Category Archives: nasa

NASA Delays Rockets – Releases Moon Videos

NASA has decided to delay the launch of the five unmanned rockets that it planned on shooting into the sky on March 14, 2012. The rockets were part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) project. The purpose of the project is to gather more information about the process that is responsible for the high-altitude jet stream that exists 60 to 65 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The reason for the delay is because there was an internal radio frequency interference problem with one of the payloads on the rockets. NASA scientists are going to look into this problem, study the weather reports, and select another night for the launch of the rockets.

There is potential that the launch will happen at night on Friday, March 16, 2012. That would be the first night within the window of time that they can select for a new launch. The window stretches to April 3, 2012. It remains to be seen exactly when the “five rockets in five minutes” launch will actually happen. So, pay attention to news from NASA, and keep watching the skies.

In the meantime, you can check out two brand new videos of the moon that NASA released on March 14, 2012. The team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, which is in Greenbelt, Maryland, released these two amazing videos of the moon now for a very interesting reason. It is because the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has now been in orbit for 1,000 days.

The LRO is a robotic scout that is orbiting the moon on a low 50 km polar mapping orbit. The purpose of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is to create a detailed, 3D map of the moon, to identify areas on the moon that would be a safe landing site, and to locate potential resources that are located on the moon. It also is going to gather information about the radiation that is present in the environment.

One of the videos is called Evolution of the Moon. The moon did not always look like it does today. The video shows you when the craters and other features were formed, and what happened that caused their creation. Obviously, this is done with animation, but that doesn’t detract from how awesome the video is.

The other video is called A Narrated Tour of the Moon. This video shows you incredibly clear, sharp, images of the moon, as a narrator describes the significance of what you are seeing. It includes views of Orientale Basin, Shackleton crater, South Pole – Aitken Basin, Tycho crater, Aristarchus Plateau, Mare Serenitatis, Compton-Belkovic volcano, Jackson crater and Tsiolkovsky crater. The video footage was filmed by the LRO.

Image: The Moon by BigStock.

Five Rockets in Five Minutes

If you live on the East coast of the United States, be sure to watch the skies tonight. NASA will be launching five rockets in five minutes from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, on March 14, 2012. The launches will take place late at night.

Each rocket will release a chemical tracer that will create a milky-white tracer cloud that will glow. The glowing clouds will be visible to people who are on the ground, looking up at the sky, from South Carolina through New Jersey. All of these rockets are suborbital.

These unmanned rockets are part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) mission. The purpose of launching the rockets is to study the high-altitude jet stream that is located 60 to 65 miles above the surface of the earth. The winds in this upper jet stream can have speeds of 200 to 300 mph. This is the same region where electrical turbulence often occurs. Those electrical currents can adversely affect radio communications, and communications with satellites.

Two of the five rockets that will be launched have instrumented payloads. They are carrying equipment that will measure the pressure and temperature in the atmosphere. The measurements will be taken when the wind speed is at its height.

One of the rockets that will be launched is Terrier Oriole rocket. This is a two-stage rocket that uses a Terrier first stage booster and then uses an Oriole rocket motor for the second stage of its propulsion. The rocket has four fins that are placed in order to provide stability.

Two of the rockets are Terrier-Improved Orions. These are a two-stage spin stabilized rocket system. It uses either a Terrier MK 12 Mod 1 or a MK70 for the first stage. It uses an improved Orion motor for the second stage.

The remaining two rockets are Terrier-Improved Malemutes. These are high-performance, two-stage rockets that are used for payloads that weigh less than 400 pounds. The first stage booster for this rocket is a Terrier MK 12 Mod 1. The second stage propulsion unit is a Thiokol Malemute TU-758 rocket motor that has been specifically designed for high-altitude research rocket applications.

I find it interesting that NASA selected March 14 to do this launch. March 14, or 3-14, is Pi Day, obviously, because Pi = 3.1415926535….

Those who live on the East coast can end their Pi Day celebrations by gazing up into the night sky, and watching for the glowing cloud produced by the rockets. It will make Pi Day of 2012 that much more memorable!

Image: Kennedy Space Center (nasa) by BigStock

Where to See a Retired Space Shuttle

NASA ended the Space Shuttle Program in July of 2011, when the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its return trip to Earth. The program lasted for 30 years, and had a total of 135 missions. There will not be any more opportunities for you to watch the launch of a Space Shuttle. However, it is still possible for you to take a look at a retired Space Shuttle.

What can you do with a Space Shuttle that will never go on another mission into outer space? You put it on public display! NASA has been making the necessary logistic arrangements in order to get some of the retired Space Shuttles to locations where people can go and see them.

The Space Shuttle Discovery will be moved to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. NASA will officially make the transfer of the Discovery into the Smithsonian’s collection on April 19, 2012.

Discovery made a total of 39 missions, which makes it the most-flown of all the Space Shuttles. It traveled 148,221,675 miles in space, spanned 5,830 orbits of Earth, and was in space for a total of 365 days. This is the shuttle that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, and it was also the shuttle that went on the second mission to service and repair it.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles in the latter part of 2012. The Endeavour completed 25 missions. It traveled 122,883,151 miles in space, spanned 4,671 orbits of Earth, and was in space for a total of 229 days. This is the shuttle that went on the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis will be at the Kennedy Space Center. The exhibit will be open sometime in 2013. It will be located in the Shuttle Plaza at the main Visitor Complex. Again, this is the Space Shuttle that made the very last return mission home before the program ended. It completed a total of 33 missions. The Atlantis traveled 125,935,769 miles in space, spanned 4,848 orbits of Earth, and was in space for a total of 306 days. Its very last mission was to bring supplies to the International Space Station.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise will be at the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in New York City. The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first full scale prototype of the Space Shuttles, and it never ended up making it into space. It was named after the USS Enterprise NCC-1701.

Image: Space Shuttle Flying Over Earth by BigStock

Curiosity Is On It’s Way To Mars

The big one we have all been waiting for is on it’s way.  The Mars Science Laboratory, better known as the Curiosity rover, lifted off yesterday from Florida and began it’s 8 and half month journey to the red planet.  Curiosity carries with it the hopes and dreams of, not just a lot of scientists and NASA engineers, but also a lot of average Americans who can only dream of this trip and what can be discovered there.

Carried into space on an Atlas 5 rocket, Curiosity, a rover the size of a car, will touch down in the Gale Crater and begin it’s systematic experiments in search of the building blocks of life on Mars.  Gale Crater is described by Universe Today as “one of the most scientifically interesting locations on the Red Planet because it exhibits exposures of clay minerals that formed in the presence of neutral liquid water that could be conducive to the genesis of life.”

The launch yesterday went off without a hitch and the rover is now on it’s way to the red planet.  Before you get too excited, Curiosity won’t discover life (if any), but only find if the necessary conditions are present.  Finding actual life will have to wait for the next mission.  As with all things this complicated, expensive, and time-consuming the scale of time is much greater than we all would like it to be.

You can watch a video of yesterday’s launch below.

Astra Satellite 3B

Ariane Rocket on LaunchpadThis is Real Art was commissioned in 2009 by the satellite operator SES- Astra to document the build of a new bird, the Astra 3B, at their factory in France and its subsequent launch.  Collaborating with photographer Simon Norfolk, they’ve produced a stunning series of photographs, a brochure and seven documentaries that show the commerical side of space.

If you want to go on the same journey as they did in producing the material, the best way is to follow their blog articles to the finished products.

Rocket Science (initial announcement)
Factory Visit
More Factory Visit (best photos are here)
Astra Documentary Films
Astra Brochure
Documentary Films  

Those of us in the UK of a certain age will no doubt recognise the film narrator Johnny Ball, who presented the science television programmes on the BBC when we were younger.

Astra Satellite Dishes

Satellite Testing


Photos copyright SES Astra, This Is Real Art & Simon Norfolk.

Phoenix Mars Landing Coverage

I will be updating this Blog post throughout the day. This is an exciting day for science and space buff’s Phoenix begins it landing sequence a short time from now…

Discovery will be doing live coverage and NASA TV will be streaming as well. I have been watching the press coverage this morning and all systems are go for landing.

26 Pyro Events and a huge number of Mechanical events have to happen in the 7 minutes of terror during the de-orbit burn and landing. High risk for sure and hopefully all the CAD’s blow and the software does not crash during the landing..

  • 1830 EST Nasa TV is Live!
  • 1916 Propulsion Tank Pressurized
  • 1939 Cruise Stage Seperation
    • The NASA crew Thirilled
  • 1941 Turning for Entry
    • Phooenix has Switched to high rate data communications
  • 1946 Entry into the Atmosphere 7 Minutes to Landing
  • 1949 Parachute Deployment
    • This was a huge check point
  • 1950 Heat Shield Seperation
  • 1952 Lander Seperation
    • Thrusters Detected
  • 1953 Landing Awaiting word on Phoenix

Phoenix is on Mars and things so far look Really Good!!!

The lander is sitting flat, tanks are venting, next step we are waiting solar array deployment. Once the solar arrays deploy then phoenix will reach another major milestone.

Well as a post note the lander is in great shape and science collection will now commence on this 90 day mission. Unlike the rovers though this team has to work fast. As soon as winter comes the Phoenix is doomed as carbon dioxide ice a foot thick will shroud the lander.


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NASA is a go for STS-116 Launch!

Sts116NASA is a GO! Launch goes down in about 9 minutes will update as the launch proceeds.

 What a launch it was simply amazing with the Shuttle lighting up the evening sky in Florida with a clean separation of the solid rocket boosters.


From my perspective looked like a very good launch now we will have to see what the tapes show. Here is some eye candy for you.

GNC-2006-12-01 #221

Last chance to win a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking act fast see bottom of page! This show is LOADED from one end to the other with a technology content with some major soapbox time.

Vote for us at Podcast Alley!

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Listener Links:
Microsoft Jabs Sony
Free BlackBerry Tips and Tricks for QWERTY Devices

Show Notes (Non Exclusive)
MPAA Pretexting
OpenSource Media Player
Hack a Blackberry!
Windows Vista – Office Launch
Russell Holliman
Microsoft Innovations
Want to go to CES?
Google Alerts
Podcasting and File Sharing
Streaming Cablecard
**James Kim and Family Missing**
Movie Snitch Devices
Fix iTunes Art
Free Office Templates
Business email Rules
Mark Cuban
Cellphone unlocking?
Geek Toaster
Word of the Year
Cellular and Google
My Number

GNC-2006-11-14 #216

Well we have another winner and he who won will be very surprised. I go after Microsoft and the Zune player in a big way tonight and I think you will agree with me they just don’t get it. Some serious Soap Box time tonight!

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Listener Links:
iPod user Thieves!
RIAA Humor
Congrats to our mystery second Winner

Show Notes:
RIAA Spin Machine
Response to RIAA
Black Friday
Windows WiFi Vulnerability
Crack a Combo Lock
Zune and Microsoft Points!
Method to Zune Madness
Zune Install HELL!
Zune and apparently no Microsoft Transparency!
Shoot Video Better
Notebook Fire
Breaking into a Mac!
New Media Picks
Conference Community
Pre-Roll not working!
Google Custom!
Mars Global Surveyor
Win a Island!
Astronauts Prepare
Bill Gates
Sun Dumb in RL versus SL
Vista & Office Hacked
YouTube Revolt