News in Nasa: Transfers and Time Off for Crews

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

ISS023-E-022903 -- Space shuttle Discovery, Mexico, Baja California and the Gulf of California

Image above: A portion of the aft section of the docked space shuttle Discovery (STS-131), Mexico, Baja California and the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 23 crew member on the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

With transfer of equipment, experiments and supplies between the two spacecraft virtually complete, Discovery and International Space Station crew members got the afternoon off Wednesday.

The morning was devoted largely to finishing the loading of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo. Only a few items await transfer to Discovery’s middeck. Some are experiments requiring refrigeration during their trip home.

Leonardo brought about six tons of material to the station and will return to Earth in Discovery’s cargo bay with about 2.5 tons from the station.

This is the final roundtrip to the station for the 21-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter Leonardo. Once back on Earth, the module will be reconfigured with increased shielding on the outside for the STS-133 mission in September when it will be left on the station as a permanent module.

STS-131 is the 33rd shuttle mission to the station.

› Read more about STS-131

› Read more about Expedition 23
› View crew timelines

NASA’s International Space Station Program Wins Collier Trophy

The International Space Station Program has won the 2009 Collier Trophy, which is considered the top award in aviation. The National Aeronautic Association bestows the award annually to recognize the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.

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Current Nasa News:Expedition 21 Crew Lands in Kazakhstan

December 2, 2009 1 comment
12.01.09

Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft

Image above: The Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft carrying Flight Engineers Frank De Winne, Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk lands in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos/NASA TV

Expedition 21 Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency Flight Engineer Frank De Winne and Canadian Space Agency Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk have returned to Earth, landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan in their Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft. Landing occurred at 2:15 a.m. EST Tuesday, 1:15 p.m. Kazakhstan time.

All three crew members were reported to be in good condition. Due to icy conditions at the landing site, the landing support team recalled its helicopters to their bases in Kustanai and Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. Instead the team arrived in all-terrain vehicles from nearby Arkalyk to extract the Expedition 21 crew members from the Soyuz crew module.

Romanenko, De Winne and Thirsk spent 188 days in space, 186 of those aboard the orbiting International Space Station. The three arrived at the station in May as part of Expedition 20, which marked the start of six-person crew operations aboard the station. With their arrival, all five of the international partner agencies – NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – were represented on orbit for the first time.

Romanenko, a cosmonaut with Roscosmos, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21. He was selected as a test-cosmonaut candidate of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Cosmonaut Office in December 1997. The son of veteran Cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko, he qualified as a test cosmonaut in November 1999.

De Winne, an ESA astronaut, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21 and commander for Expedition 21. He spent nine days aboard the station in 2002 as a member of the Odissea mission arriving on a new spacecraft, the Soyuz TMA-1, then leaving on an older Soyuz TM-34.

Thirsk, a CSA astronaut, served as a flight engineer for Expeditions 20 and 21. In 1996, Thirsk flew as a payload specialist astronaut aboard space shuttle mission STS-78, the Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission.

After traveling back to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, the crew members will be reunited with their families and start their reorientation to a gravity environment after a half year off the planet.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev remain on the station, comprising the Expedition 22 crew as a two-man contingent for three weeks until the arrival Dec. 23 of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA’s T.J. Creamer, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who will launch to the station Dec. 20 on the Soyuz TMA-17 craft.

Atlantis Given “Go” for Deorbit Burn

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Fri, 27 Nov 2009 06:59:25 PM GMT+0530

Mission Control Capcom Chris Ferguson radioed a “go for deorbit burn” to space shuttle Atlantis Commander Charlie Hobaugh at 8:14 a.m. EST. The three minute, seven second maneuver scheduled for 8:37 a.m. will slow Atlantis by more than 200 miles per hour and lead to a landing at 9:44 a.m. at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

The STS-129 Crew

Image above: The STS-129 crew members show some of their Thanksgiving food items during an in-flight media interview: Photo credit: NASA TV

<!– › High-res image –>› Meet the STS-129 Crew

Crew Begins Landing Day
The crew of space shuttle Atlantis has begun what is scheduled to be the STS-129 mission’s landing day.

Atlantis will be bringing home Mission Specialist and former Expedition 20 and 21 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott, who spent 87 days on the International Space Station. Her return brings to an end nearly a decade of space shuttle use to rotate crew on the station.

With the weather in Florida looking perfect for a landing, Atlantis’ first opportunity is at Kennedy Space Center on orbit 171. It would see a deorbit burn at 8:37 a.m. EST. Landing would be at 9:44 a.m.

Atlantis is winding up a mission that included three spacewalks and more than six days at the International Space Station. The orbiter took 14 tons of cargo in its payload bay, including two large carriers with spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired next year, to the orbiting laboratory.

Tuesday at 10 a.m., European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne handed over command of the station to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams. De Winne and Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk are scheduled to leave the station for return to Earth in a Soyuz capsule on Nov. 30.

› View video of change of command ceremony

On Sunday, Bresnik told the flight controllers his new daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik, had been born in Houston at 11:04 p.m. CST Saturday. He said his wife Rebecca and new daughter, 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long, were doing well. Bresnik got the news by private phone patch through mission control shortly after the crew was awakened.

Radar Strip Showing Crater Bessel

November 19, 2009 1 comment
Radar Strip Showing Crater Bessel

Mini-RF S-band zoom synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image strip through central Mare Serenitatis on the near side of the Moon (approximate longitude of strip ~ 18° E; center latitude ~ 20° N). The radar strip runs through the crater Bessel (inset; 15 km (9 mile) diameter; center at 21.8° N, 17.9° E) and covers the highlands of the Haemus Mts. (rim of Serenitatis basin) in its southern (bottom) third. The full-resolution SAR data are 30 m (90 feet). The streaks of bright and dark material in the walls of Bessel probably reflect the blockiness of landslides within the crater, brighter streaks having more blocks of the 10-cm (4-inch) scale. The radar strip covers a major geological boundary in Mare Serenitatis; the darker, lower maria has higher titanium content than central Serenitatis. We see this geological boundary in the Mini-RF radar image, caused by higher absorption of RF energy by the high content of the iron-titanium oxide mineral ilmenite. Thus, Mini-RF SAR images can be used to map the titanium content of the lunar maria. The background image is part of the Clementine global mosaic.

Hatches Open, Crews Begin Joint Operations

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment

ISS021-E-024311 -- Frank De Winne

Image above: Expedition 21 Commander Frank De Winne moves a High Definition Video (HDV) camera and equipment from the Kibo laboratory into the Harmony node of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 21 crew welcomed a new set of visitors aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday.

After a series of leak checks, the hatches between the two vehicles opened at 1:28 p.m. EST marking the start of joint operations. Space shuttle Atlantis docked with the station at 11:51 a.m.

Hatch opening also marked the end of Flight Engineer Nicole Stott’s two-and-a-half-month stint with the space station’s crew. She officially became a member of the STS-129 crew, and the station will be manned by a five-person crew until Dec. 1, when Commander Frank De Winne and Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk will depart the station in their Soyuz vehicle.

The STS-129 mission will focus on storing spare hardware on the exterior of the station. The 11-day flight will include three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the station’s truss, or backbone. The platforms will hold spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired. This equipment is large and can only be transported using the unique capability of the shuttle.

For the latest news and information on the STS-129 mission, visit the main shuttle page.

Glenn Helps Ares I-X Soar

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment
11.16.09

The future of new rocket design was successfully tested when the Ares I-X blasted off on October 28, 2009. The test vehicle launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and travelled for six minutes until it splashed down 150 miles away in the Atlantic Ocean. Ares I-X, at 327 feet tall and 1.8 million pounds, was comprised of components fabricated at several NASA centers. The Upper Stage Simulator (USS), all 430,000 pounds and 110 feet of it, was developed, designed and constructed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

view of ARES I -X launch from distance

The Ares I-X Flight Test blasts off from the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Image Credit: Thilo Kranz, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumhahrt (German Space Agency)
Vince Bilardo, Ares I-X Upper Stage Simulator Project Manager at Glenn, lead the project from its beginning four years ago through the extraordinary apex of the launch. He shares his thoughts on Ares I-X and Glenn’s essential role in its success.

How did the launch go?
Vince Bilardo: The launch was nearly flawless! Once we got past the weather issues, the countdown and flight went just as planned. The vehicle flew the exact trajectory that was planned. All the data was successfully telemetered to the ground during the flight, the cameras all worked great and provided spectacular images of the flight. We proved conclusively that we can successfully control a tall, slender rocket by small movements in a single rocket nozzle.

How did the Glenn component, the USS, perform?
VB: The Glenn-built Upper Stage Simulator (USS) performed flawlessly, as best as we can determine so far. And that was not just during launch but in all phases of the ground assembly and launch processing prior to the flight. Contrary to speculation, the USS motion after First Stage separation was predicted in several of the “dispersion cases” or simulations that we ran prior to flight. And the entire stage held together after separation all the way down to the water, contrary to some analyses which predicted that it might break apart due to high loads during the tumble down to the sea. It all adds up to a strong endorsement of the robust design and manufacturing concept that our in house team implemented.

ARES I-X at night

>Ares I-X, including the Upper Stage Simulator (USS) built at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, is illuminated the night before launch. Image Credit: Thilo Kranz, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumhahrt (German Space Agency)
What was the experience of being at the launch like?
VB: I was part of the Launch Support Team, which was located in one of the backup launch control rooms called Hangar AE, on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station side. All of the Integrated Product Team personnel that designed and developed the Ares I-X hardware and software were located in Hangar AE. We had to be “on station” at our consoles by 4:00 am for the countdown each of the two launch attempts on October 27 and 28. Then, we had to work some contingency loads analyses to take into account the winds on the actual day of launch and their potential affect on the vehicle structure. So it was a very busy time leading up to the final countdown coming out of the planned hold at the T-4 minute point.

As we got close to this point, the weather uncertainty took over, and it made for an emotional roller coaster as we thought we had a go, then the weather window would close, then open again another 30 minutes later, and so on. Once we got the count restarted, the final four minutes were very quiet in the room, then once we got to T-0 and saw the vehicle lift off there was elation and cheering, followed by more quiet as we watched closely to for each event during the overall six minute mission. As each of those milestones were hit, there was more cheering, followed by a big round of applause once we saw the FS parachutes open up.

What was it like being a key participant in the Ares I-X launch? What did you and your Glenn team learn from being a part of the project?
VB: It was a thrilling experience, and without a doubt the highlight of my career to date. I believe this is true for all of our USS team members at GRC and across the agency, for this truly was a once-in-a-career historic mission: the first flight of a new rocket vehicle in over a generation, since the Space Shuttle was developed in the 1970s.

We have learned a tremendous amount being part of this endeavor, starting with the hands-on, in house engineering, design, analysis, manufacturing, handling, and transportation we performed with civil servants and in-house contractor team members. We developed rigorous flight hardware processes and procedures, and we put in place improved manufacturing tools and techniques. We also gained the experience of processing the flight hardware for launch in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.

We have truly built our capacity to be a space flight development center during the execution of Ares I-X.

NASA EDGE Nominated for Best Video Podcast

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment
11.16.09

NASA EDGE Nominated for ‘Best Video Podcast’ in the 5th Annual Podcast Awards!

›› Vote Now for NASA EDGE!

NASA EDGE

Vote now for NASA EDGE, Best Video Podcast at www.podcastawards.com!

NASA EDGE continues their unprecedented, unscripted journey through the world of video podcasting with their very first award nomination. This is no small accomplishment considering that only two and half years ago, they weren’t sure that they would find an audience.

Well, they have. Almost three years and 3.2 million downloads later, NASA EDGE is now recognized in the company of such internet greats and fellow nominees as “Buzz out Loud,” “Diggnation” and “Filmriot” just to name a few.

In fact, the 5th Annual Podcast Awards, managed by Podcast Connect Inc., mentioned on their Web site that this year’s competition received more than 321,000 nominations for over 3,500 different shows.

Be sure to vote for NASA EDGE

You can vote once a day from November 13 to November 30, 2009 by visiting www.podcastawards.com. NASA EDGE is listed in the “Best Video Podcast” category with nine other video podcasts.

If you’re already a fan of NASA EDGE, please vote for them. If you haven’t seen or heard of NASA EDGE, visit their home page at www.nasa.gov/nasaedge and download any or all of their 46 video podcasts. You will not be disappointed.

NASA EDGE Co-Host and outsider Blair Allen

NASA EDGE Co-host, Blair Allen

What is NASA EDGE?

NASA EDGE is different. Unscripted and unpredictable, NASA EDGE takes a unique look in and around the greatest space program on the planet. They have hosted the Great Moonbuggy Race, examined NASA spinoff technology at the X Games, followed the Desert-RATS with an unconventional set of duct tape boots, coined the term Magnetospherence and even made an appearance on ESPN’s nationally syndicated “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show.

Check out their latest Vodcast, which added a new wrinkle. In October they covered NASA’s historic Ares I-X Flight Demonstration live on the Web. That show featured the entire broadcast team and an attempt at defining and redefining ‘triboelectrification.’

Of course, NASA EDGE isn’t just a video podcast. If you have questions, comments or thoughts about NASA or NASA EDGE, you can friend them on facebook and ask questions, chat or check out some exclusive facebook videos.

Or if you just want to keep up with their latest shows or activities you can follow them on twitter (@NASA_EDGE).

If all goes well, you’ll hear from them the second they win their very first award!