Tag: ISS

Critical NASA Research Returns to Earth Aboard SpaceX Dragon

Dragon CRS-6 capsule descends under parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon CRS-6 capsule descends under parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:42 p.m. EDT Thursday with almost 3,100 pounds of NASA cargo from the International Space Station, including research on how spaceflight and microgravity affect the aging process and bone health.

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NASA Flies Material Sciences Test Aboard X-37B


, May 6, 2015 (NASA PR) -
- Building on more than a decade of data from International Space Station (ISS) research, NASA is expanding its materials science research by flying an experiment on the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane.

By flying the Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space (METIS) investigation on the X-37B, materials scientists have the opportunity to expose almost 100 different materials samples to the space environment for more than 200 days. METIS is building on data acquired during the Materials on International Space Station Experiment (MISSE), which flew more than 4,000 samples in space from 2001 to 2013.

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House Appropriations Committee Releases NASA Budget Figures


Capitol Building
The House Appropriations Committee has released updated numbers for the NASA FY 2016 budget. The highlights include:

  • $3.4 billion for Space Launch System, Orion and related ground systems, an increase of $546 million over the President’s request;
  • $1 billion for Commercial Crew, a reduction of $243 million from the request;
  • $625 million for space technology, a reduction of $100 million.
  • $1.56 billion for planetary exploration, an increase of $196 million;
  • $1.68 billion for Earth science, a reduction of $264 million;
  • $140 million to begin work on the Jupiter Europa clipper;
  • $19 million to maintain operations of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and $13.7 million for the Mars Opportunity Rover.

The table below has the full details.

(In Millions of Dollars)
Science $5,288.6 $5,237.5 -$51.1
Earth Science
$1,947.3 $1,682.9 -$264.2
Planetary Sciences $1,361.2  $1,557.0  $195.8
Astrophysics $709.1  $735.6  $26.5
James Webb Space Telescope
$620.0  $620.0  $0.0
Heliophysics $651.0 $642.0  -$9.0
Jupiter Europa Clipper $30.0 $140.0  $110.0
Space Exploration $4,505.9 $4,759.3 $253.4
Exploration Systems Development
$2,862.9 $3,409.3 $546.4
Space Launch System
$1,356.5 $1,850.0 $493.5
$1,096.3 $1,096.3 $0.0
Exploration Ground Systems
$410.1 $410.0 -$0.1
Program Integration
$53.0 $53.0
Commercial Spaceflight $1,243.8 $1,000.0 -$243.0
Research & Development $399.2 $350.0 -$49.2
Space Operations $4,003.7 $3,957.3
International Space Station $3,106.6 $3,075.6 -$31.0
Space & Flight Support
$898.1 $881.7 -$16.4
Space Technology $724.8 $625.0
Aeronautics $571.4 $600.0
Education $88.9 $119.0
Safety, Security and Mission Services $2,843.1 $2,768.6
Construction & Environmental Compliance & Restoration $465.3 $425.0
Inspector General $37.4 $37.4
TOTALS: $18,529.1 $18,529.1 $0.0

ULA to Launch X-37B, LightSail on Wednesday

X-37B after landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 16, 2012. (Credit: Boeing/USAF)

X-37B after landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 16, 2012. (Credit: Boeing/USAF)

The U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B spacecraft and The Planetary Society’s LightSail prototype will share a ride into space from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday aboard an United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster. NASA will also conduct a materials sciences experiment aboard the X-37B.

The launch window opens at 10:45 a.m. EDT and runs until 2:45 p.m. EDT. ULA will webcast the launch at http://www.ulalaunch.com.

The weather forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

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UrtheCast, Pepsi Partner on Film Campaign


VANCOUVER, May 12, 2015 (UrtheCast PR) – UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”) announces that footage captured from its two cameras aboard the International Space Station will be incorporated into a first-of-its-kind short film for the 2015 Pepsi® Challenge™ global campaign. Challenging live production conventions, UrtheCast’s Ultra HD video of worldwide locales will help to make this an unprecedented brand partnership, which combines the worlds of technology, music, film production and storytelling like never before.

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Years of Failures Haunt Russian Space Program

Holy shi'ski! The rocket...it go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Proton rocket falls to Earth at Baikonur in July 2013. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Sixteen botched launches in six years.

That’s the Russian space program’s sad record since May 2009. The failure of a Proton rocket earlier today with the loss of a Mexican communications satellite was yet another sign of the prolonged crisis affecting Russia’s once powerful space program.

The crash came less than three weeks after a botched launch left a Progress supply freighter spinning end over end like an extra point before it burned up in Earth atmosphere. There was also news today that another Progress cargo ship attached to the International Space Station failed to fire its engine as planned to boost the station’s orbit.

The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes:

  • 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads;
  • 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits;
  • complete loss of 20 spacecraft;
  • 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and,
  • an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.

The table below shows the full extent of the damage.

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America’s Impenetrable Congress Does It Again


There’s a great scene in “2010: The Year We Make Contact,” in which Dmitri Moiseyevich (Dana Elcar) asks Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) what scientists had learned about the monolith brought back from the moon.

“Nothing,” Floyd replies. “It’s impenetrable. We’ve tried lasers, nuclear detonators. Nothing worked.”

I reached that same conclusion about Congress this week. The institution seems impermeable to facts, reasoned arguments, and even potential threats to the lives of America’s brave astronauts.

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Cruz: Senate Commercial Launch Bill Ensures Strong Space Sector

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Senate Science Committee PR) – Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz (R-Texas) released the following statement regarding S. 1297, the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, that he filed with U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) that extends the International Space Station (ISS) until 2024, extends the regulatory moratorium through FY 2020, and ensures stability for the continued development and growth of the U.S. commercial space sector, among other initiatives.

“We are making a commitment to supporting the continued development of a strong commercial space sector with this bill,” said Sen. Cruz. “The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act provides the International Space Station nearly a decade of certainty by authorizing operations through 2024 and encourages dynamic private sector growth by giving industry the time it needs to foster and develop new technology.”

“We need to make it less cumbersome to launch from Florida’s Space Coast so private companies won’t take their business elsewhere,” said Sen. Nelson. “We need the jobs that come with commercial space ventures.”

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Sarah Brightman Drops Out of Space Tourism Flight to ISS

Satoshi_Takamatsu and Sarah Brightman (far right) meet the media. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Satoshi_Takamatsu and Sarah Brightman (far right) meet the media. (Credit: Roscosmos)

British soprano Sarah Brightman has dropped out of a planned trip this fall to the International Space Station citing ” for personal family reasons.” A post on the singer’s website did not elaborate on those reasons.

The announcement comes only weeks after press reports said Brightman would be replaced by her backup, Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu, because she would not be ready in time for the flight. Those reports were denied at the time.

Brightman’s announcement describes the decision as a postponement, indicating that she could fly at a future time aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Because the Soyuz is the only transport system serving the six-person station, there will probably not be another opportunity until 2017 or 2018 when U.S. commercial providers Boeing and SpaceX begin transporting astronauts to ISS.

A Soyuz seat is open this year because a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are spending almost one year aboard the station instead of returning to Earth after five to six months. Each three-seat Soyuz spacecraft must be rotated off the ISS every six months.

Altius Space Machines Selected for SBIR Phase I Award

LISA Manipulators attached to a free-flying robot. (Credit: Altius Space Machines)

LISA Manipulators attached to a free-flying robot. (Credit: Altius Space Machines)

NASA has selected Altius Space Machines for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to develop a system that would allow International Space Station (ISS) crew members to off-load some of their menial tasks to robots.

Altius is developing low-inertia STEM arm (LISA) manipulators for use on SPHERES robots that are now being used aboard the space station. SPHERES are currently being used as testbeds for relative navigation and proximity operations, but NASA is interested in developing them to assist astronauts with various tasks.

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