DON’T GIVE UP ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - It has been over six years since I last floated in zero gravity through the tunnel that connects the space shuttle to the International Space Station. I visited this orbiting laboratory on four occasions between 2001 and 2011.
Every time I approached the station, I was in awe of its complexity and its beauty. But more than anything, I was in awe of the fact that we had the nerve to even attempt to build something of this magnitude.
It was the United States that led the international coalition of 16 nations to build the space station. Constructing this outpost in outer space took dozens of missions spanning well over a decade to complete, and considerable money. It is clearly one of the more complicated engineering projects humans have undertaken... More
(Source: New York Times - Feb 8)
SPACEX LAUNCHES ITS POWERFUL FALCON HEAVY ROCKET FOR THE FIRST TIME - SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, this afternoon and soared to space, carrying its payload — CEO Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster — into orbit. The Falcon Heavy’s flight still isn’t quite over yet, but the rocket has shown its prowess and is likely ready to begin missions for customers.
Adding to the launch’s success, two of the Falcon Heavy’s rocket cores successfully touched down back on Earth after takeoff. The two outer boosters broke away mid-flight and returned to the Cape, touching down around 1,000 feet from one another on SpaceX’s concrete landing pads — Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2. The center core then broke away from the vehicle’s upper stage, but it’s not yet clear whether it landed as intended on one of SpaceX’s autonomous drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean. That means SpaceX has now landed a total of 23 — and possibly 24 — rockets upright. More
(Source: The Verge - Feb 6)
WEST COAST SET TO GET FANCY NEW HIGH-TECH WEATHER SATELLITE - NOAA and NASA are just under a month away from launching the U.S.'s second latest-generation weather satellite -- and this one's for us West Coasties. The first one, GOES-R (Now GOES-16) was launched in 2016 and now sits operational over the East Coast.
The new GOES-S Satellite launches on March 1 and will eventually be centered at 137 degrees West over the West Coast, giving weather forecasters a vastly more detailed view of the our region's weather, allowing for much better forecasts. More
(Source: KOMO News - Feb 6)
TIANGONG-1 SPACE LABORATORY TO CRASH TO EARTH BETWEEN MID-MARCH AND MID-APRIL - ESA’s Space Debris Office has issued a new updated forecast for the imminent atmospheric re-entry of China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory, which appears to have been floating in space out of control for almost two years.
The office, located at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, coordinates ESA’s research relating to space debris. As part of its activities, it also keeps a close eye on the upcoming re-entry of China’s Tiangong-1 space station, which is expected to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere soon, but there are fears that some of its components may strike the ground.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Feb 6)
SPACEX RECEIVES COMMERCIAL LAUNCH LICENSE FOR FIRST FALCON HEAVY FLIGHT - The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a launch license for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket set for blastoff Tuesday, giving the U.S. government’s regulatory green light for the heavy-lifter to dispatch Elon Musk’s used electric sports car on a one-way trip into deep space.
Dated Feb. 2, the FAA launch license clears a final regulatory hurdle for the Falcon Heavy’s test launch from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The launch window Tuesday opens at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT) and extends until 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 5)
SUPER BOWL 2018: EVEN ASTRONAUTS ARE WATCHING THE BIG GAME - It's official: Super Bowl LII is truly out of this world. That's because even astronauts in space are watching the big game.
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba on the International Space Station posted a photo on Twitter tonight (Feb. 4) showing the big game on the orbiting laboratory's big projection screen, which allows astronauts to watch films and TV shows using a high-definition projector. The only question left is who are the astronauts rooting for in the football championship: The Philadelphia Eagles or the New England Patriots? More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 5)
SPACEX FALCON HEAVY LAUNCH: WHAT HAPPENS IF IT FAILS? - On Tuesday, SpaceX will attempt to send its highly anticipated new rocket into orbit. There's a "good chance" it won't make it.
At least, that's how Elon Musk -- the founder and CEO of the space start up -- put it when asked about the rocket, called Falcon Heavy, at a conference last year.
"Real good chance that vehicle does not make it to orbit," was his uncharacteristically pessimistic response.
Some industry experts agree. Paulo Lozano, a professor of astronautics at MIT, told CNNMoney that the Falcon Heavy -- which is poised to become the most powerful rocket in operation -- presents big challenges because of its design. More
(Source: CNNMoney - Feb 5)
SOUPED-UP SOUNDING ROCKET LIFTS OFF FROM JAPAN WITH TINY SATELLITE - A year after its tiny, experimental rocket failed to reach orbit a year ago, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched (via Engadget) an experimental rocket into orbit this weekend, the smallest ever to do so.
According to JAXA, the launch was a demonstration experiment, that carried the TRICOM-1R — a three-unit cubesat— into lower Earth orbit, where it will observe the Earth with a set of cameras. Now in orbit, JAXA says that its status is “nominal.” More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 4)
ARE JUNK CLEARING LASERS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS WEAPONIZING SPACE? - Space junk is old fragments of booster rockets or satellites that remain in orbit around the Earth. It is a huge problem because there is an increasing amount of space junk. There is an estimated 170 million pieces of space junk, some are tiny slivers or fragments, others are much larger. NASA estimates there are over 20 thousand pieces at the least the size of a softball. They travel at a speed of about 28 thousand kilometres per hour. Most of the millions of pieces of space junk are the tiny fragments. These are biggest problem because they are the hardest to detect. More
(Source: CBC.ca - Feb 3)