a massive global re-image campaign that will contemporize 14,000-plus KFC restaurants in over 80 countries over the next few years.

The "Face From Space" ties in with a contest on the official KFC Web site where you can win a free Snacker by finding a secret message hidden in image.

14 November 2006

+ 2 - 2 | § Sounds Of Silence

Mars Global SurveyorTen years after its launch, and more than eight years after its nominal mission end, the Mars Global Surveyor has fallen silent.

Though there would be no shame in the spacecraft deciding it was time for retirement (the newest Mars orbiter began its primary mission tasks around the same time MGS fell silent), the mission team is still working to find out what happened, and whether anything can be done.

Toward that end, they're calling in the big guns. The new arrival, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, boasts the most powerful camera ever used at Mars, and the MRO team will be using that to try and image MGS to see what they can learn.

Regardless of what comes out of it, those should be some interesting pictures.

09 November 2006

+ 1 - 3 | § STS-116 Update

discovery roll-out

And Discovery is on the pad.

By the current schedule, it is now 28 days until launch.

08 November 2006

+ 0 - 4 | § Whose House?

Moon2I'm not even going to try to provide a summary here, but Space Politics lives up to its name today with some good looks at what last night means for space exploration.

+ 3 - 1 | § STS-116 Update

STS-116 patchThe payload for the STS-116 mission is at the pad, awaiting the arrival of the shuttle stack. Roll-out is scheduled to begin no earlier than midnight tonight, last I heard. Launch is currently scheduled for the night of December 7, though there's talk that NASA is eyeing moving it up to the night before.

07 November 2006

+ 2 - 2 | § Delaying The Future For Hubble

HubblePer Flight:
NASA's overwhelmingly popular decision to mount a Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope will affect the agency's plans for the Orion crew exploration vehicle (CEV).

Expected in 2008, the SM-4 servicing mission by orbiter Discovery will require a second Shuttle to be ready to launch a rescue attempt. This will affect plans to hand over Pad 39B to the Constellation exploration programme for flight testing of the Ares I crew launch vehicle, says NASA administrator Michael Griffin.

The manned CEV, being designed by Lockheed Martin, will also have to be capable of reaching the Hubble in the 2020-25 timeframe to attach a solid rocket motor with which to de-orbit the massive telescope safely at the end of its life. Plans to attach a de-orbit stage during the SM-4 mission have been dropped. "We will build the CEV with the capability of going to Hubble, so we don't need to worry right now," says Griffin.

03 November 2006

+ 0 - 4 | § Ares Update

AresI went to a talk last night by Steve Cook, NASA's Director of Exploration Launch Projects (for the layman, the guy that's responsible for the Ares I and Ares V rockets). Here are a few notes that are things I either hadn't heard before or update things I had:

+ 3 - 1 | § Pale Blue Dot


There are two really neat things about this new picture taken by Cassini of Saturn eclipsing the sun. First of all, it's just a really cool picture, the way the rings are lit up and all. Second, though, is that you can actually see our home planet in it. It's hard to see in this version at this size, but if you follow the link, you'll see that there is, in fact, a small blue dot near the edge of the bright rings.

02 November 2006

+ 0 - 4 | § STS-116 Update

discovery roll-over

That's right folks, photos of hot mating action, right here on ATW.

01 November 2006

+ 3 - 2 | § STS-116 Update

discovery roll-over

Discovery left the Orbiter Processing Facility last night for roll over to the VAB, where she'll be mated to the ET/SRB stack in preparation for roll out to the pad NET Nov. 7, and launch a month later.

+ 2 - 3 | § Following The Dead

A super-powerful camera orbiting Mars may help discover the fate of long-lost spacecraft that never phoned home after reaching the red planet.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is now circling that puzzling world, equipped to assist in determining whether life ever arose on the red planet and characterize its climate and geology, as well as prepare for future expeditionary crews to land there.

But another sharp-shooting skill of MRO is catching sight of past probes—craft that ran into trouble and died in the line of Mars duty. That includes NASA’s gone but not forgotten Mars Polar Lander and the British-built Beagle 2.