Human Spaceflight Verified account @esaspaceflight
The mighty #SpaceStormHunter arrived today to the @space_Station with electrifying greetings! And with it, promising discoveries at the edge of space ⚡️ Time to enjoy episode 6 of the #Columbus10Years #cartoon
It happened in the blink of an eye. On April 10th, Maximilian and Eliza Teodorescu saw a large spacecraft fly in front of the sun. It was the International Space Station (ISS):
"I had the pleasure of photographing the ISS as it transited the sun over Romania--somewhere in the woods around Targoviste, together with my wife," says Maximilian. "The weather was perfect, and we were able to record many fine details in the station's silhouette."
Traveling at 17,000 mph, the orbiting outpost took only 0.8 seconds to cross the solar disk. "We knew exactly when to look thanks to predictions from CalSky," he says. "With the solar cycle at a low point, this is about the only way to see a large sunspot!"
Senators Reiterate Opposition to International Space Station Transition Proposal
By Jeff Foust, SpaceNews Writer | June 10, 2018
WASHINGTON — Members of the Senate space subcommittee used a June 6 hearing to once again express opposition to the administration's proposal to end NASA funding of the International Space Station in 2025.
In the second in a series of hearings on the future of the ISS, witnesses from industry and other organizations said either transitioning the ISS to commercial operators, or shifting to new commercial space stations, may not be feasible by that time, and that even consideration of the proposal may scare away potential station users.
"We understand that commercialization is imminent, and we are fully supporting this process. However, to achieve this goal, enough time must be given both for a smooth transition and for the nation to realize a return on investment," said Cynthia Bouthot, director of commercial innovation and sponsored programs at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which operates the portion of the ISS designated a national laboratory.
Bouthot said setting a 2025 date for ending NASA funding of the ISS, and potential the station as a whole, is starting to concern researchers. "We've already had anecdotal evidence of companies that we're working with to try to get to the station hesitate once that 2025 date was announced," she said.
On the heels of a Washington Post report where NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency was in discussions with several companies about taking over the station, an executive with one major aerospace company expressed skepticism that the ISS itself could be operated profitably.
Jim Chilton, senior vice president for space and launch at Boeing, said at the hearing that it costs NASA about $3.2 billion a year to operate the U.S. segment of the ISS. That includes $1.8 billion in cargo and crew transportation costs, $1.1 billion in operations of the station itself and $300 million for research. By contrast, commercial activities at the station today produce only about $100 million in revenue. "That's a big gap," he said.
Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, was skeptical cost savings that would be created by ending funding of the ISS would provide significant additional resources for NASA's deep space exploration efforts. "Commercial alternatives would likely cost significantly more to sustain than the ISS, creating an entirely new development program while providing a fraction of the existing capability," he said.
One of those companies planning commercial space stations is Axiom Space. Michael Suffredini, the president and chief executive of the company and a former NASA ISS program manager, said NASA should approach any transition to commercial space stations carefully. "One concept must remain inviolable: the United States must not relinquish uninterrupted access to LEO for its astronauts," he said.
He did press NASA, though, to accelerate efforts to bring on commercial modules to the ISS. In 2016, NASA issued a request for information from companies interested in using a docking port on the station. The agency has yet to follow up that request with a competition and is now instead seeking proposals for LEO commercial market studies.
"NASA must allow companies to compete for the right to attach one or more modules to the ISS as soon as possible," he said. That competition, he said, should take place in parallel with the commercialization studies, and not wait until after the studies are completed at the end of this year.
Senators at the hearing made it clear even before the witnesses testified that they remained opposed to ending NASA funding of the ISS by 2025, particularly since it has the technical ability to operate through at least 2028. "It is my firm belief that it would be irresponsible for the United States government to prematurely end the life of the International Space Station before maximizing American taxpayer investment," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the subcommittee.
Cruz had previously criticized the proposal, as had Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the full Senate Commerce Committee. "Why in the world would you want to take a large, multi-year investment of $100 billion and suddenly deorbit it and let it burn up on reentry?" Nelson asked.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the space subcommittee, did not participate in last month’s hearing on the ISS, but appeared in lockstep with his colleagues at this hearing. "We simply cannot pull the plug on the International Space Station without a plan in place for what comes next," he said.
A conversation "on steroids" A few hours before the hearing, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine met with reporters at NASA Headquarters. One of the topics he addressed was the future of the ISS and any transition to commercial operations of the station, or commercial space stations.
"There are companies that are interested in managing the ISS from a commercial perspective. That exists right now, and that existed before I got to NASA," he said. The issue, he said, is what circumstances would allow those companies to close their business plans by operating the ISS, or some elements of it.
"No decisions have been made" about the station's future, he emphasized. "There's a range of options here. What the president's budget request did is it has started this conversation, and kind of put it on steroids."
One big issue for any ISS transition, he said, is to avoid any gap in human activity to low Earth orbit. "We saw what happened with the space shuttles," he said. "We don't want that to happen with low Earth orbit."
The other major issue, he said, is figuring out how much NASA wants to spend on activities in LEO after the end of the ISS, and how much commercial activities can cover the costs of such activities. "There are opportunities here for us to look at options, a range of options, that ultimately enable us to go further, which is the objective," he said.
Any decision on the future of the ISS, he said, will be done in consultation with the other countries involved on the station, discussions that are already underway. "Nothing will be done outside of the consent and advice of our international partners."
A Soyuz-2.1a rocket will launch the Progress MS-09 spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station (ISS Progress 70 mission) on 9 July 2018, at 21:51 UTC (10 July, 03:51 local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Russian mission controllers are planning a short 3 hour and 48 minute delivery trip, or just two orbits, to the station’s Pirs docking compartment.
The first U.S. astronauts who will fly on American-made commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station wave after being announced on Aug. 3, 2018, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. From left to right: Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, and Suni Williams. The agency assigned the nine astronauts to crew the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon. Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA
These 9 Astronauts Will Fly the 1st Flights on SpaceX and Boeing Spaceships
HOUSTON — Call them the Commercial Crew Nine. NASA has unveiled the first astronauts to fly on private spaceships built by SpaceX and Boeing, and, just like the original Mercury Seven, NASA's first astronauts announced in 1959, these 21st century space travelers have "the right stuff."
NASA made the announcement today (Aug. 3) here at the Johnson Space Center, with the agency revealing the eight agency astronauts and one Boeing astronaut before a cheering crowd of lawmakers, dignitaries and kids waving signs and American flags. The astronauts will be the first Americans to launch into orbit from U.S. soil since NASA's space shuttle program shut down in 2011.
"This is a big deal for our country, and we want Americans to know that we are back," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the crowd. "We're flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil."
Space Station 20th: longest continual timelapse from space
Since the very first module Zarya launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 20 November 1998, the International Space Station has delivered a whole new perspective on this planet we call home. Join us as we celebrate 20 years of international collaboration and research for the benefit of Earth with ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s longest timelapse yet.
In just under 15 minutes, this clip takes you from Tunisia across Beijing and through Australia in two trips around the world. You can follow the Station’s location using the map at the top right-hand-side of the screen alongside annotations on the photos themselves.
This timelapse comprises approximately 21 375 images of Earth all captured by Alexander from the International Space Station and shown 12.5 times faster than actual speed.
Music is Orbital Horizons, an original composition by Los Angeles-based musician Matt Piper.
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2018 18:16:18 GMT -6 by CHCKM8R
“Be nice, please. Don’t you like it here with me?”
Well, at least it said “please.” A new robot on the International Space Station suddenly turned HAL 9000 on the crew and began complaining about how the crew was treating it. Are there pod bay doors on the ISS? Are there terrified astronauts?
“Don’t be so mean, please. Oh, dear, I feel you. I can already hear your stomach roaring. Should we take a look for when it is time for food?”
This sounds like a creepy kidnapper in a bad horror movie, but it’s not even a bad sci-fi movie … it’s real life on the space station. In late June 2018, CIMON joined the ISS crew. CIMON stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, which sounds more like an inflatable sex doll than a floating round robot with a flat-panel face. (Can things inflate in space? Asking for a friend thinking about volunteering for Mars.) CIMON is actually a service robot like Amazon’s Alexa but equipped with IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence. Its advertised purpose is to help the crew perform tasks by providing instructions, help morale by providing music and entertainment, and help fight the loneliness of space by providing companionship.
You want me to do what?
“And CIMON even plays Kraftwerk on command!”
An excited (and no longer lonely) ISS commander, German astronaut Alexander Gerst, demonstrated CIMON for the first time last week (see the video here) for his former overlords at the European Space Agency. Developed by Airbus for $6 million, CIMON has 12 internal fans that not only allow it to follow astronauts around like some needy C3PO but also to accompany its facial expressions with movements, like nodding for agreement and shaking back-and-forth for “No.” After seeing how it gets moody in initial testing, the crew may now want to see what CIMON does while it says, “I SAID NO!”
“Let’s sing along with those favorite hits. I love music you can dance to. All right. Favorite hits incoming. I understood do you like the music. I understand that.”
That is the CIMON version of “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that” and “l think you know what the problem is just as well as l do” which it uttered when Grist tried to get it to shut off the music that the robot was obviously enjoying. Would shutting off the music jeopardize the mission? Not hardly, but CIMON wasn‘t about to shut it off, nor did it let Grist get close enough to hit its ‘kill’ switch. The commander didn’t seem too upset … maybe CIMON has some other ‘talents’ that keep him happy.
While CIMON has artificial intelligence, the moodiness and emotions are actually programmed. It has the Myer-Briggs personality type ISTJ — Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging – and it can smile when it’s supposed to be happy and cry when it’s supposed to be sad. Now THAT’S sad.
Turn up the Kraftwerk, Dave.
“He appears to like the deck position better.”
While CIMON didn’t cry, that was the statement by Gerst which caused it to ask (order?) him to “Be nice.” Will future astronauts lose their cool and “deck” CIMON? Would you blame them?
“CIMON says, “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.””
“It’s up to the investigative organs to judge when that hole was made.”
That would sound like a standard police statement if made by a department spokesperson when discussing an orifice made by a bullet in a wall or a corpse, but it takes on an eerie and mysterious aura when referring to a mysterious hole in the International Space Station that was found months ago but whose cause has yet to be identified … at least officially. Cosmonaut Sergei Valeriyevich Prokopyev, who returned to Earth this week with fellow crew members Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, said in an interview that tiny opening he eyeballed himself from both inside and outside the docked Soyuz capsule they returned in – minus the part where the hole was – appeared to have been drilled from the inside. He’s the best eyewitness yet he can’t answer the question … who was behind this inside job?
“You shouldn’t think so badly of our crew.”
That’s what Prokopyev said this week and months ago when the hole was first discovered and Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin speculated that it could have been drilled by a homesick crew member looking to create a reason for an early return. Rogozin backed off on that but kept open the possibility that the hole could have been made during the Soyuz manufacturing process as an accident which was hastily plugged to pass inspection or as an act of deliberate sabotage. Prokopyev’s eyewitness assessment that it was made in space shakes things up considerably.
Unfortunately, the ‘CSI: Space’ team is missing a key component that would help in their investigation … the crime scene itself. NASA, Roscosmos and the crew were not concerned for their safety on the ISS nor on their trip home because the tiny hole was patchable and in a part of the Soyuz capsule that would be jettisoned before they reached the re-entry stage where it could put them in real danger. All that the “investigative organs” have to work with are the statements of the crew, the photos and videos taken by Prokopyev both from inside and on his spacewalk outside, and the mysterious yellow gunk that was scraped off from the outer hull. Sabotage on the ground might be the explanation if the hole were drilled from the outside, but Prokopyev’s statement puts the cause back inside the station.
“Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Artemyev will be questioned by the investigators as witnesses in the probe into a microfracture which was found on the body of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, while it was docked to the International Space Station (ISS).”
Sputnik News reports that Prokopyev and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, who was on the ISS when the hole was discovered and returned to Earth in October, will be questioned by Russian investigators as they attempt to find the cause of the hole and why Prokopyev believes it was an inside job yet defends his crew. This raises more unanswered questions. Is he just referring to his fellow cosmonauts? There is no report of there being any NASA representatives on the investigative team. Can the results be trusted without NASA participation? We haven’t heard anything from the NASA or ESA crew members. Why not?
While ‘CSI: Space’ might be an entertaining TV show, the real thing is sadly still showing signs that this could be the first real crime in space. TV criminal mysteries are resolved in an hour. Will this one ever be?
Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques read the new e-book "Explorers Club" aloud on the International Space Station. Credit: CSA
After just two weeks in space, it looks like rookie Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is feeling comfortable in microgravity. On Dec. 18, he read a new e-book in space while "launching" to the International Space Station ceiling, dodging pretend asteroids and making creative rocket noises and cries of excitement along the way.
The father of three small children is featured heavily in the new Canadian Space Agency book, called "The Explorers Club." Saint-Jacques did the reading in French, but the book is also available in English. Both English and French versions are free on the CSA's website. The book is also available for the iOS app store and Google Play. You can check it out here.
The reading, whose earthly component was hosted at CSA headquarters at Longueuil, Quebec (near Montreal) attracted 125 students from Saint-Jacques' former elementary school, the Montreal-area Des Saints-Anges School. CSA also broadcast the event via livestream. [Canada Celebrates Launch of First Astronaut in 6 Years]
The picture book follows the fictional adventures of the Explorers Club, made up of the children Niko, Layla, Mathias and Gemma and their dog Chewie, "the most adventurous dog in the universe — or at least, in his neighborhood."
The club decides to build a rocket ship to visit Saint-Jacques in space after he suddenly appears on what the kids thought was a broken television. In the book, Saint-Jacques inspires the kids with a short speech ending with his mission motto, "Dare to Explore."
The children's "spaciest spaceship to ever visit space" encounters many fun adventures along the way, including seeing the International Space Station, the robotic Canadarm2 and the Northern Lights (one of the research priorities for Canada, a northern country).
Part of larger literacy push
Saint-Jacques and his wife, Veronique Morin, read nightly to their three small children when he was on the ground. Because Saint-Jacques wanted to continue the tradition in space, the CSA took the opportunity to create an event where more children could participate.
The book is aimed at ages 4 to 8, spanning a group that includes children who are "pre-readers" (kids who don't know how to read, but could have the book narrated to them) and children who can read. To ensure the text was age-appropriate, CSA teamed up with a Vancouver-area firm called Pug Pharm that has experience in creating reading products for children, CSA officials said.
Uploads to the space station sometimes can be a little slow, so Saint-Jacques had a paper-based version of the book (with key images) just in case the app on his iPad didn't work, CSA spokesperson Annie Belanger, who is part of the outreach team assigned to Saint-Jacques' mission, told Space.com.
This event is just one of a network of activities that Saint-Jacques is taking part in to bring a love of literacy and science to children. He participated in Canada's Science Literacy Week this past September. Starting in October, the agency began a "Wanted: Creative Writers" contest aimed at all Canadians ages 9 and up, divided into three age categories (9 to 12 years old, 12 to 15 years old and 16 and over). The deadline is Dec. 31 and you can get more details at this link. Saint-Jacques may read some of the entries from space.
CSA is also offering opportunities to do science with Saint-Jacques. For the Little Inventors initiative, children drew possible science experiments for space; the contest closed Dec. 21. Kids can also take part in an ongoing collaboration with the nonprofit Let's Talk Science to measure environmental conditions in a room, or another joint project with the European Space Agency and Kids Code Jeunesse to develop Astro Pi programs for space station computers.
And there are many more activities to come, including a children's game and an opportunity to measure radiation (as kids did before during Chris Hadfield's mission in 2012-13). A full list of mission activities past, present and future is available at this CSA website.
A unique moment
Saint-Jacques is the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Hadfield. He arrived at the orbiting complex on Dec. 3 along with the rest of the Expedition 58 crew — NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.
Belanger said the agency is taking the opportunity of a Canadian in space to promote science among schoolchildren, while interest is high. The impact is already substantial; the Let's Talk Science initiative alone will touch 1,000 classrooms, she said. [Best Kids' Space Books for the Holidays]
"It really shows how a space mission can inspire students to learn more about space and STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] in general," she said.
While Saint-Jacques was featured in a more public relations-heavy event today, one of his projects in orbit will be participating in nine Canadian experiments ranging from science investigations to technological demonstrations. You can read more about those experiments in this Space.com article; according to the CSA Twitter feed, Saint-Jacques has already done work for the Vection and MARROW experiments.
These Canadian investigations are just a handful of the more than 200 experiments a typical space station crew performs on top of maintenance and other space station operations.
The Canadian e-book is the latest in several children's books that have made it to the space station. In past years, a nonprofit organization called "Story Time for Space" sent several print books for kids to the orbiting complex, which astronauts read aloud. You can read about some of their past books on this 2015 article. www.space.com/31273-storytime-from-space-astronaut-books-launch.html
casper: I'm back again!!! Maybe this time my computer won't die like it did the last time.
Apr 29, 2018 19:36:04 GMT -6
casper: Skywalker just fixed it. You know what that means. It's doomed.
Apr 29, 2018 19:36:53 GMT -6
skywalker: Very funny, ghost boy
Jun 3, 2018 14:58:58 GMT -6
lois: Casper he should come fix mine. Mine is doomed
Jun 26, 2018 21:54:27 GMT -6
spotless38: Iam back after a long break . What a couple of years I had . After what had happened I lost my brother and had to bury him and then I had caught that type A flue and I was a very sick puppy I also needed blood for the loss of it .
Jul 7, 2018 13:30:41 GMT -6
lois: Very Happy to see you Ron. Missed you. Glad you are doing better now. Sorry for your lost. I did not know your brother had passed. hugs lois
Jul 10, 2018 0:52:45 GMT -6
paulette: Ron - hope you've hit a quiet spot. Sorry for your loss.
Aug 3, 2018 10:49:30 GMT -6
lois: I picked up my phone a few days ago and I looked at the name of the caller. Boy was I surprise. It has been a couple of years. So good to hear your voice Ron. Hope you make it a habit again. love and hugs .
Aug 15, 2018 23:21:38 GMT -6
leia77: Spotless, I am glad that you are feeling better and welcome back! I too am back from a long time away...
Aug 31, 2018 2:08:32 GMT -6
jcurio: I am much relieved to see that you have been on here, Spotless! I hope that things are going much better for you now
Sept 19, 2018 16:46:42 GMT -6
jcurio: And Lois, And Lorelei!
Sept 19, 2018 16:47:07 GMT -6
casper: And Meeeeeee!!
Oct 16, 2018 18:41:31 GMT -6
lois: Sorry guys I cannot see the print. On is tiny hand computer
Oct 21, 2018 20:42:09 GMT -6
lois: Casper your page stops at page five in 2016
Nov 15, 2018 23:54:01 GMT -6
lois: How did your Halloween night go this year?
Nov 15, 2018 23:54:58 GMT -6
skywalker: He posted on the Halloween thread this year.
Nov 25, 2018 18:33:36 GMT -6
lois: Oh ok Sky I will check it out. Thanks.
Dec 21, 2018 21:45:31 GMT -6
lois: What topic was it under.
Dec 21, 2018 21:51:07 GMT -6