Time flies when you’re having fun. I knew I had written about this facility before but didn’t remember it being three years ago. Mirror assemblies, backplane, sunshield – the James Webb Space Telescope is coming together.
Author Archives: roamingfirehydrant
See how NASA proved its Webb telescope parts space-worthy in an Alabama deep freezer (video) | AL.com
As reenactors we work with the public at historic sites and events all over. We invest small fortunes and zillions of hours of research to make sure that we are dressed and outfitted properly in order to teach history to the masses. Sometimes the public will ask really thoughtful, intelligent questions…
…and then, there\’s everyone else.
I thought this was worth sharing, especially the comments. I was in the SCA during my college days, and I’ve been to enough National Park Ranger talks that I’ve heard some lulus. I heard the one about Gettysburg and “how did they fight around all these monuments?”
This seemed appropriate for a Friday post. Eleven-year-old Michal Bodzianowski won a competition with his experiment “What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and Is It Possible?” His experiment and 10 others will be flown into space in December as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, sponsored by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.
Michal’s experiment, when launched, will be in a silicon tube about 6-inches long. Clasps on the tube will segregate hops, malted barley, yeast and water. When the tube arrives at the space station, astronauts will remove the clamps then shake the ingredients to determine whether beer can be made in space.
“We’re just trying to get the yeast to react with the ingredients of beer,” said Michal. “If it doesn’t react at all, this tells you it won’t work.”
This reminds me of a Bloom County cartoon where Steve Dallas was propelled away from the Space Shuttle after opening a can of beer. “It’s never Miller Time in space.”
Scott Carpenter, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, passed away earlier today at the age of 88.
He flew the Aurora 7 capsule in the second American manned mission to orbit the Earth. During his five-hour, three-orbit mission, Carpenter was the first American to eat solid food in space. Carpenter nearly spent as much time in the water waiting to be picked up as he did in space, as he overshot the planned landing area by 250 miles. He was picked up by helicopter and taken to the USS Intrepid. The overshoot was blamed on a pitch horizon scanner malfunction.
After Carpenter’s Mercury mission, the University of Colorado at Boulder awarded him a degree in aeronautical engineering. You know that recurring nightmare where you miss the final exam? He did that his senior year. He had missed the requirements for graduation in 1949 by one credit in heat transfer, and the university declared that “[h]is subsequent training as an Astronaut has more than made up for the deficiency in the subject of heat transfer.”
Carpenter suffered a serious arm injury in a motorcycle accident in 1964. This did not stop him from earning the title of aquanaut in the SEALAB II experiment, but it did disqualify him from further spaceflight.
I should note that as a Naval aviator, Carpenter flew reconnaissance and anti-sub patrol missions in the Pacific during the Korean War. He retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander.
Fair winds and following seas, sir.
A high-power camera on the Mars Curiosity rover snapped a picture of a 1909 American penny featuring Abraham Lincoln. The coin is used as a calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) that is at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm. In just over an Earth year on the Red Planet, you can see the bright copper is muted by lots of Mars dust…“The image shows that, during the penny’s 14 months (so far) on Mars, it has accumulated Martian dust and clumps of dust, despite its vertical mounting position,” the Planetary Science Institute stated.
I wrote about this in February 2012. There’s something to be said for electrostatic forces. You would think with vertical mounting and the jostling as the rover travels that there wouldn’t be this much dust on the penny.
We’re going to have to be smarter when humans go to Mars, especially with moving parts that can get worn down or with environmental seals. That much dust would cause some problems.
The fireball over Ohio was definitely a meteoroid. Spaceweather.com reported its speed as approximately 51 km/sec (114,000 mph), and space debris doesn’t travel that fast.
Video from Science@NASA on Comet ISON’s flyby of Mars on Tuesday, with a nice explanation of the frostline of the solar system.
The Curiosity rover finds more evidence that Mars once had water.
Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins joined Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano, and Fyodor Yurchikhin onboard the International Space Station. Kotov will eventually take command of ISS for Expedition 38. Three expeditions on ISS and one on Mir adds up to over a year in space for Kotov.
An Antares rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. successfully launched into orbit from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility here at 10:58 a.m. EDT (1458 GMT), carrying the company’s first robotic Cygnus spacecraft on a critical demonstration flight to the International Space Station.
Wallops has been busy lately. I’m glad to see more American launches to resupply ISS. Now if we could only get manned launch capability, then we wouldn’t be so dependent on the Russians.
Cygnus will rendezvous with ISS on Sunday and deliver just over 1,500 pounds of cargo.
Launch video for your enjoyment:
My First Sergeant wandered among the troops doing something. I didn’t pay attention, until he walked to me with something flat and green in his hand.
“Let me see your watch,” he ordered. He looked pissed off.
I held out my wrist, puzzled. “What’s up, Top?”
He started peeling something off the flat green thing he was holding. “I have to put something on your watch face.”
I took a closer look at the object in his hand. It was a sheet full of adhesive green dots. He pulled one dot off, set it on his finger and reached toward me.
I drew my arm back. “What the hell is that for, Top?”
The First Sergeant gave me an exasperated look. “Give me your damn watch. I have to put this on it. It’s a green safety dot.”
A green safety dot? What’s that? “I don’t want that crap on my watch, Top. What’s it for, anyway?”
Anger flashed in the First Sergeant’s eyes. I knew it wasn’t anger at me. “It’s an order that just came down through battalion. We have to put these dots on everyone’s watches, so every time you look at your watch, you’ll think safety.”
Originally posted at breachbangclear.com, this combines the two-part essay into one. Given Doctrine Man’s disdain for reflective belts and other mess, I thought this was worth sharing. Some of the same crap is going on at NASA. On all the bathroom mirrors (well, at least the ladies’ rooms, I’m not brave enough to venture into the gents) there are stickers that say, “You are looking at the person most responsible for your safety.” Okay, whatever. Safety meetings became mandatory. You can walk on water, save the Space Station from catastrophic failure, find $1 billion in savings, but if you miss two safety meetings out of the year, you’re deemed incompetent at your job, me bucko, and aren’t you ashamed of yourself.
Let’s hope the trend turns around before we all lose our backbone.
LADEE’s reaction wheels were turned on to orient and stabilize the spacecraft, which was spinning too fast after it separated from the final rocket stage, [Ames director S. Peter] Worden said. But the computer automatically shut the wheels down, apparently because of excess current. He speculated the wheels may have been running a little fast.
Nice launch last night, though I found out that I’d been mispronouncing the spacecraft name the whole time I’d been working on it. It’s pronounced “laddie”, not “lady”. That’s what I get for doing my part by email.
Here’s the launch in case you missed it.
LADEE is expected to reach the moon Oct. 6.
Dear Honorable Shinseki,
Good afternoon. My name is Master Sergeant Robert Thomas Bowman, I am a Veteran of 24+ years of service in the Army, and I retire in less than a month (1 October 2013). I have been involved in the VA claims process since 14 February 2013, and today (3 September 2013) I am writing you to describe to you how this process has gone for me and how I perceive the VA at this point. I will preface all my commentary by saying that despite the problems I have had, I am still one of the lucky ones. I am not physically disfigured from my service, am capable of working, and during my time in the Army I was fairly responsible with my finances and am not currently in any duress due to the VA disability compensation program and how slow things are moving. I could not imagine what it must be like for a young Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine who has served multiple combat tours in service of their country, cannot work because of their disabilities, has a family, and is waiting on this process to be completed to be able to pay their bills.
Read the whole thing.
H/T Castle Argghhh! on FB.
I’ve seen SwampHeathen1 deal with the VA, waiting on the phone for nearly an hour only to be disconnected, driving two hours to Birmingham to find out that the appointment had been cancelled and “oh sorry we forgot to tell you”, and fighting red tape and bureaucratic sclerosis at every turn. The people who have served this country deserve far, far better.
The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is perched atop an Orbital Sciences Minotaur V, ready for Friday’s launch scheduled for 11:27 p.m. EDT from Wallops Island, Virginia.
Our East Coast readers might be able to see it – go here for elevation and time after launch.
LADEE has three instruments to determine the chemical composition of the lunar atmosphere, sense electrically-charged dust lofted above the lunar surface, and collect and analyze samples of any lunar dust particles in the atmosphere. It will send this data back using a high-data-rate laser communication system similar in capability to high-speed fiber optic networks. (Side note: I worked a little on the thermal control system.)
This is the first launch of a Minotaur V, the first Orbital Sciences launch of a five-stage vehicle, and the first lunar mission for both Orbital Sciences and Wallops Island.
Go, baby, go!
A little outdated (Curiosity passed 1 km in June), but still a pretty neat graphic.
h/t Col. Chris Hadfield, who also brings us this bit of trivia. “With no gravity to compress the soft tissues in the throat, astronauts don’t snore in space.”
The astronauts onboard the ISS were able to recreate the leak in Luca Parmitano’s spacesuit, so now they know what to ship back to Earth for failure analysis.
Cool pic of a Delta IV Heavy launch on Wednesday from Vandenburg Air Force Base. Payload was an NRO satellite.
When Dick Covey was named to fly at Joe Engle’s side on 51I, it was an excitement and an honour, for Engle’s experience spanned several decades and encompassed not only the shuttle, but the Apollo lunar module and the X-15. More than that, however, he was delighted when Engle assigned the rookie the task of performing the rendezvous with the failed Leasat-3. This was completed in spectacular fashion on 31 August. Early in training, they agreed that Covey would perform the “phasing” manoeuvres and precise Reaction Control System (RCS) thruster firings to approach to about 1,000 feet, whereupon Engle would take over and manoeuvre to position the fully-suited van Hoften, his feet secured in a restraint on the end of the RMS, close enough to the satellite to manually grapple it. “When he had completed the rendezvous manoeuvre and had stabilised,” said Engle, “I looked up and kind of expected to see [Leasat] somewhere in the field of view in the window, but he had flown that rendezvous and perfectly nailed it, so the satellite was right … in the centre of the [crosshairs].”
Very nice article about Shuttle mission 51-I, which flew 28 years ago. What it doesn’t mention is that Dick Covey was CAPCOM during the Challenger mission.
A B-1 bomber crashed on Monday morning in a remote area of southeast Montana but the crew of four escaped with minor injuries. They were on a routine training mission…According to Ellsworth officials, two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board. All four of the crew members ejected from the plane and survived the crash; officials believe all injuries sustained by the crew members to be minor.
“We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site,” Colonel Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander, said. “Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families.”
Ellsworth Air Force Base said the Air Force will be conducting an investigation to determine a cause of the crash.
Very thankful that the crew survived and no one was hurt on the ground.
I didn’t see a Load HEAT in the hopper for today, but XBrad’s been traveling. I’m going old school today and picking Jaclyn Smith. How many of you guys had crushes on the Charlie’s Angels? She’s been on Law & Order and CSI in recent years.
Lesson to parents of Scouts – if they don’t get it done during the summer, it might not happen for a while. In July 2012, I posted this. I didn’t think it would be a full year later for posting the “after” pics. For one, my son was senior patrol leader for a while, and that seemed to take all of his time and energy. Not only did he stall on his Eagle project, but he stalled on badgework, too. For another, paperwork sure likes to fall through the cracks. One of the adult leaders called me last fall with some great ideas for Rocketboy’s Eagle project, and I answered, “I thought you’d already seen his proposal!”
Anyway, I am proud of what my son has accomplished, with a lot of help. Take a look!
Many thanks to Home Depot for donating the consumables and giving us a discount on the hardware and to Kroger for donating sandwiches, snacks, and water. The two other Scouts working on their Eagle ranks put in a lot of sweat equity, so turnabout is fair play – Mr. RFH and Rocketboy helped on one’s project today, and we expect to help the other when it’s his turn.
She’s been on Jericho and Attack of the Show!. A little skinnier than I would normally pick, but XBrad had nothing and Mav had a repeat. Please welcome Candace Bailey to the Load HEAT!
The official record is 487, but only includes basic types. For example Captain Brown flew fourteen (14) versions of the Spitfire and Seafire and although these versions are very different they only appear once in the list. The list only includes aircraft flown by Brown as ‘Captain in Command’.
He flew British, American, German, Italian, and Japanese aircraft, including Heinrich Himmler’s personal plane. He was one of two survivors from 802 Squadron to survive the sinking of the HMS Audacity. He signed a waiver for the crew before flying the hypergolic-fueled Messerschmitt Me 163, saying they had acted on his orders. He cheated death again, surviving high-g pitch oscillation in the de Havilland DH-108. He was fluent in German and interviewed a number of captured Germans, including Wernher von Braun. And a thousand other fascinating stories.
He’s 94 now, retired to his native Scotland, writing more memoirs and sharing oral history of his 31 years in the Royal Navy. He wrote his autobiography, Wings on My Sleeve in 1961 and has kept updating the subsequent editions. I think I’m going to have to buy that.
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver has resigned to take a new job with the Air Line Pilots Association. I can’t say that I’m happy or sad. I liked her efforts on behalf of commercial crew transportation, but I was more than annoyed that she was held up as a model for girls interested in science and engineering. Those interested in STEM generally do not pursue degrees in political science, economics, and public policy. Good luck to her in the new job, which oddly has nothing to do with space.
Speaking of commercial space efforts, Armadillo Aerospace is going to play possum for a while.
[Private space research] is a worthy and grand goal but it’s not straightforward and as with most enterprises. It takes a whole lot of tries before anyone succeeds.”
Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing safely on Mars. I could post the This Week @ NASA video, but I thought this one was more interesting.
That’s Joe Bereta of the Mother’s Day Photo video fame.
Look for the Perseid meteor shower, peak should be Sunday.
The disaster planning meeting, known as the Cabinet Wintex-Cimex 83 Committee exercise, came in the spring of 1983 against a backdrop of worsening US-Russian relations and tit-for-tat battles on each side. It was the year that US President Ronald Reagan described the Soviets as the ‘evil empire’, deployed medium-range nuclear missiles to Europe and began the Star Wars project.
A Nato military exercise codenamed Able Archer nearly led to actual war when the Soviet Union became convinced it was a genuine attack.
The Queen’s words were imagined to be broadcast at noon on Friday, March 4, 1983.
In the exercise, Orange (the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies) launch a chemical weapons attack on Britain. The Blue forces (Nato) respond with a ‘limited yield’ nuclear strike forcing the Orange bloc to offer peace.
The civil servants even thought up what the Prime Minister would say. A participant writes a speech for Margaret Thatcher saying: ‘We wanted peace and strove to achieve it.
‘We are the victims of an unprovoked attack and, with our allies, we will fight back.’
Like Eisenhower’s speech if the D-Day invasion failed and Nixon’s speech if the Apollo 11 astronauts had died, here is another speech I’m quite happy was not needed.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards suggested earlier this week that Marshall Space Flight Center be BRAC’d between Stennis Space Center and Johnson Space Center. Not surprising given that she represents Goddard Space Flight Center and is probably pouty about fewer satellites for “global warming” observations. One of the surprises in the budget is support for an asteroid mission (pdf file). This has benefits for the near-Earth object observation, which everyone liked a lot more after the meteor fell on Russia earlier this year. So I think it’s time for a poll -
Suddenly, I realize that the cacophonous metal din coming from our floating tools has vanished. Sound isn’t travelling anymore and even before Chris tells me, I know that depressurization is complete: we are out in space.
With his characteristic calm, Chris opens the hatch and I have my first view of Earth rolling beneath my eyes. My visor is the only thing both separating me and protecting me from the blazing light. The crystal blue is hypnotic, but there is no time to stop. Chris is ready to exit and he’s out in a few seconds. It’s my turn now. With rehearsed and methodical composure, I perform every movement like a dancer follows his choreography, but I’m not looking for the final applause – I just want to be sure I don’t make any mistakes. When Chris tells me, “OK, you’re out!”, I know he has a smile on his lips, even though I cannot see him because we both have our gold visors down. It’s daylight, and the light is so pure and bright that it hurts.
While I was looking for an update on today’s spacewalk, I found Luca Parmitano’s blog entry from his previous spacewalk. The PEC he retrieved contains one of my experiments, though I won’t get it back until the next Dragon flight.
NASA aborted a spacewalk at the International Space Station on Tuesday because of a dangerous water leak in an astronaut’s helmet that drenched his eyes, nose and mouth.
The leak was so bad that Luca Parmitano, Italy’s first spacewalker, couldn’t hear or speak as the spacewalk came to an abrupt end. He asked his spacewalking partner, Christopher Cassidy, for help getting back in.
“He looks miserable. But OK,” Cassidy assured Mission Control in Houston.
from KHOU/AP News Report.
This is why you always have two spacewalkers. They can’t suit up in a hurry if one needs help. I’d hate to have to find my way back to the airlock blind and struggling to breathe. Glad Luca is okay, hope his lungs check out and that they find what part of the suit leaked.