Tag Archives: space

Kazakhstan: US astronaut, Russian cosmonaut depart for space station

Source: Space.com

“An astronaut and a cosmonaut launched on the first two-person spaceflight in 14 years, bound for a 5-month stay on the International Space Station. Astronaut Jack Fischer with NASA and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos lifted off on Russia’s Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft, atop a Soyuz-FG rocket, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EDT (0713 GMT; 1:13 p.m. local time) Thursday (April 20). … Fischer and Yurchikhin were originally assigned in 2015 to fly with a third crew member, ESA’s Paolo Nespoli, but a decision by Roscosmos to reduce its contingent from three to two cosmonauts until its multipurpose lab module (MLM) Nauka is ready to launch in 2018 resulted in schedule and seat changes.” (04/20/17)


New super-sized Earth may be close enough to detect signs of life

Source: USA Today

“Scientists have found a planet the size of a jumbo Earth circling a nearby star, meaning it is one of the handful of worlds where astronomers’ sensors might be powerful enough to detect signs of life. The new planet, known as LHS 1140b, receives enough starlight to allow for liquid water, a prerequisite for life on Earth. It lies 39 light years from our solar system — not exactly in the backyard, but close enough that telescopes now under construction may be able to spot oxygen molecules swarming around it.” (04/19/17)


NASA OIG: Mission unlikely to launch in 2018

Source: Spaceflight Insider

“The NASA Office of Inspector General has issued an audit detailing that the space agency’s Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) will likely not take to the Florida skies in 2018. However, this might be a moot point as NASA is considering flying EM-1 with a crew, which would push the launch to 2019 at the earliest. These are just some of a myriad of issues facing the first flight of the agency’s new super-heavy-lift launch system. The 77-page report, titled NASA’s Plans For Human Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit, was released on Thursday, April 13. It noted that the first astronauts to use the rocket as their means of transportation to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit will likely not do so until 2021 at the earliest.” (04/15/17)


Space station crew returns to Earth safely on Soyuz capsule

Source: Space.com

“Three space fliers have safely touched down on Earth after almost six months aboard the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko all arrived at the station together for Expedition 49/50 mission in October 2016, and they reached solid ground this morning (April 10) at 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT) in Kazakhstan. They spent 173 days in space during their flight.” (04/10/17)


NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson becomes first woman to command ISS twice

Source: Mic

“NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson achieved a new milestone at the International Space Station on Sunday, when she became the first woman to command the ISS twice. Whitson is replacing astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough, who will depart the space station Monday. … Whitson became the first female space-station commander in 2008. In the years since, astronaut Sunita Williams has been the only other woman to command the ISS. Sunday’s milestone is the latest in a string of records broken by Whitson. In addition to her commanding achievements, Whitson holds the record for cumulative spacewalking time of any female astronaut. She also earned the distinction of being the oldest woman to ever go to space when she arrived at the ISS in November at the age of 56.” (04/09/17)


Not just a recycled rocket

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Last Thursday, SpaceX successfully re-used a previously flown rocket to launch a payload into orbit. Sure, NASA had re-cycled rocket parts before. That is, the U.S. space agency had recovered spent rockets. But those were rebuilds. SpaceX’s most recent triumph was to launch a ‘stage one’ rocket that had gone into space before — and returned. Last April it delivered a payload to the International Space Station and then safely touched down vertically — just like in 1950s sci-fi! You could see the evidence: the weathered look of the rocket fuselage. This Falcon 9 rocket not only placed its Luxembourg-owned SES-10 into orbit last week, it then returned — again! — to its ocean ‘drone ship’ platform.” (04/04/17)


More war in space

Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“Can government preserve itself in space? Can the ‘new frontier’ be more reliably controlled than the frontier of the Old West or the Seven Seas for centuries? Among other things, it is a matter of scope. Which is one reason that liberty, freedom, survived as long as it did in the American West and a few other places (like the Gobi and Sahara and the Outback and Amazonia). (Open space is not an absolute guarantee of freedom, as Siberia and the Northwest Territories demonstrates, but that is another discussion.) The vastness of space even just here in the Solar System is a daunting challenge to government control.” (04/01/17)


Can reusable rockets land enough customers?

Source: Niskanen Center
by Joshua Hampson

“Reusability has long been a goal of U.S. space launch development — specifically to reduce costs. The Space Shuttle was developed in an attempt to lower costs through reusability. The goal of SpaceX is the same: a ‘fundamental’ shift in the cost of access to space that will drive a new era of space use and exploration. The Space Shuttle, by contrast, largely failed to achieve these goals, as prices never came down enough to spark an uptick in demand for more launches. This time, however, it could be different.” (03/31/17)


SpaceX test-fires used rocket ahead of historic Thursday launch

Source: Space.com

“SpaceX is on track to make history later this week. Today (March 27), the company test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket whose first stage launched the robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station last April. If all goes according to plan, the two-stage booster will loft the SES-10 communications satellite Thursday (March 30), in the first-ever orbital mission employing a used rocket. … SpaceX has made a priority of developing reusable rockets, as a way of slashing the cost of spaceflight. The company, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2002, has landed Falcon 9 first stages during eight different orbital missions, with the latest such success coming last month. But Thursday will mark the first time the company has ever re-flown one of these landed boosters.” (03/27/17)


Trump signs bill authorizing NASA funding, Mars exploration

Source: Denver Post

“President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Tuesday that updates NASA’s mission to add exploration of Mars and authorizes $19.5 billion in spending for the U.S. space agency for the current budget year. It’s the first time in seven years that there has been an authorization bill for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as NASA, said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a chief sponsor of the bill.” (03/21/17)