Astronaut and Cosmonaut Survive 'Ballistic' Fall to Earth After Failed Soyuz Launch
By Rafi Letzter, Staff Writer | October 11, 2018
NASA and Roscosmous attempted to send two new crew members to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft early this morning (Oct. 11). The attempt went very wrong.
But NASA TV reports that astronaut Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin are "in good condition" after a booster problem resulted in their Soyuz spacecraft making an unexpected, sharp return to Earth.
As of 6:09 a.m. ET, NASA representative Brandi Dean reported on NASA TV that, according to Russian officials, search and rescue teams had reached the crew and that they had emerged from the unexpectedly downed capsule. Search and rescue teams were reportedly "working with them to get them ready to leave."
Earlier, just minutes after the 4:40 a.m. ET launch, a problem occurred with one of the boosters carrying the Soyuz capsule to space from its launch site in Kazakhstan.
That led to the Soyuz falling back to Earth in what NASA termed "ballistic descent mode" at "a sharper angle than we would try to land via."
Nonetheless, by 5:20 a.m., Dean had reported over NASA TV that the crew had made contact with a search and rescue team and were, at least according to Russian sources, "in good condition."
Dean has repeated that precise wording several times.
According to Dean, this sort of landing would have subjected the crew to g-forces higher than what they would normally have to withstand, but was within the realm of "modes that we're familiar with" and that crews have dealt with before.
On April 19, 2008, a Russian Soyuz returned from a successful trip to the ISS in much rougher fashion than usual. The crew of three went through a descent that NASA similarly described as a ballistic trajectory. In similar fashion to what NASA described today, the spacecraft entered the atmosphere at a steeper angle than typically intended, in what Live Science sister site Space.com reported was an "uncontrolled spin."
That descent subjected NASA's Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, and South Korean astronaut So-yeon Yi to more intense g-forces than usual and deposited them safely but far afield of their intended landing site.
Then as now, however, NASA emphasized that the landing itself wasn't out of control, but rather it was one of several backup modes that crews train for and for which the spacecraft is designed.
In an interview later published on NASA's website, astronaut Alexander Kaleri, who was not part of the crew, said of that ballistic descent, "This was not a failure, as you understand; it was not a failure per se, it was one of the possible modes of descent."
These sort of landings used to be the norm, and in fact expected, in the early days of spaceflight. As Florida Today reported in 2008, in the early 1960s, Mercury astronauts and Vostok cosmonauts used the atmospheric drag of ballistic trajectories to slow their spacecraft enough to safely deploy parachutes.
Now, however, Soyuz enters such a trajectory only as a backup when other systems have failed. And the experience can be dramatic; Whitson reported reading 8.2 gs "on the meter" during her ballistic descent. That means she and her crew were subjected to forces 8.2 times the strength of Earth's gravity. In that environment, a 150-pound (68 kilograms) person would feel as though they weighed 1,230 pounds (558 kg).
The last time a Soyuz mission was aborted was Sept. 26, 1983, when a rocket became engulfed in flames on the launchpad more than a minute before launch. Crew members fired emergency rockets close to the last possible moment, ejecting the crew vehicle to safety.
United Launch Alliance will use an Atlas V 551 rocket to launch the fourth communications satellite in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series for the U.S. Air Force. The launch is scheduled for 10/17. The window opens at 12:15 a.m. EDT.
AEHF satellites provide highly-secure, jam-proof connectivity between U.S. national leadership and deployed military forces. Atlas V rockets successfully launched the first three AEHF satellites in 2010, 2012 and 2013 as the new constellation was formed in geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above Earth.
SpaceX's Starman mannequin is seen inside Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster with Earth in the background, shortly after launch on Feb. 6, 2018. As of Nov. 2, the duo were beyond the orbit of Mars. Credit: SpaceX
Starman has put a lot of miles on his Tesla Roadster in the last nine months.
The red electric car and its spacesuit-clad mannequin driver, which launched on the maiden mission of SpaceX's huge Falcon Heavy rocket in February, have made it beyond the orbit of Mars, company representatives said Friday night (Nov. 2).
"Starman's current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe," SpaceX posted on Twitter Friday, along with an orbit diagram. [Epic SpaceX Road Trip Photos: Starman Rides a Tesla Roadster in Space]
[img src="https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/671865418701606912/HECw8AzK_normal.jpg" alt=" "] SpaceX ✔ Starman’s current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe. 7:36 PM - Nov 2, 2018
Like many of us, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk is a big "Hitchhiker's Guide" fan, as Starman's Roadster shows. The car's entertainment display was programmed to read "Don't Panic!" — the phrase that adorns the cover of the eponymous electronic guidebook in Adams' beloved series.
"Starman" is a cultural reference as well; it's the title of a1972 song by David Bowie. And Musk said before launch that the Roadster would play Bowie's 1969 hit "Space Oddity" at full blast during its deep-space trek (though Starman cannot hear the famous tune in the airless void). Ultimately, Musk opted for Bowie's "Life on Mars" as parting music for Starman and the Tesla.
Musk has said that he launched the Roadster and Starman because the duo is a lot more fun than the typical inert-mass dummy payload (pun intended; sorry). Launching a satellite or other valuable spacecraft wasn't an option, given the risks inherent in maiden flights. (Musk also runs Tesla, so publicity was probably a factor as well.)
Starman and his ride — which once belonged to Musk — won't stay beyond Mars forever. As you can see in the diagram, the pair will loop back on their heliocentric orbit, eventually coming about as close to the sun as Earth does.
The Roadster and Starman will come within a few hundred thousand kilometers of our planet in 2091, according to an orbit-modeling study. The authors of that study determined that the car will slam into either Venus or Earth, likely within the next few tens of millions of years. They give the space car a 6 percent chance of hitting Earth in the next 1 million years, and a 2.5 percent chance of smacking Venus in that span. [In Photos: SpaceX's 1st Falcon Heavy Rocket Test Launch Success!]
You can track the space mannequin and cosmic Tesla at whereisroadster.com, a website created by Ben Pearson, founder of Old Ham Media. www.whereisroadster.com/
European Space Agency, ESA Published on Nov 22, 2018
Timelapse of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft launched on 16 November 2018 at 18:14 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station.
The spacecraft was launched atop a Soyuz rocket with 2564 kg of cargo and supplies. Flying at 28 800 km/h, 400 km high, the International Space Station requires regular supplies from Earth such as this Progress launch. Spacecraft are launched after the Space Station flies overhead so they catch up with the orbital outpost to dock, in this case two days later on 18 November 2018.
The images were taken from the European-built Cupola module with a camera set to take pictures at regular intervals. The pictures are then played quickly after each other at 8 to 16 times normal speed. The video shows around 15 minutes of the launch at normal speed.
The Progress spacecraft delivered food, fuel and supplies, including about 750 kg of propellant, 75 kg of oxygen and air and 440 l of water.
Some notable moments in this video are:
00:07 Soyuz-FG rocket booster separation. 00:19 Core stage separation. 00:34:05 Core stage starts burning in the atmosphere as it returns to Earth after having spent all its fuel. 00:34:19 Progress spacecraft separates from rocket and enters orbit to catch up with the International Space Station.
Last Edit: Nov 23, 2018 13:02:55 GMT -6 by CHCKM8R
To Image Leaky Atmosphere, NASA Rocket Team Heads North
On a frigid morning in early December, a team of NASA rocket scientists will huddle in the control room in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, a remote archipelago off the northern coast of Norway. Here at the world’s northernmost rocket range, operated by Norway’s Andøya Space Center, the clock may read 8 a.m., but the Sun won’t be up — by that time, it won’t have peeked over the horizon in more than a month.
For a month’s time, Ny-Ålesund will be home to the rocket team behind NASA’s VISIONS-2 mission, short for Visualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral Atom Sensing-2. They have ventured to this extreme place for an up-close look at atmospheric escape, the process whereby Earth is slowly leaking its atmosphere into space. Understanding atmospheric escape on Earth has applications all over the Universe — from predicting which far off planets might be habitable, to piecing together how Mars became the desolate, exposed landscape it is today. VISIONS-2 is scheduled to launch no earlier than Dec. 4, 2018.
Led by Doug Rowland of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, VISIONS-2 is a sounding rocket mission, a type of suborbital rocket that makes brief, targeted flights into space before falling back to Earth just a few minutes later. Sounding rockets are unique among scientific spacecraft for their superior dexterity: They can be carted to remote locations, where they are aimed and shot into short-lived events — like the sudden formation of the aurora borealis — at a moment’s notice.
The aurora borealis is of keen interest to the VISIONS-2 team, but not just for its otherworldly glow. The aurora play are fundamental drivers in the process of atmospheric escape, whereby planets, including Earth, gradually leak their atmosphere into space.
“The Earth is losing weight,” said Thomas Moore, a Goddard space physicist who specializes in atmospheric escape. “There have been enough observations to know that anywhere from a hundred to several hundred tons of atmosphere are going into space every day.”
(Not to worry — at that rate, Moore estimates, Earth will retain its atmosphere for a billion or so years.)
Space In 2019 - Here Are All The Missions And Launches To Look Forward To
Jonathan O'Callaghan, Contributor, Science Dec. 28, 2018
SpaceX's Starship could see a test flight in early 2019SPACEX
It’s fair to say that 2018 was a rather wonderful year for space. We saw SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy lift off for the first time, a new European mission launch to Mercury, Japanese rovers land on an asteroid, and more.
But if you thought 2018 was great, you're in for a treat. Because 2019 has got a whole host of incredible missions and launches in store for us, and the action begins straight away.
So let’s take a look at some the exciting space events coming up in the next 12 months. From human launches to scientific missions in the Solar System, there's plenty to look forward to.
January The year gets off to an incredible start on January 1 when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft arrives at the distant Solar System object Ultima Thule, the furthest object we’ve ever visited in the Solar System. The first high-resolution images will arrive back on New Year’s Day, but it’ll take 20 months for all the data to be sent back to Earth.
By January 3, we are expecting to China to attempt a landing of its Chang’e 4 rover on the far side of the Moon. This is the first mission ever to the Moon’s far side.
On January 17, SpaceX is scheduled to launch its crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft on its first test flight, dubbed Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1). There won’t be any crew on this fight, but SpaceX hopes to launch its first humans in the summer.
India hopes to launch a lander and rover to the Moon on January 31, called Chandrayaan-2. It will attempt to visit the south pole of the Moon for the first time in history.
February By early February, NASA's InSight lander should begin drilling into the surface of Mars. It'll hammer sensors up to five meters (16 feet) into the ground to measure the temperature inside the Red Planet.
NASA's Juno spacecraft will perform five close flybys of Jupiter in 2019 – on February 12, April 6, May 29, July 21, and September 11.
On February 13, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to take a lunar lander built by Israeli company SpaceIL to the Moon. Originally part of the canceled Google Lunar XPRIZE, SpaceIL is now hoping to make it to the Moon alone. At some point as early as February, Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft will descend to the surface of the asteroid Ryugu to try and collect a sample.
March Boeing will conduct an uncrewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner vehicle at some point in March, with plans for a first crewed test in August.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch its second Falcon Heavy rocket in March, the launch of the Arabsat-6A spacecraft for Saudi Arabia.
April NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will make its next close approach to the Sun on April 4. After that, the next closest approaches are on September 1 and December 26.
By April, Elon Musk says that SpaceX will perform a test flight of its Starship vehicle, intended to one day take humans to Mars.
May By early 2019, Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit company plans to send its first rocket to space.
Also in early 2019, we’re expecting a third Falcon Heavy launch, this time taking a variety of military and scientific satellites into orbit, including some from NASA.
June In June, we are expecting to see the first crewed launch of SpaceX’s Dragon 2 vehicle from Cape Canaveral in Florida. This will be the first launch of astronauts from US soil since the final Space Shuttle flight on July 8, 2011. On board will be NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley, both on their third spaceflight.
SpaceX recently showed off its crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft Credit: SpaceX
We’re also expecting a possible first crewed flight from Blue Origin at some point in the first half of 2019.
And following their first flight to “space” on December 13, Virgin Galactic could very well take its first paying customers to space in the first half of 2019 after further testing.
July Here’s a bonus astronomy event for you. A total solar eclipse will be visible from South America, including Chile, on July 2.
And set your calendars for July 20 because that will be the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first mission to land humans on the Moon.
August We could see the first contract crew flight of SpaceX’s Dragon 2 in August, providing the test flight sticks to schedule. This is called USCV-1, and it’ll be taking astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover to the International Space Station (ISS).
September NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft will swoop down to the surface of the asteroid Bennu in September and try to collect a sample. It will return to Earth with this sample in 2023.
October A new planet-hunting mission from ESA will launch between October 15 and November 14. It’s called CHEOPS (Characterising Exoplanets Satellite), and it’ll look for planets orbiting bright stars close to our Solar System.
ESA's CHEOPS spacecraft will continue the hunt for planets beyond EarthESA–G. PORTER
November Another astronomy one for you. On November 11, Mercury will transit the Sun as viewed from Earth.
December Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft will depart the asteroid Ryugu in December, returning it to Earth in December 2020.
And finally, by the end of the year, we’re expecting China to launch a sample-return mission called Chang’e 5 to the Moon. No launch date has been revealed yet – but it could bring to a close a rather impressive year for space.
Starman goes for a ride in Elon Musk's space-Tesla.
One year ago, on Feb. 6, SpaceX blasted a Falcon Heavy rocket into space and sent Elon Musk's personal Tesla roadster off on a journey through the cosmos to the tune of David Bowie's Space Oddity, with a spacesuit-wearing Starman dummy at the wheel.
There's a lot about that last sentence that sounds insane, but it happened.
The Where is Roadster? tracker shows the car on almost the opposite side of the sun from Earth as of Feb. 6, 2019. Where is Roadster screenshot by CNET
Programmer Ben Pearson runs the Where is Roadster? website, dedicated to tracking the Tesla's trip around the sun. Let's check in to see the latest stats.
According to Pearson's calculations as of Wednesday morning, the electric car is 226,423,581 miles (364,393,544 km) from Earth and 163,525,522 miles (263,168,899 km) from Mars.
Getting humans to the Red Planet is one of Musk's goals for SpaceX's under-development Starship spacecraft, but the Roadster won't actually run into Mars.
Good luck getting any repairs done on the Roadster. It's exceeded its original 36,000-mile warranty more than 13,000 times over.
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