Thursday, April 16, 2009

Endeavour on track to Pad 39B

On April 17th at 12:01am EDT Endeavour will be on track to launch Pad 39B in the unlikely event a rescue mission is needed during Atlantis' STS-125 flight to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. After Atlantis is cleared to land, Endeavour will move to Launch Pad 39A in late May for its upcoming STS-127 mission to the International Space Station.

After tomorrow we will have a Space Shuttle at each launch pad! Cool!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

STS-125 Imagery Simulation

This has been a busy week for me. I am currently at the airport (waiting for a delayed flight, ick!). Tomorrow a team of us will be at Johnson Space Center to go through a day-long simulation of the type of imagery we will be reviewing for STS-125 in May.

Normally for a flight that is headed to the International Space Station, we would receive high resolution imagery and evaluate the photos to determine if we are good for a safe reentry. Without the station crew to photograph the thermal protection system, the customary survey of the heat shield done the day after launch will be much more intensive. The crew will use the Orbiter's robotic arm and its 50-foot boom extension and sensor systems to perform not only the standard nose cap and wing leading edges inspection, but also a survey of rest of the thermal protection system on the uppper and lower surface.

In the unlikely event that irreparable damage is found, the crew also won’t be able to get to the International Space Station for help as Atlantis can't reach the space station from Hubble’s orbit. Because the crew won't have access to the station and the support it could provide in an emergency, the mission to Hubble requires some help from the ground.

Endeavour will be heading to the pad on April 17th to be the launch-on-need in the event of an emergency.

C.O.L.B.E.R.T or Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.

The last US node, scheduled for launch in February 2010, will be called Tranquility, not Colbert.

NASA held a contest on what to name the node and even though Comedy Central comedian Steven Colbert clearly received a majority of the votes, he did not win the name of the node. However....he did score the name of the treadmill!

C.O.L.B.E.R.T or Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.

Here's the list of names NASA considered for the node:

Colbert 230,539
Serenity 190,196
Myyearbook 147,637
Gaia 114,427
Legacy 35,339
Xenu 29,302
Earthrise 22,932
Venture 21,232
Socialvibe 9,080
Buddy 6,342
Ubuntu 4,556
Tranquility 4,493
Synergy 1,976
Vision 1,042

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Orion Crew Capsule Splashdown

This afternoon, a full-scale mockup of NASA's Orion crew module was tested off the coast of Kennedy Space Center, FL. under simulated and real landing weather conditions. The goal of the test was to simulate the Post-landing Orion Recovery Test, or PORT, and determine what kind of motions the astronauts can expect after landing, as well as conditions outside for the recovery team.

Before they tested the capsule at Kennedy Space Center, it was tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division in West Bethesda, MD. The Carderock facility provided a controlled environment for the crew recovery personnel to familiarize themselves with the Orion capsule before the team actually set out to test the procedures in the uncontrolled waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The purpose of these tests will aid in vehicle design at Johnson Space Center and recovery hardware design under evaluation at Kennedy Space Center. In October, NASA is planning to have another test with astronauts in the capsule.

The launch of Ares I-X from Kennedy Space Center has been scheduled for late August.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Yuri's Night 2009: April 4-12

What is Yuri's Night? It's a celebration of humanity’s achievements in space. The purpose is to commemorate two separate space exploration milestones. The first milestone was the launch of the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. The second milestone was the launch of the first Space Shuttle, STS-1, on April 12, 1981.

The goal of Yuri's Night is to increase public interest in space exploration and to inspire a new generation of explorers. With a worldwide network of annual celebrations and educational events, Yuri's Night creates a global community committed to shaping the future of space exploration.

Everyone can participate, so find a celebration in your area! This year, Yuri’s Night celebrations will be held from April 4th-12th.

Tomorrow morning I will participate in a Yuri's Night event by running in a 5K "Space Race" on Cocoa Beach!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

International Space Station

This really puts things into perspective on the development of the ISS. Take a look at this animation to see how we have "pieced" things together over time! Amazing!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009