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SpaceX Completes Key Milestone to Fly Astronauts to International Space Station

SpaceX Completes Key Milestone to Fly Astronauts to International Space Station
Hawthorne, CA (SPX) Oct 21, 2011

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has announced it has successfully completed the preliminary design review of its revolutionary launch abort system, a system designed for manned missions using its Dragon spacecraft. This represents a major step toward creating an American-made successor to the Space Shuttle.

Full article

Herschel detects abundant water in planet-forming disc

Herschel detects abundant water in planet-forming disc

ESA’s Herschel space observatory has found evidence of water vapour emanating from ice on dust grains in the disc around a young star, revealing a hidden ice reservoir the size of thousands of oceans.

Full article

The James Webb Telescope Will See Earth-Like Worlds

The James Webb Telescope Will See Earth-Like Worlds: Moffett Field CA (SPX) Oct 25, 2011

The James Web Space Telescope has been in the news a lot lately. Often referred to as the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope, its existence has been in jeopardy since a House committee voted to cut its funding this summer. While the telescope promises to revolutionize space science, its expanding budget has caused politicians and others to wonder if the promised returns justify the cost.

Full article

International cooperation on Space: Share your ideas!

How to improve International cooperation in Space Exploration ?

* Vote for existing ideas !

* Submit your own new ideas !

Join the Think Tank here : http://www.google.com/moderator/#16/e=33f8

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After using this offer, Share it ! For every friend joining Dropbox, 
you'll both be granted 250 MB of bonus space (up to a limit of 8 GB) !

The Space Quote - Moebius' metaphor

" Space is a metaphor for awareness : there's a progression from the formation of ego, from being constrained within oneself, to a broader dimension that embraces others. It's a mental conquest of space, with concentric circles that expand to encompass the idea of belonging to a nation, a continent, a planet and ultimately the cosmos. "
MOEBIUS ; Pen name of Jean Giraud - Cartoonist and visionary, creator of Blueberry, who worked on comic books, international movies, videogames...

Start of the Cassini Equinox Mission

June 30 2008 marks the end of the four-year primary mission for the Cassini spacecraft and the start of the extended mission. Approval for the two-year extension, called the Cassini Equinox Mission, was announced by NASA in April 2008.

The mission extension builds upon the success of the primary mission. Some key scientific objectives of this extended mission are :
  • to study in more detail the Saturnian moons, in particular Titan and Enceladus;
  • to monitor seasonal effects on Titan and Saturn;
  • to explore new regions of the Saturnian magnetosphere;
  • to observe the unique ring geometry of the Saturn equinox in August 2009 - when sunlight will pass directly through the plane of the rings.
Cassini-Huygens is a joint NASA/ESA/ASI mission to explore Saturn, Titan and the other moons of the Saturnian system. The mission has two distinct elements: the Cassini orbiter and the Huygens probe, the latter provided by ESA.

Source : ESA Science Cassini-Huygens homepage

Space Quote - SpaceFaring

" All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct "
Carl Sagan - American astronomer, astrochemist, and author

Living and working on Earthen Moonscape

The photo album from the 2008 June Field test !Conditions on the moon will be harsher, but prototype NASA robotic vehicles and their developers braved sand storms and unprecedented temperature swings on sweeping dunes near Moses Lake, Wash., this month to prepare for the future.

Teams from seven NASA centers and one university coordinated their activities on the Moses Lake Sand Dunes from June 2-13 to gain hands-on experience with specific technical challenges anticipated when humans return to the moon by 2020 and begin to explore the lunar surface and set up initial outposts.

* X-clusive : Thanks to one D-RATS guy who answered me on Twitter, here is the photo album from the 2008 June Field test!

NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) Team :

Every September, after the summer rain backs off but before the mornings get too cold, a pack of RATS descends on the desert near Flagstaff, Ariz., to spend two weeks testing technologies that will play a vital role in the future of space exploration.

(+) Read more…

A NASA MMO video game !

Development of a NASA-based massively multiplayer online learning game :

The NASA Learning Technologies (LT) is currently investigating the development of a NASA-based massively multiplayer online educational game (MMO) :

Persistent immersive synthetic environments in the form of MMO gaming and social virtual world, initially popularized as gaming and social settings, are now finding growing interest as education and training venues. There is increasing recognition that these synthetic environments can serve as powerful “hands-on” tools for teaching a range of complex subjects.

(+) Read more…

The Space Quote - Odds

" Why spend billions to place a man on the Moon? If we don't, we may lose the Earth. If we do, we may gain the universe. You couldn't ask for better odds "
Isaac Asimov - Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry.

Europe’s automated ship docks to the ISS !

ATV Jules Verne, the European Space Agency’s first resupply and reboost vehicle, has successfully performed a fully automated docking with the International Space Station (ISS).

This docking marks the beginning of Jules Verne’s main servicing mission to deliver cargo, propellant, water, oxygen and propulsion capacity to the Station, as well as ESA’s entry into the restricted club of the partners able to access the orbital facility by their own means !

Source : Jules Verne ATV Blog

ATV Jules Verne demonstrates key capabilities

29 March 2008 - ESA's Jules Verne ATV (the first european cargo spaceship) today demonstrated its ability to navigate safely from a point 39 km behind the ISS to a stand-off point just 3.5 km away using relative GPS navigation. The vessel then executed an Escape manoeuvre commanded from the ATV Control Centre in which the craft flew off to a safe distance.

Today’s demonstration also confirmed Jules Verne is able to establish a continuous two-way data link with the ISS. Using the high-rate S-band communication link, which was switched on at a distance of 40 km from the ISS, Jules Verne for the first time conducted relative GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) measurements with the Station. Relative GPS is a navigation technique executed by computers between the ATV's GPS receiver and the ISS GPS receiver that enables ATV to navigate relative to the Station with very high accuracy.

(+) Read more…

Cassini Spacecraft Finds Ocean May Exist Beneath Titan's Crust

March 20, 2008 - NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered evidence that points to the existence of an underground ocean of water and ammonia on Saturn's moon Titan.

"With its organic dunes, lakes, channels and mountains, Titan has one of the most varied, active and Earth-like surfaces in the solar system," said Ralph Lorenz, Cassini radar scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, "Now we see changes in the way Titan rotates, giving us a window into Titan's interior beneath the surface."

(+) Read more…

The Space Quote - Dinosaurs

" The dinosaurs failed to survive due to the lack of a space program... "

Arthur C. CLARKE - Writer and inventor, author of 2001 : A Space Odyssey.

Columbus lab joins the ISS

Europe now has a permanent basis for research in space!

16 Feb. 2008 : The European Columbus laboratory, launched with the US STS-122 mission, has been attached to the International Space Station during a spacewalk on Monday.

Rest of the week, both crews were busy with tasks to activate Columbus. Now all of the on-orbit laboratory core systems are activated and two european experiments are installed on the outside of the module, exposing facilities to the harsh environment of space and observing the sun. Four others scientific experiments will be engaged during next four weeks by the french astronaut Léopold Eyharts.

Would you like to know more ?

Earth Life Forms Ejected on Asteroid Impact Could Survive and Return Again

If an asteroid or comet impacted Earth, the resulting ejection of materials could contain life forms. According to a study published in the journal Astrobiology, these life forms could survive and then seed another planet or moon with life. Additionally, Earth could also be re-seeded with life by those same life forms.

If rock fragments containing embedded microorganisms were ejected into space, at least some of those organisms might survive and reseed Earth or seed another planetary surface able to support life. This scenario, which is called lithopanspermia was examined in studies called systematic shock recovery experiments designed to simulate this type of situation where microorganisms are transported between planets via meteorites.

(+) Read more…

The Space Quote - Evolution

" We're right in the middle of Life on Earth. What state of evolution will we have reached when the sun implodes and turns the Earth to glass ? And what solutions will we have found to the ultimate question of our survival ? "

Philippe STARCK - Visionary designer, artistic director at Virgin Galactic.

Astrium rockets into space tourism

The flight of your life !

EADS-Astrium has unveiled a revolutionary new vehicle for space tourism. This business-jet looking spacecraft is designed to carry four passengers 100 km up into space, giving them more than three minutes of ‘zero G’ or weightlessness experience !

The Astrium space jet will take off and land conventionally from a standard airport using its jet engines. However, once the craft is airborne at an altitude of about 12 km, the rocket engines will be ignited to give sufficient acceleration to reach 100 km. In only 80 seconds the craft will have climbed to 60 km altitude. The highly innovative seats balance themselves to minimize the effects of acceleration and deceleration, ensuring the greatest passenger comfort and safety. The rocket propulsion system is then shut down as the ship-s inertia carries it on to over 100 km, where passengers will become one of the very few to experience zero gravity in space.

(+) Read more…

The pilot will control the craft using small rocket thrusters enabling passengers to hover weightlessly for 3 minutes and to witness the most spectacular view of Earth imaginable. After slowing down during descent, the jet engines are restarted for a normal and safe landing at a standard airfield. The entire trip will last approximately an hour and a half.

Astrium is proposing the one stage system as it is considered the safest and most economical to operate. If development begins in 2008, a first commercial flight would be possible by 2012.

The development of a new vehicle able to operate in altitudes between aircraft (20km) and below satellites (200 km) could well be a precursor for rapid transport -point-to-point- vehicles or quick access to Space - opening up previously unexplored territory. Its development will contribute to maintaining (and even enhancing) European competences in core technologies of Space Transportation.

As single industrial prime contractor for Ariane 5, main European contributor to the International Space Station and as a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, Astrium has the necessary expertise and know-how for manned space flight.

As it is a commercial project, private capital will be the main source of funding. The financial envelope, which will be around one billion euros, could be completed by refundable loans and by regional development funding. Return on investment will come from operations of vehicles for the emerging and promising market of suborbital space tourism. The cost per flight per passenger would be around 150,000 to 200,000 Euros.

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