ESA to Supply ATV for Use as Orion Service Module

ATV / Orion
European Space Agency ATV as Orion Service Module
Image Credit:

The European Space Agency (ESA) has reached an agreement with NASA to build a Service Module for the Orion spacecraft based on their Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which has been a workhorse in the resupply of the International Space Station (ISS) since 2008.

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Soyuz 4 and 5 – Drama in the Early Soviet Space Program.

Soyuz 4,5 Crew
Crew of Soyuz 4 and 5: Alexei Yeliseyev, Yevgeni Khrunov, Vladimir Shatalov, and Boris Volynov
Image Credit: Joachim Becker / SpaceFacts.de

Ben Evans at AmericaSpace has a great two part series on the early Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 docking and crew transfer mission.

Part One describes the events leading up to the dual flight. Early unmanned trials of the new Soyuz capsule had parachute problems. Docking experiments were conducted under the disguise of the Cosmos 186 and 188. They achieved only a soft dock, and Cosmos 186 suffered a steep reentry and hard landing, while Cosmos 188 suffered a ballistic reentry and was ordered to self destruct. Cosmos 212 and 213 succeeded with a hard docking, clearing the way for a manned rendezvous mission. Parachute problems persisted, however, and Vladimir Komarov was killed on Soyuz 1 when both the main chute and backup failed. Additional problems with spacesuits too big to fit through the exit/entry hatches used for the two crew transfer were resolved with news suits and a larger hatch design. Eventually, the mission got underway with with the launch of Vladimir Shatalov on 14 January 1969 at 10:30 AM Moscow time. Soyuz 5 was launched at 10:04 AM on 15 January with Boris Volynov, Alexei Yeliseyev and Yevgeni Khrunov.

Part Two details the docking, exchange of crew members along with the trials of spacewalks by Khrunov and Yeliseyev, and return. The morning after docking and transfer, Shatalov, Yeliseyev, and Khrunov “descended through a wintry blizzard and thumped onto the snowy Kazakh steppe at 9:53 AM”. Volynov began his descent in Soyuz 5 the following day. It was a harrowing journey, and it would be three decades before the West learned any of the details. Volynov had just four words for the recovery team: “Is my hair gray?”

Golden Spike Company – Grumman to Study Lunar Lander Design

BOULDER, CO. (January 3, 2013) – The Golden Spike Company announced today that it has entered into a contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation for the design of a new lunar lander that fits within Golden Spike’s “head start” commercial lunar architecture.

Northrop Grumman’s participation brings heritage lunar engineering expertise to Golden Spike. Northrop Grumman is a major aerospace and defense contractor. Its legacy companies — Grumman and TRW — designed and built the Lunar Module and Lunar Module Descent Engines for the Apollo moon landing missions that between 1969 and 1972 ferried a crew of two astronauts from lunar orbit to the lunar surface and back again six times.

Golden Spike debuted last month as the first commercial aerospace company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon by the end of the decade. The company aims to use existing rockets and emerging commercial-crew spacecraft to allow nations, individuals and corporations to mount their own lunar expeditions. The lander is the only significant hardware that needs to be designed from the ground up.

“This is a significant step forward in our plans,” said Golden Spike’s Board Chairman, Gerry Griffin. “Northrop Grumman brings Golden Spike a unique body of knowledge and skills as the only company to ever build a successful human-rated lunar lander, the Apollo Lunar Module.”

Dr. S. Alan Stern, Golden Spike’s President and CEO, added: “We’re very proud to be working with Northrop Grumman, which has the most experience and successful performance record for human lunar lander designs in the world.”

Among the tasks Northrop Grumman will perform for Golden Spike are:

  • Reviewing requirements and synthesizing a set of study ground rules and assumptions emphasizing system reliability, automated/ground command operability, and affordability
  • Establishing velocity (Δv) budgets from and to low lunar orbit for pragmatic lunar landing sites
  • Exploring a wide variety of Lunar Lander concept options, including staging, propellants, engines, reusability, autonomy, systems capabilities for exploration, as well as landing site flexibility
  • Establishing the design trade space and establish pragmatic limits for future more detailed analysis and development

“This study is one of a number of initial studies we’re undertaking to begin creating the design requirements and specs for the lander contract competition we expect to hold to select a Golden Spike lander for flight development,” said Golden Spike’s Lunar Lander Systems Study (LLaSS) engineering chief, James R. French.

Golden Spike predicts its customers will want to explore the Moon for varying reasons—scientific exploration and discovery, national prestige, commercial development, marketing, entertainment, and even personal achievement. Market studies by the company show the possibility of 15-25 or more expeditions in the decade following a first landing.

Flight Events – International Space Station 2013

Here is the current calendar of flight events for 2013 for International Space Station as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 21 November 2012:

2013

  • Complete
  • Upcoming
  • January 17 – ISS orbit’s reboost by Progress M-17M engines
  • February 6 – ISS orbit’s reboost by Progress M-17M engines
  • February 10 – Progress M-16M undocking (from Pirs)
  • February 11 – Progress M-18M launch
  • February 11 – Progress M-18M docking (to Pirs)
  • March 1 – Dragon (SpX-2) launch
  • March 3 – Dragon (SpX-2) capture and berthing (to Harmony nadir) by SSRMS
  • March 15 – Soyuz TMA-06M undocking (from Poisk) and landing [Novitskiy, Tarelkin, Ford]
  • March 28 – Soyuz TMA-08M launch [Vinogradov, Misurkin, Cassidy] and docking (to Poisk)
  • April 2 – Dragon (SpX-2) unberthing (from Harmony nadir) and releasing by SSRMS
  • April – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-32) from Pirs airlock [Vinogradov, Romanenko]
  • April 15 – Progress M-17M undocking (from Zvezda)
  • April 18 – ATV-4 “Albert Einstein” launch
  • April 23 – Progress M-18M undocking (from Pirs)
  • April 24 – Progress M-19M launch
  • April 26 – Progress M-19M docking (to Pirs)
  • May 1 – ATV-4 “Albert Einstein” docking (to Zvezda)
  • May 14 – Soyuz TMA-07M undocking (from Rassvet) and landing [Romanenko, Hadfield, Marshburn]
  • May 28 – Soyuz TMA-09M launch [Yurchikhin, Parmitano, Nyberg]
  • May 30 – Soyuz TMA-09M docking (to Rassvet)
  • June – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-33) from Pirs airlock [Yurchikhin, Misurkin]
  • July 23 – Progress M-19M undocking (from Pirs)
  • July 24 – Progress M-20M launch
  • July 26 – Progress M-20M docking (to Pirs)
  • August 4 – HTV-4 “Kounotori-4” launch
  • August 9 – HTV-4 “Kounotori-4” capture and berthing (to Harmony nadir) by SSRMS
  • August – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-34) from Pirs airlock [Yurchikhin, Misurkin]
  • August – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-35) from Pirs airlock [Yurchikhin, Misurkin]
  • September 6 – HTV-4 “Kounotori-4” unberthing (from Harmony nadir) and release by SSRMS
  • September 11 – Soyuz TMA-08M undocking (from Poisk) and landing [Vinogradov, Misurkin, Cassidy]
  • September 25 – Soyuz TMA-10M launch [Kotov, Ryazanskiy, Hopkins] and docking (to Poisk)
  • October – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-36) from Pirs airlock [Yurchikhin, Ryazanskiy]
  • October 15 – ATV-4 “Albert Einstein” undocking (from Zvezda)
  • October 16 – Progress M-21M launch
  • October 18 – Progress M-21M docking (to Zvezda)
  • November 10 – Soyuz TMA-09M undocking (from Rassvet) and landing [Yurchikhin, Parmitano, Nyberg]
  • November 25 – Soyuz TMA-11M launch [Tyurin, Wakata, Mastracchio]
  • November 27 – Soyuz TMA-11M docking (to Rassvet)
  • December – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-37) from Pirs airlock [Tyurin, Ryazanskiy]
  • December 11 (TBD) – MLM launch (or 2014)
  • December 18 – Progress M-20M with Pirs module undocking (from Zvezda nadir)
  • December 20 (TBD) – MLM docking (to Zvezda nadir) (or 2014)

2014

  • January – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-38) from Poisk airlock [Tyurin, Ryazanskiy]
  • January – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-39) from Poisk airlock [Tyurin, Ryazanskiy]
  • January – spacewalk (ISS U.S. EVA-21) from Quest airlock
  • January – spacewalk (ISS U.S. EVA-22) from Quest airlock
  • February 5 – Progress M-22M launch
  • February 7 – Progress M-22M docking (to MLM nadir)
  • March 12 – Soyuz TMA-10M undocking (from Poisk) and landing [Kotov, Ryazanskiy, Hopkins]
  • March 25 – Progress M-22M undocking (from MLM nadir)
  • March 26 – Soyuz TMA-12M launch [Skvortsov, Artemyev, Swanson]
  • March 28 – Soyuz TMA-12M docking (to MLM nadir)

Updated 1 January 2013


Flight Events 2012

Launch Schedule – Russia 2013

Here is the current calendar for 2013 for Russian satellites and rocket launch vehicles as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 20 December 2012:

2013

  • Complete
  • Upcoming
  • January 15 (TBD) – three Kosmos (Rodnik-S) satellites – Rokot/Briz-KM – Plesetsk 133/3
  • February 5 – six Globalstar-2 – Soyuz-2-1A/Fregat-M – Baikonur 31/6
  • February 11 – Progress M-18M (No. 418) – Soyuz-U – Baikonur 1/5 – 14:43 UTC
  • February 22 (TBD) – Resurs-P No. 1 – Soyuz-2-1B – Baikonur 31/6
  • March 20 (TBD) – three Gonets-M satellites – Rokot/Briz-KM – Plesetsk 133/3
  • March 28 – Soyuz TMA-08M (No. 708) – Soyuz-FG – Baikonur 1/5
  • March 30 – Kosmos (Persona) – Soyuz-2-1B – Plesetsk 43/4
  • March – Meteor-M No. 2, Baumanets-2 (TBD), MKA-PN2 (Relek), Venta-1 (TBD), Ukube-1 – Soyuz-2-1B/Fregat-M – Baikonur 31/6
  • first quarter – Kosmos (Glonass-K1) [block K2s] – Soyuz-2-1B/Fregat-M – Plesetsk 43/4
  • first quarter – Kosmos (Glonass-M) [block 47s] – Soyuz-2-1B/Fregat-M – Plesetsk 43/4
  • April 15-20 – Bion-M No. 1, BeeSat-2, BeeSat-3, SOMP, OSSI-1, flight satellite AIST – Soyuz-2-1B – Baikonur 31/6
  • April 24 – Progress M-19M (No. 419) – Soyuz-U – Baikonur 1/5
  • May 28 – Soyuz TMA-09M (No. 709) – Soyuz-FG – Baikonur
  • end of second quarter (TBD) – two calibration spheres SKRL-756, test satellite AIST – Soyuz-2-1V/Volga – Plesetsk 43/4
  • July 24 – Progress M-20M (No. 420) – Soyuz-U – Baikonur
  • July/August – Kosmos – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • August – Yamal-401 – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • September 25 – Soyuz TMA-10M (No. 710) – Soyuz-FG – Baikonur
  • September – Inmarsat 5 F1 – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • September – EgyptSat-2 – Soyuz – Baikonur
  • October 16 – Progress M-21M (No. 421) – Soyuz-U – Baikonur
  • October – MexSat-1 – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • October/November – Ekspress-AM6 – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • November 25 – Soyuz TMA-11M (No. 711) – Soyuz-FG – Baikonur
  • November – Resurs-P No. 2 – Soyuz-2-1B – Baikonur
  • November/December – Amos-4 – Zenit-3SLB/DM-SLB – Baikonur 45/1
  • December 11 (TBD) – MLM – Proton-M – Baikonur (or 2014)
  • fourth quarter – three Kosmos (Glonass-M) satellites [block 51] – Proton-M/DM-03 – Baikonur
  • end of year – Turksat 4A – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • end of year – Kosmos (Musson-2) – Rokot/Briz-KM – Plesetsk 133/3

2014

  • beginning of year – Ekspress-AT1, Ekspress-AT2 – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • beginning of year – Ekspress-AM8 – Proton-M/DM-03 – Baikonur
  • beginning of year – Turksat 4B – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • beginning of year – Kosmos – Proton-M/DM-03 – Baikonur
  • February 5 – Progress M-22M (No. 422) – Soyuz – Baikonur
  • March 26 – Soyuz TMA-12M (No. 712) – Soyuz-FG – Baikonur
  • first quarter – KazSat-3, Luch-5V – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • first quarter – Inmarsat 5 F2 – Proton-M/Briz-M – Baikonur
  • first quarter (TBD) – Kosmos (Bars) – Soyuz-2 – Plesetsk
  • first quarter – three Gonets-M satellites, DOSAAF-85 – Rokot/Briz-KM – Plesetsk 133/3
  • April 28 – Progress M-23M (No. 423) – Soyuz – Baikonur
  • April – Sentinel-3A – Rokot/Briz-KM – Plesetsk 133/3
  • May 28 – Soyuz TMA-13M (No. 713) – Soyuz-FG – Baikonur

Updated 1 January 2013

2012 Launches
2011 Launches

NASA’s GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday in honor of the late astronaut, Sally K. Ride , who was America’s first woman in space and a member of the probes’ mission team.

Last Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near the moon’s north pole. The formation-flying duo hit the lunar surface as planned at 2:28:51 p.m. PST (5:28:51 p.m. EST) and 2:29:21 p.m. PST (5:29:21 p.m. EST) at a speed of 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). The location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is on the southern face of an approximately 1.5 mile- (2.5 -kilometer) tall mountain near a crater named Goldschmidt.

“Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today,” said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride’s contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her.”

The impact marked a successful end to the GRAIL mission, which was NASA’s first planetary mission to carry cameras fully dedicated to education and public outreach. Ride, who died in July after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, led GRAIL’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program through her company, Sally Ride Science, in San Diego.

Along with its primary science instrument, each spacecraft carried a MoonKAM camera that took more than 115,000 total images of the lunar surface. Imaging targets were proposed by middle school students from across the country and the resulting images returned for them to study. The names of the spacecraft were selected by Ride and the mission team from student submissions in a nationwide contest.

“Sally Ride worked tirelessly throughout her life to remind all of us, especially girls, to keep questioning and learning,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. “Today her passion for making students part of NASA’s science is honored by naming the impact site for her.”

Fifty minutes prior to impact, the spacecraft fired their engines until the propellant was depleted. The maneuver was designed to determine precisely the amount of fuel remaining in the tanks. This will help NASA engineers validate computer models to improve predictions of fuel needs for future missions.

“Ebb fired its engines for 4 minutes, 3 seconds and Flow fired its for 5 minutes, 7 seconds,” said GRAIL project manager David Lehman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. “It was one final important set of data from a mission that was filled with great science and engineering data.”

The mission team deduced that much of the material aboard each spacecraft was broken up in the energy released during the impacts. Most of what remained probably is buried in shallow craters. The craters’ size may be determined when NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter returns images of the area in several weeks.

Launched in September 2011, Ebb and Flow had been orbiting the moon since Jan. 1, 2012. The probes intentionally were sent into the lunar surface because they did not have sufficient altitude or fuel to continue science operations. Their successful prime and extended science missions generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The map will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and
evolved.

“We will miss our lunar twins, but the scientists tell me it will take years to analyze all the great data they got, and that is why we came to the moon in the first place,” Lehman said. “So long, Ebb and Flow, and we thank you.”

JPL manages the GRAIL mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. GRAIL is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft.

For more information about GRAIL, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/grail

One Year Mission on the Space Station Set for 2015

Scott Kelly
American Astronaut Scott Kelly
Image Credit: NASA

Mikhail Kornienko
Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko
Image Credit: NASA

NASA announced on Monday 26 November 2012, that American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko have been selected by NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and their international partners to conduct a 12 month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015.

The mission aboard the orbiting laboratory is designed to further our understanding of how the human body reacts and adapts to microgravity and other aspects of living in space. Work over the past several years have shown marked improvement in the ability for astronauts on a normal 5-6 month mission aboard the ISS to adapt to microgravity. The year long mission seeks to validate these findings.

Long duration missions to the Moon, Lagrange points, asteroids and Mars will require countermeasures to reduce risks associated with future exploration.

Kelly and Kornienko are veterans of space travel. Kelly served as a pilot on space shuttle mission STS-103 in 1999, commander on STS-118 in 2007, flight engineer on the International Space Station Expedition 25 in 2010 and commander of Expedition 26 in 2011. Kelly has logged more than 180 days in space.

Kornienko was selected as an Energia test cosmonaut candidate in 1998 and trained as an International Space Station Expedition 8 backup crew member. He served as a flight engineer on the station’s Expedition 23/24 crews in 2010 and has logged more than 176 days in space.

The two astronauts will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in the Spring of 2015 and return to land in Kazakhstan in the Spring of 2016.