""The seven member crew of Endeavour returned to Earth today, landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Mission managers waived landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning, the shuttle's primary landing site. Thunderstorms and strong winds prevented Endeavour from attempting either of the two opportunities for Kennedy, and the shuttle was diverted to Edwards.""
ISS News: November 2008 Archives
"We all know by now that STS-126 astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper let go of a tool bag the other day during an EVA in space. A piece of hardware misbehaved, Heide had to deal with that and 19 other things - while item 20 was not getting her full attention and the bag drifted off. Something like this happens to people everyday at work or at home. In Heide's case millions of people were watching on TV and her tools were a bit pricey. Of course, the media had a blast with this since everyone knows that astronauts are perfect and everything that NASA uses costs a zillion dollars an ounce. ...
... imagine if NASA really put some thought into how the STS-125 mission was portrayed to the public - in advance and in real time. This could become as much a blue collar, Joe Six pack hit as it will be a lovefest for all of us space geeks. Wouldn't it be cool, from the perspective of Joe and his pals, to know that they use some of the same tools that astronauts use - and that they can connect with many of the chores being performed in space. You do not need a PhD to do a lot of this EVA stuff."
Editor's note: My business partner Marc just got a phone call from a concerned woman named "Elizabeth" in Minnesota.
She said that she was "providing us with a news tip" that the "astronaut tool bag was just found on a golf course in Minnesota."
And guess what - it is now for sale on eBay! Hurry folks and get your bids in - this is a one of kind item and is sure to get snapped up by an eager collector. And there are some of the original contents inside as well - such as a "Sarah Palin button", a cellphone (for text messaging), lipstick, and "some space type tool" (the lube gun is missing). There's not even an single scorch mark from its blistering reentry into Earth's atmosphere! As the seller notes: "Own A Piece of NASA History See What Fell From Space". Who cares if it is against the laws of physics, bid now!
Editor's update: So far 16 Einsteins have placed bids for this supposed item. I sent in a fraud alert several hours ago as did others. Seems that eBay is a little slow in that department today.
Editor's update: eBay finally pulled this hoax offline. Here is a screen grab of what it looked like.
Editor's update: Oh wait, now it is back - some loon (My guess it is our friend "Elizabeth") has posted it again. I am not going to link to it. Another fraud complaint for eBay.
Video: Life-saving water A NASA engineer shows how Engineers Without Borders builds water purification systems in developing nations (Video), CNN
Editor's note: CNN has a series hosted by Miles O'Brien titled "Green Warriors" which features the volunteer efforts of JSC personnel via Engineers Without Borders - USAJohnson Space Center Chapter. Their work includes providing clean water and other resources to Third World residents. Although this activity is done outside of their normal work hours, it is too bad that NASA PAO cannot seem to be able to feature their efforts - especially when attention-gathering movie stars like Ashton Kutcher make ignorant comments on national TV that suggest that NASA is not concerned or making contributions.
"Of all the home-improvement gear delivered to the space station by Endeavour, the water recycling system has drawn the most attention. NASA sees it as the future in deep-space exploration - and also to future life on the home planet. "This technology of how to reuse our things and be careful with them is really applicable to life on planet Earth," Fincke said. Converting urine into drinking water for space station astronauts is not all that different from what happens at water treatment plants on Earth - at a much smaller scale."
"The technology has benefited from nearly three decades of NASA research aimed at sustaining astronauts in places with even less green space than a typical U.S. city."
Earth to Ashton Kutcher: In Answer to Your Question ..., earlier post
Dude, Where's My Space Program?, earlier post
"Nations around the world will join together to mark a milestone in space exploration this week, celebrating the 10th birthday of a unique research laboratory, the International Space Station. Now the largest spacecraft ever built, the orbital assembly of the space station began with the launch from Kazakhstan of its first bus-sized component, Zarya, on Nov. 20, 1998. The launch began an international construction project of unprecedented complexity and sophistication."
"Ten years ago today the first module of the International Space Station arrived in orbit nearly 200 miles above Earth. Since that day it has been an global effort with the cooperation of Russian, European, Japanese and other space agencies in constructing the station."
Editor's note: Be certain to visit this link and check out the ISS assembly animation.
Nasa loses spider on International Space Station, Times Online
"Astronauts were hunting for a missing party guest as they prepared to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the International Space Station. One of two spiders sent to the orbiting laboratory aboard the space shuttle Endeavour last week was added to the lost property list after the crew checked its tank and found it empty. Anxious to quash fears that the absent arachnid may be marauding around the space station, Nasa managers insisted that the second orb-weaver was not exactly lost, it just couldn't be found. "We don't believe that it's escaped the overall payload enclosure," assured Kirk Shireman, Nasa's deputy space station programme manager."
Monster Mutant Spider at KSC (Video), earlier post
New video: Spiders in Space (below)
Editor's note: According to this recent ISS image a mini-Gort - as last seen in the 1951 SciFi flick "The Day The Earth Stood Still" - has mysteriously appeared aboard the ISS. You can see it in this image as well.
By some curious coincidence, a remake of this SciFi classic premieres back on Earth on 12 December.
Coincidence? Savvy product placement? Advance invasion bot? Burning Man 2.0 prototype? Stay tuned.
"STS-126/Endeavour docked smoothly at the ISS PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter-2) port at 5:01pm EST, four minutes ahead of timeline, in darkness (orbital sunset ~4:34pm/sunrise ~5:09pm)."
STS-126 Arrives at the International Space Station
"The station and shuttle crews will open the hatches between their vehicles and greet each other in about two hours. Sandra Magnus, who arrived aboard Endeavour, will swap Soyuz seatliners with station astronaut Greg Chamitoff and replace him as Expedition 18 Flight Engineer."
Check shuttlestation on Twitter for updates.
Reader note: About 3 years ago we started to look at jettisoning the Early Ammonia Servicer from the ISS. After a long, hard fight we got the go-ahead to do it, and we jettisoned it back in July 2007. It looks like it's going to be reentering the atmosphere Sunday night - we expect most, but not all, of it to burn up on entry. Here's the latest data:
The predicted reentry of EAS has moved up another four hours. Reentry now expected Sunday afternoon, US time. Confidence of prediction time and location still remains low.
1. U.S. Satellite Number / International Designator / Common Name / Satellite Type / Owner: 31928/1998-067BA/ISS DEB (EAS)/DEBRIS/ ISS
2. Date of launch : 20 NOV 1998
3. Orbit number / Direction of travel at predicted reentry time / Predicted reentry date and time in GMT : REV 7450/ASCENDING /02 NOV 2040Z
4. Latitude and longitude of predicted reentry : 44.2 DEG N 25.8 DEG E
5. Uncertainty in predicted reentry time : DECAY WINDOW IS PLUS OR MINUS 01 DAY(S).
6. Orbital inclination : INCLINATION 051.6 DEGREES.
7. Time of next report : NEXT REPORT 1 DAYS BEFORE DECAY.