Photo Op July 15 (see blog entry)

By: LowerCal , 10:40 PM GMT on February 26, 2012

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CURRENT MOON

moon phases

CURRENT PLANETS and brilliant stars in early July. Directions and times are for the northern subtropics and vary somewhat for other latitudes.
• Bright & golden Mercury is close to the western horizon at dusk, sets WNW after dark.
• Bright & orange Mars is SW at dusk, sets west near midnight.
• Bright & yellowish Saturn is SSW at dusk, sets west after midnight and is
accompanied very closely by the bright and blueish star Spica.
• Very brilliant off-white Jupiter rises ENE predawn, is low east late dawn.
• Extremely brilliant white Venus rises ENE predawn, is low east before sunrise and is
accompanied very closely by the bright and orange star Aldebaran.
• Brilliant & blueish star Sirius will rise before the Sun late July.
• Brilliant white star Canopus will peek above the horizon before the Sun around late August.


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,
Astronomy Picture of the Day,
Lunar Photo of the Day,
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:
Sodankyla, Finland,
Kiruna, Sweden,
Jokkmokk, Sweden (cam 4),
Jokkmokk, Sweden (cam 5),
Abisko, Sweden,
Reykiavik, Iceland,
Yellowknife, Canada (click on CONNECT AURORAMAX LIVE),
& Poker Flat, Alaska


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 *****

Photo Op - Crescent & Morning "Stars"

Image created with Stellarium, a free download.

July 15 before Dawn
ENE before dawn the bright & orange star Aldebaran and the ">" shaped Hyades star cluster will be visible close to extremely brilliant white planet Venus. The tiny dipper shaped Pleiades star cluster will be visible well above very brilliant off-white Jupiter.

Even in the very bright dawn shortly before sunrise the thin crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter will still be visible.


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

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

Moon Rides with Jupiter (& Jupiter's Moons)

WunderPhoto: Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon....Day 2 by rds817 — Sunday February 26, 2012

February 26 after Sunset
A crescent moon will travel beside the brilliant off-white planet Jupiter. Below them is the brilliant white planet Venus. Jupiter and Venus will appear very close March 12 & 13.

As the sky darkens through binoculars as many as four of Jupiter's largest moons can be seen.

Interactive Animation of Jupiter's Moons
- Current, Past and Future


Jupiter & Venus' Cozy Evenings

WunderPhoto: Jupiter & Venus from the Front Yard by phnielsen — Monday March 12, 2012

March 12 & 13 after Sunset
Brilliant off-white planet Jupiter travels close to even more brilliant white planet Venus.

As the sky darkens through binoculars as many as four of Jupiter's largest moons can be seen.

Interactive Animation of Jupiter's Moons
- Current, Past and Future


Virginia Nightlight Cloud Launches

Milky white tracer clouds from a prior mission.
Credit: Miguel Larsen/Clemson Univ

Mission: Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX)
Launch Vehicle: Terrier-Improved Malemute
Launch from Wallops Flight Facility, Virgina
March 23
12:00-3:00am EDT
March 25
morning

March 27
12:00-5:00am EDT
2:00-5:00am EDT


".... where the rockets may be visible while the motors are burning ...."
Credit: NASA/Wallops


".... the projected area in which the chemical tracers released from the rockets may be visible ...."
Credit: NASA/Wallops

The Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) will study the 200-300mph ultra-high level jet stream at the edge of space 60-65 miles above the Earth's surface. For details on the mission see
NASA - NASA Jet Stream Study Will Light up The Night Sky.


Crescent & Planets PhotoOps
(and beautiful binocular & naked eye views too.)

March 24-27 after Sunset
There will be good photo opportunities with the crescent moon in the western sky. (See the series of images just below.) Total darkness comes about 1½ hours after sunset. Between half an hour to an hour after sunset are some nice twilight skies. You can step outside any evening starting now, see the brilliant planets Jupiter and Venus, get an idea of lighting at various times and take some test shots.

After dark the two star clusters closest to Earth are easily seen above Jupiter and Venus. To the naked eye the Pleiades cluster appears as a tiny white dipper shaped pattern of stars standing above brilliant white Venus. The Hyades cluster appears farther above as a larger V-shaped pattern of stars with the bright and orangeish star Aldebaran at one corner. Binocular views of these star clusters are spectacular.

Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 24, 2012 45 min. after Sunset


Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 25, 2012 45 min. after Sunset


Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 26, 2012 45 min. after Sunset


Crescent Moon, Venus & Jupiter - March 27, 2012 45 min. after Sunset

Images created with Stellarium, a free download.


Vandenberg Delta IV Launch

Photo credit: USAF/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 25 (NROL-25)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium+ (5,2)
Launch from Vandenberg AFB, California
March 29
2230-(March 30)0015 GMT
6:30-8:15pm EDT
3:30-5:15pm PDT (local time).
March 30
2238-(March 31)0023 GMT
6:38-8:23pm EDT
3:38-5:23pm PDT (local time).
April 2
2304-? GMT
7:04pm-? EDT
4:04pm-? PDT (local time).

April 3
2312-? GMT
7:12pm-? EDT
4:12pm-? PDT (local time).

The smoke column produced by two solid rocket boosters will be easily visible for this afternoon launch.

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

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

You can find a live launch webcast at
United Launch Alliance.


Annular Solar Eclipse

Photo Credit: sancho_panza
May 20
Partial begins: 2056 GMT
Annular begins: 2206 GMT
May 21
Annular ending: 0139 GMT
Partial ending: 0249 GMT

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT VIEWING THE ECLIPSE:
"....no matter what, do not use "filters" such as smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarized filters, camera filters, candy wrappers, or compact discs. They might reduce the Sun's glare, but enough harmful radiation can sneak through to damage your eyes. Only use materials specifically manufactured for safe solar viewing, or #14 arcwelders glass."

That quote is from Safely View the Upcoming Eclipse and Transit - Observing Highlights - SkyandTelescope.com which gives directions for additional methods for viewing the Sun such as projecting an image, etc.


Map credit: Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC
For a explanation of all the lines and terms on the map see
NASA - Key to Solar Eclipse Maps.

See a zoomable and clickable NASA - Annular Solar Eclipse Map that will show specific times and amount of Sun eclipsed for any locations you select.

Some phase of the eclipse will be visible for most of North America before or during sunset. The path of annularity (where the Sun will appear as a "ring of fire" arround the Moon) is at least 150 miles wide. The path of annularity makes landfall at the California-Oregon border and continues into NW Texas. See the general visibility map for North America.


Cape Canaveral Falcon 9 Launch

Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Kevin O'Connell

Mission: Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demo Flight 2
Spacecraft: Dragon C2+
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
May 19
0855 GMT
4:55am EDT (local time)
1:55am PDT.
no earlier than (NET)

May 22
0744 GMT
3:44am EDT (local time)
12:44am PDT.

Berthing at the International Space Station (ISS)
May 22
1505 GMT
11:05am EDT
8:05am PDT.

Departure from ISS
May 31
1000 GMT
6:00am EDT
3:00am PDT

Deorbit burn
May 31
1451 GMT
10:51am EDT
7:51am PDT

Splashdown west of central Baja California
May 31
1542 GMT
11:42am EDT
8:42am PDT (local time)

If all the ambitious mission goals are met the SpaceX Dragon capsule will be the first private commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and it will also return cargo to Earth.

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

More details and updates appear on a launch blog at
Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find a live pre-launch and launch broadcasts at
NASA TV via cable, satellite or internet and
SpaceX.


Partial Lunar Eclipse

WunderPhoto: Lunar Eclipse by jajayy

June 4
Partial eclipse begins 1000 GMT
Partial eclipse ending 1206 GMT


Map credit: F. Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

The partial lunar eclipse will be in progress at moonset/sunrise for all but the most eastern and northern area of the Americas. The entire eclipse sequence will be visible from nearly all the Pacific Ocean including eastern Australia and eastern Indonesia. The partial lunar eclipse will be significantly in progress at moonsrise/sunset for the most eastern areas of the Asia.


Transit of Venus (across the Sun)

Photo credit: Jan Herold

June 5/6
First contact
2209 GMT
6:09 EDT
3:09 PDT

Final contact
0449 GMT


Map credit: Fred Espenak, NASAs GSFC

The transit of Venus will be visible on June 5 until sunset for the 48 states. Alaska and Hawaii will be able to observe the entire transit. Starting west of the International Date Line (IDL) the transit will be visible on June 6. Farther west the transit will be in progress at sunrise.

You can find timetables for major cities at 2012 Transit of Venus - Cities.

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT VIEWING THE TRANSIT:
"....no matter what, do not use "filters" such as smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarized filters, camera filters, candy wrappers, or compact discs. They might reduce the Sun's glare, but enough harmful radiation can sneak through to damage your eyes. Only use materials specifically manufactured for safe solar viewing, or #14 arcwelders glass."

That quote is from Safely View the Upcoming Eclipse and Transit - Observing Highlights - SkyandTelescope.com which gives directions for additional methods for viewing the Sun such as projecting an image, etc.

I was able to buy a pair of eclipse shades like this...

... for $1 at a local camera & telescope store.


JPL Open House


June 9 & 10
9AM - 4PM

The annual Open House at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., welcomes over 38,000 visitors. This year's theme is "Great Journeys," inviting visitors to share in the wonders of space through high-definition and 3-D videos, live demonstrations, interactions with scientists and engineers, and a first look at JPL's new Earth Science Center.

Find directions and other vital info at Open House - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


Cape Canaveral Atlas V Launch

Image credit: NASA/JPL/KSC/Lockheed Martin Space Systems

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 38 (NROL-38)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
June 20
1228-1327 GMT
8:28-9:27am EDT (local time)
5:28-6:27am PDT.

With no smoke producing solid rocket boosters the launch vehicle will rise on a bright flame with a long barely visible tail. A condensation trail may form at higher altitude.

You can find status updates and launch coverage at
Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find more information and a live webcast starting a 8:08am EDT on launch day at
United Launch Alliance.


Skinny Moon & Mercury - 20 June 20 min. after Sunset looking WNW

Image created with Stellarium, a free download.

Binoculars can help you find both or just offer another interesting view if you can find them with your eyes alone.


Skinny Moon & Planet Mercury - 21 June 20 min. after Sunset looking WNW

Image created with Stellarium, a free download.

The crescent moon should be more obvious this evening but binoculars still might be needed find Mercury 20 minutes after sunset. Binoculars will also give an improved view of the craters and mountains in the Moon's thin crescent.

By about 45 minutes after sunset Mercury should be obvious to the right of the thin crescent. The pair will make a nice photo op against a twilight sky with silhouettes on the horizon below.


Cape Canaveral Delta IV Launch

Image credit: US Air Force

Mission: National Reconnaissance Office Launch 15 (NROL-15)
Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
June 28
Target
1016 GMT
6:16am EDT (local time)
3:16am PDT,

June 29
Target
1013 GMT
6:13am EDT (local time)
3:13am PDT,

Window?
0930-1430 GMT
5:30-10:30am EDT (local time)
2:30-7:30am PDT.

The beginning of the previously announced launch window is early dawn. The Delta IV Heavy configuration uses two additional first stage engines as strap on boosters. The three RS-68 liquid hydrogen-oxygen engines create long orange flames and water vapor exhaust that shows up as a heavy condensation trail.

The announced target time of launch is about 10 minutes before sunrise. This could result in a condensation trail that rises from low light into bright and reddish sunrise colors - a nice photo op.

You can find status updates and launch coverage at
Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Mission Status Center.

You can find more information and a live webcast on launch day at
United Launch Alliance.


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Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon (rds817)
Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon
Important Sunspot Up Date 3/11/12 (Ralfo)
Up Date Photo 3/11/12 . VERY IMPORTANT NEWS. Photo taken at 10:05A.M. What is going on now is the #1 event of importance regarding the Sun and Earths Weather and conditions for now and future. I am and have been entering Photos to advise. Below is a copy of updates and interest info! Sunspots - News Results Solar Storms Continue, Northern Lights Increase WebProNews - Mar 09 08:55am Earth Braces for Geomagnetic Storming After More Solar FlaresPC Magazine - Mar 10 02:48pm Biggest solar storms.
Important Sunspot Up Date 3/11/12
()
Ice and light (Altred)
Ice and light
MidnightDance! (katy99780)
Dynamic, bright, and moving 'at the speed of light.' Constant motion, fast as a shiver in the cold, shimmering in the night sky. 18 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, wee hours this morning.
MidnightDance!
Planets at Night (SBKaren)
I believe these are Jupiter (below) and Venus (above). Just shot this photo without taking any kind of care. I wasn't even sure if they would turn out.
Planets at Night
Red and green (Altred)
Red and green
()
()
Early Evening Conjunction (CameraGuy)
This evening's beautiful conjunction of the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and the Pleiades.
Early Evening Conjunction
Moon & planets form Tringle while Corn Takes Over. (Skyepony)
All hail the corn, it's 8' high & the planets & moon have aligned to form a triangle, with Jupiter sitting with the moon & Venus above. Got 0.21" of rain, followed by perfect weather.
Moon & planets form Tringle while Corn Takes Over.
()
ATREX Misson (Maciejewski)
WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – NASA successfully launched five suborbital sounding rockets this morning from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as part of a study of the upper level jet stream. The first rocket was launched at 4:58 a.m. EDT and each subsequent rocket was launched 80 seconds apart. Each of the rockets released a chemical tracer that created milky, white clouds at the edge of space.
ATREX Misson
Jupiter, Moon and Venus (CecileWNC)
Jupiter, Moon and Venus
Coastal Flooding (SunsetSailor)
This is the road to my house. We only get this kind of flooding when hurricanes are off shore. Tides were 4-6 ft above normal this evening due to the gravitational pull of the moon.
Coastal Flooding
Fireflies (PruzenskiPhotos)
A sure sign that summer is on it's way. A view from Canadice Lake early this morning revealed fireflies dancing infront of the Milky Way.
Fireflies
Oregon Annular (silverbeaver59)
Oregon Annular
2 hours of the annular eclipse of the sun (redtim)
from Pyramid Lake, NV
2 hours of the annular eclipse of the sun
Solar Sunset Eclipse (LianesLightroom)
View of the partial solar eclipse from the Manhattan Beach Pier. Edited using special filters from NIK Software.
Solar Sunset Eclipse
Annular Eclipse Sunset over Mt. Taylor (witokazu)
Absolutely awesome event. Shot from Albuquerque, NM, USA on I-40 Frontage Rd on MM-245. Nikon D300 and 50mm (non-DX) @ f/5.6 at 3-min intervals centered at mid-annularity.
Annular Eclipse Sunset over Mt. Taylor
Sunset Eclipse (Mousecrafter)
2012 Solar eclipse sunset overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard with clouds.
Sunset Eclipse
Moon Eclipse 3 (gilg72)
Partial Eclipse. Was cloudy all the way thru. Had to wait for clouds to move enough for photos. Different settings etc.
Moon Eclipse 3
walkabout (cyril8)
partial eclipse still visible as the full moon sets
walkabout
VENUS TRANSIT & MANY SUNSPOTS (Ralfo)
Cloudy most of the day but got a break in between clouds. Took this picture at 6:37P.M. with many Sunspots. One of the rarest solar system events (only seven have happened since Galileo's time). Venus' transit of the Sun
VENUS TRANSIT & MANY SUNSPOTS
Delta IV Heavy (Skyepony)
Excellent rumble.
Delta IV Heavy

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I didn't get to witness last night's partial lunar eclipse myself. The sky was clear when a checked about 1:30am but when I went out for a look at 3:00am it was overcast. At the bottom of the blog entry I've added a couple of WunderPhotos by skilled WunderPhotographers who had much better views of the eclipse.

Ylee Thanks for that link. I love contemplating that grand time span and the changes that will unfold. I hope someone who can claim us as ancestors will witness them. They could reuse that same article if it doesn't get lost along the way.

sp Except in NC where nobody is allowed to get wet, apparently. Sorry ... cross referencing blogs doesn't always work ;)

Sure it does, just provide a link - NC Considers Making Sea Level Rise Illegal. ;^)

Thanks for all those all new (to this blog) links related to the transit of Venus. I have one more to add -
NASA TV: Live Webcast Streams.

Hiya, Rob!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Quoting Ylee:
When the astronauts on the ISS opened up the Dragon, they said it had a "New car smell".

Those Soyuz capsules must be kind of funky, lol!

Every time I read the header and the comments I find something really cool and interesting.

Sometimes I find something that makes me ROFL. Somehow I missed this one last week!

Great post Ylee!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Ha! Good headline :)
Except in NC where nobody is allowed to get wet, apparently. Sorry ... cross referencing blogs doesn't always work ;)

Copied from my own blog and fyi - some Venus transit stuff that may already be here in one form or another ...

astronomy without borders has much useful info and links - including a live webcast from Mt Wilson! And phone apps, if you swing that way.

transitofvenus.org has, not surprisingly, pretty much all you want to know about the transit.

In the LA area, Griffith Park Observatory will be doing a thing.

Now, this is very cool - sungun - but too much trouble for me.

Just a couple more days!
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
338. Ylee
If their calculations are correct, this would be too cool! Don't know about the Earth's long term future, even though the scientists don't sound too concerned.

Have a good weekend!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
sp Thanks for the heads up on the JPL Open House. I added a section for it in the blog entry.

How's this for a headline, "SpaceX Makes Big Splash, Congress All Wet"? ;^)

GG It is! :^) Exciting times ahead.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Is this getting fun or what? Had it the Nasa TV on at work just in time for the splash down.
Let the real Space Race begin!
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9594
For those who'd like to know, the JPL Open House is coming up on June 9th and 10th.

Nice coverage of the big splash :)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
More commercial competition...

Cosmic Log - One moonshot team buys up another
....
Moon Express said the acquisition of Colorado-based Next Giant Leap will add to its momentum in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition, which promises a huge payoff to the first team that sends a rover to the moon for an exploratory trek that includes transmitting high-definition imagery back to Earth. Moon Express and Next Giant Leap are among 26 teams vying for the prize.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
I added a section on the June 4 partial lunar eclipse in the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188


I added a section on the June 5/6 transit of Venus in the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Pat Celebrating success at the dawn of a new era in spaceflight. :^)

On this Dragon C2+ mission all of the objectives for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demo Flight 2 and Demo Flight 3 appear to have been met. If that indeed proves to be the case then the SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon system will be certified to begin regular cargo resupply missions in the second half of 2012.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Published on May 31, 2012 by iss2012


SpaceX Dragon Splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128766
..congrats to Elon Musk and the Space X/Dragon Team.



Space X News

Dragon Returns to Earth
Thu, 31 May 2012 10:47:47 AM CDT


SpaceX's Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. EDT a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico, marking a successful end to the first mission by a commercial company to resupply the International Space Station.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128766
You too, Rob. Thanks for stopping by.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Quoting RobDaHood:

Yeah, that's what I'm hearing.
Maybe someone on the boats had a camera pointed the right direction.
Landed on target.
Hopefully so. The recovery boats arrived there very quickly. Parachutes have been detached from the capsule.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Well, It's floating.
That's a good sign.

I've got to get back to work.
will monitor audio.

Have a good day!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Spashdown at 27°N 120°W.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Preliminary report indicates splashdown was on target 563 west of Baja California. Recovery have ships spotted Dragon in the water.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Quoting LowerCal:
Clouds in the area may not allow for that. :^(

Yeah, that's what I'm hearing.
Maybe someone on the boats had a camera pointed the right direction.
Landed on target.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Quoting RobDaHood:
Splashdown!

Hopefully we'll get some vid of that later.

Good morning LC
Clouds in the area may not allow for that. :^(
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Amazing when you stop and think about it.
You in CA, Me in FL, watching live video from a P3 over the Pacific.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Splashdown at 8:42am PDT!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Splashdown!

Hopefully we'll get some vid of that later.

Good morning LC
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Good chutes. Mains deployed.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Good morning, Rob.

Main parachutes have deployed.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Time to splashdown 15 minutes.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Monitoring
Thanks for the reminder.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Atmospheric entry beginning.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
You can find live coverage of the SpaceX Dragon capsule's return to Earth at

Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Mission Status Center

and

NASA TV.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Astronauts say crews would be comfortable in Dragon
Two astronauts who helped capture and berth the Dragon supply ship said Saturday they would be comfortable flying a human-rated version of the craft on commercial flights to the International Space Station.
....


Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | SpaceX signs first commercial customer for Falcon Heavy
....
The contract's monetary value was also not disclosed, but SpaceX has said the Falcon Heavy would sell for between $80 million and $125 million per flight, about one-third the price of a less powerful United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket.
....
SpaceX is finishing development of the huge Falcon Heavy before shipping the first rocket to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for liftoff on a test flight in mid-2013.

SpaceX is paying for the demonstration flight in 2013 with internal funding.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Pat LOL!

sp Excellent article.

The terminology that's been applied to development and flights in the NASA - Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) has been variously "private", "commercial" or "private-commercial".

The COTS approach is seed money for development and then a fixed fee per actual service by the developer(s) that succeed with development.

The old approach is cost plus which is a government guaranteed profit for the contractor even if development never succeeds. This is the only path for highly novel endeavors.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
"New car smell" :D

Another view of the private/public space exploration partnership. Pretty good overview of the money issue, I think.
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
Hey, Look I found in the Air Return Screen ,...!

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128766
LOL!

:^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
307. Ylee
When the astronauts on the ISS opened up the Dragon, they said it had a "New car smell".

Those Soyuz capsules must be kind of funky, lol!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GG, Pat You both got it.

SLS, Space Launch System or Senate Launch System? Where can we find rocket scientists?

OK, I think I've used up my allowance of talking smack for the week. Good thing the week is almost over. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Oil and old men in charge equal B-A-D.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128766
Okay, how COOL was today! They were showing NASA TV live on MSNBC so I had it on all morning at work.
Hard to describe how amazing it is to watch the birth of space travel.
It's not so exciting when it's goverments doing space exploration. The idea of a group of brilliant people that are not "the government" building rockets and talking about exploring space...this is where it really starts.
Really can't describe how wonderful it was to see this happen today. Okay, off to sleep now, have to work in the morning.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9594
Congress Should Fully Fund Commercial Crew | Aviation Week
.... powerful members of Congress seem determined to hold fast to the cost-plus, micromanaged procurement models of yesteryear.

Some months ago, the Obama administration sought to slow work on the Space Launch System, a new heavy-lifter for astronauts on exploration missions. The hope was to put more into developing launch technologies that all could use. Yet even though two large launchers are already available, Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) rallied to protect jobs in their states. Congress mandated the continued development of what wags now call the Senate Launch System.

.... now, the full House and appropriators in the Senate have voted to slash the $836 million NASA is requesting for Commercial Crew next fiscal year to $500-525 million. Even worse, the House would direct NASA to abandon plans to fund work by two providers and support just one, or perhaps a "leader" and "follower." Down-selecting to a sole source at this early stage would throw away one of the key advantages of free enterprise - competition.

While this would cut costs in the short run, it is short-sighted in the extreme. It may not stick, but don't bet on a reversal. Powerful interests seek to keep human spaceflight a federal program, and have little interest in growing a new commercial industry that might challenge the traditional government contractors. ....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | NASA: Competition at core of commercial crew program
.... NASA has not decided how many partners - two, three, or four - it will select for the CCiCap phase, which will fund projects through the completion of designs until the start of qualification testing.

NASA has ongoing funded agreements with Boeing Co., SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corp., and Blue Origin. The companies expect to complete their milestones under their current agreements this summer, before NASA awards the next round of funding.

Each company is developing a human-rated spacecraft to launch on top of an expendable rocket.

"Competition is in everyone's interests," Mango said. "Going to one [provider] means your price for development, let alone services because we haven't figured that out yet, is probably at least double what it would be if you had at least some competition throughout some phase of the overall development."
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Thanks. Have a great holiday weekend, Rob.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Before I cut out for the night.

Powered vertical landing would indeed be a milestone.

Take care LC!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Quoting RobDaHood:
293. LowerCal
Exactly, plus the engine out capability!
Good engineering.
.... the presence of multiple first stage engines allows for mission completion even if one of the first-stage engines fails mid-flight. This is known as "engine-out capability". Falcon 9 is the first rocket "since the Saturn series from the Apollo program to incorporate engine-out capability".
Quoting RobDaHood:
Plus, gotta love anything named Merlin!
:o)
:^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Plus, gotta love anything named Merlin!
:o)
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
293. LowerCal
Exactly, plus the engine out capability!
Good engineering.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Today's SpaceX's Dragon berthing begins the first cargo delivery by a private commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).

It is also the first cargo delivery by a U.S. spacecraft since NASA's space shuttle Atlantis July 10, 2011.

All cargo delivery has been via government agency spacecraft. Other cargo delivery spacecraft are Roscosmos' Progress, ESA's ATV and JAXA's HTV.

The only currently active spacecraft capable of returning cargo from the ISS to the Earth is SpaceX's Dragon.

Roscosmos' Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle capable of carrying humans to the ISS.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Rob A brilliant modular design philosophy is probably a major factor in keeping the cost down.

SpaceX uses one rocket engine, the Merlin.

The Falcon 1 used another Merlin for the second stage with an exhaust system modified for maximum efficency above the atmosphere.

The Falcon 9 uses nine Merlin engines in a tic-tac-toe configuration in the first stage.

The Falcon Heavy will be a Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages on each side as boosters. Maybe one thing you're refering to is that Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to feature propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core. Propellant cross-feeding leaves the center core still carrying the majority of its propellant after the side boosters separate.

Additionally the are plans to make the first and second stages reusable and even to attempt to develop powered vertical landing for them.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188
Nice!

Your links in #282 prompted me to take time out a couple days ago to read up on what is going on there. Thanks.

The "Heavy" sounds like a very innovative bit of engineering.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32314
Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | Mission Status Center
....
FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012
1620 GMT (12:20 p.m. EDT)

We will air a news conference with NASA and SpaceX officials at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).

FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012
1606 GMT (12:06 p.m. EDT)

The space station crew will open the hatch and enter the Dragon spacecraft Saturday, beginning work to unload cargo from the pressurized capsule and install equipment tagged for return to Earth.

Dragon is scheduled to remain at the space station until May 31.

Mating of the Dragon with the space station occurred 3 days, 8 hours, and 18 minutes after the flight blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9188

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