A manual docking will be conducted between Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module around noon Sunday, according to a spokesperson of China's manned space program.
Since Shenzhou-9 and Tiangong-1 successfully conducted an automated docking and astronauts entered the Tiangong-1 module on June 18, both the spacecraft and the module have been operating normally and the three astronauts were in good condition, said the spokesperson.
All scientific tests have been conducted without any glitches and a manned conjoint flight has been realized, according to the spokesperson.
Compared with the automated docking, the upcoming manual docking will be more challenging in terms of orbit control, said Xie Jianfeng, a space scientist with the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
Scientists have to get prepared to cope with changes in space environment, although space environment has been forecasted to be relatively calm around noon Sunday, he said.
According to Xie, changes in space environment had exerted "greater than expected" impact on orbit control of Shenzhou-9 on June 17, the second day after it lifted off from a launch center in northwest China's Gobi Desert.
China's first unmanned space docking was completed successful last year with the docking of the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft and the Tiangong-1.
The three Chinese astronauts on board the recently launched Shenzhou IX spacecraft are getting ready for this weekend’s historic mission.
For the first time in China’s short history as space travelers, a Chinese made rocket is going to manually dock with a Chinese made space station, known as Tiangong I. If all goes according to plan, the Shenzhou IX space craft should be re-connected manually to Tiangong by Sunday morning, marking a giant leap for Chinese space travel and the first stages in a permanent space station within the next 8 years.
Shenzhou-9 is already connected to Tiangong-1 as of Monday, but that was done automatically. Sunday’s mission is to see if the astronauts can do it manually.
China Central Television yesterday showed footage of Liu Wang, 43, one of the three Chinese astronauts aboard Tiangong-1, running through drills for the manual docking, while Liu Yang, 33, the country’s first female astronaut, was recording the process. The three will return to the spacecraft again and separate the module for the manual docking to be performed by Liu Wang.
“A manual docking, if successful, will demonstrate the country’s grasp of essential space rendezvous and docking techniques,” Zhou Jianping, chief engineer of China’s manned space program, told the Shanghai Daily on Saturday.
BEIJING, June 24 Xinhua) -- Three Chinese astronauts succeeding in China's first manual space docking mission on Sunday congratulated over a new dive record set by the country's manned submersible in its exploration in deep ocean.
"We wish China's manned submersible cause greater achievement! May our motherland prosper!" three Chinese astronauts said in a video message sent back to Earth from the Tiangong-1 space lab module.
Chinese astronauts and oceanaut separately made landmark achievements in the country's exploration of space and the deep ocean.
The astronauts -- veteran astronaut and mission commander Jing Haipeng, crew mate Liu Wang and China's first woman astronaut Liu Yang -- successfully docked manually the spaceship Shenzhou-9 with Tiangong-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, three Chinese oceanauts, Ye Cong, Liu Kaizhou and Yang Bo, on Sunday refreshed the country's dive record in a manned submersible Jiaolong by reaching 7,020 meters beneath the sea in a successful test dive in the Pacific Ocean.
BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese astronauts will return to Earth in several days after completing the major tasks, and measures have been taken to ensure a safe return, a spokeswoman of China's manned space program said here Sunday.
"Just like everyone else, I am eagerly expecting their safe and early return," said Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program, told a press conference.
They will stay in the Tiangong-1 lab module for another three to four days, and will then manually maneuver the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft to part from the Tiangong-1 space lab module and end their space journey within one day, according to Wu.
The three Chinese astronauts, including China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, have almost completed the major tasks of the space mission, she said. They were sent into space aboard Shenzhou-9 on June 16 from a launch center in northwest China's Gobi desert.
But she noted that there could be new situations and problems and promised to give real-time report of the implementation of the tasks.
Measures have been prepared to ensure the safety of the astronauts, who will get back to Earth in a return capsule, she said, adding that the returning technology has been "very mature".
Backups of the key devices aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft have been prepared, and engineers have conducted strict quality control and double-checks on the reentry system, said Wu.
The ground search, rescue and medical personnel have repeatedly exercised for the return, who will use helicopters to find and transfer the three astronauts to safe places as soon as possible, she said.
At the same time, digital pictures will be sent to the ground control center in Beijing to report the rescue progress in a real-time manner, she added.
Three Chinese astronauts Sunday successfully completed a manual docking between Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module Sunday noon, the first such attempt in China's history of space exploration.
China has planned about 19 billion yuan (about 3 billion U.S. dollars) in budget for the country's space rendezvous and docking missions, a spokeswoman of China's manned space program said Sunday.
Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program, told a press conference that the budget will cover the ongoing Shenzhou-9 spacecraft manned space docking mission, the previous missions conducted by Shenzhou-7, Shenzhou-8 spaceships, as well as the mission to be carried out by the Shenzhou-10 spaceship next year.
Since starting the manned space missions in 1992, Wu said, the country has spent another 20 billion yuan in investment in manned space missions carried out by Shenzhou-6 and previous spaceships.
BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Three Chinese astronauts Sunday successfully completed a manual docking between the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module, the first such attempt in China's history of space exploration.
It means China has completely grasped space rendezvous and docking technologies and the country is fully capable of transporting humans and cargo to an orbiter in space, which is essential for building a space station in 2020.
Astronaut Liu Wang, assisted by his teammates Jing Haipeng and Liu Yang, controlled the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft to dock with the Tiangong-1 space lab module at 12:48 p.m., which were reconnected about seven minutes later.
About one and a half hours before the docking, Shenzhou-9 parted from Tiangong-1 to a berth point 400 meters away from the module.
To leave room for adjustments, engineers set up four berth points for the spaceship on the same orbit 5 km, 400 meters, 140 meters and 30 meters away from the orbiting lab.
As highly sophisticated space manoeuvre, manual docking requires the astronaut to connect together two orbiters traveling at 7.8 kilometers a second in space without a hitch.
Shortly after the docking, the smiling and waving astronauts greeted the ground crew via camera.
"The manual docking was beautifully conducted. It was very accurate and swift, " said Liu Weibo, who is responsible for China's astronaut system.
The manual docking was completed in only 7 minutes, 3 minutes faster than the automatic docking, said Liu.
Liu explained to Xinhua the three factors behind today's manual docking success.
Firstly, Liu Wang has grasped the sophisticated manual docking technologies very well and his psychological status has been sound. Secondly, the three astronauts were in close cooperation. Thirdly, the domestically-made docking system was reliable, he said.
The astronauts, 343 km away from Earth, were also greeted by Chinese oceanauts from the Mariana Trench, 7,020 meters beneath the Pacific Ocean, where they just broke the country's dive record in a manned submersible on Sunday morning.
"We hope the manual docking is a great success and wish for brilliant achievements in China's manned space and manned deep-sea dive causes," read the message sent by the three oceanauts aboard the manned submersible Jiaolong.
Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, said Sunday the manual space docking was "a complete success."
She told a press conference in Beijing that the three Chinese astronauts had already re-entered the space lab module to continue their scientific experiments.
The spacecraft and the space lab were previously joined together by an automated docking last Monday. The three astronauts, including the country's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, were sent into space onboard Shenzhou-9 on June 16 from a launch center in northwest China's Gobi desert.
Das ist ein Meilenstein in der chinesischen Raumfahrt: Das komplizierte Abdock und Andockmanöver des Raumschiffs ''Shenzhou'' an ein Weltraummodul verläuft reibungslos. China feiert die geglückte Mission als erfolgreiche Vorbereitung für den Bau einer eigenen Raumstation, welche bis 2020 entstehen soll.
Raumflugkörper Shefex II des DLR erfolgreich gestartet
Zehn Minuten dauerte der Flug - dann landete das kantige Raumfahrzeug Shefex II wieder westlich von Spitzbergen. Die Wissenschaftler des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) starteten die sieben Tonnen schwere und fast 13 Meter lange Rakete mit ihrer Nutzlast am 22. Juni 2012 um 21.18 Uhr von der norwegischen Raketenstation Andoya. Beim Wiedereintritt in die Atmosphäre überstand Shefex Temperaturen von über 2500 Grad Celsius und sendete Messdaten von über 300 Sensoren zum Boden. "Mit dem Flug von Shefex II sind wir wieder einen Schritt weiter auf dem Weg, ein Raumfahrzeug zu entwickeln, das einfach gebaut ist wie eine Raumkapsel, aber Steuerungs- und Flugmöglichkeiten hat wie zum Beispiel das Space Shuttle - nur deutlich billiger", sagt Projektleiter Hendrik Weihs.
Wissen für den Wiedereintritt in die Atmosphäre
Bereits seit zehn Jahren entwickelt das DLR mit dem Shefex-Programm eine Technologie, mit der ein Flugkörper nach einem Flug ins Weltall wieder unbeschadet in die Atmosphäre eintreten und landen kann. Eckig und kantig ist der Flugkörper Shefex - seine Struktur besteht aus ebenen Flächen, die einfacher und somit kostengünstiger als die üblichen abgerundeten Formen hergestellt werden können. Auch aerodynamisch sind die scharfen Kanten vorteilhaft. Um die hohen Temperaturen zu beherrschen, die beim Eintritt in die Atmosphäre an diesen Ecken entstehen, entwickelten und testeten die DLR-Wissenschaftler verschiedene Hitzeschutzsysteme.
Mit dem Raumfahrzeug Shefex I, das am 27. Oktober 2005 startete, wurden erstmals Daten während eines realen Flugs gesammelt. Damals trat der Flugkörper mit siebenfacher Schallgeschwindigkeit in die Atmosphäre ein, der Flug durch die Atmosphäre dauerte 20 Sekunden. Shefex II hingegen flog bereits mit 11000 Kilometern in der Stunde und somit elffacher Schallgeschwindigkeit durch die Atmosphäre. Dabei erreichte der Flugkörper eine Höhe von etwa 180 Kilometern.
Projekt von sechs DLR-Instituten
Die fliegende Experimentplattform Shefex ist eine Gemeinschaftsarbeit von sechs DLR-Instituten: Das Institut für Aerodynamik und Strömungstechnik führte unter anderem zahlreiche Windkanalversuche durch, berechnete das Strömungsfeld beim Wiedereintritt und stattet den Flugkörper mit Sensoren für die Messung von Temperatur, Druck und Wärmebelastung aus. Das Institut für Bauweisen- und Konstruktionsforschung fertigte den Flugkörper an und entwarf und produzierte unter anderem die keramischen Thermalschutzsysteme. Bei einem dieser Hitzeschutzsysteme strömt während des Wiedereintritts Stickstoff durch eine poröse Kachel und kühlt so den Flugkörper. Das Institut für Flugsystemtechnik testete so genannte Canards, das sind Steuerflächen, mit denen die Lage von Shefex II aktiv gesteuert werden kann. Das Institut für Werkstoffforschung stellte unter anderem keramische Kacheln her, das Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme entwickelte eine Navigationsplattform zur Lagebestimmung des Raumfahrzeugs während des Flugs. Die Mobile Raketenbasis Moraba des DLR steuerte unter anderem das zweistufige Trägersystem hinzu, steuerte die Rakete und empfing die Daten, die Shefex während des Flugs sendete.
Auf dem Weg zum Raumgleiter
Zurzeit sind ein Bergungsschiff sowie ein Flugzeug auf dem Weg zur Landestelle, um den Flugkörper zu bergen. Gelingt dies, erhalten die Wissenschaftler weitere Daten. "Der Flug von Shefex II ist wieder ein Schritt hin zu einem Raumflugkörper, der höhere Temperaturen übersteht bei größerer Geschwindigkeit und längerer Dauer", sagt Projektleiter Hendrik Weihs. Über 300 Sensoren erfassten während des Flugs unter anderem Temperatur und Druck. Diese Daten empfingen die Forscher noch während des Flugs. "Wir haben eine Flut an Daten, die auch noch in den nächsten Jahren verwendet werden können." 2016 könnte Shefex III starten, der deutlich schneller fliegen, einem Raumgleiter ähneln und 15 Minuten in der Atmosphäre bleiben soll. Ziel der Forschung ist es, mit diesen Daten dann einen Flugkörper zu entwickeln, der nach seinem Start über Tage hinweg Experimente in der Schwerelosigkeit ermöglicht und anschließend unbeschädigt wieder auf dem Boden landen soll.
Unter dieser Rubrik wird die Saturn-Galerie hiermit eröffnet und beinhaltet Aufnahmen welche leider in den Medien untergehen.
Data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft indicate that the venerable deep-space explorer has encountered a region in space where the intensity of charged particles from beyond our solar system has markedly increased. Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion – that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system.
"The laws of physics say that someday Voyager will become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, but we still do not know exactly when that someday will be," said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "The latest data indicate that we are clearly in a new region where things are changing more quickly. It is very exciting. We are approaching the solar system's frontier."
The data making the 16-hour-38 minute, 11.1-billion-mile (17.8-billion-kilometer), journey from Voyager 1 to antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network on Earth detail the number of charged particles measured by the two High Energy telescopes aboard the 34-year-old spacecraft. These energetic particles were generated when stars in our cosmic neighborhood went supernova.
"From January 2009 to January 2012, there had been a gradual increase of about 25 percent in the amount of galactic cosmic rays Voyager was encountering," said Stone. "More recently, we have seen very rapid escalation in that part of the energy spectrum. Beginning on May 7, the cosmic ray hits have increased five percent in a week and nine percent in a month."
This marked increase is one of a triad of data sets which need to make significant swings of the needle to indicate a new era in space exploration. The second important measure from the spacecraft's two telescopes is the intensity of energetic particles generated inside the heliosphere, the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself. While there has been a slow decline in the measurements of these energetic particles, they have not dropped off precipitously, which could be expected when Voyager breaks through the solar boundary.
The final data set that Voyager scientists believe will reveal a major change is the measurement in the direction of the magnetic field lines surrounding the spacecraft. While Voyager is still within the heliosphere, these field lines run east-west. When it passes into interstellar space, the team expects Voyager will find that the magnetic field lines orient in a more north-south direction. Such analysis will take weeks, and the Voyager team is currently crunching the numbers of its latest data set.
"When the Voyagers launched in 1977, the space age was all of 20 years old," said Stone. "Many of us on the team dreamed of reaching interstellar space, but we really had no way of knowing how long a journey it would be -- or if these two vehicles that we invested so much time and energy in would operate long enough to reach it.”
Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 are in good health. Voyager 2 is more than 9.1 billion miles (14.7 billion kilometers) away from the sun. Both are operating as part of the Voyager Interstellar Mission, an extended mission to explore the solar system outside the neighborhood of the outer planets and beyond. NASA's Voyagers are the two most distant active representatives of humanity and its desire to explore.
The Voyager spacecraft were built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., which continues to operate both. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology. The Voyager missions are a part of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and his two future crewmates passed their final exam in flying the Soyuz this week in Star City outside Moscow.
Preparing for a December launch, Hadfield, American Tom Marshburn and Russian commander Roman Romanenko drew envelopes with simulated malfunctions, and had to work through them.
Hadfield has been tweeting up a storm during the extensive training. He posted this photo after the exam, with the caption: “Final Soyuz exam — facing the commission. On the table are envelopes to choose our malfunctions.”
Hadfield, a former CF-18 pilot, could never pilot a NASA shuttle. That job was for Americans only. But on the Soyuz he will be the flight engineer and co-pilot.
This week’s test was in preparation for another crew’s launch on July 15. Hadfield, Marshburn and Romanenko are backups in case a “prime” crew member is too sick to fly. There will be more testing before the December launch, then six months on the International Space Station. He will be the station commander for the final three months, the first non-Russian and non-American to do so.
Hadfield continues to give the public an unprecedented window into astronaut training. Some recent tweets:
• On good and bad space food: “best: Russian soup, Hawaiian chicken, shrimp cocktail, Cdn maple syrup. Worst: turkey tetrazzini, too dry and lumpy.”
(Historically, shrimp cocktail is the favourite astronaut food. Zero-gravity drives fluid up to the head, giving a clogged-sinus feeling and deadening the sense of taste. Shrimp with horseradish sauce clears this up.)
• To someone who asked whether he trusts Russian space technology: “I’ve been studying it and training on it for 18 years. I helped build Mir. I trust it with my life.”
• To a woman who asked, “Have you ever ‘lost your cookies’?” His answer: “yes, of course. No big deal, just don’t miss the bag. You can get more cookies later.”
• On sleeping in space. A woman asked, “what do you prefer when your sleeping in space, free-floating or tethering yourself to the wall?” He replied: “tethered; you don’t drift into things and wake up.”
• He tweeted that he has been training to use the Canadarm2, the big arm on the space station, “for grabbing and berthing cargo ships like Dragon and Cygnus, plus potentially for moving spacewalkers around if needed.”
• And on May 13, as another crew prepared to fly: “Soyuz rocketship rolled out to launch this morning. Just over 6 months until ours. Incredible.”
Beginning after his 2001 space flight, Hadfield served as NASA’s director of operations in Russia. He co-ordinated and directed astronaut training, oversaw support staffing and negotiated policy changes among the station’s global partners, all while honing his Russian language skills.
Immer wieder liefern die Stereo-Sonden irre schöne Aufnahmen von der Sonne und deren Eruptionen, welche leider in der Informationsflut untergehen. Hier einmal eine kleine Auswahl von den letzten Monaten:
und aktuell von den letzten Stunden:
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter hasn’t enjoyed a whole lot of good press lately, with a slew of budget overruns, technology concerns, and one very public grounding for the Marine Corps’ F-35B variant casting long shadows over the effort to develop America’s new fifth-generation fighter jet. But that hasn’t stopped the press team at Lockheed Martin from casting the F-35 in a more favorable light in these newly released images of the jet’s first night flight.
The F-35A pictured here (that’s the conventional takeoff and landing Air Force variant) reportedly performed well during straight approaches at dusk, and we’re told that the test pilot described the cockpit lighting as the best he’d ever seen. The green exterior night formation lights set against the atmospheric effects of a California sunset make for some pretty good lighting as well.