12345...102030...


Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight (also written space flight) is ballistic flight into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft with or without humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the U.S. Apollo Moon landing and Space Shuttle programs and the Russian Soyuz program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station. Examples of unmanned spaceflight include space probes that leave Earth orbit, as well as satellites in orbit around Earth, such as communications satellites. These operate either by telerobotic control or are fully autonomous.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other Earth observation satellites.

A spaceflight typically begins with a rocket launch, which provides the initial thrust to overcome the force of gravity and propels the spacecraft from the surface of the Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraftboth when unpropelled and when under propulsionis covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

The first theoretical proposal of space travel using rockets was published by Scottish astronomer and mathematician William Leitch, in an 1861 essay “A Journey Through Space”.[1] More well-known (though not widely outside Russia) is Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s work, ” ” (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), published in 1903.

Spaceflight became an engineering possibility with the work of Robert H. Goddard’s publication in 1919 of his paper A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. His application of the de Laval nozzle to liquid fuel rockets improved efficiency enough for interplanetary travel to become possible. He also proved in the laboratory that rockets would work in the vacuum of space;[specify] nonetheless, his work was not taken seriously by the public. His attempt to secure an Army contract for a rocket-propelled weapon in the first World War was defeated by the November 11, 1918 armistice with Germany.

Nonetheless, Goddard’s paper was highly influential on Hermann Oberth, who in turn influenced Wernher von Braun. Von Braun became the first to produce modern rockets as guided weapons, employed by Adolf Hitler. Von Braun’s V-2 was the first rocket to reach space, at an altitude of 189 kilometers (102 nautical miles) on a June 1944 test flight.[2]

Tsiolkovsky’s rocketry work was not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but he influenced Sergey Korolev, who became the Soviet Union’s chief rocket designer under Joseph Stalin, to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry nuclear weapons as a counter measure to United States bomber planes. Derivatives of Korolev’s R-7 Semyorka missiles were used to launch the world’s first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, and later the first human to orbit the Earth, Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1, on April 12, 1961.[3]

At the end of World War II, von Braun and most of his rocket team surrendered to the United States, and were expatriated to work on American missiles at what became the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. This work on missiles such as Juno I and Atlas enabled launch of the first US satellite Explorer 1 on February 1, 1958, and the first American in orbit, John Glenn in Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. As director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, Von Braun oversaw development of a larger class of rocket called Saturn, which allowed the US to send the first two humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to the Moon and back on Apollo 11 in July 1969. Over the same period, the Soviet Union secretly tried but failed to develop the N1 rocket to give them the capability to land one person on the Moon.

Rockets are the only means currently capable of reaching orbit or beyond. Other non-rocket spacelaunch technologies have yet to be built, or remain short of orbital speeds.A rocket launch for a spaceflight usually starts from a spaceport (cosmodrome), which may be equipped with launch complexes and launch pads for vertical rocket launches, and runways for takeoff and landing of carrier airplanes and winged spacecraft. Spaceports are situated well away from human habitation for noise and safety reasons. ICBMs have various special launching facilities.

A launch is often restricted to certain launch windows. These windows depend upon the position of celestial bodies and orbits relative to the launch site. The biggest influence is often the rotation of the Earth itself. Once launched, orbits are normally located within relatively constant flat planes at a fixed angle to the axis of the Earth, and the Earth rotates within this orbit.

A launch pad is a fixed structure designed to dispatch airborne vehicles. It generally consists of a launch tower and flame trench. It is surrounded by equipment used to erect, fuel, and maintain launch vehicles.

The most commonly used definition of outer space is everything beyond the Krmn line, which is 100 kilometers (62mi) above the Earth’s surface. The United States sometimes defines outer space as everything beyond 50 miles (80km) in altitude.

Rockets are the only currently practical means of reaching space. Conventional airplane engines cannot reach space due to the lack of oxygen. Rocket engines expel propellant to provide forward thrust that generates enough delta-v (change in velocity) to reach orbit.

For manned launch systems launch escape systems are frequently fitted to allow astronauts to escape in the case of emergency.

Many ways to reach space other than rockets have been proposed. Ideas such as the space elevator, and momentum exchange tethers like rotovators or skyhooks require new materials much stronger than any currently known. Electromagnetic launchers such as launch loops might be feasible with current technology. Other ideas include rocket assisted aircraft/spaceplanes such as Reaction Engines Skylon (currently in early stage development), scramjet powered spaceplanes, and RBCC powered spaceplanes. Gun launch has been proposed for cargo.

Achieving a closed orbit is not essential to lunar and interplanetary voyages. Early Russian space vehicles successfully achieved very high altitudes without going into orbit. NASA considered launching Apollo missions directly into lunar trajectories but adopted the strategy of first entering a temporary parking orbit and then performing a separate burn several orbits later onto a lunar trajectory. This costs additional propellant because the parking orbit perigee must be high enough to prevent reentry while direct injection can have an arbitrarily low perigee because it will never be reached.

However, the parking orbit approach greatly simplified Apollo mission planning in several important ways. It substantially widened the allowable launch windows, increasing the chance of a successful launch despite minor technical problems during the countdown. The parking orbit was a stable “mission plateau” that gave the crew and controllers several hours to thoroughly check out the spacecraft after the stresses of launch before committing it to a long lunar flight; the crew could quickly return to Earth, if necessary, or an alternate Earth-orbital mission could be conducted. The parking orbit also enabled translunar trajectories that avoided the densest parts of the Van Allen radiation belts.

Apollo missions minimized the performance penalty of the parking orbit by keeping its altitude as low as possible. For example, Apollo 15 used an unusually low parking orbit (even for Apollo) of 92.5 nmi by 91.5 nmi (171km by 169km) where there was significant atmospheric drag. But it was partially overcome by continuous venting of hydrogen from the third stage of the Saturn V, and was in any event tolerable for the short stay.

Robotic missions do not require an abort capability or radiation minimization, and because modern launchers routinely meet “instantaneous” launch windows, space probes to the Moon and other planets generally use direct injection to maximize performance. Although some might coast briefly during the launch sequence, they do not complete one or more full parking orbits before the burn that injects them onto an Earth escape trajectory.

Note that the escape velocity from a celestial body decreases with altitude above that body. However, it is more fuel-efficient for a craft to burn its fuel as close to the ground as possible; see Oberth effect and reference.[5] This is anotherway to explain the performance penalty associated with establishing the safe perigee of a parking orbit.

Plans for future crewed interplanetary spaceflight missions often include final vehicle assembly in Earth orbit, such as NASA’s Project Orion and Russia’s Kliper/Parom tandem.

Astrodynamics is the study of spacecraft trajectories, particularly as they relate to gravitational and propulsion effects. Astrodynamics allows for a spacecraft to arrive at its destination at the correct time without excessive propellant use. An orbital maneuvering system may be needed to maintain or change orbits.

Non-rocket orbital propulsion methods include solar sails, magnetic sails, plasma-bubble magnetic systems, and using gravitational slingshot effects.

The term “transfer energy” means the total amount of energy imparted by a rocket stage to its payload. This can be the energy imparted by a first stage of a launch vehicle to an upper stage plus payload, or by an upper stage or spacecraft kick motor to a spacecraft.[6][7]

Vehicles in orbit have large amounts of kinetic energy. This energy must be discarded if the vehicle is to land safely without vaporizing in the atmosphere. Typically this process requires special methods to protect against aerodynamic heating. The theory behind reentry was developed by Harry Julian Allen. Based on this theory, reentry vehicles present blunt shapes to the atmosphere for reentry. Blunt shapes mean that less than 1% of the kinetic energy ends up as heat that reaches the vehicle and the heat energy instead ends up in the atmosphere.

The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules all splashed down in the sea. These capsules were designed to land at relatively low speeds with the help of a parachute.Russian capsules for Soyuz make use of a big parachute and braking rockets to touch down on land.The Space Shuttle glided to a touchdown like a plane.

After a successful landing the spacecraft, its occupants and cargo can be recovered. In some cases, recovery has occurred before landing: while a spacecraft is still descending on its parachute, it can be snagged by a specially designed aircraft. This mid-air retrieval technique was used to recover the film canisters from the Corona spy satellites.

Uncrewed spaceflight (or unmanned) is all spaceflight activity without a necessary human presence in space. This includes all space probes, satellites and robotic spacecraft and missions. Uncrewed spaceflight is the opposite of manned spaceflight, which is usually called human spaceflight. Subcategories of uncrewed spaceflight are “robotic spacecraft” (objects) and “robotic space missions” (activities). A robotic spacecraft is an uncrewed spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe.

Uncrewed space missions use remote-controlled spacecraft. The first uncrewed space mission was Sputnik I, launched October 4, 1957 to orbit the Earth. Space missions where animals but no humans are on-board are considered uncrewed missions.

Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to lower cost and lower risk factors. In addition, some planetary destinations such as Venus or the vicinity of Jupiter are too hostile for human survival, given current technology. Outer planets such as Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are too distant to reach with current crewed spaceflight technology, so telerobotic probes are the only way to explore them. Telerobotics also allows exploration of regions that are vulnerable to contamination by Earth micro-organisms since spacecraft can be sterilized. Humans can not be sterilized in the same way as a spaceship, as they coexist with numerous micro-organisms, and these micro-organisms are also hard to contain within a spaceship or spacesuit.

Telerobotics becomes telepresence when the time delay is short enough to permit control of the spacecraft in close to real time by humans. Even the two seconds light speed delay for the Moon is too far away for telepresence exploration from Earth. The L1 and L2 positions permit 400-millisecond round trip delays, which is just close enough for telepresence operation. Telepresence has also been suggested as a way to repair satellites in Earth orbit from Earth. The Exploration Telerobotics Symposium in 2012 explored this and other topics.[8]

The first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, on which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin of the USSR made one orbit around the Earth. In official Soviet documents, there is no mention of the fact that Gagarin parachuted the final seven miles.[9] Currently, the only spacecraft regularly used for human spaceflight are the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. The U.S. Space Shuttle fleet operated from April 1981 until July 2011. SpaceShipOne has conducted two human suborbital spaceflights.

On a sub-orbital spaceflight the spacecraft reaches space and then returns to the atmosphere after following a (primarily) ballistic trajectory. This is usually because of insufficient specific orbital energy, in which case a suborbital flight will last only a few minutes, but it is also possible for an object with enough energy for an orbit to have a trajectory that intersects the Earth’s atmosphere, sometimes after many hours. Pioneer 1 was NASA’s first space probe intended to reach the Moon. A partial failure caused it to instead follow a suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 113,854 kilometers (70,746mi) before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere 43 hours after launch.

The most generally recognized boundary of space is the Krmn line 100km above sea level. (NASA alternatively defines an astronaut as someone who has flown more than 50 miles (80km) above sea level.) It is not generally recognized by the public that the increase in potential energy required to pass the Krmn line is only about 3% of the orbital energy (potential plus kinetic energy) required by the lowest possible Earth orbit (a circular orbit just above the Krmn line.) In other words, it is far easier to reach space than to stay there. On May 17, 2004, Civilian Space eXploration Team launched the GoFast Rocket on a suborbital flight, the first amateur spaceflight. On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne was used for the first privately funded human spaceflight.

Point-to-point is a category of sub-orbital spaceflight in which a spacecraft provides rapid transport between two terrestrial locations. Consider a conventional airline route between London and Sydney, a flight that normally lasts over twenty hours. With point-to-point suborbital travel the same route could be traversed in less than one hour.[10] While no company offers this type of transportation today, SpaceX has revealed plans to do so as early as the 2020s using its BFR vehicle.[11] Suborbital spaceflight over an intercontinental distance requires a vehicle velocity that is only a little lower than the velocity required to reach low Earth orbit.[12] If rockets are used, the size of the rocket relative to the payload is similar to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Any intercontinental spaceflight has to surmount problems of heating during atmosphere re-entry that are nearly as large as those faced by orbital spaceflight.

A minimal orbital spaceflight requires much higher velocities than a minimal sub-orbital flight, and so it is technologically much more challenging to achieve. To achieve orbital spaceflight, the tangential velocity around the Earth is as important as altitude. In order to perform a stable and lasting flight in space, the spacecraft must reach the minimal orbital speed required for a closed orbit.

Interplanetary travel is travel between planets within a single planetary system. In practice, the use of the term is confined to travel between the planets of our Solar System.

Five spacecraft are currently leaving the Solar System on escape trajectories, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and New Horizons. The one farthest from the Sun is Voyager 1, which is more than 100 AU distant and is moving at 3.6 AU per year.[13] In comparison, Proxima Centauri, the closest star other than the Sun, is 267,000 AU distant. It will take Voyager 1 over 74,000 years to reach this distance. Vehicle designs using other techniques, such as nuclear pulse propulsion are likely to be able to reach the nearest star significantly faster. Another possibility that could allow for human interstellar spaceflight is to make use of time dilation, as this would make it possible for passengers in a fast-moving vehicle to travel further into the future while aging very little, in that their great speed slows down the rate of passage of on-board time. However, attaining such high speeds would still require the use of some new, advanced method of propulsion.

Intergalactic travel involves spaceflight between galaxies, and is considered much more technologically demanding than even interstellar travel and, by current engineering terms, is considered science fiction.

Spacecraft are vehicles capable of controlling their trajectory through space.

The first ‘true spacecraft’ is sometimes said to be Apollo Lunar Module,[14] since this was the only manned vehicle to have been designed for, and operated only in space; and is notable for its non aerodynamic shape.

Spacecraft today predominantly use rockets for propulsion, but other propulsion techniques such as ion drives are becoming more common, particularly for unmanned vehicles, and this can significantly reduce the vehicle’s mass and increase its delta-v.

Launch systems are used to carry a payload from Earth’s surface into outer space.

All launch vehicles contain a huge amount of energy that is needed for some part of it to reach orbit. There is therefore some risk that this energy can be released prematurely and suddenly, with significant effects. When a Delta II rocket exploded 13 seconds after launch on January 17, 1997, there were reports of store windows 10 miles (16km) away being broken by the blast.[16]

Space is a fairly predictable environment, but there are still risks of accidental depressurization and the potential failure of equipment, some of which may be very newly developed.

In 2004 the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety was established in the Netherlands to further international cooperation and scientific advancement in space systems safety.[17]

In a microgravity environment such as that provided by a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, humans experience a sense of “weightlessness.” Short-term exposure to microgravity causes space adaptation syndrome, a self-limiting nausea caused by derangement of the vestibular system. Long-term exposure causes multiple health issues. The most significant is bone loss, some of which is permanent, but microgravity also leads to significant deconditioning of muscular and cardiovascular tissues.

Once above the atmosphere, radiation due to the Van Allen belts, solar radiation and cosmic radiation issues occur and increase. Further away from the Earth, solar flares can give a fatal radiation dose in minutes, and the health threat from cosmic radiation significantly increases the chances of cancer over a decade exposure or more.[18]

In human spaceflight, the life support system is a group of devices that allow a human being to survive in outer space. NASA often uses the phrase Environmental Control and Life Support System or the acronym ECLSS when describing these systems for its human spaceflight missions.[19] The life support system may supply: air, water and food. It must also maintain the correct body temperature, an acceptable pressure on the body and deal with the body’s waste products. Shielding against harmful external influences such as radiation and micro-meteorites may also be necessary. Components of the life support system are life-critical, and are designed and constructed using safety engineering techniques.

Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in outer space. It is distinct from the concept of weather within a planetary atmosphere, and deals with phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space (generally close to Earth but also in interplanetary, and occasionally interstellar medium). “Space weather describes the conditions in space that affect Earth and its technological systems. Our space weather is a consequence of the behavior of the Sun, the nature of Earth’s magnetic field, and our location in the Solar System.”[20]

Space weather exerts a profound influence in several areas related to space exploration and development. Changing geomagnetic conditions can induce changes in atmospheric density causing the rapid degradation of spacecraft altitude in Low Earth orbit. Geomagnetic storms due to increased solar activity can potentially blind sensors aboard spacecraft, or interfere with on-board electronics. An understanding of space environmental conditions is also important in designing shielding and life support systems for manned spacecraft.

Rockets as a class are not inherently grossly polluting. However, some rockets use toxic propellants, and most vehicles use propellants that are not carbon neutral. Many solid rockets have chlorine in the form of perchlorate or other chemicals, and this can cause temporary local holes in the ozone layer. Re-entering spacecraft generate nitrates which also can temporarily impact the ozone layer. Most rockets are made of metals that can have an environmental impact during their construction.

In addition to the atmospheric effects there are effects on the near-Earth space environment. There is the possibility that orbit could become inaccessible for generations due to exponentially increasing space debris caused by spalling of satellites and vehicles (Kessler syndrome). Many launched vehicles today are therefore designed to be re-entered after use.

Current and proposed applications for spaceflight include:

Most early spaceflight development was paid for by governments. However, today major launch markets such as Communication satellites and Satellite television are purely commercial, though many of the launchers were originally funded by governments.

Private spaceflight is a rapidly developing area: space flight that is not only paid for by corporations or even private individuals, but often provided by private spaceflight companies. These companies often assert that much of the previous high cost of access to space was caused by governmental inefficiencies they can avoid. This assertion can be supported by much lower published launch costs for private space launch vehicles such as Falcon 9 developed with private financing. Lower launch costs and excellent safety will be required for the applications such as Space tourism and especially Space colonization to become successful.

Media related to Spaceflight at Wikimedia Commons

Follow this link:

Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Human spaceflight – Wikipedia

Inside a space suit on the Canadarm, 1993

Human spaceflight (also referred to as crewed spaceflight or manned spaceflight) is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.

The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard. Humans have been continuously present in space for 18years and 13days on the International Space Station. All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft. After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.

Since the retirement of the US Space Shuttle in 2011, only Russia and China have maintained human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and Shenzhou program. Currently, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles, which remain attached to the station to allow quick return if needed. The United States is developing commercial crew transportation to facilitate domestic access to ISS and low Earth orbit, as well as the Orion vehicle for beyond-low Earth orbit applications.

While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry. NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010,[1] the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit. The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers. Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2018.[2]

Human spaceflight capability was first developed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), which developed the first intercontinental ballistic missile rockets to deliver nuclear weapons. These rockets were large enough to be adapted to carry the first artificial satellites into low Earth orbit. After the first satellites were launched in 1957 and 1958, the US worked on Project Mercury to launch men singly into orbit, while the USSR secretly pursued the Vostok program to accomplish the same thing. The USSR launched the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit in Vostok 1 on a Vostok 3KA rocket, on 12 April 1961. The US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7 on a Mercury-Redstone rocket, on 5 May 1961. Unlike Gagarin, Shepard manually controlled his spacecraft’s attitude, and landed inside it. The first American in orbit was John Glenn aboard Friendship 7, launched 20 February 1962 on a Mercury-Atlas rocket. The USSR launched five more cosmonauts in Vostok capsules, including the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. The US launched a total of two astronauts in suborbital flight and four into orbit through 1963.

US President John F. Kennedy raised the stakes of the Space Race by setting the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely by the end of the 1960s.[3] The US started the three-man Apollo program in 1961 to accomplish this, launched by the Saturn family of launch vehicles, and the interim two-man Project Gemini in 1962, which flew 10 missions launched by Titan II rockets in 1965 and 1966. Gemini’s objective was to support Apollo by developing American orbital spaceflight experience and techniques to be used in the Moon mission.[4]

Meanwhile, the USSR remained silent about their intentions to send humans to the Moon, and proceeded to stretch the limits of their single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person Voskhod capsule to compete with Gemini. They were able to launch two orbital flights in 1964 and 1965 and achieved the first spacewalk, made by Alexei Leonov on Voskhod 2 on 8 March 1965. But Voskhod did not have Gemini’s capability to maneuver in orbit, and the program was terminated. The US Gemini flights did not accomplish the first spacewalk, but overcame the early Soviet lead by performing several spacewalks and solving the problem of astronaut fatigue caused by overcoming the lack of gravity, demonstrating up to two weeks endurance in a human spaceflight, and the first space rendezvous and dockings of spacecraft.

The US succeeded in developing the Saturn V rocket necessary to send the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon, and sent Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders into 10 orbits around the Moon in Apollo 8 in December 1968. In July 1969, Apollo 11 accomplished Kennedy’s goal by landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon 21 July and returning them safely on 24 July along with Command Module pilot Michael Collins. A total of six Apollo missions landed 12 men to walk on the Moon through 1972, half of which drove electric powered vehicles on the surface. The crew of Apollo 13, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, survived a catastrophic in-flight spacecraft failure and returned to Earth safely without landing on the Moon.

Meanwhile, the USSR secretly pursued human lunar orbiting and landing programs. They successfully developed the three-person Soyuz spacecraft for use in the lunar programs, but failed to develop the N1 rocket necessary for a human landing, and discontinued the lunar programs in 1974.[5] On losing the Moon race, they concentrated on the development of space stations, using the Soyuz as a ferry to take cosmonauts to and from the stations. They started with a series of Salyut sortie stations from 1971 to 1986.

After the Apollo program, the US launched the Skylab sortie space station in 1973, manning it for 171 days with three crews aboard Apollo spacecraft. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev negotiated an easing of relations known as dtente, an easing of Cold War tensions. As part of this, they negotiated the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, in which an Apollo spacecraft carrying a special docking adapter module rendezvoused and docked with Soyuz 19 in 1975. The American and Russian crews shook hands in space, but the purpose of the flight was purely diplomatic and symbolic.

Nixon appointed his Vice President Spiro Agnew to head a Space Task Group in 1969 to recommend follow-on human spaceflight programs after Apollo. The group proposed an ambitious Space Transportation System based on a reusable Space Shuttle which consisted of a winged, internally fueled orbiter stage burning liquid hydrogen, launched by a similar, but larger kerosene-fueled booster stage, each equipped with airbreathing jet engines for powered return to a runway at the Kennedy Space Center launch site. Other components of the system included a permanent modular space station, reusable space tug and nuclear interplanetary ferry, leading to a human expedition to Mars as early as 1986, or as late as 2000, depending on the level of funding allocated. However, Nixon knew the American political climate would not support Congressional funding for such an ambition, and killed proposals for all but the Shuttle, possibly to be followed by the space station. Plans for the Shuttle were scaled back to reduce development risk, cost, and time, replacing the piloted flyback booster with two reusable solid rocket boosters, and the smaller orbiter would use an expendable external propellant tank to feed its hydrogen-fueled main engines. The orbiter would have to make unpowered landings.

The two nations continued to compete rather than cooperate in space, as the US turned to developing the Space Shuttle and planning the space station, dubbed Freedom. The USSR launched three Almaz military sortie stations from 1973 to 1977, disguised as Salyuts. They followed Salyut with the development of Mir, the first modular, semi-permanent space station, the construction of which took place from 1986 to 1996. Mir orbited at an altitude of 354 kilometers (191 nautical miles), at a 51.6 inclination. It was occupied for 4,592 days, and made a controlled reentry in 2001.

The Space Shuttle started flying in 1981, but the US Congress failed to approve sufficient funds to make Freedom a reality. A fleet of four shuttles was built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. A fifth shuttle, Endeavour, was built to replace Challenger, which was destroyed in an accident during launch that killed 7 astronauts on 28 January 1986. Twenty-two Shuttle flights carried a European Space Agency sortie space station called Spacelab in the payload bay from 1983 to 1998.[6]

The USSR copied the reusable Space Shuttle orbiter, which it called Buran. It was designed to be launched into orbit by the expendable Energia rocket, and capable of robotic orbital flight and landing. Unlike the US Shuttle, Buran had no main rocket engines, but like the Shuttle used its orbital maneuvering engines to perform its final orbital insertion. A single unmanned orbital test flight was successfully made in November 1988. A second test flight was planned by 1993, but the program was cancelled due to lack of funding and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Two more orbiters were never completed, and the first one was destroyed in a hangar roof collapse in May 2002.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and opened the door to true cooperation between the US and Russia. The Soviet Soyuz and Mir programs were taken over by the Russian Federal Space Agency, now known as the Roscosmos State Corporation. The Shuttle-Mir Program included American Space Shuttles visiting the Mir space station, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton secured Russia’s cooperation in converting the planned Space Station Freedom into the International Space Station (ISS). Construction of the station began in 1998. The station orbits at an altitude of 409 kilometers (221nmi) and an inclination of 51.65.

The Space Shuttle was retired in 2011 after 135 orbital flights, several of which helped assemble, supply, and crew the ISS. Columbia was destroyed in another accident during reentry, which killed 7 astronauts on 1 February 2003.

After Russia’s launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong intended to place a Chinese satellite in orbit by 1959 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),[7] However, China did not successfully launch its first satellite until 24 April 1970. Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai decided on 14 July 1967, that the PRC should not be left behind, and started China’s own human spaceflight program.[8] The first attempt, the Shuguang spacecraft copied from the US Gemini, was cancelled on 13 May 1972.

China later designed the Shenzhou spacecraft resembling the Russian Soyuz, and became the third nation to achieve independent human spaceflight capability by launching Yang Liwei on a 21-hour flight aboard Shenzhou 5 on 15 October 2003. China launched the Tiangong-1 space station on 29 September 2011, and two sortie missions to it: Shenzhou 9 1629 June 2012, with China’s first female astronaut Liu Yang; and Shenzhou 10, 1326 June 2013. The station was retired on 21 March 2016 and remains in a 363-kilometer (196-nautical-mile), 42.77 inclination orbit.

The European Space Agency began development in 1987 of the Hermes spaceplane, to be launched on the Ariane 5 expendable launch vehicle. The project was cancelled in 1992, when it became clear that neither cost nor performance goals could be achieved. No Hermes shuttles were ever built.

Japan began development in the 1980s of the HOPE-X experimental spaceplane, to be launched on its H-IIA expendable launch vehicle. A string of failures in 1998 led to funding reduction, and the project’s cancellation in 2003.

Under the Bush administration, the Constellation Program included plans for retiring the Shuttle program and replacing it with the capability for spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit. In the 2011 United States federal budget, the Obama administration cancelled Constellation for being over budget and behind schedule while not innovating and investing in critical new technologies.[9] For beyond low Earth orbit human spaceflight NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to be launched by the Space Launch System. Under the Commercial Crew Development plan, NASA will rely on transportation services provided by the private sector to reach low Earth orbit, such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9/Dragon V2, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, or Boeing’s CST-100. The period between the retirement of the shuttle in 2011 and the initial operational capability of new systems in 2017, similar to the gap between the end of Apollo in 1975 and the first space shuttle flight in 1981, is referred to by a presidential Blue Ribbon Committee as the U.S. human spaceflight gap.[10]

Since the early 2000s, a variety of private spaceflight ventures have been undertaken. Several of the companies, including Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Sierra Nevada have explicit plans to advance human spaceflight. As of 2016[update], all four of those companies have development programs underway to fly commercial passengers.

A commercial suborbital spacecraft aimed at the space tourism market is being developed by Virgin Galactic called SpaceshipTwo, and could reach space around 2018.[11]Blue Origin has begun a multi-year test program of their New Shepard vehicle and carried out six successful uncrewed test flights in 20152016. Blue Origin plan to fly “test passengers” in Q2 2017, and initiate commercial flights in 2018.[12][13]

SpaceX and Boeing are both developing passenger-capable orbital space capsules as of 2015, planning to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2018. SpaceX will be carrying passengers on Dragon 2 launched on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Boeing will be doing it with their CST-100 launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle.[14]Development funding for these orbital-capable technologies has been provided by a mix of government and private funds, with SpaceX providing a greater portion of total development funding for this human-carrying capability from private investment.[15][16]There have been no public announcements of commercial offerings for orbital flights from either company, although both companies are planning some flights with their own private, not NASA, astronauts on board.

Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth on April 12, 1961.

Alan Shepard became the first American to reach space on Mercury-Redstone 3 on May 5, 1961.

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962.

Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth on June 16, 1963.

Joseph A. Walker became the first human to pilot a spaceplane, the X-15 Flight 90, into space on July 19, 1963.

Alexey Leonov became the first human to leave a spacecraft in orbit on March 18, 1965.

Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) Dec 2127, 1968, when the Apollo 8 mission took them to 10 orbits around the Moon and back.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space on July 25, 1984.

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Eileen Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, and with shuttle mission STS-93 in 1999 she became the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft.

The longest single human spaceflight is that of Valeri Polyakov, who left Earth on 8 January 1994, and did not return until 22 March 1995 (a total of 437 days 17 h 58 min 16 s). Sergei Krikalyov has spent the most time of anyone in space, 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes altogether. The longest period of continuous human presence in space is 18years and 13days on the International Space Station, exceeding the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, spanning the launch of Soyuz TM-8 on 5 September 1989 to the landing of Soyuz TM-29 on 28 August 1999.

Yang Liwei became the first human to orbit the Earth as part of the Chinese manned space program on October 15, 2003.

For many years, only the USSR (later Russia) and the United States had their own astronauts. Citizens of other nations flew in space, beginning with the flight of Vladimir Remek, a Czech, on a Soviet spacecraft on 2 March 1978, in the Interkosmos programme. As of 2010[update], citizens from 38 nations (including space tourists) have flown in space aboard Soviet, American, Russian, and Chinese spacecraft.

Human spaceflight programs have been conducted by the former Soviet Union and current Russian Federation, the United States, the People’s Republic of China and by private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.

Currently have human spaceflight programs.

Confirmed and dated plans for human spaceflight programs.

Plans for human spaceflight on the simplest form (suborbital spaceflight, etc.).

Plans for human spaceflight on the extreme form (space stations, etc.).

Once had official plans for human spaceflight programs, but have since been abandoned.

Space vehicles are spacecraft used for transportation between the Earth’s surface and outer space, or between locations in outer space. The following space vehicles and spaceports are currently used for launching human spaceflights:

The following space stations are currently maintained in Earth orbit for human occupation:

Numerous private companies attempted human spaceflight programs in an effort to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight. SpaceShipOne captured the prize on 4 October 2004, when it accomplished two consecutive flights within one week. SpaceShipTwo, launching from the carrier aircraft White Knight Two, is planned to conduct regular suborbital space tourism.[17]

Most of the time, the only humans in space are those aboard the ISS, whose crew of six spends up to six months at a time in low Earth orbit.

NASA and ESA use the term “human spaceflight” to refer to their programs of launching people into space. These endeavors have also been referred to as “manned space missions,” though because of gender specificity this is no longer official parlance according to NASA style guides.[18]

India has declared it will send humans to space on its orbital vehicle Gaganyaan by 2022. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began work on this project in 2006.[19] The objective is to carry a crew of two to low Earth orbit (LEO) and return them safely for a water-landing at a predefined landing zone. The program is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. Currently, the activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems such as the Crew Module (CM), Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), Crew Escape System, etc. The department has initiated activities to study technical and managerial issues related to crewed missions. The program envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300km low Earth orbit and their safe return.

NASA is developing a plan to land humans on Mars by the 2030s. The first step in this mission begins sometime during 2020, when NASA plans to send an uncrewed craft into deep space to retrieve an asteroid.[20] The asteroid will be pushed into the moons orbit, and studied by astronauts aboard Orion, NASAs first human spacecraft in a generation.[21] Orions crew will return to Earth with samples of the asteroid and their collected data. In addition to broadening Americas space capabilities, this mission will test newly developed technology, such as solar electric propulsion, which uses solar arrays for energy and requires ten times less propellant than the conventional chemical counterpart used for powering space shuttles to orbit.[22]

Several other countries and space agencies have announced and begun human spaceflight programs by their own technology, Japan (JAXA), Iran (ISA) and Malaysia (MNSA).

A number of spacecraft have been proposed over the decades that might facilitate spaceliner passenger travel. Somewhat analogous to travel by airliner after the middle of the 20th century, these vehicles are proposed to transport a large number of passengers to destinations in space, or to destinations on Earth which travel through space. To date, none of these concepts have been built, although a few vehicles that carry fewer than 10 persons are currently in the flight testing phase of their development process.

One large spaceliner concept currently in early development is the SpaceX BFR which, in addition to replacing the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles in the legacy Earth-orbit market after 2020, has been proposed by SpaceX for long-distance commercial travel on Earth. This is to transport people on point-to-point suborbital flights between two points on Earth in under one hour, also known as “Earth-to-Earth,” and carrying 100+ passengers.[23][24][25]

Small spaceplane or small capsule suborbital spacecraft have been under development for the past decade or so and, as of 2017[update], at least one of each type are under development. Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are in active development, with the SpaceShipTwo spaceplane and the New Shepard capsule, respectively. Both would carry approximately a half-dozen passengers up to space for a brief time of zero gravity before returning to the same location from where the trip began. XCOR Aerospace had been developing the Lynx single-passenger spaceplane since the 2000s[26][27][28] but development was halted in 2017.[29]

There are two main sources of hazard in space flight: those due to the environment of space which make it hostile to the human body, and the potential for mechanical malfunctions of the equipment required to accomplish space flight.

Planners of human spaceflight missions face a number of safety concerns.

The immediate needs for breathable air and drinkable water are addressed by the life support system of the spacecraft.

Medical consequences such as possible blindness and bone loss have been associated with human space flight.[41][42]

On 31 December 2012, a NASA-supported study reported that spaceflight may harm the brain of astronauts and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.[43][44][45]

In October 2015, the NASA Office of Inspector General issued a health hazards report related to space exploration, including a human mission to Mars.[46][47]

On 2 November 2017, scientists reported that significant changes in the position and structure of the brain have been found in astronauts who have taken trips in space, based on MRI studies. Astronauts who took longer space trips were associated with greater brain changes.[48][49]

Medical data from astronauts in low Earth orbits for long periods, dating back to the 1970s, show several adverse effects of a microgravity environment: loss of bone density, decreased muscle strength and endurance, postural instability, and reductions in aerobic capacity. Over time these deconditioning effects can impair astronauts performance or increase their risk of injury.[50]

In a weightless environment, astronauts put almost no weight on the back muscles or leg muscles used for standing up, which causes them to weaken and get smaller. Astronauts can lose up to twenty per cent of their muscle mass on spaceflights lasting five to eleven days. The consequent loss of strength could be a serious problem in case of a landing emergency.[51] Upon return to Earth from long-duration flights, astronauts are considerably weakened, and are not allowed to drive a car for twenty-one days.[52]

Astronauts experiencing weightlessness will often lose their orientation, get motion sickness, and lose their sense of direction as their bodies try to get used to a weightless environment. When they get back to Earth, or any other mass with gravity, they have to readjust to the gravity and may have problems standing up, focusing their gaze, walking and turning. Importantly, those body motor disturbances after changing from different gravities only get worse the longer the exposure to little gravity.[53] These changes will affect operational activities including approach and landing, docking, remote manipulation, and emergencies that may happen while landing. This can be a major roadblock to mission success.[citation needed]

In addition, after long space flight missions, male astronauts may experience severe eyesight problems.[54][55][56][57][58] Such eyesight problems may be a major concern for future deep space flight missions, including a crewed mission to the planet Mars.[54][55][56][57][59]

Without proper shielding, the crews of missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) might be at risk from high-energy protons emitted by solar flares. Lawrence Townsend of the University of Tennessee and others have studied the most powerful solar flare ever recorded. That flare was seen by the British astronomer Richard Carrington in September 1859. Radiation doses astronauts would receive from a Carrington-type flare could cause acute radiation sickness and possibly even death.[61]

Another type of radiation, galactic cosmic rays, presents further challenges to human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.[62]

There is also some scientific concern that extended spaceflight might slow down the bodys ability to protect itself against diseases.[63] Some of the problems are a weakened immune system and the activation of dormant viruses in the body. Radiation can cause both short and long term consequences to the bone marrow stem cells which create the blood and immune systems. Because the interior of a spacecraft is so small, a weakened immune system and more active viruses in the body can lead to a fast spread of infection.[citation needed]

During long missions, astronauts are isolated and confined into small spaces. Depression, cabin fever and other psychological problems may impact the crew’s safety and mission success.[64]

Astronauts may not be able to quickly return to Earth or receive medical supplies, equipment or personnel if a medical emergency occurs. The astronauts may have to rely for long periods on their limited existing resources and medical advice from the ground.

Space flight requires much higher velocities than ground or air transportation, which in turn requires the use of high energy density propellants for launch, and the dissipation of large amounts of energy, usually as heat, for safe reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since rockets carry the potential for fire or explosive destruction, space capsules generally employ some sort of launch escape system, consisting either of a tower-mounted solid fuel rocket to quickly carry the capsule away from the launch vehicle (employed on Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz), or else ejection seats (employed on Vostok and Gemini) to carry astronauts out of the capsule and away for individual parachute landing. The escape tower is discarded at some point before the launch is complete, at a point where an abort can be performed using the spacecraft’s engines.

Such a system is not always practical for multiple crew member vehicles (particularly spaceplanes), depending on location of egress hatch(es). When the single-hatch Vostok capsule was modified to become the 2 or 3-person Voskhod, the single-cosmonaut ejection seat could not be used, and no escape tower system was added. The two Voskhod flights in 1964 and 1965 avoided launch mishaps. The Space Shuttle carried ejection seats and escape hatches for its pilot and copilot in early flights, but these could not be used for passengers who sat below the flight deck on later flights, and so were discontinued.

There have only been two in-flight launch aborts of a crewed flight. The first occurred on Soyuz 18a on 5 April 1975. The abort occurred after the launch escape system had been jettisoned, when the launch vehicle’s spent second stage failed to separate before the third stage ignited. The vehicle strayed off course, and the crew separated the spacecraft and fired its engines to pull it away from the errant rocket. Both cosmonauts landed safely. The second occurred on 11 October 2018 with the launch of Soyuz MS-10. Again, both crew members survived.

In the only use of a launch escape system on a crewed flight, the planned Soyuz T-10a launch on 26 September 1983 was aborted by a launch vehicle fire 90 seconds before liftoff. Both cosmonauts aboard landed safely.

The only crew fatality during launch occurred on 28 January 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff, due to failure of a solid rocket booster seal which caused separation of the booster and failure of the external fuel tank, resulting in explosion of the fuel. All seven crew members were killed.

The single pilot of Soyuz 1, Vladimir Komarov was killed when his capsule’s parachutes failed during an emergency landing on 24 April 1967, causing the capsule to crash.

The crew of seven aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were killed on reentry after completing a successful mission in space on 1 February 2003. A wing leading edge reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield had been damaged by a piece of frozen external tank foam insulation which broke off and struck the wing during launch. Hot reentry gasses entered and destroyed the wing structure, leading to breakup of the orbiter vehicle.

There are two basic choices for an artificial atmosphere: either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in an inert gas such as nitrogen or helium, or pure oxygen, which can be used at lower than standard atmospheric pressure. A nitrogen-oxygen mixture is used in the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft, while low-pressure pure oxygen is commonly used in space suits for extravehicular activity.

Use of a gas mixture carries risk of decompression sickness (commonly known as “the bends”) when transitioning to or from the pure oxygen space suit environment. There have also been instances of injury and fatalities caused by suffocation in the presence of too much nitrogen and not enough oxygen.

A pure oxygen atmosphere carries risk of fire. The original design of the Apollo spacecraft used pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure prior to launch. An electrical fire started in the cabin of Apollo 1 during a ground test at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34 on 27 January 1967, and spread rapidly. The high pressure (increased even higher by the fire) prevented removal of the plug door hatch cover in time to rescue the crew. All three, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, were killed.[68] This led NASA to use a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere before launch, and low pressure pure oxygen only in space.

The March 1966 Gemini 8 mission was aborted in orbit when an attitude control system thruster stuck in the on position, sending the craft into a dangerous spin which threatened the lives of Neil Armstrong and David Scott. Armstrong had to shut the control system off and use the reentry control system to stop the spin. The craft made an emergency reentry and the astronauts landed safely. The most probable cause was determined to be an electrical short due to a static electricity discharge, which caused the thruster to remain powered even when switched off. The control system was modified to put each thruster on its own isolated circuit.

The third lunar landing expedition Apollo 13 in April 1970, was aborted and the lives of the crew, James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, were threatened by failure of a cryogenic liquid oxygen tank en route to the Moon. The tank burst when electrical power was applied to internal stirring fans in the tank, causing the immediate loss of all of its contents, and also damaging the second tank, causing the loss of its remaining oxygen in a span of 130 minutes. This in turn caused loss of electrical power provided by fuel cells to the command spacecraft. The crew managed to return to Earth safely by using the lunar landing craft as a “life boat”. The tank failure was determined to be caused by two mistakes. The tank’s drain fitting had been damaged when it was dropped during factory testing. This necessitated use of its internal heaters to boil out the oxygen after a pre-launch test, which in turn damaged the fan wiring’s electrical insulation, because the thermostats on the heaters did not meet the required voltage rating due to a vendor miscommunication.

The crew of Soyuz 11 were killed on June 30, 1971 by a combination of mechanical malfunctions: they were asphyxiated due to cabin decompression following separation of their descent capsule from the service module. A cabin ventilation valve had been jolted open at an altitude of 168 kilometres (551,000ft) by the stronger than expected shock of explosive separation bolts which were designed to fire sequentially, but in fact had fired simultaneously. The loss of pressure became fatal within about 30 seconds.[69]

As of December2015[update], 22 crew members have died in accidents aboard spacecraft. Over 100 others have died in accidents during activity directly related to spaceflight or testing.

Read more here:

Human spaceflight – Wikipedia

Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

A regularly updated listing of planned orbital missions from spaceports around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. NET stands for no earlier than. TBD means to be determined. Recent updates appear in red type. Please send any corrections, additions or updates by e-mailto:sclark@spaceflightnow.com.

See ourLaunch Logfor a listing of completed space missions since 2004.

Nov. 14: Antares/NG-10 delayedNov. 13: Adding time for GSLV Mk.3/GSAT 29; Adding seconds for Antares/NG-10 and Soyuz/Progress 71P; Adding GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7ANov. 9: Adding date for Long March 3B/Beidou; Adding time for Soyuz 57S; Adding Falcon 9/PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar LanderNov. 7: Pegasus XL/ICON scrubbed; Falcon 9/Eshail 2 delayed; Adding Vega/Mohammed VI-B; Adding date for PSLV/HySIS; Updating time for Falcon 9/GPS 3-01; Adding window for Delta 4/WGS 10Nov. 1: Pegasus XL/ICON delayed; Soyuz/Progress 71P moved forward; Soyuz/Progress 72P delayed

Nov. 15Falcon 9 Eshail 2

Launch window: 2046-2229 GMT (3:46-5:29 p.m. EST)Launch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Eshail 2 communications satellite. Built by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and owned by Qatars national satellite communications company EshailSat, Eshail 2 will provide television broadcasts, broadband connectivity and government services to Qatar and neighboring parts of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Eshail 2 also carries the first amateur radio payload to fly in geostationary orbit. Delayed from August. Delayed from Nov. 14. [Nov. 7]

Nov. 16Antares NG-10

Launch time: 0923:55 GMT (4:23:55 a.m. EST)Launch site: Pad 0A, Wallops Island, Virginia

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will launch the 11th Cygnus cargo freighter on the 10th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The mission is known as NG-10. The rocket will fly in the Antares 230 configuration, with two RD-181 first stage engines and a Castor 30XL second stage. Delayed from March and Nov. 10. Moved forward from Nov. 17. Delayed from Nov. 15 by poor weather forecast. [Nov. 14]

Nov. 16Soyuz Progress 71P

Launch time: 1814:08 GMT (1:14:08 p.m. EST)Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 71st Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Oct. 31. [Nov. 13]

Nov. 19Long March 3B Beidou

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Xichang, China

A Chinese Long March 3B rocket with a Yuanzheng upper stage will launch two satellites for the countrys Beidou navigation network into Medium Earth Orbit. [Nov. 9]

Nov. 19Falcon 9 Spaceflight SSO-A

Launch time: 1832 GMT (1:32 p.m. EST; 10:32 a.m. PST)Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch with Spaceflights SSO-A rideshare mission, a stack of satellites heading into sun-synchronous polar orbit. Numerous small payloads will be launched on this mission for nearly 50 government and commercial organizations from 16 countries, including the United States, Australia, Finland, Germany, Singapore and Thailand. Delayed from July. [Oct. 25]

Nov. 20/21Vega Mohammed VI-B

Launch time: 0142 GMT on 21st (8:42 p.m. EST on 20th)Launch site: ZLV, Kourou, French Guiana

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV13, will launch with the Mohammed VI-B Earth observation satellite for the government of Morocco. [Nov. 7]

TBDPegasus XL ICON

Launch window: 0800-0930 GMT (3:00-4:30 a.m. EST)Launch site: L-1011, Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

An air-launched Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket will deploy NASAs Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit. ICON will study the ionosphere, a region of Earths upper atmosphere where terrestrial weather meets space weather. Disturbances in the ionosphere triggered by solar storms or weather activity in the lower atmosphere can cause disturbances in GPS navigation and radio transmissions. The missions staging point was changed from Kwajalein Atoll to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-2018. Delayed from June 15, Nov. 14, and Dec. 8, 2017. Delayed from June 14, Sept. 24, Oct. 6, Oct. 26 and Nov. 3. Scrubbed on Nov. 7. [Nov. 7]

Nov. 26PSLV HySIS

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, flying on the PSLV-C43 mission, will launch Indias Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite, or HySIS. A collection of small international secondary payloads will accompany HySIS on this launch. Delayed from October. [Nov. 7]

Nov. 29Delta 4-Heavy NROL-71

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The largest of the Delta 4 family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. Delayed from Sept. 26. Moved forward from Dec. 3. [Oct. 18]

Late 2018Long March 2D SaudiSat 5A & 5B

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Jiuquan, China

A Chinese Long March 2D rocket will launch the SaudiSat 5A and 5B Earth observation satellites for Saudi Arabias King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 3Soyuz ISS 57S

Launch time: 1131 GMT (6:31 a.m. EST)Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the next Expedition crew. The capsule will remain at the station for about six months, providing an escape pod for the residents. Delayed from Nov. 6 and Nov. 15. Moved forward from Dec. 20 after Soyuz MS-10 launch abort. [Nov. 9]

Dec. 4Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 16

Launch time: 1838 GMT (1:38 p.m. EST)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 18th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 16th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Nov. 16. Moved forward from Nov. 29. Delayed from Nov. 27. [Oct. 31]

Dec. 4Ariane 5 GSAT 11 & GEO-Kompsat 2A

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA246, to launch the GSAT 11 communications satellite and the GEO-Kompsat 2A weather satellite. GSAT 11 is owned by the Indian Space Research Organization and is based on a new Indian satellite bus. The spacecraft, fitted with Ku-band and Ka-band transponders, will be Indias heaviest communications satellite. GSAT 11 was originally scheduled to launch on an Ariane 5 mission in May 2018, but ISRO recalled the satellite from the launch base in French Guiana back to India for additional inspections after the in-orbit failure of another spacecraft. The GEO-Kompsat 2A satellite is South Koreas first homemade geostationary weather satellite. Built in South Korea, the meteorological observatory will track storm systems in the Asia-Pacific region and monitor the space weather environment. [Oct. 25]

Approx. Dec. 8Long March 3B Change 4

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Xichang, China

A Chinese Long March 3B rocket will launch the Change 4 mission to attempt the first robotic landing on the far side of the moon. Change 4 consists of a stationary lander and a mobile rover. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 14GSLV Mk.2 GSAT 7A

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2), designated GSLV-F11, will launch the GSAT 7A communications satellite for the Indian Air Force. [Nov. 13]

Dec. 15Falcon 9 GPS 3-01

Launch time: 1424-1450 GMT (9:24-9:50 a.m. EST)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces first third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. Delayed from May 3 and late 2017. Switched from a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket. The second GPS 3-series satellite will now launch on a Delta 4. Delayed from September and October. [Nov. 7]

Dec. 18Soyuz CSO 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS20, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry into polar orbit the first Composante Spatiale Optique military reconnaissance satellite for CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. The CSO 1 satellite is the first of three new-generation high-resolution optical imaging satellites for the French military, replacing the Helios 2 spy satellite series. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. [Oct. 25]

DecemberElectron VCLS 1

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its fourth flight from a facility on the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealands North Island. The mission will be conducted under contract to NASAs Venture Class Launch Services Program, carrying 10 CubeSats to orbit for NASA field centers and U.S. educational institutions. Delayed from 3rd Quarter. [Aug. 9]

Dec. 25Proton Blagovest No. 13L

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage will launch the Blagovest No. 13L communications satellite to cover Russian territory and provide high-speed Internet, television and radio broadcast, and voice and video conferencing services for Russian domestic and military users. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 25Soyuz Kanopus-V 5 & 6

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the Kanopus-V 5 and 6 Earth observation satellites. The two spacecraft will assist the Russian government in disaster response, mapping and forest fire detection. Multiple secondary payloads from international companies and institutions will also launch on the Soyuz rocket. The Soyuz 2-1a rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Moved forward from Dec. 26. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 27Soyuz EgyptSat-A

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the EgyptSat-A Earth observation satellite. EgyptSat-A was built by RSC Energia for Egypts National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences. Delayed from Nov. 22. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 30Falcon 9 Iridium Next 66-75

Launch time: 1638 GMT (11:38 a.m. EDT; 8:38 a.m. PST)Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. Delayed from October and November. [Oct. 18]

JanuaryLong March 5 Shijian 20

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Wenchang, China

A Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Shijian 20 communications satellite. Shijian 20 is the first spacecraft based on the new DFH-5 communications satellite platform, a heavier, higher-power next-generation design, replacing the Shijian 18 satellite lost on a launch failure in 2017. Delayed from November. [Oct. 25]

JanuaryFalcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo 1

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station under the auspices of NASAs commercial crew program. Delayed from December 2016, May 2017, July 2017, August 2017, November 2017, February 2018, April 2018, August 2018, November 2018 and December 2018. [Oct. 14]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for Arabsat of Saudi Arabia. Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa. Delayed from first half of 2018 and late 2018. [Oct. 14]

JanuaryFalcon 9 PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar Lander

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the PSN 6 communications satellite and SpaceILs Lunar Lander. Built by SSL and owned by Indonesias PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, PSN 6 will provide voice and data communications, broadband Internet, and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago. A privately-funded lunar lander developed by Israels SpaceIL will ride piggyback on this launch, along with several smaller payloads under a rideshare arrangement provided by Spaceflight. [Nov. 9]

Jan. 23Delta 4 WGS 10

Launch window: 2340-0035 GMT on 23rd/24th (6:40-7:35 p.m. on 23rd)Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the 10th Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, formerly known as the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite. Built by Boeing, this geostationary communications spacecraft will serve U.S. military forces. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration with four solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1 and Dec. 13. [Nov. 7]

Jan. 30GSLV Mk.3 Chandrayaan 2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 3 (GSLV Mk.3) will launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, Indias second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will consist of an orbiter, the Vikram lander and rover launched together into a high Earth orbit. The orbiter is designed to use on-board propulsion to reach the moon, then release the lander and rover. Chandrayaan 2 was originally slated to launch on a GSLV Mk.2 vehicle, but Indian officials decided to switch to a larger GSLV Mk.3 vehicle in 2018. Delayed from March, April and October 2018. Delayed from Jan. 3. [Oct. 25]

TBDVega PRISMA

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ZLV, Kourou, French Guiana

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV14, will launch with the PRISMA satellite for the Italian space agency ASI. PRISMA is an Earth observation satellite fitted with an innovative electro-optical instrument, combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. The mission will support environmental monitoring and security applications. Delayed from November and December 2018. [Oct. 25]

Feb. 8Soyuz Progress 72P

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 72nd Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Feb. 7. [Nov. 1]

Feb. 17Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 17

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 19th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 17th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Nov. 16 and Feb. 1. [Sept. 6]

NET Feb. 18Falcon 9 Radarsat Constellation Mission

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Radarsat Constellation Mission for the Canadian Space Agency and MDA. Consisting of three radar Earth observation spacecraft launching on a single rocket, the Radarsat Constellation Mission is the next in a series of Canadian Radarsat satellites supporting all-weather maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring for the Canadian government and international users. Delayed from November. [Oct. 18]

FebruarySoyuz OneWeb 1

Read the original post:

Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

Take a Virtual Ride Through the Boring Company’s First Tunnel

Can’t Hardly Wait

You don’t have to wait until next month to get a sneak peak inside the Boring Company’s first tunnel.

On October 21, Elon Musk tweeted that construction on his company’s two-mile-long test tunnel in Hawthorne, CA, was nearing completion. He claimed the Boring Company would host an opening party for the tunnel on December 10, at which time the public would get a chance to take free rides through it.

This weekend, Musk confirmed via Twitter that the December 10 date was still a go — and shared a remarkable time-lapse video of a tunnel walkthrough.

Sneak Peak

Be forewarned that the below clip is pretty hypnotic. We’re not doctors, but if you’re prone to seizures, you might want to skip watching this one.

Tunnel Trance

In his tweet Musk called the tunnel “disturbingly long,” but the two miles it covers might eventually seem like a short jaunt. After all, the ultimate plan is a network comprising hundreds of layers of tunnels dug out below the greater Los Angeles area.

This test tunnel is just the start of that vision, and if watching the walkthrough makes you want to experience the tunnel firsthand, just make sure you’re in the Hawthorne area on December 10.

READ MOREElon Musk Shares First-Look Into the Boring Company’s ‘Disturbingly Long’ Tunnel [Business Insider]

More on the Boring Company: Elon Musk: First Boring Company Tunnel Will Open December 10

Read this article:

Take a Virtual Ride Through the Boring Company’s First Tunnel

A New Nanobot Drills Through Your Eyeball to Deliver Drugs

Mobile Bots

Famed futurist Ray Kurzweil thinks tiny robots will flow through our bodies by 2030 to help us stay healthy. We now have one more reason to believe he’s right.

Compelling nanobots to move through liquids such as blood has proven tricky but doable. It’s been much harder to get tiny bots to navigate dense tissues, such as those found in the eyeball, without damaging them.

Thanks to a bit of design ingenuity, though, an international team of researchers has managed to create a nanobot that can do just that.

Teflon-Inspired

The team describes how a few key design features gave their propeller-shaped nanobot that unique ability in a paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances.

First, the bot is incredibly tiny, approximately 200 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. Second, a non-stick coating helps it slip through dense tissue. And finally, the inclusion of a bit of magnetic material in the nanobots makes them easy to steer with an external magnetic field.

To test the nanobots, the researchers injected tens of thousands of them into a dissected pig’s eye. Using a magnetic field, they were able to direct the swarm to the retina at the back of the pig’s eye — just as they’d hoped.

Drugs On Demand

Eventually, the researchers believe this technique will allow them to deliver drugs directly to hard to reach parts of the human body — not just the back of the eyeball.

“That is our vision,” researcher Tian Qiu said in a press release. “We want to be able to use our nanopropellers as tools in the minimally-invasive treatment of all kinds of diseases, where the problematic area is hard to reach and surrounded by dense tissue. Not too far in the future, we will be able to load them with drugs.”

READ MORE: Nanorobots Propel Through the Eye [Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems]

More on nanobots: Kurzweil: By 2030, Nanobots Will Flow Throughout Our Bodies

Excerpt from:

A New Nanobot Drills Through Your Eyeball to Deliver Drugs

The Inventor of the Web Says It’s Broken and Net Neutrality Can Fix It

It’s Alive

Tim Berners-Lee, who’s often credited with inventing the World Wide Web in 1989, sees a modern Frankenstein’s Monster in how his creation is being used today.

That’s the gist of Berners-Lee’s comments at Monday’s Web Summit tech conference, where CNBC reported that he laid out ground rules for a new “Contract for the Web“and called for a return to net neutrality.

Crowd Surfing

The new contract, published by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, calls for safeguards that protect users’ data from being sold, stolen, or misused. Looking back at the history of the web, Berners-Lee argued that without explicit protections against them, hate speech, misinformation, and abuse have been allowed to proliferate online.

If you’d asked me 10 years ago, I would have said humanity is going to do a good job with this,” Berners-Lee told CNBC. “If we connect all these people together, they are such wonderful people they will get along. I was wrong.”

Bad Feeling

Apparently Facebook and Google, two of the largest perpetrators of privacy violations and unscrupulous online activity, have already signed onto the contract. It raises the question of how useful such an agreement could possibly be, given the fact that these tech giants are unlikely to sign anything that would hurt their bottom line.

All the same, anything that helps restore net neutrality is a good thing, especially if Berners-Lee is willing to throw his weight around.

READ MORE: The inventor of the web says the internet is now at a ‘tipping point’ — and reveals a plan to fix it [CNBC]

More on net neutrality: Net Neutrality Is Officially Gone. Here’s How This Will Affect You.

Read more here:

The Inventor of the Web Says It’s Broken and Net Neutrality Can Fix It

General Motors Will Give You $10,000 to Name Its New eBike

What’s In a Name?

Want to flex your creative muscles for a chance to win $10,000?

On Friday, General Motors (GM) unveiled two new electric bike designs it plans to begin selling in 2019, one compact and the other foldable. Each boasts a pair of wheels, a battery-powered motor, and a slew of safety features. What they don’t have, though, is a name — and that’s where you come in.

Ten (eBike) Racks

In the press release announcing the new eBikes, GM also launched a contest to name its eBike brand. The person who submits the winning name will receive a prize of $10,000, while nine runners-up will each receive $1,000.

If you’d like to get in on this naming contest, you have until November 26 at 10 a.m. EST to submit your suggestion via the contest website, which includes further details.

Electric Love

GM is far from the first major auto manufacturer to design an eBike. However, it is rare to see the vehicles actually make it to market — after all, each eBike sold could translate to one fewer car sale.

Still, GM has claimed repeatedly that it is committed to electric vehicles, and the eBike could be one more example of that commitment in action.

Other than the 2019 release date, the press release is pretty short on details. How far can these eBikes travel on a single charge? Will they be part of a bike-sharing network? Who knows?

But with $10,000 up for grabs, the question most people are probably pondering is, “What the heck should we call these things?”

READ MORE: General Motors Is Building an eBike and Wants You to Name It [General Motors]

More on electric bikes: Tow an SUV With This Incredible Electric Bike

Read the original post:

General Motors Will Give You $10,000 to Name Its New eBike

Having a Bad Day? An Adorable Video Shows AI Learning to Get Dressed

Rise and Shine

Most animators would agree: making a cataclysmic explosion destroy a planet is easy, but human figures and delicate interactions are hard.

That’s why engineers from The Georgia Institute of Technology and Google Brain teamed up to build a cute little AI agent — an AI algorithm embodied in a simulated world — that learned to dress itself using realistic fabric textures and physics.

Blessed

The AI agent takes the form of a wobbling, cartoonish little friend with an expressionless demeanor.

During its morning routine, our little buddy punches new armholes through its shirts, gets bopped around by perturbations, dislocates its shoulder, and has an automatic gown-enrober smoosh up against its face. What a day!

Great Job!

Beyond a fun video, this simulation shows that AI systems can learn to interact with the physical world, or at least a realistic simulation of it, all on their own.

This is thanks to reinforcement learning, a type of AI algorithm where the agent learns to accomplish tasks by seeking out programmed rewards.

In this case, our little friend was programmed to seek out the warm satisfaction of a job well done, and we’re very proud.

READ MORE: Using machine learning to teach robots to get dressed [BoingBoing]

More on cutesy tech: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Amazon Warehouse Robots Slipped On Popcorn Butter

Read more:

Having a Bad Day? An Adorable Video Shows AI Learning to Get Dressed

More Robots Means Fewer Seasonal Workers for Amazon This Holiday

Alexa, Buy Me a Gift

The holiday season is upon us, and Amazon is getting ready for the seasonal onslaught with 100,000 additional warehouse hires.

That’s about 20,000 fewer than last year. According to analysts, the drop is because the company’s automation efforts are succeeding.

Automating Santa

In 2012, Amazon bought Kiva Systems — the maker of little orange robots that are quickly becoming the gold standard in warehouse distribution center automation.

They are proving particularly useful in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, where they move orders around massive warehouses quietly and efficiently — and without complaining about horrendous working conditions. The result: fewer human workers.

Prime Real Estate

Automation has also brought much higher productivity to Amazon’s many smaller distribution centers.

And it’s packing as many robots into each of them as it can. The company is planning on using cubic instead of square feet to measure the size of its warehouses thanks to multi-story warehouse systems, CNBC reports.

And if you’re one of the unlucky few warehouse workers working grueling overtime during the holiday season: happy holidays.

READ MORE: Reduced holiday temp hiring is a sign Amazon is turning to more automation and robots: Citi [CNBC]

More on Amazon robots: Amazon Is Ramping up Its (Still Rather) Secretive Home Robot Project

Read more:

More Robots Means Fewer Seasonal Workers for Amazon This Holiday

Doctors Can Now Prescribe FDA-Approved Drug Derived From Cannabis

Marijuana Medication

Just a few decades ago, the idea of a medical use for cannabis was little more than a pipe dream. Now, there’s a cannabis-derived drug on the market that doctors can prescribe as readily as any other medication.

As of Thursday, doctors in the nation are free to prescribe patients Epidiolex, making it the first drug on the market specifically designed to treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy. It’s also the first prescribable cannabis-derived drug.

First Step

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of Epidiolex to treat treat two rare forms of epilepsy that manifest during childhood: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

While a few treatments for the former were already available, none existed for the latter. Epidiolex showed remarkable promise during trials, though, reducing seizures by up to 40 percent.

Final Step

Even though the FDA approved Epidiolex in June, prescribing it was still illegal because the Drug Enforcement Agency classifies all forms of cannabis as a Schedule I drug — the same category that heroin and LSD fall under.

That changed on September 27 when the DEA classified Epidiolex as a Schedule V drug. That classification means that doctors in all 50 states are now as free to prescribe Epidiolex as they are cough suppressants containing small amount of codeine.

The cannabis-derived drug has already improve the lives of many of the young patients who participated in its trials, and now that it’s widely available, it has the opportunity to improve many more.

READ MORE: The First FDA-Approved Cannabis-Based Drug Is Now Available [Fast Company]

More on Epidiolex: The Digest: A Marijuana-Derived Medication Is Now Approved for Sale in the US

Continued here:

Doctors Can Now Prescribe FDA-Approved Drug Derived From Cannabis

A Giant Space Laser on Earth Could Blast Messages at Alien Planets

Phone Home

Scientists have a new idea to contact alien civilizations: build a huge laser and start blasting exoplanets with messages.

We could build such a laser, according to research by MIT scientists published Monday in The Astrophysical Journal, with technology that either exists today or requires just minor developments.

Death Star

The laser is more of a homing beacon than a death ray. A one or two-megawatt laser, beamed out through a 30 to 45-meter telescope, would be powerful enough to reach planets as far as 20,000 light years away. For reference, the star nearest our sun is Proxima Centauri, which is just over four light years from us.

If any planet hit with our laser that happens, by some infinitesimally small chance, to host extraterrestrial life that had developed advanced technology, its occupants would be able to look back at Earth and see signs of life.

Waiting Game

The scientists behind this research are counting on SETI, the government agency responsible for scanning the night sky for alien life, to complete more full-sky scans and invest in the infrared technology that could help identify which distant planets likely have habitable atmospheres.

With those advances and if there are aliens out where with a laser of their own — that’s a big “if” — the researchers argue that we could have a back-and-forth conversation over decades or centuries, with each message taking many years to reach its target.

READ MORE: E.T., we’re home [MIT News]

More on the search for alien life: Scientists want Your Help Crafting a Message to Aliens

See the original post here:

A Giant Space Laser on Earth Could Blast Messages at Alien Planets

Go Phub Yourself: How Phones Pull You Away From Your Loved Ones

Phub off

When it comes to smartphone etiquette, we tend to be pretty rude. Most of us — 62 percent according to a new Australian poll— have checked our phone in the middle of an in-person conversation.

The people we snub the most are romantic partners and close friends, according to The Conversation, perhaps because those relationships can survive the occasional rudeness in the form of phubbing — phone snubbing.

All Night Long

Aside from commuting and lunch breaks — honestly, we get it — the most common place people phubbed was in bed, scrolling Reddit or Twitter for hours before falling asleep next to their partner, according to the research, which will be published next month in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems.

And aside from frying your eyes by staring at a bright blue screen in a dark room, phubbing could be a serious detriment to your relationships. Research published in the journalPsychology of Popular Media Culture in 2016 suggests that cell phone use — texting your bud during dinner or tweeting during movie night — can harm personal relationships and personal well-being.

Screen Time

Of course, these findings alone aren’t enough to extrapolate the future of relationships. But all signs are pointing to the increasing presence of personal technology in our lives, especially our bedrooms, are getting in the way of human intimacy.

Next time, instead of scrolling Reddit for relationship horror stories, see if you can try and prevent your own.

READ MORE: Phubbing (phone snubbing) happens more in the bedroom than when socialising with friends [The Conversation]

More on smartphones: Musk: You’ll be Able to Remote Control Your Tesla Within 6 Weeks

Follow this link:

Go Phub Yourself: How Phones Pull You Away From Your Loved Ones

Exercise Your Civic Duty by Shaming Your Friends Into Voting

Everyone Else Is Doing It

Barring a few special circumstances, every U.S. citizen has the right to vote — or not vote — in government elections. But don’t expect to stay home on election day guilt-free.

In the U.S., your voting record is public information — depending on the state, your record could include anything from the political party you’re affiliated with to whether or not you voted in past elections.

Now, at least two tech startups have created apps that use this information to give people an easy way to peer pressure their friends into voting.

Text the Vote

On Sunday, The New York Times published a compelling story on two political apps, VoteWithMe and Outvote. The apps pull the voting data of everyone in your contact list and group those contacts based on how engaged they are in the voting process.

You can then use the apps to encourage your contacts to vote in the coming election in several ways. For example, you could send reminders of the election date to the less-than-committed voters in your contact list or ask your more committed friends to be sure to encourage their friends to vote.

Shifting Focus

Unfortunately, these political apps might work better in theory than in practice.

First, there’s the fact that they don’t really provide a full picture of your voting history — they only show the data for the state you’re currently registered in. Then there’s the possibility that the apps might affect how people vote — not just how often.

Right now, you might not think twice about registering as a Democrat even though you work for a decidedly Republican-leaning company, but you might if you knew your boss was likely to download an app that reveals that information.

It’s a tricky situation. Democracies work best when everyone participates, but is app-delivered peer pressure really the best way to encourage a higher voter turnout in the future? Just a thought, but maybe we should all focus on securing our elections and restoring Americans’ faith in the democratic process instead.

READ MORE: Did You Vote? Now Your Friends May Know (and Nag You) [The New York Times]

More on democracy: Pre-Teen Hackers Prove It: The U.S. Election System Simply Isn’t Secure Enough

Read more:

Exercise Your Civic Duty by Shaming Your Friends Into Voting

An Ancient Star Reveals Our Galaxy Is Older Than We Thought

Old Kid on the Block

In the outer layers of the Milky Way is an old star, newly discovered by Johns Hopkins University astronomers, that might be one of the oldest in the universe.

New research which will soon be published in The Astrophysical Journal describes a star with the mouthful of a name, 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B. It’s about one-sixth the size of our sun and dates back 13.5 billion years — just 300 million years younger than the entire universe.

Old-School Metal

We know this star is so old because of its metal composition. As stars die and their leftover materials form new stars, the nuclear fusion reactions that power their cores give off heavy metals like gold and platinum. The more heavy metals, the more generations a given star must have been through.

But this star, still dimly twinkling, has such a small heavy metal content that astronomers think it comes from just the second generation of all the stuff in the universe — its celestial predecessor would have been formed in the Big Bang itself. For reference, our sun first emerged many generations after that, a 4.6 billion-year-old youngster compared to 2MASS.

I Wish I Might

This star is far older than anything else found in our galaxy so far, and its discovery opens the doors to finding even older stars.

That means we may soon learn more about how the Big Bang gave rise to the universe — and a better understanding of our own origins.

READ MORE: Johns Hopkins Scientist Finds Elusive Star with Origins Close to Big Bang [Johns Hopkins University]

More on old stars: Scientists Now Know When the First Stars Formed in the Universe

Follow this link:

An Ancient Star Reveals Our Galaxy Is Older Than We Thought

Huge Wind Farms Could Weaken Hurricanes Before They Make Landfall

Breezing Up

The devastation of hurricanes such as Florence and Harvey is a reminder of the terrible power of storms and our apparent helplessness when they strike.

But new research suggests that there might be a way to fight hurricanes before they come ashore and it might even help generate renewable electricity.

Tilting Windmills

According to a paper published this summer in the journal Environmental Research Letters, computer simulations suggest that offshore wind turbines suck the energy out of hurricanes and force them higher into the sky, resulting in decreased rainfall and potentially less destruction when they make landfall.

“Offshore wind farms definitely could be a potential tool to weaken hurricanes and reduce their damage,” author Cristina Archer, a professor at the University of Delaware, told Popular Science. “And they pay for themselves, ultimately, which is why I am excited about this.”

Damage Plan

Today’s wind farms often switch turbines off during high winds, so current wind farms aren’t a good defense mechanism against hurricanes.

But turbines scheduled to hit the market by 2020, Archer said, will be strong enough to withstand hurricane winds — so she’s hopeful they’ll be able to protect coastal communities, and maybe even generate some electricity in the process.

READ MORE: Scientists Want to Put ‘Speed Bumps’ in Hurricane Alley to Slow Down Storms [Popular Science]

More on nanobots: Death Count from Hurricane Maria Was Way Off. That Might Slow Puerto Rico’s Recovery.

Go here to read the rest:

Huge Wind Farms Could Weaken Hurricanes Before They Make Landfall

China’s New Space Station Is Called The “Heavenly Palace”

Heavenly Palace

The first components of the International Space Station (ISS) launched into space more than 20 years ago, and it’s been continuously occupied for 18. Right now, it’s the only operational space station in orbit — but that’s about to change.

China just unveiled a life-size replica of the country’s new space station at Airshow China, the largest aerospace exhibition in the country. The new station is called Tiangong, which means “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese.

American Football

The new ISS competitor’s central module is 55 feet (17 meters) long, weighs 60 tons, and can fit three astronauts. That’s actually quite a bit smaller than the ISS, which is about as large as an American football field if you count its large solar panels.

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

The new space station will allow astronauts to conduct cutting-edge scientific research in the fields of biology and microgravity, according to the Associated Press.

The new station will technically belong to China, but will open its doors to all UN countries. Construction is expected to be completed around 2022.

Here’s to hoping that China’s new space station will fare better than the Tiangong-1 space lab, which crashed into the Pacific earlier this year after authorities lost control of it in orbit.

READ MORE: China unveils new ‘Heavenly Palace’ space station as ISS days numbered [Phys.org]

More on Tiangong-1: The Chinese Space Station Has Crashed in the Pacific. Why Was It So Hard to Track?

Link:

China’s New Space Station Is Called The “Heavenly Palace”

SpaceX Reveals How It Would Handle an Astronaut Emergency

Ready for Anything

When it comes to space travel, we can’t overprepare — countless things could go wrong at any step in the process, and even a brief delay in response could be the difference between life and death.

To that end, Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently demonstrated it was ready to handle one of our worst-case space flight scenarios: an injured or sick astronaut.

Testing the Waters

SpaceX will eventually transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program.

Some of those return flights will end with the Crew Dragon splashing down in the ocean near Florida’s eastern coast. A crane aboard SpaceX’s recovery ship, GO Searcher, will then lift the craft from the water and place it onto the ship’s main deck. Doctors can then evaluate the returning crew to ensure they’re in good shape before GO Searcher heads to Cape Canaveral.

At least, that’s if everything goes according to plan. If the astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon are sick or injured, SpaceX will need to get them medical attention as quickly as possible.

To prepare for that possibility, SpaceX rehearsed a scenario in which a helicopter landed on GO Searcher. The crew then loaded a stretcher onto the aircraft for transportation to a nearby hospital. The helicopter is also equipped to transport doctors and other medical personnel to GO Searcher so they can care for patients at the ship’s medical treatment facility.

Prior Preparation

SpaceX is ahead of the game with this dress rehearsal — there isn’t even a date set yet for the first water landing of an astronaut-carrying Crew Dragon.

Still, it’s encouraging to know Elon Musk’s space company is taking every precaution to ensure it’s prepared to provide NASA astronauts with the best possible medical care long before they might ever need it.

READ MORE: SpaceX Rehearses Helicopter Landing at Sea [NASA]

More on the Commercial Crew program: NASA Announces the First Commercial Astronauts to Pilot the Next Generation of Spacecraft

More here:

SpaceX Reveals How It Would Handle an Astronaut Emergency

AI Can Tell If You’re Depressed by Listening to You Talk

Diagnosing Depression

Depression can manifest with many different symptoms, from a “loss of energy” to “indecisiveness” — broad criteria that make the condition difficult to diagnose with a high degree of certainty.

Now, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are working on an algorithm that could eliminate some of that guesswork. They used text and audio data from 142 interviews with patients — 30 of whom had been diagnosed with depression — to teach a machine learning algorithm to listen for signs of depression in speech.

Tone of Voice

What makes this effort stand out is that the researchers examined the patients’ tone of voice, not just the specific words they used. That technique made the model surprisingly accurate: It was able to identify subjects who had been diagnosed with depression with a 77 percent success rate.

But before we go on and implement AI as a tool to diagnose mental disorders in the real world, we’ll have to take these results with a substantial grain of salt.

AI Therapy

While chatbots like Woebot have recently surfaced help people to deal with depression, they won’t be able to replace a human therapist, at least for the time being.

There are far too many variables, and while 77 percent sounds promising, a false positive could raise serious ethical concerns. For instance, AI diagnostic tools could fall into the wrong hands — like your employer or insurance company.

But the researchers are realistic about their machine learning model’s ability to detect depression. Rather than replacing human therapists, they see it as another tool in [a clinician’s] toolbox,” MIT researcher James Glass, who worked on the model, told Smithsonian.

READ MORECan Artificial Intelligence Detect Depression in a Person’s Voice? [Smithsonian]

More on treating depression: New App for Depression Uses Artificial Intelligence for Therapy Treatments

See more here:

AI Can Tell If You’re Depressed by Listening to You Talk

This Gadget Tells You Exactly What Allergens You’re Inhaling

Allergic Reaction

Every minute you’re outside, you’re likely inhaling hundreds of “bioaerosols” — pollens, spores, microbes, and other tiny objects that can cause allergic reactions.

Today’s best method for measuring that allergen load is decidedly low-tech — researchers catch bioaerosols in filters or spore traps and study them under a microscope to identify each one. But a new gadget, hacked together by UCLA researchers, uses machine learning to dramatically speed up that process. Eventually, it might even give you a better sense of the air you’re breathing.

Pollen Kingdom

The UCLA researchers describe their device, which they built for less than $200 in parts, in a new paper published in the journal ACS Photonics. 

Basically, the apparatus catches bioaerosols on a sticky surface and scans them with a laser and a small sensor. Then it feeds the resulting image into a neural network trained to recognize common allergens such as oak, ragweed pollen, and certain mold spores. Finally, it tells you exactly what’s making you sneeze.

Air Apparent

Though promising, the UCLA prototype isn’t quite ready for action. Its algorithm can only recognize five allergens, and its accuracy is a good-not-great 94 percent.

But incremental improvements could result in a compelling gadget that would let you analyze the air around you — and maybe decide whether it’s time to pop an antihistamine.

READ MORE: New Mobile Device Identifies Airborne Allergens Using Deep Learning [UCLA]

More on allergies: The FDA Has Approved a Faster Way to Check for Allergies

Visit link:

This Gadget Tells You Exactly What Allergens You’re Inhaling


12345...102030...