Sonntag, 13. April 2014 - 19:45 Uhr

Astronomie - Namibia ausgewählt für Standort von Southern Observatory - Major Gamma Ray Telescope



Report card. Researchers have begun rating potential sites for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (artist’s conception, above), which will have observatories in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Namibia Gets Top Grade as Base for Major Gamma Ray Telescope
A patch of bushy land in southern Namibia has been singled out as the best candidate to host a major part of the world’s largest gamma ray telescope. Scientists meeting in Warsaw last week ranked the Namibian site as the best of five options for the southern array of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), which will be comprised of two observatories, one on each side of the equator. Meanwhile, four sites competing for the CTA’s northern array all earned equal ratings.
Cosmic gamma rays are believed to be produced by violent astrophysical events such as supernovas. They can't be observed directly from Earth because they are blocked by the atmosphere, but Cherenkov telescopes spot them by detecting the flash of light caused by their collision with atoms in the upper atmosphere.
The CTA, expected to cost $270 million and be fully operational in 2019, would be 10 times as powerful as current Cherenkov instruments. It will focus on resolving two mysteries: the origins of cosmic rays, and the nature of the dark matter that physicists believe constitutes 85% of all matter in the universe. The 120-telescope project will have two parts: a southern array with 100 instruments distributed over 10 square kilometers and a northern array with 20 instruments spread over 1 square kilometer. Six nations are bidding to host the arrays, with the United States, Mexico, and Spain competing for the northern site, and Argentina, Chile, and Namibia for the southern.
In Warsaw, scientists representing the 27-country CTA Consortium met to analyze and rank nine candidate sites. The group considered a wide range of issues, including data on weather, magnetic fields, and accessibility. The goal was “to quantify the sites [based] on their scientific potential and on … site risks or costs,” says Rene Ong, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of the U.S. site-bid team.
For the southern observatory, Namibia’s Aar site received the highest score. It sits on a privately owned farm more than 1600 meters above sea level in southern Namibia, some 120 kilometers west of the city of Luderitz. Namibia already hosts the world’s largest Cherenkov telescope array, known as the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.).
A site in Chile and the H.E.S.S. site in Namibia finished second. Two sites in Argentina (El Leoncito and San Antonio de los Cobres) were third and fourth, respectively.
For the northern array, Spain’s Teide site was considered the front-runner prior to the meeting. But all four candidates, including two sites in Arizona and one at Mexico’s San Pedro Mártir observatory, ended up with equal scores.
Mexico’s candidate, however, may have to be eliminated. Temperature data suggest it gets too cold on some nights for CTA instruments, but scientists are now evaluating whether the instruments might be able to withstand colder temperatures.
The Warsaw meeting isn’t the last word on the issue. The rankings will be forwarded to a 15-nation funding panel that will make the final siting choice. A decision is expected by the end of December, with final approval for the project expected by the end of 2014. First science could start in 2017, with a goal of having the CTA fully operational 2 years later.
Quelle: AAAS
Update: 13.04.2014

Gamma-ray Astronomy: Site negotiations for Cherenkov Telescope Array started

On the 10th April 2014, the 12 country delegates mandated by their governments to decide about the start of site negotiations for CTA met in Munich. They took note of the report of the international Site Selection Committee (SSC) and thanked the members of the SSC as well as the CTA consortium for their extensive inputs on the merits of the proposed sites.. The delegates representing Argentina, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Namibia, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK decided, based on the 75% majority required, to start the negotiations on the two sites in the southern hemisphere, namely Aar in Namibia and ESO* in Chile, keeping Leoncito in Argentina as a third option. After negotiations finally one site will be selected at the end of the year. With the selection of the potential telescope sites in the southern hemisphere an important step towards the realization of the international Cherenkov Telescope Array has been made.


As far as the northern site of the CTA Observatory is concerned – candidate sites are located in Mexico, Spain and the USA - further considerations are necessary. Therefore, the delegates decided to postpone their decision and to ask the CTA board of agency representatives – the Resource Board - to take this forward.The decision for the negotiations about the northern hemisphere site will be taken as soon as possible.
“We are very happy that this important step has been reached” said B. Vierkorn-Rudolph, chair of the CTA Resource Board. “CTA will be a unique large-scale infrastructure for astronomy - with this decision we now can start the negotiations with the potential site countries in the southern hemisphere and advance the implementation of CTA”. The spokesperson of the CTA Consortium, Professor Werner Hofmann said “The site choice is on the critical path towards implementing CTA; this decision represents a major step forward and we appreciate very much the engagement and support of the funding agencies and the country delegates involved in the decision”.
CTA – the Cherenkov Telescope Array – is a multinational, world-wide project to construct a unique instrument exploring the cosmos at the highest photon energies. Over 1000 scientists and engineers from 5 continents, 28 countries and over 170 research institutes participate in the CTA project. CTA will provide an order-of-magnitude jump in sensitivity over current instruments, providing novel insights into some of the most extreme processes in the Universe. CTA will consist of over 100 Cherenkov telescopes of 23-m, 12-m and 4-m dish size located at one site in the southern and a smaller site in the northern hemisphere. Potential candidate sites have been identified in the northern and southern hemisphere. Extensive studies of the environmental conditions, simulations of the science performance and assessments of costs of construction were conducted. The Site Selection Committee, composed of international experts in the evaluation of sites for astronomical observatories, has reviewed the studies and provided an independent assessment of the various candidate sites.

Quelle: APPEC


Sonntag, 13. April 2014 - 19:22 Uhr

Raumfahrt - White Sands testete Satelliten-Paket während der Zeit des Kalten Krieges Wettlauf ins All


WSPG/Navy The first Vanguard fails during the December 1957 launch


As the U.S. Navy struggled to build and launch what they hoped would be Earth's first artificial satellite, White Sands Proving Ground was testing the instruments the satellite would carry.

"A tiny needle in the sky with a thread 126 miles long today put man's first stitch in outer space," The Associated Press reported in 1957, in a story the Alamogordo Daily News published on April 11. "An Aerobee-Hi rocket bearing the instruments such as will be used in the earth satellite soared far over the New Mexico desert probing the fringes of space to pave the way for Project Vanguard."

The package was an aluminum "container about the size of a gallon can" that carried instrumentation to return data, via a radio transmitter, on upper atmospheric temperature, pressure and cosmic rays.

Winds delayed the launch at WSPG for a week, but when finally aloft the instrument package worked well, a follow-up AP story, dated April 12, stated. The only negative seemed to be "some disappointment expressed that the Aerobee hadn't gone higher"; a 1956 launch "with a similar payload (had) reached 164 miles."

The Navy also announced they intended to launch an Aerobee, with similar instrumentation, on April 16, the AP reported.

The U.S. began developing Project Vanguard in 1955. Launch was planned for 1957, early in the International Geophysical Year. Success, however, was initially elusive, and the Soviet Union was soon besting the U.S. in the Cold War-era space race. The Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, in October 1957; Sputnik 2 went up in November, carrying a canine.

"Well, we lost that race," Astounding Science Fiction Editor John Campbell declared in a January 1958 editorial. "Russian technology achieved an important milestone in human history – one that the United States tried for, talked about a lot, and didn't make. Various commentators have tried to gloss over the facts, ranging from efforts to demean the high accomplishment that Russians achieved, to pooh-poohing the importance of getting there first."

The embarrassed Navy quickly "fast-tracked" Vanguard, the website stated. The first launch in December 1957 was a "fiery" failure and "severely shook the morale of the American public." The booster rose six inches and exploded. While the satellite was blown off a distance, it did continue transmitting its beeps, NASA said.

What "eased" Vanguard's "national embarrassment" was Explorer 1, stated "Rockets of the World: A Modeler's Guide" (Peter Alway, 1993). Launched Feb. 1, 1958, Explorer was the work of Dr. Wernher von Braun, who had developed the German V-2 weapon, and then immigrated to the U.S. after World War II; Dr. James van Allen, whose radiation detection experiments were conducted post World War II at WSPG; and Dr. William Pickering, who headed the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"This put von Braun in the race — not with the Russians — but with our second satellite team, the Vanguard group," Erik Bergaust documented in "Wernher Von Braun" (National Space Institute, 1976). "Competition raged" so fiercely between America's Army, Navy, and Air Force, that "comical subterfuge" sometimes resulted, according to "Space: The Next Twenty-Five Years" (John Wiley & Sons, 1987). There were rumors "scientists actually hid a satellite in a closet so that government inspectors wouldn't detect that they were doing unauthorized work that was supposed to be done by the Air Force."

Not long after, the Navy did successfully launch a Vanguard. Nevertheless, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev continued to ridicule America by pointing out the first Sputnik was the size of a beach ball, and the first successful Vanguard was grapefruit-sized. However, while the Vanguard payload weighed only 3.25 pounds, one of its two tracking transmitters, which was solar powered, did continue to operate until May 1964.

The Soviets not only were conquering the U.S. politically and technologically, but educationally as well. In 1957, "the Russians had about 1,500,000 in all the various (scientific) disciplines," Bergaust said. "The comparable United States figure for mid-1957 was 1,300,000. The Russians were ahead in terms of total scientific and technical manpower."

What also "frightened" the U.S. was "the manifest rocket power displayed by the Soviet launchings," according to "On The Seas And In The Skies: A History of the U.S. Navy's Air Power" (Hawthorn Books, 1970). "Only a stupendous blast-off could have shot the Sputniks into outer space. Such a blast-off more than substantiated Soviet claims that Russia had developed an ICBM that could take the Atlantic in its stride and hit any continent anywhere, with an atomic warhead."

While there were more Vanguard failures than successes, before the program ended in 1959 the successes returned data on Earth-reflected sunlight and magnetic fields; took solar X-rays; and recorded the effects of micrometeoroids.

The argument could be made that the U.S. actually launched satellites a dozen days after Sputnik I when, on Oct. 16, 1957, "artificial meteors" were part of an Aerobee payload, Wayne Mattson and Martyn Tagg wrote in "We Develop Missiles, Not Air!" (ACC/USAF Cultural Resources Publication No. 2, June 1955). The "meteors were released by a special explosive charge at an altitude of 48 miles." Some of them actually orbited "the sun and eventually burned up when they got closer to the sun."

Those "meteors" were ball bearings.


Quelle:Alamogordo News


Sonntag, 13. April 2014 - 09:57 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Cassini-Team sucht Namen für Saturn Ring-Mission


A false-color image of Saturn showing heat coming from the planet's interior (red). Picture taken by Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer. Credit: NASA/JPL/ASI/University of Arizona


Cassini team seeks name for ring-gazing mission

Sen—After more than a decade of sending back spectacular visions of Saturn to Earth, managers of the Cassini spacecraft have a new plan for their plucky machine: to send it on a series of swoops that will bring it in between the planet and its rings.

This next phase of the mission will start in 2016, and to drum up excitement for it, NASA is inviting the public to submit their idea for what to call the mission.

A spokesman for the agency said: "Because the spacecraft will be very close to Saturn, the team has been calling this phase 'the proximal orbits'.

"But they think someone out there can conjure up a cooler name. Here's where you come in: you can choose your faves from a list already assembled, or you can submit your own ideas (up to three)."

Ideas on the list include a few references to "tours" such as "Farewell Tour" and "Goodbye Tour" — sadly, there's no "Magical Mystery Tour" yet. Other possibilities could be "Close Shave", "The Plunge" and in true NASA fashion, an acronym pronounced "sassy" (which would be Solstice and Saturn In Situ Exploration, or SASIE.)

While the pictures returned from the close shaves by the ring will surely be spectacular, the Cassini team also has several scientific reasons to do the mission. One is that it will be examining Saturn's magnetic fields and gravity, looking at things such as the "irksome mystery" of how fast the interior of the gas giant is rotating, NASA said.

As for the rings themselves, getting an up-close view will give scientists a better sense of their composition and how much stuff is inside of them, which could reveal more information about how they came to be in the first place.

Cassini's final act will then be a suicide plunge into Saturn's atmosphere so that it doesn't accidentally contaminate the moons Enceladus and Titan  — two moons that are considered strong candidates for life.

"It’s inspiring, adventurous and romantic – a fitting end to this thrilling story of discovery," NASA said.

This past week, Cassini made the closest pass to the moon Titan that it plans to do for the rest of the mission. Whilst passing by the foggy moon, the spacecraft examined its upper atmosphere.

Cassini will end its historic mission with 22 breathtaking loops passing through the gap between Saturn and its innermost ring.Cassini will end its historic mission with 22 breathtaking loops passing through the gap between Saturn and its innermost ring.


Quelle: NASA


Samstag, 12. April 2014 - 18:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von SpaceX-3 Dragon zur ISS am 14.April - UPDATE



Technicians attach the Dragon capsule to a Falcon 9 rocket at the SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., during preparations for the SpaceX 1 mission.


The Dragon spacecraft stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where teams had just installed the spacecraft's solar array fairings on Jan. 12, 2013.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Kim Shiflett
The SpaceX mission to ferry cargo to the International Space Station is to launch Sunday, March 16 at 4:41 a.m. eastern time from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Quelle: SpaceX
Update: 10.02.2014
SpaceX on pace for mid-March launch to space station
Juggling flight delays and busy skies with the skill of seasoned air traffic controllers, International Space Station managers have approved the launch date for SpaceX's next cargo resupply mission for March 16.
Liftoff from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad is set for 4:41 a.m. EST (0841 GMT), the time when Earth's rotation brings the space station's flight path over the Space Coast, NASA announced last week.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo carrier will make the company's third commercial logistics delivery to the space station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The deal calls for 12 missions through 2016.
The Dragon spacecraft will chase the space station for two days, with final approach set for March 18 under the guidance of high-tech laser mapping sensors.
The outpost's crew, scheduled to be three-strong at the time of the Dragon capsule's arrival, will grapple the free-flying spacecraft with the space station's Canadian-built robot arm. The crane-like appendage will move the food- and experiment-toting Dragon to a parking port on the lab's Harmony module for a one-month stay.
The astronauts will unpack the Dragon spacecraft's pressurized cabin, about the size of a large walk-in closet, of several tons of supplies, including government, commercial and student experiments. Then the crew will reload the spaceship with an array of cargo tagged for return to Earth, including biological samples, equipment requiring repair, and other unnecessary gear.
The robotic removal of a pair of payloads stowed inside the Dragon spacecraft's unpressurized trunk is also on tap during the vehicle's visit. A laser communications terminal developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be mounted to a payload platform on the space station's main truss, and a package of four commercial high-definition video cameras will begin filming from an attach point on the European Columbus module.
Dragon's departure from the space station is tentatively set for April 17, with splashdown several hours later in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Southern California.
Officials delayed the flight from a previous target launch date of Feb. 22, and poor weather prevented the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage from being delivered to Florida in time to be ready for a launch attempt in early March, according to a senior NASA space station official.
The Falcon 9's first and second stages, along with the Dragon spacecraft, are now at Cape Canaveral for launch processing, a SpaceX spokesperson said.
NASA expects a busy traffic pattern around the space station over the next few weeks, with the departure of an Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus resupply craft Feb. 18 after more than five weeks attached to the complex.
The Cygnus spacecraft will fall to Earth and dispose of trash and excess equipment with a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.
Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, joined by NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, will leave the space station March 11 and return to a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan, wrapping up 168 days in space.
Next on the manifest is the SpaceX cargo mission, followed by the March 25 launch and docking of three fresh crew members - Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev.
Later in the spring, a Russian Progress cargo freighter will blast off to the space station April 9, another Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft will deliver goods in early May, and another crew rotation is set for later in May.
Space station schedulers like to book time between the comings and goings of visiting vehicles to reduce the workload on the flight crew and ground teams.
Update: 26.02.2014
OPALS experiment for SpaceX 3
July 11, 2013 -- The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science, or OPALS, experiment has been unpacked in a test cell at a Space Station Processing Facility offline laboratory at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The experiment is slated to fly aboard a SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply mission to the space station. The mission is expected to run 90 days after installation on the outside of the station.
Prepping the OPALS SpaceX 3 Payload
July 11, 2013 - At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians uncover and check the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science, or OPALS, experiment in a test cell at a Space Station Processing Facility offline laboratory. The optical technology demonstration experiment arrived from the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. NASA will use the International Space Station to test OPALS’ technology, which could dramatically improve spacecraft communications, enhance commercial missions and strengthen transmission of scientific data.
An optical communications technology demonstration experiment developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., is paving the way to significantly improve the agency’s data rates for communication with future spacecraft by a factor of 10 to 100 over current technologies. 
The nearly 600-pound Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) was sent from JPL on a mounting plate approximately 4 feet by 4.5 feet to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It arrived at the Space Station Processing Facility on July 11. The experiment will be prepared for delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply capsule on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket early next year.
OPALS will be mounted on the exterior of the space station and communicate with a ground station near Wrightwood, Calif., 77 miles from Los Angeles, during its 90-day mission.
“It’s like aiming a laser pointer continuously for two minutes at a dot the diameter of a human hair from 30 feet away while you’re walking,” explained Bogdan Oaida, OPALS systems engineer at JPL.
As OPALS went through its development cycle its uniqueness kept increasing. Among many firsts, Oaida said OPALS will be the first U.S. laser communication terminal on the station and will be one of the first NASA payloads to fly in the unpressurized section of the Dragon capsule.
“OPALS will lay down one of the first building blocks towards making laser communication the method of choice for future downlink of large amounts of data, whether it is from a satellite orbiting the Earth to its ground station, or from a Mars relay satellite back to Earth,” Oaida said.   
Jennifer Wahlberg is the Ground Processing Directorate’s ISS integration lead for utilization payloads like the OPALS experiment at Kennedy.
“The OPALS experiment is an external payload that will be attached to the ISS via the Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Logistics Carrier,” Wahlberg said.
A team of about a dozen NASA and Test Operations Support Contract workers at the SSPF is involved in all phases of OPALS processing, including engineering, logistics, quality and safety support.
During processing, OPALS will be connected to a checkout system called the Payload Rack Checkout Unit (PRCU) and ELC simulator that mimics the interfaces that the payload will be connected to on the station.
“While connected to the PRCU/ELC simulator, the fully assembled OPALS payload will complete an end-to-end interface verification test that includes checks of power quality, commanding and telemetry,” said Robert Kuczajda, an ISS payloads project manager.
His role includes assuring that all Kennedy resources are ready to support OPALS payload processing activities.
“It’s exciting to be involved in the processing of technology demonstration payloads such as OPALS, which make great use of the science capability that only the space station can provide,” Kuczajda said. “We will continue to process many more ISS external payloads in the years ahead.”
Oaida said the benefit to the station will be tremendous, as OPALS is one of the first instruments in a long line of payloads currently in the works to utilize the plentiful resources the orbiting laboratory and platform has to offer.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 1.03.2014

Launch Updates

  • SpaceX-3 to Deliver Nearly 5,000 Pounds of Cargo to ISS

    SpaceX is preparing for the third commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. During the SpaceX-3 mission, the Dragon capsule will deliver 4,969 pounds of cargo to the orbiting laboratory and return 3,578 pounds to Earth.

    Dragon is launching aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff currently is targeted for an instantaneous launch window at 4:41 a.m. EDT on March 16. One additional opportunity is available March 17 at 4:19 a.m.

    Quelle: NASA

    Update: 3.03.2014


    An Unusual First Stage Photo

    paceX CEO Elon Musk released this photo yesterday of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the SpaceX-3 mission to the International Space Station. The unusual feature is the landing legs on the side of the rocket. According to Musk, they are 60 feet in diameter. He said the booster will still land in the ocean, but will attempt what’s known as a soft landing instead of simply plummeting as such stages have done until now. The exception is the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters which parachuted into the water and were recovered for reuse. Musk has said before that his goal is to bring the spent first stage back to land on land so the booster and its 9 engines can be used again. Musk ended his posts saying the company needs to prove precision control of the stage throughout the deceleration from hypersonic to subsonic speeds.
    Quelle: NASA


    Update: 4.03.2014


    Start von zweihundert 437MHz Satelliten

    Launch of two hundred 437MHz satellites

    The largest ever launch of 437 MHz satellites is planned for March 16 at 0841 UT when 200Sprite satellites will be launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission 

    They will be deployed into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. 

    A Sprite is a tiny, 3.5 by 3.5 cm, single-board spacecraft that was developed by Zac Manchester KD2BHC. It has a microcontroller, radio, and solar cells and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors, such as thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.

    The 200 Sprites are carried in a 3U CubeSat called KickSat. They are stacked atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system.

    On reaching orbit KickSat will perform a de-tumble maneuver and establish communication with Cornell University’s ground station. After check-out, the spacecraft will be put in a sun-pointing attitude and spun up to maintain that attitude.

    A command signal from the ground station will then trigger the deployment and the Sprites will be released as free-flying spacecraft. After deployment, telemetry and sensor measurements from the individual Sprites will be received through Cornell’s ground station in Ithaca, NY, as well as several other amateur ground stations around the world.

    Due to the low orbit Sprites will have a short lifetime before they re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. In the best-case scenario the orbital lifetime could be six weeks but realistically it may be considerably shorter depending on atmospheric conditions.

    All Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The transmitter runs 10 mW output of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) modulated binary data with each data bit modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) sequence. The ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D.

    The KickSat CubeSat has downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.

    Quelle: Southgate 

  • Update: 9.03.2014

    Falcon 9 v1.1 conducts Static Fire ahead of CRS-3 mission

    SpaceX have fired up their Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle during a Static Fire (Hot Fire) test on Saturday, allowing for a health check and countdown dress rehearsal ahead of their next flight of their Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). The CRS-3/SpX-3 Dragon is tracking a launch – her first on the upgraded Falcon 9 – on March 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).


    The latest Falcon 9 launch will be the fourth in her upgraded configuration, following three successful satellite launches – one from Vandenberg and two from SLC-40 at the Cape.

    However, unlike her predecessors, this Falcon 9 is sporting four landing legs on her aft, allowing for the latest test objective towards SpaceX’s ultimate goal of a fully reusable rocket system.

    Although a number of tests have already been conducted – mainly involving a restart of the First Stage post-staging, allowing it to practise a controlled re-entry – this will be the first mission where a soft splashdown on deployed legs will be attempted, as recently explained by SpaceX to

    Following staging, the First Stage will bid farewell to the Second Stage and Dragon, prior to rotating its aft and engines into the direction of travel. Once in the correct orientation, three of Falcon 9′s Merlin 1D engines will conduct a supersonic retro propulsion burn.

    Once the First Stage has shut down the three engines, a stable re-entry should then occur. As the Stage begins to drop back to Earth, the center engine will ignite to stabilize the Stage and reduce its velocity.

    About 10 seconds into the landing burn, SpaceX will attempt the unique demonstration of deploying the four legs, as the Stage closes in on the water.

    Recovery of the first stage from the water will be attempted, although SpaceX noted there is a low probability this will be successfully achieved during this test.

    The primary goal of the launch relates lofting the Dragon spacecraft en route to the ISS for her fourth mission to the Station. The spacecraft which will be riding uphill on the beefed up rocket for the first time.

    The SpX-3 flight will carry a full launch and return complement of 1,580kg/3,476lb of payload, an increase from the previous limit of 800kg, afforded by the increased upmass capabilities of the Falcon 9 v1.1.

    For launch, Dragon will carry a record of one GLACIER and two MERLIN freezers for transporting ISS experiment samples.

    The external payload in Dragon’s trunk includes the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) – which will demonstrate high-bandwidth space to ground laser communications, and the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) package consisting of four commercial HD video cameras.

    The CRS-3 mission will also involve the delivery of a replacement Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), allowing for the return of a faulty suit on the same vehicle when it returns to Earth. This spacesuit relay is enabled by a specially built rack inside the Dragon.

    Static Fire:

    Per the primary goals of a Hot Fire test, the effort relates to ensuring that the pad’s fueling systems – and the launch vehicle – function properly in a fully operational environment, with numerous requirements to be successfully proven via such a test, such as the engine ignition and shut down commands, which have to operate as designed, and that the Merlin 1D engines perform properly during start-up.

    Tasks also include a full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown operations, engine ignition operations and testing of the pad’s high volume water deluge system.

    The first opportunity for the Static Fire was scheduled for Friday. However, unacceptable weather in the region delayed the rollout, pushing the test to Saturday. The window for the test was 1pm local through to 5pm local, although it is understood engineers were working issues on the vehicle for at least the first few hours of the window.

    With the test providing a dress rehearsal for the actual launch, controllers would have begun the test with polling to allow for the loading of Falcon 9′s RP-1 propellant with liquid oxygen oxidizer two hours and thirty five minutes before T-0.

    This would have likely been followed with fuel and Thrust Vector Control (TVC) bleeding on the second stage, performed at T-1 hour.

    At T-13 minutes, a final flight readiness poll would have been conducted, which would then be followed by the final hold point at T-11 minutes.

    Per the countdown procedures, the tasks would have entered the terminal count ten minutes before ignition, followed by the launch vehicle being transferred to internal power at four minutes and forty six seconds before T-0.

    The Flight Termination System (FTS), used to destroy the rocket in the event of a problem during an actual launch, would have been armed three minutes and eleven seconds before launch, and seven seconds later oxidizer topping ended.

    Pressurization of the propellant tanks would have followed, and while a Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) – which are no longer required for the Falcon 9 – would have concluded the test at around T-5 seconds, the Static Fire test continued the count through to ignition.

    A short burst of the Merlin ID engines on the core stage of the F9 would have then followed, allowing for validation data to be gained on the health of the vehicle and pad systems.

    SpaceX PAO confirmed to that the Static Fire was classed as successful.

    Detanking operations would then have followed, ahead of its lowering on to the Transporter Erector and rollback to the hanger to begin final processing ahead of launch, which will include the mating of the Dragon spacecraft to the top of the vehicle.

    The Flight Readiness Reviews (FRRs) for the launch vehicle and the spacecraft were concluded last week. A Launch Readiness Review (LRR) – which will include the full results of the Static Fire – will follow in the coming days.

    SpaceX remain on track for the March 16 launch of the Falcon 9 and Dragon duo, with the launch window set to open at 4:41am Local.

    (Images: SpaceX, Spaceport America and L2)

    (Click here: – to view how you can access the best space flight content on the entire internet and directly support’s running costs)

Quelle: NS 
Update: 11.03.2014
Biotube Experiment for SpaceX-3
March 7, 2014 -- In the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, QinetiQ North America Project Manager Carole Miller, left, works with Allison Caron, a QinetiQ mechanical engineer in preparing the Biotube experiment which will be launched to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.
SpaceX-3 BRIC Experiment
March 7, 2014 -- Terry Tullis, a QinetiQ North America mechanical engineer, prepares the Biological Research In Canisters, or BRIC, 18-1 and 18-2 experiments which will be launched to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The work is taking place in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
APEX Experiment for SpaceX-3
 March 7, 2014 -- The Advanced Plant Experiment, or APEX, experiment as it is being prepared by John Carver, a project manager with Jacobs Technology. After preparations are complete in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the experiment will be loaded aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for launch to the International Space Station.
SpaceX-3 to Deliver Nearly 5,000 Pounds of Cargo to ISS
SpaceX is preparing for the third commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. During the SpaceX-3 mission, the Dragon capsule will deliver 4,969 pounds of cargo to the orbiting laboratory and return 3,578 pounds to Earth.
Dragon is launching aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff currently is targeted for an instantaneous launch window at 4:41 a.m. EDT on March 16. One additional opportunity is available March 17 at 4:19 a.m.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 12.03.2014
SpaceX Unveils Gorgeous Rocket Legs for Space Station Launch on March 16

The Falcon 9 rocket with landing legs in SpaceX’s hangar at Cape Canaveral, Fl, preparing to launch Dragon to the space station this Sunday, March 16, at 4:41 a.m. EDT. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX is nearly ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll with their first rocket sporting landing legs and slated to blast off this coming weekend carrying a commercial Dragon cargo freighter bound for the International Space Station (ISS).
Check out the Falcon 9 rockets gorgeous legs unveiled today by SpaceX in an eye popping new photo featured above.
The newly released image shows the private Falcon 9 positioned horizontally inside the Cape Canaveral processing hanger and looking up directly from the bottom of her legs and nine powerful first stage engines.
Following a brief static hotfire test this past weekend of all nine upgraded Merlin 1D engines powering the first stage of SpaceX’s next generation Falcon 9 rocket, the path is clear for Sunday’s (March 16) night time lift off at 4:41 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
This week, engineers working inside the hanger are loading the Dragon vessel with the final cargo items bound for the station that are time sensitive.
Engineers pack Dragon with cargo, including support for more than 150 science investigations on the ISS. Credit: SpaceX
Altogether, this unmanned SpaceX CRS-3 mission will deliver over 5000 pounds of science experiments and essential gear, spare parts, crew provisions, food, clothing and supplies to the six person crews living and working aboard the ISS soaring in low Earth orbit under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
Dragon is carrying research cargo and equipment for over 150 science investigations, including 100 protein crystal experiments that will allow scientists to observe the growth of crystals in zero-G.
Conducted in the absence of gravity, these space experiments will help Earth bound researchers to potentially learn how to grow crystals of much larger sizes compared to here on Earth and afford scientists new insights into designing and developing new drugs and pesticides.
A batch of new student science experiments are also packed aboard and others will be returned at the end of the mission.
The attachment of landing legs to the first stage of SpaceX’s next-generation Falcon 9 rocket counts as a major first step towards the firm’s future goal of building a fully reusable rocket.
For this Falcon 9 flight, the rocket will sprout legs for a controlled soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean guided by SpaceX engineers.
“F9 will continue to land in the ocean until we prove precision control from hypersonic thru subsonic regimes,” says SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk.
It will be left to a future mission to accomplish a successful first stage touchdown by the landing legs on solid ground back at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Much development works remains before a land landing will be attempted.
The Falcon will roll out from the hanger to Launch Pad 40 on Saturday, March 15.
SpaceX is under contract to NASA to deliver 20,000 kg (44,000 pounds) of cargo to the ISS during a dozen Dragon cargo spacecraft flights over the next few years at a cost of about $1.6 Billion.
To date SpaceX has completed two operational cargo resupply missions and a test flight to the station. The last flight dubbed CRS-2 blasted off a year ago on March 1, 2013 atop the initial version of the Falcon 9 rocket.
Following the scheduled March 16 launch and a series of orbit raising and course corrections over the next two days, Dragon will rendezvous and dock at the Earth facing port on the station’s Harmony module on March 18.
The Harmony port was recently vacated by the Orbital Sciences built Cygnus cargo spacecraft to make way for Dragon.
This extra powerful new version of the Falcon 9 dubbed v1.1 is powered by a cluster of nine of SpaceX’s new Merlin 1D engines that are about 50% more powerful compared to the standard Merlin 1C engines. The nine Merlin 1D engines 1.3 million pounds of thrust at sea level rises to 1.5 million pounds as the rocket climbs to orbit.
Therefore the upgraded Falcon 9 can boost a much heavier cargo load to the ISS, low Earth orbit, geostationary orbit and beyond.
Indeed Dragon is loaded with about double the cargo weight carried previously.
The Merlin 1D engines are arrayed in an octaweb layout for improved efficiency.
Quelle: UT
Update: 13.03.2014

Pew! Pew! Pew! Space Station Laser to Beam HD Video to Earth

The slow process of capturing science data is about to go into serious overdrive with a NASA laser communication experiment set to launch to the International Space Station.
The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) — which will be sent up to the space station aboard SpaceX's cargo-carrying Dragon capsule Sunday (March 16) — will test a substantial upgrade to the data streaming process by sending information via laser beam rather than radio wave.
"Optical communications has the potential to be a game-changer," mission manager Matt Abrahamson said in a statement.
Information sent by optical communications, also known as lasercomm, will reach scientists faster than data sent by conventional radio transmission. This is an important step as improving scientific instruments generate measurements in greater detail, but taking up significantly larger memory sizes.
Successful tests of the technology, like OPALS, will help pave the way toward operational optical communications in NASA's planetary and deep space missions, enhancing connections to engineers and scientists as well as to the public.
"Our ability to generate data has greatly outpaced our ability to downlink it," OPALS project systems engineer Bogdan Oaida said.
OPALS could help to change that problem.
The rapid pace of technology means that the scientific instruments utilized on space missions gather larger chunks of data than their predecessors. But the increasingly high-quality information continues to be bottle-necked by the radio frequency transmissions that convey it to Earth.
Many of the existing deep space missions send back 200 to 400 kilobits of information per second. OPALS will send information by laser beam rather than radio wave, demonstrating a speed of up to 50 megabits per second. Future deep space optical communication systems should reach up to one gigabit per second.
"Imagine trying to download a movie at homeover dial-up," Oaida said. "It's essentially the same problem in space, whether we're talking about low-Earth orbit or deep space." 
Upgrading from radio to optical communications will be "like upgrading from dial-up to DSL," Oaida added.
After its launch Sunday, OPALS will be positioned by robotic arm on the station's exterior. Over a period of almost three months, a telescope on the ground will track the instrument and conduct a number of transmission tests.
When a laser from the ground-based telescope hits the uplink beacon on OPALS, the instrument will downlink a modulated laser beam with a formatted video. The tests will study the pointing, accuracy, and tracking of the very tightly focused laser beam. Scientists will also study the characteristics of optical links through the planet's atmosphere, as well as training and educating NASA personnel in the operation of optical communication systems.
The communications system relies primarily on commercial off-the-shelf hardware enclosed in a pressurized container, an approach that allowed for a lower-cost development on an efficient schedule. Scientists beamed images of the Mona Lisa by laser to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2013, making it the first optically transmitted data sent over planetary distances.
The technology was conceived, constructed, and tested at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., by engineers working through the lab's Phaeton early-career-hire program.
Quelle: SC
Quelle: NASA
Quelle: SpaceX
Update: 14.03.2014
SpaceX Start von Cape Canaveral verzögert sich!
SpaceX’s planned Sunday morning launch of cargo to the International Space Station has been delayed at least two weeks, to no earlier than March 30, the company announced this afternoon.SpaceX said the extra time would “ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and allow additional time to resolve remaining open items.”

No specific systems were cited as needing additional work, but both a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule packed with more than 4,000 pounds of ISS cargo were said to be “in good health.”

“Given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch,” said spokeswoman Emily Shanklin. April 2 would be the backup launch date for the company’s third of 12 ISS resupply missions under a $1.6 billion NASA contract.

SpaceX said the new dates were the earliest available launch opportunities on the Air Force’s Eastern Range, and are not yet approved.

With the slip, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V becomes the next vehicle in line to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on March 25 with a National Reconnaissance Office satellite.
Quelle: Florida Today
SpaceX Now Targeting March 30 for Launch
Shortly before 5 p.m. EDT, SpaceX made the following announcement: To ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and allow additional time to resolve remaining open items, SpaceX is now targeting March 30th for the CRS-3 launch, with April 2nd as a back-up. These represent the earliest available launch opportunities given existing schedules, and are currently pending approval with the Range. Both Falcon 9 and Dragon are in good health; given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 19.03.2014

NASA Assessing SpaceX 'Payload Contamination

The third SpaceX commercial cargo mission to the International Space Station has been delayed until no earlier than March 30 because of payload contamination that may require some new parts to be installed.
Originally set for March 16, the Falcon 9 launch was delayed on March 14 to “ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and allow additional time to resolve remaining open items,” according to a NASA update that quoted SpaceX and referred additional questions to the Hawthorne, Calif., commercial-cargo launch service provider.
Sam Scimemi, the ISS director in the Human Exploration and Operations mission directorate at NASA headquarters, elaborated later that day during a panel discussion on the ISS sponsored by the Space Transportation Association.
“We’ve had some issues with payload contamination that we will be addressing,” he said. “We’re going to have to assess that and replace some parts and get the rocket ready for launch again. Our current launch date right now I believe is March 30.”
SpaceX and NASA did not answer questions about the exact source and nature of the contamination on March 17, or about what payloads may be contaminated. A NASA ISS status blog posted on March 13 said the launch would be delayed because of unspecified “contamination found on the beta cloth shields in the SpaceX-3 unpressurized external trunk,” and noted that “[s]pecialists are reviewing options for addressing the contamination on the beta cloth shields.”
Beta cloth is a special fabric typically used in multi-layer insulation for thermal protection in space and to shield orbiting spacecraft against the corrosive effects of atomic oxygen. One of the payloads in the SpaceX Dragon’s unpressurized “trunk” is the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (Opals), a communications testbed developed and built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that is designed to study high-data-rate communications between space and the ground using laser light.
The experiment is mounted on a standard ISS flight releasable attachment mechanism (FRAM), and includes a laser, off-the-shelf avionics and a custom power board in a container pressurized with air at 1 atmosphere. Mounted on the Fram outside the protective container is a gimbaled optical device that includes an uplink camera and a laser collimator to narrow the laser beam on the downlink. Both would be susceptible to contamination.
Also in the unpressurized trunk, and susceptible to contamination, are four off-the-shelf, high-definition cameras that will be mounted outside the station as the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment. HDEV is protected against space temperatures but not the radiation that affects its cameras’ detectors, which will allow engineers to determine which commercial cameras work best in space for live online video streaming.
Quelle: Aviation Week
Update: 22.03.2014.
SpaceX Launch to the International Space Station Reset for March 30

SpaceX has confirmed it will target its next cargo mission launch to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, for 10:50 p.m. EDT, Sunday, March 30.

NASA Television launch coverage begins at 9:45 p.m. for the company's third contracted resupply mission to the orbital laboratory. A post-launch news conference will follow at approximately 90 minutes after liftoff. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is 9:39 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, with NASA TV coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m.

NASA TV also will air a prelaunch news conference at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 29 at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A 2 p.m. briefing on the science and technology cargo being delivered to the space station by SpaceX will follow.

A March 30 launch would result in SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arriving at the station on Wednesday, April 2 at approximately 7 a.m. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and berthing will begin at 5:45 a.m. for a 7 a.m. capture. Coverage of Dragon's installation will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Quelle: NASA


Update: 31.03.2014


USAF radar issue delays SpaceX launch
An issue with a U.S. Air Force tracking radar that has already delayed a spy satellite launch has now forced the postponement of SpaceX's planned Sunday cargo launch to the International Space Station.
SpaceX made the announcement early this afternoon: "Due to a Range asset issue at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX's upcoming ISS launch will be delayed. Check back for updates on a new target date."
USAF Eastern Range officials have remained mum on specifics about Monday's incident. Spaceflight Now's Stephen Clark reports that a fire knocked out a crucial installation near Cape Canaveral, and repairs are taking a while.
The first mission to be affected was the launch of a classified National Reconnaissance Office payload aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. That launch had been scheduled for Tuesday and was postponed twice before the Atlas V was rolled back to its assembly hangar Thursday.
It's not simply a matter of flying as soon as the radar is fixed, either: The Dragon cargo ship's visit has to be fitted in among all the other departures and arrivals at the station. A Russian Progress cargo ship is scheduled to launch and arrive at ISS on April 9, so the Dragon launch could get pushed to mid-April. (A Soyuz carrying three new crew members is set to dock at the station just before 7 p.m. CDT Thursday.)
The Dragon flight had previously been set to take off March 16. The reason then given for that delay was contamination in the Dragon's unpressurized "trunk" that was later determined not to threaten the cargo.
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell gave more details in a recent interview, telling "The Space Show's" David Livingston that the delay also let SpaceX address data issues with ISS mission control in Houston and trajectory issues with the Eastern Range, as well as preparations for attempting a first-ever recovery of the Falcon 9's first stage.
Quelle: Waco Tribune


Update: 5.04.2014


ULA, SpaceX reschedule launches after radar outage

After a two-week delay to wait for the U.S. Air Force to restore a critical radar tracker, United Launch Alliance and SpaceX have rescheduled their next rocket missions from Cape Canaveral for April 10 and April 14.

Officials put the launches on hold after a component on a rocket tracking radar short-circuited March 24, causing it to overheat and knock the radar offline.

Without the radar, the Air Force's Eastern Range was unable to support launch attempts for the ULA Atlas 5 and SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets then set for March 25 and March 30.

The Eastern Range is a network of communications stations, tracking radars and safety assets along Florida's East Coast and stretching into the Atlantic Ocean under the ground tracks of rockets as they fly into orbit.

The range's job is to keep the public and property safe from launching rockets in case the vehicles fly off course.

The radar responsible for the delays is owned by the Air Force but lies on the property of NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

First up on April 10 is the Atlas 5 launch of a top secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government agency which owns and operates imaging and eavesdropping spy satellites.

Liftoff from Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 launch pad is set for a launch window opening at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) and extending 41 minutes.

The April 10 launch will come one week after an Atlas 5 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the military's DMSP F19 weather satellite.

A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for liftoff April 14 from the nearby Complex 40 pad with a Dragon cargo spacecraft heading to the International Space Station.

The automated spaceship will deliver 2.4 tons of equipment to the space station under contract to NASA.

Launch on April 14 is set for 4:58 p.m. EDT (2058 GMT), and the Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the space station April 16.

A spokesperson with the Air Force's 45th Space Wing on Friday said the Eastern Range is expected to be ready to support both launches. He did not say whether the Air Force had repaired the damaged radar or activated a backup system to restore the lost tracking capability.


NASA Coverage Set for SpaceX Mission to Space Station

The next SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Monday, April 14, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft, will lift off at approximately 4:58 p.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:45 p.m. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Friday, April 18 at approximately 3:25 p.m.

The mission, designated SpaceX-3, is the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will be the fourth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft will be filled with almost 5,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies. The Dragon will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module until mid-May and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with more than 3,000 pounds of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.

NASA will host a prelaunch news conference at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 13, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, followed by a SpaceX science and technology cargo news conference at 2 p.m. Both briefings, which are subject to a change in time, will be carried live on NASA TV and the agency's website. A post-launch briefing will be held approximately 90 minutes after launch.

If launch occurs April 14, NASA TV will provide live coverage Wednesday, April 16, of the arrival of the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. Grapple and berthing coverage will begin at 5:45 a.m. with grapple at approximately 7 a.m. Berthing coverage begins at 9:30 a.m.

Quelle: NASA


Update: 10.04.2014 


Veggie Will Expand Fresh Food Production on Space Station


Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plants grow inside in a prototype Veggie flight pillow. The bellows of the hardware have been lowered to better observe the plants. A small temperature and relative humidity data logger is placed between the pillows small white box, centra


A plant growth chamber bound for the International Space Station inside the Dragon capsule on the SpaceX-3 resupply mission may help expand in-orbit food production capabilities in more ways than one, and offer astronauts something they don’t take for granted, fresh food.

NASA’s Veg-01 experiment will be used to study the in-orbit function and performance of a new expandable plant growth facility called Veggie and its plant “pillows.” The investigation will focus on the growth and development of “Outredgeous” lettuce seedlings in the spaceflight environment.
“Veggie will provide a new resource for U.S. astronauts and researchers as we begin to develop the capabilities of growing fresh produce and other large plants on the space station,” said Gioia Massa, NASA payload scientist for Veggie. “Determining food safety is one of our primary goals for this validation test.”
Veggie is a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank that includes red, blue and green LEDs for plant growth and crew observation. Veggie’s unique design is collapsible for transport and storage and expandable up to a foot and a half as plants grow inside it.
“The internal growing area is 11.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep, making it the largest plant growth chamber for space to date,” Massa said.
Orbital Sciences Corp. (ORBITEC) in Madison, Wis., developed Veggie through a Small Business Innovative Research Program. NASA and ORBITEC engineers and collaborators at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida worked to get the unit’s hardware flight-certified for use on the space station.
Because real estate on the station is limited, some adjustments to the growth chamber were made to accommodate space requirements. At Kennedy’s Space Life Sciences Laboratory, a crop of lettuce and radishes was grown in the prototype test unit. Seedlings were placed in the Veggie root-mat pillows, and their growth was monitored for health, size, amount of water used, and the microorganisms that grew on them.
“I am thrilled to be a member of the Veggie and Veg-01 team and proud of all the work we have done to prepare for flight,” Massa said. “Our team is very excited to see the hardware in use on the space station.”
As NASA moves toward long-duration exploration missions, Massa hopes that Veggie will be a resource for crew food growth and consumption. It also could be used by astronauts for recreational gardening activities during long-duration space missions. The system may have implications for improving growth and biomass production on Earth, thus benefiting the average citizen.
For the future, Massa said she is looking forward to seeing all sorts of “neat payloads” in the Veggie unit and expanding its capability as NASA learns more about the food safety of crops grown in microgravity.
A 28-day-old Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plant grows in a prototype v flight pillow. U.S. astronauts living and working aboard the International Space Station are going to receive a newly developed Vegetable Production System Veggie.
Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plants grow inside the bellows of a prototype Veggie flight pillow. It will launch aboard SpaceX's Dragon capsule on NASA's third Commercial Resupply Services mission targeted to launch April 14 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 12.04.2014

SpaceX "go" for Monday launch to ISS

A review today concluded with managers giving a "go" for SpaceX to proceed with a 4:58 p.m. Monday launch of cargo to the International Space Station.

The weather forecast at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station looks pretty good.

There's a 70 percent chance of conditions that would allow a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to blast off from Launch Complex 40, according to Air Force meteorologists.

However, after a nice weekend, an approaching cold front on Monday increases the potential for thick clouds, thunderstorms or electrified anvil clouds near the launch site.

If there's no launch Monday, the next possible attempt would be four days later (Friday, April 18). Forecasted conditions then drop to a 40 percent chance of favorable launch weather.

SpaceX is launching its third ISS resupply mission under a $1.6 billion NASA contract.

Kennedy Space Center will host prelaunch media briefings on Sunday starting at 9 a.m. You can watch them live on NASA TV.


Quelle: Florida Today

Update: 16.00 MESZ
ISS MDM-Ausfall-Problem könnte SpaceX Start verzögern

The often-delayed launch of SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station, set for Monday afternoon, may be delayed yet again after a problem crept up with a computer module on the station.

The Multiplexer-Demultiplexer, or MDM, stopped responding to commands, NASA said in a statement Friday evening. The unit, mounted outside the ISS, backs up the main MDM in robotic-arm operations — such as the one that will be needed to attach the Dragon to the station upon its scheduled arrival Wednesday. From the statement:

The primary MDM operating aboard the space station is functioning normally and there is no immediate impact to space station operations. The computer outage does not pose a risk to the six crew members aboard the space station. ISS teams are assessing next steps to attempt to bring the computer back online or replace it. Replacing the backup MDM, if needed, would require a spacewalk. ... NASA is continuing to work toward a Monday launch of the SpaceX cargo resupply mission pending further evaluations by the ISS Program.

The Dragon was set to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., March 16 atop a Falcon 9 rocket when an alert was raised about possible contaminants in the Dragon's unpressurized exterior cargo space — its so-called "trunk." With that issue cleared, Dragon was go for a March 30 launch, but that was delayed by an electrical fire at a U.S. Air Force radar station needed to track the rocket, leading to the current April 14 date.

The current USAF forecast gives a 70 percent chance that weather will be favorable for launch Monday.

Quelle: Waco Tribune


Backup Computer Glitches On Space Station But Crew Safe, NASA Says

A backup computer that controls “some systems associated with robotics” on the International Space Station is not “responding to commands”, NASA said in a late-night statement Eastern time Friday (April 11).

The crew is safe, there’s no “immediate” change to space station operations, and because the primary computer is working, there’s also no alteration to the SpaceX Dragon launch to the station on Monday – which requires the robotic Canadarm2 for berthing. NASA added, however, that there are “further evaluations” going on, meaning the date could change depending on what controllers figure out.

If the computer does need to be replaced, crew members of Expedition 39 will need to do at least one spacewalk, the agency added. NASA is allowing contingency spacewalks in American spacesuits to go forward as the agency addresses problems raised in a report about a life-threatening spacesuit leak in July.

Below the jump is the statement NASA put out tonight concerning the situation.



A computer "black box" in the International Space Station's solar power truss that provides redundancy for robotic arm operations stopped responding to commands Friday, NASA said in a statement. If the component cannot be coaxed back to normal operation, the planned Monday launch of a SpaceX Dragon supply sh

Tags: 4:41 A.M. SpaceX-3 Launch april 14 


Samstag, 12. April 2014 - 15:55 Uhr

Astronomie - Asteroiden Ceres und Vesta sind im April gut zu sehen


It's not just the red planet Mars which is wowing astronomers this month. The dwarf planet Ceres and the brightest minor planet (4) Vesta lie a mere two degrees apart, just 15 degrees (a fist held at arm's length from knuckle-to-knuckle spans 10 degrees) northeast of Mars (to the upper left from the Northern Hemisphere) among the stars of Virgo.


Both asteroids are at their best this month, coming to opposition (opposite the Sun in the sky) within days of each other, Vesta first on 13 April, followed by Ceres on 15 April. Vesta is the third biggest asteroid behind Ceres and (2) Pallas, with a diameter of 525 km (326 miles). Vesta contains more mass than Pallas though and it's easily the brightest of all the asteroids; it can get as bright as magnitude +5.1 but this month it peaks at a still very respectable +5.8, in theory rendering it visible to the naked eye at the darkest of sites in the best conditions.

It is worth having a go at trying to image it as it will be around 0.7 arcseconds in apparent diameter; ace astrophotographer Damian Peach has succeeded in recording a disc. Visual observers can see it easily in binoculars and its nightly retrograde motion against the background stars can be sketched or imaged easily enough. Its precise position on opposition night is RA 13h 52m 02.4s, Dec +02° 08' 33".

Ceres is the largest object in the Asteroid Belt by far with a diameter of 950 km (590 miles) and accounting for a third of the mass of the belt. It can be as bright as +6.7 but this month it shines at best at magnitude +6.9. Ceres comes to opposition at a distance from the Earth of 1.644 AU (Astronomical Unit; the Earth-Sun distance), or 245.9 million km (152.8 million miles), some 61 million kilometres further away than Vesta, which accounts for it being nearly two magnitudes fainter. Ceres is slightly bigger in apparent diameter at 0.85 arcseconds and is an easy binocular object. Its precise position at opposition is RA 13h 57m 44.9s, Dec +02° 54' 11".

The two remain in tandem in Virgo, four to six degrees northwest of zeta Virginis (magnitude +3.4) through into the summer. From the UK, the pair culminate in April due south around 1:30am BST some 40 degrees above the southern horizon. They can be observed above 20 degrees altitude from about 9:30pm until about 5am, when morning twilight and low altitude starts becoming a problem.

The pair continue to creep ever-closer as the weeks pass, with Vesta reaching its second stationary point on 1 June, followed swiftly by Ceres on 7 June. Their direct, easterly motion through Virgo brings them to a very close conjunction on 5 July, when they will be a mere 10 arcminutes apart, the closest that anyone will ever have observed them before. By this time the pair will be 1.5 degrees south of zeta, Vesta shining at magnitude +6.2 and Ceres +7.4, but still a fine sight in binoculars and telescopes around 11pm as darkness falls.

Quelle: AN


Samstag, 12. April 2014 - 12:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Mars-Chroniken: Schönheit aus dem Chaos


Beautiful streamlined islands and narrow gorges were carved by fast-flowing water pounding through a small, plateau region near the southeastern margin of the vast Vallis Marineris canyon system.

Images captured on 7 December 2013 by ESA’s Mars Express show the central portion of Osuga Valles, which has a total length of 164 km. It is some 170 km south of Eos Chaos, which lies in the far eastern section of Valles Marineris.

Osuga Valles is an outflow channel that emanates from a region of chaotic terrain at the edge of Eos Chaos to the west (top in the main images). Such landscape is dominated by randomly oriented and heavily eroded blocks of terrain. Another example is seen at the bottom of this scene, filling the 2.5 km-deep depression into which Osuga Valles empties.


Osuga Valles lies about 170 km south of Eos Chaos, which is in the far eastern portion of the vast Valles Marineris canyon system. This region was imaged by Mars Express on 7 December 2013 during orbit 12 624. The smaller rectangle above outlines the region highlighted in the associated Mars Express images.


Catastrophic flooding is thought to have created the heavily eroded Osuga Valles and the features within it. Streamlines around the islands in the valley indicate that the direction of flow was towards the northeast (bottom right in the main colour, topographic and 3D images shown here) and sets of parallel, narrow grooves on the floor of the channel suggest that the water was fast flowing.

Differences in elevation within the feature, along with the presence and cross-cutting relationships of channels carved onto the islands, suggest that Osuga Valles experienced several episodes of flooding. The perspective view, which is oriented with the direction of the water flow towards the top of the image, shows the details of the grooved valley floor and the channels carved into the islands more clearly.


Close to the northern-most (far right) part of the channel in the main images, two large irregular-shaped blocks appear to have broken away from the surrounding terrain, but do not seem to have experienced as much erosion as the rounded islands.

The floodwater eventually emptied into the deep depression of chaotic terrain at the bottom of the main images, but it is not yet known whether the water drained away into the subsurface or formed a temporary lake.


Data from the nadir channel and one stereo channel of the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express have been combined to produce this anaglyph 3D image, which can be viewed using stereoscopic glasses with red–green or red–blue filters.

The image was created using data acquired on 7 December 2013 during orbit 12 624. The image resolution is about 17 m per pixel and the image centre is at about 15ºS / 322ºE.


Quelle: ESA

Tags: Mars-Chroniken 


Freitag, 11. April 2014 - 21:56 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Nächster Antares-Start auf Wallops verzögert sich


Next Antares launch from Wallops could be delayed

Orbital Science Corp.'s next cargo mission from Wallops Island to the International Space Station is officially May 6 — but that launch might be postponed a month or more because of a wide range of issues, officials say.

First, a fire at Cape Canaveral in Florida knocked out some of its radar tracking ability, said Orbital spokesman Barron "Barry" Beneski from his Dulles office.

Then, in a sort of domino effect, that radar loss delayed two launches from the Cape, including one by SpaceX, the other company that makes commercial resupply runs to the space station for NASA.

California-based SpaceX is currently set to launch Monday, but must stay at the station for at least 28 days to accommodate various science experiments.
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After that comes a scheduled crew rotation at the station, Beneski said, which will leave the ISS without a full complement in the second half of May.

Finally, while the station is understaffed, it will also encounter something called a "beta solar angle cutout," meaning its orbit orientation won't be "optimally aligned" with the sun, he said, leaving it temporarily under-powered.

"They know this is going to happen," Beneski said. "It's no emergency."

So if SpaceX launches as planned, NASA Wallops says, the next available date for Orbital to launch its Antares rocket and Cygnus space freighter would be sometime after June 9, with a rendezvous and berthing two days later.

If SpaceX doesn't launch, Beneski said, it is possible that Orbital will still launch as planned, while SpaceX would be bumped back.

In the meantime, both Orbital and NASA Wallops Flight Facility say they continue to work toward a May 6 afternoon launch for the Antares, but will change the date as needed.

"So keep your eyes on Florida," said Beneski.

Quelle: Daily Press


Freitag, 11. April 2014 - 18:04 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ISS-Europa-Überflüge im April 2014


Quelle: spacesciencejournal


SPACE STATION TRANSITS THE MOON: Two nights ago, astrophotographers Pete Lawrence and Ian Sharp stood in Sharp's back garden in Ham UK waiting for a spaceship to pass in front of the Moon. When it happened, their eyes barely registered the event. High-speed cameras, however, recorded a beautiful view of the ISS speeding over the Sea of Tranquillity:


"Thanks to Pete Lawrence for alerting me to this," says Sharp, who took the picture using a 5-inch refractor. "Pete made the 5 mile trip to setup here and we both imaged the event separately and successfully."

Quelle: Spaceweather

Tags: ISS-Europa-Überflüge im April 2014 


Freitag, 11. April 2014 - 17:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - UFO-Absturz bei Rendlesham Forest? - Teil-3


Rendlesham’s holy relics and prophets


On December 28th, a special presentation occurred at the Woodbridge community hall, which featured Nick Pope, John Burroughs, Jim Penniston, Larry Warren, Peter Robbins and Linda Moulton Howe. This special “gathering” was a stage for Jim Penniston and John Burroughs to present their latest version of what happened back in 1980 and turn the case in a new direction. What they presented seems to have cast serious doubt on their credibility and has turned the Rendlesham case into a circus with both Burroughs/Penniston playing the role of the clowns jumping out of the small car.
The magic notebook
Since Penniston started officially speaking to interviewers, he has made mention of his notebook, which contained information relating to the events that happened that fateful morning in 1980. When he used the pseudonym of James Archer, the notebook was never mentioned.
Even after it was mentioned, it was not presented for viewing. It was not until the Sci-Fi channel’s 2003 expose’ on the Rendlesham case, where some of the pages were presented for all to see.
Ian Ridpath points out that the pages seen on the program present a puzzling mystery. The page describing the beginning of the incident gives the date of 27 December and the time of 12:20 am. The page showing the end of the event states it was at 2:45 am. This is in complete disagreement with the statements made shortly after the incident by Penniston, Cabansag, Burroughs, Buran, and Chandler.
Those that gave dates and times stated the event started around 0300 on the 26th of December. Even Halt’s memo states the events occurred at 0300. Therefore,
there is something wrong with the notebook. Why is Penniston’s notebook in disagreement with this information?
Even more confusing is what Penniston said was written in the notebook to A.J.S. Rayl of Omni magazine. Triangular in shape. The top portion is producing mainly white light, which encompasses most of the upper section of the craft. A small amount of white light peers out the bottom. At the left side center is a bluish light, and on the other side, red. The lights seem to be molded as part of the exterior of the structure, smooth, slowly fading into the rest of the outside of the structure, gradually molding into the fabric of the craft.
Ridpath points out that the notebook seen in the Sci-Fi channel program (as well as “I know what I saw” and “Britain’s Roswell”) does not contain this statement.
Instead of extensive notes, most of what appeared were scribblings that appeared to have been written in haste. Completely missing is what Penniston states was in the book at the time of the Rayl interview.
To add to this problem, Ian Ridpath states that John Burroughs told him two years ago that Penniston had no time to write into a notebook that night. How was James Penniston able to write in the book under such conditions? Is it possible these notes were written years later after he started telling his story about examining a craft? The notebook itself uses binding rings so the pages can be added and removed with ease.
Another interesting point brought up by Ridpath has to do with a drawing made by Penniston of the craft. This drawing has been circulating for over a decade and was dated either 27 or 29 December 1980. The paper is different from the notebook’s paper. Was this a sketch Penniston made days after the event and why is it significantly different than the one he had made in his original statement?
While Ian makes note that the military time is not used (i.e. 0020), I can understand Penniston using civilian notation especially if it is not an official document. However, Ridpath is correct in that these times and dates are wrong. When he asked Penniston in the Rendlesham forum about the inconsistency in the dates, Penniston told him that the dates and times are correct.
Finally, we have the recent testimony of Colonel Conrad, the base commanding officer. He actually talked to Penniston shortly after the events of that night. Penniston
did not present the notebook. According to Colonel Conrad, the drawings he saw were not of a triangular object and appeared consistent with the sketch made in his statement.
At the December 28th conference, Jim Penniston revealed that he hadreceived a download of information into his brain that night when he touched the craft. It was all ones and zeros according to him and he did not understand it. On the 27th, he chose to write down all of these ones and zeros into his notebook.
Twenty-four hours had elapsed and, amazingly, Penniston was still able to reproduce the information easily in his magic notebook.
For thirty years, Penniston was relatively quiet about this code in the notebook and barely mentions binary code in a 1994 hypnosis session. If he knew back then it was binary, why didn’t he produce the data at that moment? In Leslie Kean’s book, he never mentioned it at all even though he showed some of the pages in his notebook. Instead, he miraculously produces the code on the 30th anniversary of the incident. Was it because he finally figured out how to transfer the message he wanted to say into binary code by using a converter or a simple conversion table of ASCII to binary?
In the Sci-Fi Channel’s “UFO invasion at Rendlesham”, Penniston gives a reasonable showing of the contents of his notebook. Several times, you get to see various pages. Watching the video and looking at all the frames, I counted ten pages (one additional page was partially visible). Sometimes, you can see pages beyond the ones he is showing. Some are blank and some have bits of writing on them. In the film, “I know what I saw”, we saw an additional two more pages that were not shown in the Sci-Fi channel program.
None of these pages or partial pages that were visible showed any strings of binary numbers. I am not sure why Penniston doesn’t make copies of all the pages in his notebook
and then present them as evidence. Instead, he hides the book from public scrutiny as if he wants to add/subtract information from it.
Even more confusing is that there are two different interpretations of the data in these pages. According to the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” program, the code gave longitude and latitude of 52deg 09’ 42.532”N 13deg 13’ 12.69”W2
This is a location west of the country of Island.
The program stated this was where the island of “Hy Brasil” existed. Like Atlantis, it disappeared and the people who lived there were of an advanced race. It is interesting to note that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever of a land mass existing in this location. Hy Brasil is nothing more than a myth but the “Ancient Aliens” crowd tried to sell it as something that existed. Meanwhile, Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles web site says the coordinates read:
52.0942532 deg N 1.3131269W3
According to Howe and Penniston, these coordinates are for downtown Woodbridge.
However, they use EAST longitude when the code is for WEST longitude. The coordinates above are for a location near Banbury, England.
There problems with the interpretation has to do with the problems with the actual binary code. The individual who created it, did not know a decimal point had its own binary value. So, Howe’s interpreters simply put a decimal point where they felt it was necessary. Who is to say it isn’t 5.20942532 deg N or 131.31269 west?
Additionally, in the code as deciphered by Howe’s experts (two scientists that have strong ties to crop circle research meaning they are not unbiased in how they interpret the data), certain strings of numbers are ignored. Every character is represented by a string of eight zeros and ones in a binary code (this is called 8-bit ASCII).
On page one, twenty-one values are neglected (implying these are the 7older 7-bit ASCII values). On page two, three more values are simply dropped. The researchers are simply picking and choosing what they want the message to state.
Howe attempts to explain all of this as an effort to find what numbers and letters actually fit into their desired interpretation. As a result, they are simply picking strings that make sense. That is not that big a deal until you start making significant leaps of logic like inserting the decimal points where they desired and changing a west longitude into an east longitude.
Assuming their interpretation is correct, what does it mean? If you enter the coordinates given by Howe’s experts into Google earth, you arrive at an interesting location.
This message seems to be saying “You are here”. Does this mean this message is promoting Penniston/Burroughs or the town of Woodbridge as humanity’s best/last/only hope? Is Jim Penniston the equivalent of Luke Skywalker or a prophet as suggested by the History channel program? To me the message is nothing more than a promotional gimmick
dreamed up by Penniston and, possibly, a few others. They were not even original in choosing their coordinates. All they did was select the town of Woodbridge on Google Earth and copy the latitude and longitude (and then incorrectly by using west vice east). Why not give the location of the presumed landing site? Maybe it was because Penniston and Burroughs wanted to change it...again.
Switching sites
Back in 2003, for the Sci-Fi channel, James Penniston chose to revise the location of the landing site. The accepted site had been on the eastern edge of the forest but Penniston put it closer to the base such that the lighthouse was invisible from view. This new site convinced Vince Thurkettle that the lighthouse could not have been seen from this location.
However, it completely disagreed with the statements made in 1980 and where Halt had gone to examine the landing site, which Penniston and others had identified on the morning of the 26th.
In 2010, Penniston chose to revise the location again. This time he puts it south of the accepted location on the eastern side of the forest. This still makes it difficult to see the lighthouse, which is important for Penniston and Burroughs and their present story. Both Penniston and Burroughs claimed to have examined the site in daylight (Penniston even made plaster casts of the impressions) back in 1980. Burroughs supposedly was present the second night with Halt when the crash site was examined by his investigative team. One has to wonder why they have to keep changing where the landing site was located and why Colonel Halt’s location is completely different than theirs?
Was Halt’s investigation a different landing site or just a hoax?
The real Rendlesham cover-up
Reviewing the Rendlesham-incident forum, I notice that Fred Buran has spoken up. His opinion about that night was made clear when he wrote a comment
on the page that is titled, “Justice for the 81st security police”. Buran bluntlywrote:
The real justice would be to thoroughly debunk this non-event.
His comments were not very well received by Penniston and Burroughs. Penniston’s comments were most interesting as he indicated that the statements that were supposedly made by him were manufactured by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). This is a new approach by Penniston since his original statements to investigators never mentioned this. However he did state:
John and I decided that we could not tell them everything that had happened. It was too fantastic. Arriving at the Lieutenant’s office we just told him that we had seen some lights in the woods and found impressions on the ground. We felt it best to leave it at that.
In his interview with Rayl, he added that AFOSI did interview him but sometime after he returned from a six day authorized break:
After the debriefing, Airman Burroughs and I were put on authorized break for six days, so we drove home to Ipswich...After that incident (the night Halt went out), however, I was directed to report to OSI [Office of Special Investigations] at 0900 in the morning. I met with a couple of agents, whom I had known because they had an office on the base. They debriefed me for about an hour and a half about the incident. It was an oral debriefing where I basically just told them what had happened, and they seemed quite content with the information that I provided them at the time. They seemed to have no problem with the fact that I had seen a craft. And, of course, there was no evidence,
hard evidence, or so they thought. I did not tell them at this point that I had approached the craft, touched the craft, but I did tell them about the photos I had taken. But all this was, in their minds, I think, another unconfirmed UFO sighting, though the term `UFO’ was not used -- by them or me. I think they felt assured at this point that containment was going to be maintained and that there was not going to be a problem. Damage control was at a minimum, and I think they felt that at that point they had met their objective.
Under hypnosis, Penniston states he was given “truth serum” by agents and that memory had been suppressed somehow. He has now modified this story:
On the morning of the 29th of December, AFOSI building, meeting with two American Agents, more likely Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and/or National Security Agency (NSA), Penniston writes a four page written statement to the agents. He dates it and signs the document.
Agents then give Penniston a typed statement, which is generic, and is limited on details. For example, observation of a metallic craft, and not getting with in 50 yards of it. Penniston is instructed by the Agents that an official investigation is underway, and he is to tell all who asks, the cover story that was provided to him. He reads it several times and then agrees to do so. Penniston, Burroughs, Cabanzak, are debriefed at the Deputy Base Commanders office, Colonel Halt. Statements written and then drawings made. Penniston,
Burroughs and Cabanzak are taken into Wing Commanders Office with Base and Deputy Base Commanders present. The NSA account is briefed to the officers. The Wing Commander, thanks the Security Policemen for the report, and asks no questions. all direct witnesses are briefed to treat all discussion about Rendlesham as Top Secret.7
It is interesting that he states this happened on the 29th but told Rayl they went on a six-day break on the morning of the 26th! Was he asked to come in or is this a case of getting his dates wrong?
Looking at the five statements as a whole, in conjunction with the testimony of Colonel Conrad, we find a story of confusion about lights in the woods but no craft. Buran’s recent statements to Ian Ridpath indicate that Penniston was never told to alter his statement or lie about what happened. It also indicated Buran’s state
ment is an accurate representation of what transpired. His statement in January
1981 confirms the statements of the others. What Penniston is attempting to do is rewrite history in order to cover-up the fact that he has not be accurate when retelling what transpired that night.
If the AFOSI really was interested in tampering with the statements, as Penniston has indicated, it seems they did an awful job of it. Why didn’t they simply make Penniston’s statement agree with Burroughs and Cabansag’s, which stated they chased the lighthouse. The fact that Penniston’s statement does not include the lighthouse chase shows that, even at this early date, Penniston did not want it revealed that he was fooled by the lighthouse.
Lt. Buran’s statement confirms the comments made in Penniston’s. When he suggested it may have been the lighthouse that caused them to go out into the woods, he states Penniston became agitated. All of this indicates that this was Penniston’s actual statement and not something “planted” as part of a cover-up, which is Penniston’s present position.
It is not that difficult to speculate why the details regarding Penniston’s and Burroughs experience seem to have shifted over the last three decades. One can only assume that after stepping into the public eye, they want to avoid the embarrassment of having to reveal what they have told is not exactly truthful or accurate. When their 1980 statements became public knowledge over a decade ago, there has been a lot of damage control trying to explain why they stated what they did. The excuse manufactured by Penniston and Burroughs that they did not tell the whole story to investigators at the time just does not ring true looking at the statements. It is the shifting details that make it appear that Penniston/Burroughs are not being truthful today.
Burroughs and Penniston also claim they want “justice” for the 81st security police at Bentwaters in 1980. They blame the chain of command but give Colonel Halt
htmla pass even though he was part of that chain and should have taken care of it right away. Are they really out for justice for the entire unit, which does not seem to be affected, or just in it for their own personal interests? Penniston complains that he suffers from post traumatic stress from the incident. Burroughs and Larry Warren also claim medical problems associated with the incident. If they were really interested in justice, they should file a lawsuit. I am sure there are hundreds
of lawyers out there that would take up a case if it had actual merit. Failure to take this approach indicates they do not think their case is that good. As a result, they have resorted to stirring up UFO proponents for sympathy since they will believe just about anything they say.
On their facebook page, John Burroughs states the time for debate is over and now it is time for things that matter. When asked questions on the Rendlesham Incident forum, Burroughs simply quotes Albert Einstein/Winston Churchill or criticizes those who question his story. Is John Burroughs going to add psychiatric
problems to his list of ailments he suffered from the Rendlesham event?
Revelations to come???
Penniston has promised to have the notebook tested by experts. Unless it is somebody independent of UFOlogy, I would not consider it adequate. I seriously doubt that Penniston will allow the book to be tested under controlled conditions, where the result may come up negative. A good magician never allows his tricks to be closely studied.
Jim Penniston also states that he has more pages of binary code. Perhaps it will appear on another television program, where it will reveal the longitude and latitude for the base latrine.
The Rendlesham Ruse
Penniston, Warren, Burroughs, Halt, et al, will continue to claim aliens/future beings/whatever were in the woods that night. Like Roswell, they are too far in the quagmire to exit gracefully. Either they admit they have exaggerated/misrepresented what happened or they simply keep fooling themselves and others to save face. They know that they can always claim there is a cover-up (even when there isn’t one) to convince those willing to believe it.
I have read that the incident was called RendleSHAM at one point. In her section in “UFOs that never were” (coauthored with Andy Roberts and David Clarke), Jenny Randles called it RendleSHAME. Others have referred to it as RendleSCAM.
I think the latter name is probably the most appropriate based on the recent actions of the principle witnesses.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2011
When we got within a 50 meter distance. The object was producing red and blue light. The blue light was steady and projecting under the object. It was lighting up the area directly under extending a meter or two out. At this point of positive identification I relayed to CSC, SSgt Coffey. Positive sighting of object...colour of lights and that it was definitely mechanical in nature. This is the closest point that I was near the object at any point. We then proceeded after it. It moved in a zig-zagging manner back through the woods then lost sight of it. - Jim Penniston January 1981 statement
We climbed over the fence and started heading towards the red and blue lights and they just disappeared. Once we reached the farmer’s house we could see a beacon going around so we went towards it. We followed it for about 2 miles before we could see it was coming from a lighthouse. - John Burroughs January 1981 statement
As we entered the forest, the blue and red lights were not visible anymore. Only the beacon light was still blinking. We figured the lights were coming from past the forest, since nothing was visible as we passed through the woody forest. We could see a glowing near the beacon light, but as we got closer we found it to be a lit-up farmhouse. After we had passed through the forest, we thought it had to be an aircraft accident. So did CSC as well. But we ran and walked a good 2 miles past our vehicle, until we got to a vantage point where we could determine that what we were chasing was only a beacon light off in the distance. Our route through the forest and field was a direct one, straight towards the light. - Ed Cabansag January 1981 statement
Penniston relayed that he was close enough to the object to determine that it was definitely a mechanical object. He stated he was within approximately 50 meters....Each time Penniston gave me the indication that he was about to reach the area where the lights were, he would give an extended estimated location. He eventually arrived at a “beacon light”, however, he stated that this was not the light or lights he had originally observed. He was instructed to return. - J. D. Chandler January 1981 statement
I monitored their progress (Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag) as they entered the wooded area. They appeared to get very close to the lights, and at one point SSgt Penniston stated that it was a definite metallic object. Due to the colors they had reported, I alerted them to the fact that they may have been approaching a light aircraft crash scene. ...SSgt Penniston reported getting near the “object” and then all of a sudden said they had gone past it and were looking at a marker beacon that was in the same general direction as the other lights. I asked him, through SSgt Coffey, if he could have been mistaken, to which SSgt Penniston replied that had I seen the other lights I would know the difference. SSgt Penniston seemed agitated at this point. Fred Buran January 1981 statement
...we’re looking at the thing, we’re probably about 2-3 hundred yards away. It looks like an eye winking at you, it’s still moving from side to side and when we put the starscope on it, it’s sorta a hollow centre right, a dark centre,......It’s like the pupil of an eye looking at you, winking . ....and the flash is so bright to the starscope, that err.... it almost burns your eye. - Colonel Halt taped observations as he looked in the direction of the Orford Ness lighthouse on December 28th, 1980
Whilst some puzzles remain, we can probably say that no unearthly craft were seen in Rendlesham Forest. We can also argue with confidence that the main focus of the events was a series of misperceptions of everyday things encountered in less than everyday circumstances.
Rendlesham investigator Jenny Randles
“The UFOs that never were”
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2010



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