ISS News: November 2011 Archives

Ron Garan: "Saying goodbye to our friends and our home on the International Space Station was bittersweet after nearly six months in space. Although Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and I were eager to return to our beautiful Earth, we wanted to savor our last moments as we took a couple of laps around our Fragile Oasis before coming back down. Today, November 21, 2011, we look forward to welcoming our crewmates Mike Fossum, Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa as they come "Down to Earth" after their half year onboard the International Space Station. God Speed & Welcome Home Guys! Thank you Peter Gabriel for allowing your music to accompany all of us. Perfect!"

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Soyuz Lands Safely

Space Station Trio Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

"Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum, Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency landed their Soyuz spacecraft in frigid conditions on the central steppe of Kazakhstan at 8:26 p.m. CST Nov. 21 (8:26 a.m. Kazakhstan time, Nov. 22). The trio arrived at the station on June 9. They spent 167 days in space and 165 days on the complex. Volkov, a two-time station crew member, now has accumulated 366 days in space."

- Sen. Rockefeller (statement)

Witness Panel 1
- Charles Bolden(statement)

Witness Panel 2
- KSC Center Director Robert D. Cabana
- JSC Center Director Michael L. Coats
- MSFC Center Director Robert M. Lightfoot

Photos: Robonaut-2 Gestures In Space

Keith's note: I have seen Robonaut-2 in action and its dexterity is interesting - and rather facile. So ... how could NASA demonstrate this dexterity in new ways, make it a little more "human" or approachable, - and reach a new segment of the populace that is normally overlooked? Program it to use Sign Language. Background: I worked for more than a decade as a professional certified (educational) sign language interpreter. This idea occurred to me when I was looking at this picture and instantly wondered what Robonaut-2 "wanted" or why it was seemingly in the process of saying "here" or maybe "give". Imagine how fast a video of Robonaut-2 saying something in American Sign Language from space would go viral. NASA could have a competition wherein people submit questions for it to answer. NASA already has a signing astronaut and SMD and NLSI already put out books in Braille. Just a thought.

P.S. Maybe he could repeat what that alien signed in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (video). If you watch that scene, the alien that is signing actually moves its hand like Robonaut does. I first saw this film when it came out with my hearing impaired roommates - none of us knew that aliens were going to sign so we all freaked out when one of them did. Of course, it was natural to us that all aliens would know how to sign - since they all already speak English, right?

Group Letter From Former Astronauts To Congress Regarding NASA's Commercial Crew Program

"We understand there are many programs competing for limited NASA funding; however, Commercial Crew funding must be kept as one of the top priorities if America is to retain its position as the world's number one spacefaring nation, ahead of other spaceflight powers like Russia and China. Simply put, Commercial Crew represents the most rapid way for America to get back its human space transportation capability following retirement of the Space Shuttle, and for America to end the "gap" in human spaceflight. The US will be back with its own capability soonest through Commercial Crew. Without Commercial Crew, America will be on the sidelines for years and years. And as long as America lacks a domestic means to access and maintain our $100 billion International Space Station, then we are running a risk that any setback to the Russian space program or a deterioration of US-Russian relations could force us to temporarily or perhaps permanently evacuate the American crew from the ISS."

Group Letter To Congress and the Obama Administration Regarding NASA's Commercial Crew Program

"We, the undersigned space leaders, are strong supporters of human spaceflight. Among us are former NASA astronauts, executives, and advisors, CEOs and directors of firms large and small, space scientists, space journalists, and others. We write today to urge you to expedite plans to use commercial companies to carry crew to the Space Station. This effort is critical to the health of the Nation's human spaceflight efforts. More specifically, we are alarmed by possible congressional budget cuts to the $850M FY2012 budget request for NASA's Commercial Crew program--the fastest paced and surest effort to restore US human access to orbit. We are also alarmed by changes to NASA's planned contracting and oversight methods that threaten to complicate and slow progress toward developing US capabilities to put American astronauts in orbit via the Commercial Crew program."

NASA Still Studying Space-Based Fuel Depots, Aviation Week

"Michael Gazarik, NASA's space technology program director, says that CPST and the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket currently under development are complementary technologies. "To explore deep space we need a heavy-lift vehicle -- SLS -- and we need this technology. We need to be able to demonstrate how to handle cryogenic fluids in space." The CPST project is being led by NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, which was set up by the Obama administration to develop technologies that will be needed regardless of the final exploration architectures the U.S. space community hammers out. The depot-demonstration mission will serve any of them, Gazarik says."

- Update on NASA's Hidden Fuel Depot Studies
- NASA Studies Show Cheaper Alternatives to SLS, earlier post
- Fuel Depots and Congress, earlier post
- In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Demonstration Mission Concept Studies, 2011, NASA GRC, earlier post
- Using Commercial Launchers and Fuel Depots Instead of HLVs, earlier post
- The HLV Cost Information NASA Decided Not To Give To Congress, earlier post

Photo: JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa Backlit Only By Earthshine

"Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, Expedition 29 flight engineer, holds a still camera while looking through a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station Space Station."


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

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