Tag: space station

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.

Continue reading ‘ULA to Launch X-37B, LightSail on Wednesday’

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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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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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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Partners Adjust ISS Launches in Wake of Progress Launch Failure


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and its international partners agreed Tuesday to set a new schedule for spacecraft traffic to and from the International Space Station.

The partner agencies agreed to adjust the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) preliminary findings on the recent loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact dates have not yet been established, but will be announced in the coming weeks. Roscosmos expects to provide an update about the Progress 59 investigation on Friday, May 22.

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Progress Burns Up as Russia Mulls Delay in Next Crew Launch


Progress_vehicle_freeflightRussia’s wayward Progress cargo ship has burned up in the atmosphere over the central Pacific Ocean 10 days after a botched launch left it tumbling in orbit. The spacecrraft had been carrying supplies to astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

The Russian news agency TASS reports Roscosmos is considering a shift in the rotation of crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory.

“It is suggested that the return from orbit of the expedition which is currently there be postponed from May 14 to June, then, in late June – early July, a Progress cargo spacecraft be blasted off to the ISS, and then, in the last ten days of July, a manned Soyuz launch be made,” the source said.

He said the proposal was forwarded by a Roscosmos working group and has not been approved yet.

Preliminary evidence indicates the launch failure was caused by a problem with the Soyuz launch vehicle’s third stage. If so, engineers will need time to inspect stages scheduled for use in upcoming launches.

An investigative body is expected to report on the cause of the failure by May 13.

Look Out Below! Russian Progress to Crash Back to Earth


Russia’s wayward Progress cargo ship is expected to crash back to Earth on Friday after spinning out of control in orbit for 11 days.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said there is little to worry about. Most of the ship will burn up in the atmosphere, with only a handful of parts reaching Earth.

The spacecraft, which was carrying supplies to the International Space Station, suffered a mishap after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Controllers were unable to pull the ship out of its spin.

An investigation board is attempting to determine the cause of the accident.

Musk: Dragon Abort Test Successful

Dragon abort test with SuperDraco engines.  (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon abort test with SuperDraco engines. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also held a brief press conference after the test. Here are the highlights:

  • Test vehicle went from zero to 100 mph (160 kph) in 1.2 seconds “That’s pretty zippy.”
  • Dragon reached top speed of 345 mph (555 kph)
  • “If there had been people on board they would’ve been in great shape.”
  • One of SuperDraco thrusters had a lower than expected thrust due to a fuel mixture ratio that was “slightly off”
  • Only four of the eight SuperDragos need to fire for an abort
  • SuperDragos can be used for propulsive touch downs on land
  • Up next: an in-flight abort test out of Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • SpaceX will conduct an uncrewed flight to the International Space Station followed by a second test with a crew
  • Musk expects to be transporting astronauts to ISS within two years, give or take six months

The pad abort test was one of two remaining milestones under SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities agreement with NASA. The other is the in-flight abort test. Each milestone is worth $30 million.

Dragon's trunk separates from capsule during pad abort test. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon’s trunk separates from capsule during pad abort test. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon pad abort test article descends under parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon pad abort test article descends under parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)