Astronomy & Spaceflight

By: LowerCal , 4:48 PM GMT on November 16, 2010

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CURRENT MOON

moon phases


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 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
also 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
also Sodankyla, Finland
& Yellowknife, Canada (click on CONNECT AURORAMAX LIVE)


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 *****

See the comment section.


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

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

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

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
November 15
1148 GMT
6:48am EST
3:48am PST.

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).


Leonid Meteor Shower Peak(s)

WunderPhoto: Searching for Shooting Stars by johnlanoue Monday October 8, 2007

November 17
1500 & 2115 GMT
and
November 17 or 18, Moonset until Dawn (about 2AM-5AM local time)

The Leonids are visible from the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Tropics. This year the peak times favor the Pacific from Alaska and Hawaii west to the International Date Line (IDL) in the early morning of November 17. West of the IDL through most of Asia is favored in the early morning of November 18.

The maximum rate is forecast to be about 20 per hour this year but has been variable recently.

Source and more information at
Leonids, IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2010 | International Meteor Organization.

For Better Viewing
Find a Dark Location
A dark country location without "security" lights is best. If that's not convenient try to find a location where you can't see any lights or lighted surfaces. A nearby park or maybe even your backyard would qualify. On a beach facing the water would be another good alternative.

Where to Look
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky. To see the most meteors face the darkest part of your sky and look at least 45° above the horizon.

Be Comfortable
A reclining chair will keep you from getting a stiff neck and tired feet. A sleeping bag will keep you warm. (Even in the summertime you can get chilly at night if you are just lying still.) Insect repellent will keep you from being distracted by those little pests.

General Meteor Shower Information
An easy to read introduction to meteors with an interesting summary of annual showers is
Astronomy - Meteors and meteor showers - Francis Reddy.

Two primary sources of information on meteor showers are
The American Meteor Society and
The International Meteor Organinzation.


Kodiak Minotaur IV Launch

Photo credit: Joe Davila

Mission: STP-S26 (Space Test Program Small launch vehicle mission 26)
Launch Vehicle: Minotaur IV
Launch from Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska (Google map)
November 20
0124-0254 GMT
November 19
8:24-9:54pm EST
5:24-6:54pm PST
4:24-5:54pm AKST (local time).

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

More details appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Minotaur Launch Report | Mission Status Center.


Cape Canaveral Delta IV Launch

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Mission: NROL-32 (National Reconnaissance Office Launch 32)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
November 18
2310 GMT
6:10pm EST (local time)
3:10pm PST.
November 19
2306 GMT
6:06pm EST (local time)
3:06pm PST.
no earlier than

November 21
2258 GMT
5:58pm EST (local time)
2:58pm PST.

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

More details appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find more info on the mission at
United Launch Alliance.

A live webcast will begin 25 minutes before launch.


○ Full Moon

WunderPhoto: Polar Moon by carlskou Friday October 22, 2010

Exact at
November 21
1727 GMT
12:27pm EST
9:27am 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.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
November 28
2036 GMT
3:36pm EST
12:36pm PST.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the eastern 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.


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

Image credit: Pearson Scott Foresman

Exact at
November 30
1910 GMT
2:10pm EDT
11:10am 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).


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

Exact at
December 5
1736 GMT
12:36pm EDT
9:36am 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.


◐ First Quarter Moon

Exact at
December 13
1359 GMT
8:59am EST
5:59am PST.

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.


◑ Last (or Third) Quarter Moon

Exact at
December 28
0418 GMT
December 27
11:18pm EST
8:18pm PST.

Rises near midnight and sets near noon. Morning crescent moons for a week after. Each one thinner and closer to the eastern 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.


Shuttle Discovery Launch, STS-133 Mission & Landing + Double Spacecraft Flyovers

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

Mission: STS-133
Spacecraft & Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida
NET (No Earlier Than)
November 30
0902 GMT ±5min
4:02am EST ±5min (local time)
1:02am PST ±5min.
December 3
0752 GMT ±5min
2:522am EST ±5min (local time)
December 2
11:52pm PST ±5min.
no earlier than
December 17
no earlier than
February 3

February 24
2150 GMT ±5min
4:50pm EST ±5min (local time)
1:50pm PST ±5min.

Docking with ISS (International Space Station)
-

Undocking from ISS
-

Landing at Kennedy Space Center
-

Find (when published) landing options at NASA - Launch and Landing
and the landing paths (when published) at NASA - STS-133 Landing Ground Tracks.

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

You can follow the progress of the Space Shuttle mission online at
Spaceflight Now | STS-133 Shuttle Report | Mission Status Center
and
NASA - Space Shuttle.

You can dig for more info at
Spaceflight Now - Index of /shuttle/sts133
and
CBS News Space Place - Space Shuttle Status Report.

Live online coverage of the mission 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 & undocking and landing it may be possible to sight both craft in the sky at the same time. Shuttle Atlantis and the ISS will be making visible passes over North America between launch and docking.

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


web counterVisitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Sunrise and Venus (chikadee)
Sunrise and Venus
moon for Scorpios (grichardanderson)
moon for Scorpios
Before The Sunrise (Ralfo)
.That is our Famous Venus Planet at the center top. Very Bright this morning at ESE location
Before The Sunrise
Moon Rise (31337)
Moon Rise
Full Moon Flyby (virgo1048)
Launch of the Delta IV rocket. Taken from my backyard some 80 miles from Cape Canaveral.
Full Moon Flyby
Contrary to popular belief, they mostly just stand under it. (JonBeard)
Shooting the moonset with a long lens across a field which gives the perspective that the moon is huge compared to objects around it.
Contrary to popular belief, they mostly just stand under it.
morning moonset (got2dogs)
over Soldier Mt
morning moonset
Starry,StarryNight (trigirl)
What a gorgeous sky full of stars tonight!
Starry,StarryNight
Orion, the Hunter (Hurricane765)
I did not even know I could capture bright stars with my camera! This is my favorite constellation and am definitely going to shoot it again soon
Orion, the Hunter
4 LowerCal (Feather3)
Venus at sunrise on Nov 27th
4 LowerCal
Venus & Moon At Dawn (Ralfo)
today, 6:19 A.M., 12/2/10. Great Sight to see!
Venus & Moon At Dawn
The Last Moon (Ralfo)
for a while until the New Moon starts. Today it is at 2% Waning Moon. Taken at Dawn!
The Last Moon
2% Of Waning Crescent Full Moon. (Ralfo)
It was very faint at Dawn this morning as it came up.
2% Of Waning Crescent Full Moon.
Stars and Clouds (Doug484)
Night time near Greenland, CO. The glow to the left is Colorado Springs on the other side of Monument Hill.
Stars and Clouds
Setting Moon, Mars (Brillig)
The moon, having just passed in front of Mars, is setting just after the sun, as viewed from The Oasis Restaurant in Austin, TX. Video at http://vimeo.com/17552128
Setting Moon, Mars
Lunar Eclipse/ Man in the Moon (Denalidaze)
Took this photo of the moon and the eclipse. On the right curse you can see the profile of the "Man in the Moon". Winter will be here soon!
Lunar Eclipse/ Man in the Moon
()
Eclipse over Pohick Bay (JCFindley)
Eclipse over Pohick Bay
Moon near maximum of eclipse (GeorgeRX)
Lunar Eclipse 12/21/10 approximately 1 am. Taken with 200mm lens and AstroTrac mount.
Moon near maximum of eclipse
Lunar Eclipse at totality (Endosidney)
This image was taken through a 4
Lunar Eclipse at totality
Venus At Dawn (Ralfo)
A very bright planet in the early morning. Looks small in this wide angle shot!
Venus At Dawn

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Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 365 - 315

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All is "GO" including weather for the launch in less than 10 minutes.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
Good morning Gg! I envy your view.

BTW Pat, thank you once again for the ongoing updates and itmes of interest. My condolences to those suffering the effects of the high water and best wishes for the safety of all.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
HI LC - it is absolutely glorious weather here for the launch. Clear skies and very little wind.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Find live coverage of the countdown and final launch of space shuttle Endeavour at

NASA - NASA Television in High Definition on UStream

and

Spaceflight Now | STS-134 | Mission Status Center.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
In the words of Al,,..."fix your lil problems and light this candle"


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Freedom7 Pilot Al Shepard kicked the door open 50 years ago yesterday,that leads up to Endeavour's launch.



Apollo 14 Cdr Al Shepard

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
I corrected the new shuttle launch dates to May 16.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
More launch rescheduling on Florida's Space Coast:


Shuttle Endeavour will launch no earlier than May 16, 8:56am.

Spaceflight Now | STS-134 Shuttle Report | NASA moves Endeavour launch date to May 16


Also today's scrubbed launch of an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral AFS has been rescheduled for a 2:10-2:50pm EDT window tomorrow, May 7. The launch weather is expected to be nearly perfect.

Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
Shuttle Endeavour will launch no earlier than May 10, 11:21am.

Spaceflight Now | STS-134 Shuttle Report | NASA tentatively targets May 10 for Endeavour launch
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
356. Ylee
Thanks for the updates, guys!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Teams to Replace APU Heater Power Box; Launch No Earlier than May 8
Sun, 01 May 2011 01:31:06 PM CST



Image above: At NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, a technician makes his way across a platform in space shuttle Endeavour's aft section as work begins to remove and replace the aft load control assembly-2 (ALCA-2). Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett ›



Technicians and engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida have identified the likely source of what caused heaters on a fuel line for space shuttle Endeavour's auxiliary power unit-1 (APU-1) to fail on Friday, scrubbing the first launch attempt for the STS-134 mission. The failure appears to be a power problem within the aft load control assembly-2 (ALCA-2), a box of switches controlling power feeds.

"That basically means the power is not getting out to the heaters that weren't working on launch day," said Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager Mike Moses.

The plan is to remove and replace the box, but that work and related testing will take several days to complete. Once the new box is installed, the team must verify it's working properly -- at least a two-day process -- and perform forensics on the failed box.

"We can tell you, pretty much, that it's not going to be any earlier than (May 8)," Moses said. "We're really not even setting the schedules today. There's still a whole lot of short-term work that has to be done."

Endeavour's six astronauts have returned to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston for a few days of additional training before they report to Kennedy for the next launch attempt, and the crew's families also are going to return home today. The launch team is backing out of launch countdown operations.

"Responding to problems is one of the things we do best around here, and the team always likes a good challenge," said Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach. "I'm sure we're going to be really glad when Endeavour's finally on orbit, but right now, the team is upbeat and ready to execute."

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Shuttle Endeavour will launch no earlier than May 8, 12:09pm.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
Shuttle Endeavour will NOT launch May 2nd or 3rd, May 4th is unlikely and May 8th and 10th are better possibilities.

Find more details at
Spaceflight Now | STS-134 Shuttle Report | Space shuttle Endeavour launch delayed further.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Karen The soonest launch retry has been pushed back another day making it no earlier than May 2, 2:33pm EDT. Depending on what troubleshooting reveals the delay may be even longer.

BLU Sounds like the delay is somewhat of a mixed blessing.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
They must have just called it. I had the news on this morning (earlier) and it was a go! too bad! (except for blu!)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Scrub=no work...no I am within 1 mile-walking distance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
aqua Today's scheduled launch is scrubbed due to problems with heaters in one of three auxiliary power units. The next launch attempt will be no earlier than May 1, 2:59pm EDT.

Pat Give that toe a couple more days of rest.

BLU Looks like some got their wish. I hope you don't live to far from the shop. Looks like local traffic might be pretty heavy this weekend.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378

Scrub
Fri, 29 Apr 2011 11:16:41 AM CST

Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach called off today's launch attempt, NASA Commentator George Diller reported. Diller said technicians will go into the aft compartment to investigate APU heaters that failed. "We know (launch) will be no earlier than Sunday," Diller said.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Well,,least the Beach will be full of tourists..

ACK!!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
why scrub???
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 186 Comments: 27013
my little town is over run...good for the local economy which is suffering from over 2000 Space Coast layoffs. Some kinda wish it would be delayed to keep them spending another day.

I am working at the local ice cream shop 10 hours today starting at 1. Gotta love minimum wage...LOL
Pics to follow! I will be just across the river from the launch pad.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Morning LC,,canceled my Jazz Fest Plans for today due to a Broken toe so I'll be round for the Launch this afternoon.

Good to see you again.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Good morning, Pat. Thank you for the ongoing items of interest and updates. :^)

GG Hopefully it stimulated a lot of serious and careful thought about our collective future. :^/

Finn The "Super" part was hype. Of course the tide range was unusually large... but only a few percent larger than other perigean tides that occur once or twice a year.

Karen Quiet is good. I'm just very busy with various computer projects.

Fsh I'm in awe of the astuteness of SpaceX and Elon Musk's approach to development of commercial spaceflight.

Thanks for the First Orbit video.

Skye Good luck to you and everyone else who wants to see the final launch of shuttle Endeavour.

Everyone can see NASA TV launch coverage on cable, satellite or the web.

More excellent coverage and commentary can be found at
Spaceflight Now | STS-134 | Mission Status Center.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378


Shuttle Endeavour's external tank is filled with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen & liquid oxygen. Tanking completed at 9:24a ET
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
340. Skyepony (Mod)
I got a placard for NASA causeway for this one. Wish me luck. 700,000 is expected to come out for the launch.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 247 Comments: 40018
Shuttle Endeavor .

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Storm Possiblity Delays RSS Retract
Thu, 28 Apr 2011 04:38:38 PM CST


In anticipation of a storm that is predicted to pass over NASA Kennedy Space Center this evening, technicians at Launch Pad 39A will delay the opening of the rotating service structure (RSS) away from space shuttle Endeavour until approximately 8:30 p.m. EDT. Teams currently have begun support work that normally occurs following the RSS move, which allows the countdown to continue as planned to support Friday's 3:47 p.m. launch.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
A iconic image of Endeavour Live from the Pad




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
It's a "Go" for Endeavour's Launch on April 29
Tue, 19 Apr 2011 03:53:52 PM CST



NASA managers announced that space shuttle Endeavour is ready to launch next week on its final flight to the International Space Station following a daylong Flight Readiness Review on Tuesday. Endeavour is scheduled to launch Friday, April 29, at 3:47 p.m. EDT.


"We had a very extensive and thorough review today," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations. "I think the things that impressed me the most is that the team is still continuing to really work issues and look at the vehicle performance on each and every flight just like they would during any normal mission."

"We're ready to go fly," Gerstenmaier said.

All analysis and inspections of External Fuel Tank-122 confirmed its integrity after repairs were made because of damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina, according to Gerstenmaier.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
50 years ago tomorrow,,a Russian test pilot Yuri Gagarin rode the Vostok Rocket to Orbit and returned safely to Earth for man's first Venture into Space.


I wunder how he felt this night before, being first, ready to see the Earth, whole from above.







Vostok 1 Launch April 12, 1961

Gagarin's flight lasted 108 minutes for a single orbit around the Earth. The mission was brought to a close with the de-orbit firing of the reentry rockets. Gagarin ejected from the capsule at 7 km altitude because the hard landing of the capsule was too dangerous for people. So he parachuted safely to the ground. April 12 has been celebrated as Cosmonautics Day in Russia every year since 1962. Vostok 1 was Gagarin's only flight.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
SpaceX shoots for 'next big thing'

More big news coming out of SpaceX!!!!
Member Since: November 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
Lockheed Martin shows new test spaceship, trial site
Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 12:37 PM Updated: Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 12:40 PM
The Associated Press By The Associated Press


Lockheed Martin Corp. on Monday showed off a test version of the Orion spacecraft, which was initially meant to return humans to the moon but may wind up being an escape vehicle for the International Space Station or taking astronauts beyond Earth orbit.


The company also unveiled a cavernous test facility at its Waterton Canyon site south of Denver, where full-size mock-ups of the space station and the front section of the Orion can be used to practice docking maneuvers.

Orion was originally part of President George W. Bush's $100 billion moon mission, called Constellation. President Barack Obama canceled Constellation last year, saying the space program would instead focus on more advanced rocket technology.

Obama revived the Orion portion of the project two months later, with administration officials saying it would be the space station's escape vehicle.

NASA is now considering at least two roles for future manned spacecraft, including servicing the space station in low Earth orbit and going on longer, more distant missions.

"Orion is going to evolve from what it was under the previous Constellation program into what it needs to become as part of the multipurpose crew vehicle," NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said.

Lockheed Martin officials were more ambitious Monday, touting Orion as America's next generation spacecraft that could first explore the far side of the moon then land humans on asteroids and eventually take them to one of the moons of Mars, where they could control robotic instruments on the surface.

Orion includes a module for crew and cargo, a service module for propulsion, electrical power and other requirements, and a launch-abort system to carry the capsule to safety if the booster rocket fails. NASA successfully tested the launch-abort system two weeks ago at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Lockheed Martin is NASA's prime contractor for the Orion project. The company said it built the $35 million, 41,000-square-foot test facility, called the Space Operations Simulation Center, at company expense.

The first Orion capsule is being assembled in another building at Lockheed Martin's Waterton Canyon site. It will be used for ground testing and could possibly be launched into a suborbital test flight, said James Bray, Lockheed's crew and service module director.

Bray said the test results will be used in the engineering of the first Orion capsule to fly in space. Work on that capsule is expected to start in August.

Many of Orion's components can be re-used in subsequent flights, including some electronic systems, Bray said. The spaceship itself won't be reused because of the tremendous forces it endures on liftoff and re-entry, he said.

The first orbital space flight of an Orion capsule is expected in 2013, said John Karas, vice president and general manager for human space flight for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrats who pressed Obama to salvage the Orion project, said they were confident the spacecraft will fly, but neither discussed specifics in brief remarks at the dedication ceremony for the test building.

"The White House and the Congress both recognize the importance of this program," Perlmutter said.

Lockheed Martin employs nearly 10,000 people in Colorado.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Well, it's not right that your blog is so quiet....all is well I hope?????
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Hi all :)
GG, 10% is a LOT!

Cal, what do you think about the Super Moon on March 19th? Any special effect to be expected?
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Okay, with the earthquake that hit Japan the Earths axis has moved 10cm. Is that going to make some changes around here?
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 269 Comments: 10333
Discovery's final landing marks beginning of the end
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
NASA Director Greet's Discovery's Crew
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Quoting Patrap:
Indeed, Discovery has been the Fleet Workhorse for decades.

After 39 flights,2 that returned America to Space after Losses of Challenger and Columbia,,we give a Heavy Hearted thank you to her Builders,,crew's and especially those who have maintained her and it's systems for all those Wunderful years.


Thank You Discovery for your service to America and the Final Frontier.



Well said, Pat!
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Indeed, Discovery has been the Fleet Workhorse for decades.

After 39 flights,2 that returned America to Space after Losses of Challenger and Columbia,,we give a Heavy Hearted thank you to her Builders,,crew's and especially those who have maintained her and it's systems for all those Wunderful years.


Thank You Discovery for your service to America and the Final Frontier.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818



On to the Smithsonian for her....
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
... and home to stay now. :^/
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378


Sweet! Welcome home, Discovery!
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Wheel's Stop,Houston

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Runway in Sight, Houston

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Landing Update
Wed, 09 Mar 2011 10:47:31 AM CST

CAPCOM Charlie Hobaugh has given Discovery's crew some last-minute control settings for landing, which is coming up in a little more than 10 minutes.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Discovery now near Sarasota headed for Titsuville and a landing at Kennedy Space Center.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
Bring um on Home Steve and Discovery...!

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 130818
Discovery skirting the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9378
Good morning, BLU! :^)

Good morning, shore! :^) Yep, you'll just have to settle for NASA TV with this one. :^/

Pat, thanks and kudos for the continuing coverage and info. :^)
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About LowerCal

Astronomy with a minimum of terminology and technology.

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Additional Precip Needed 2015-02-28
Additional Precip Needed 2015-02-21

Personal Weather Stations

At Gonzales Drive
Woodland Hills, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperature: 65.5 °F
Dew Point: 24.6 °F
Humidity: 21%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Updated: 6:37 PM PST on March 05, 2015

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