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Monthly archive October, 2010

Space Tweep Gatherings for STS-133

We had really tried to plan a big gathering for this launch where tweeps involved in the NASA Tweetup and those just attending launch could all meet up. The schedule for the Tweetup made it very difficult to find a time when all could gather. 

Due to the launch delays, there is now a much better opportunity for tweeps to get together, because the launch time is earlier in the day. So tweeps, if you are on the Space Coast for the launch, try to make it over to Grills in Port Canaveral at some point afterward. The food is good, and hopefully there will be a lot of us who can make it. Expect heavy traffic and large crowds. There will probably be tweeps there until pretty late, so don’t stress if you get stuck in traffic. 

There are also other opportunities for small gatherings, so if you’d like to list any impromptu get togethers you’re having here, you can leave details in the comments on this post. Registered tweeps can click on a link at the bottom of this post to “watch” it so they will be emailed when new comments are posted. Look for a link that reads, “You are not watching this post, click to start watching.” 

Don’t forget, you can also use tools like Foursquare to find out where tweeps you’ve friended are hanging out. 

Welcome to the Space Coast; travel safely!

A Look Ahead for NASA

After many years working directly with Congress in one capacity or another, I decided that I needed to see NASA from a new perspective. While I enjoyed my job, I don’t think I am the only person that found themselves perplexed by the FY 2011 budget request and the various modifications thereafter. I guess, I really just wanted to understand better how we got where we did so I could see the big picture.

One thing that WAS clear to me in the FY 2011 budget request was that we weren’t investing in technology development. Ok…NASA was doing some, but the kinds of technology that made baby steps, not giant leaps like the NASA my parents knew. I want to be a part of that excitement so I joined the Office of the Chief Technologist. I am putting great faith that this initiative is the start of something good for me and for NASA. I hope I’m right!

Why should NASA have a centralized technology focus? NASA’s new Space Technology program is a critical to NASA’s future. Numerous external studies and Congress have concluded that NASA’s missions have suffered from an under-investment in new technologies. We need to get back to the cutting edge and while the big programs at NASA try to invest in new technology, other programs often are so mission focused that it often falls off the table when budgets get tight.

That mission driven focus, while understandable, especially with how our budgets go, has left us with dreams bigger than what we can capably accomplish.

Seeking life in the solar system and Earth-like planets around other stars, forecasting major storms and natural disasters, and preparing NEO deflection techniques is not possible with today’s technologies and budget constraints. NASA must change the game such that human exploration into deep space (to an asteroid or Mars) is sustainable and affordable.  For example, using today’s technology, the equivalent of 12 ISS units of mass is required in low Earth orbit to initiate a single round trip Mars mission. Similarly, we do not know how to land masses larger than MSL (about the size of a small car) on the Mars surface. We need cutting-edge research, technology, and innovation to advance our Nation’s future.

By investing in Space Technology, we will enable a more vibrant future for all of us on Earth. Space technology has already greatly impacted the communications, biomedical, and transportation industries, improving life for all of us. A NASA focus on Space Technology will also produce technological solutions of benefit in health and wellness, energy, environment and national security.

The greatest risk to our Nation’s future leadership in space, and to our economic prosperity, is the continued under-investment in transforming technologies.  Establishing a robust Space  technology program at NASA will bridge the technology gap we suffer from today.

Will our our nation have the political invest in this vital technology? As usual, the ball is in the Congressional court right now. While I think they know the future savings is real and tangible, it’s hard to for them to look past the current budget environment. After the election, we will know more, but I am looking forward to seeing what our nation’s space future will hold.

 

 

Space Station to Welcome Resupply Craft, Shuttle in Coming Week

Space Tweeps, a Russian cargo craft loaded with
tons of food and supplies will begin a three day trip to
resupply the growing International Space Station on Wednesday.

Loaded
with extra fuel, experiment hardware, water, air and requested personal items, the arriving craft will keep
the Expedition 25 crew of six happy and healthy for weeks to come.

Launch
of the Soyuz U rocket with the Progress M-08M supply ship is set to
lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in western Kazakhstan tomorrow at
11:11:53 am EDT (1511 GMT).

The
Soyuz U was transported horizontally to it’s launch pad on Monday
morning by way of rail car, and then moved into its vertical launch
position. Crews then began the tasks of connecting both fuel and
electrical connections to the rocket.

After
a three day orbital chase, the Progress craft will fly in and dock to
the Russian Zevezda service module on Saturday at 12:40 pm (1640 GMT).

The Progress docking begins a busy six weeks aboard the space station.

Three
days after the supply ship docks, the space shuttle Discovery is
scheduled to dock to begin an eight day visit to resupply the station
and deliver a permanent storage module.

A
Russian spacewalk was added on Tuesday. Cosmoanuts Fiodor Yurchikin and
Oleg Skipochka will begin a six hour EVA on Nov. 15 starting at 9:25
am EST.

On Nov. 30,
three of the current station crew members will undock and return to
earth aboard their Soyuz TMA19 craft. Two weeks later, a fresh crew of
three will launch and then dock their Soyuz TMA20 to begin their six
month tour of duty.

Looking ahead into 2011, January
and February will also be a busy time for the Expedition 26 crew. Three
unmanned cargo crafts from the European, Russian and Japanese space
programs, and the American space shuttle Endeavour will head to the
orbiting outpost 221 miles above to bring fresh supplies and equipment.

To
the crews living aboard the station, food has always been a form of
leisure and most try out their own orbiting gourmet food styles while
in micro-gravity.

The
space station is a very multicultural location. An astronaut or
cosmonaut from one country will always enjoy a taste from a special
menu prepared by the crew of a visiting country.

The Russian Space Agency stated today,
“Food boxes will contain not only standard rations, but also fresh
fruits and vegetables – lemons, apples, onions, tomatoes, and a
kilogram of garlic”.

 “(Progress) will also carry
high-speed data transmission equipment to be installed on the outer
surface of the station during EVA (spacewalk) by Oleg Skripochka and
Dmitry Kondratiev in January,” the space agency added earlier today.

New York area tweeps, check this out:

Ten Years of Digital Universe with Carter Emmart and Brian Abbott 

haydenA decade ago, the Hayden Planetarium created the Digital Universe Atlas, the most complete map the known universe assembled from the latest astronomical data sources. The Digital Universe Atlas now serves as the foundation for the Museum’s Space Shows and other planetarium programs. Join Carter Emmart and Brian Abbott to learn how the Digital Universe has grown since the Rose Center for Earth and Space first opened.

Hayden Planetarium

Tuesday, October 26, 6:30–8 pm Hayden Planetarium Space Theater- Enter at 81st Street/Rose Center 

$15 adults, $8 children; $13.50 Members, students, senior citizens 

Fall season pass, three for $40

NASAssary

While the debate goes on about what NASA should do and what it should let private companies do and use as a shelf product, I came up with the term to describe things NASA need to do by themselves rather than letting others – NASAssary 

Full details on Spacepirations - http://www.spacepirations.com/2010/10/nasassarry.html

So, is a heavy-lift NASAssary? How about propellant-depots?

Toronto Space Round Up 2010: Part Deux! This Saturday!

Come meet Toronto’s space enthusiasts & professionals on Saturday Oct. 16 at 9pm at the Madison Avenue Pub! Event details are on Facebook here.

Space!

Ryan

Campaign date extended – E.T. are you out there?

We are extremely to happy to report scheduled and already held events from four continents in Brazil, Ghana, Hungary, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Ukraine for our E.T. are You out there? – The Voyager Campaign.

You still can join us in our “E.T. are You out there? – The Voyager Campaign” – participation is now open til 24 October!

Just a short reminder where You can find more infos on “How to Participate” on the Web: http://bit.ly/ET-voyager and as a PDF: http://bit.ly/ffe-voyager-pdf

You might check out the report from previous campaign to see what you can do

* Report: http://bit.ly/ET_report
* Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQyuoDVaRus

If you like all this stuff, please help us to grow further, and become our Fb fan; http://www.facebook.com/facesfromearth

Do you have still questions? Feel free to contact from our Board members, Thilina, Thomas or myself! (http://bit.ly/FfE_Board)

Ad Astra & Cheers!

Tibor

30 Years of SEDS, Even More for Other Space Groups

So I posted some info about a contest we’re doing a little while ago, but I just wanted to officially wish a happy birthday to Students for the Exploration and Development of Space and explain who we are.

SEDS is a group that was started back in 1980 by Peter Diamandis, Bob Richards, and Todd Hawley, students at various universities.  Since 1980 the group has pushed for more exploration and development in outer space and has had many yearly conferences for students to meet and openly conspire about the future of space.  The group was there at the first Space Shuttle launches (Peter went as media actually) and will be there at the last launches.  We’re always looking to unite all students in the United States and around the world so we can rally together to find the best reasons and ways to explore the cosmos.

If you want to know the full story of all the space groups, I advise checking out “Reaching for the High Frontier“, a book about space groups.

Please click on the title of this post to view our latest newsletter if you are interested in what we are doing today in 2010!

Sputnik – The Launch of Space

Sputnik 1 was launched 53 years ago, on October 4th, 1957. In many ways, it can be seen as the launch of the space age. Being the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth, it started the space race which led to Buzz and Neil landing on the moon in 1969 and contributed to the demise of Communism.

Most of the people writing nowadays about space weren’t alive yet in 1957, myself included. As such, we cannot fully grasp the feelings that swept through the United States of America knowing a USSR made object was flying invisible and uninterrupted above its skies. However, from the events which proceeded it is obvious, to put it mildly, that it was a very big deal.

In the full blog post I drew parallels with the first Wright brothers flight in 1903, discussed satellites in our daily lives and CubeSats. I also supplied some useful links regarding this historic day.

Read the full blog post here: http://www.spacepirations.com/2010/10/sputnik-launch-of-space.html

P.S. You can still add entries to my Poll regarding the Discovery launch at http://www.spacepirations.com/2010/09/next-space-shuttle-launch-informal-poll.html. Thanks!