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Friday, 30 October 2009

All for One

The International Space Station's Expedition 1 crew took a break from training in the systems integration facility at the Johnson Space Center to pose for a crew photo in this picture from May 2000. From the left are cosmonaut and flight engineer Sergei Krikalev, mission commander William Shepherd and cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko, Soyuz commander. Behind them is the full fuselage trainer, one of the full-scale mockups used to prepare the crew for certain phases and contingencies of their shuttle return flight.Expedition 1 lifted off to become the first crew to live aboard the station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Oct. 31, 2000.

Image Credit: NASA
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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
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Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Happy Halloween-Bat Wishes Etc...

The Cassini team sends "bats wishes" for a happy, healthy and fun Halloween. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

Image Credit: NASA
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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Ares 1-X manager provides new insights into test flight

    NEWSALERT: Friday, October 30, 2009 @ 2053 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
        The latest news from Spaceflight Now


+++++++++++
Astronauts Suit up for Auction

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's 7th Annual Astronaut Experiences &
Memorabilia Auction has launched. Bid on 50 extraordinary lots donated by
legendary astronauts online NOW through Nov. 7.

http://astronautscholarship.org/2009_auction.py?id2
+++++++++++


PARACHUTE FAILURE CAUSES DAMAGE TO ARES 1-X BOOSTER
---------------------------------------------------
Two days after NASA launched a test model of its Ares 1 rocket, the
flight's mission manager confirmed the first stage descended to the
Atlantic Ocean on just one fully functioning parachute, damaging the
booster as it splashed into the Atlantic Ocean harder than expected.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091030recovery/

MISSION STATUS CENTER:
http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/status.html

VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://www.spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=ares%201-x&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/ares1x/


HTV CARGO SHIP DEPARTS INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
--------------------------------------------------
Japan's H-2 Transfer Vehicle, loaded with 1,600 pounds of space station
trash, was being pulled from the complex and released to fly away after a
successful maiden mission.

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2b/htv1/status.html


ARIANE 5 HAULS UP ANOTHER DOUBLE PAYLOAD STACK
----------------------------------------------
For this second time this month, the workhorse Ariane 5 rocket carried out
a double satellite deployment mission just like clockwork on Thursday and
set the stage to break its record for flights in a single year.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ariane/v192/


SHUTTLE ATLANTIS TARGETING LAUNCH DATE OF NOV. 16
-------------------------------------------------
NASA managers met at the Kennedy Space Center Thursday and tentatively
cleared the shuttle Atlantis for launch Nov. 16 on a three-spacewalk
mission to deliver nearly 15 tons of spare parts and supplies to the
International Space Station.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts129/091029frr/

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Glenn and STS-95 Go to Space

The seven crew members in training for the STS-95 mission aboard Discovery pose for photographers prior to participating in a training session at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Pictured, from the left, are Pedro Duque, Curtis Brown, Chiaki Nauto-Mukai, then-U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn Jr. (D.-Ohio), Stephen Robinson, Steven Lindsey and Scott Parazynski. Sen. Glenn, who served as a payload specialist for the mission, launched with the Discovery crew on Oct. 29, 1998. On Feb. 20, 1962, Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 spacecraft on America's first manned orbital mission.

Image Credit: NASA

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Ares I-X Lifts Off

Mission managers watch as NASA's Ares I-X rocket launches from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. The flight test will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Asteroid Explodes Over Indonesia

Space Weather News for Oct. 28, 2009
http://spaceweather.com

INDONESIAN ASTEROID:  Earlier this month, with no warning, a ~10-meter wide asteroid hit Earth's atmosphere above Indonesia and exploded. The break-up was so powerful, it triggered nuclear test ban sensors thousands of kilometers away. A just-released analysis of infrasound data shows that the asteroid detonated with an energy equivalent of  about 50 kton of TNT, similar to a small atomic bomb.  This significant impact has received relatively little attention in Western press.  Details are available today on http://spaceweather.com.

SUNSPOT UPDATE:  Since it emerged last weekend, new-cycle sunspot 1029 has become the biggest and most active sunspot of 2009.  It is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares and putting on a good show for amateur astronomers. This one sunspot does not put an end to solar minimum, but it is a remarkable break from the calm.  Check htttp://spaceweather.com for images and updates.

CONNECT YOUR PHONE TO THE SKY:  Would you like a call when Earth-orbiting satellites detect strong solar flares and solar wind gusts?  Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE to turn your telephone into a bona fide solar activity alert system: http://spaceweatherphone.com

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Unfavorable weather scrubs Ares 1-X rocket launch


Clouds and winds have forced a delay in the first experimental test flight of the hardware NASA is developing to replace the space shuttle. The next try for the Ares 1-X rocket blastoff would be 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center's modified pad 39B. Join us in the Mission Status Center for live play-by-play updates, a video webcast anchored by Miles O'Brien and an interactive chat!
   
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates and video!
   IMAGES: ARES 1-X ON EVE OF LAUNCH
   
COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   NASA'S PRESS KIT (.pdf download)
   STORE: ARES 1-X PATCH

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Ares I-X at the Launch Pad

NASA's Ares I-X rocket is seen on Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, Oct. 26, 2009. The flight test of Ares I-X, scheduled for today, Oct. 27, 2009, will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tattooed Mars

This high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows twisting dark trails criss-crossing light-colored terrain on the Martian surface. Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with a tantalizing mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature wind vortices known to occur on the red planet, in other words Martian dust devils. Such spinning columns of rising air heated by the warm surface are also common in dry and desert areas on planet Earth. Typically lasting only a few minutes, dust devils become visible as they pick up loose red-colored dust leaving the darker and heavier sand beneath intact. Ironically, dust devils have been credited with unexpectedly cleaning the solar panels of the Mars rovers.

Image Credit: NASA, HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona)

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

LIVE COVERAGE: The experimental test launch of Ares 1-X

    NEWSALERT: Monday, October 26, 2009 @ 1712 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
        The latest news from Spaceflight Now


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MISSION STATUS CENTER IS THE PLACE TO VISIT
-------------------------------------------
Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center's modified pad 39B is targeted for
Tuesday at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT). You can follow the countdown will
play-by-play updates throughout the night in our Mission Status Center,
plus the page will host our live launch broadcast anchored by Miles
O'Brien beginning at 6 a.m. EDT.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/status.html

COUNTDOWN TIMELINE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091022countdowntimeline.html

LAUNCH TIMELINE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091022launchtimeline.html


ARES 1-X LAUNCH POISED TO BE ENGINEER'S DELIGHT
-----------------------------------------------
NASA has meticulously tailored Tuesday's Ares 1-X test launch as a
learning exercise, using more than 700 high-fidelity sensors to collect
gargantuan amounts of data during the booster's six-minute flight.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091026preview/


+++++++++++++++

Be part of the future.

If you want to contribute to the future of space exploration, here's your
chance. Boeing's Exploration Ground Launch Services supports the NASA
Constellation Program at the Kennedy Space Center. For more information
and to express your interest, visit http://boeing.com/egls

+++++++++++++++


RISK AND INGENUITY CROSS PATHS ON ARES 1-X TEST FLIGHT
------------------------------------------------------
NASA plans to launch a one-of-a-kind suborbital test flight to validate
the aerodynamic design of the agency's embattled Ares 1 rocket, a
crew-carrying booster under development to replace the space shuttle.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091025risk/


VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://www.spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=ares%201-x&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/ares1x/


STATIC ELECTRICITY RULE THREATENS ON-TIME LIFTOFF
-------------------------------------------------
A new constraint in the Launch Commit Criteria to prevent the buildup of
static electricity on the Ares 1-X flight test vehicle as it accelerates
away from Kennedy Space Center has reduced chances for favorable launch
weather to 40 percent for the rocket's debut planned Oct. 27.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091025weather/


--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Monday, 26 October 2009

A Big Sunspot Emerges

Space Weather News for Oct. 25, 2009
http://spaceweather.com

BIG SUNSPOT: The sun is showing signs of life. Sunspot 1029 emerged over the weekend, and it is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares.  The active region's magnetic polarity identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. If its growth continues apace, sunspot 1029 could soon become the biggest sunspot of 2009.  Check http://spaceweather.com for animations and updates.

MONDAY NIGHT SKY SHOW: When the sun sets on Monday, Oct. 26th, go outside and look south. Jupiter and the Moon are converging for a beautiful conjunction. The bright pair can been seen even through thinly-clouded skies and city lights. Don't miss it!

CONNECT YOUR PHONE TO THE SKY:  Would you like a call when Earth-orbiting satellites detect strong solar flares and solar wind gusts?  Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE to turn your telephone into a bona fide solar activity alert system: http://spaceweatherphone.com

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Saturday, 24 October 2009

NASA clears Ares 1-X rocket for test flight on Tuesday

    NEWSALERT: Saturday, October 24, 2009 @ 1936 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
        The latest news from Spaceflight Now

++++
NEW! Shuttle crew patch for next mission in November!
http://www.spaceflightnowstore.com
++++


ARES 1-X TEST FLIGHT CLEARED FOR LAUNCH TUESDAY MORNING
-------------------------------------------------------
Senior NASA officials convened at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday and
formally approved plans to launch a $445 million test flight of the
next-generation Ares 1 rocket next week. Watch live views of the pad in
our status center.

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/status.html

VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://www.spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=ares%201-x&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/ares1x/


AUGUSTINE PANEL REPORTS ON SPACE PROGRAM'S FUTURE
-------------------------------------------------
Amid work to ready NASA's Ares 1-X rocket for a long-awaited test flight
next week, a presidential panel charged with reviewing the nation's manned
space program submitted its completed report Thursday, concluding NASA's
planned shuttle replacement will cost too much and take too long to build
to be a viable option.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0910/22augustine/


VEGA ROCKET TESTED AS ESA MAPS OUT OPERATIONS
---------------------------------------------
Europe's small satellite launcher is on the home stretch of its protracted
development, as engineers methodically check to ensure each of the Vega
rocket's parts are qualified for flight.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0910/23vega/


ASTRONAUTS LOADING TRASH INSIDE JAPANESE FREIGHTER
--------------------------------------------------
Space station astronauts have finished unloading cargo from the Japanese
H-2 Transfer Vehicle and are now packing trash inside the ship's
pressurized compartment. The spacecraft is scheduled to depart the complex
next Friday.

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2b/htv1/status.html


SCIENTISTS FIND ORGANIC MOLECULES AROUND PLANET
-----------------------------------------------
Peering far beyond our solar system, NASA researchers have detected the
basic chemistry for life in a second hot gas planet, advancing astronomers
toward the goal of being able to characterize planets where life could
exist. The planet is not habitable but it has the same chemistry that, if
found around a rocky planet in the future, could indicate the presence of
life.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0910/21planet/

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Ares 1-X rocket arrives at launch pad for test flight



Ares 1-X rocket arrives at launch pad for test flight
Following the same path as the mighty Saturn rockets and the space shuttles, the new Ares 1-X test vehicle trekked from Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39B Tuesday. Launch is scheduled for Oct. 27.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates and video!
   IMAGES: ARES 1-X EMERGES FROM VAB
   IMAGES: ROCKET ARRIVES AT PAD 39B
NASA puts priority on Ares test ahead of Atlantis
NASA managers met early Monday and agreed the Ares 1-X flight was now NASA's top near-term priority. Because many engineers supporting the Ares test also are needed for shuttle processing, officials have moved Atlantis' "no-earlier-than" launch date from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16. 
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH WINDOWS CHART
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: ATLANTIS ROLLS TO LAUNCH PAD
   STORE: STS-129 PATCH
   STS-129 VIDEO COVERAGE
   HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO
 
Oct. 27  Ares 1-X   •  Test Flight

Launch window: 1200-1600 GMT (8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: LC-39B, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

NASA will launch the Ares 1-X rocket on a sub-orbital test flight to collect valuable engineering data from the vehicle. The Ares program is being developed to replace the space shuttle for launching astronauts. Delayed from July 11 and Aug. 30. Moved up from Oct. 31. See our Mission Status Center. [Sept. 23]

 
Ares 1-X test flight cleared for launch Tuesday morning
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: October 23, 2009


Senior NASA officials convened at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday and formally approved plans to launch a $445 million test flight of the next-generation Ares 1 rocket next week.


Ares 1-X is poised on the launch pad. Credit: NASA-KSC
 
"This team has done a tremendous job getting to this point in the flow," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's exploration systems mission directorate.

The Ares 1-X rocket is set for liftoff during a four-hour window opening at 8 a.m. EDT Tuesday. During the six-minute, 144-mile flight, instruments will collect data on the vibrations, flexing, pressures, temperatures and acoustics the booster experiences.

"They've got to a point where there are really no technical issues, they've closed out their paperwork to this point. All they've got is the forward work to get to a Tuesday launch," Cooke said.

The information collected during the flight will be fed into computer models helping engineers design the real Ares 1 rocket, which is expected to debut some time between 2015 and 2017.

Friday's meeting, called a Flight Test Readiness Review, included input from a range of engineers and was overseen by top NASA managers. The review board unanimously cleared Ares 1-X for launch, Cooke said.

Also on Friday, teams were wrapping up the ground systems portion of an integrated test of all flight and ground equipment that will be used during Tuesday's countdown and launch.

The conclusion of the test came on the heels of a successful hotfire of the Ares 1-X first stage's auxiliary power unit Thursday night. The device drives the rocket's nozzle gimbal system that steers the vehicle during flight.

The launch team will conduct a countdown simulation all day Saturday. Workers at the pad will close out the rocket and connect pyrotechnic ordnance Sunday.

Monday will mostly be an off day for teams, and the countdown will commence at 1 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

Early weather forecasts look iffy for launch attempts next week. There is a 60 percent chance of violating weather rules Tuesday because of rain showers, ground winds and electrical charges in the atmosphere. There is a 40 percent chance of bad weather prohibiting launch Wednesday and Thursday.

"Weather is always a challenge, and next week will be no different," said Ed Mango, Ares 1-X launch director. "We have weather constraints for Ares 1-X that are different than you've seen on other vehicles around here because it's a 300-foot-tall rocket."

Ares 1-X is booked on the Air Force's Eastern Range for Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday may not be available on the Range, but NASA would request a third launch opportunity if necessary.

"We are working to see if we can't get other opportunities on the Range, and we'll see how that goes in the next few days," Mango said.

If the flight slips beyond next week due to weather or technical issues, the Ares 1-X team may have to stand down for several weeks because of a busy launch schedule at neighboring pads at Cape Canaveral.

The Air Force-run network of communications and tracking sites supports all launches from the Space Coast on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Range is unavailable due to an unspecified activity beginning late next week. An Atlas 5 rocket is scheduled for a commercial satellite launch Nov. 14, followed by the launch of shuttle Atlantis around Nov. 16 and a Delta 4 booster a few days later.

"The month of November is very difficult on the Range in terms of trying to get space, but we want to be ready as soon as an opportunity opens up to jump on the Range at that time and try to go fly," Mango said.

If the upcoming launches stay on schedule, Ares 1-X may not have another chance to launch until the middle of November.

Officials would like to keep the rocket on the pad as long as possible to be ready to take advantage of any openings on the Range.

"After this particular window, we'll be working with (the vehicle team) to figure out how we can leave the vehicle at the pad, if at all possible, which is what we'd like to go do," Mango said.

Ares 1-X from Playalinda Beach

The Ares 1-X rocket stands on pad 39B on Wednesday afternoon, a day after rolling out from the Vehicle Assembly Building. These photos were taken from Playalinda Beach just north of the Kennedy Space Center.

Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now



 


 


 


 


 


 


© 2009 Spaceflight Now Inc.
 
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

NASA Sets Ares I-X Prelaunch Events and Countdown Details

Ares is ready to go:

News conferences, events and operating hours for the news center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are set for the upcoming Ares I-X flight test.


This NASA news has been delivered on behalf of the agency by GovDelivery (800-439-1420) · NASA Headquarters · Washington, DC 20546

Oct. 27
Ares 1-X • Test Flight
Launch window: 1200-1600 GMT (8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EDT) Launch site: LC-39B, Kennedy Space Center, Florida NASA will launch the Ares 1-X rocket on a sub-orbital test flight to collect valuable engineering data from the vehicle. The Ares program is being developed to replace the space shuttle for launching astronauts. Delayed from July 11 and Aug. 30. Moved up from Oct. 31. See our Mission Status Center. [Sept. 23]

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Building an Original

Platforms surround the Ares I-X in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building before it was moved to the launch pad on Oct. 20, 2009. Closer in height to the hulking Saturn V moon rockets than the space shuttle, Ares I-X looks unlike any rocket that's ever stood at Launch Complex 39. But it blends familiar hardware from existing programs with newly developed components.Four first-stage, solid-fuel booster segments are derived from the Space Shuttle Program. A simulated fifth booster segment contains Atlas-V-based avionics, and the rocket's roll control system comes from the Peacekeeper missile. The launch abort system, simulated crew and service modules, upper stage, and various connecting structures all are original.

Image Credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

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Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Friday, 23 October 2009

Spirit's Robotic Stretch

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit recorded this forward view of its arm and surroundings during the rover's 2,052nd Martian day, or sol, on Oct. 11, 2009. Bright soil in the left half of the image is loose, fluffy material churned by the rover's left-front wheel as Spirit, driving backwards, approached its current position in April 2009 and the wheel broke through a darker, crusty surface.Spirit used its front hazard-avoidance camera to take this image. The turret of tools at the end of the rover's robotic arm is positioned with the Moessbauer spectrometer up and the rock abrasion tool extending toward the right. Spirit's right-front wheel, visible in this image, has not worked since 2006. It is the least-embedded of the rover's six wheels at the current location, called "Troy."Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, have been working on Mars for more than 58 months in what were originally planned as 3-month missions on Mars.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Ares 1-X rocket reaches the pad




The Ares 1-X rocket travels to Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39B following the overnight trek from the Vehicle Assembly Building in preparation for its test flight for NASA's new vehicle.
Photo credit: Spaceflight Now

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Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Friction Stir Weld

This close-up view of the friction stir weld tack tool used to manufacture of space shuttle external tanks shows the process of tack welding barrel panels together. Barrels were previously fabricated using traditional fusion welding, but friction stir welding is different in that the materials are not melted. A rotating tool pin uses friction and applied pressure to join the 20-foot longitudinal panels together. Friction stir welding is the most recent upgrade to the space shuttle's external tank, the largest element of the shuttle and the only element that is not reusable. The new welding technique utilizes frictional heating combined with forging pressure to produce high-strength bonds virtually free of defects. Friction stir welding transforms the metals from a solid state into a "plastic-like" state, and then mechanically stirs the materials together under pressure to form a welded joint. Invented and patented by The Welding Institute, a British research and technology organization, the process is applicable to aerospace, shipbuilding, aircraft and automotive industries. One of the key benefits of this new technology is that it allows welds to be made on aluminum alloys that cannot be readily fusion arc welded, the traditional method of welding.

Image Credit: NASA

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Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Astronomers do it Again: Find Organic Molecules Around Gas Planet

        JPL/NASA News

Feature                                                                           Oct. 20, 2009

Astronomers do it Again: Find Organic Molecules Around Gas Planet

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at: http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?a=hsJVK6OHIdLRJgJ&s=dvIQI8PWKmJ0JfNWIvG&m=pvL2IkNXLhI7G

Peering far beyond our solar system, NASA researchers have detected the basic chemistry for life in a second hot gas planet, advancing astronomers toward the goal of being able to characterize planets where life could exist. The planet is not habitable but it has the same chemistry that, if found around a rocky planet in the future, could indicate the presence of life.

"It's the second planet outside our solar system in which water, methane and carbon dioxide have been found, which are potentially important for biological processes in habitable planets," said researcher Mark Swain of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Detecting organic compounds in two exoplanets now raises the possibility that it will become commonplace to find planets with molecules that may be tied to life."

Swain and his co-investigators used data from two of NASA's orbiting Great Observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, to study HD 209458b, a hot, gaseous giant planet bigger than Jupiter that orbits a sun-like star about 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus. The new finding follows their breakthrough discovery in December 2008 of carbon dioxide around another hot, Jupiter-size planet, HD 189733b. Earlier Hubble and Spitzer observations of that planet had also revealed water vapor and methane.

The detections were made through spectroscopy, which splits light into its components to reveal the distinctive spectral signatures of different chemicals. Data from Hubble's near-infrared camera and multi-object spectrometer revealed the presence of the molecules, and data from Spitzer's photometer and infrared spectrometer measured their amounts.

"This demonstrates that we can detect the molecules that matter for life processes," said Swain. Astronomers can now begin comparing the two planetary atmospheres for differences and similarities. For example, the relative amounts of water and carbon dioxide in the two planets is similar, but HD 209458b shows a greater abundance of methane than HD 189733b. "The high methane abundance is telling us something," said Swain. "It could mean there was something special about the formation of this planet."

Other large, hot Jupiter-type planets can be characterized and compared using existing instruments, Swain said. This work will lay the groundwork for the type of analysis astronomers eventually will need to perform in shortlisting any promising rocky Earth-like planets where the signatures of organic chemicals might indicate the presence of life.

Rocky worlds are expected to be found by NASA's Kepler mission, which launched earlier this year, but astronomers believe we are a decade or so away from being able to detect any chemical signs of life on such a body.

If and when such Earth-like planets are found in the future, "the detection of organic compounds will not necessarily mean there's life on a planet, because there are other ways to generate such molecules," Swain said. "If we detect organic chemicals on a rocky, Earth-like planet, we will want to understand enough about the planet to rule out non-life processes that could have led to those chemicals being there."

"These objects are too far away to send probes to, so the only way we're ever going to learn anything about them is to point telescopes at them. Spectroscopy provides a powerful tool to determine their chemistry and dynamics."

You can follow the history of planet hunting from science fiction to science fact with NASA's PlanetQuest Historic Timeline at http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/timeline/timeline.html .

This interactive web feature, developed by JPL, conveys the story of exoplanet exploration through a rich tapestry of words and images spanning thousands of years, beginning with the musings of ancient philosophers and continuing through the current era of space-based observations by NASA's Spitzer and Kepler missions.   The timeline highlights milestones in culture, technology and science, and includes a planet counter that tracks the pace of exoplanet discoveries over time.

More information about exoplanets and NASA's planet-finding program is at http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency and is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md., conducts Hubble science operations. The institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for research in Astronomy, Inc., Washington, D.C.

JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

                                                           -end-
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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Meteors from Halley's Comet

Space Weather News for Oct. 20, 2009
http://spaceweather.com

METEORS FROM HALLEY'S COMET: Earth is entering a stream of dusty debris from Halley's Comet, and this is causing the annual Orionid meteor shower. If forecasters are correct, the shower will peak on Wednesday morning, Oct. 21st, with dozens of meteors per hour. The best time to look is during the dark hours before local dawn.

For the past three years, Orionid rates have been unusually high, with reports of 60 or more meteors per hour.  Researchers believe this is a result of some very old and rich debris from Comet Halley drifting across Earth's orbit.  Computer models of the debris suggest that it is still in the neighborhood, so the trend of "good Orionids" could continue in 2009.  Visit http://spaceweather.com for photos and updates.

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Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Clocks back 1 Hour To Greewich Mean Time On Sunday Morning 02.00 Hours...

[October 2009] 

The English have been moving their clocks backwards and forwards since 1916. Businessman William Willett had noticed that during the summer people wasted the light mornings in bed. He proposed that the clocks be moved forward by one hour for summer so that the extra light could be put to better use in the afternoon, and put back for winter.

What does the clocks going back mean to you? Shorter, darker days is just the beginning for most of us.

While we can still enjoy flip flops and holiday memories at the moment, once the clocks change we will have to accept the inevitable. It is the end of summer and the beginning of the relentless, unstoppable descent into Christmas madness.

Almost as soon as those hands go back, we have packed away light, airy summer thoughts. The mornings get darker and the chilliness starts to set in. We notice the pumpkins and spiders decorating the shops. Small children dress like monsters and demand free stuff. Not that unusual, but it is indeed Halloween again.

Within a few days we find ourselves oohing and aahing over fireworks and perhaps even wearing a scarf. Must be Bonfire Night. We can fool ourselves a little longer by playing in the garden and taking fresh country walks in big jumpers. Maybe we can even still sit outside the pub to have a few beers.

But by mid-November there is only one destination: the festive season. Before we know it, we're gazing longingly at aspirational Christmas scenes on magazines, loitering near the wrapping paper, and planning Christmas drinks with old friends. The warm, cosy arms of Christmas are enveloping us.

It's only a matter of time before we find ourselves devouring mince pies, knocking back the mulled wine and singing Fairytale of New York. There is no hope for us.

Every year, we go Christmas crazy and demand joy and goodwill from everyone. Then it's January and we're all depressed. The cosiness of confinement has turned to claustrophobia and we've got at least three more months of it with nothing else to look forward to.

This is when we need to make plans: organise days out; cook some big old roasts for family and friends; book a West End show; take a city break, ski trip or a winter sun holiday. And look forward to spring when the clocks will go forward and we'll start all over again.

by Maxine Clarke.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Isn't it just so nice to have such a short weekend borrowing an hour of daylight from the evening and giving it to the morning so the cock crows a little earlier-well as for me I will be re-setting all the clocks (30 or so) in my house on Monday because the Sabbath day (Sunday) is a rest day and a day of peace, well back to winter and the cold grey and damp dark wet days until the clocks go forward in spring next year and we can all wake up again to the early dawn bird chant.
 
I actually leave all clocks until Monday morning rather that fiddling around with them on a Sunday considering I have around 30 of them in my house-mind you several are radio controlled so they set automatically-its the other 30 or so I have to go round the house re-setting so I leave it all for the working day of Monday and the new week....

 
'Spring Forward' and 'Fall Back' - that's how to remember when to change the clocks. This year, 2009, we 'Go Back' early Sunday morning October 26 - so remember to put your clocks back one hour, officially at 1am GMT (2 a.m BST) or for some of us that will be before we go to sleep on Saturday night!
 
Background:
 
British Summer Time (BST) is the daylight saving time in effect in the UK and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) stays the same all year round and is measured from the Greenwich Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. It is the place from where all time zones are measured. In 2002 an order was made to link our summertime to Europe permanently. This means that the clocks go forward and back on the last Sundays in March and October respectively.
 
The dates for the next few years are:
 
2009 March 29 and October 25
2010 March 28 and October 31
2011 March 27 and October 30
 
Other Useful Links:

http://wwwp.greenwichmeantime.co.uk/ - see the correct time right now, both local and GMT.

http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/seasonal03.htm - advice on how to prevent crime when the clocks go back.
 
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Good Clear Skies
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Astrocomet
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Colin James Watling
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Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

[BAA 00446] RARE DAYLIGHT OCCULTATION OF ANTARES ON WEDNESDAY

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletin No. 00446            http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================
 
RARE DAYLIGHT OCCULTATION OF ANTARES, 2009 OCTOBER 21
 
On Wednesday October 21st, the thin crescent moon will occult the
second brightest star it can occult, magnitude 1.1 Antares (alpha
Scorpii), in daylight.  Specimen disappearance and reappearance
times will be as follows:-
 
                     Disappearance   Reappearance
                   UT     h   m              h   m
Greenwich           14  55.1          16  09.9
Birmingham         14  51.9          16  06.9
Edinburgh            14  48.9          16  02.7
 
Add 1 hour to the above times for the time in BST.  Approximate
times for other locations can be calculated from the simple formulae
in the 2009 BAA Handbook, p.26.
 
The moon will be due south at around 10º elevation at disappearance
and slightly lower at reappearance.  The cusp angles will be around
79S for the disappearance against the dark limb, and -62S for the
reappearance from the bright limb.
 
Owing to the low elevation of the moon, these won't be easy to see
without a small telescope, but worth a try if you can.  Use the
telescope to find the moon then concentrate on the moon's limb to
search for the star.  Even a 1.1 magnitude star may be difficult to
find in daylight, only 40º from the sun.
 
The undersigned would be interested to receive a copy of any video
recordings of the events.
 
Unfortunately the weather forecast....
 
Good luck,
 
Andrew Elliott
 
Occultation Coordinator, Lunar Section
Email:  ae[at]f2s[dot]com
 
 
======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletins service.      E-mail: circadmin@britastro.org
Bulletin transmitted on  Tue Oct 20 12:37:39 BST 2009
(c) 2009 British Astronomical Association    http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Clocks back 1 Hour To Greewich Mean Time On Sunday Morning 02.00 Hours...

Colin
 
You place some interesting material on your mailing list. I have always wondered why we put our clocks back and forward in Autumn and spring, and who concocted the idea -now I know. I have an interest in how things and event began and have considered writing a book on the origins of annual events and festivities.
 
A couple of years ago I undertook a period of research about how Christmas came about. I know it has a Christian origin, but what about before Christ. My research revealed that there were festivities held in December by the Romans and by civilisations even before the Romans came onto the scene. In fact it goes way back in time where ancient people celebrated ending of the old year and the welcome of the new year. Many of the customs they practiced were carried through from one generation to the next and even into our current Christmas festivities. The Yule log and the exchanging of gifts are two such customs the ancients did.
 
The story of Santa Clause is a nice one too, which goes back to various origins across Europe and the USA that were eventually merged into the one we know of today.
 
The origins of Halloween is a fascinating one too, which began as a religious festival on 'all Hallow's Day' where people celebrated and remembered their dead ancestors. But as time moved on it started to take on mischievous elements and later moving into devilish acts and eventually becoming what we call it today - Halloween.
 
Its all very interesting stuff.
 
Ron.

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

NASA Updates Shuttle Atlantis Target Launch Date, Crew Rehearsal

WASHINGTON -- NASA is targeting Nov. 16 for the launch of space shuttle Atlantis' STS-129 mission from the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Managers for NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate met Monday and decided to adjust Atlantis' target launch date to optimize the agency's ability to launch both Ares I-X and Atlantis before the end of the year. The same launch team at Kennedy is supporting both the shuttle and the flight test of the Ares I-X rocket, which is targeted to lift off on Oct. 27. Ares I-X is scheduled to roll out to its launch pad at 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday. Atlantis' new target launch date will give Ares I-X launch opportunities Oct. 27, 28 and 29. NASA has yet to schedule Atlantis' new target liftoff date on the Eastern Range. The change to Atlantis' targeted launch will affect the launch countdown dress rehearsal for the shuttle's six astronauts. The astronauts arrived at Kennedy on Monday for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test and related training. The simulated countdown has been rescheduled to Nov. 3. The astronauts will practice emergency escape and other related training while they are at Kennedy this week and return there Nov. 2 to conclude their rehearsal work. The agency's Flight Readiness Review meeting for STS-129 is set for Oct. 29. NASA will schedule an official launch date for Atlantis following that meeting. For more information about the STS-129 mission and its crew,

visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle


- end -
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
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Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

LIVE: Ares 1-X rollout to pad 39B tonight / Atlas 5 success

    NEWSALERT: Monday, October 19, 2009 @ 1958 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
        The latest news from Spaceflight Now


===========================================
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the space industry are on Space Careers.

http://www.space-careers.com/?id=sfn

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for employment in the space industry.
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ARES 1-X TEAM CONTINUES TO TARGET ROLLOUT TONIGHT
-------------------------------------------------
The Ares 1-X test rocket is scheduled to make an overnight journey from
Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39B. The
trip will begin at midnight EDT and take 8 to 10 hours to complete. Live
updates and streaming video will be available:

http://spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/status.html


NASA CHANGES PLANS AND LAUNCH DATE FOR ATLANTIS
-----------------------------------------------
Space shuttle Atlantis' six astronauts jetted into the Kennedy Space
Center today for an abbreviated training session instead of the three days
of drills and a countdown dress rehearsal originally planned. At the same
time, NASA officials moved the target launch date to November 16.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts129/status.html


U.S. MILITARY'S NEW WEATHER SATELLITE GETS FOGGY SENDOFF
--------------------------------------------------------
An Atlas 5 rocket escaped the heavy blanket of fog smothering its launch
pad Sunday morning and successfully powered to space to deploy a new
global weather observatory for America's military.

http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av017/status.html


+++++++++++++++

Be part of the future.

If you want to contribute to the future of space exploration, here's your
chance. Boeing's Exploration Ground Launch Services supports the NASA
Constellation Program at the Kennedy Space Center. For more information
and to express your interest, visit http://boeing.com/egls

+++++++++++++++


NASA LOOKS TO RELIEVE SPACE STATION TRAFFIC BOTTLENECKS
-------------------------------------------------------
In an attempt to alleviate tightly stacked space missions, managers are
re-evaluating a long-standing policy banning other spacecraft from
arriving or leaving the International Space Station while the space
shuttle is docked to the complex.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts129/091016visiting/


IRAN READIES SAFIR LAUNCH WITH ICBM IMPLICATIONS
------------------------------------------------
U.S. reconnaissance spacecraft are watching Iran's Semnan launch site for
evidence that Iran is readying launch of its second satellite on a Safir-2
booster. The mission to launch the Mesbah communications satellite is
designed as much to test the long range ballistic missile capabilities of
the booster as it is to perform a space mission.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0910/18iran/


CARGO SHIP ARRIVES AT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
-----------------------------------------------------
The International Space Station has received a new load of supplies from
the latest Russian-built cargo freighter, which successfully docked to the
outpost Saturday.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0910/17progress35p/

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Monday, 19 October 2009

[BAA 00444] UNUSUAL ROCKET FUEL DUMP SIGHTED

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletin No. 00444            http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================

UNUSUAL ROCKET FUEL DUMP SIGHTED

A Centaur rocket caused a minor sensation on Sunday night, October 18, when
it flew over Europe and dumped a load of surplus propellant. On its second
orbit of Earth following launch earlier on Sunday afternoon, the Centaur
rocket had fired itself out of Earth orbit into a heliocentric orbit as it
travelled northwards over Europe shortly before 19:15 UT.  A couple of
minutes later it began to dump surplus fuel, a process that continued for
around 13 minutes. This led to the appearance of an unusual, cloud-like
structure that was easily visible to the naked eye.

When first sighted from the UK, soon after 19:15 UT, the cloud of propellant
looked like a comet with a slightly fan-shaped tail travelling from south to
north. About 20 seconds later, a second object appeared.  This was the US
military weather satellite (DMSP F-18), which the Centaur booster had helped
launch some three hours' earlier from Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) in
California. This was in turn followed by a quite remarkable large circular
halo which trailed the two previous objects in formation across the sky.
This large circular halo was probably an expanding puff of gas emitted
during an earlier firing of the Centaur.

The events were witnessed by John Fulcher from Cransford in Suffolk, who
described what he saw as follows:

".outside with telescope looking at various astronomical sights, looked up,
and saw an odd small cloud, but no cloud cover in sight, (sky) quite clear.
Then another, very similar, if not exact, cloud-like shape following on
behind, keeping formation. Tried to follow with telescope but travelling too
fast, so used binoculars, and followed them north to south; disappeared near
Dubhe in the Plough.  Surrounded by large double halo, oval in shape
(covering about 30 degrees, I suppose), as they disappeared from sight,
travelling quite fast and still in shape and formation."

There is a fine movie of the clouds and large halo recorded by Jonas Förste
of Jakobstad, Finland, available at www.spaceweather.com, together with a
selection of images of the event from locations all over Europe.

The Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force's DMSP F-18 satellite lifted off
from Vandenburg AFB at 16:12 UT on 18 October 2009.  Despite a foggy day,
the Atlas V flawlessly delivered the satellite to its assigned 838 km x 853
km orbit after an 18-minute flight. This mission marked the 600th launch of
an Atlas vehicle, carrying on a tradition that began with the first Atlas A
rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida, in
1957. For the Atlas V, Sunday's success was the 18th for the program, with a
100 percent mission success rate. The inaugural launch for the latest Atlas
V configuration occurred from CCAFS on 2002 August 21.

Anyone who witnessed the Centaur fuel dump, or who has images or video of
the unusual clouds and/or halo is invited to send these to the undersigned
at docjohn@dircon.co.uk.


John W. Mason
19 October 2009

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletins service.      E-mail: circadmin@britastro.org
Bulletin transmitted on  Mon Oct 19 19:17:38 BST 2009
(c) 2009 British Astronomical Association    http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Ready to Roll

In the Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility-1 in Florida, workers prepared space shuttle Atlantis to move from its hangar to the transfer aisle inside the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building.Subsequently, the shuttle was rolled to the launch pad in anticipation of its Nov. 12, 2009, launch on the STS-129 mission to the International Space Station.

Image Credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

[BAA 00443] ORIONID METEORS: ENHANCED ACTIVITY THIS YEAR?

20th October-my Birthday Meteors-favourable this year.....

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletin No. 00443            http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================

ORIONID METEORS: ENHANCED ACTIVITY THIS YEAR?

The Orionid meteor shower will be active throughout the coming week and
until the end of October. One of two annual showers associated with Comet
1P/Halley (the other being the Eta Aquarids of early May), the Orionids are
a moderately active shower, usually producing observed rates in excess of 10
meteors/hr around their maximum.

In the years from 2006-2008, observers in North America, particularly,
reported higher-than-normal Orionid meteor rates, and this month there is
chance that enhanced activity may be observed again.  With New Moon on
October 18 and First Quarter on October 26, there will be no interference
from moonlight this year.

In a recent IAU electronic telegram (CBET 1976: 20091017) Peter Jenniskens,
SETI Institute, reports that the strong Orionid meteor shower activity may
well repeat this year, according to M. Sato and J.-I. Watanabe (2007, PASJ
59, L21).  They ascribed the enhanced activity in the period 2006-2008
activity to dust trails of comet 1P/Halley that were formed by meteoroids
ejected in the years -1400 and -11.  The orbital evolution of the dust is
affected by the 1:5 to 1:8 mean-motion resonances with Jupiter.  This
so-called "filament" component is expected to be in the Earth's path again
around Oct. 18-24 in 2009, giving rise to a higher-than-normal
Orionid-shower activity that is relatively rich in bright meteors.  Thanks
to the filamentary nature of the debris stream laid down by the parent
comet, activity can vary markedly from one year to another: good rates can
be experienced if Earth encounters a rich meteoroid filament, but at other
times activity might seem disappointing.

Several sub-peaks are usually seen between October 20-22, and intervals of
slightly increased activity can be found even as late as October 27-28. Like
1P/Halley, stream meteoroids have a retrograde orbit around the Sun, meaning
that they enter the upper atmosphere on 'head on' collisions at the high
velocity of 66 km/sec. Orionid meteors are very swift, and the brighter
ones, particularly, often leave behind brief persistent ionisation trains.

Having been laid down over numerous returns of 1P/Halley, the Orionid meteor
stream is quite spread out, and this is reflected in the shower's diffuse
(probably multiple) radiant. Orionid meteors emanate from a region of sky
midway between Betelgeuse (Orion's eastern 'shoulder') and the
second-magnitude star Gamma Geminorum. The radiant doesn't rise until 22h
local time, and best rates are generally found in the early morning hours
once it has gained somewhat in altitude.

Observations of the Orionid meteor shower should be made according to the
standard methods of the BAA Meteor Section which are available on the
Section's website at http://www.britastro.org/meteor

Please submit your observations to the BAA Meteor Section as soon as
possible after you have made them, and at any rate within one month at the
most.  Observations should be sent to the Acting Director:-

Dr John Mason, 51 Orchard Way, Barnham, West Sussex PO22 0HX.  Tel: 01243
814307. email docjohn@dircon.co.uk

The Acting Director will also be pleased to answer any queries regarding
further aspects of meteor work.


John W. Mason
BAA Meteor Section
18 October 2009

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletins service.      E-mail: circadmin@britastro.org
Bulletin transmitted on  Mon Oct 19 18:05:58 BST 2009
(c) 2009 British Astronomical Association    http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Galileo's Jupiter Journey Began Two Decades Ago

Galileo's Jupiter Journey Began Two Decades Ago                                October 16, 2009

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features.cfm?feature=2338

- Launch: Oct. 18, 1989, from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on space shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-34
- Arrival in orbit around Jupiter: Dec. 7, 1995
- VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist) is the acronym mission planners gave for Galileo's flight path through the inner solar system
- Observed impacts of fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter
- Approximate number of people (from around the world) who worked on the Galileo mission: 800.
- More than 100 scientists from United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Sweden carried out Galileo's experiments

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA's Galileo spacecraft began what would become a 14-year odyssey
of exploration 20 years ago this Sunday, Oct. 18. Galileo was humanity's first emissary to orbit a
planet in the outer solar system – Jupiter.

Galileo was launched into space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on Oct. 18, 1989, from
Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The crew of Atlantis deployed Galileo out of the shuttle's cargo
bay only hours after launch. Then, a little over seven hours after leaving Earth, Galileo was
propelled onto its interplanetary flight path by a two-stage, solid-fuel motor called an Inertial
Upper Stage. Although earlier plans called for Galileo to use a more powerful upper stage so that
it could fly directly to Jupiter, the final flight took it by other planets first so that it could gain
energy from the gravity of each. Galileo flew past Venus on Feb. 10, 1990, and then twice past
Earth -- once on Dec. 8, 1990, and again on Dec. 8, 1992.

Even before its arrival at Jupiter in 1995, Galileo was making groundbreaking discoveries. On
Oct. 29, 1991, the spacecraft flew past asteroid Gaspra – sending back the first close up images
of one of these celestial wanderers. Then on Aug. 28, 1993, Galileo encountered the 15.2-
kilometer-wide (9.4-mile) asteroid Ida, where it took the first images of an asteroid and
discovered the first asteroid moon, the 1.6-kilometer-wide (1-mile) Dactyl. During the latter part
of its interplanetary cruise, Galileo was used to observe the collisions of fragments of Comet
Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter in July 1994.

Galileo arrived at Jupiter on Dec. 7, 1995, entering orbit and dropping a probe into the giant
planet's atmosphere. The probe's velocity as it entered Jupiter's atmosphere was a blistering 47.6
kilometers per second (106,500 miles per hour). After the atmospheric drag and a deployed
parachute slowed its descent rate, the probe relayed to Galileo the first in-place studies of
Jupiter's clouds and winds, furthering scientists' understanding of how the gas giant evolved. The
probe also made composition measurements designed to assess the degree of evolution of Jupiter
compared to the sun.

While the descent of the probe was a highlight of Galileo's mission, it was hardly the only one.
Galileo extensively investigated the geologic diversity of Jupiter's four largest moons:
Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa. It found that Io's extensive volcanic activity is 100 times
greater than that found on Earth. Galileo discovered strong evidence that Jupiter's moon Europa
has a melted saltwater ocean under an ice layer on its surface. Scientists estimate such an ocean
could be up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) deep underneath its frozen surface and contain about
twice as much water as all of Earth's oceans. Data showed moons Ganymede and Callisto may
also have a liquid-saltwater layer. The biggest discovery surrounding Ganymede was the presence
of a magnetic field. No other moon of any planet is known to have one.

When Galileo turned its instruments towards the giant gas world itself, the spacecraft made the
first observations of ammonia clouds in another planet's atmosphere. It also observed numerous
thunderstorms on Jupiter many times larger than those on Earth, with lightning strikes up to
1,000 times more powerful than on Earth. It was the first spacecraft to dwell in a giant planet's
magnetosphere long enough to identify its global structure and to investigate the dynamics of
Jupiter's magnetic field. Galileo determined that Jupiter's ring system is formed by dust kicked
up as interplanetary meteoroids smash into the planet's four small inner moons. Galileo data
showed that Jupiter's outermost ring is actually two rings, one embedded within the other.

Having traveled approximately 4.6 billion kilometers (about 2.8 billion miles), the hardy
spacecraft endured more than four times the cumulative dose of harmful Jovian radiation it was
designed to withstand -- and still major systems functioned. But while it was still enjoying
relatively good health, the spacecraft's propellant was low. Without propellant, Galileo would not
be able to point its antenna toward Earth or adjust its trajectory, so controlling the spacecraft
would no longer be possible. Mission managers at NASA and JPL decided to place their resilient
Jovian explorer on a collision course with Jupiter to eliminate any chance of an unwanted impact
between the spacecraft and Europa. The possibility of life existing on Europa is so compelling
and has raised so many unanswered questions that it is prompting plans for future spacecraft to
return to the icy moon.
The Galileo spacecraft's 14-year odyssey came to an end on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003, when the
spacecraft passed into Jupiter's shadow, then disintegrated in the planet's dense atmosphere at
11:57 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Its entry speed was 48.2 kilometers per second (nearly 108,000
miles per hour). That is the equivalent of traveling from Los Angeles to New York City in 82
seconds.

JPL's Deep Space Network tracking station in Goldstone, Calif., received the last signal at
12:43:14 PDT, 46 minutes after it was sent. The delay is due to the time it takes for the signal to
travel to Earth. Hundreds of former Galileo project members and their families were present at
JPL for a celebration to bid the spacecraft goodbye.

Galileo project scientist Torrence Johnson said at the time, "We haven't lost a spacecraft, we've
gained a steppingstone into the future of space exploration."
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, managed the Galileo
mission for NASA. JPL designed and built the Galileo orbiter, and operated the mission.

Additional information about the Galileo mission and its discoveries is available online at:
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

Saturday, 17 October 2009

My Science Interview

Interview with:

Colin James Watling [astrocomet]



SCIENCE
What do you investigate? What is at the heart of your research?
Astronomy, Fieldwork Skywatching and especially Comets down to Magnitude +9
Do you have a link to a site where we can see something about you, or the center where you work?
What is your educational background? What work experience did you have before this?
I was top in my Science groups at school and have been part of Lyra (Lowestoft and Great yarmouth Regional Astronomers) for over 10 years now...
Did you keep your nose to the grindstone in school?
I didn't want it to become sore!!!
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I decided to study hard in the last years at school.
What kind of technology are you using for your research right now?
Green YaG Laser pointers for the skywatching fieldwork, Red LED headlights for dark eye adaption, 20x100 mounted Binoculars, 4.5 Inch TAL Russian build Newtonian Refractor type Telescope-various star atlases including Nortons 2000 and a good set of deep field sky charts.
What types of experiments do you conduct? How are the conclusions documented?
I frequently do a lot of fieldwork with the YaG Green laser pointers and conduct my own experiments into how these can be used in Astronomy fieldwork and the potential for future gadgets of this kind to be used for pointing areas of the sky out.
If you conclude your investigation successfully, what practical application would it have in everyday life?
Lasers as a whole have a big potential in many industries and right across the spectrum-lasers have a big future but mainly the uses I put them too are usually done under cover of dark.
What is a "eureka" moment? What is it like to experience one?
When I see just what potential the Lasers can do for the future of fieldwork Astronomy.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspects of your research?
As with all Astronomical fieldwork it depends on clear weather and good seeing conditions but there is also the experiment of pointing the lasers to the cloudtops and seeing how high the clouds are by the ends of the light beam showing into the clouds themselves-maybe it might measure the heights of the accurately one day...
What have you published?
Monthly astronomical and comet reports for my Blog and Society..
Should there be more public financing for scientific investigation?
I wouldn't say no, pends on this Government and how long this bunch of chumps hang onto power.
What is your personal position on the use of animals in scientific investigation?
No Animals are used or harmed in any way whatsoever in my experiments.

Although Lasers do attract cats and bats a lot.
Can you briefly explain the difference between common logic and the scientific method?
Common Logic is simple and a baby can understand it-we all can whereas Scientific logic is derived from doing a meathod and a result be it however complicated and coming to a scientific logical conclusion.
What is science and what is pseudoscience? Who decides which is which?
Science is Experimenting with tools to reach a result and conclusion through basic materials and the knowledge and intellegence of a person to derive a result and conclusion, whereas pseudoscience is the same thing but the persons understanding of supernatural and other forces unknown to science being put into practice.
What is the role of creativity in the scientific method?
Well what got the men to the Moon-basically they had used the tecnology and science of that time-late 1960's to get them to the Eagle has landed position and safely return them to Earth again, Tecnology and science is a main factor in achieving these things and as for today it has put the I.S.S up there with frequent visits from the space shuttle as well as other countries involved-science and tecnology being a major factor to accomplish this.
What it is the most intriguing scientific question that you would like to see resolved?
What is the border to the Universe, does one exist and if it does what is beyond it?

ANS:
Whats North of the North Pole?
What scientific explanation is there for spirituality? Are religion and science incompatible?
Wasn't this question to do with pseudoscience?

Depends-Ghosts have been captured on CCTV footage without explanations but people are contrarily divided between Science and Faith and continuously at odds with each other.

Personally I believe in God because for all this to be by chance is madness-but so is delving deeper and deeper into Quantumn mechanics-unless you have a brilliant mind to understand it all-everything down there at the molecular sizes and the deeper you go the more madness it contributes to our understanding of it.

Basically in my opinion we shouldn't play God because if we do madness is what we'll end up with in the end and that goes for that large Hadron Collider in Cern.
Is there some area of knowledge that is morally unacceptable to you?
Black arts-Devil Worship and spells-They don't do anyone any good.

Large Hadron Collider in Cern-man should not play God as I've stated.
Is there another way science could be studied in schools?
The Internet.

Fieldwork for kids-water rockets, hot air bags rising, Scientific research outside, Astronomical Solar viewing during the day.
What is the best way to disseminate science in the mass media?
Make it interesting and likeable.
Why do two or more scientists often come up simultaneously with the same discovery?
Are they psychic?

Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp for instance-

Remember this:
Comet 1995 O1 Hale-Bopp is now a morning object for observers south of the equator, and it has faded below naked eye visibility. It was a 'great comet', though in some ways comet Hyakutake made a greater impression with its long straight gas tail.

Discovered on the same night by these Scientists in different parts of the U.S.A in 1995.
What is the meaning of life? Is there a scientific answer to this question?
No only God can tell you this-Science just explains everything else but this fact.

We are here because we are-simple as that.
Investigating is to live on the frontier of knowledge. Can you explain that sentiment?
The intrigue and satisfaction that comes from the knowledge of Science-yes and the Skywatching fieldwork does a lot for me.
What would be your dream to work on for your next research project?
Depends where the YaG Laser fieldwork takes me-tecnology can be used for things outside of what they were made for and I have several gadgets and electrical items that does this for me and I'm still discovering further uses.
If you could give just one piece of advice to beginning researchers, what would it be?
Don't jump in a the deep end (save ya drownin') learn the basics of Science first and work your way up to understanding it and branching off into the area you are best at and like the most, within my science of Astronomy I am head of the Comet section for Lyra:

Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Blog: http://lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com

It has took me around 10 years to achieve this level and still learning a lot.
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/