Category Archives: Spaceflight
That’s not a suggestion; it’s an order.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not scientifically accurate, or that asteroid fields don’t really work like that, or that you can’t “swim” through space. None of that matters with something at this level of cool. Enjoy!
Video and music by Professor Soap
It’s a wonderful thing for children to look up to their fathers, but some kids have to look a little further than others — especially when dad is in command of the International Space Station!
Around 6 p.m. EST on February 14, the ISS passed over southern New England, and for a few brief moments the Station was directly above Rhode Island, at 37 miles wide the smallest state in the US. 240 miles up and heading northeast at 17,500 mph, the ISS quickly passed out of sight for anyone watching from the ground, but it was enough time for Heidi and Anthony Ford to get a view of the place where their father Kevin Ford has been living and working since the end of October… and thanks to Brown University’s historic Ladd Observatory and astronomer Robert Horton they got to see the Station up close while talking to their dad on the phone.
So what happened this morning? Oh not much… just watched CAPTAIN KIRK TALK WITH AN ASTRONAUT IN ORBIT, THAT’S ALL!
Yes, it’s true. Today, Feb. 7, William Shatner called in to the Space Station as it flew 240 miles over the southern Atlantic Ocean and chatted for a bit with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who graciously answered Bill’s questions on being an astronaut and the challenges of space flight. A recording of the event is above — check it out! After all, busy starship captains and space station commanders don’t get together very often.
Do you like space exploration? Do you like comics? Then this is for you.
“Voyager” is a webcomic by LA-based artist Jed McGowan about the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Kennedy Space Center on September 5, 1977. Over the next three years it flew by Jupiter and Saturn, taking unprecedented photos of the giant planets and their moons before embarking on its trip out of the Solar System — a journey that it is still undertaking today, over 35 years later. At this time of this writing, Voyager 1 is 18,499,168,000 km from Earth, a distance that takes light over 34 hours to make.
Jed’s wonderful comic has very few words… but really, very few words are needed. Check it out on his blog here.
Today marks the 46th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies to befall NASA and human spaceflight: the fire that broke out in the Apollo 204 (later renamed Apollo 1) command module during a test exercise at Kennedy Space Center in 1967, claiming the lives of primary crew astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.
While it’s certainly not a pleasant thing to think about, the Apollo 1 catastrophe understandably had a major impact on NASA’s Moon mission. Although it sadly resulted in the death of three talented young men in the prime of their careers, it forced engineers to redesign the Apollo spacecraft with better safety in mind which, ultimately, contributed to the success of the program. Without these redesigns, the Moon landings may not have turned out successful just a couple of years later. Despite the horror of the event, Grissom, White and Chaffee’s deaths were not in vain.
Following is an account of the Apollo 1 fire, as told on the NASA history site.
The light is GREEN, all systems are GO… on October 8, 2012, pilot and extreme BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner will perform a record-breaking freefall from a capsule at the staggering altitude of 120,000 feet — that’s over 22 miles (36.5 kilometers) up! On the way down Baumgartner will go supersonic, setting both height and speed records for a human body in freefall.
Sponsored by the popular energy drink, Felix’s Red Bull Stratos mission will not only break the standing record held by his mentor Joe Kittinger, but also provide valuable scientific data to how the body handles such extreme conditions — invaluable to researchers developing next-generation hardware for human space exploration.
Still, data aside, the jump has its inherent dangers and, of course, its thrills… for Felix as well as the millions of people who will be watching the event from the ground.
“AT 120,000 FT, AIR PRESSURE IS NEARLY NONEXISTENT. FOR FELIX THIS MEANS 99% OF THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE IS OUT OF REACH – UNTIL HE JUMPS.”
So here’s a question for you: if you had the support and backing of a dedicated and specialized team like Baumgartner’s, would YOU jump from the edge of space? Answer below or leave a comment — you may be featured in a future article!
Remember… it’s a long, cold ride down, but what a view! (And how else are we to learn how to fight off axe-wielding Romulans on space mining platforms in the future??)
Not sure what you’d do? Check out the video below from his March 15 test jump from “only” 71,500 feet:
Find out more about the Red Bull Stratos mission here.
The space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), is seen shortly after takeoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The SCA, a modified 747 jetliner, is flying Endeavour to Los Angeles where it will be placed on public display at the California Science Center. The three-day trip will include flybys of many locations along the planned route, including New Orleans, Houston, Sacramento and San Francisco, as well as stopovers in Houston and Edwards Air Force Base. (Read more here.)
This is the final ferry flight of the Space Shuttle Program era and the last time an orbiter will take to the skies.
Photo credit: (NASA/Stan Jirman) See more images from Endeavour’s cross-country voyage here.