Tag: space shuttle

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.

Continue reading ‘Long Delayed Falcon Heavy Flight Set for Spring 2016’

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.

2014: The Year We Discovered Space is Hard (Part III)

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The spot where SpaceShipTwo's cockpit crashed. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

The spot where SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit crashed. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

The Coming Reckoning for NewSpace

After the Challenger accident in 1986, the nation went through the five stages of grief. First there was denial that such a tragedy could occur. That was followed by depression over the loss of seven brave Americans.

And there was anger. A lot of anger. As reporters and the Rogers Commission began to investigate the accident, it emerged that the astronauts’ deaths could have been prevented. The investigations also exposed serious flaws in the space shuttle and deep dysfunction within NASA, an agency renowned for its technical competence. The picture that emerged was not pretty.

Continue reading ‘2014: The Year We Discovered Space is Hard (Part III)’

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft Now on Display in Palmdale

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Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Shuttle Carrier N911NA is now on display at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at 2001 East Avenue P in Palmdale, Calif. The airpark is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding major holidays. Admission is free.

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (Credit: Douglas Messier)

NASA acquired the former Japan Airlines 747-100ASR in 1988 after the space shuttle Challenger accident. It entered service two years later. The aircraft was used in 1991 to transport the space shuttle Endeavour from its manufacturing plant in Palmdale to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (Credit: Douglas Messier)

NASA has loaded the aircraft to the Joe Davies airpark. It will remain a source of spare parts for the space agency’s SOFIA flying observatory, which is based at the adjacent Armstrong Aircraft Operations Facility.

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with a B-52 bomber. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with a B-52 bomber. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

NASA Partners with X-37B Program for Use of Former Space Shuttle Hangars

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x37landing2_june2012
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Program for use of the center’s Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) Bays 1 and 2 to process the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle for launch.

Continue reading ‘NASA Partners with X-37B Program for Use of Former Space Shuttle Hangars’

How Much Space is in Space?

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Courtesy of: SelfStorage.com

More RS-25 Engine Tests Conducted at Stennis

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Four RS-25 engines, like the one pictured undergoing a hot-fire test, will power the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) -- NASA's new heavy-lift launch vehicle. (Credit: NASA)

Four RS-25 engines, like the one pictured undergoing a hot-fire test, will power the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) — NASA’s new heavy-lift launch vehicle. (Credit: NASA)

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NASA PR) — The RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), off the launch pad and on journeys to an asteroid and Mars is getting ready for the test stand. And it is packing a big punch.

Engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., are now focusing their attention on preparing the RS-25 engine after completing testing of the J-2X engine April 10. Four RS-25 engines, previously known as space shuttle main engines, will muscle the core stage of SLS for each of its missions. Towering more than 200 feet tall with a diameter of 27.6 feet, the core stage will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the vehicle’s RS-25s.

Continue reading ‘More RS-25 Engine Tests Conducted at Stennis’

NASA Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Use of Historic Launch Pad

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Discovery_Launch_Pad_39A

Discovery on Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the site from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site.

NASA signed a property agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., on Monday for use and occupancy of the seaside complex along Florida’s central east coast. It will serve as a platform for SpaceX to support their commercial launch activities.

Continue reading ‘NASA Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Use of Historic Launch Pad’