Marc Boucher: September 2013 Archives

'Balancing' the 1-year mission risks, NASA Johnson Space Center

"If you've ever stumbled out of bed in the middle of the night, fallen out of a yoga pose or had trouble "finding your legs" after hopping off a rollercoaster or a boat, then you know getting your balance can be challenging. This is even truer for astronauts who have just returned from extended spaceflight in microgravity.

Spaceflight causes changes in physiological systems that can affect things like balance, strength, vision and endurance. Although NASA scientists have studied how these changes impact astronaut performance a few days after returning to Earth, a new test promises to provide scientists with data about these changes just moments after crew members exit the spacecraft. This information is increasingly important as NASA moves closer to sending an astronaut to the International Space Station for one year and, eventually, to asteroids and Mars."

First CASIS-Funded Payloads Berthed to the International Space Station, CASIS

"The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization managing research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, congratulates Orbital Sciences on a successful launch of the Antares rocket and on the berthing of the Cygnus cargo vehicle to the International Space Station. Orbital's successful mission also represents a milestone for CASIS: The first-ever CASIS-funded payloads have now arrived at the ISS. Orbital's Cygnus cargo capsule berthed with the station Sunday morning."

SpaceX Launch Update: This Sunday SpaceX will attempt to launch the first Falcon 9 v1.1. While similar to the original Falcon 9, the upgraded version sports the more powerful Merlin 1D engines which have yet to fly, a much longer fuselage, a new larger fairing and a number of other upgrades to the rocket including its software. The launch will be webcast.

The primary payload is the Canadian Space Agency CASSIOPE satellite. Several secondary nanosats will also be launched.

SpaceX is categorizing this launch as a "demonstration flight" with the risk higher than usual for a Falcon 9 launch. However I don't expect them to launch unless they are as certain as they can be of mission success.

UPDATE: SpaceX has successfully launched the Falcon 9 v1.1 on its maiden flight.

- SpaceX Successfully Launches Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket on Maiden Flight [Watch] UPDATED, SpaceRef

Cygnus Rendezvous Complete

Updated Cygnus Rendezvous Date, NASA TV Coverage for Orbital Sciences' Demonstration Mission to International Space Station, NASA

"NASA and its International Space Station partners have approved a Sunday, Sept. 29, target arrival of Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft on its demonstration cargo resupply mission to the space station. NASA Television coverage of the rendezvous will begin at 4:30 a.m. EDT and will continue through the capture and installation of the Cygnus spacecraft."

Update: Cynus completed its rendezvous this morning and was berthed by the stations Canadarm2 at 8:44 am EDT.

- Statements on Berthing of Orbital Cygnus Spacecraft to the International Space Station, NASA

- NASA Partner Orbital Sciences Completes First Flight to Space Station as Astronauts Capture Cygnus Spacecraft, NASA

- Orbital's Cygnus Spacecraft Successfully Berths With The International Space Station, Orbital

- The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Congratulates NASA and Commercial Industry Partners on Successful Berth with the International Space Station, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

New NASA Climate Models

NASA Data Shows Potential 21st Century Temperature, Precipitation Changes [Watch], NASA

"New data visualizations from the NASA Center for Climate Simulation and NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., show how climate models used in the new report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate possible temperature and precipitation pattern changes throughout the 21st century."

Also released today: Climate report by international panel says warming 'extremely likely' man-made, Washington Post

"Scientists can now say with extreme confidence that human activity is the dominant cause of the global warming observed since the 1950s, a new report by an international scientific group said Friday.

Calling man-made warming "extremely likely," the (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used the strongest words yet on the issue as it adopted its assessment on the state of the climate system."

- Key Science Points from the 2013 IPCC Report, NASA Earth Observatory Blog

- Ranking Member Johnson's Statement on the Release of the IPCC Climate Change Report

- Lamar Smith (R-Texas) Statement on IPCC Climate Change Report

Astronauts Practice Launching in NASA's New Orion Spacecraft, NASA

"Astronauts Rick Linnehan and Mike Foreman try out a prototype display and control system inside an Orion spacecraft mockup at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston during the first ascent and abort simulations for the program.

For the first time, NASA astronauts are practicing a launch into space aboard the agency's Orion spacecraft, and provided feedback on the new capsule's cockpit design."

A critical time for commercial launch providers, The Space Review

"For a time last week, it looked like we would be in the midst of an unusually concentrated period of critical launches. In the span of less than a week, four launches of new, nearly new, or returning to flight vehicles were on global launch manifests: the inaugural launch of Japan's Epsilon small launch vehicle, the first launch of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1, the second launch of Orbital Sciences Corporations Antares rocket carrying the first Cygnus cargo spacecraft, and the first Proton launch since a dramatic launch failure in early July.

Launch manifests are subject to change, of course, and that's what happened. While the Epsilon launch went off on schedule, and successfully, on Saturday, Orbital slipped its Antares launch a day, from this Tuesday to Wednesday, while the Falcon and Proton launches have been delayed until at least late this month. Nonetheless, all three upcoming launches remain critical in separate, but often interrelated, ways."

Vesta Atlas Released

Take a Virtual, High-Resolution Tour of Vesta, NASA

"An atlas of the giant asteroid Vesta, created from images taken as NASA's Dawn mission flew around the object (also known as a protoplanet), is now accessible for the public to explore online.

The set of maps was created from mosaics of 10,000 images taken by Dawn's framing camera instrument at a low altitude of about 130 miles (210 kilometers)."



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