Author Archives: roamingfirehydrant

About roamingfirehydrant

I get paid to break things.

Roamy roundup

Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the first spacewalk. Alexei Leonov shares his thoughts.

Ed White would make the first American spacewalk on June 3, 1965 during the Gemini 4 mission. Both men had trouble with their helmets fogging up, which led to better cooling systems in future spacesuits.

Speaking of anniversaries, the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope is next month. There is the NASA version of March Mania where you can vote for your favorite Hubble image. This telescope was designed to be serviced by astronauts, and still they had to repair items not meant to be monkeyed with in microgravity. One example is the imaging spectrograph, repaired during the last servicing mission. Goddard designed this fastener capture plate to hold the 111 fasteners (#4 and #8 size).
capture plate
Between Hubble and ISS, it is amazing what we can do with spacewalks.

If you ever want to fly an experiment on the International Space Station, NASA is creating researcher’s guides for each discipline.

I had posted the 5-segment booster test and thankfully didn’t repeat the public relations error about it being the most powerful booster test ever. NASAWatch sets the record straight with the Wikipedia entry for Aerojet’s motor firing of 5.88 million pounds thrust.

Between Sept. 25, 1965 and June 17, 1967, three static test firings were done. SL-1 was fired at night, and the flame was clearly visible from Miami 50 km away, producing over 3 million pounds of thrust. SL-2 was fired with similar success and relatively uneventful. SL-3, the third and what would be the final test rocket, used a partially submerged nozzle and produced 2,670,000 kgf thrust, making it the largest solid-fuel rocket ever.

And that is the Roamy roundup for today.

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Booster test today

Successful 5-segment booster firing in Utah earlier today.

**Tim Allen grunts “More Power!**


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Look out below!

A couple of interesting stories in the past few days. First, a 500-lb meteor believed to be from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter entered the Earth’s atmosphere over western Pennsylvania. The fireball could be seen in Ohio, West Virginia, and New York as well. Meteorite fragments might be found around Kittanning, PA.

Second, Manuel Moreno-Ibàñez of the Institute of Space Studies (CSIC-IEEC) in Barcelona, Spain has a new model that predicts when meteors become fireballs and where meteorites may land.

Last but not least, Craig alerted me to the Spaceweather report of “the re-entry and breakup of a Chinese rocket body, specifically stage 3 of the CZ-4B rocket that launched the Yaogan Weixing 26 satellite in Dec. 2014.”

Photo taken by Donny Mott, Spirit Lake, Idaho.

Photo taken by Donny Mott, Spirit Lake, Idaho.

Looks like anything that survived re-entry landed in Canada.

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Public Service Announcement

I’m guessing early half of 1990’s? Sinatra and Nelson sang together on the Duets II album in 1994, so I would think this was released around that time.

Thanks for the thumbs up, gentlemen.

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Inside the Soviet space program

Thanks to Ricochet for finding the free e-book translation of the memoirs of Boris Chertok. This four-part series covers Boris’ 60-year career, from reverse engineering the V-2 to Sputnik to losing the Moon race to building space stations. I’m looking forward to reading it. Start with Part 1 here to download the pdf.

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New bone growth therapy to be tested in space

Astronauts aboard the ISS and scientists stationed on Earth will study a bone-forming molecule called NELL-1 and assess its ability to promote bone formation and protect against bone degeneration.

“A group of 40 rodents will be sent to the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory onboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule, where they will live for two months in a microgravity environment during the first ever test of NELL-1 in space,” states NASA’s chief scientist for the ISS, Dr. Julie Robinson….

The team hopes that the research project will allow them to learn more about preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. In particular, they hope the study will provide new insights into how to heal and rebuild the type of large bone defects that occur in wounded military personnel.


The big target is preventing or healing osteoporosis, but the comment about wounded veterans caught my eye. I thought this was worth sharing.

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What a difference a decade makes

In cleaning up my office, I found “The New Age of Exploration: NASA’s Direction for 2005 and Beyond”.  Now that it’s 2015, let’s see what we accomplished and what died on the vine.

The first thing to remember is that the Space Shuttle was still grounded at the time and would not fly until July 2005.  Administrator Sean O’Keefe talked about President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration, begun in 2004 and cancelled by Obama.  O’Keefe was already planning on leaving NASA and “move on to other challenges.”

Some of the long-term objectives listed were.
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