Tag: space shuttle

I Will Launch America: Launch Site Integrator Misty Snopkowski

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i_will_launch_misty_snopkowskiBy Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Misty Snopkowski has worked on human spaceflight initiatives since 2003, building up expertise with the Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs and now standing on the precipice of the new era in human spaceflight with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

“I got to work up until the very last shuttle launch in 2011, which was a pretty amazing period in time,” Snopkowski said. “Then I joined commercial crew. You flip the script and go into a brand new program. I was this young person who got to start at the very beginning of a new program and most people don’t ever get that opportunity.”

Continue reading ‘I Will Launch America: Launch Site Integrator Misty Snopkowski’

External Tank Arrives in Marina del Rey; Trip Through LA Set for Saturday

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External Tank 94 (Credit: California Science Center)

External Tank 94 (Credit: California Science Center)

LOS ANGELES (California Science Center PR) — After an eventful 4,400 nautical mile journey, ET-94 has reached Marina del Rey! After leaving the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, it rode out a storm in the Cayman Islands, passed through the Panama Canal, and made its way up the Pacific Coast, where it played a part in rescuing a group of stranded fisherman after their boat sank.

Continue reading ‘External Tank Arrives in Marina del Rey; Trip Through LA Set for Saturday’

15 Years of ESA on the International Space Station

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Astronaut Umberto Guidoni, STS-100 mission specialist representing the European Space Agency (ESA), records activity on the Zvezda Service Module following hatch opening and the reunion of STS-100 crew members with the three members of the Expedition Two crew. This image was taken with a digital still camera. (Credit: ESA)

Astronaut Umberto Guidoni, STS-100 mission specialist representing the European Space Agency (ESA), records activity on the Zvezda Service Module following hatch opening and the reunion of STS-100 crew members with the three members of the Expedition Two crew. This image was taken with a digital still camera. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — On 23 April 2001, Italian ESA Umberto Guidoni made history as the first European astronaut to board the International Space Station.

Guidoni had been launched on four days earlier, on 19 April, on Space Shuttle Endeavour as part of its seven-strong STS-100 crew from Kennedy Space Centre, with a liftoff at 20:41 CEST.

Continue reading ’15 Years of ESA on the International Space Station’

So Exactly How Safe Will SpaceShipTwo Be?

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Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Part 5 of 6

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the recent roll out of VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic marked a symbolic milestone in its recovery from the October 2014 accident that destroyed the first SpaceShipTwo and killed pilot Mike Alsbury.

Two questions loomed large over the celebrity-studded event. When will it fly? And how safe will it be when it does?

Company officials gave no timeline on the first question. Their answers about SpaceShipTwo’s safety differed significantly from previous claims they made over the last 11.5 years.

Continue reading ‘So Exactly How Safe Will SpaceShipTwo Be?’

Plan Set to Deliver Space Shuttle External Tank to Los Angeles

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Space shuttle external tank (Credit: NASA)

Space shuttle external tank (Credit: NASA)

LOS ANGELES (California Science Center PR) – Today the California Science Center Foundation announced the route for “Mission 26: ET Comes Home,” the journey of the external tank (ET-94).

It will travel from the Michoud Assembly Facility through the Panama Canal by barge to Los Angeles, then on through city streets, pulled by a truck on dollies, to its final destination near the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Pavilion. The entire journey will take six to eight weeks. ET-94 is expected to arrive around May 21, 2016.

Continue reading ‘Plan Set to Deliver Space Shuttle External Tank to Los Angeles’

Engineer Makes Sure Commercial Crew Craft Will Make Smooth Landing

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Engineer Jeff Thon at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: Jeff Thon)

Engineer Jeff Thon at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: Jeff Thon)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

One of the engineers NASA depends on to assess the landing systems of the next generation of human-rated spacecraft brings 14 years of experience working with parachutes on launch systems.

Plus, as a skydiver, he knows what it’s like to have his life depend on a parachute.

Continue reading ‘Engineer Makes Sure Commercial Crew Craft Will Make Smooth Landing’

FedEx Makes First Commercial Landing on Space Shuttle Runway

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Video Caption: When a FedEx 757 landed at Kennedy Space Center’s three-mile shuttle runway, it accomplished something no other commercial aircraft has done before. It became the first commercial carrier to land on the strip, marking the start of a new collaboration between FedEx and the space industry.

U.S. Launch Providers Plan Busy Year in 2016

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Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

The United States has a very busy launch year ahead if all 33 flights currently on the manifest go off as planned. Given the tendency of launches to slip and rockets to occasionally go boom, that is a very big “if”.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX each have 15 launches penciled in this year, according to the latest update to Spaceflight Now’s Launch Schedule page. Orbital ATK has plans for three launches during 2016. Continue reading ‘U.S. Launch Providers Plan Busy Year in 2016’

Aerojet Rocketdyne Gets $1.16 Billion Contract to Restart Shuttle Engine Production

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The RS-25 engine fires up for a 500-second test Jan. 9 at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (Credit: NASA)

The RS-25 engine fires up for a 500-second test Jan. 9 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NASA PR) — NASA selected Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, California, to restart production of the RS-25 engine for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world, and deliver a certified engine. SLS will use four RS-25 engines to carry the agency’s Orion spacecraft and launch explorers on deep space missions, including to an asteroid placed in lunar orbit and ultimately to Mars.

Continue reading ‘Aerojet Rocketdyne Gets $1.16 Billion Contract to Restart Shuttle Engine Production’

Jeb Bush Will ‘Never Forget’ the Space Shuttle Disaster of Whenever It Was

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Editor’s Note: Poor Jeb! To screw up like this while seeking votes in New Hampshire at a center named for the state’s two famous astronauts, Alan Shepard and Christa McAuliffe. The latter of whom died in the first space shuttle accident.

Excellent Audio Documentary About Mojave and Space Exploration Online

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mojave_tower_sunset_smI was interviewed by journalist Alex MacInnis back in April for an audio documentary he was doing about space exploration. That is now online at:

www.valleyofsmoke.com
Episode 3: Your Boyfriend’s No Rocket Scientist (Part 2)

There is a lot of focus on Mojave and what’s happening here along some discussion of NASA and activities over at JPL. Local Mojave denizens Bill Deaver and Kathy Hansen are also featured.

It’s really an excellent show. Definitely worth a listen. I’m not saying that because I’m in it. It’s just really good.

There are a couple of ways to listen. The main website links to iTunes or allows for direct streaming of the audio on that page in the section for each episode. Alternately, one should be able to do a direct search in iTunes for “Valley of Smoke” and then find it in the podcast returns section. For folks deep into the podcast world, it should be up on Stitcher by tomorrow or so.

Long Delayed Falcon Heavy Flight Set for Spring 2016

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Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

After a three-year delay, SpaceX plans to fly its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle for the first time next spring, followed quickly by three additional flights of the 28-engine rocket by the end of 2016.

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Cruz Control: Texas Senator Demonstrates Why People Don’t Want Him Leading Science Committee

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Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

There was a great deal of hue and cry earlier this year when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took over the newly renamed Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness. [Science-Denying Troglodyte Ted Cruz to Chair Senate Science Subcommittee]

Critics view the far right Tea Party favorite as pretty much of an idiot when it comes to science. [8 Dumb Quotes About Science From New NASA Overseer Ted Cruz] They worry about his past efforts to cut NASA’s budget, and what they view as his dishonest skepticism about the realities of global warming. [Ted Cruz to Oversee NASA: What Does His Record Tell Us?]

It didn’t take long for critics’ worst fears to be born out. Last Thursday, Cruz decided to engage NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a debate over the space agency’s core mission. The consensus is that Cruz got the worst of the exchange, in the process demonstrating a lack of knowledge about what NASA’s been doing for the past 57 years.

Continue reading ‘Cruz Control: Texas Senator Demonstrates Why People Don’t Want Him Leading Science Committee’

ASAP: SLS/Orion Launch Cadence Poses Safety Risks

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Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) believes the projected low flight rates of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle will create significant safety challenges for the space agency. The independent safety group also raised questions about the safety of flying astronauts on the system in 2021.

Continue reading ‘ASAP: SLS/Orion Launch Cadence Poses Safety Risks’

NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts on Day of Remembrance

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Challenger crew. Back row, left to right: mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, payload specialist Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, mission specialist Judith Resnik. Front row left to right: pilot Michael J. Smith, commander Francis "Dick" Scobee, mission specialist Ronald McNair. (Credit: NASA)

Challenger crew. Back row, left to right: mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, payload specialist Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, mission specialist Judith Resnik. Front row left to right: pilot Michael J. Smith, commander Francis “Dick” Scobee, mission specialist Ronald McNair. (Credit: NASA)

Message from the Administrator:
Day of Remembrance – Jan. 28, 2015

Today we remember and give thanks for the lives and contributions of those who gave all trying to push the boundaries of human achievement. On this solemn occasion, we pause in our normal routines and remember the STS-107 Columbia crew; the STS-51L Challenger crew; the Apollo 1 crew; Mike Adams, the first in-flight fatality of the space program as he piloted the X-15 No. 3 on a research flight; and those lost in test flights and aeronautics research throughout our history.

The crew of STS-107. From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon. (Credit: NASA)

The crew of STS-107. From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon. (Credit: NASA)

These men and women were our friends, family and colleagues. They still are. As we undertake a journey to Mars, they will be with us. They have our eternal respect, love and gratitude.

Today, their legacy lives on as the International Space Station fulfills its promise as a symbol of hope for the world and a springboard to missions farther into the solar system. Our lost friends are with us in the strivings of all of our missions to take humans to new destinations and to unlock the secrets of our universe. We honor them by making our dreams of a better tomorrow reality and taking advantage of the fruits of exploration to improve life for people everywhere.

Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. (Credit: NASA)

Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. (Credit: NASA)

Let us join together as one NASA Family, along with the entire world, in paying our respects, and honoring the memories of our dear friends. They will never be forgotten. Godspeed to every one of them.

Charlie B.