CAPE CANAVERAL -- If one did not know better they would think that the day's events would be rather boring. After all, the name of this event hardly does it justice -rollover. However, when one has the opportunity to view a rollover -- it is unlikely they'll forget it. The space shuttle Discovery emerged from its technological cocoon located in Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at 7 a.m. EDT and was moved into the expansive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) a few hours later. ;Discovery's trip to the VAB was delayed a day from Wednesday to Thursday Sept. 9, due to a broken water main. Workers found the break in an iron pipe near the VAB and repaired it enough to allow second-shift workers to go to work later in the day."It was a dramatic, albeit a short-lived event," said Allard Beutel, a NASA Public Affairs Officer. "The Kennedy team managed to have a work-around in place in under a day."Rollover is a very special milestone on the road to flight. One can actually watch one of these legendary craft slowly roll by in a stately procession. The orbiter is flanked by workers that have worked to see that the shuttle is prepared for flight. They act as guides ensuring that there is no debris along the short drive that the transport vehicle takes from OPF-3 to the VAB. There were several stops on the way to allow photographs to be taken; marking the last time that Discovery is scheduled to move to the VAB in preparation for flight.Once inside the VAB Discovery was connected to a crane that will hoist the 171,000 lb. space glider into the air. From there it is mated to a set of Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) and External Tank waiting for the orbiter's arrival. Seeing this massive spacecraft hanging in mid-air alters one's perceptions about space flight. It clearly puts into perspective the amount of effort that goes into the U.S. space program.Within approximately two weeks the "full stack" is then ready to head to Launch Complex 39A in what will be the next milestone to flight -- Rollout.Discovery will deliver and install the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), the Express Logistics Carrier 4 and provide much-needed spare parts to the International Space Station (ISS). This will be the 35th shuttle mission to the space station. The crew of STS-133 consists of Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott.
I cheated in todays SpacePod. This is the Virgin Galactic B-Roll footage for their first manned glide flight. We didn't do a whole lot of editing, but did add a bit of SVC flare. Remember, no live show tonight as we're on our way to BlogWorld. Enjoy and we'll see you next week!
VIRGIN GALACTIC'S SPACESHIPTWO ACHIEVES MAJOR MILESTONE IN ITS PROGRAM TO BECOME WORLD'S FIRST MANNED COMMERCIAL SPACE VEHICLE.VSS ;Enterprise achieves manned free flight from over 45,000 ft (13,700 metres) and successfully glides to land at Mojave Air and Spaceport.10th October 2010, Mojave, CA. Virgin Galactic, the US company developing the world's first commercial manned space flight system and tourism business, is delighted to announce the successful completion today of the first piloted free flight of SpaceShipTwo, named the
Since Cariann is not around for this show, that gives Benjamin a chance to jump on his soapbox and have a slightly disjointed conversation about 2010 and the status of human space flight.
Discovery is being a diva - The final flight of OV-103 -- delayed on your SpacePod for November 8th, 2010.
Kennedy Space Center in Florida was a flurry of activity this last week. NASA held a TweetUp hosting 160 people from 5 different continents. Press was not only broadcasting live to local television stations but also nationally and online. There was a general excitement and buzz in the air as the final flight of Space Shuttle Discovery was slated to lift off from Pad 39a on November 1st. Then, a leak was found in the right Orbital Maneuvering System or OMS Pod pushed the launch to November 2nd. A minor electrical glitch pushed the launch back two more days to November 4th. Then on the 4th abysmal weather pushed the launch back yet again to the 5th, but that was looking to be it. That was the day. That was going to be the final flight of Discovery.
But Space Shuttle Discovery was having none of that! As fuel started loading in to the external tank a hydrogen leak was detected. This stopped the countdown, and threatened to push the launch back yet another 24 to 72 hours. As NASA was attempting to find and repair the leak a second issue cropped up. Part of the external tanks foam was cracked and ice had formed. This was on the side of the tank that faces the underbelly of Discovery, so if that foam were to fly off at say 300 miles per hour and hit the orbiter, very bad things could happen. Ultimately NASA has decided to push off the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery until no earlier than November 30th. That doesn't mean it will launch on the 30th, it just means it CAN NOT launch before then.
While many of the tweeters at the press site didn't get a chance to see Discovery launch on her final mission, there is some good news to come out of all of this. First, it shows that NASA is not cutting corners and will launch when they are ready. Hey, human space flight IS hard and it IS rocket science. Second, until now there were no additional night launches scheduled. Now that Discovery has been pushed back in to late November to early December the launch time has changed as well. We're looking at a 4:05am Eastern Standard Time launch, which means it will be completely dark when those boosters finally do ignite!
Hey if Discovery is going to go out, she clearly wants to go out in style. If you thought you had missed your opportunity to see a shuttle night launch, well, you may have been presented with a golden ticket. There is NOTHING like seeing and feeling a shuttle launch in person. We will keep you updated with additional launch details, but if you can find a way to make it to Florida to see this final launch, make it happen! You don't need to buy viewing tickets, Space View Park in Titusville has an amazing view and it is completely free. This is your chance to see history in the making and possibly see one final night launch of the most awesome vehicle humans have ever built.
If you simply can't make it down to Florida, then Spacevidcast will be covering the launch in HD quality online, sponsored by Perforce who got us the new broadcasting system able to not only get you 720p live HD streaming, but also mobile streaming to your smartphones, roku boxes and computer. So no matter what you'll have awesome seats for this last flight of the fleets workhorse: Orbital Vehicle 103 also known as Discovery.
Fret not Space Shuttle fans... If Orbital Sciences gets their way, a new mini space shuttle may be coming your way! I'm Benjamin Higginbotham and this is your SpacePod for December 15th, 2010
Yesterday we talked a bit about Orbital Sciences plan to submit a proposal to NASA under Commercial Crew Development 2. Today we have a bit more info and a picture! According to a press release by Orbital the company will be seeking funding from NASA for a "blended lifting body vehicle" which will launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket and return to Earth with a conventional runway landing. Looks a bit like a small version of the space shuttle. The idea is that this vehicle could carry 3 astronauts and 1 paying tourist to the International Space Station and could have test flights as early as 2014. If the Atlas 5 rocket doesn't work, don't fret, Orbital says that the vehicle would be flexible enough to launch atop other vehicles. Now imagine finding a lower cost launch vehicle such as something from SpaceX and the amount of money required to put humans in to low Earth orbit may plummet!
Speaking of human space flight, Russia is gearing up to send 3 astronauts to the International Space Station, Cady Coleman, Paolo Nespoli and Dmitry Kondratyev. Lifting off from the Gagarin Launch Pad today at 19:09 UTC the Expedition 26/27 crew will dock with the space station this Friday at 20:12 UTC. Tune in to Spacevidcast to watch this launch live! If you have never seen a Russian launch before, they are a lot of fun. One translator for all crew members make for some very interesting comms chat! Oh, and unlike here in the US, Russia has a camera inside the Soyuz cockpit, so you can watch the crew bounce around and shake as they ascend to space.
A bit further out in the cosmos we have the Voyager 1 Spacecraft which is nearing the edge of our solar system. Ponder that for a moment, humans have created a craft that is now at the very edge of our own solar system! That is nearly 11 BILLION miles away from our sun! So far in fact that the speed of the solar wind is basically zero. Fret not, Voyager 1 is still traveling at 10.5 miles per second and for the foreseeable future will remain the most distant object humans from Earth created by Humans. Someday soon Voyager 1 will reach a planet of artificial life forms where will will be transformed in to a large city. Over time the name will wear off of its nameplate and it will only know itself as VEGER to be later discovered by Captian Kirk of the starship Enterprise.
If you have a Roku box make sure you install the Spacevidcast channel. In the Live section you can watch as the next Martian Rover, Curiosity, is built by NASA! It's pretty cool to see engineers working on something that will be crawling on the surface of another planet in 2012. To get there just open up the Spacevidcast channel, click on Live Feeds then click on Curiosity Cam. Don't have a Roku box! Here's your chance to win. Tune in to Spacevidcast's live show this Friday at 0200 UTC where we will be giving away a FREE Roku HD unit. The only way to win is to watch live. For those of you in the US that's Thursday nights at 6:00pm PST or 9:00pm EST. We'll see you there!
3 new crew members reach the ISS and a really interesting way to look at our own moon. I'm Benjamin Higginbotham and this is your Spacevidcast SpacePod for December 21st, 2010.
On Wednesday, December 15th 2010 a Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off carrying the next 3 crew members bound for the International Space Station. Then on Friday the 17th the capsule docked with the space station at 20:11 UT. A couple of hours later The expanded Expedition 26/27 crew opened the hatch and ingressed to the station. The three person crew of Soyuz TMA-20, Dmitri Kon-drat-yev, Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli represent the partner organizations of Roscosmos, NASA and the European Space Agency in the ISS program.
While the US and Russia added more people to the Space Station, China launched a rocket to add more satellites to their upcoming GPS constellation this last Friday. A new satellite navigation and positioning network or Compass System was launched aboard a Long March 3A rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 20:20 UT. This is the 2nd of what will be 35 satellites providing both civilian and military GPS data to China.
Being that we just saw a lunar eclipse, how about a new way to look at the moon? NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO is orbiting the moon creating the most precise and complete map to date of the moons complex surface. Originally launched to help scout out landing sites for the nearly defunct Constellation program, LRO remains in Lunar Orbit gathering data. Using an instrument called the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter or LOLA the spacecraft sends a single laser pulse down to the lunar surface through an optical element that splits the pulse in to 5 beams. These 5 beams then strike the surface of the moon and depending on how long it takes for each to return, LOLA is able to map out what the surface terrain looks like. The end result are some psychedelic pictures of our moon. By artificially adding color in we can get a good idea as to what the surface of the moon looks like. The red areas indicate high elevation whereas the blue areas are the lowest. You can get more pictures and videos at NASA's LRO web site.
Ever wish you could get rocket and shuttle launch notifications sent to your iPhone? Maybe countdown to the next launch on your iPod Touch? Well now you can! MissionClock is a $5.00 application available now in the iTunes Apple store for iOS devices. This awesome space geek app allows you to see what upcoming missions are launching, when they will launch and even get mission details. It is a great showpiece to help get your friends excited about space flight and for the next 24 hours Spacevidcast is giving away 10 copies to 10 lucky winners! It's easy to enter! Simply send out a tweet with a link to this video and the hash tag #spacevidcast and you'll be automatically entered! The contest starts December 21st, 2010 at midnight UT and ends at 23:59 UT the same day. You have nearly 24 hours to enter to win! And if you think this is a cool prize, you should see what we're giving away during our live show this Friday at 0200 UT. It's going to be awesome and I know we'll see you there!
Live from the Kennedy Space Center, Spacevidcast takes a look at the end of the space shuttle program. Kicking off our 14 hour streaming marathon, this special live show talks about the amazing future we have for space flight. One door closes, many more open.
Astronaut and SpaceXer Garrett Reismann chats with Jason Rhian about the future of human space flight in the US and around the world.
John Karas and Josh Hopkins join Jason Rhian to talk about the future of human space flight and how Lockheed Martin will play a role in that.
Author Pat Duggins talks with Jason Rhian about the future of Human Space Flight
Chris and Blair of NASA Edge join Spacevidcast to talk space shuttles, the future of human space flight and have a bit of fun NASA style.
Chris Scolese, a University at Buffalo Alumnus, serves as the Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center. He previously served as the Acting NASA Administrator in 2009. Hear from current head of one of our nation's most critical robotic research facilities as we start our Saturday programming.
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And of course don't forget that the After Dark version of this episode is available to Spacevidcast epic subscribers. An additional hour of ad-free video after the official show where any topic is on the table! Your Spacevidcast epic subscription helps us pay for the show, so consider signing up today! http://www.spacevidcast.com/epic
In this episode we ask why China appears to be stealing information from JAXA. With this revelation and their new space plane, what are their intensions with space flight? In Space News we look at the Sabre engine and how it may enable next generation space flight as well as Mach 5 air-flight. ESA and their Ariane rockets and ESO is in the news with a rogue planet again!
The wiki article for this episode can be found here: http://wiki.spacevidcast.com/en/6.16
In this episode we answer a viewer comment: Will Big Government be our only hope to get off this rock? Historically, that seems likely, but how much as NewSpace change the equation?
In Space News we look at the Planetary Resources Kickstarter, which you can pledge to here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1458134548/arkyd-a-space-telescope-for-everyone-0, NRC is looking for your comments on Human Space Flight and we have a Wiki article helping to write a response here: http://wiki.spacevidcast.com/en/The_Role_of_Humans_in_Space, a couple of awesome launches and Atlantis is just weeks away from being revealed in her new home.
Spacevidcast is a live weekly show all about space and the comsos. Covering major events from NASA, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, SpaceX and more, Spacevidcast is your weekly news and views show for every space geek! Tune in live each Saturday at 21:00 UTC / 2:00 pm PDT / 5:00pm EDT and be a part of the community that helps make our live shows amazing. Or simply subscribe to the Spacevidcast channel on YouTube and get your Space Geek on each week!
LiveMojo In this video WatchMojo.com learns more about the events that led to the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster.
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, said Friday his wife is doing so well in her recovery that he is returning to NASA and assuming command of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. NBC's Tom Costello reports.