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Category Archives: Space Station

Canada’s newest astronauts consider moon, Mars missions after space station trip – Toronto Star

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm

By Peter RakobowchukThe Canadian Press

Tues., Aug. 22, 2017

MONTREALIts a far-out dream that Canadas two newest astronauts are hoping will come true: orbiting the moon within the next decade or so.

In fact, Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey are already looking beyond the International Space Station as they begin two years of intense basic training.

In an interview from Houston on Tuesday, Kutryk pointed out that Canada is committed to the space station until 2024 along with its international partners.

But the 35-year-old Albertan said the plan for what will happen after is already starting to be defined.

We dont have the details ironed out but we know that its going to involve new destinations, probably the moon and then Mars, said Kutryk, adding he expects Canada to seek out and play a large role.

I think that were living in a lifetime now when we see humans, including Canadian humans, potentially going back to the moon and thats just a super exciting thing for me to think about.

Thats to be determined but I do feel a lot of excitement for the Canadian space program in general, he said.

Sidey, who will be training alongside Kutryk, said travelling around the moon, in so-called cislunar orbit, is on her agenda.

Certainly, Im definitely in for the idea of deep space (and) longer space flights, kind of pushing what we can do, she said.

Cislunar for us is going to be incredibly important as a gateway to put people in orbit and eventually go back to the moon.

The 29-year-old Calgary-born astronaut was asked about her chances of orbiting the moon in the coming decades.

Her response was: Who knows, who knows, but Id love that… who wouldnt, huh.

But the focus over the next two years will be on understanding various things, including systems on the space station, human behaviour, robotics and survival training.

They will also learn Russian.

Were going to be juggling all sorts of subjects and theyre all very different and theyre all very important (and) keeping all those balls in the air at once is going to be tough, Sidey said.

Kutryk, a test pilot, admitted that learning Russian will be a tough test, noting it took him about 25 years to be comfortable in French.

Based on that experience, and when I look at the idea of learning a third language in two years, thats something thats definitely going to be challenging, he said.

On Tuesday, Kutryk and Sidey also joined a dozen American trainees in a link-up with three astronauts now on board the International Space Station.

Flight engineer Peggy Whitson, 57, who is on her third long-duration space station mission, had some advice for the group: know how to fix things.

You need to get good at using tools, Whitson said as she floated inside the space station. Thatll be an important part of your training, so pay attention to that part of it.

So you cant be hesitant about taking something apart and putting it back together, because thats a lot of our job.

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Canada’s newest astronauts consider moon, Mars missions after space station trip – Toronto Star

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The ultimate photobomb: NASA spied the Space Station crossing … – Mashable

Posted: at 11:34 pm

A cool thing happened in the sky today: the moon covered the sun, and people got super emotional about it.

While we watched from Earth, either with special glasses. cardboard boxes. or with our own scorched retinas, astronauts got to see the eclipse from another perspective.

And we got to see them creeping across the sun, thanks to a NASA photographer. Look at it… it’s pretty awesome.

In photos taken by a NASA photographer located in the Northern Cascades National Park in Washington, the International Space Station is seen in silhouette as it transits the sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial phase of the solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Compared to the size of the sun and the moon, the ISS resembles an ant crawling across a luminescent piece of cheese, or a TIE fighter roaring across an orange Death Star.

Here’s a composite image made from four different frames.

The video at the top of this story, taken by NASA’s Joel Kowsky, shows the space station crossing the sun at five miles per second. It was taken by a high speed camera that captured images at 1,500 frames per second.

Feel free to make a badass TIE fighter sound effect as you watch.

People in the United States won’t get to experience a total solar eclipse again until 2024. Better buy your glasses now before they skyrocket in price.

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The ultimate photobomb: NASA spied the Space Station crossing … – Mashable

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SpaceX launches experiments, ice cream to space station – KRQE News 13

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) A SpaceX capsule rocketed to the International Space Station on Monday, carrying tons of scientific research, plus ice cream.

As has become customary on these cargo flights, SpaceX landed its leftover booster back at Cape Canaveral shortly after liftoff, a key to its long-term effort to recycle rockets and reduce costs.

Gorgeous day, spectacular launch, said Dan Hartman, NASAs deputy manager of the space station program.

Experiments make up most of the 6,400 pounds of cargo, which should reach the orbiting lab Wednesday. That includes 20 mice that will return alive inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule in about a month.

The Dragon is also doubling as an ice cream truck this time.

There was extra freezer space, so NASA packed little cups of vanilla, chocolate and birthday cake ice cream, as well as ice cream candy bars. Those treats should be especially welcomed by U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson, in orbit since November. Shes due back at the beginning of September. Newly arrived U.S. spaceman Randolph Bresnik turns 50 next month.

Thespace stationwas zooming 250 miles above the Atlantic, just off Nova Scotia, when the Falcon took flight.

It was the 14th successful booster landing for SpaceX and the sixth on the giant X at the companys touchdown spot at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just a few miles from its NASA-leased pad at Kennedy Space Center.

Its right on the bulls-eye, and a very soft touchdown, said SpaceXs Hans Koenigsmann.

The mice on board are part of a study of visual problems suffered in space by some male astronauts. Scientists will study the pressure in the animals eyes, as well as the movement of fluid in their brains. Thirty days for mice in space is comparable to three years for humans, according to Florida State Universitys Michael Delp, whos in charge of the experiment. The study may help explain why female astronauts dont have this vision problem, which can linger long after spaceflight, he added.

The Dragon also holds an instrument to measure cosmic rays from the space station. This type of device has previously flown on high-altitude balloons. The Army has an imaging microsatellite on board for release this fall from the station. Its a technology demo; the military wants to see how small satellites like this, with low-cost, off-the-shelf cameras and telescopes, might support critical ground operations. Its about the size of a dormitory-room refrigerator.

Also going up on behalf of the Michael J. Fox Foundation: protein crystals that, in space, might shed light on Parkinsons disease. The mission got a televised plug from Fox, an actor who has the disease.

Three Americans, one more than usual, and an Italian will tackle all this scientific work in orbit. The station also is home to two Russians; that number will go back up to three in a year or so.

This is the 13th delivery by the Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, one of two private shippers hired by NASA. The other is Orbital ATK; its next supply run is in November from Wallops Island, Virginia.

The SpaceX Dragon is the only supply ship capable of returning items to Earth. It parachutes into the Pacific; the others burn up during re-entry.

This particular Dragon is brand new, as is the Falcon rocket. In June, SpaceX launched its first reused Dragon, and in March, its first reused Falcon. From now on, the company said it may only fly used Dragons.

SpaceX is also developing a crew Dragon for NASA astronauts, set to debut next year. Boeing is working on its own capsule to ferry space station astronauts.

In the meantime, SpaceX is aiming for a November debut of its Falcon Heavy rocket, which will feature three first-stage boosters and 27 engines, versus the single booster and nine engines on the Falcon 9. It will have two-thirds the thrust of NASAs Saturn V rocket, which was used during the Apollo moon program. All three of the Falcon Heavys first-stage boosters are meant to fly back to a touchdown.

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Space Station Astronauts Are High on a Fresh Ice Cream Shipment – Atlas Obscura

Posted: at 5:52 pm

Any astronauts who consumed this product did so with their feet on the ground. Wikimedia Commons/APN MJM/CC BY-SA 3.0

Everything you believed as a child is a lie. Your Furby doesnt know who you are. The Tamagotchi you cherished, then killed with neglect, was never actually alive. Sea monkeys dont look like monkeystheyre cryptobiotic brine shrimp! And astronaut ice cream? The stuff that you made your parents buy in the museum gift shop that comes in foil packets and vanilla, raspberry, and chocolate flavors that more or less taste the same? It never actually went to space.

But there is such a thing as astronaut ice cream. As a group, these intrepid explorers, scientists, and pilots love the stuff. So they were very excited, according to NPR, when earlier this week a shipment of 30 individual Bluebell ice cream cups and some Snickers ice cream bars were shot up to them, 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. Lets see Amazon Prime try that. (Patience.)

The frozen treats came as part of a usual resupply mission to the International Space Station. Some 6,400 pounds of lab equipment, supplies, and food arrived in the SpaceX Dragon capsule. The challenge for ice cream in space is storing it once it gets there. Sure, space is very cold, but you cant hang the ice cream outside like a six-pack in a mountain stream. Astronauts have limited freezer and refrigeration space, mostly used for storing blood and urine samplesnot what you want to root through in search of a popsicle. However, the supply capsule, which returns to Earth, has freezers to bring back those samples, leaving a little extra cold storage in the orbiting station.

The catch, if you want to call it that, is that the astronauts are going to need to that freezer space back, so they have to launch into a full-scale ice cream party. They have just a few weeks to empty the freezer. Its a really special treat, but when it gets there, they have no place to put it, Vickie Kloeris, from NASAs Space Food Systems Laboratory, told NPR. Its tough duty, but theyll manage to eat it in the time allowed.

There are other goodies among the supplies: citrus fruits, carrots, even a surprise avocado or two. Astronauts can live at the International Space Station for as long as a year, and when one spends that long in a confined, alien space, the psychological impact of food becomes very important. After an initial phase where astronauts were given free rein on what to eat, Kloeris and her colleagues decided to put together a standardized menu that maximizes variety and minimizes repetition. Now, she said, all the managers in the space station program are aware how important it is to be sure these crew members get coffee the way they like it.

One thing that has little psychological impact in space, however, is freeze-dried ice cream. Given the choice, it turns out, adult humans dont really like it, especially if the real stuff is available, even occasionally. NASA did originally commission the product for one of the Apollo missions, but never made it part of the space program. It wasnt that popular; most of the crew really didnt like it, Kloeris said, in a NASA feature.

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Space Station Astronauts Are High on a Fresh Ice Cream Shipment – Atlas Obscura

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Sunday August 20, 2017 – Israel Hayom

Posted: at 5:52 pm

Israel Hayom
Sunday August 20, 2017
Israel Hayom
SpaceX's Dragon aircraft arrived at the International Space Station last Wednesday after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, bringing 2.5 tons of scientific equipment and supplies, including five experiments proposed by Israeli students for

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Cosmonauts launch 3D-printed satellite from space station – Space Daily

Posted: at 5:52 pm

During a lengthy spacewalk on Thursday, Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy released five mini satellites by hand, including one made almost entirely of 3D-printed materials.

Some new reports are claiming the satellite is the first built from 3D-printed components to be launched into space, but in June, NASA launched a cube satellite made almost entirely of 3D-printed materials.

NASA claimed the satellite was not only the first 3D-printed satellite launched into space, it was the lightest satellite ever launched, weighing just 64 grams.

The latest satellite launch marks the first time the Russian team has launched a 3D-printed satellite. The mini satellite was designed and built at Siberia’s Tomsk Polytechnic University.

Tomsk TPU-120 will spend roughly six months in orbit. Scientists are keen to learn how the 3D-printed materials are weathered by space.

Three-dimensional printing has the potential to save aeronautics and satellite manufacturers time and money.

“We have satellites ready for launch that have 50 to 60 printed parts on them,” Mark Spiwak, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, told reporters during a press conference in March. “We are actively working with our suppliers on complex brackets and fittings that used to be machined parts. There is tremendous progress being made.”

Four other nano-satellites were also hand-launched by Yurchikhin and Ryazanskiy, all weighing between 10 and 24 pounds. One of the nano-satellites was launched in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch, the world’s first artificial space satellite, as well as the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a pioneer in the fields of astronautics and rocketry.

During Thursday’s spacewalk, the cosmonauts installed a series of struts and handrails outside the Russian module. Yurchikhin and Ryazanskiy also collected fresh dust samples as part of the ongoing effort to monitor microbial communities living on the space station.

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Cosmonauts launch 3D-printed satellite from space station – Space Daily

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Why an Eclipse Is Better Viewed from Earth: An Astronaut’s Perspective –

Posted: at 5:52 pm

Astronauts captured the shadow of the moon moving over the Indian Ocean during a solar eclipse on Dec. 4, 2002.

In one day, we will be treated to a total eclipse of the sun over a large portion of the United States. This has not happened since 1979.

I remember observing part of a total eclipse when I was in grade school, back in 1970. The next day, I saw a newspaper article about a girl who became blind because she watched it for several minutes without any eye protection (when the sun was not totally obscured). Her mother came into her room and caught her, and made her stop.

Her blindness came on gradually, over the next several hours. This made quite an impression on me, and helped me to understand why the ancients came up with all kinds of superstitions and beliefs related to the phenomenon, pretty much all of them bad.

Many cultures believed that an eclipse was the sun being swallowed by a creature, in the form of a dragon, toad, bear or serpent, to name a few. They would encourage people to make noise to scare away the creature, in order to bring back the sun. There are stories of bad omens and ancient sacrifices. Imagine what it was like! Even today, some cultural superstitions and practices persist, but, thankfully,they no longer include human sacrifice.

Of course, humans have understood eclipse now for at least 500 years. But, it doesn’t make the experience any less fantastic. During my mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), I shot what I was told was the first astronaut video of a partial eclipse. It was different to observe the eclipse from above. It took the form of a large dark spot on the clouds of the Earth that grew lighter toward the edge.

I imagine what impression the upcoming total eclipse will make on the crew currently aboard ISS. You’ve heard about the so-called “overview effect” that some astronauts experience while observing our Earth from space. (It’s real, I felt it.) The thing is, you don’t have to be in space to experience this. An eclipse is one phenomenon that is actually more impressive from the ground. Even though we understand eclipse, it, like other awe-inspiring phenomena in our world and universe, should give us perspective and make us pause and think about what really is important.

Editor’s note:Visit Space.comto see the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, with a live webcast from NASA beginning at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT).

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NASA Launches New Satellite to Beam Back Data from Hubble Telescope, Space Station –

Posted: at 5:52 pm

NASA has launched another next-generation communications satellite to help beam data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station (ISS) and other orbiting spacecraft down to Earth.

The $408 million TDRS-M satellite lifted off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket today (Aug. 18) at 8:29 a.m. EDT (1229 GMT) from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after a half-hour delay due to a technical issue with the booster that was swiftly resolved.

TDRS-M is headed for geosynchronous orbit, about 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) above Earth. It will join nine other operational spacecraft in NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation, which together allow the nearly continuous transmission of data from Hubble, the ISS and other near-Earth research and exploration craft to mission controllers on the ground. [How NASA’s TDRS Communications Satellites Work]

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches NASA’s TDRS-M communications satellite into orbit from a pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Aug. 18, 2017.

The TDRS satellites and their associated ground terminals make up NASA’s Space Network (not to be confused with the agency’s Deep Space Network, a different system that handles data from far-flung spacecraft such as the Cassini Saturn orbiter and the New Horizons probe).

“TDRS-M is going to be critical to our future operation and the future of the Space Network,” Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation, said during a prelaunch news conference yesterday (Aug. 17).

Indeed, the newly launched satellite should allow the Space Network to continue supporting communications through at least the mid-2020s, NASA officials said.

NASA began planning out the TDRS system in the early 1970s, and the first satellite in the network was launched in 1983. A total of 13 have now taken to the skies, and nine (not counting TDRS-M) are currently operational.

Seven TDRS satellites lifted off between 1983 and 1995 aboard NASA’s space shuttles; four of these “first-generation” craft are still operational today. (Two were retired, and one was destroyed in the January 1986 Challenger tragedy.) Three “second-generation” craft launched between 2000 and 2002. The remaining three are “third generation”; they launched in 2013, 2014 and today, respectively. (TDRS-M is a third-generation satellite as well.)

The first-generation TDRS satellites were built by aerospace company TRW (which was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002). The others, including TDRS-M, have been built by Boeing.

It will take a little while for TDRS-M to come online, even after the satellite reaches its final orbit and deploys its solar panels and antennas.

“It takes about three to four months following deployments for us to fully characterize the spacecraft, and to show that it will meet mission requirements and provide the RF [radio frequency] performance that is needed to support our users,” said Dave Littmann, TDRS-M project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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CASIS awards Audacy grant to test radio on space station – SpaceNews

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 4:52 am

Audacys constellation is designed to provide high-availability mission critical communications to users anywhere in near Earth space. Credit: Audacy

The nonprofit Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) awarded a grant Aug. 17 to Audacy that will enable the Silicon Valley startup to demonstrate its high data-rate radio on the International Space Station.

Audacy, a company established in 2015 to create a commercial space-based communications network, plans to send the Audacy Lynq demonstration mission to the space stations NanoRacks External Payload Platform on a NASA commercial cargo fight in late 2018.

We plan to demonstrate the efficacy of Audacys high-rate customer terminal, as well as the utility of Audacys communications services for downloading science and imagery data from customers onboard the ISS, Ellaine Talle, Audacy project lead, said by email.

On Aug. 8, Audacy announced a related project. The firm is working with Scotlands Clyde Space to send a cubesat into orbit in 2018 to demonstrate the performance of terminals customers flying small satellites can use to transmit data to Audacys ground stations.

Talle declined to say the value of the CASIS award but said it was large enough to cover the cost of launching Audacy Lynq on a commercial cargo flight and a six-month test of Audacy K-band antenna and radio on the space station.

In 2019, Audacy plans to launch three large satellites into medium Earth orbit to relay data from spacecraft in low Earth orbit to ground stations. Audacy is establishing a global network of ground stations to communicate with its future relay satellites and to support customers operating missions beyond the relay satellites field of view, Talle said.

While we hope future ISS demonstrations will utilize the relays, this initial mission will only exercise the ground segment, she added.

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Watch NASA Livestream Six Hour Spacewalk from International … – Newsweek

Posted: at 4:52 am

A six hour-long spacewalk will take place on the International Space Station (ISS) today and NASA will be livestreaming the whole event.

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy will be going outside of the space station to launch several nanosatellites, perform structural maintenance and collect research samples. The event will start at 10am ET, with commander Yurchikhin and flight engineer Ryazanskiy exiting through the Pirs airlock at about 10.45am.

Viewers can watch the event through NASA Television or via the livestream below.

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Ryazanskiy will begin the schedule of extravehicular activities with the manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock, the space agency said in a statement. The satellites, each of which has a mass of about 11 pounds, have a variety of purposes.

One of the satellites, with casings made using 3D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Yurchikhin and Ryazanskiy will also be installing handrails outside the space station to improve future spacewalks, while they will collect samples from various locations outside the Russian part of the ISS.

Expedition 52 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin holds one of the five satellites set to be deployed during the Russian spacewalk. NASA

This will be the seventh spacewalk of 2017 and the 202nd since construction began on the space station in 1998. The longest spacewalk ever to be undertaken was in March, 2001, when NASA astronauts Jim Voss and Susan Helms spent eight hours and 56 minutes carrying out maintenance and installation work on the station.

Astronauts are well prepared for spacewalks. Clayton C. Anderson, a NASA astronautwho performed six spacewalks during his time on the ISS, recently explained what would happen if an astronaut floated away into space in a Quora question.

He said assuming the astronaut is on an ISS spacewalk and that they have somehow become untethered from their vehicle, they will then resort to using a jet back called SAFER Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue .

These jetpacks, which he says are straight out of a Buck Rogers comic book, allow astronauts to fly back to the ISS where they can reattach themselves and continue going about their business. SAFER gives astronauts basically one-shot to come home, he wrote. Limited in fuel, and governed by the laws of orbital mechanics, it is not simply a leisurely task to fly back to safety.

Anderson explains there are several steps the astronaut must take and that they are extensively trained to do this through virtual reality on Earth. These are as follows:

While untethered spacewalks have taken place in the past, so far no astronaut has ever accidentally come free and floated away.

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