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Posts tagged ISS

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What does it feel like to fly over planet Earth?

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy.

Filed under Earth ISS space

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Cargo Delivery to ISS (simulation)

Computer animation showing the launch of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, berthing at the International Space Station, and return to Earth. Courtesy NASA.

By Alan Boyle

Even as SpaceX prepares for its first visit to the International Space Station, it’s looking for another spaceport to handle a whole different kind of launch traffic.

The California-based company is increasingly in the news because of its role as the first private-sector successor to the just-completed space shuttle program. Just this week, SpaceX confirmed that it had reached an agreement in principle with NASA to launch its next Dragon space capsule atop its Falcon 9 rocket on Nov. 30, carrying cargo to the International Space Station.


The original plan called for one test flight to approach the station without berthing, and for another to go all the way to the hookup. As long ago as last December, however, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said he hoped to combine those two tests into one initial resupply mission. Pending a final safety review, NASA is willing to go ahead with SpaceX’s plan — which also calls for the Falcon 9’s second stage to deploy two Orbcomm OG2 telecom satellites after the Dragon heads off for the station.

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Filed under NASA space ISS SpaceX Dragon

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Space Adventures Wants to Fly You to the Moon

Space Adventures – the company that brought the first space tourists to the International Space Station – has longer space tourist excursions planned for as early as 2015: a trip around the Moon. Company chairman Eric Anderson said during a teleconference they have sold the first of the two seats on their circumlunar flight program, and once the second seat is sold and finalized they could fly the first private mission to the Moon in 4 years.

How will the commercial lunar tour work?
[click to continue…]

Filed under Appolo Moon Space Adventures International Space Station ISS commercial lunar tour

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Science waiting to hitch a shuttle ride

By Alan Boyle

The eight-legged water bears have had to go back to the lab, and the energy bars better have a longer shelf life. But the big-ticket science item for the shuttle Endeavour’s mission to the International Space Station, the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, is just fine where it’s at. We’ve heard a lot about the space spectrometer, which could crack the mysteries of antimatter and dark matter. but there are scores of smaller, quirkier experiments due to ride on Endeavour’s final trip, whenever it happens.

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Filed under science Endeaver NASA shuttle life space water bear ISS AMS

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Sorry, Mom, no shuttle launch for you

By Alan Boyle

NASA is ruling out any chance of a Mother’s Day launch for the shuttle Endeavour, saying that it will take until at least May 10 to resolve a heater glitch and get the spaceship ready for its last flight.

Just a day ago, mission managers said the launch wouldn’t happen before May 8, which is Mother’s Day. Today, they took a fresh look at the schedule and said they’d need even more time to test the switchbox and wiring in one of Endeavour’s auxiliary power units.

A problem with the wiring, which involves a heater for the shuttle’s hydraulic system, forced NASA’s managers to call off the countdown for a launch on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, including President Barack Obama and his family, were hoping to see the shuttle program’s second-to-last liftoff.

Here’s today’s mission status update:

"NASA space shuttle and International Space Station managers met Monday and determined that Tuesday, May 10, is the earliest Endeavour could be launched on the STS-134 mission. That date is success-oriented based on preliminary schedules to replace a faulty Load Control Assembly (LCA) box in the orbiter’s aft compartment.

"Plans are for managers to reconvene Friday to determine a more definite launch date after the box is removed and replaced and the retest of systems has been completed.

"Space Shuttle Program managers adjusted the date after further evaluating the schedules to change out the box and retest the nine shuttle systems associated with the controller. That work would be followed by the standard closeout of the aft compartment before proceeding into the launch countdown.

"Sunday night and Monday, technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A conducted additional testing of systems associated with LCA-2, including testing the box itself, which is expected to be removed late Monday or early Tuesday and replaced with an existing spare.

"Managers will continue to evaluate the repair process and make any additional adjustments before scheduling Endeavour’s next launch attempt for its STS-134 mission to the International Space Station.

"The STS-134 crew is back in Houston and remains in quarantine throughout as it slowly adjusts its wake and sleep schedule to match the new launch time. While at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the crew will conduct a launch and landing simulation with its ascent and entry flight control team based in Mission Control, before returning to Florida for the launch countdown."

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Filed under NASA Endeavour STS-134 antimatter ISS internation space station shuttle launch

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Animated Video of Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on STS-134 attaching to ISS

The AMS-02 experiment is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector being constructed, tested and operated by an international team composed of 56 institutes from 16 countries and organized under United States Department of Energy (DOE) sponsorship. The JSC project office oversees and directs the overall payload integration activities and ensures that the payload is safe and ready for launch on the Space Shuttle and deployment onto the ISS. The AMS Experiment will use the unique environment of space to advance knowledge of the universe and lead to the understanding of the universe’s origin.

  STS-134 / ULF6 - AMS is scheduled to launch on May 2, 2011 at 2:33 PM Eastern

Filed under AMS Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer STS-134 ISS internation space station NASA space earth antimatter Discovery science

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It’s showtime for antimatter hunters

An artist’s conception shows the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the left, installed on one of the International Space Station’s truss sections. The device is to be brought up on the shuttle Endeavour.

By Alan Boyle

Big particle-physics experiments have caused their share of unwarranted nightmares over the past few years, including the worries about globe-gobbling black holes and strangelets that might be created by Europe’s Large Hadron Collider. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $2 billion particle detector due to go into orbit on the shuttle Endeavour, just might actually detect strangelets, or the traces of mysterious dark matter, or bits of antimatter that couldn’t possibly be created on Earth.

But Samuel Ting, the Nobel-winning MIT physicist who has guided the spectrometer through a troubled 17-year-long development effort, will actually be sleeping a lot easier once the AMS is launched.

"Our only nightmare for AMS during the 17 years was to be removed from the manifest," Ting, the experiment’s principal investigator, told me today.

A few years ago, it looked as if NASA would be leaving the van-sized apparatus on the ground just because it couldn’t spare a shuttle mission to fly it up to the International Space Station. Ting said he was surprised by that decision, particularly because scientists from 16 countries had contributed so much to the experiment. “I would say ‘surprised’ is the most polite word I can think of,” he said.


Fortunately, Congress set aside the money for a flight to send up the AMS. And when NASA decided to extend operations on the space station to at least 2020, Ting and his team retrofitted the 7-ton, cryogenically cooled detector to make it last as long as the station, even if it stays in orbit until 2030.

Ting reiterated the main goals of the AMS experiment during a news briefing today:

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Filed under NASA space antimatter particle physics universe AMS ISS mini black holes miature black holes microscopic black holes earth astrophysics

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Antimatter scout to hitch ride on space shuttle

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is bound for the space station in 2011


By Irene Klotz

The crowning glory of the International Space Station has nothing to do with preparing humans to live on the moon or finding a cure for Salmonella. It’s a particle detector designed to hunt for an antimatter universe.

NASA is planning a shuttle mission in 2011 to ferry the 7.5-ton detector, known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, to the station. For a while, it looked as if the device would be stuck on Earth, but its trip into orbit now looks assured.

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AMS scheduled launch:
April 29, 2011 3:47 PM Eastern

(source: incomprehensibleuniverse)

Filed under antimatter NASA space ISS AMS universe particle physics cosmology