The Future of NASA  (see comments 138-141)                    1st Humans on the Moon  (see comment 119)     

By: LowerCal , 4:06 PM GMT on June 28, 2010

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CURRENT MOON

moon phases

CURRENT PLANETS
• Very bright & golden Mercury low WNW after sunset (use binoculars), sets at dusk
• Brilliant white Venus west after sunset, sets WNW late evening
• Bright & reddish Mars WSW at dusk, sets west late evening
• Bright & yellowish Saturn WSW at dusk, sets west before midnight
• Brilliant off-white Jupiter rises east before midnight, SSE at dawn


Scroll past the links below to find special events for current and future dates.
Scroll farther to find past events.


***** Links *****

Today - SpaceWeather.com
also EarthSky,
365 Days of Astronomy
& Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
This Week - SkyandTelescope.com - This Week's Sky at a Glance
also Jack Horkheimer - Star Gazer, Current Scripts
& This Week In Space on YouTube
This Month - SkyandTelescope.com - Sky Tour Podcasts
also HubbleSite - Tonight's Sky: Your guide to constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and events
Anytime - Stellarium (free planetarium for your computer)
also Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart (online planetarium)

Visible Satellites:
Simplest - Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com
More satellites and more info - Heavens-Above.com.

Launches:
Spaceflight Now - Worldwide Launch Schedule,
Vandenberg AFB Launch Schedule &
Wallops Flight Facility Launch Webcast & Blog
Reentries - Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies - Upcoming & Recent Reentries

Live Aurora Cams:
Kiruna, Sweden &
Sodankyla, Finland


Most events described below can be viewed with your eyes alone.
Occasionally simple binoculars will improve the view and that will be noted.


***** Current & Future Events *****

○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: moonrise over the mountains by got2dogs Friday June 25, 2010
Exact at
July 26
0136 GMT
July 25
9:36pm EST
6:36pm PST.

Rises near sunset and sets near sunrise. At those times the Moon may seem huge (the Moon illusion) and unusually colored. The yellow/orange/red appearance of the Moon at the horizon is at least partly for the same reason the sky appears blue!




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Mercury Meets Regulus

July 27, after Sunset
Low in the western sky about half an hour after sunset the very bright and golden planet Mercury will be very close to the bright and blueish star Regulus. Binoculars may be necessary to spot Regulus and will make sightings of both objects easier.


Lunar Apogee (Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 28
2351 GMT
7:51pm EDT
4:51pm PDT.

The Moon is at its farthest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 12% farther than at its closest distance (perigee - Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


Mars Passes Saturn

July 29-31
These evenings the the bright and reddish planet Mars passes the bright and yellowish planet Saturn.


Moon Rides with Jupiter

July 30-31, Early Morning through Dawn
These mornnings the Moon will travel with the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter.


Events earlier than those listed below will be found in previous blog entries.

***** Past Events *****

Vandenberg Minuteman III Launch

Image credit: USAF

Mission: Unarmed ballistic missile test
Target: Near the Kwajalein Atoll
Launch Vehicle: Minuteman III
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
June 30
time to be determined
3:01-09:01am PDT


Lunar Apogee (Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 1
1013 GMT
6:13am EDT
3:13am PDT.

The Moon is at its farthest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 12% farther than at its closest distance (perigee - Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 20% less (due to the inverse square law).


Resupply Mission to the International Space Station (ISS) + Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Image credit: NASA

Mission: Flight 38P to ISS (cargo/resupply)
Spacecraft: Progress M-06M
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U
Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
June 30
8:35pm AQTT (Aqtobe Time, local time)
1535 GMT
11:35am EDT
8:35am PDT.

Docking with ISS
July 2
8:58pm MSD (Moscow Summer Time)
1658 GMT
12:58pm EDT
9:58am PDT.

See comments 17-19 & 22.

Launch status updates at
Spaceflight Now | Tracking Station | Worldwide launch schedule.

Live coverage of the docking will be on NASA TV - see the NASA TV Schedule.


WunderPhoto: SPACECRAFT by Westerberg Wednesday June 20, 2007

Between launch and docking with the ISS it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time.

Check satellite pass predictions at
Heavens-Above
or try the simpler tool at
Satellite Flybys by SpaceweatherPhone.com.


Moon Rides with Jupiter

July 3, Early Morning through Dawn
This mornning the Moon will appear with the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter.


Aphelion Day (Greek apo, away from + Greek Helios, Sun)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

July 6
~1200 GMT
~8AM EDT
~5AM PDT.

Along it's not quite circular orbit Earth is at it's farthest distance from the Sun. Earth is 3.4% farther than it's closest to the Sun (perihelion: New Latin peri, near + Greek Helios, Sun) and receives 6.9% less radiation and gravitation from the Sun (due to the inverse square law). From now until January 3, 2011 (perihelion) Earth will be moving closer to the Sun.

For the Northern Hemisphere less solar radiation in the summer and more in the winter makes the Northern Hemisphere's climate more moderate than it would otherwise be. However the Southern Hemisphere has more moderate climates than the at corresponding latitudes (except for Antarctica)! Why is this? The Northern Hemisphere has twice as much land surface as the Southern Hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere is 40% land versus 20% land for the Southern Hemisphere. Land both heats up and cools down faster than water.



Image credit: Sean Baker


Thin Moon Passes (Over) the Seven Sisters

WunderPhoto: Moon in Pleiades, April 8, 2008 by hadrianus

July 8, before Dawn
This morning a thin crescent moon will pass near the Pleiades star cluster (The Seven Sisters). Six or seven of the stars in this cluster can be seen with the naked eye. Many more can be seen through simple binoculars.

For parts of the the South Atlantic and SE Brazil the Moon will pass over some of the stars in the Pleiades cluster.

Maps and time tables for the disappearance & reappearance of the brightest stars at some cities can be found here with a DATE-TIME of "08 Jul 10". The star names can be found in the chart below.


Image credit: NASA, ESA and AURA/Caltech


Thin Crescent Rides the Bull

July 9, before Dawn
This mornning the thin crescent moon will appear to the left of the bright and orange star Aldeberan. Alderberan is the brightest star and glaring right eye of the constellation Taurus the Bull. With binoculars you can easily see the "V" shaped pattern of stars that forms the rest of the face of the bull. This collection of stars is known as the Hyades star cluster.


Venus 1° from Regulus

July 9-10, after Dusk
In the western sky brilliant white planet Venus appears about 1° (less than a finger width) from bright and blueish star Regulus.


Total Solar Eclipse

Image credit: Luc Viatour


Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC
Interpretation of this map.

The following times are for somewhere on Earth. Times for specific locations will be within these ranges.
July 11
1709 GMT - start of partial eclipses
1815 GMT - start of total eclipses
2052 GMT - end of total eclipses
2157 GMT - end of partial eclipses

Solar and lunar eclipses require a near perfect alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon. During lunar eclipses the Earth is between the Sun and Moon. During solar eclipses the Moon is between the Sun and Earth. When one of these alignments is nearly perfect it frequently happens that half a lunar orbit later (about 15 days) the other alignment is nearly perfect too. And so it is that the partial lunar eclipse of June 22 is followed by a total solar eclipse this day.

The solar eclipse will progress west to east from sunrise to sunset across the South Pacific to southeast South America. Totality will be visible from some South Pacific islands and near the southern tip of South America. Use the links below for more detailed information.

Animations for the entire eclipse area and closeups of South America are at
Total Eclipse of the Sun on July 11, 2010 animated.

General, detailed and highly detailed eclipse maps with time marks,
an interactive (clickable) map,
weather maps,
and other useful maps and tables are at
NASA - Total Solar Eclipse of 2010 July 11.

You can watch the progress of the Moon's shadow across the Earth surface on weather satellite imagery and even use the images to make an animation as I did below


Shadow of 2009-01-26 Annular Solar Eclipse by LowerCal

and as in Dr. Rob Carver's blog entry Satellite images of the 2009 total solar eclipse (Lots of images).


Dark Moon (a.k.a. astronomical new moon)

Exact at
July 11
1940 GMT
3:40pm EDT
12:40pm PDT.

Lower and thinner morning crescent moons the week before. Higher and thicker evening crescent moons the week after.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are aligned resulting in stronger tides - higher highs, lower lows and faster flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Thin Crescent near Mercury

July 12, after Sunset
Low in the western sky soon after sunset if you can spot the thin crescent of the new moon (refer to the following section) the very bright and golden planet Mercury will be nearby to the right. Binoculars will make sightings of both objects easier.


) Thinnest Evening Crescent Moon (the original meaning of "new moon")

WunderPhoto: Brand New Moon by Ohlen Wednesday June 4, 2008

July 12 or 13, after Sunset
Look low in the western sky soon after sunset. Binoculars can help you spot it sooner.

Earliest and thinnest sightings of the new moon may be possible in Africa on July 12. Progressively later sightings may be possible from South & Central America, most of the United States and the Eastern Pacific on July 12. Nearly all the rest of the world may be able to see the new moon July 13.

See the visibility maps at Moonsighting.com.


Lunar Perigee (Greek peri, near + Greek Gaia, Earth)

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
July 13
1122 GMT
7:22am EDT
4:22am PDT.

The Moon is at its closest distance in its non circular orbit around Earth. The Moon is about 10.5% closer than at its farthest distance (apogee - Greek apo, away from + Greek Gaia, Earth) and the Moon's gravitational influence on Earth and its oceans is about 25% greater (due to the inverse square law).


Thin Crescent near Venus (& Regulus)

July 14, after Sunset
In the western sky soon after sunset a thin crescent moon appears to the left of the brilliant white planet Venus. Later as the sky darkens the bright and blueish star Regulus will appear an equal distance to the right of Venus. Regulus can be sighted sooner with binoculars.


Moon Rides with Mars & Saturn

July 15
This evening the Moon travels with the bright and reddish planet Mars and the bright and yellowish planet Saturn. Mars and Saturn can be sighted sooner with binoculars.


Moon Rides with Spica

July 17
This evening the Moon will travel with the bright & blueish star Spica. Spica is the brightest star of the constellation Virgo the Virgin. Spica can be sighted before dark with binoculars.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
July 18
1010 GMT
6:10am EDT
3:10am PDT.

Rises near noon and sets near midnight. Evening crescent moons for a week before. Each one thicker and higher above the western horizon.




Image from: Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy

The gravitational pull of the Moon accounts for about 2/3 of the influence on Earth's tides with the Sun accounting for the remaining 1/3. On this date the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun are at right angles resulting in weaker tides - lower highs, higher lows and slower flows. (Due to the huge mass and volume of the ocean's water the tidal effect lags behind the phases of the Moon. The delay can be as long as three days at some times and places.)

Also see The Moon And Tides.


Moon Rides the Scorpion

July 20-21
The Moon travels tonight's sky with the bright and reddish star Antares. Antares is the brightest star and beating heart of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.


web counterVisitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Fly Me To The Moon (Ralfo)
This Maybe one of my best captures of an airplane flying into the Moon. You even can see the back lights on the plane and it's vapor trails. Full Moon Tonight.
Fly Me To The Moon
0320 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0320 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0330 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0330 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0340 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0340 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0350 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0350 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0400 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0400 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0410 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0410 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0420 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0420 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0430 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
0430 PDT, 26 Jun 10
0440 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
South end
0440 PDT, 26 Jun 10
Partial Lunar Eclipse 0440 PDT, 26 Jun 10 (alfredogarciajr)
North end
Partial Lunar Eclipse 0440 PDT, 26 Jun 10
Catch the Moon (Willow13)
“See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
Catch the Moon
()
Craters On The Moon (Ralfo)
Waning Gibbous, 95% of Full Moon. Now you can make out more of the details of the craters because of the angle of the Sun creating shadows on some. Always best when you want to see craters are before and after Full Moon
Craters On The Moon
NLC Over Bridgwater (WurzelDave)
Hot off the press these NLCs appeared around 1/4 past 3, note the tiger stripes on the left of the image. Camera resting on a lock gate.
NLC Over Bridgwater
Celestial Line Up Marked (alfredogarciajr)
July nights are providing us a wonderful view of solar sysem objects in a dance among the stars. Tonight's (13 Jul) line up is shown in this labeled image. Keep watching as the planets wander among the stars! 15 sec exposure at ISO-800 at f/5.6 thru a 28mm lens.
Celestial Line Up Marked
Celestial Line Up Unmarked (alfredogarciajr)
This is the full frame image I shot. Pretty cool!
Celestial Line Up Unmarked
8% Crescent Moon (LianesLightroom)
The 8% Crescent Moon passed by a planet line up: Saturn, Mars, Venus & Mercury as it set in the West over the Pacific @ 9:30 PM. Manhattan Beach, CA
8% Crescent Moon
Celestial Line Up 14 Jul 10 (alfredogarciajr)
Good evening! I was watching a movie (Andromeda Strain) and decided to take a break and step outside to see what I could see on the planetary line up that is underway! Well, I had a great view from front yard despite the neighborhood and city lights. This was my view!! Cool!! Used my tripod mounted Canon EOS Rebel T1i with a 28mm f/5.6 lens at ISO100, for 20 secs.
Celestial Line Up 14 Jul 10
NLC today (SunCat)
Captured my first NLC clouds this summer.
NLC today
Longs Peak by Night (SNHphotos)
I was at home, then realized how clear it was. So I decided to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park to get some star pictures. This was taken on the north end of Bear Lake. The mountain lit by ambient moonlight, is Longs Peak (14,259'). It was quite disturbing to be all alone at the end of a lake, in the middle of nowhere, late at night, and sometimes hear a twig snap, or some other sound from out of the darkness. But it was worth it!!
Longs Peak by Night
Aurora III (woodswoman68)
The aurora borealis over White Iron Lake, near Ely, Minnesota.
Aurora III
Moon over me (KazikM)
Mooon over me
Moon over me
85.4% Moon (KSMc)
We finally had a nice clear night that allowed me to capture this image.
85.4% Moon
()

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164. LowerCal
7:24 PM GMT on July 26, 2010
CybrTed You make a good point. Maybe we'd be better off not investigating that "monolith". ;^)

gamma You made your move at a good time. I think the only way to move to Broward County now days is if someone else moves out first. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
163. seflagamma
10:35 AM GMT on July 26, 2010
LOL Thank you... so you did leave about the time I arrived! Hurricane David was my "Welcome to Southeast Florida!" in summer of 1979!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 304 Comments: 40993
162. CybrTeddy
4:29 AM GMT on July 26, 2010
Ye that Monolith, real trouble makers.

Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24865
161. LowerCal
2:07 AM GMT on July 26, 2010
Pat We need to persuade our legislators and chief executive to hammer out some reasonable way forward and soon.


gamma I was born in Ohio but we moved to Broward County when I was 4. I grew up in Broward and lived there 19 years, was 3 years absent for military service and then spent another 4 years in northern Florida. I became very familiar with the east coast from St. Augustine to Key West. After I graduated from college I moved to Los Angeles for a job opportunity.

The reason I didn't stay in Florida? The possibilities of rapid intensification and last minute shifts of the cone. Those possibilities had always been in the back of my mind but Hurricane David in 1979 put them in the front of my mind.

I still have an attraction to SE Florida, the Keys and the east coast of Florida but I'm more comfortable with the risks I'm living with now. Also I'm a short drive from the coast, the mountians and the desert and I'm less than a day's drive from the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, etc.


Skye You're welcome!

The HL-20 and the X-38 are two of the options for closing "the Gap" in
Buzz Aldrin: The Way Forward: Achieving a Consensus on America's Future in Space.

Thanks for the moon lore. :^)


GS Here is the "monolith" on the Martian moon Phobos.


Image credit: NASA, JPL, Mars Global Surveyor

The Phobos monolith is a surface feature on the moon Phobos, which orbits Mars. A monolith is a large, single piece of rock. Monoliths also occur naturally on Earth, but it has been suggested that the Phobos monolith may be a piece of impact ejecta. ....

Buzz sure knows how to tweak the interest... :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
160. Patrap
3:42 AM GMT on July 25, 2010
Wayne Hale's Blog
Trip Reports



Posted on Jul 23, 2010 10:20:06 AM | Wayne Hale |

The last couple of weeks have been very busy for me, so pardon my lack of blog posts. I have been on travel for several days and you should have a report on three trips.



MAF – the dirge



The first report is on a trip I did not make. There was a big celebration last week at the Michoud Assembly Facility on the east side of New Orleans as the “last” shuttle external tank was shipped. Of course there is the potential to need a rescue flight and at this writing Congress is debating adding one more flight to the shuttle manifest, so ET-122 will probably be shipped out in a few months. ET-122 was in processing when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and part of the roof of the building – concrete blocks to be exact – fell onto the tank, damaging it. Repairs have been completed and ET-122 is on track to be pronounced “safe for flight” – no small feat. After ET-122, there is only ET-95 left at MAF. ET-95 was the last Light Weight Tank (as opposed to the current Super Light Weight Tanks). We dissected it heavily during all the post-Columbia investigations and it will probably be a museum piece. Anybody want a relic?



You can read all about the MAF celebration on the NASA home page, so I won’t write any more about it. Except I didn’t go. The place is a ghost town. After years of a work force that ran about 2,500 people, it is down to a skeleton crew, most of the construction jigs are mothballed or removed, there is very little to see, just an empty building. Depressing. Maybe someday this will change. But not now. I get to go to enough funerals; I didn’t need to go to MAF. Sorry to be depressing but ‘it is what it is.’



KSC – the children’s hour



Travel to Florida is always good; this time I got to hand over a bunch of work. In particular, the responsibility for the Columbia debris repository will transition from the Space Shuttle Program to NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. If you are a researcher and want to obtain some of the Columbia debris to study the effects of re-entry on materials and structures, you should contact the repository caretaker, Mike Ciannilli at the Kennedy Space Center. Mike works in the NTD office which is located up on the 4th floor of the Launch Control Center building. That building is an architectural award winner as well as on the national register of historic places, and holds the Firing Rooms where all the Saturn and Shuttle launches was controlled.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
159. Skyepony (Mod)
2:43 AM GMT on July 25, 2010
July
Moon Names: Hay Moon, Wort Moon, Moon of Claiming, Moon of Blood (because of mosquitoes), Blessing Moon, Maedmonat (Meadow Month), Hewimanoth (Hay Month), Fallow Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon.

At first the Romans called this month Quintilis, but later renamed it Julius after Julius Caesar. The Greek Olympian was held for about a week in July. This festival in honor of Zeuz consisted of competitions in athletics, drama, music, and other activities. During the time of the Olympian, all participants were given safe-conduct to and from the games. Thae constant petty Greek squabbles were put aside. A victory in the Olympian was a great achievement, both for the individual and for their city.

In Japan, the Full Moon of July saw the O-Bon, or Festival of Lanterns. This was a conbination of Buddhist and Shinto beliefs that honored the dead. Homes, tombs, and ancestreal tablets were toroughly cleaned. Altars and shines were decorated. The gardens were hung with lanterns to light the way of the dead so that they could join with their families for the three day ceremony.

The Egyptian New Year fell in July, as did the Opet Festival, which commemorated the marriage of Isis and Osiris. Their sexual union was said to bring good luck to all people. About the same time in Rome, the love of Venus and Adonis was celebrated . The Egyptian year was measured against the Nile and its yearly fertile floods.

Correspondences

Nature Spirits: hobgoblins (small grotesque but friendly brownie-type creatures), faeries of the harvest crops
Herbs: honeysuckle, agrimony, lemon balm, hyssop
Colours: silver, blue-grey
Flowers: lotus, water lily, jasmine
Scents: orris, frankincense
Stones: pearl, moonstone, white agate
Trees: oak, acacia, ash
Animals: crab, turtle, dolphin, whale
Birds: starling, ibis, swallow
Deites: Khepera, Athene, Juno Hel, Holda, Cerridwen, Nephthys, Venus
Power Flow: relaxed energy; preparing; succeding. Dream-work, divination, and meditation on goals and plans, especially spiritual ones


Old Sayings & Lore

* If the New Moon is seen for the first time straight ahead, it predicts good fortune until the next New Moon.
* If there are two Moons (two New or two Full) in the same month, the weather will be unfavorable and unsettled until the next New Moon.
* Wood cut at the New Moon is hard to split. If it is cut at the Full Moon it is easy to split.
* Crass crops should be sown at the Full Moon. Then the hay will dry quickly.
* In Wales, fishermen avoid the Moon line, or the moonlight showing on the water, when setting out to sea; they consider crossing this bad luck. However, in other areas they say to make a wish when crossing the Moon line.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 282 Comments: 40744
158. GulfScotsman
10:58 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Is Buzz .... Buzzing? the moon? LUNAtic orbit?

or....

"disclosure"

Member Since: June 15, 2006 Posts: 455 Comments: 13538
157. Skyepony (Mod)
8:59 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
LowerCal~ Thanks for keeping up with this.

Don't think the Orlando Sentinel article posted by CyberTeddy has it all there.. lots of assumptions & all. Yes the different states that have stakes in NASA cash are wanting their piece but this guy makes it sound hopeless.. & this..

Constellation joins a growing list of dead-end NASA projects, including the X-33, a single-stage spacecraft canceled in 2001 after five years and $1.3 billion, and the Space Launch Initiative, an effort to develop a shuttle replacement that was also abandoned earlier this decade.

X-33 evolved into X-34, was both a NASA & skunkworks project then the AF has had it~ evolved into X-something else & took off on an Atlas (used to launch off a high flying plane) a few months ago, stayed up longer than most shuttles, launched a 2nd one before that one landed(not even sure if it landed yet). Heard something about it could have astronauts to the ISS by 2013-14 & the AF contract is up in 2012..far from abandoned or dead end.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 282 Comments: 40744
156. seflagamma
8:30 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Hi LowCal,

I saw your post on "Other Blog" and Blu's Key Trip and you said something about 'your old neighborhood'???

Are you from South Florida???
did you grow up here???

What made you move to California??


I was Born in San Diego (Naval base, Dad was in Navy in 1953)...grew up in NE Ark..but been in SE Fla since 1979...and Love it here!


We traded places! LOL
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 304 Comments: 40993
155. Patrap
5:16 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Quoting LowerCal:
I would have been surprised if there wasn't an STS-135... unless Atlantis were needed for a rescue mission.

Not according a Michael Crichton novel published May 12, 1969 and released as a film March 12, 1971. ;^)




Quoting Patrap:
C'mon..give me the Moon Rocks Box Neil...

... we're not gonna let you in the boat until you do. :^)

Shuttle derived is on the table, Pat. See comments 140 & 141.




I see it now,thanx.

We need passage and to Fly it LC.

Lotsa folks here would like it as well.

Or they will be moving.

I bet Mike Collins had the Best time ..though.

Worried Like a Mother hen over Neil and Buzz..on the Surface.

Alone with God for 45 minutes on the backside every rev..

Some asked Him what he was going to do if Neil and Buzz Crashed or were stranded on the Moon.

he answered,,."well..We didnt have to think about that"..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
154. Patrap
5:14 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
I hear ya CT.

We all want whats best for the Future of a Vigorous Manned Program and Access to orbit and Beyond,, Specially U.S.

China is committed.

Japan is going to follow.

Russia is confused as usual.

But Flying proven,well Long Lived designs with a profit.

Why cant we?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
153. CybrTeddy
5:11 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Quoting Patrap:


YEah,,dat worked out real well.

Built the thing to go Nowhere.

And the design took 14 Lives too.

Now we have a space Station with no way up soon.


We could have built a Space Station ,,a Huge one with a few Saturn 5's and some S-IB Missions Like in Skylab for a 10th of the Cost of the ISS.


Least we kept the Michoud facility and Lockheed Martin Busy here Building ET's.

But if we dont use the ET's for a shuttle derived Vehicle..or other.

Were gonna lose 2500 Specialized folks who do that.

Thats a bad way to Fly.


Never said that was a good thing LOL. Is history repeating itself with CxP?

NASA: Senate compromise may be setting up NASA for another failure

Do more with less.. where have I heard that before? Bad way to fly.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24865
152. LowerCal
5:10 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Quoting CybrTeddy:
I can almost guarantee, STS-135 will happen now that its been added in the house bill.
I would have been surprised if there wasn't an STS-135... unless Atlantis were needed for a rescue mission.

Quoting CybrTeddy:
.... I never understood though why they thought there would be 'moon flu' on a body that was completely sterilized thanks to radiation and exposure to the vacuum of space.
....
Not according a Michael Crichton novel published May 12, 1969 and released as a film March 12, 1971. ;^)




Quoting Patrap:
C'mon..give me the Moon Rocks Box Neil...

... we're not gonna let you in the boat until you do. :^)

Quoting Patrap:
.... if we dont use the ET's for a shuttle derived Vehicle..or other.

Were gonna lose 2500 Specialized folks who do that. ....
Shuttle derived is on the table, Pat. See comments 140 & 141.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
151. Patrap
4:05 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Tricky Dick.. gave us shuttle though.


YEah,,dat worked out real well.

Built the thing to go Nowhere.

And the design took 14 Lives too.

Now we have a space Station with no way up soon.


We could have built a Space Station ,,a Huge one with a few Saturn 5's and some S-IB Missions Like in Skylab for a 10th of the Cost of the ISS.


Least we kept the Michoud facility and Lockheed Martin Busy here Building ET's.

But if we dont use the ET's for a shuttle derived Vehicle..or other.

Were gonna lose 2500 Specialized folks who do that.

Thats a bad way to Fly.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
150. CybrTeddy
3:59 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Quoting Patrap:
Who's dat Guy on the Right..?

O yeah,,the Guy who cut Apollo 18-20.

Now I remember.





Tricky Dick.. gave us shuttle though.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24865
149. Patrap
3:33 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
C'mon..give me the Moon Rocks Box Neil..



(Training Exercise, GOM,Boilerplate Spacecraft)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
148. Patrap
3:19 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Who's dat Guy on the Right..?

O yeah,,the Guy who cut Apollo 18-20.

Now I remember.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
147. CybrTeddy
2:58 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Good stuff pat, I never understood though why they thought there would be 'moon flu' on a body that was completely sterilized thanks to radiation and exposure to the vacuum of space.

I like to speculate on crews, I got the Lindsey/Boe for STS-133 right and I want to put this out here to see if I'm right this time.

STS-135 crew.. (my guess)
Rick Sturckow, Commander.
Jim Dutton, Pilot
Clay Anderson, MS1
Tracy Caldwell Dyson, MS2
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24865
146. Patrap
2:50 PM GMT on July 24, 2010




Close up of Hatch Opening after Splashdown,,as the Frogman Tossed in the BIGS.

The Biological Isolation Garments..or Protective Suits each crew member and frogman wore.

Moon Flu ya know.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
145. Patrap
2:46 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
Welcome Home 11..


Mission Accomplished



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
144. CybrTeddy
1:47 PM GMT on July 24, 2010
I can almost guarantee, STS-135 will happen now that its been added in the house bill.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24865
143. LowerCal
4:03 AM GMT on July 24, 2010
Pat Indeed it is and here's another example.

From Boeing space capsule could be operational by 2015:
Boeing executives pulled back the curtain on their concept for a commercial human space capsule this week at the Farnborough International Airshow, saying the CST-100 spacecraft could be ready for operational space station flights by 2015 if NASA awards contract money next year.

The aerospace giant is teaming with Bigelow Aerospace to develop a market for commercial human space transportation. Boeing's CST-100 capsule could service Bigelow's planned private space stations, but NASA's commitment to commercial crew initiatives "closes the business case" for the transport system, said Roger Krone, president Boeing Network and Space Systems.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
142. Patrap
1:35 AM GMT on July 24, 2010
American Innovation is alive and well.

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141. LowerCal
11:42 PM GMT on July 23, 2010
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Competing NASA bills on collision course in Congress
House and Senate committees voted Thursday on vastly different visions for NASA's future, setting up a legislative clash on the roles of the agency and commercial vendors in the next phase of space exploration.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
140. LowerCal
6:09 PM GMT on July 22, 2010
Here is the play by play so far on NASA's future funding and direction:


From NASA Senate Authorization Bill « National Space Society Blog:
Below are summaries and links to the actual text of the draft NASA 2010 authorization bill as of July 13, along with relevant proposed amendments, to be marked up in committee/subcommittee July 15 (Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Science and Space, chaired by Senator Bill Nelson).

NASA Authorization Bill:

- It's a 3-year bill, authorizing FY2011-2013
- Over that period, the 3-year total funding for commercial crew is cut 66%, from $3.3B to $1.2B
- The FY2011 funding is explicitly not to begin the program, but only to expand CCDev and conduct a number of studies [CCDev - Commercial Crew Development, NASA's program is designed to stimulate development of privately operated crew vehicles to low Earth orbit.]
- There are at least 6 separate studies and reports that NASA must do before a full Commercial Crew program would move forward.
- Orion is fully revived as a crew exploration vehicle
- An extra shuttle flight is added
- A shuttle-derived heavy-lift development is called for, starting immediately
- To pay for these additions, exploration technology is cut 90%. OCT technology is cut 50%. [OCT - Office of the Chief Technologist, NASA's Space Technology initiative managed by OCT will develop and demonstrate advanced space systems concepts and technologies enabling new approaches to achieving NASA's current mission set and future missions not feasible today.]

Warner Amendment One ("commercial crew/close the gap amendment"):

This amendment proposed by Senator Warner of Virginia would close the gap by fully reversing cuts to commercial crew development funding and by removing arbitrary restrictions preventing a commercial crew competition from beginning in 2011. The amendment would boost commercial crew funding to the level recommended by the President, adding $2.1 billion over three years, a nearly threefold boost. This will close the gap and ensure U.S. access to the International Space Station.

Boxer Amendment One ("technology and robotics amendment"):

This amendment proposed by Senator Barbara Boxer of California would restore cuts to robotic precursor missions, advanced technologies like fuel depots, in-space propulsion, and radiation shielding, and university research. In FY11, the amendment boosts Robotic Precursors by 130%, Exploration Technology Demonstrations by 230%, and the Space Technology Program by 55%, for a total of $356 million more for technology and robotics in FY11.

Udall Amendment One ("commercial suborbital science amendment"):

This amendment proposed by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico would bolster a small but high-profile program, designed to allow students, small companies, and researchers to fly experiments on-board new commercial suborbital space vehicles such as Virgin Galactic or XCOR Aerospace. The amendment would ensure that this program, known as Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR), would be fully funded at $15 million per year and report directly to NASA's Chief Technology Office to give it high-profile status.
I was personally very pleased with the proposed legislation at this stage of the game. :^)


Then July 19 the second human to set foot on the Moon Buzz Aldrin addressed solutions to "'the Gap' -- the end of the Space Shuttle Program, and the inability for the US to provide human access to space".
Buzz Aldrin: The Way Forward: Achieving a Consensus on America's Future in Space

It is widely known that I support the President's new space agenda for civil space. ....

A number of my former colleagues, and other critics, have expressed concerns about the plan, and in particular, they express grave reservations about 'the Gap' -- the end of the Space Shuttle Program, and the inability for the US to provide human access to space -- save for limited flight opportunities and capabilities with our Russian partners, pending the maturing of the commercial space transportation capabilities, or other future systems to meet these needs.

Perhaps it is less widely known, that I also share this concern, and I have long advocated a number of potential alternatives to try to address this issue: ....
Wow! Buzz offers some great ideas and the possibility that that everyone can be pleased! :^D


Then yesterday, July 20 there was this news:
A draft NASA bill being considered by the House Science Committee does not provide for an extra space shuttle mission and undercuts a compromise forged last week between the White House and Senate.
....
My personal opinion is :^[

Please be sure that your Representative knows what your personal opinion is.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
139. LowerCal
6:09 PM GMT on July 22, 2010
CybrTeddy Thank you. That is the perspective we all need to maintain if we are to acheive that vision.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
138. CybrTeddy
2:03 PM GMT on July 22, 2010
'The sky calls to us, if we do not destroy ourselfs.. we will one day venture to the stars. A more glorius dawn awaits us, not a sunrise.. but a galaxy rise. A morning with 40 billion suns.' - Carl Sagan
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24865
137. LowerCal
3:32 AM GMT on July 22, 2010
If I could do everything I'd like to do I'd spend at least a year in the Southern Hemisphere. Lots of unique and beautiful celestial objects in the Southern sky.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
135. LowerCal
3:00 AM GMT on July 22, 2010
SSI Yeah, the only thing we could do is find a new neighborhood a couple thousand light years away from it and we're not quite ready to make that kind of move yet. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
133. LowerCal
2:02 AM GMT on July 22, 2010
SSI In the presentation Pair Instability Supernovae and Hypernovae by Nicolay J. Hammer (Ph.D. student at the Max Planck Institut for Astrophysics) the collapse of a Population III star greater than 260 solar masses would consume its own explosive energy (see pg. 12). The resulting black hole would create an accretion disk, energetic jets and not a GRB but maybe a GRT (Gamma Ray Transient - recurrences, pulsations, and a soft spectral component unlike classic GRBs). I don't know what if any the visible light profile would be.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
131. LowerCal
12:29 AM GMT on July 22, 2010
I added another WunderPhoto at the end of the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
130. LowerCal
12:01 AM GMT on July 22, 2010
SSI The previous "upper limit" for star formation in the current era of the universe was thought to be about 150 solar masses based on that being the largest stars observed until now. If R136a1 is not several stars bunched closely together then 265 solar masses could be the new "upper limit". Formation of stars over even 8 solar masses isn't really well understood.

I know what you mean about seeing its supernova with the naked eye. R136a1 is in the Large Magellanic Cloud "only" 165,000 light years away. That's practically in our backyard compared to 2,500,000 light years for the Andromeda Galaxy. However a star of that size (265 solar masses) may simply vanish as a black hole without exploding.

A different reaction mechanism, photodisintegration, results after collapse starts in stars of at least 250 solar masses. This endothermic reaction (energy-absorbing) causes the star to continue collapse into a black hole rather than exploding due to thermonuclear reactions.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
128. LowerCal
6:20 PM GMT on July 21, 2010
Coverage of the remainder of the first moonwalk and additional coverage can be found at
Patrap's retrospective blog entry.

Pat Thanks for the doing timeline coverage. The intensity of the emotions it reawakens it's like reliving it.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
127. Patrap
2:43 AM GMT on July 21, 2010
41 Years ago @ 10:56 Pm EST

20 July 1969




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
126. Patrap
2:38 AM GMT on July 21, 2010
Earlier today 41 years ago with Walter Cronkite and Animation.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
125. Patrap
11:54 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
I was with my Dad in his 65 Chevy Pick up truck in Reijents Warehouse in Metairie West of NOLA when the Landing Happened that afternoon.

I remember the Horns from the surrounding neighborhood as folks came out and were Hooping and Hollering.

Black and white,..tears and joy.

Exuberance, wonder, pride and a sense of, we can do anything.

If we focus and come together.

Much can be learned from this moment 41 years ago.
I invite all to ..watch Neil and Buzz,,"Walk on Zee Moon" In my Entry Tonight as it happened.

And Mike Collins Had no TV On Orbit..



But what a Temple and View he had as he was all alone with God behind the Moon for 30 or so Minutes each Orbit when they were on the Surface.

Mike Collins prized possession is a Letter he received from Charles Lindbergh relating to his solitude.

What a Journey.

To the Moon and Back.

How lucky we were to be so perfectly set in time at 9 or so to appreciate the wonder of it all.


One day..I wanna see man leave Earth Orbit again.

Il Be running the Timeline and Moonwalk Video at 9:50 CDT

At 8:50 a.m. July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin reentered the LM and checked out all systems. They performed a maneuver at 1:11 p.m. to separate the LM from the CSM and began the descent to the moon. The LM touched down on the moon at 4:18 p.m. EDT July 20. Armstrong reported to mission control at MSC, "Houston, Tranquility Base here - the Eagle has landed." (Eagle was the name given to the Apollo 11 LM; the CSM was named Columbia.)

Man's first step on the moon was taken by Armstrong at 10:56 p.m. EDT.

As he stepped onto the surface of the moon, Armstrong described the feat as "one small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind."


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
124. LowerCal
11:38 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Pat Thank you! :^) A Happy Moonwalk Day to you too and you're welcome.

I guess "lazy" would be included in a broad definition of "casual", lol. I'm grateful to all the "Geekies" that pass through and enrich the blog with their contributions... contributions like Buzz and Neil playing in a sandbox while a crowd of men with white shirts, pocket protectors and skinny ties look on. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
123. Patrap
7:47 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Buzz and Neil in Full Apollo EVA Regalia..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
122. Patrap
7:45 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Happy Moon Walk Day 2010 Lowercal.

And thanks for producing "Casual Astronomy" for us lazy astronomer amateur types..

"Geekies"



Buzz Aldrin Post EVA in a Darkened Lunar Module Cockpit..

July 20th 1969

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
121. LowerCal
6:44 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
I added a northern lights WunderPhoto at the end of the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
120. LowerCal
5:41 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
The second human to set foot on the Moon that day, Buzz Aldrin addresses solutions to "'the Gap' -- the end of the Space Shuttle Program, and the inability for the US to provide human access to space" in

Buzz Aldrin: The Way Forward: Achieving a Consensus on America's Future in Space:
It is widely known that I support the President's new space agenda for civil space. ....

A number of my former colleagues, and other critics, have expressed concerns about the plan, and in particular, they express grave reservations about 'the Gap' -- the end of the Space Shuttle Program, and the inability for the US to provide human access to space -- save for limited flight opportunities and capabilities with our Russian partners, pending the maturing of the commercial space transportation capabilities, or other future systems to meet these needs.

Perhaps it is less widely known, that I also share this concern, and I have long advocated a number of potential alternatives to try to address this issue: ....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
119. Patrap
5:27 AM GMT on July 20, 2010
Tranquility Base Here,The Eagle has Landed


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131961
118. LowerCal
4:15 AM GMT on July 19, 2010
Karen I was born and not too young. :^)

See comment 9 on Patrap's blog.

I loved your Moon landing story the first time I saw you write about it. Check out the other people's stories at Pat's blog and add your great story if you want.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
117. SBKaren
2:42 AM GMT on July 19, 2010
Do you remember the moon landing in 1969? Or were you born yet...or too young.

I was in Paris, France on a European tour with Pepperdine University. I remember walking down from our upstairs room and the man at the desk said in pretty good English - Your man, he has walked on the moon!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 200 Comments: 14786
116. LowerCal
2:10 AM GMT on July 19, 2010
I've added another WunderPhoto (a beautiful unusual Milky Way image) at the end of the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
115. LowerCal
1:33 AM GMT on July 19, 2010
I've added another (see comment 84) WunderPhoto of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) at the end of the blog entry. So far all the photos this season are from northern Europe. No contributions from northern North America or northern Asia so far. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9615
114. LowerCal
12:14 AM GMT on July 19, 2010
Pat Thanks for all the interesting videos, images and commentary on the first human moon landing. That is a great retrospective blog you are doing!


Fsh That's the suit I want to wear on my trip with Pat. You can never be too hip in space. ;^)


CybrTeddy Thanks for the heads up on the proposed July 15 amendments to the "compromise" authorization bill. Those amendments do some major "wart removal" regarding my complaints in comments 57 & 90.

From NASA Senate Authorization Bill « National Space Society Blog:
Below are summaries and links to the actual text of the draft NASA 2010 authorization bill as of July 13, along with relevant proposed amendments, to be marked up in committee/subcommittee July 15 (Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Science and Space, chaired by Senator Bill Nelson).

NASA Authorization Bill:

- It’s a 3-year bill, authorizing FY2011-2013
- Over that period, the 3-year total funding for commercial crew is cut 66%, from $3.3B to $1.2B
- The FY2011 funding is explicitly not to begin the program, but only to expand CCDev and conduct a number of studies
- There are at least 6 separate studies and reports that NASA must do before a full Commercial Crew program would move forward.
- Orion is fully revived as a crew exploration vehicle
- An extra shuttle flight is added
- A shuttle-derived heavy-lift development is called for, starting immediately
- To pay for these additions, exploration technology is cut 90%. OCT technology is cut 50%.

Warner Amendment One (”commercial crew/close the gap amendment”):

This amendment proposed by Senator Warner of Virginia would close the gap by fully reversing cuts to commercial crew development funding and by removing arbitrary restrictions preventing a commercial crew competition from beginning in 2011. The amendment would boost commercial crew funding to the level recommended by the President, adding $2.1 billion over three years, a nearly threefold boost. This will close the gap and ensure U.S. access to the International Space Station.

Boxer Amendment One (”technology and robotics amendment”):

This amendment proposed by Senator Barbara Boxer of California would restore cuts to robotic precursor missions, advanced technologies like fuel depots, in-space propulsion, and radiation shielding, and university research. In FY11, the amendment boosts Robotic Precursors by 130%, Exploration Technology Demonstrations by 230%, and the Space Technology Program by 55%, for a total of $356 million more for technology and robotics in FY11.

Udall Amendment One (”commercial suborbital science amendment”):

This amendment proposed by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico would bolster a small but high-profile program, designed to allow students, small companies, and researchers to fly experiments on-board new commercial suborbital space vehicles such as Virgin Galactic or XCOR Aerospace. The amendment would ensure that this program, known as Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR), would be fully funded at $15 million per year and report directly to NASA’s Chief Technology Office to give it high-profile status.
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