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Showing posts from May, 2020

SpaceX and NASA launch: Date, time, TV channels, how to stream free, live coverage

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When: The launch is scheduled for 1:33 p.m. PT and 4:33 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 27.

TV coverage: Discovery and the Science Channel will be carrying simulcast coverage. “Space Launch Live: America Returns to Space,” will be broadcast from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 27, on both Discovery and the Science Channel. The program promises to take viewers “inside the launch,” and will also include live appearances by singer Katy Perry, TV and Internet personality Adam Savage, former NASA engineer Mark Rober and others.

National Geographic is joining with ABC News Live for “Launch America: Mission to Space Live,” two-hour live coverage that will air on the National Geographic TV channel from noon to 2 p.m. PT and from 3-5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 27. ABC News’ Tom Llamas and Linsey Davis will anchor coverage of the lift-off as it happens at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. According to a press release, moments before launch, ABC News will go on the air wit…

Rocketman (and woman): Elon and Gwynne, the pair who made SpaceX

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Space Exploration Technologies Corp. -- commonly known as SpaceX -- is slated to send two astronauts into space on Wednesday. Despite not yet being 20 years old, the company has already developed a creation myth: on September 28, 2008, its first rocket Falcon 1 launched for the fourth time.

"I messed up the first three launches, the first three launches failed. Fortunately the fourth launch -- that was the last money that we had -- the fourth launch worked, or that would have been it for SpaceX. But fate liked us that day," said Elon Musk, the company's founder and chief engineer, in 2017.

"We started with just a few people, who didn't really know how to make rockets. The reason I ended up being the chief engineer... was not because I wanted to, it's because I couldn't hire anyone. Nobody good would join," he added.

Born in South Africa, Musk immigrated to Canada at age 17, then to the US, where he amassed his fortune in Silicon Valley with the star…

Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket is loaded with pop-culture references

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket is ready to launch — with some serious nods to sci-fi buffs and folk fans.

The two NASA astronauts due to board the Tesla co-founder’s spaceship on Wednesday — the first manned US space flight in nearly a decade and the first-ever manned commercial launch — will be decked out in sleek space suits that look like something out of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

They’ll shoot into space on a rocket named Falcon 9 — a nod to Star Wars’ “Millennium Falcon” — and inside a hip-looking capsule named Dragon after the folk song “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

On top of that, they’ll ride to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in a Tesla Model X electric car.

“It is really neat, and I think the biggest testament to that is my 10-year-old son telling me how cool I am now,” astronaut Doug Hurley told the Associated Press.

“SpaceX has gone all out,” he said of the capsule. “And they’ve worked equally as hard to make the innards and the displayed and everything else in the vehicl…

First commercial space taxi a pit stop on Musk’s Mars quest

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It all started with the dream of growing a rose on Mars.

That vision, Elon Musk’s vision, morphed into a shake-up of the old space industry, and a fleet of new private rockets. Now, those rockets will launch NASA astronauts from Florida to the International Space Station -- the first time a for-profit company will carry astronauts into the cosmos.

It’s a milestone in the effort to commercialize space. But for Musk’s company, SpaceX, it’s also the latest milestone in a wild ride that began with epic failures and the threat of bankruptcy.

If the company’s eccentric founder and CEO has his way, this is just the beginning: He’s planning to build a city on the red planet, and live there.

“What I really want to achieve here is to make Mars seem possible, make it seem as though it’s something that we can do in our lifetimes and that you can go,” Musk told a cheering congress of space professionals in Mexico in 2016.

Musk “is a revolutionary change” in the space world, says Harvard Universit…

Trump to visit SpaceX rocket launch in Florida next week

Trump said he was considering attending the launch while talking to reporters on Thursday, jokingly remarking he'd like to put the press in the rocket to get rid of them for a while. The New York Post reported a senior official confirmed the president's attendance for May 27.

“He’s planning on going as of now,” the source said but acknowledged it depended on the weather conditions and other factors for the travel.

NASA will launch two astronauts into orbit on Elon Musk's SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for a monthslong mission on the International Space Station.

It will be the first time NASA has launched astronauts from the United States to the station since 2011 and SpaceX's first crewed flight on NASA under its multibillion-dollar contract.

Vice President Mike Pence is also scheduled to attend the launch.

Trump has taken few trips in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The president recently visited Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan to look at facilities supplying…

Japan sets up its first ‘Space Operations Squadron'

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) officially established the country’s first ‘Space Operations Squadron’ in a ceremony held on 18 May at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo.

A JASDF spokesperson told Janes that the squadron, which is based at Fuchu Air Base in western Tokyo, currently comprises about 20 personnel, although that number is expected to increase to about 100 in the future.

The new squadron, which will now conduct personnel training and system planning in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and US forces, will be in charge of operating a space surveillance system designed to track space debris and the position of satellites in order to avoid collisions in space.

The system, which includes a network of ground radars, has also been designed to monitor the activities of satellites of countries that may seek to disrupt Japanese and/or US satellite operations through, for instance, the use of anti-satellite missiles, laser irradiation, com…

NASA is counting on a lot of unproven rockets for its Artemis plan

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Notably, the space agency seems to have taken an upgraded SLS off the table.

On Thursday, NASA announced awards to begin final design and initial development of landers to carry humans down to the Moon—a big step for the Artemis Program.

Building these landers to reach the lunar surface by 2024 is a big challenge, as it leaves a little more than four years to design, build, test, and fly these complex vehicles. After all, it took Grumman more than six years to build the Lunar Module in the 1960s, and the company had done some preparatory work before NASA issued its first contracts.

But assuming at least one of the three lander concepts is ready to go by 2024—Blue Origin's Blue Moon lander, Dynetics' landing system, or SpaceX's Starship—there remains the question of how to get it to the Moon. NASA has not settled upon a final architecture for the Artemis III mission to land on the Moon in 2024, and a choice of four rockets remains.

It is noteworthy that none of these rocket…

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket could launch a NASA space station to the Moon

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According to NASA, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket (or another commercial heavy-lift launch vehicle) could potentially launch the bulk of a new Moon-orbiting space station in a single go, saving money and reducing risk.

Known as the Gateway, NASA is working to build a tiny space station in an exotic and odd orbit around the Moon. Lacking any clear and pressing purpose, NASA and the Gateway’s proponents have argued that it could serve as a testbed for interplanetary missions, allowing the space agency to figure out how to keep astronauts alive and healthy in deep space. Later, it was proposed as a sort of unwieldy orbital tug and home base for crewed Moon landers, although the Gateway appears to have recently been removed from any plans for mid-2020s Moon landings.

Most likely, the station is being built in order to give NASA’s wildly over-budget, behind-schedule Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket some kind of destination worthy of their gobsmacking $2-3 billion launch cost and $35-40 billio…

Space Force rolls out recruitment video: ‘Maybe your purpose isn’t on this planet’

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The X-37B was included in the ad. Barrett called it an example of DoD trying to be more open about its space capabilities.


WASHINGTON — Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond kicked off an online event May 6 rolling out a new Space Force recruitment video that included footage of the X-37B spaceplane, satellite control rooms and service members in spacesuits.
“Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet,” said the voice-over in the video.
After showing the video at the online event hosted by the Space Foundation, Barrett said: “Sign me up. That video, certainly made an impression on me.”
U.S. military service members — except the few who get selected by NASA for its astronaut program — do not travel to space and the U.S. Space Force will operate firmly on land. Barrett said the ad aimed to “inspire Americans to find their purpose in the nation’s newest service, the United States Space Force.”
She noted that the X-37B being inclu…

Bridenstine ties international cooperation on Artemis to norms of behavior in space

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WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wants the space agency to play a bigger role in national strategy, including requiring countries interested in participating in the Artemis program to accept “norms of behavior” for safe space operations.

Bridenstine, speaking May 5 at a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webinar, said that the agency’s achievements in space, which are often overlooked, even within the country, can help demonstrate national power and improve the country’s standing on the global stage.
“NASA is methodically going, step by step, through a number of very stunning achievements that should be inspiring the world,” he said.
Bridenstine said that after China landed the Chang’e-4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon early last year, unnamed members of Congress asked him to explain “how the United States of America fell so far behind China in space exploration.” He notes that the Chinese landing came a little more than a month after NASA mad…

Trump administration drafting Artemis Accords moon mining pact: report

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The Trump administration is reportedly drafting an international agreement called the Artemis Accords relating to lunar mining.

The United States-led pact would be part of a plan by the administration to bypass the United Nations’ treaty process, according to Reuters, citing anonymous sources familiar with the draft.
The U.S. would collaborate with “like-minded nations” because the treaty process is lengthy and it would be a waste of time to work with nations without spacefaring capacity, a senior administration official told Reuters.
The pact proposes “safety zones” that would separate a country’s moon base from other countries with bases nearby and lays the groundwork for allowing ownership of mined resources.
“This isn’t some territorial claim,” one anonymous source familiar with the draft told the outlet, adding that there would be coordination between nations.
“The idea is if you are going to be coming near someone’s operations, and they’ve declared safety zones around it, then you ne…

SpaceShipTwo makes first flight from Spaceport America

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WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from its New Mexico spaceport May 1 as the company edges closer to finally beginning commercial flights of the suborbital spaceplane.

The company’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, with the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo attached to it, took off shortly before 11 a.m. Eastern from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. After reaching a planned altitude of about 15,000 meters, WhiteKnightTwo released SpaceShipTwo, which glided back to the runway at the spaceport.

While SpaceShipTwo has performed many glide flights, all previously took place from Mojave Air and Space Port in California. SpaceShipTwo arrived with WhiteKnightTwo at Spaceport America in February to begin a final series of glide and powered test flights before starting commercial operations.

Pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow performed maneuvers during the glide test to compare the vehicle’s performance against earlier tests. They and the rest of the flight te…

We will rise

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Through science and solidarity, we will rise together beyond this darkness to create a brilliant future.
We will rise together above what divides us.
We will rise together to realize our higher natures.
We will rise together to meet the challenge.
We will rise together to Mars
We will rise together to Titan
We will rise together to Proxima Centauri