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Posts tagged ‘Orbiting Greenglade Prime’

Russian capsule carrying robot fails space station docking

August 24, 2019

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian space capsule carrying a humanoid robot has failed to dock as planned with the International Space Station. A statement from the Russian space agency Roscosmos said the failure on Saturday was because of problems in the docking system. It said the space station itself and the six-person crew are safe.

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said on Twitter that a new docking attempt would be made on Tuesday. The capsule was launched Thursday as part of tests of a new rocket that is expected to replace the Soyuz-FG next year.

It is carrying a robot called Fedor, which will perform two weeks of tests aboard the space station. Vladimir Solovyev, flight director for the Russian segment of the ISS, said the robot had not been taught how to manually conduct a docking.

Russian capsule carrying 3 docks with space station

July 21, 2019

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — A Russian space capsule with three astronauts aboard has docked with the International Space Station after a fast-track trip to the orbiting laboratory. The Soyuz capsule docked at 22:48 GMT Saturday, just six hours and 20 minutes after blasting off from Russia’s launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The launch took place on the 50th anniversary of the day U.S. astronauts landed on the moon. The capsule is carrying Andrew Morgan of the United States on his first spaceflight, Russian Alexander Skvortsov on his third mission to the space station and Italian Luca Parmitano.

They will join Russian Alexey Ovchinin and Americans Nick Hague and Christina Koch have been aboard since March. The crew patch for the expedition echoes the one from Apollo 11’s 1969 lunar mission.

Russia launches major new telescope into space after delays

July 13, 2019

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian Proton-M rocket successfully delivered a cutting-edge space telescope into orbit Saturday after days of launch delays, Russia’s space agency said. Roscosmos said the telescope, named Spektr-RG, was delivered into a parking orbit before a final burn Saturday that kicked the spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit and on to its final destination: the L2 Lagrange point.

Lagrange points are unique positions in the solar system where objects can maintain their position relative to the sun and the planets that orbit it. Located 1.5 million kilometers (0.93 million miles) from Earth, L2 is particularly ideal for telescopes such as Spektr-RG.

If all goes well, the telescope will arrive at its designated position in three months, becoming the first Russian spacecraft to operate beyond Earth’s orbit since the Soviet era. The telescope aims to conduct a complete x-ray survey of the sky by 2025, the first space telescope to do so.

The Russian accomplishment comes as the U.S. space agency NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. Russian space science missions have suffered greatly since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Budget cuts have forced the Russian space program to shift toward more commercial efforts.

A Russian Mars probe, called Mars 96, failed to leave Earth’s orbit in 1996. A later attempt to send a probe to Mars, called Fobos-Grunt, suffered a similar fate in 2011. Work on Spektr-RG telescope began in the 1980s but was scrapped in the 1990s. Spektr-RG was revived in 2005 and redesigned to be smaller, simpler and cheaper.

In its modern form, the project is a close collaboration between Russian and German scientists, who both installed telescope equipment aboard the Russian spacecraft.

Small satellite concept finalists target Moon, Mars and beyond

Pasadena CA (JPL)

Jun 21, 2019

NASA has selected three finalists among a dozen concepts for future small satellites. The finalists include a 2022 robotic mission to study two asteroid systems, twin spacecraft to study the effects of energetic particles around Mars, and a lunar orbiter managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to study water on the Moon. At least one of these missions is expected to move to final selection and flight.

The missions will contribute to NASA’s goal of understanding our solar system’s content, origin and evolution. They will also support planetary defense, and help fill in knowledge gaps as NASA moves forward with its plans for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

The selected finalists:

* Janus: Reconnaissance Missions to Binary Asteroids will study the formation and evolutionary implications for small “rubble pile” asteroids and build an accurate model of two binary asteroid bodies. A binary asteroid is a system of two asteroids orbiting their common center of mass. The principal investigator is Daniel Scheeres at the University of Colorado. Lockheed Martin will provide project management.

* Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE): This mission’s objective is to characterize (on multiple scales) the acceleration processes driving escape from Mars’ atmosphere, as well as how the atmosphere responds to the constant outflow of the solar wind flowing off the Sun. The principal investigator for this mission is Robert Lillis at the University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkeley will also provide project management.

* Lunar Trailblazer will directly detect and map water on the lunar surface to determine how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Bethany Ehlmann at Caltech. JPL will provide project management.

“Each of these concepts holds the promise to deliver big science in a small package,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. “Their miniaturized size enables these systems to be developed at reduced overall costs while performing targeted science missions and testing brand new technologies that future missions can use.”

The finalists were chosen from 12 proposals submitted in 2018 through an opportunity called the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx).

Following an extensive and competitive peer review process, these concepts were selected based on their potential science value and feasibility of development plans. They will receive funding for up to one year to further develop and mature the concept designs, concluding with a preliminary design review (PDR). NASA will evaluate the PDR results, and after that expects to select one or more of the mission concepts to proceed into implementation and flight.

Using small spacecraft – less than 400 pounds, or 180 kilograms, in mass – SIMPLEx selections will conduct stand-alone planetary science missions. Each will share their ride to space with either another NASA mission or a commercial launch opportunity.

“The SIMPLEx program provides invaluable opportunities for increasingly innovative ways to conduct planetary science research,” said Lori S. Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Small_satellite_concept_finalists_target_Moon_Mars_and_beyond_999.html.

SpaceX Dragon Heads to Space Station After Successful Launch

by James Cawley for NASA ISS News

Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX)

May 04, 2019

More than 5,500 pounds of cargo is on its way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The company’s 17th commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station began at 2:48 a.m. EDT on May 4, 2019, with liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Kenny Todd, International Space Station Operations and Integration manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, explained during the postlaunch press conference that launch success far overshadowed fatigue with the early morning launch.

“If you have to be up, I can’t think of a better reason than to see one of these launches – it was absolutely spectacular,” Todd said. “We’re really excited to get Dragon on board in a couple of days.”

After a successful climb into space, the Dragon spacecraft now is in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power.

“We had a beautiful launch today; it was really great,” said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president, Build and Flight Reliability. “Dragon is on the way, the orbiter is great – it’s right on the money.”

The Dragon spacecraft will deliver science, supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory. Science experiments include NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).

OCO-3 will be robotically installed on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate.

STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.

Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 6. Capture is scheduled for 7 a.m.; installation coverage is set to begin at 9 a.m. Astronauts aboard the station will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module.

The Dragon spacecraft will spend about four weeks attached to the space station, returning to Earth with more than 4,200 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/SpaceX_Dragon_Heads_to_Space_Station_After_Successful_Launch_999.html.

Russian-US crew arrives at International Space Station

March 15, 2019

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — A Russian-American crew arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, five months after a botched launch led to an emergency landing for two of the three astronauts.

This time, the Russian Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch along with Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin lifted off precisely as planned from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:14 a.m. Friday (1914 GMT Thursday).

Six hours later, their capsule docked at the orbiting outpost. On Oct. 11, a Soyuz carrying Hague and Ovchinin failed two minutes into flight, activating a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely. That accident was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch pad explosion.

On Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated the crew on a successful launch. “So proud of Nick Hague for persevering through last October’s launch that didn’t go as planned,” he tweeted.

Speaking at a pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, the astronauts said they trusted the rocket and fully believed in the success of their mission. “I’m 100 percent confident in the rocket and the spacecraft,” Hague said. “The events from October only helped to solidify that and boost confidence in the vehicle to do its job.”

The trio will join NASA’s Anne McClain, Roscosmos’ Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency who are already on the space station. They will conduct work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

When one of the four strap-on boosters for their Soyuz failed to separate properly two minutes after their launch in October, Hague and Ovchinin were jettisoned from the rocket. Their rescue capsule plunged steeply back to Earth with its lights flashing and alarms screaming, subjecting the crew to seven times the force of gravity.

Hague emphasized Wednesday that they were well-trained for the emergency. “The nature of our profession is we spend 90-95 percent of our time practicing what to do when things go wrong,” he said. “And so we spend all that time training, running through all those scenarios. And because we do train that way, like in October when things like that happened, we were ready to do what we need to do to come out successfully.”

The October failure was the first aborted launch for the Russian space program in 35 years and only the third in history. Each time, the rocket’s automatic rescue system kept the crew safe. A Russian investigation attributed October’s launch failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket’s final assembly. The next crew launch to the space station in December went on without a hitch.

Ovchinin recalled that they felt “more annoyed than stressed” when their rescue capsule touched down in the barren steppes of Kazakhstan. “It was disappointing and a bit frustrating that we didn’t make it to the International Space Station,” he said.

NASA and Roscosmos praised the crew’s valor and composure in the aborted launch and promised to quickly give them a second chance into space. “We don’t accept the risk blindly, we have mitigated it as much as we can, and we always plan to be successful,” Hague said.

Ovchinin stressed that the aborted launch in October was an “interesting and very useful experience” that “proved the reliability of the emergency rescue system.” Since the 2011 retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft have been the only vehicles that ferry crews to the space station.

NASA, however, is counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start launching astronauts later this year. The SpaceX ship Dragon returned Friday from a six-day test flight to the space station and could take astronauts there on its next flight as early as this summer.

Isachenkov reported from Moscow.

About 50 pieces of destroyed Indian satellite flying above ISS

Washington DC (Sputnik)

Apr 08, 2019

Around 60 fragments of India’s Microsat-R military satellite are currently flying in orbit, 46 of which are flying in orbits located above the apogee of the International Space Station (ISS), according to the US Air Force’s catalog, published on space-track.org website.

The US Air Force’s catalog currently includes 57 Microsat-R fragments flying in orbits at altitudes from 159 kilometers to 2,248 kilometers (99-1,397 miles). As many as 46 of these fragments are flying in orbits above the ISS apogee, which stands at around 400 kilometers.

Ivan Moiseev, the head of the Russian Institute for Space Policy, has commented on the matter, telling Sputnik that fragments flying above the ISS were a threat, albeit an insignificant one.

“There is a threat coming from the Indian satellite, but it is a highly unlikely one”, Moiseev said, explaining that the risk of collision was low because the ISS and the fragments had different inclinations.

India successfully tested its anti-missile weapon on 27 March destroying the Microsat-R in low-Earth orbit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised this as a benchmark event, stressing that the test has proven India’s ability to safeguard its space assets.

Meanwhile, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has slammed the test, saying that it had created at least 400 pieces of debris, increasing the risk of the ISS colliding with debris by 44 percent.

Microsat-R, designed by the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization, was launched into orbit atop the PSLV carrier in January.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/About_50_Pieces_of_Destroyed_Indian_Satellite_Flying_Above_ISS___US_Air_Force_999.html.

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