Space News – June 2010

30 June 2010

  • John M Logsdon argues that Obama’s budget for NASA is attempting to finally end the Apollo Era and move us into a sustainable 21st century space program.
  • The Mollohan opening statement (pdf) to the 2011 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations, Subcommittee Bill covering NASA’s FY 2011 budget contains this note: “The program of record is fiscally unsustainable and will not serve the purpose of preserving this Nation’s leadership role in space exploration”. All this comes amidst criticism of President Obama’s attempt to redirect our National Space Policy.

29 June 2010

  • NASA is seeking an innovative path for human space exploration that strengthens its capability to extend human and robotic presence throughout the solar system. The information also may help lay the groundwork for humans to safely reach multiple potential destinations, including asteroids, Lagrange points, the moon and Mars. The total funding available under this announcement is approximately $8 million; maximum individual contract award is $625,000. The deadline for submitting proposals is July 29, 2010.

28 June 2010

27 June 2010

  • At 3:03 PM Phoenix time today, the Deep Impact spacecraft will pass 18,890 miles above the South Atlantic with a relative speed of 12,750 mph. The fly-by will be the final adjustment to the EPOXI (Deep Impact Extended Investigation) on its way to comet Hartley 2. On 4 July 2005, it sent an instrumented smart bomb into Comet Tempel 1, excavating the ancient materials buried inside the nucleus for scientists to examine.

26 June 2010

  • Third Time’s the Charm for Ariane V / Arabsat-5A and COMS launch.
  • The COMS satellite represents Korea’s first Geo Stationary Orbit (GSO) satellite.

25 June 2010

  • The Asia Sentinal reports that Hayabasa’s return capsule had arrived at JAXA’s laboratory in Kanagawa prefecture. Preliminary X-rays of the insides were not optimistic that it had collected enough asteroid material for serious analysis. Scientists did measure a small amount of gas inside the cylinder.

24 June 2010

23 June 2010

  • The BBC reports that JAXA has begun opening the return capsule from Hayabusa.
  • A pressure anomaly in the first stage of ESA’s Ariane V rocket scrubbed the Arabsat 5A and COMS launch 17 seconds before ignition.

22 June 2010

  • From Spaceflight Now.com: NASA managers Tuesday asked shuttle engineers to assess retargeting the final two space shuttle missions, moving launch of a mid-September flight with Discovery to Oct. 29 and a late November flight by Endeavour to Feb. 28. The changes would give engineers more time to optimize payloads bound for the International Space Station and avoid launch conflicts with other flights to the lab complex.
  • A new sentry is on guard atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, scanning the skies for potentially threatening asteroids and comets.

21 June 2010

  • Russia’s RS-20B rocketlaunched Germany’s TanDEM-X satellite, designed to generate a consistent, highly-accurate global digital elevation model.
  • The latest information on viewing Comet McNaught.

20 June 2010

  • The Hayabusa return capsule arrived in Japan.

19 June 2010

18 June 2010

17 June 2010

  • The Russian Soyuz TMA-19 successfully docked with the International Space Station at 22:21 UTC, 222 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina.
  • The space capsule from the Hayabusa mission has left Australia and begun its journey to Japan.

16 June 2010

  • Following on the heels of the successful launch of the Falcon-9 last week, Space-X has captured the lion’s share of the Iridium launch services market. Space-X has inked a $492 million deal to launch a new fleet of Iridium mobile communications satellites beginning in 2015.
  • Processing of Discovery (STS-133) proceeds as expected. Installation of the three SSMEs took around two days, starting with Engine 1, followed by Engine 3 and Engine 2. Other processing also took place at the same time as engineers worked on Discovery’s aft. The repair of the RH (Right Hand OMS) pod continues on schedule at the HMF (Hypergolic Maintenance Facility).

15 June 2010

  • Russia launched their Soyuz-FG rocket with three astronauts aboard heading for the International Space Station.
  • A Dnepr rocket carried three satellites into orbit: The French Picard satellite and the Swedish satellites Tango and Mango.

14 June 2010

  • JAXA has recovered the Hayabusa re-entry capsule and found both the front and back shells from the heat shield.
  • China successfully launched their Shijian 12 research satellite.

13 June 2010

  • The re-entry capsule from Hayabusa returned safely to Earth near Woomera, Australia on time and on target. The fireball was spectacular.
  • The roll-out of the Russian Soyuz rocket and manned space capsule has begun at the Baikonur space center in central Kazakhstan. Soyuz is scheduled for launch at 14:35 Phoenix time, Tuesday, 15 June.

12 June 2010

  • The re-entry capsule from the Hayabusa spacecraft is due back on 13 June at 6:51 AM Phoenix time (13:51 (UTC), creating a fireball over Western Australia.

11 June 2010

  • The UK Space Agency is announcing £10.5M for the development of instruments to search for signs of past or present life on Mars. The instruments are part of the scientific payload on the ExoMars rover to be launched in 2018 as part of a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and US space agency NASA.
  • Science Online Abstract: Oort cloud comets are currently believed to have formed in the Sun’s protoplanetary disk and to have been ejected to large heliocentric orbits by the giant planets. Detailed models of this process fail to reproduce all of the available observational constraints, however. In particular, the Oort cloud appears to be substantially more populous than the models predict. Here, we present numerical simulations that show that the Sun captured comets from other stars while it was in its birth cluster. Our results imply that a substantial fraction of the Oort cloud comets, perhaps exceeding 90%, are from the protoplanetary disks of other stars.
  • From JAXA: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) began to deploy the solar sail of the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” on June 3 (Japan Standard Time). On June 10 (JST,) we have confirmed that it was successfully expanded and was generating power through its thin film solar cells at about 770 km from the Earth.

10 June 2010

  • The Korea Space Launch Vehicle, or KSLV 1, blasted off from the Naro Space Center at 0801 GMT (4:01 a.m. EDT), and apparently exploded 137 seconds later.
  • NASA has dispatched a jet filled with scientists to Australia ahead of the long-awaited return of a Japanese asteroid probe, which began its final approach to Earth Wednesday.

9 June 2010

  • South Korea launched its satellite.
  • A NASA flying observatory has left California on a mission to track a Japanese asteroid-sampling spacecraft as it returns to Earth on a course for Australia.
    NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center says its DC-8 airborne lab left Palmdale Tuesday evening, carrying scientists from the U.S. and Japanese space agencies and other organizations. The group will study the meteor-like plunge of the Hayabusa spacecraft, which visited the asteroid Itokawa during a seven-year mission and is carrying a capsule that may contain a sample from the space rock.
  • Japan deploys the IKAROS Solar Sail.

8 June 2010

  • STS-135 is being considered for June of 2011.
  • The C/2009 R1 comet is nearing the Earth and will be visible in the Northern hemisphere with a naked eye in mid-June, NASA said on its website.

7 June 2010

  • Reaction to the successful flight of the Falcon-9.

6 June 2010

  • UFO nuts had a field day in Australia when the second stage of the Falcon rocket passed overhead at dawn 60 minutes after launch. Watch the video.
  • Orion’s role of transporting US astronauts into space has been reduced to little more than an assumption it may one day be involved in human space exploration, after contractor Lockheed Martin effectively washed its hands of the project due to fears relating to termination liability.
  • From the Alamogordo News: On June 1, 1921, Goddard performed an early experiment with liquid fuel, said the Web site astronautix.com. It was, the Web site history.nasa.gov said, one of many such tests from 1920-22, with Goddard experimenting with “liquid oxygen and various liquid hydrocarbons, including gasoline and liquid propane, as well as ether, as rocket fuel.”

5 June 2010

  • The Hylas communications satellite has completed thermal-vacuum testing in Bangalore, India. Final testing is underway, and the spacecraft will be shipped to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in August. Hyals will target the high demand for broadband services in Europe that cannot be met by terrestrial networks. It will provide capacity to serve hundreds of thousands of Internet users and broadcast up to 30 standard or 15 high-definition TV channels.
  • Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that’s new to human history. Many technologies of the 21st century are vulnerable to solar storms, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity.

4 June 2010

  • Space-X successfully launched their first Falcon-9. The first stage performed nominally. A bonus was the separation and operation of the second stage, which placed a boilerplate Dragon spacecraft in orbit.
  • SpaceX is set to attempt the initial launch of the Falcon 9 beginning at 8:00 AM Phoenix time this morning.

3 June 2010

  • International Launch Systems (ILS) launched the BADR-5 (Arabsat-5) Communications satellite aboard a Proton-M rocket.
  • A mineral-scouting instrument developed at ASU’s Mars Space Flight Facility has found an outcrop of rock rich in carbonate minerals in the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater on Mars, according to a report published online June 3 in the journal Science.
  • SpaceX ‘Go’ for Falcon 9 Launch Attempt

2 June 2010

  • A full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope was built by the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman, to provide a better understanding of the size, scale and complexity of this satellite. The model is constructed mainly of aluminum and steel, weighs 12,000 lb., and is approximately 80 feet long, 40 feet wide and 40 feet tall. This Flickr set shows the construction of the full-scale model at Battery Park, NYC for the World Science Festival, May 30, 2010.
  • China launched a new navigation satellite on Wednesday, using a CZ-3C Chang Zheng-3C (CZ3C-4/Y4) launch vehicle from the Xi Chang satellite Launch Center, in Sichuan Province.
  • Astronauts land safely in Kazakhstan after mission.

1 June 2010

  • In a truly transformative event, physicists have for the first time found direct evidence that a neutrino, a ghostly elementary particle that barely interacts with matter, morphs from one type into another.
  • The Russian Soyuz spacecraft TMA-17 undocked from the International Space Station late Tuesday and is headed back to Earth with three veteran spaceflyers eager to return home after nearly six months in orbit.
  • More news and comments on VASIMR. Can it result in a 39 day trip to Mars?

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