Daily Journals


According to National Geographic a NASA safety officer pushed the self-destruct button.

“The explosion happened after safety officers, watching for any of ten specified problems, such as a gross deviation from the flight path, sent a signal from the flight termination system to disable the rocket” – National Geographic

See full story here

While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences’ third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station was not successful today, we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today’s mishap. The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies.

Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success. Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station.”

-From William Gerstenmaier, the Associate Administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations.

Update: A second attempt to launch will be tonight (Oct.28) at 6:22pm EDT – NASA webcast here (starts at 5:30)

The Orbital Sciences Antares Rocket, carrying the Cygnus Spacecraft SS Deke Slayton, will have its first nighttime launch on Monday, Oct. 27, at 6:45 p.m. EDT from Wallops Island, VA. This should be visible for a large area of the East Coast. This Orb-3 Cygnus spacecraft is named after Deke Slayton

“The Orb-3 mission represents the fifth launch of the company’s Antares rocket in its first 18 months of operations. It will also be the fourth cargo delivery mission to the ISS by a Cygnus spacecraft, including the 2013 demonstration flight. For Orb-3, Orbital will deliver its largest load of cargo to date, carrying approximately 5,050 pounds (2,290 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS for NASA. At the conclusion of the Orb-3 mission, the company will have carried a total of 13,378 pounds (6,078 kilograms) of essential supplies, equipment and scientific experiments to the ISS and will have removed 13,444 pounds (6,097 kilograms) of disposal cargo, a vital capability for the maintenance and operation of the Station.” – Orbital Sciences


To learn more about the Antares vehicle click here

“Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety.
“What we’re trying to do is break the performance versus sensitivity curve, and make a rocket that’s both very high-energy, as well as very safe,”said Bryce Tappan, an energetic materials chemist. “Typically, when you look at a propellant that’s high-performance, it’s not as safe a material.”

Conventional solid-fuel rocket motors work by combining a fuel and an oxidizer, a material usually rich in oxygen, to enhance the burning of the fuel. In higher-energy fuels this mixture can be somewhat unstable, and can contain sensitive high explosives that can detonate under high shock loads, high temperatures, or other conditions.

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate.

“Because the fuel is physically separated from the oxidizer,” said Tappan, “you can utilize higher-energy propellants.”

After years of development and bench-top static tests, the new rocket design was recently flight tested at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center’s Socorro launch site, part of New Mexico Tech. The new rocket design was tested against conventional, high-energy commercial rockets to enable a comparison of data gathered on velocity, altitude, burn rate, and other parameters.

“You don’t have to do much more than a few seconds of YouTube searching to find numerous failed rocket tests,” said Tappan. “So, I had that worry in the back of my mind. But once we saw that successful launch go off, it was the culmination of a lot of years of research, it was very satisfying to see it fly.”

Researchers will now work to scale-up the design, as well as explore miniaturization of the system, in order to exploit all potential applications that would require high-energy, high-velocity, and correspondingly high safety margins.” -Los Alamos National Laboratory

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 10.28.53 PM


Alan Eustace dangles from baloon as he ascends to over 135,000 feet.

Alan Eustace, a computer scientist( a Google VP), broke Felix Baumgartner’s record on Friday by skydiving from 135,908 feet. This was an impressive dive of 15 minutes after over a 2 hour ascent dangling from a weather balloon in a device much more simple and basic than Felix’s capsule.

Read more at the NYTimes

Great introduction to Rocket Science.

« Previous PageNext Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 142 other followers