ISS News: May 2011 Archives

Keith's note: According to the ISS National Lab Management Entity CAN the "anticipated selection announcement" is 31 May 2011. NASA never wanted to go down this path to begin with. As such, it will be interesting to see what team NASA picks and whether the agency will ever truly yield any control of the ISS to an external entity - or allow any creative thinking to enter into the management of the ISS. Given the way that this CAN was formulated, we are probably just going to see more of the same old 20th century mindset that has dominated ISS management since the 1990s.

- ISS National Lab CAN Provides Old, Incomplete Documents, earlier post
- NASA's Slow Motion Reluctance To Truly Open Up The ISS, earlier post
- The Primary Purpose (Today) of the ISS is Operations, Not Science, earlier post
- Using the ISS: Once Again NASA Has Been Left in the Dust, earlier post

Keith's note: Today came and went - as have many unmet milestones set by the ISS NGO folks at NASA.

Stunning Images: ISS Flies Over Earth At Night - Stars Above, Lights Below

"A portion of the International Space Station is visible in these views of a starry sky and Earth's horizon, photographed by an STS-134 crew member while space shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station."

Lights In The Sky

Early Morning Skywatching and Teaching Satellite Concepts to Sherpas

"I got up early today to see the ISS and Endeavour fly over my house. Its always cool to see them flying in formation like this. This morning's viewing was at 4:48 am low in the North, so I was not sure I'd see things due to the brightening sky. As the two vehicles approached from due West I could only make out one fast moving light. But as the viewing geometry improved I was rewarded with two almost equally bright lights moving in clear association with one another - albeit briefly. Then the trees blocked my view. (My graphic is an attempt to draw what I saw.)

While I was waiting there for the flyby I thought back the film "The Right Stuff" where a group of wise aborigines ponders the night sky while sparks fly up from a fire. I wondered what sort of cosmology a modern stone age tribe in Borneo isolated from the rest of the world would think of all these lights in the sky moving in ways our ancestors would never have seen. Imagine what sort of cosmology they might have created to explain such lights."

Note: This video was sent to me by a reader after they read my original article: "Here's what you may have seen this morning - the Shuttle Endeavour leads the ISS, at about 4:50am (EDT) this morning. This handheld video was taken with my Canon S5-IS, with a maximum 12X optical zoom. It may not be "broadcast quality" but is presented as a tribute to the last flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour.- Michael Kowalchuk Ferdinand, IN"

Students Win Conrad Foundation Innovation Award And Send Nutrition Bar on Endeavour's Last Flight (Update)

"Update: Photos of several STS-134 astronauts eating a STEM bar aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour have been released."

Amazing Wide Angle Photo Taken Outside of the Space Station

According to @Astro_Ron: "On today's spacewalk @Astro_Taz took the most amazing #ISS px ever Can't wait to see @Astro_Paolo 's from Soyuz"

Keith's note: More photos have been added. I wonder why they never tried to take shots like this before!

Subcommittee Democrats Seek Assurance of Reliable and Timely Commercial Cargo Capability for the International Space Station, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Democrats

"In 2006, NASA laid out a two-phase plan to ensure that vital equipment and supplies could be delivered to the ISS after the retirement of the space shuttle. In phase one, companies would be required to develop and demonstrate the capability to safely deliver cargo to the ISS. In phase two, when confident that commercial cargo sources were available, NASA would sign long-term CRS contracts with commercial cargo providers. However, NASA signed long-term resupply contracts with SpaceX and Orbital before either company had successfully demonstrated a commercial cargo flight. Furthermore, in 2010, NASA canceled the Constellation Program, which would have served as a contingency backup in case commercial cargo services were delayed or failed. Commercial providers are now fully responsible for the critical task of resupplying the ISS when the Space Shuttle retires in July."

Critical Questions Remain on the Viability of Commercial Cargo Efforts to Support the Space Station, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

"In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) noted that Congress has generally been supportive of NASA's commercial cargo efforts. However, he said that "Too often, requests for information have been met with a veil of secrecy and claims of company proprietary information." Subsequently, Palazzo said, "I want to remind NASA and the commercial partners that you are spending taxpayer money, and lots of it. So you will not be exempt from oversight and financial scrutiny."

NASA Sets News Conference With Shuttle And Space Station Crews

"The nine crew members aboard space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station will hold a news conference starting at 5:42 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 26. Reporters may ask questions in person from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Kennedy Space Center in Florida and agency headquarters in Washington."

Keith's note: Less than 24 hours notice about this crew presser (how many weeks have they known about this?) and at 5:42 am EDT? That's 4:42 am in Houston and 2:42 am on the west coast. I guess there is not a lot of interest in having U.S. media participate - or be awake when doing so ... and then NASA complains when things like this don't get adequate (or quality) media coverage? Gee, I wonder why.

Keith's note: To be fair the crew is more or less working overnight U.S. time. But the ISS crew is not - you can see it in the daily schedules. And the ISS/Shuttle complex is rather large i.e.

Expedition 27 Crew And Capsule Land Safely In Kazakhstan

"Expedition 27 Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli safely landed their Soyuz spacecraft on the Kazakhstan steppe Monday, wrapping up a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station. The trio landed at 10:27 p.m. (8:27 a.m. on May 24 local time) at a site southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan. Kondratyev, the Soyuz commander, was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 5:35 p.m. EDT from the station's Rassvet module. Once the Soyuz was 600 feet away, Nespoli took the first still images and video of a space shuttle docked to the station. The orbiting laboratory had to rotate 130 degrees to provide an ideal view for the historic imagery."

Johnsville Centrifuge Gondola Returns Home To New Museum

i>"May 5, 2011 was a historic day for Bucks County as the original gondola of the Johnsville Centrifuge that was used for training America's early space heroes returned to Warminster. It had spent the last 47 years at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Suitland, Maryland. All of America's pioneering astronauts, including Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong trained at the Johnsville Centrifuge prior to their historic space missions."

Image: Sunset Over Western South America As Seen From Orbit

"Sunset over western South America is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 27 crew member on the International Space Station. Crew members onboard the space station see, on average, sixteen sunrises and sunsets during a 24-hour orbital period. Each changeover between day and night on the ground is marked by the terminator, or line separating the sunlit side of Earth from the side in darkness. While the terminator is conceptualized as a hard boundary - and is frequently presented as such in graphics and visualizations - in reality the boundary between light and dark is diffuse due to scattering of light by Earth's atmosphere."

NASA Proposed Rule: Cross-Waiver of Liability Clauses

"NASA proposes to revise the NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) to consolidate and make changes to three currently-existing cross-waiver of liability clauses. The changes include consolidation of the three clauses into two clauses and retitleing the two clauses to more closely align the clauses with current mission programs including International Space Station (ISS) activities, and Science or Space Exploration activities unrelated to the ISS. The existing Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) clause will be broadened to apply to contracts and subcontracts related to a launch of any kind other than one involving the International Space Station. The International Space Station (ISS) activities cross-waiver of liability clause is revised and its applicably broadened to include Space Shuttle activities related to the ISS. Accordingly, the Space Shuttle services clause will be deleted in its entirety with all Space Shuttle activity falling under one of the two remaining clauses."


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This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from May 2011.

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