September 2011

This is a great little video. Enjoy!

“Reusability is key to the dramatic cost savings that will enable advancements in human exploration of space. The Dragon spacecraft is a fully reusable and SpaceX is working toward the goal of delivering the world’s first fully reusable launch vehicle. Check out the animation below for a sneak peek at SpaceX’s exciting plans for the future.” -SPACEX

SpaceX and the future of Falcon9

On September 26th 1983 the Launch Abort System on the Soyuz was put to the test on a real launch. The Soyuz T-10-1 was poised for a launch to send the crew to Salyut 7 space station then suddenly at T-90 fuel spilled from the base of the rocket and caught on fire. The crew immediately activated the abort system but nothing happened because the cables had already burned through. About 20 seconds later ,as the rocket was engulfed in flames, Launch Control was able to remotely activate by radio command and the crew were blasted to safety. Two seconds after the abort system activated and accelerated the crew away the booster exploded.The crew landed safely but badly bruised about 4 km away.

Want to hear the sound of a Shuttle Launch? How about adding the ringtone “We have Liftoff” of Apollo 11?

NASA now has a great sound library with many great sounds from history and even current missions. The site includes ringtone instructions for Android and iPhones.

I have added  “Houston, we’ve had a problem,”  as the error message on my computer.

NASA Sound Library

NASA's new concept Space Launch System - image credit:NASA

NASA announced today the Space Launch System (SLS) concept rocket with a launch target of 2017.

Does it look like a Saturn with solid boosters attached to anyone else?

“The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and cutting-edge tooling and manufacturing technology that will significantly reduce development and operations costs. It will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, which will include the RS-25D/E from the Space Shuttle program for the core stage and the J-2X engine for the upper stage. SLS will also use solid rocket boosters for the initial development flights, while follow-on boosters will be competed based on performance requirements and affordability considerations. The SLS will have an initial lift capacity of 70 metric tons (mT) and will be evolvable to 130 mT. The first developmental flight, or mission, is targeted for the end of 2017. ” -NASA

Click here to read more and see the NASA video about SLS

Grail Delta 2 launch - image credit:NASA

NASA’s GRAIL mission to study the moon from crust to core successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Pad SLC-17B at 9:08 a.m. Twin spacecraft GRAIL A & GRAIL B have deployed and are on their way to the moon.

This is 148th  successful Delta 2 rocket launch.

Grail Launch info
Grail Web Site

Screen capture of live GRAIL separation

GRAIL sep 2

Craft approaching 45,000 feet-moments before shutdown photo credit: Blue Origin

First reported by the Wall Street Journal, Blue Origin lost a spacecraft on August 24th. According to the reports the craft had to be destroyed after control was lost after the craft surpassed Mach 1 at was at about 45,000 feet. Blue Origin is owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos.

“Three months ago, we successfully flew our second test vehicle in a short hop mission, and then last week we lost the vehicle during a developmental test at Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 45,000 feet. A flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle. Not the outcome any of us wanted, but we’re signed up for this to be hard, and the Blue Origin team is doing an outstanding job. We’re already working on our next development vehicle.” -Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin

Original Wall Street Journal Article

Here are four excellent photos of a Proton Rocket I came across today.

Proton business end -beautiful! (click to enlarge) -photo credit: NASA

Steampunk Proton M from the front image source:NASA

Proton Launch (click to enlarge) -photo credit:NASA


Proton being lifted to launch position


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