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EXPLORING SPACE - FOR ALL MANKIND-----------------------------------------This blog is to proliferate space travel and exploration to people the world over, in an attempt to inspire a sense of awe and wonder into mankind's greatest accomplishment - the exploration of the stars.---Former NASA History Facebook and Twitter content creator.----------------------Passionate about spaceflight since the age of two, I live and breath rockets, NASA, and anything space. I also enjoy Florida History and World's Fairs. I'm an avid explorer, and I'll occasionally post images from my travels.--------------21 - DC/VA/FL

Had a great time at the 4th-annual St Petersburg Science Festival today! My favourite exhibit was by Draper Laboratories, who showed off the instrument they developed for last year’s LADEE mission.

The equipment shown here is a variant of the Ultravilolet Visible-light Spectrometer and optical telescope. The UVS on LADEE measured both Lunar dust and the Moon’s exosphere by Ultraviolet-Visible spectrography, which in turn helped researchers understand the composition of each. (These were then compared with data and visual measurements taken by Apollo astronauts back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.)

At the festival, the optical telescope was connected to the UVS instrument by a fibre-optic cable, which then projected the data points on a computer. It was really cool to see the instrument in action, as well as chat with one of the engineers involved in its creation.

While chatting, we also discovered we both attended the LADEE launch, her with Draper Labs and me with NASA.

As you can see by the first image, I was beyond excited to see a piece of LADEE in person, even if it wasn’t the actual flight article. The fact that it was a sibling to what actually flew on the spacecraft was enough to get me excited. LADEE is one of my favourite NASA missions, and I was quite sad to see the spacecraft’s mission end earlier this year when it was intentionally crashed into the Moon.

The U.S. Air Force’s top secret robotic spaceplane returned to Earth yesterday after 675 days in orbit. Landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:24 AM Pacific Standard Time, this was the third and longest mission of the X-37B.

In the second image, you can see technicians in hazmat suits safing the vehicle from toxic fuels after landing.


Last week, NASA announced that two of its former Orbiter Processing Facilities would be converted for increased operations of the X-37 Space Plane.

T-7 minutes and holding. The countdown has been paused due to a weather violation.

The right side of the screen shows the constraints that must be within acceptable conditions for launch. as you can see, “Meteo” (for meteorology) is red, indicating a hold in the count.
There’s a possible weather constraint at the launch site in French Guiana. The count has been held just before the synchronized sequence was activated, which handles the final minutes of the launch sequence. 
The launch window extends until 5:51 PM EST. 
The live feed has been put on hold while officials review wether or not the weather violation will return to green.
T-7 minutes and holding. The countdown has been paused due to a weather violation.

The right side of the screen shows the constraints that must be within acceptable conditions for launch. as you can see, “Meteo” (for meteorology) is red, indicating a hold in the count.

There’s a possible weather constraint at the launch site in French Guiana. The count has been held just before the synchronized sequence was activated, which handles the final minutes of the launch sequence. 

The launch window extends until 5:51 PM EST. 

The live feed has been put on hold while officials review wether or not the weather violation will return to green.

An Ariane V rocket is scheduled to blast off at 5:00 PM EST today (16 October), carrying two telecommunications satellites for South America. 

The Intelsat 30 satellite will bring Ku-band direct television services to Latin America, while the smaller Arsat 1 satellite will bring data and internet access for Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.

The launch is known as #VA 220 in the Arianespace launch manifest. It is the 76th Ariane 5 flight since its inaugural launch in 1996, and the 5th flight of the booster this year. There is one more mission scheduled before the end of 2014.

You can watch the launch broadcast live here.

T-51 days (13 October, 2014).

The final major assembly milestone to prepare Orion for EFT-1 was completed Monday, 13 October, 2014. The final ogive panel was installed on Orion’s Launch Abort System. Five ogive panels compose the lower portion of the LAS, which encapsulates the spacecraft.

The panels protect the spacecraft from acoustical and vibrational effects during launch, similar to what a payload fairing does on launch vehicles carrying satellites and probes.

The Orion/LAS combination will roll out to Launch Complex 37 overnight on November 10-11, where it will be mated to the Delta IV Heavy vehicle. The LAS was installed in the Launch Abort System Facility starting on October 3, where Orion was moved to following propellant installation September 28. Just two days later, the Delta launch vehicle arrived at LC-37.

As of this posting, we are currently at T-49 days, 17 hours to launch.

 

Construction of the Mobile Service Structure at Launch Complex 37, circa 1999-2000. The MSS is needed to integrate the payload on top of the Delta vehicle, as well as service the rocket pre-launch.

The Delta launch facility was built directly south of LC-37’s Pad B, which was originally built in 1963 as part of Project Apollo. The concrete base from the original Umbilical Tower still stands at both pads, and was not damaged or removed when the Delta IV facilities were built.

For EFT-1, the MSS will integrate the spacecraft to the rocket, as well as perform final preflight checks.

More information, as well as a timeline of pad history milestones, here.

Some shots from today’s Second annual (and last) RocketMan Triathlon. The bike portion of the three-leg race took place on the secured grounds of the Kennedy Space Center, riding around the Vehicle Assembly Building, Mobile Launch Platforms, LC-39A, and other sites at the Center. 

The run portion took us on a different course this year; we ran past the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum and its historic collection of aircraft.

This is the second year KSC hosted the triathlon (for coverage of last year’s inaugural event, click here), although the course was modified significantly. Entrance was via the NASA Causeway, and we did not get to ride our bikes to Pad B, around the Launch Umbilical Tower or former Orbiter Processing Facilities, nor by the Mate-Demate device. Regardless, it was an incredible experience that combines my two favourite passions - cycling and space. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture the experience on my GoPro as I had last year. 

This is likely the last year the race will take place; it’s extremely difficult to ‘open the gates’ and allow the general public in to KSC for a sporting event such as this. Additionally, wildlife impact was greater than originally projected, and increased fees made it harder for the organizers to justify a third year. It was an incredible honor to ride the race the last two years. It gave me a new perspective on a special and favourite place, and I met some incredible people along the way. Something about riding your bike on the seemingly-endless miles of undisturbed, traffic-free NASA roadways, surrounded by launch pads and technological marvels, really clears your mind and reminds you just what it is you live for in life.

And of course, what race wouldn’t be complete without a celebratory lunch with George Diller?

 

Ladies and gentlemen, what you see before you is something that I don’t think has ever been done before. This is a gif of Wednesday’s Lunar Eclipse….seen from the orbit of Mercury.In the image, the Moon can be seen slowly disappearing into Earth’s shadow over the course of an hour. The series of 31 images were taken by the narrow-angle camera on the Messenger spacecraft, orbiting high above Mercury. The Earth and Moon were about 66 million miles from the spacecraft at the time of the Eclipse. In the raw image, Earth is about five pixels across, and the Moon is just over one. The luminosity of the Moon was increased by a factor of 25 in order to make it more visible.While we’ve seen a solar eclipse from the Mir space station before, and a solar eclipse from lunar orbit, I believe this is the first time any eclipse has been seen from the perspective of another planetary body. Absolutely stunning. The full article by the Planetary Society is here.

Ladies and gentlemen, what you see before you is something that I don’t think has ever been done before. This is a gif of Wednesday’s Lunar Eclipse….seen from the orbit of Mercury.

In the image, the Moon can be seen slowly disappearing into Earth’s shadow over the course of an hour. The series of 31 images were taken by the narrow-angle camera on the Messenger spacecraft, orbiting high above Mercury. The Earth and Moon were about 66 million miles from the spacecraft at the time of the Eclipse.

In the raw image, Earth is about five pixels across, and the Moon is just over one. The luminosity of the Moon was increased by a factor of 25 in order to make it more visible.

While we’ve seen a solar eclipse from the Mir space station before, and a solar eclipse from lunar orbit, I believe this is the first time any eclipse has been seen from the perspective of another planetary body. 

Absolutely stunning. The full article by the Planetary Society is here.

Reblogged from txchnologist  474 notes

txchnologist:

Next-Generation Space Capsule To Endure First Flight Test

On Dec. 4, NASA will launch the Orion capsule on its first space flight aboard the Delta IV Heavy rocket. The vehicle, which is expected to one day carry astronauts to an asteroid and Mars, will perform its first mission unmanned. It is being loaded up with radiation, heat and acceleration sensors, among numerous other instruments, to perform a fact-finding test flight for future exploration.

The four-and-a-half-hour trip will make two orbits around Earth and also test safety systems that will be critical to keeping astronauts alive and comfortable. Orion will go as far as 3,600 miles above Earth to pass through the Van Allen Belt, an area of high radiation levels, to test shielding designed to protect humans from harmful charged particles as they venture deeper into space.

See the full video below.

Read More

The video gives a really good insight into the flight plan and goals of EFT-1.