Calgary airport’s popular space shuttle has taken off, for good.
The Orbiter, a quarter-scale replica of a NASA spaceship, is on its way to the Coca-Cola Science Center at Columbus State University in Georgia following a 14-year stint at Calgary International Airport. Originally built by NASA for testing purposes, the Orbiter made its way north in 2000 to be part of the Calgary Airport Authority’s SpacePort educational program. It was accompanied by a piece of moon rock, which will remain here.
“It’s been a great asset when educating students,” said Jody Moseley, a spokeswoman for the airport authority.
Over the years, the historical artifact was visited by millions of travellers and schoolchildren.
“It’s a nice piece for families when they come to the airport and we’ve enjoyed sharing that with the public.”
Because of its large and fragile nature, the Orbiter was moved through the airport gradually over the past week before it was finally loaded onto a plane. Moseley said people who realized it was on its last journey snapped photos and tweeted about it.
“I think a lot of people were taking the opportunity to say goodbye to it,” she said.
The Orbiter departed for Columbus on Friday.
Quelle: The Calgary Herald
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University
One of Mars’s most prominent features is a volcanic province known as the Tharsis bulge, a near-circular, 2000-kilometer-wide hump (center, depicted in shades of red and brown) near the planet’s equator that is 10 km high in places. Volcanism there is likely fueled by a plume of hot material welling up from deep within the planet. Problem is, computer simulations and lab studies suggest that such a plume wouldn’t develop where the bulge is now—that is, along the relatively sharp boundary between Mars’s thinner crust of the northern hemisphere and the much thicker crust beneath the southern highlands. Using measurements of the planet’s gravitational field and elevations (ranging from low [blue] to high [white]) taken from orbit, researchers have identified a swath of thicker-than-normal crust that may mark the slow but steady migration of the volcano-fueling hot spot from the planet’s south pole (bottom), they will report in a forthcoming Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. Previous studies have noted a lower-than-normal number of craters along that swath—a hint that volcanism may have smothered ancient pockmarks in that region—but the new findings bolster the notion that the hot spot migrated from where studies suggest it should have formed in the first place. Interestingly, the team notes, the overall pattern of terrain in that region of Mars is similar to that in the western United States, where the higher-than-normal topography of Idaho’s Snake River betrays the presumed path of the hot spot that drove past volcanism, as well as current geothermal activity, in and around Yellowstone National Park.
This series of images was created when Arecibo in Puerto Rico bounced a radar signal off the asteroid 2006 SX 217. The echo of that signal was then received and decoded by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
Asteroids are in the news a lot these days, partially because we’re getting really good at detecting the flying chunks of space rock. But also, we’re pretty good at recording the impact of large meteors that seem to have a “thing” for hitting Russia.
However, as calls for improved detection techniques and asteroid impact mitigation strategies intensify, there’s one particularly worrisome class of asteroid that could hit us, unawares, in our blind spot — from the direction of the sun. But a celestial radar ‘tag team’ is on the case, having bounced radio waves off an asteroid that would have been invisible to optical telescopes.
Although asteroid 2006 SX 217 has a well-known orbit, on April 23, astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico took the opportunity to transmit radar pulses at the object as it made a close approach with Earth. Although Arecibo could transmit the radar, problems with the large dish’s receiver meant that the National Science Foundation's Goldstone radio telescope, located in West Virginia, had to step in to help out.
The space rock, which measures approximately a mile wide, came as close as 3 million miles from Earth (around 10 times the Earth-moon distance), but as it was approaching from the direction of the sun, the sun’s glare would have rendered any observation attempts by optical telescopes futile. The radar campaign, however, managed to resolve fantastic detail in the asteroid’s surface features, highlighting its boulder strewn landscape.
After pinging 2006 SX 217, astronomers noticed that the asteroid was abnormally dark and larger than previous estimates suggested.
“This asteroid is really big and its surface is probably about as black as the toner in a copier,” said Arecibo astronomer Ellen Howell, who led the observation campaign. “It’s also slowly rotating, with one side moving toward Earth and the other away.”
Radar observations are critical in efforts to observe and characterize near-Earth asteroids. The resolution of the bounced radio waves not only provides an unparalleled view of asteroids’ surface features, the technique can be used to study Earth-buzzing asteroids even if we are otherwise blinded by the sun.
Engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., accomplished another first. Using a large overhead crane, they mated two Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, observatories – also called mini-stacks -- at a time, to construct a full four-stack of observatories.
Next, the MMS four-stack will be carefully transported from their Goddard cleanroom to a special vibration facility — housed within the same immense integration and testing facility — where they will be secured to a large shaking table and subjected to vibration tests. These tests help to ensure the structural integrity of the stacked spacecraft prior to shipment to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
The vibration tests determine whether the four MMS spacecraft can withstand the extreme vibration and dynamic loads they will experience inside the fairing of the Atlas V launch vehicle on launch day. It’s during the first moments after lift-off that the spacecraft is exposed to the most stress.
The MMS mission consists of four spacecraft outfitted with identical instruments. The mission will fly through near-Earth space to study how the sun and Earth's magnetic fields connect and disconnect, an explosive process that can accelerate particles through space to nearly the speed of light. This process is called magnetic reconnection and occurs throughout all space.
SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday. The rocket will be carrying six communications satellites for Orbcomm, a New Jersey-based company. (VIDEO STILL/NASA)
APE CANAVERAL --
Another rocket launch is a week away.
SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket next Saturday. The rocket will be carrying six communications satellites for Orbcomm, a New Jersey-based company. The satellites are small, and they provide two-way data messaging services.
The window for next Saturday's launch is between 9:39 a.m. and 10:33 a.m.
A Falcon 9 rocket, which is similar to the one launched two weeks ago, will be blasting off from pad No. 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Just like the previous launch, the Falcon 9 rocket will have launch legs to land the first stage rocket off Brevard County's coast in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX is still trying to gather more information on the last splashdown in the Atlantic. Last week, SpaceX released a grainy video feed of the touchdown in the ocean.
SpaceX tried to clean up the images, but it didn't have much luck. A video has been posted to the company's website hoping the public can help out.
"Try to crowd source -- see if people out there can actually make it look even better because I know there are people out there that are really good at fixing video streams," said Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX.
Musk hopes the rocket legs will allow SpaceX to land the rocket on land at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by the end of the year -- a move that could save the company millions of dollars by making the rocket reusable.
On Friday, SpaceX successfully launched and landed its prototype rocket in Texas.
Update: 22.30 MESZ
SpaceX has postponed this weekend's planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying six commercial satellites for Orbcomm, likely for a couple of weeks.
The company ran into problems while preparing to test-fire a Falcon 9 rocket's main engines, the last major pre-launch milestone.
The so-called static-fire test had been planned Thursday, then was stopped today while the rocket was being fueled.
The launch had been targeted for 9:47 a.m. Saturday, with Sunday as a backup.
"We will keep you posted on when the next launch attempt will take place but it's likely to be later this month," Orbcomm reported on its Web site.
During a conference call on Thursday with investors, Orbcomm CEO Marc Eisenberg said he believed May 26 would be the next potential launch opportunity if the mission was unable to launch this weekend.
That would follow two United Launch Alliance missions coming up soon: the launch of a GPS satellite on a Delta IV rocket planned next Thursday, and of a National Reconnaissance Office satellite on an Atlas V rocket, planned May 22.
When the Falcon 9 is ready, SpaceX will attempt to loft the first six of 17 Orbcomm Generation 2, or OG2, satellites into low Earth orbit.
Quelle: Florida Today
Since the break up of the Soviet Union, the space industries of Russia, Ukraine, and the US have become increasingly integrated and codependent.
NRC’s CT-133 research aircraft exits the hangar for a morning of final prep and fueling for flights later in the day.
A grain of lab-grown stellar dust as imaged by NASA Ames' Scanning Electron Microscope.
Sometimes, to better understand astrophysical phenomena, you can’t beat recreating the extreme space environment in the laboratory. And in the case of the mysterious mechanisms behind stellar dust formation, you sometimes just have to build a special oven to ‘cook up’ the extreme conditions near a dying star.