Astronews Daily (2455530)

November 29, 2010 12:46 by scibuff

Top Stories

Soyuz and 3 ISS Crewmembers Return Home – The Expedition 25 crew landed safely in Kazakhstan at 11:46 p.m. EST Thursday (Friday 10:46 a.m. Kazakhstan time). The trio — Doug Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin — undocked in the Soyuz TMA-19 at 8:23 p.m. ending their 5-1/2 month stay at the International Space Station. Staying behind on the orbiting laboratory are Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! – It seems oddly appropriate to be writing about astrophysical jets on Thanksgiving Day, when the New York football Jets will be featured on television. In the most recent issue of Science, Carlos Carrasco-Gonzalez and collaborators write about how their observations of radio emissions from young stellar objects (YSOs) shed light one of the unsolved problems in astrophysics; what are the mechanisms that form the streams of plasma known as polar jets? Although we are still early in the game, Carrasco-Gonzalez et al have moved us closer to the goal line with their discovery. -Mike Simonsen / Universe Today

Astronomers thankful for return of Jupiter’s belt – NASA just released a new image of Jupiter that confirms what amateur astronomers discovered a few days ago: Jupiter’s Southern Equatorial Belt is coming back! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Nov 17/18 to 24/25 Meteors – We are now entering a transition period as we leave behind November’s showers (such as the Leonids and Taurids) and look forward to December’s offerings (Geminids and Sigma Hydrids). The nights tabulated below mark the 61st consecutive night with a video meteor detection. -Carl Hergenrother

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Videos

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 - The camera is running at 500 fps, making the total clip of over 8 minutes represent just 30 seconds of actual time.

  

Photos

Launch Pad 39-A

Launch Pad 39-A

The Moon

The Moon

The Moon from the ISS

The Moon from the ISS

Erupting Volcano

Erupting Volcano

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 6503

Fresh starbirth infuses the galaxy NGC 6503 with a vital pink glow in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy, a smaller version of the Milky Way, is perched near a great void in space where few other galaxies reside. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.

40 years after one small step

July 21, 2009 02:56 by scibuff

Date: July 21. Time: 02:56:15 UTC. 40 years have passed since the moment in which approximately half a billion people worldwide watched in awe as Neil Armstrong said those immortal words taking the first step on another world.

That's one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind - Source: NASA

That's one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind - Source: NASA

The first words on the lunar surface actually belong to the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Buzz Aldrin. At 20:17:39.9 UTC just moments before the touchdown, Aldrin informed Armstrong of the “Contact Light” – meaning that at least one of the 1.73 meter-long probes hanging from three of the footpads has touched the surface.

At 03:15:16 UTC Buzz joined Neil out on the surface. They examined the LM, placed the TV camera away from the spacecraft, deployed scientific instruments (seismometer, laser reflectors, solar wind collectors, etc) and started to familiarize themselves with working in one-sixth gravity. The first lunar Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) lasted for 2 hours 31 minutes and 40 seconds. After closing the hatch and stoving samples and equipment, the crew had a 5-hour resting period. The LM’s ascent engine fired at 17:54:00 UTC leaving the first footsteps of men behind in Tranquility Base.

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) ascent stage taken from the Command Module (CM) during rendezvous in lunar orbit as the LM makes its docking approach above Mare Smithii - Photo Credit: NASA/Apollo 11

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) ascent stage taken from the Command Module (CM) during rendezvous in lunar orbit as the LM makes its docking approach above Mare Smithii - Photo Credit: NASA/Apollo 11

Despite the tremendous achievement of the Apollo program, we can consider ourselves to be only temporary visitors to Moon. The 12 days 11 hours and 28 minutes of presence on the surface combined from the six successful missions are shorter than a summer vacation for most of us. The 12 astronauts whose footprints will remain in lunar “soil” for eons, total for even shorter 80 hours and 28 minutes spent outside the LM during 14 EVA’s between Apollo 11 and Apollo 17.

Unfortunately, the public lost interested in Apollo Program not much later than politicians who saw the Kennedy’s challenge met. Have it not been for the accident that nearly cost lives of Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert, Apollo 13 would most likely not get a second of live TV. Ultimately, the splashdown of Apollo 17 on December 19, 1972 meant the end of glorious days of lunar exploration. Nevertheless, hardly anyone would have thought that the words of Gene Cernan

Okay, Jack, let’s get this mutta outta here

a few seconds before Apollo 17 LM’s lift-off from the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, would be that the last from the lunar surface in the 20th century.

Apollo 11 arrived at the Moon

July 19, 2009 18:16 by scibuff

At 17:21:50 UTC on July 19, 1969, a retrograde burn of the Service Propulsion System (SPS) on the Command/Service Module (CSM) lasting 5 minutes and 57 seconds placed Apollo 11 into a safe, elliptical orbit of 111 by 306 km around the Moon.

The LOI burn is one of the most complex parts of a mission to the Moon. The primary requirement for the burn is that the spacecraft needs to be able to achieve a free return trajectory should the SPS fail.  Additionally, the burn should place the spacecraft into an orbital plane above the landing site at an acceptable approach azimuth (the angle of the approach path relative to lunar north). Ideally, the LOI would also put the spacecraft as close as possible to the surface but to avoid any possible collision scenarios the first orbit should not be lower than 110km.

Combining all the constraints it is impossible to execute the LOI to achieve all mission objectives. Therefore, the flight dynamics officer (FIDO) and his team prepare ten different scenarios and then the FIDO selects the “target” which violates the least amount of requirements. The selected program is then sent to the on-board computer as LOI starts while the astronauts are on the far side of the Moon.

At 21:43:36 UTC a 17 second long burn will put Apollo 11 to the final orbit and about an hour later the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) will enter the Command Module (CM) for for initial power-up and system checks. The following day, after a good sleep, both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin will enter the Lunar Module (LM) at 12:52 UTC to conduct final preparations for descent. The LM will undock at 17:44:00 UTC, at 19:08:14 UTC the LM descent engine will fire for 30 seconds to provide retrograde thrust for the descent orbit insertion and at 20:05:05 UTC the descent engine will burn for 12 minutes and 36 seconds to put the crew on the path to the Tranquility Base.

Apollo 11 launched successfully – 40 years ago

July 16, 2009 13:54 by scibuff

Update 2: Boston Globe published a gallery of 40 breathtaking photos of Apollo 11.

Update 1: NASA has made available HD footage of moments from the Apollo 11 mission

I wonder how would the today’s blogosphere react if this event was happening now. The buzz Space Shuttle launches generate grows with every mission as demonstrated by yesterday’s launch of Endeavour which, despite five scrubbed attempts, shuttered all previous records into pieces.

July 16, 1969 at 13:32:00 UTC – The crew of Apollo 11 successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Complex (LC) pad 39-A on the first manned mission to land on the Moon, atop the Saturn V rocket, the most powerful machine ever build (even today) generating 34 million Newtons of thrust – the only rocket that has carried man beyond Earth’s gravity.

The crew of Apollo 11: Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module pilot Michael Collins, Lunar Module pilot Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. May 1, 1969 - Photo Credit: NASA

The crew of Apollo 11: Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module pilot Michael Collins, Lunar Module pilot Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. May 1, 1969 - Photo Credit: NASA

July 16

13:31:51 UTC – S-IC (Saturn V – first stage) start command

13:31:58 UTC – S-IC ignition

The Apollo 11 Saturn V at the moment of ignition - Photo Credit: NASA

The Apollo 11 Saturn V at the moment of ignition - Photo Credit: NASA

13:32:00 UTC – Lift-off

Apollo 11 Liftoff at KSC LC-39A - Photo Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 Liftoff at KSC LC-39A - Photo Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 Liftoff at KSC LC-39A - Photo Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 Liftoff at KSC LC-39A - Photo Credit: NASA

13:33:06 UTC – Passed Mach 1 and 17 seconds later Max-Q (Maximum dynamic pressure 35,200.13 N/m²)

13:34:41 UTC – S-IC onboard engine cut-off

16:22:13 UTC – Trans-Lunar Injection (TLI), Apollo 11 is heading for Mare Tranquillitatis on the Lunar surface

July 19

17:21:50 UTC – Lunar orbit insertion

Earthrise over the lunar horizon taken from the orbiting Command Module - Photo Credit: NASA

Earthrise over the lunar horizon taken from the orbiting Command Module - Photo Credit: NASA

July 20

17:44:00 UTC – Command Service Module (CSM) / Lunar Module (LM) separation

20:17:39 UTC – Lunar landing

July 21

02:39:33 UTC – Lunar EVA started

02:56:15 UTC – “That’s one small step for a man…one giant leap for mankind”

Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong at the modular equipment storage assembly (MESA) of the Lunar Module "Eagle" on the historic first extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. - Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong at the modular equipment storage assembly (MESA) of the Lunar Module "Eagle" on the historic first extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. - Photo Credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin climbs down the Eagle's ladder to the surface. Photo credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin climbs down the Eagle's ladder to the surface. Photo credit: NASA

05:11:13 UTC – Lunar EVA ends (LM hatch is closed) – EVA clocks stop at 02 hours 31 minutes and 40 seconds

17:54:00 UTC – Lunar lift-off ignition

With a half-Earth in the background, the Lunar Module ascent stage with Moon-walking Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaches for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module manned by Michael Collins. - Photo Credit: NASA

With a half-Earth in the background, the Lunar Module ascent stage with Moon-walking Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaches for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module manned by Michael Collins. - Photo Credit: NASA

21:35:00 UTC – CSM / LM docking

July 22

04:55:42 UTC – Trans-Earth Injection

July 24

16:21:12 UTC – Command Module (CM) / Service Module (SM) separation

16:35:05 UTC – Atmospheric (re)entry

16:50:35 UTC – Splashdown

Columbia splashed down southwest of Hawaii - Photo Credit: NASA

Columbia splashed down southwest of Hawaii - Photo Credit: NASA