Sonntag, 17. August 2014 - 18:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Abdocken von Cygnus Raumtransporter an ISS-Raumstation und Re-Entry


Closing out a one-month stay at the International Space Station, a commercial Cygnus supply ship owned and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. departed the huge orbiting complex Friday.
The Cygnus spacecraft just after release from the space station's Canadian-built robot arm Friday. Photo CREDIT: NASA TV
The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to re-enter Earth's atmosphere over the uninhabited South Pacific Ocean on Sunday. The cargo ship is designed to disintegrate and burn up during re-entry, disposing of unneeded items and trash stowed inside by the space station's astronauts.
Under the control of engineers on the ground, the space station's 58-foot-long robotic arm pulled the Cygnus spacecraft away from a berthing port on the outpost's Harmony module at 5:14 a.m. EDT (0914 GMT), then maneuvered the spaceship to a release point about 30 feet below the complex.
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, assisted by NASA FLIGHT engineer Reid Wiseman, took control of the robot arm and commanded it to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 6:40 a.m. EDT (1040 GMT).
Moments later, astronauts inside the space station sent commands for the Cygnus spacecraft to fire thrusters and fly away from the complex. It cleared the space station's "keep out" sphere, an imaginary safety zone around the outpost, a few minutes after separating from the robot arm.
The departure of the Cygnus spacecraft ends the second flight of the expendable Orbital-built freighter to the space station. The mission, known as Orb-2, launched July 13 aboard an Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va.
Loaded with nearly 3,300 pounds of equipment, experiments and food, the spaceship completed a rendezvous with the space station July 16, when it was captured by the robot arm.
The mission is part of a $1.9 billion deal between NASA and Orbital for at least eight cargo deliveries through 2016.
Now filled with trash, the spacecraft will fly a safe distance from the space station before a pair of braking burns to guide it into a re-entry zone between New Zealand and South America.
Re-entry is scheduled for around 9:11 a.m. EDT (1311 GMT) Sunday.
The re-entry is timed to allow the crew on the space station to observe the spacecraft's fiery fall from space.
The crew's observations of Sunday's Cygnus re-entry is an exercise to prepare for the demise of Europe's ATV early next year.
Officials are considering putting the ATV on a trajectory for a "shallow" re-entry when it plunges back to into the atmosphere at the end of its mission.
Instead of lowering the craft's orbit to intersect the Earth's surface, controllers would put the low point of the ATV's orbit in the upper atmosphere, making for a slower warm-up and disintegration of the spacecraft. The shallow re-entry would also SPREAD debris along a longer footprint.
The experiment would help NASA and its PARTNERSprepare for the disposal of the International Space Station at the end of its mission. A controlled re-entry of such a large vehicle -- roughly the size of a football field and weighing nearly a million pounds -- has never been attempted before.
The release and re-entry of Cygnus comes during a busy week for the space station's six-man crew. A European AUTOMATED Transfer Vehicle cargo craft docked to the lab's Russian service module Tuesday, and two Russian cosmonauts are gearing up for a spacewalk Monday.
The spacewalk's agenda includes the deployment of a small Peruvian satellite and the retrieval and installation of science experiments outside the Russian section of the space station.
Quelle: SN
U.S. Commercial Cargo Ship Delivery Mission Ends as Canadarm2 Releases Cygnus
The Cygnus is in the grips of Canadarm2 moments before being released in Feb. 18, 2014 during Expedition 38.
Orbital Sciences Cygnus commercial cargo craft completed a month-long delivery mission to the International Space Station Friday when it was released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 6:40 a.m. EDT. Cygnus is now orbiting on its own, separating from the station and heading for a deorbit and a fiery entry over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.
Expedition 40 Flight Engineers Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman were inside the cupola remotely controlling the 58-foot Canadian robotic arm from the robotics workstation. Gerst, who was backed up by Wiseman, was in charge of releasing the resupply vehicle after ground controllers at Mission Control, Houston remotely maneuvered it into the release position following its unberthing from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.
Filled with trash, Cygnus completed its second commercial resupply mission for NASA. Orbital Sciences launched their spacecraft July 13 atop an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia on a three-day journey to the orbital laboratory. A total of eight missions will be flown by Cygnus to the station through 2016.
Cygnus delivered nearly 3,300 pounds of science, supplies and spacewalking gear when it was captured and berthed to Harmony July 16. Aboard the spacecraft were items such as food, life support equipment, thermal control hardware and photography and video gear.
Experiment hardware was also on the Cygnus manifest ensuring the continuous international research aboard the orbital laboratory.
A flock of nanosatellites was also shipped to the station aboard Cygnus for future release from the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock beginning next week. Individually known as “Dove” satellites, the group will collect continuous Earth imagery documenting natural and man-made conditions of the environment to improve disaster relief and increase agricultural yields.
Hardware upgrades were brought up to the station on the ship for a trio of tiny satellites that float inside the station known as SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). Gear enabling studies for educators, students and private researchers was also delivered for the NanoRacks program in a partnership with NASA under the Space Act Agreement.
The Expedition 40 crewmembers hope to document Cygnus’ reentry Sunday as part of an engineering exercise to study the mechanics of the breakup of a space vehicle. Cygnus is scheduled to deorbit Sunday around 8:30 a.m. EDT.
With the Cygnus private cargo carrier orbiting a safe distance from the station the crew is conducting science and maintenance and focusing its attention on a Russian spacewalk Monday morning.
After completing the robotics work to release Cygnus, European astronaut Alexander Gerst switched gears and spent a couple of hours on plumbing work. He replaced a pre-treat tank and hose in the Tranquility node’s Waste and Hygiene compartment.
Meanwhile, Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman participated in the SPHERES-Zero-Robotics student competition. Middle school students compete to write the best algorithm to maneuver bowling ball-sized internal satellites through various tasks inside the space station.
The station’s cosmonauts had an off-duty day in the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory while still performing some tasks. The trio conducted light housekeeping work, health and science checks and minor preparations for the upcoming spacewalk.
Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev plan to exit the Pirs docking compartment at 10 am Monday to deploy a Peruvian CubeSat, retrieve old experiments and install new ones, among other external tasks.
In the meantime, Skvortsov conducted a hearing assessment. Artemyev checked in with spacewalk specialists on the ground for a tag up. And Flight Engineer Max Suraev photographed the condition of air ducts in the Zvezda service module.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 17.08.2014
Re-Entry beobachtet aus der ISS
Quelle: ESA


Samstag, 16. August 2014 - 12:45 Uhr

Astronomie - Legende des Meteoriten von Novato, Kalifornien am 17. Oktober 2012


End of flight fragmentation of the Nov. 18, 2012, fireball over the San Francisco Bay Area (shown in a horizontally mirrored image to depict the time series from left to right). These photographs were taken from a distance of about 65 km.
Image Credit: Robert P. Moreno Jr., Jim Albers and Peter Jenniskens
A meteorite that fell onto the roof of a house in Novato, California, on Oct. 17, 2012, has revealed a detailed picture of its origin and tumultuous journey through space and Earth's atmosphere. An international consortium of fifty researchers studied the fallen meteorite and published their findings in the August issue of the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.
"Our investigation has revealed a long history that dates to when the moon formed from the Earth after a giant impact," says Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer and consortium study lead working for the SETI Institute, Mountain View, California at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
Jenniskens captured the meteorite's fall in NASA's Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance and quickly calculated the likely fall area over the city of Novato. Novato residents Lisa Webber and Glenn Rivera then remembered hearing something hit their garage roof that night, found the first meteorite, and made it available for study. Often researchers use the location a meteorite was found to name to the rock; this meteorite now is officially known as "Novato" according to the Meteoritical Society.
"We determined that the meteorite likely got its black appearance from massive impact shocks causing a collisional resetting event 4.472 billion years ago, roughly 64-126 million years after the formation of the solar system," says Qing-zhu Yin, professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California (UC), Davis. "We now suspect that the moon-forming impact may have scattered debris all over the inner solar system and hit the parent body of the Novato meteorite."
Yin and collaborators also measured when the meteorites' parent body broke into fragments during another massive collision, about 470 million years ago. This created a debris field in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter from which Novato-like meteorites, which are known as "L6 ordinary chondrites," now are coming to Earth.
Scientists had earlier identified the similarly-aged Gefion asteroid family in the middle of the main asteroid belt as the likely source of Novato-like meteorites. Jenniskens successfully measured the Novato approach orbit and confirmed that Gefion can be the source of these meteorites.
"Novato broke from one of the Gefion family asteroids nine million years ago," said Kees Welten, cosmochemist at UC Berkeley. "But may have been buried in a larger object until about one million years ago," added Kunihiko Nishiizumi, cosmochemist also of UC Berkeley.
After the Novato meteoroid was ejected from the asteroid belt, its path periodically brought it back to the asteroid belt. Scientists at Ames measured the meteorites' thermoluminescence – the light re-emitted when heating of the material and releasing the stored energy of past electromagnetic and ionizing radiation exposure – to determine that Novato may have had another collision less than 100,000 years ago.
"We can tell the rock was heated, but the cause of the heating is unclear," said Derek Sears, a meteoriticist working for the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute in Sonoma, California, at Ames. "It seems that Novato was hit again."
When the Novato meteoroid finally hit Earth's atmosphere, scientists approximate it measured 14 inches (35 centimeters) and weighed 176 pounds (80 kilograms). Robert P. Moreno, Jr., photographed in great detail the meteoroid's final breakup in Earth's atmosphere from Santa Rosa, California.
"These photographs show that this meteorite – now one of the best studied meteorites of its kind – broke in spurts, each time creating a flash of light as it entered Earth's atmosphere," said Jenniskens. "In all, six surviving fragments were recovered."
Researchers were surprised to find that all these impacts did not completely destroy the organic compounds in this meteorite. Qinghao Wu and Richard Zare of Stanford University in California measured a rich array of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds - complex, carbon-rich molecules that are both widespread and abundant throughout the universe.
Daniel Glavin at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, led a team to search the Novato meteorites for amino acids – molecules present in and essential for life on Earth – and detected some unusual non-protein amino acids that are now very rare on Earth but indigenous to the Novato meteorite.
"The quick recovery of the Novato meteorites made these studies possible," says Jenniskens.
The research was supported by the NASA Near Earth Object Observation, Planetary Astronomy and Cosmochemistry programs, and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Quelle: NASA


Samstag, 16. August 2014 - 12:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Asteroiden-Gefahr für die Erde


Study of Asteroid Holds Key To Earth's Future
MOSCOW, August 15 – Scientists have discovered the forces that keep a near-Earth asteroid, 1950 DA, from breaking APART, according to a research published in Nature. The asteroid, considered by NASA a potential threat to the Earth, is a fast-rotating pile of debris that seems to be defying the forces of gravity.
Scientists say that gravity and friction are not able to prevent the asteroid from disintegrating. The debris, making a full rotation every 2.12 hours, is held together by cohesive forces known as Van Der Waals.
“We found that 1950 DA is rotating faster than the breakup limit for its density,” said Ben Rozitis, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as quoted by the INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Times.
The meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013 GENERATED “renewed interest in figuring out how to deal with the potential hazard of an asteroid impact,” Rozitis said. “Understanding what holds these asteroids together can inform strategies to guard against future impacts,” he added.
There are several ways to prevent an asteroid from crashing into the Earth. "The best way to mitigate an impacting asteroid is to nudge it slightly several years before impact so that it changes COURSE," he said, as quoted by However, it might break up into “several smaller, hazardous asteroids,” the scientist warned.
"Therefore, with such an asteroid, you want to avoid interacting with it directly to prevent it breaking up. An alternative is to use a 'gravity TRACTOR,' or a heavy spacecraft placed near the asteroid, which uses the force of gravity to pull the asteroid off course," Rozitis explained.
There is a slim chance that the asteroid will hit the Earth in 2880, according to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program. However, if it does crash into the planet, the consequences could be disastrous. For instance, if the asteroid crashes into the ocean, the impact could GENERATE a tsunami at least 200 feet high, said citing a 2003 study.

To explain asteroid composition, scientists invoke nuts

Brazil nut effect may be behind space rocks’ lumpy surfaces

Brazil nut effect
BRUH-zil nuht ih-fekt n.
The phenomenon in which a mixture’s larger objects, such as Brazil nuts in a can of mixed nuts, rise to the top when the mix is shaken vertically. Some scientists think that smaller nuts SLIP into the spaces under the larger ones during each shake.
Now RESEARCHERS are using the Brazil nut effect to explain mysteries in space. Scientists report August 8 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society that the effect could account for why only big boulders dot the surfaces of asteroids. The RESEARCHERS calculate that asteroid-quakes and impacts from smaller space rocks could jostle an asteroid enough to cause larger rocks to rise to the surface.
Quelle: ScienceNews

UT Research Uncovers Forces that Hold Gravity-Defying Near-Earth Asteroid Together

Researchers at UT have made a novel discovery that may potentially protect the world from FUTURE collisions with asteroids.
The team studied near-Earth asteroid 1950 DA and discovered that the body, which rotates so quickly it defies gravity, is held together by cohesive forces, called van der Waals, never before detected on an asteroid.
The findings, published in this week’s edition of the science journal Nature, have potential implications for defending our planet from a massive asteroid impact.
Previous research has shown that asteroids are loose piles of rubble held together by gravity and friction. However, the UT team found that 1950 DA is SPINNING so quickly that it defies these forces. Ben Rozitis, a postdoctoral researcher; Eric MacLennan, a doctoral candidate; and Joshua Emery, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, wanted to know what keeps the body from breaking APART.
Looking at thermal images and orbital drift to calculate thermal inertia and bulk density, the team detected the action of cohesive forces in an environment with little gravity.
“We found that 1950 DA is rotating faster than the breakup limit for its density,” said Rozitis. “So if just gravity were holding this rubble pile together, as is generally assumed, it would fly apart. Therefore, interparticle cohesive forces must be holding it together.”
In fact, the rotation is so fast that at its equator, 1950 DA effectively experiences negative gravity. If an astronaut were to attempt to stand on this surface, he or she would fly off into space unless he or she were somehow anchored.
The presence of cohesive forces has been predicted in small asteroids, but definitive evidence has never been seen before.
The finding provides important information for efforts aimed at stopping an asteroid from crashing into Earth.
“Following the February 2013 asteroid impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia, there is renewed interest in figuring out how to deal with the potential hazard of an asteroid impact,” said Rozitis. “Understanding what holds these asteroids together can inform strategies to guard against future impacts.”
This research reveals some potential techniques, such as a kinetic impactor which would deploy a massive object on a collision course with the asteroid, could exacerbate the impact’s effects. For example, this technique could destabilize the cohesive forces keeping the asteroid together, causing it to break apart into several threatening asteroids headed for Earth.
This may be what occurred with the asteroid P/2013 R3, which was caught by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2013 and 2014 coming undone, possibly due to a collision with a meteor.
“With such tenuous cohesive forces holding one of these asteroids together, a very small impulse may result in a complete disruption,” said Rozitis.
The researchers’ findings also have implications for space exploration. For example, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s surface and may find a dusty surface dominated by such cohesive forces.
Quelle: University of Tennessee

Near-Earth asteroid held together by weak force

Discovery suggests better ways to deflect an incoming space rock.

Cohesive forces help hold together 'rubble-pile' asteroids when forces strong enough to overwhelm gravity are applied — shown here in a COMPUTER simulation.
One of the most infamous near-Earth asteroids is held together by forces other than just gravity and friction. RESEARCHERS have found that asteroid (29075) 1950 DA is a loose blob of particles that clot together much as Moon dust collects on astronauts’ spacesuits.
Any mission to divert an asteroid on a collision course with Earth would need to take these newfound cohesive forces into account, suggest the findings, published in Nature1 on 14 August. This means that gently nudging an asteroid onto a new trajectory is potentially a safer option than blasting it to smithereens, Armageddon-style.
“You’d want to avoid interacting with the asteroid directly,” says Ben Rozitis, a planetary scientist at the UNIVERSITY of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a co-author of the study.
RESEARCHERS have suspected that undetected cohesive forces help to hold some asteroids together — especially ‘rubble-pile’ asteroids, which are agglomerations of dirt and rock2. Some of these rotate slowly enough for the gravitational attraction between the particles to hold them together. But for faster-spinning asteroids, centrifugal forces would overwhelm the gravitational pull and rip the rocks APART.
The fast-spinning 1950 DA will pass close by Earth in the year 2880. At one point, the odds of its hitting Earth were estimated to be as high as 1 in 300 (ref. 3), but more recent observations have lowered that risk to 1 in 4,000 (ref. 4).
Using information about how sunlight nudges the rock through space, along with measurements of its shape and the thermal properties of its surface, Rozitis and his team calculated its density. The rock turned out to be surprisingly lightweight, at just 1.7 times the density of WATER. That implied that the 1.3-kilometre-wide rock contains a lot of empty space, making it one of the rubble-pile group, Rozitis says.
If 1950 DA is a rubble-pile asteroid, then something more than gravitational attraction must be holding it together as it spins around. Calculations suggest it could SPIN no faster than about once every 2.2 hours if it were held together by gravity alone, but the asteroid goes faster than that, once every 2.1 hours. The researchers calculated that cohesive forces, exerting no more pressure than a coin resting in the palm of a hand, must be at work.
Understanding such forces could be important for NASA’s plan to drag an asteroid into lunar orbit to study it, or for commercial companies that claim they plan to mine asteroids, says Daniel Scheeres, an aerospace ENGINEER at the UNIVERSITY of Colorado Boulder.
The forces would also be important if an asteroid were discovered to be heading towards Earth. One leading strategy to deflect it is a ‘gravity tractor’, a spacecraft that would fly alongside the asteroid, using its gravitational to pull the rock onto a new trajectory. Such an approach would be preferable to blasting the asteroid APART, says Rozitis, because nobody knows exactly how the cohesion would affect how the fragments blast apart.
“I just hope that an asteroid on a collision course with Earth will not be SPINNING rapidly and it will not be a rubble-pile asteroid,” says Bong Wie, an aerospace engineer at Iowa State University in Ames.
Quelle: nature

Tags: Astronomie 


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 22:36 Uhr

Astronomie - Trüben komplexe organische Moleküle innerhalb und in der Nähe von Staubwolken das Licht?


For almost a century, astronomers have wondered why light from distant stars reaches Earth with swatches of color missing. These “diffuse interstellar bands” (DIBs for short) block radiation across ranges of wavelengths fuzzier than, and typically different from, the single-wavelength “absorption lines” caused by light-intercepting atoms and molecules in space. Astronomers have identified at least 400 of them in the visible and infrared bands of wavelengths alone. Bewilderingly, whatever is absorbing the light does it more strongly in some directions than in others. Now, astronomers may have solved the mystery. Focusing on a DIB centered on the near-infrared wavelength of 862 nanometers, the team analyzed light from almost 500,000 stars within 9800 light-years of Earth, combining the light from neighboring stars when necessary to get a bright enough signal to analyze. Mapping the data in 3D, the team found that the light-blocking strength of whatever created this DIB generally matched known concentrations of interstellar dust, they report today in Science. The dust itself doesn’t directly absorb light within this particular band, the researchers believe. Instead, they suggest, the culprits are probably free-floating complex organic molecules within and near dust clouds (such as the famed Horsehead Nebula, shown, which lies about 1500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Orion). The new findings may guide other teams studying DIBs centered about other wavelengths.
Quelle: AAAS


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 20:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Supermond bei wechselhafter Witterung am 10.August


Erst war das Wetter stark bewölkt und an eine Beobachtung des Supermondes gar nicht zu denken. Gegen 23 Uhr gab es dann ein kurzes Zeitfenster welche ich nutzte ein paar Aufnahmen vom Supermond zu machen. Fotos: ©-hjkc


Erster Blick auf Supermond...

...kurzer wolkenfreier Blick!

...schon kommt Schleierbewölkung auf.



...Supermond im Wolkenfeld



...und dann gibt es endlich einen freien Blick auf den Supermond!

...und schon ist wieder Schleierbewölkung da mit einem Kondensstreifeneffekt am oberen linken Mondrand

...und wenn eine Verwacklung den Mond tanzen lässt.

...weitere Bewölkung schiebt sich vor den Mond


Noch ein letzter Blick auf das Himmelschauspiel bevor der Wolken-Vorhang fällt...

Tags: Astronomie 


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 16:45 Uhr

Astronomie - Diamanten am Himmel (Kugelsternhaufen IC 4499)


Globular Star Cluster IC4499 (NASA/ESA)


This sparkling jewel box of stars is the globular cluster IC 4499.
A globular cluster is a tight glittering collection of thousands of old stars orbiting around a galaxy.
This one is located about 55,000 light years away on the outer HALO of the Milky Way, beyond the galaxy's spiral arms.
The most massive stars appear blue or white - they are usually hotter and burn through their nuclear fuel faster than the smaller yellow or red stars.
The kaleidoscope of colours in this image was thought to be due to the different masses and ages of the individual stars.
This led astronomers in the 1990's to think that IC4499 was a fairly young globular cluster that was obtaining fresh supplies of gas to make new stars.
However, by carefully studying the stars in this new ESA/NASA image taken by the Hubble Space telescope, scientists have concluded that all the stars in this globular cluster were born at about the same time, some 12 billion years ago.
That makes IC4499 roughly the same age as other Milky Way globular clusters.
Quelle: ABC-Science

Tags: Astronomie 


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 14:30 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Unzureichende Informationen in NICAP-Dokument als UFO-Beweis -TEIL 8


September 15, 1960
Ihad briefly mentioned this case in a “Who’s blogging” comment in SUNlite 5-4becauseTedMolczanhad“solved”it. However,Ithinkitwasimportant to elaborate on the case in this issue.
The UFO evidence document describes the case as follows:
A Professor of Engineering, Central University, reported a UFO September 15, 1960. Prof. German Alvarez, in Carrizales, Miranda State, watched a luminous object sweep across the sky for about three minutes, after 7:30 p.m. The UFO accelerated in a curved course. Before disappearing behind mountains, it ap- peared as two objects. 1
This is based on a NICAP report that had on file so it is difficult to determine how accurate the details were. It was not published in their UFO investiga- tor.
What is not mentioned is that it was just one observation of a wide-spread sighting seen across the Caribbean. The Fort Pierce News Tribune carried a minor article on page 3 of their September 16, 1960 issue, which describes a bright fireball seen from Georiga and Florida.2
The January-February 1961 issue of Flying saucer review (FSR) seems to have
recorded the same sighting. However, they appeared to have confused the dates. In one instance they stated it was September 15th and in another they stated it was the 16th. The time given was 8PM local time and the description of the object was:
According to reports the object was round and as large as the full moon and brilliantly luminous. It seemed to be carrying three or four colored lights separated from the main body; it left a slightly luminous trail which vanished immediately. It was completely silent and flew at supersonic speed and at a relatively low altitude over the city of Caracas.3
FSR then added the following commentary:
The newspaper account then surveyed all the possibile the explanations and was obliged to rule out the usual conventionalisations. Its intelligent conclusion that here was a true Unidentified Flying Object and one witnessed by so many independent observers that there was absolutley no room for sceptism.4
It is also interesting to note that the same issue of FSR had a report from the Virgin Islands on the night of the 15th5, which is consistent with the description given in the Venezuelan sighting. FSR added that the Federal Aviation Administration could not identify that object either.
Project Blue Book’s answer
Project Blue Book received many reports from various military bases in Puerto Rico, Georgia and
Florida. Civilian reports (not the particular one found in the UFO evidence document) came from Venezuela, Aruba, and ships at sea.6 Many of the observers in Puerto Rico and Venezuela reported the object moving in a south to north direction. Observers in the United States saw the event in the eastern sky. The USAF concluded it was the break up of the “1960 epsilon vehicle” because it had an inclination of 64 degrees and parts of it reentered in September and October 1960. This appears to be a reference to 1960EPS, which was launched by the Soviet Union on March 15th. Due to an error, it did not re-enter the earth’s atmosphere and it broke up into several pieces. While, the main part reentered in 1965, other pieces came down in September and October of 1960. It seemed logical but none of these pieces came down on that specific date. The correct designation appears to be Discoverer 14 as identified by Ted Molczan.7 It had an inclination of 79.6 degrees and was recorded as burning up on the 16th of September (UTC).
I performed a check of Molczan’s identification using the Two-Line Elements (TLEs) from Johnathan’s space page for the satellite.8 The last set of TLEs appear to have been for at the time of re-entry and did not work properly in Orbitron (the eccentricity of the orbit was “0”) so I used the TLE’s for September 10th. The result shows the following position for Discoverer 14 on the 16th of September at 0045Z (1945 EST and 2015 VET on the 15th):
This position is not precise because it was not the exact TLE for re-entry but it is reasonably close. It demonstrates that the space- craft was passing over this region at the general time in question and in the direction reported by the witnesses.
The times listed in the Blue Book files were between 0006 and 0030Z, which was between 1936 and 2000 Venezuela time (VET = Z - 4.5 hours). The observer in the UFO evidence document was described as having seen the object AFTER 7:30 PM local time. The FSR article gave a time of approximately 8:00 PM Venezuela time. Considering the potential for errors in time noted by the witness, the observations appear to be a reasonable match to the space debris re-entry.
NICAP’s inclusion of this report seems to be a case of not making a connection with all the other reports that night. Either they did not link the sightings to this one or were completely unaware they existed. Failure to follow-up and see the link demon- strated they did not bother to investigate the story. In my opinion, this one is solved as a satellite re-entry. It is not evidence of “manifestations of extraterrestrial life” 9 as the document suggests.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2013

Tags: UFO-Forschung 


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 14:15 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Projekt Blue Book - Teil-9


The 701 Club
Case 6507 September 13, 1959 Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana
Berlinner’s listing states the following:
Sept. 13, 1959; Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana. 4 p.m. Witnesses: at least two control tower operators and the pilot of a Mooney private air- plane. One pear-shaped object, colored white, cream, and metallic, with a trail under it. Object showed little movement during 3 hours. Attempted intercept by USAF T-33 jet trainer failed.1
The blue book record card summarizes the object as such:
Pear shaped obj size of a dime and orange, colors varied fm white, cream, & metallic. Obj had something trailing beneath it. Ghe (sic) general opinion was that the obj moved fm N to SW rising slightly. Obj was seen until dusk, at which time it became indistinguishable.
Blue book also lists the duration of the sighting as lasting over nine hours.
The blue book case file is limited in details but it does provide us with some information:
1. It was first reported by a civilian pilot , who was heading towards La Porte, Indiana from Kokomo. He saw the object north of Bunker Hill AFB.
2. Bunker Hill AFB personnel in the tower saw the object at a bearing of 340 degrees at an angle of between 35-55 degrees.
3. The elevation angle remained the same (slightly increasing) as the object headed towards the southwest. It disappeared at dusk.
4. The object was first seen by base personnel at 1800-1900Z (1300-1400EST).
5. There were observations from off base as early as 1500Z (1000 EST) from Burrows, Kokomo, and Logansport, Indiana.
6. An AT-33 that was airborne was asked to investigate. The pilot flew to 37,000 feet but could not reach the object’s altitude.
Blue Book Investigation
The investigation seems to have been inadequate. It was suspected that the object was a high altitude balloon and Blue Book contacted Lowry AFB to see if they had knowledge of any balloon launches on that date. They did not have any records of bal- loons being launched on the 13th but they did discover that General Mills, in Minnesota, had launched balloons on the 11th and 14th. The investigating officer, Captain Van Dyke, was quoted as stating, “It is my opinion after careful study and analysis that this UFO was a balloon type unknown..”3
With so many clues that this was a high altitude balloon, one would think that the case would have been identified as a probable balloon. According to popular UFO lore, Blue Book rubber stamped just about any UFO case they could with just about any explana- tion. For some reason, they chose not to do so in this case and allowed it the privilege of appearing in the unidentifieds list. The record card simply states:
Possibly Raven ind or Goodyear or other research organization balloon. However, since there is no confirmation this sighting is classified as “unidentified”. 4
Balloon activity
Asearch of the newspaper archive revealed that there was some significant balloon activity in that region of the country during this time period. In addition to the balloon launches on the 11th and 14th of September, there were also several balloons ob- served, tracked, or recovered elsewhere.
1. The September 14th edition of the Ironwood daily globe (Michigan) stated that a large balloon was seen floating over the re- gion for several hours on Sunday (September 13th) afternoon.5
2. The September 15th edition of the Beckley Post Herald (West Virginia) reported that a “new type weather balloon” that was “designed to reach an altitude of 200,000 feet” had landed Sunday night in Lincoln county (Southwestern West Virginia).6 The September 14th edition of the Charleston Daily Mail stated that the search was initiated by the Civil Air Patrol because residents saw it come down that night.7
3. The September 15th edition of the Harlan news-advertiser (Iowa) had a photograph of a helicopter that had landed at the local airport“lastweek”.Itwasoneoftwohelicoptersthatwerepursuingaresearchballoon. Thismayhavebeenaballoonlaunched as part of project ASH CAN from Sioux City, Iowa.8
4. The September 15th edition of the Mansfield News-Journal describes a mass sighting of a UFO on the evening of the 14th. This was identified as a plastic research balloon. This might have been the balloon launched from St. Paul on the 14th or, possibly, the 11th. 9
5. The September 12th edition of the Stevens Point Daily Journal (Steven’s Point Wisconsin) stated a “weather balloon” had been observed north of the city on the 11th of September and that the following morning it was visible southeast of the city. The Wisconsin Rapids paper nearby also would mention the balloon. The manager of the local airport thought the altitude was 8,000 feet but it could have been much higher. Steven’s point was about 200 miles east of St. Paul. This was probably the 11th of September balloon that had been launched from Fleming field.10
There seems to have been balloon activity of some kind that may or may not be related. Both Sioux City and St. Paul launched balloons on the 11th. The stratocat database has no information on what happened to these balloons and I could not easily find any documents mentioning these flights. The Ironwood sighting is intriguing because it was made about the same time as this Bunker Hill AFB sighting. They could not have been the same balloon because they were about 500 miles apart. We have no idea where that balloon came from either.
A potential source is that the balloon seen in Indiana was the one launched on September 11th from Minnesota. The Stevens Point journal had stated that they had a balloon pass over the city on the night of the 11th/12th and it was still airborne southeast of the city the morning of the 12th indicating a southerly trajectory. A little over 300 miles to the southeast of Stevens point was Bunker Hill AFB. In the map above, I put some of the pertinent information from the news paper reports coupled with the Blue Book file reports. It presents a potential scenario that the high altitude balloon seen in Wisconsin on the 11th and 12th was probably the same balloon that caused the sighting in Indiana on the 13th. It then may have descended and high speed winds in the upper troposphere took it to a crash point in West Virginia 300 miles away or it could have shifted eastward and appeared in Ohio the fol- lowing evening. While this does not prove anything, it is suggestive of where the balloon originated.
As noted in the Blue Book record card, one can not call this “solved” without a positive identification. However, one can not really list this as “unidentified”. There is enough information in the file to conclude that it is likely this was a high altitude research bal- loon. I would reclassify this as possibly/probably a research balloon.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2013

Tags: UFO-Forschung 


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 10:30 Uhr

Planet Erde - Können Sie Wissenschaftlern helfen zu identifizieren tausende Bilder von der Erde welche aus dem Weltraum aufgenommen ?


Moscow at night with the moon and Aurora Borealis. (NASA


The photos with this story are identified, but the world's scientists say they need help identifying thousands more to help save energy, improve HEALTH AND SAFETY, and better understand of the atmosphere.
Now available at the NASA WEBSITE The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth are more than 1.3 million PHOTOGRAPHS taken from the International Space Station and nearly 500,000 taken by satellites.The site also has beautiful videos like the Bangkok-to-the-Pacific video below and a link to the live video feed from the space station.
New techniques have allowed scientists to take clear images even with a camera orbiting the Earth, but the location in each PHOTOGRAPH may be a mystery. Scientists know where the station or satellite was when the picture was taken, but maybe not which way the camera was pointed.
With NASA's cooperation, the Complutense UNIVERSITY of Madrid is leading a crowd-sourcing project called Cities at Night to catalog the images. It has three parts: Dark Skies of ISS, Night Cities and Lost at Night. Dark Skies, the simplest of the three, asks citizens to help identify points in the pictures and match them with maps. So far, 20,000 have been identified.
What can identification mean? Colors in night images could allow estimates of light sources and, thus, ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Light pollution and road and public safety lighting can also be studied. 
Quelle: AL


Freitag, 15. August 2014 - 10:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Houstons Space Shuttle Replica Name: Independence


Houston's space shuttle replica christened 'Independence'


Houston's space shuttle mockup is no longer nameless.

The full-size replica is now space shuttle "Independence," its new name symbolizing the spirit of Texas.

Officials with Space Center Houston, the visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center, revealed the name — the winning entry from its recent "Name the Shuttle" statewide contest — during a public christening ceremony Saturday (Oct. 5).

"We received a total of 10,263 [contest] entries from all across Texas, and our elite panel of judges sorted through a widespread collection of possibilities," Richard Allen, the president of Space Center Houston, said. "It was a tough decision, but we ultimately chose a name that celebrates the Lone Star State and highlights its distinct contribution to America's space shuttle program."

The "Name the Shuttle" competition was open to all Texas residents of adult age, from July 4 through Sept. 2 of this year. Entrants were asked to submit names that captured the state's qualities of "optimism and can-do attitude."

"Independence" was unveiled on Saturday printed on the body of the 123-foot-long (37 meters), high-fidelity shuttle replica, which since June 2012 has been exhibited outside at Space Center Houston. The newly-named space shuttle Independence will eventually sit atop NASA's original 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft jumbo jet, as part of a $12 million, six-story attraction currently under development.The mockup, which was called "Explorer" for the 18 years it was on exhibit at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, was stripped of its name before being barged to Houston last year.

Tim Judd of Kingwood, Texas, who was the first to submit "Independence" for the replica's new name, participated in Saturday's unveiling ceremony. Judd, who is 29, will have his own name and hometown incorporated into the exhibit once construction is completed in 2015.

"When I first heard about the 'Name the Shuttle' contest, 'Independence' was the first thought to pop into my mind," Judd said. "This concept is important, not just to the state of Texas, but to all Americans."

"We enjoy freedom every day, striving for a greater sense of independence," Judd added. "It was that exact mindset that brought settlers here in the first place and what drives explorers into space today."

Ferguson in front of space shuttle Independence. (collectSPACE)

This isn't the first time "Independence" has been raised as an appropriate name for a space shuttle.

The name the second highest ranked (after "Constitution") among the 15 suggested for the first shuttles in 1978. An ad hoc committee ranked the list of names based on their "relationship to the heritage of the United States, or to the shuttle's mission of exploration."

Ultimately, the reusable winged orbiters were named after sea vessels that were used in world exploration. The now-


retired space shuttle fleet included Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour. A prototype, originally called Constitution, was renamed Enterprise after fans of the television show "Star Trek" staged a successful letter-writing campaign.

For winning the "Name the Shuttle" contest, Judd received a multi-day trip for four to Houston, including a VIP tour of the visitor center and a "behind-the-scenes experience" at the Johnson Space Center.

The state-of-the-art space shuttle Independence attraction will give guests the unique opportunity to climb aboard the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747 airliner that was used to ferry the orbiters across the country. Visitors will also be able to explore the inside of the space shuttle mockup while it is mounted atop the SCA.


Concept artwork for the space shuttle Independence attraction at Space Center Houston illustrating the plan for exhibits inside the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and orbiter mockup. (SCH)

"The shuttle was a fantastic spacecraft," Chris Ferguson, commander of STS-135, the shuttle's final mission, said. "Visitors from around the world will have the unparalleled opportunity to explore this vehicle through the eyes of an astronaut, creating a truly unique shuttle experience."

"Space Center Houston will be the only place in the world where visitors will be able to see the shuttle 'piggyback' on one of the authentic carrier airplanes," he said. "It is most fitting that this magnificent combination will live its second career as a learning tool, inspiring generations to come."


Update: 15.08.2014


One small step - one big lift: Independence replica lifted atop shuttle carrier aircraft

With the moon looking on in the background, it took 45 minutes for the replica shuttle Independence to be lifted atop the space shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) Thursday morning Aug. 14, 2014 at Space Center Houston in Houston. The SCA and shuttle will be permanent exhibits and at over eight stories tall, both will be open to the public and will offer interactive exhibits for the guest to explore, it will open in 2015.


Residents came out to watch as the replica shuttle INDEPENDENCE is lifted atop the space shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) Thursday morning Aug. 14, 2014 at Space Center Houston in Houston.


A worker lines up the mount and the replica shuttle Independence as it was lifted atop the space shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) Thursday morning Aug. 14, at Space Center Houston in Houston.


Hundreds came out to watch as the replica shuttle Independence was lifted atop the space shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) Thursday morning Aug. 14, 2014 at Space Center Houston in Houston. The SCA and shuttle will be permanent exhibits. At over eight stories tall, both will be open to the public in 2015 and will offer interactive exhibits for the guest to explore.
The world's attention was again focused on Houston Thursday as the space shuttle replica INDEPENDENCE was hoisted by crane to its permanent home atop the NONPROFIT Space Center Houston's historic shuttle carrier aircraft. The free public event "Rise of Independence" marked another chapter in the ongoing story of Space Center Houston's future one-of-a-kind international landmark exhibit.
"This exhibit might be housed at Space Center Houston, but this is YOUR exhibit and YOUR history," Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Chairman of the Board Fred Griffin passionately told the assembled crowd. "Join the mission and help support this future world treasure." The NONPROFIT education foundation needs to raise a final $2.2 million in order to complete the $12 million educational project.
Space Center Houston President and CEO Richard Allen Jr. presided over the opening ceremony preceding the lift where SPEAKERS included NASA Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa, who spoke of her excitement in seeing the legacy of the space shuttle program preserved through this exciting new educational exhibit.
Former astronaut and retired USAF Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot and command a space shuttle, spoke of the educational value of the future exhibits and the importance of developing a STEM-based workforce to succeed in the global economy. These comments were echoed by University of Houston-Clear Lake President Dr. William Staples, who also referenced a 2010 university-conducted study which determined that Space Center Houston provides a $45 million annual ECONOMIC impact to the greater Houston area. This same study determined that the shuttle exhibit alone is expected to increase this impact, both long-term and during construction.
Just before 8 a.m. members of the Bay Area Youth Symphony were joined by Friendswood resident Timothy Judd (who previously won the contest to name the shuttle replica the INDEPENDENCE) to led the crowd in a T-minus-10 countdown to start the massive crane from Mammoet. With the August sun rising in the east, the crowd of several thousand watched in amazement as Independence was lifted gently and placed upon the historic Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft where it ultimately will become a destination for visitors from around the world.
Those wishing to give are invited to join the many generous donors in honoring the remarkable story of the shuttle program and celebrating our nation's space shuttle program by texting "Shuttle747" to 41444 today 
Quelle: Your Houston News



'Space Shuttle' Now Back on Top of a Boeing 747, Permanently



Quelle: Mashable


Shuttle replica hoisted to new home
Tom Durr photographs the space shuttle replica Independence as crews prepare to use a massive crane to lift it onto the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Thursday at Space Center Houston.
Quelle: The Daily News


Tags: Raumfahrt 


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