Cool links

+ 2 - 2 | § Mouse Mission Models Mice on Mars

(Link) | Fifteen mice would spend give weeks in simulated Martian gravity.

+ 3 - 2 | § Crater Could Solve 1908 Tunguska Meteor Mystery

(Link) | Be interesting to see what they find.

+ 2 - 2 | § Thinking Big About Space Telescopes

(Link) | To summarize -- having a true heavy lift vehicle again for the first time in 40 years is going to be very, very nice.

+ 3 - 3 | § Shuttle carries history and future to station

(Link) | Interesting stuff.

+ 4 - 2 | § Hubble's Greatest Hits

(Link) | Per Cosmic Log, for the Hubble lovers out there.

+ 1 - 4 | § Breakthrough brings 'Star Trek' teleport a step closer

(Link) | Scientists teleport data 89 miles.


The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author, and very likely no one else.

Privacy Policy


01 Aug - 31 Aug 2004
01 Sep - 30 Sep 2004
01 Oct - 31 Oct 2004
01 Nov - 30 Nov 2004
01 Dec - 31 Dec 2004
01 Jan - 31 Jan 2005
01 Feb - 28 Feb 2005
01 Mar - 31 Mar 2005
01 Apr - 30 Apr 2005
01 May - 31 May 2005
01 Jun - 30 Jun 2005
01 Jul - 31 Jul 2005
01 Aug - 31 Aug 2005
01 Sep - 30 Sep 2005
01 Oct - 31 Oct 2005
01 Nov - 30 Nov 2005
01 Dec - 31 Dec 2005
01 Jan - 31 Jan 2006
01 Feb - 28 Feb 2006
01 Mar - 31 Mar 2006
01 Apr - 30 Apr 2006
01 May - 31 May 2006
01 Jun - 30 Jun 2006
01 Jul - 31 Jul 2006
01 Aug - 31 Aug 2006
01 Sep - 30 Sep 2006
01 Oct - 31 Oct 2006
01 Nov - 30 Nov 2006
01 Dec - 31 Dec 2006
01 Jan - 31 Jan 2007
01 Feb - 28 Feb 2007
01 Mar - 31 Mar 2007
01 Apr - 30 Apr 2007
01 May - 31 May 2007
01 Jun - 30 Jun 2007
01 Jul - 31 Jul 2007
01 Aug - 31 Aug 2007
01 Sep - 30 Sep 2007
01 Oct - 31 Oct 2007
01 Nov - 30 Nov 2007
01 Dec - 31 Dec 2007
01 Jan - 31 Jan 2008
01 Mar - 31 Mar 2008

Older Archives

1 Aug.-18 Aug. 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
1 Apr.-16 Apr. 2003
30 Mar.-5 Apr. 2003
17 Mar.-29 Mar. 2003
10 Mar.-16 Mar. 2003
9 Mar.-15 Mar. 2003
2 Mar.-8 Mar. 2003
23 Feb.-1 Mar. 2003
19 Feb.-22 Feb. 2003



Powered by Pivot - 1.40.1: 'Dreadwind' 
XML: RSS Feed 
XML: Atom Feed 

Listed on Blogwise

Blog Flux Directory

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Countdown Creations, your space superstore!

eXTReMe Tracker Science Blogs - Blog Top Sites

My Profile

Name: David Hitt
About Me: Inspiring the next generation of explorers...
See my complete profile

Last Referrers


Time remaining until the STS-123 launch of Endeavour:


The "All These Worlds" Space Blog is maintained by David Hitt. Be sure to check out the full blog.

Last Comments

alice (Today In History): The frist docking was Atl…
David (STS-123 Update): Yes, that’s exactly what …
Joe (STS-123 Update): So, what you’re saying is…
Narconon Vista Ba… (NASA needs a bigg…): Yes, Nasa always needs so…
David (My Mom's Birthday…): I wanted this pic:
Richie (My Mom's Birthday…): Can you show me the other…
Joe (NASA needs a bigg…): Didn’t Roy Scheider say i…
David (Maryn Mnemonic): I’m only remembering the …
Joe (Maryn Mnemonic): I thought with Pluto out …
David (My Mom's Birthday…): Thanks, but no. I actuall…

Space Blogs

Why Homeschool
Space Politics
Cosmic Log
Auxiliary Umbilicus

Aerospace Events


3/8 -- Jules Verne ATV launch

NET 3/11 -- STS-123 launch


4/8 -- Exp. 17 Soyuz launch


NET 5/25 -- STS-124 launch


NET 8/28 -- STS-125 launch


? -- Dragon I launch


10/12 -- Exp. 18 Soyuz launch

NET 10/16 -- STS-126 launch
? -- LRO launch


NET 12/4 -- STS-119 launch


? -- Japanese HTV-1 launch


NET 3/12 -- STS-127 launch


NET 4/15 -- Ares I-X launch
NET 4/9 -- STS-128 launch


NET 7/9 -- STS-129 launch


NET 9/30 -- STS-130 launch


? -- Silver Dart orbital test flight

Unknown 2009

Mid-year -- Silver Dart flight
Fall -- Mars Science Lab launch
? -- DreamChaser suborbital flight
? -- Rocketplane XP first flight


NET 4/1 -- STS-132 launch


? -- Ares I-Y launch


? -- Orion 1 launch


? -- Orion 2 crewed launch

Other Missions
STS-131STS-133Shenzhou VIIShenzhou IXShenzhou X
All dates subject to change.


Space News

Spaceflight Now
Martian Soil
Space Buffs
Space Daily
Saturn V Renovation

Think Different

In honor of the STS-107 crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia

Microsoft: Embrace Mediocrity

Hatbag button

Hatbag Productions logo


More Space Blogs

| ATW Full Blog | About David | Contact | ATW Theme Song | |

29 June 2007

+ 3 - 5 | § Today In History

atlantis and mir

On this date in 1995, Atlantis, on its STS-71 mission, made the first Space Shuttle docking with the Russian Mir space station, forming the largest object ever in orbit.

Keywords: history,mir,nasa,roskosmos,space,space_shuttle

+ 1 - 6 | § STS-118 Update

STS-118 patchNASA has officially moved the launch date of STS-118 two days closer, to August 7, making it a nice birthday present for me if it actually launches then. I've fixed the countdown clock accordingly.

Keywords: launch_schedule,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_118

28 June 2007

+ 2 - 3 | § Genesis II

genesis iiIt should tell you something about how busy I am that Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II spacecraft is now in orbit, and this is the first I've written about it lately.
Genesis II, the second experimental pathfinder spacecraft by Bigelow Aerospace, has been successfully launched and inserted into orbit. The privately-funded space station module was launched atop a Dnepr rocket at 8:02 a.m. PDT from the ISC Kosmotras Yasny Cosmodrome located in the Orenburg region of Russia.

Keywords: altspace,bigelow,space

26 June 2007

+ 2 - 1 | § Reduced Hallows

In case anyone's planning on ordering the seventh Harry Potter book when it comes out, I thought I'd share that Amazon is offering a $5 gift certificate for pre-ordering Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Cover for the book is $34.99, and Amazon's price is $17.99, which means, after the "rebate," your paying $12.99.

Of course, to really make the most of the offer, you need to place an order of over $25 so you get free shipping, so this would be a great time to go ahead and preorder the second book in the Outward Odyssey series, In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969, (more)

Keywords: apollo,books,history,moon,nasa,outward_odyssey,soviet,space

+ 1 - 2 | § Another ITSS Review

Into That Silent Sea coverYeah, yeah, I still haven't finished reading 'Into That Silent Sea' by Francis French and Colin Burgess, the first book in the Outward Odyssey series. I'm a bad person.

In the meantime, though, here's another review of the book, this one from The Space Review. I agree with some of his points, and disagree with others, but that will be in my (very positive) review when I finish it.

Keywords: books,history,mercury,nasa,outward_odyssey,soviet,space

23 June 2007

+ 3 - 2 | § STS-118 Update

STS-118 patchAs of yesterday afternoon, STS-117 is safely on the ground, so I've now started the countdown clock for STS-118, even though the rumors are that the date may change. But for the better this time, so that's good.

Keywords: launch_schedule,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_118

22 June 2007

+ 2 - 3 | § Today In History

pluto and charon

On this date in 1978, astronomer James Christy discovered Charon, the largest moon of Pluto (so large, relative to Pluto, that last year it came really close to being a planet). In 2005, two more moons were discovered orbiting Pluto.

Also on this date, in 1973, the first crew of Skylab returned to Earth after a record-setting (briefly) 28-day stay.

Keywords: astronomy,history,nasa,planets,skylab,space

+ 1 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

sts-117 crewPer NASA:
Five landing opportunities are available today for space shuttle Atlantis and the STS-117 crew. Flight controllers and forecasters continue to monitor the weather at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Atlantis’ first landing opportunity is at 2:18 p.m. EDT on orbit 218. If controllers elect to take it, Commander Rick Sturckow will perform the deorbit burn at 1:12 p.m. to begin the descent to Kennedy. Orbit 219 provides opportunities at both landing sites – a 3:49 p.m. landing at Edwards and a 3:55 p.m. landing at Kennedy.

The second opportunity for the California base is on Orbit 220. The deorbit burn would occur at 4:18 p.m. with the landing at 5:23 p.m. The final opportunity is on Orbit 221 and it calls for the deorbit burn to occur at 5:56 p.m. with the landing at 6:59 p.m.

Thunderstorms in the vicinity of Kennedy forced flight controllers to wave off both opportunities Thursday. Today’s weather forecast for Kennedy calls for the threat of thunderstorms in the area and high winds are a possibility at Edwards. Opportunities are also available Saturday.

Keywords: nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

21 June 2007

+ 1 - 2 | § Today In History

Staying more recent than usual for the TiH feature, on this date three years ago, the era of private spaceflight began when Scaled Composite's SpaceShipOne made its first suborbital flight into space.

Keywords: altspace,history,space

+ 1 - 2 | § Going And Going And Going

SpiritRemember the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity? They're not in the news as much as they were, say, three years ago, but they're still on Mars (of course) and still rolling (less of course).

In fact, recent events may keep Spirit rolling even longer. The rover got another spring cleaning from Martian winds, increasing the amount of power generated by its solar arrays.

Keywords: mars,nasa,rovers,space

+ 1 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

sts-117 crewPer NASA:
Landing day has arrived for space shuttle Atlantis and the STS-117 crew. Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 1:55 p.m. EDT.

Forecasters and flight controllers will be monitoring the weather closely today. There is a chance of thunderstorms of the Florida spaceport.

If flight controllers elect to take the 1:55 p.m. opportunity, Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault will perform the deorbit burn on Orbit 202 at 12:50 p.m. The other opportunity available on Thursday is Orbit 203, which calls for the deorbit burn at 2:25 p.m. and a 3:30 p.m. touchdown at Kennedy.

Landing coverage will be available on NASA TV, and can be viewed online.

Keywords: nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

20 June 2007

+ 2 - 2 | § Today In History

coke on shuttleI'm outsourcing today's Today In History to my coworker Heather since she blogged about Cola Wars in Space.

That said, whatever happened to the Cola Wars? There's still competing colas, but they really don't seem to war as much. Did they reach some sort of detente? Are we in a Cola Cold War? My personal hope is that there's some sort of behind-the-scenes Cola Mutually Assured Destruction, a secretly developed cola so powerful that were one company to unleash it on the market, it would totally devastate the cola industry as we know it.

Keywords: history,nasa,space

+ 2 - 2 | § STS-117 Update

ISS behind Atlantis
Image courtesy collectSPACE, from NASA TV.

"That's no TIE fighter, it's a space station!"

After undocking yesterday, Atlantis flew around the International Space Station and took pictures of the new configuration.

Pics of what the ISS looks like now can be seen here and here. (This one is particularly nice, in my opinion.)

The new symmetric configuration is particularly exciting since the station has finally taken on something substantially similar to its proper form -- matching arrays mounted on its Y-axis truss. For decades, this, or something along these lines, has been what a space station is supposed to look like. The station finally appears as it did on the first crew's patch, seven years ago.

Atlantis is scheduled for landing at 12:55 p.m. CDT tomorrow.

Keywords: collectspace,international_space_station,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

19 June 2007

+ 2 - 2 | § COTS Update

spacedev dream chaserTaking another step towards the day that NASA astronauts and cargo will catch rides to the International Space Station aboard private commercial spacecraft, NASA has signed space act agreements with three more companies under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. The three new companies -- SpaceDev, SPACEHAB and Constellation Services International -- join current partners SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler.
SpaceDev, SPACEHAB and CSI will work to develop and demonstrate the vehicles, systems and operations needed to transport cargo to and from a low Earth orbit destination. SpaceDev also will include crew transport in its development program.
"This is a significant development," said Scott Horowitz, NASA associate administrator for Exploration Systems. "First there were two, and now there are a total of five private companies cooperating with NASA by dedicating entirely private funding to help establish a robust commercial space transportation industry."

Keywords: altspace,international_space_station,nasa,space

+ 1 - 2 | § STS-117 Update

combined station and shuttle crew picturePer NASA:
Space Shuttle Atlantis’s 10-day stay at the International Space Station will come to an end today when it undocks at 10:42 a.m. EDT.

The STS-117 crew said farewell to the Expedition 15 crew Monday before the hatches closed at 6:51 p.m. EDT, wrapping up joint operations.
The crew installed the truss June 11 and conducted four spacewalks to activate the S3/S4 and assist in the retraction of solar array on the Port 6 truss. During the third spacewalk, the crew repaired an out of position thermal blanket on the left orbital maneuvering system pod.
Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 1:54 p.m. EDT Thursday.

And from the station homepage:
Flight controllers in Moscow conducted a test to check the ability of the Russian segment’s terminal computer to fire thrusters and maintain attitude of the International Space Station.

Russian and U.S. mission managers gave the computer a passing grade.

Keywords: international_space_station,nasa,roskosmos,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

+ 3 - 1 | § More Dave-Friend Book-Pimping

Editor's Note: I moved this post up from Saturday, since blog readership is less over the weekend and I wanted to make sure people saw it.

As regular readers of ATW know, I enjoy pimping books written by friends of mine, in part because I like the fact that I actually know people who have written real-live books. And 2007 has been an incredible year for that!

The latest book by someone I know is by Jeff Weddle, whom I saw around Ole Miss, where he was a grad student instructor, and who went on to become the director of the Sunflower County library system while I was working for the newspaper in Indianola. Jeff went on to make something of himself, earning his PhD and teaching at the University of Alabama.

According to Jeff, his publisher was supposed to have started shipping his book to resellers yesterday, so it should start shipping to buyers soon.

The book, Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press, "uses the day-to-day operations of a small press as a lens through which the nascent underground publishing industry can be understood":
In 1960, Jon Edgar and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb founded Loujon Press on Royal Street in New Orleans's French Quarter. The small publishing house quickly became a giant. Heralded by the Village Voice and the New York Times as one of the best of its day, the Outsider, the press's literary review, featured, among others, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, and Walter Lowenfels. Loujon published books by Henry Miller and two early poetry collections by Bukowski.

Bohemian New Orleans traces the development of this courageous imprint and examines its place within the small press revolution of the 1960s.

Drawing on correspondence from many who were published in the Outsider, back issues of the Outsider, contemporary reviews, promotional materials, and interviews, Jeff Weddle shows how the press's mandarin insistence on production quality and its eclectic editorial taste made its work nonpareil among peers in the underground. Throughout, Bohemian New Orleans reveals the messy, complex, and vagabond spirit of a lost literary age.

And, heck, while you're buying that, go ahead and get a Weddle bonus book by picking up Mondo Barbie, a collection to which Jeff contributed a poem. You can pick up a used copy for only a penny, which ain't bad at all.

And while you're shopping for books that only have limited contributions by people I know, this would also be a great time to finally get that copy of The Duchovny Files: The Truth Is in Here, an unauthorized X-Files book published many moons ago, for which the author actually paid Lain Hughes $20 Canadian for the rights to include some Top Ten lists Lain had written. The bad news is, it's out of print, but the good news is that means you can also get it used for a penny! And it's worth every, uh, ha'penny of that.

And to review, here are other recent books being published this year by people I know, which you should buy immediately if you haven't already (the books, not the people):OK, that last one is just self-published (and not even really this year), and is long as you're buying self-published stuff, you should pick up The Leonardo Code, which I'm sure you will find will be the best $11.07 you ever spent on The Leonardo Code.

I've probably diluted this entry into uselessness at this point, but, seriously, you should buy Jeff's book. I did! (more)

Keywords: apollo,blog,books,broken_triad,comics,history,journalism,media,mercury,mississippi,moon,nasa,newspapers,ole_miss,outward_odyssey,skylab,soviet,space,writing

18 June 2007

+ 2 - 2 | § Today In History

sally ride
On this date 24 years ago, Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space on the STS-7 shuttle mission, the second flight of Challenger.

Keywords: history,nasa,space,space_shuttle

+ 1 - 2 | § Mach 10

scramjet flightA new scramjet-based aircraft reached Mach 10, traveling at 6,835 miles per hour over the Australian Outback last week.

The vehicle was developed by Australia's defense Science and Technology Organization and the U.S. DARPA.

Keywords: aircraft,darpa

+ 2 - 0 | § STS-117 Update

The International Space Station's new S3/S4 truss and solar arrays are viewed from Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic armPer NASA:
Russian flight controllers will fire thrusters today to test the operation of the navigation computers that went offline last week. If the flight controllers and mission managers like what they see, space shuttle Atlantis and the STS-117 crew will undock from the International Space Station and begin the journey home on Tuesday. The test is set for 10:28 a.m. EDT.

The STS-117 crew is scheduled to bid farewell today to the Expedition 15 crew before the hatches close at 6:23 p.m. EDT between Atlantis and the station. Atlantis is slated to undock at 10:42 a.m. Tuesday.

Keywords: computers,international_space_station,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

17 June 2007

+ 1 - 1 | § Orbital Sandbox

P6 retraction evaIn case you hadn't heard, there were some problems on the International Space Station this week.

Which means, of course, another round of I-told-you-so's from the chorus of ISS naysayers. If those voices are to be believed the problems just demonstrate the fragility of the space station. And for those who think that the ISS was a misstep in space exploration -- that we should have skipped getting "mired" in Earth orbit and gone on to exploring other worlds -- this is just another piece of evidence for that argument as well.

The truth, though, is just the opposite in both cases. The space station has proved its worth against both of those arguments this week.

Fragile? Among other things, the oxygen generation system went down, and the crew was prepared to stay for a couple more months without it. In fact, it's still down. The oxygen generation system. One of those things that sounds like it would be rather important. But the station system is sturdy enough, and has enough redundancy, that it turns out you can live without it. For months. That's pretty far from fragile in my book.

And an unneeded step that could be skipped? If a vital, multiple-redundant computer system that is supposed to be immune to single-point failures is, in fact, not immune to single-point failures, I'd rather be hours from Earth's surface than months when I found that out. When a spacecraft departs for Mars, or even the moon, we need to have the best-possible understanding of everything that can go wrong, how it could be fixed, and what you need to have with you in order to fix it.

While some would like to portray them as set-backs, the truth is that problems like those that occurred on the International Space Station this past week bring us a step closer to other worlds.

Keywords: computers,constellation,international_space_station,nasa,roskosmos,space,sts_117

+ 1 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester and Steven Swanson check the Drive Lock Assembly 2 on the S3/S4 truss segment of the International Space StationPer NASA:
Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester and Steven Swanson began their Father’s Day spacewalk at 12:25 p.m. EDT. While outside, they are scheduled to tackle a number of tasks, including work to prepare the International Space Station’s new truss segment for operation.

The STS-117 crew installed the Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment onto the station on June 11. The spacewalkers will prepare S3/S4’s Solar Alpha Rotary joint (SARJ) for activation. The SARJ will allow the S3/S4 arrays to track the Sun.

And on the Station side:
The Russian computers aboard the International Space Station are back in near normal, stable operation. Two of three channels of each computer are operating. A third channel is believed to be functioning well, but currently in standby.

The Mission Control Center in Moscow has restarted all Russian systems except the Elektron oxygen generation system, which has been powered but not yet started.

Flight controllers are planning to test Russian thrusters on Monday as they maneuver the station and Space Shuttle Atlantis to a water dump attitude.

Keywords: computers,eva,international_space_station,nasa,roskosmos,space,space_shuttle

16 June 2007

+ 0 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

The International Space Station's new S3/S4 truss and solar arrays are viewed from Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic armPer NASA's Space Station homepage:
Russian Flight Controllers Send Commands to Computers

Efforts to bring the Russian navigation computers back to full operation will continue today. Friday, Russian flight controllers and the station crew were able to power-up two lanes of the Russian Central Computer and two lanes of the Terminal Computer by using a jumper cable to bypass a faulty secondary power switch.

Flight controllers began sending commands overnight to restart some systems. The Central Computer is now communicating with the U.S. command and control computer, and the Terminal Computer is communicating with U.S. navigation computers. The plan calls for more system restarts today.

The Russian navigation computers provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion system providing backup.

And per the Space Shuttle page:
The Mission Control Center in Houston told the STS-117 crew today that space shuttle Atlantis’ thermal protection system is cleared for re-entry. The astronauts got the good news about 11:20 a.m. EDT while they were transferring cargo between Atlantis and the International Space Station.

The heat shield was cleared after STS-117 Mission Specialist Danny Olivas repaired a protruding thermal blanket on one of Atlantis’ orbital maneuvering system pods during Friday’s spacewalk. Atlantis is scheduled to leave the station on Tuesday and land Thursday.

Early this morning, Mission Specialist Suni Williams set the record for the longest-duration single spaceflight by a woman. Williams passed the previous record of 188 days, 4 hours at 1:47 a.m. as STS-117 and Expedition 15 crew members slept aboard Atlantis and the station.

Keywords: eva,international_space_station,nasa,roskosmos,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

15 June 2007

+ 1 - 0 | § Purple Flight

MOCR during Apollo 13I didn't post this yesterday, because I was hoping that there would be a piece on or a news story that I could link to this morning, but, as of yet, the only coverage I can find is on collectSPACE.

Apollo-era Flight Director Phil Shaffer died yesterday morning. I never met Shaffer; my only interaction with him was a few e-mails, but Joe Kerwin worked closely with him on our book, Homesteading Space. Shaffer provided us with a wealth of information of what was going on in Mission Control during the Skylab flights, and is basically the voice of mission ops in the book. The Skylab flight controllers were faced with some fascinating challenges, and always managed to find answers.

Sad news, and sad that no one seems to care that another key player in the history of our space program has been lost.

Godspeed, Phil.

Keywords: apollo,books,history,nasa,outward_odyssey,skylab,space

+ 1 - 0 | § STS-117 Update

partially retracted solar array on the Port 6 trussPer NASA:
The STS-117 crew resumed retraction of the starboard P6 solar array at 12:25 p.m. Thursday. The crew and flight controllers decided to conclude the efforts just before 4 p.m. with about half of the 31½ array bays retracted. The crew will resume retraction activities Friday with the help of the spacewalkers if needed.

The schedule for STS-117 Mission Specialists Jim Reilly and Danny Olivas includes a review of procedures and the practice of techniques they will use during the spacewalk set to begin at 1:38 p.m. EDT Friday. The first task of the extravehicular activity is the repair of a thermal blanket that pulled away from the orbital maneuvering system pod on the rear of the shuttle.
Flight controllers continue efforts to bring the computers back up to full operation. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion system providing backup.

Keywords: eva,international_space_station,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

14 June 2007

+ 1 - 0 | § Space Chimps

space chimpsPer The Hollywood Reporter:
ndy Samberg, Jeff Daniels, Kenan Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Patrick Warburton will voice characters in the CG-animated comedy "Space Chimps," a Vanguard Animation and Starz Media production for 20th Century Fox.
Samberg will play Ham III, the ne'er-do-well grandson of the first chimp astronaut sent into space (loosely based on NASA's real-life space chimp Ham). Seeking to capitalize on the Ham family name, a senator (Tucci) recruits Ham III to travel through a black hole to a planet where he and his simian colleagues (Hines, Warburton) help rid the local aliens of an evil leader (Daniels). Chenoweth will play a helpful alien, and Thompson will play Ham III's mentor.
Eurythmics' Dave Stewart will compose the score, with additional music and sound design composed by the performance artists Blue Man Group.
The film is scheduled for release next year.

Keywords: monkeys,movies,space

+ 0 - 1 | § Happy Flag Day

NASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag pictureNASA flag picture

Keywords: nasa,photography,space

+ 0 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

im Reilly participates in the first spacewalk of STS-117 on MondayPer NASA:
Astronauts Patrick Forrester and Steve Swanson continued work to activate the International Space Station’s Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment during STS-117’s second spacewalk. The 7-hour, 16-minute excursion wrapped up at 9:44 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
The spacewalking duo first assisted with the retraction of the starboard solar array on the Port 6 (P6) truss.
13 of the P6’s 31.5 array bays were retracted Wednesday, and the crew will send commands Thursday to retract the remaining bays. Before moving on to SARJ, Forrester and Swanson “fluffed” the array to allow easier retraction on Thursday.
The retraction of the P6 array clears the line of sight for the S3/S4 arrays to track the sun and sets the stage for the P6’s relocation by a future shuttle crew from atop the station to the end of the Port 5 truss.
Two more spacewalks are scheduled for STS-117. The next is set for Friday.
Russian flight controllers will be working overnight to resolve a problem with the Russian segment computers that provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion providing backup.

Keywords: international_space_station,nasa,roskosmos,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

13 June 2007

+ 0 - 2 | § STS-117 Update

im Reilly participates in the first spacewalk of STS-117 on MondayPer NASA:
Astronauts Pat Forrester and Steve Swanson will conduct STS-117’s second spacewalk today. The objectives of the excursion are to continue preparing the newly installed Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment for operation and to assist with the retraction of the starboard solar array on the Port 6 (P6) truss.

The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 2:03 p.m. EDT and to last 6.5 hours.

Retraction of the P6 array began at 6:47 a.m. Once the P6 arrays are furled, the stage is set for a future shuttle crew to relocate the P6 from atop the space station to the end of the Port 5 truss. Forrester and Swanson will assist in the retraction if needed during the early stages of the spacewalk.

Keywords: international_space_station,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

12 June 2007

+ 0 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

The space station's new solar array wings wait to be fully unfurledPer NASA:
The STS-117 astronauts continue efforts today to activate the International Space Station’s newest component, the Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment. They will assist in the full deployment of the truss’ solar arrays.

The S3/S4 was attached to the station Monday afternoon prior to a spacewalk conducted by STS-117 Mission Specialists Jim Reilly and John “Danny” Olivas. The spacewalkers began activating the new truss.

Overnight, flight controllers performed the initial deployment of the 115-foot long arrays to set the stage for today’s full deployment, which is slated to begin about 11:43 a.m. EDT.
Mission Specialists Steve Swanson and Pat Forrester will continue the activation of the S3/S4 and assist in the retraction of the starboard solar array on the Port 6 (P6) truss. Wednesday’s spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 2:03 p.m.
During a post-mission management briefing Monday, John Shannon, chair of the Mission Management Team, announced NASA will extend the mission two extra days and add a fourth spacewalk. The team extended the mission by two days and added a fourth EVA to provide time to repair the raised thermal blanket on the Orbital Maneuvering System pod.

Keywords: international_space_station,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

11 June 2007

+ 0 - 1 | § Puddles On Mars

picture of martian scene

The picture above? That's Mars.

The blue stuff in the picture? Well, that's a good question.

According to physicist Ron Levin, that's a picture taken by the Opportunity rover showing liquid water on Mars.

And, you know, that is what it looks like.

I would be really interested in seeing the original image on a NASA server, but there's no link or picture number. The color calibration also seems interesting, a little less red than one might expect Mars to look.

I'll very interested to hear more about this.

Keywords: mars,space

+ 0 - 2 | § Space Race '08

white house at nightAnother installment in my series of posts about space-related comments by presidential candidates, this time on a potential candidate:

Newt Gingrich

"...he said he would ... offer a $20 billion reward for the first private company that successfully completes a Mars mission. 'Somebody would be there and back about 40 percent of the way into the NASA process.'" --, 9 June 2007

It joins the previous entries:

Rudy Giuliani

"He said he supported continuing to aggressively pursue space exploration." -- The Tallahassee Democrat, 5 April 2007

Bill Richardson

"He did say that he sees space as 'a bona fide area of economic growth and opportunity'..." -- Space Politics, 4 June 2007

Keywords: politics,space

+ 1 - 0 | § STS-117 Update

station arm moves truss segmentTwo big stories going on right now.

The STS-117 Mission Managment Team is leaning towards having the crew repair the pulled-up thermal blanket on the OMS pod during a spacewalk.

This afternoon, the S3/S4 truss will be attached to the station.

Keywords: international_space_station,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

08 June 2007

+ 1 - 1 | § Today In History

X-15 glide flight

On this date in 1959, test pilot Scott Crossfield made the first unpowered test free flight of the X-15 rocket plane, arguably the first test flight of a U.S. manned spacecraft, coming a little over two months before the LJ-1 flight of a Mercury boilerplate on a Little Joe booster.

Keywords: history,mercury,nasa,space

+ 2 - 0 | § Forward The Future

There are only about 16 flights left before NASA's space shuttle fleet retires in 2010, but an ambitious plan is in place to have a replacement spacecraft ready by 2013.

This is two years earlier than NASA's previously stated goal of getting the next generation Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Ares I and Ares V rockets ready by 2015.

"There is a two-thirds statistical likelihood of being successful in meeting that [2015] date, but our plan is much more aggressive than that," said Jeff Hanley, program manager for NASA's Constellation program. "We're trying to get the [initial operating capabilities] by as early as 2013."

Hanley said the year-old Constellation program is currently in the formulation phase and trying to secure parts for the new spacecraft. A test flight of an Ares I rocket could begin as early as 2009, with a piloted test to follow as soon as 2013, Hanley said.

Keywords: ares,constellation,nasa,orion,space

+ 1 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

STS-117 patchWeather is currently 80 percent Go. Fueling of the external tank has begun.

Looks like we may fly today, folks.

For current information, check out Spaceflight Now's Mission Status Center or starting around 12:38 p.m. CDT, NASA's launch blog.

Keywords: launch_schedule,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

07 June 2007

+ 0 - 2 | § Bullet The Black Sky

spacewalk photoWhat happens if a meteorite or orbital debris hits the International Space Station?

Not necessarily much of anything.

During a spacewalk yesterday to install debris shields on the station, cosmonauts found signs of previously past impacts: "We found a dent or a hole from a meteorite," Yurchikhin told mission controllers in Russia from his perch atop the station's Zarya control module. "It looks like a bullet hole. I want to say the size is about five to six millimeters."

The shields will further reduce the odds of meteorites or debris causing problems in the future.

Keywords: international_space_station,space

06 June 2007

+ 1 - 1 | § When History Doesn't Come Home

EMUWhen The NYT wrote about this, I couldn't be left out:

Per collectSPACE:
The spacesuit that Ed White wore 42 years ago this week during the first American spacewalk is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Within the same building, visitors can see the spacesuits that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore during the first moonwalk.

Indeed, all 31 spacesuits worn by astronauts while either space- or moon-walking during the Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs are now owned by the Smithsonian and are either on exhibit, on loan or being preserved for study by researchers and historians.

If you wanted however, to see a flown spacesuit worn on any of the prior 77 space shuttle extravehicular activities (EVAs, a.k.a. spacewalks) or any of the 53 EVAs made with American spacesuits out of the International Space Station, you would have to look somewhere else than in a museum.

There aren't any on exhibit today and if NASA's plans for the shuttle-era spacesuits hold true, there may be none remaining for the museums to preserve, let alone display.

Keywords: collectspace,history,international_space_station,nasa,skylab,space,space_shuttle

+ 2 - 0 | § STS-117 Update

STS-117 patchThe official countdown clock for STS-117 has started and, at this moment, is running.

The S3/S4 truss segment carried on Atlantis will be the heaviest payload yet delivered to the International Space Station.

Keywords: international_space_station,launch_schedule,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

+ 0 - 2 | § Going For Another Walk

spacewalkCosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov will be performing their mission's second spacewalk today beginning around 9:30 a.m. CDT. Goals for the spacewalk include installing more debris shields, installing a science experiment and one that a lot of ATW readers can probably identify with -- hooking up an ethernet connection.

Keywords: international_space_station,space

05 June 2007

+ 1 - 1 | § Modern Technology

SSMEsSince I recently had the "the shuttle's nothing but 30-year-old technology" discussion with someone, I thought I'd link to this story about new main engine computers on the shuttle:
A main engine computer upgrade developed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will fly on space shuttle Atlantis during the STS-117 mission, targeted for launch June 8. The upgrade is part of NASA's continuing efforts to improve space shuttle safety and reliability.

The Advanced Health Management System, or AHMS, will provide new monitoring and insight into the performance of the two most critical components of the space shuttle main engine: the high-pressure fuel turbopump and the high-pressure oxidizer turbopump.

This latest improvement is to the controller, the on-engine computer that monitors and controls all main engine operations. The improvement allows an engine to shut down during launch if vibration levels exceed safe limits. AHMS consists of advanced digital signal processors, radiation-hardened memory and new software.

AHMS first flew on Discovery's STS-116 mission in December 2006 with a single controller on one engine, but in monitor-only mode, meaning AHMS collected and processed vibration data but could not shut down the engine. AHMS will operate in active mode - the ability to shut down an engine if an anomaly is detected - on a single engine during the upcoming STS-117 mission and is scheduled to fly in active mode on all three engines during the STS-118 mission later this year.
It's a relatively minor upgrade, but the truth is, the shuttle is constantly getting minor upgrades like this, along with more substantial upgrades during the orbiters' major renovation periods. There is some old stuff on the shuttles, but there's a whole lot new, too.

Keywords: nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

+ 1 - 1 | § STS-117 Update

STS-117 patchThe crew has arrived at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for Friday's launch, and the official countdown begins today at 8 p.m. CDT.

Current weather reports are predicting conditions will be 70 percent Go for a launch at 6:38 p.m. CDT Friday.

Keywords: launch_schedule,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117

+ 0 - 1 | § From The Earth To A Great Deal

If anyone's interested, Amazon is running a great deal today on the DVD box set of From the Earth to the Moon - The Signature Edition. Normally fifty-something bucks, you can get it today for $26, with free shipping.

Keywords: apollo,history,space,television

04 June 2007

+ 4 - 1 | § Space Race '08

white house at nightFinally, another installment in the "What candidates are saying about space" series:

Bill Richardson

"He did say that he sees space as 'a bona fide area of economic growth and opportunity'..." -- Space Politics, 4 June 2007

It now joins my only previous entry:

Rudy Giuliani

"He said he supported continuing to aggressively pursue space exploration." -- The Tallahassee Democrat, 5 April 2007

Keywords: politics,space

+ 1 - 4 | § World's Largest Telescope Faces Shut Down

Engineers will travel to this Puerto Rican coastal town in coming weeks to study whether to shut down the world's largest radio telescope, which was featured in the movie "Contact'' but now faces steep budget cuts, observatory officials said Thursday.

Opened in 1963, the Arecibo telescope, a 1,000-foot-wide dish set in a sinkhole amid forested hills, bounces radio waves off asteroids and charts their location, speed and course. It has recorded a number of scientific discoveries, including the first planets beyond the solar system and lakes of hydrocarbons on Saturn's moon Titan.

But fears that it could face extinction began late last year, when a panel commissioned by the National Science Foundation, a U.S. federal agency, called for deep budget cuts and said officials should consider eliminating it entirely at the end of the decade.
The Arecibo telescope appeared in "Contact,'' a 1997 Jodie Foster movie based on the Carl Sagan book about the search for extraterrestrial life. It also gained fame in the 1995 James Bond movie "Goldeneye,'' in which the telescope's platform, suspended like a giant steel spider 450 feet above the dish, figured in a climactic fight scene.

The telescope's budget will plummet from $10.5 million this year to $4 million by 2010, Barvainis said, with the savings going to construct a telescope 20 times more powerful, perhaps in Australia or South Africa.

Keywords: astronomy,movies,space

01 June 2007

+ 1 - 5 | § STS-117 Update

STS-117 patchPer NASA:
Following the Flight Readiness Review meetings on May 30 and 31 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA's senior managers have signed the Certification of Flight Readiness confirming that Space Shuttle Atlantis, her flight crew and payloads are fit to fly. Officials approved June 8 as the scheduled launch date for the STS-117 mission to the International Space Station.

"We had a very good review for the past day and a half," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations. Referring to the repairs on the external tank, Gerstenmaier said proudly, "I don't think I've ever seen an effort done better than was done by the external tank team…they did a phenomenal job to give us a flight-ready tank to go fly."

"We're good to go," said Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle Program manager. "We have no show stoppers ahead of us."

Keywords: launch_schedule,nasa,space,space_shuttle,sts_117