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Category Archives: Space Station

The Safest Place to Hide From the Coronavirus: Space? – Newsweek

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 5:47 am

The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening by the day and has now spread all over the world with more than 190,000 reported cases. In times like these, it may seem like the virus is inescapable, but there's one place where it most likely will not reach: the International Space Station (ISS).

The space stationwhich orbits the Earth at an altitude of around 250 milesis jointly operated by the space agencies of the U.S., Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada. The Russian space agency Roscosmos leads the preparation for launches of Soyuz, the only spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to and from the station. But how does the ISS program keep crew members safe from potentially dangerous pathogens?

Before launching astronauts to the ISS, great care is already taken to prevent the crew from bringing potentially dangerous viruses and pathogens on board with them, so the novel coronavirus outbreak is not currently having much of an impact on safety procedures.

"Prior to launching to the International Space Station, the crew is quarantined and observed for any potential symptoms and tested," Luis Zea, a researcher from BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Newsweek. "This serves as a great filter."

NASA says it applies these quarantine measures to all of its astronauts before they are sent to the space station in the Soyuz capsulewhich is launched from Kazakhstan.

"NASA takes steps to prevent the crew from bringing illnesses like the cold or flu to the International Space Station," Courtney Beasley, a spokesperson for the space agency, told Newsweek. "All of our crew have to stay in quarantine for two weeks before they launch. This makes sure that they aren't sick, or incubating an illness, when they get to the International Space Station and is called 'health stabilization.' It's an important part of protecting crew health."

But the protective measures don't stop there. According to Beasley, the ISS Program also has "very effective" processes in place to prevent disease-causing pathogens from being transported to the station via cargo missions.

"Currently, items that go to Station are cleaned but not necessarily 'sterilized'which is something done for probes going to other planetary bodies to ensure we are not contaminating them with Earth cells or organisms," Zea said. Cleaning and sterilization are related but no the same thing."

"Items that go up to Station are thoroughly cleaned and sometimes, depending on the item itself, may be sterilized. However, a stringent requirement for sterilization exists for spacecraft that will land on other celestial bodies to ensure that, in the future when we 'sniff' more molecules indicative of potential life, we are not sniffing something that a previous spacecraft brought into that planet. In the case of the ISS, microbes travel with the crew, like it or not. In fact, a human has more bacterial cells in and on their body than their own cells, so it doesn't matter where we go, bacteria will accompany us," he said.

Taken together, these quarantine and cleaning measures make it very unlikely that disease-causing pathogens will infect astronauts onboard the ISS, even in the context of the latest outbreak, according to Zea.

"I would say that, regarding coronavirus, the ISS is probably one of the safest places to be at this point," he said. "This comes from the fact that the novel coronavirus can only survive for short periods of time on surfaces and an infected person would likely be screened and diagnosed during the quarantine period astronauts go through prior to launch."

"NASA and our international partners on ISS have made great investments on the Space Station and are very cautious to ensure the safety of the crew and Station. For example, when payload developers such as where I work, BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado Boulder, send hardware or an experiment to Station, we must demonstrate via tests results etcetera, that the crew and Station will be safe at all times," he said. "I think NASA has done a really good job in protecting astronauts and the Space Station."

Nevertheless, all astronauts undergo medical emergency training and maintain regular contact with a team of doctors on the ground who closely monitor their health. And in the event that a medical emergency does occur, the crew have processes in place to deal with the situation.

"There are always enough 'lifeboats' [Russian Soyuz spacecraft] docked to the ISS to ensure all of the crew could promptly evacuate should there be a need to do so," Zea said. "There are protocols in place for what to do should an astronaut fall ill on Station, which includes them boarding a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and returning to Earth, landing in Kazakhstan."

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The Safest Place to Hide From the Coronavirus: Space? - Newsweek

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A message from MIT astronauts: Accept the mission and find your motivators – MIT News

Posted: at 5:47 am

Keeping our distance from each other for an extended period of time is the most effective way to reduce Covid-19s reach. But the prospect of prolonged social isolation is uncharted territory for many.

To get some perspective on how we all might navigate lives of temporary separation, MIT News checked in with three MIT alumni who have spent months at a time living quite literally away from the rest of the world, on humanitys only outpost in space. Cady Coleman 83, Mike Fincke 89, and Greg Chamitoff 92 have all served long-duration missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as NASA astronauts. While orbiting some 250 miles above Earth, they lived and worked in quarters about the size of a large house, with only the occasional opportunity to step outside of that house, on spacewalks to repair or maintain the station.

Even as they were physically isolated from the rest of the planet for months at a time, the astronauts found ways to bridge the distance with family and friends, over the phone, and through video chats. Just as importantly, they also made sure to find time for themselves, and embrace their isolation. Coleman, Fincke, and Chamitoff shared some of the lessons they learned from living in space, and how we can all commit to a mission to live, at least for now, at a distance.

Q: What was it like for you to be isolated from the rest of the world for long durations, even with the ability to email and video-chat with people on the ground?

CHAMITOFF: Living on the International Space Station is very much like being stuck in your house with a few people for a very long period of time. The ISS has about as much living space as a six-bedroom house. And hopefully you like your roommates and have established mechanisms for getting along even when there are disagreements. In space you feel separated from the rest of society you are the only ones off the entire planet!

I expected to feel lonely during my six months in space, but it was quite the opposite. Having a daily sense of purpose, countless tasks and experiments to perform, and communication with people all over the world provided so much engagement with the world that loneliness was not a factor. There are some lessons here, perhaps, for everyone who now has to stay at home during this crisis.

COLEMAN: I think what makes everything work is the mission. As an astronaut, I was on the forward edge of exploration, representing the many people who make the ISS mission and experiments happen. Right now our mission is to keep each other safe here on Earth. I think keeping that mission in mind makes it easier to wash your hands that one more time when you really dont feel like it, and to tell friends who are more casual about social distancing things like, No, I really dont think its safe to do that together for now.

FINCKE: Were such social creatures that it is going to be a challenge for a lot of people to be a little homebound and not go out. For astronauts its something were used to it comes with the territory.

Q: What do you remember of some of your more challenging times of isolation in space? How did you work through it, mentally or physically?

FINCKE: My first long-duration mission was during a time when the space shuttle was grounded because of an accident, and there were only two of us aboard the ISS for six months, with no visitors. When youre in a confined space with someone else, you really have to make an extra effort to get along. We probably are all hard to live with. Some things Ive learned in space Ive taken back to the ground, for instance to tell my wife I appreciate her that much more, and things like that. You really learn to value relationships.

COLEMAN: We had one crew member whose mom passed away fairly unexpectedly while we were in space. We established wed have our own memorial service at the same time as the funeral back home. And I looked at the world map and realized we were going to be passing over his hometown at the time of the funeral. So the six of us were there in the cupola together, and we had a few moments of silence, and I really felt we were together with all the family on the ground. When the mission youve chosen forces you to be isolated, you find a way to be the best you can.

CHAMITOFF: Hurricane Ike struck Houston during my long-duration mission. Johnson Space Center shut down and people were evacuating the city. Operations on the ISS came to a near standstill. For almost a week onboard, we were much more isolated than usual, and were determined to get useful things done. We had a task list of unscheduled activities, and if we could do them without ground support, we did. Admittedly, we watched more movies, did more exercise, slept more, and spent longer periods together talking at meals. We were worried about our loved ones on the ground, but the slower pace was good for our morale and camaraderie onboard.

Q: Are there any tips that you can share to help people get through and perhaps even embrace this social-distancing period?

FINCKE: Maintaining a schedule, things to look forward to, and things to do and check off your list, can be a tool to help us all. Onboard the space station, as the mission progressed, we had things to look forward to, like the next cargo ship that came to give us new food, or a spacewalk, which is a really big deal. Same thing here: Just because I dont have to go into work doesnt mean I shouldnt get up and be showered and dressed just like I would. Going to the grocery store tomorrow, even if its a little thing, is something to look forward to.

Also, find out what your motivators are. For me, I read science fiction, and at one point, NASA was able to give me an e-reader and I read about 50-60 books when I was up there. That was my thing. It can be a little lonely. So you need to know what your own motivators are.

CHAMITOFF: Engage with people using FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or whatever tools you like. Make virtual plans with people. Spend time outside. I believe that when this is all over, we will have stronger and closer relationships because of it. Talk to your family and friends perhaps more than you usually do. In space, I spoke to a friend or family member every night. It was a highlight of my day.

COLEMAN: One of the things you have to do is figure out how to have some ways you have your space, whether mental or physical. If theres someone in the house coming up to you every time they see a new notice about the coronavirus, you may have trouble having a straight thought about what were trying to do. So maybe say, lets read those things twice a day. There are a lot of things we cant control now. What are the things we can? We can control the things we learn. Im thinking I may take some Skype lessons for playing the flute, and learning Chinese has always been on my list, as well as practicing my Russian. There are projects I have on my list, from finishing my website to cleaning out my attic, and right now it feels like I may, in a joyful and not so joyful way, get them all done.

Q: What about the experience of being isolated for so long was surprising or unexpected for you?

COLEMAN: I think about the things I wish I did when I was up on the space station. One is get enough sleep. Probably my whole life Ive never gotten enough sleep, especially at MIT, right? So taking care of yourself is a really good thing prioritize that. And also, some kind of journaling or recording: Jot a few notes, capture this time for yourself, whether you plan to share it with anyone or not. Take pictures that help people realize what it was like for you. Because your experiences may be valuable to others in the future.

FINCKE: Having been more isolated, its times like these, where an outside forcing function is bringing us together, that I value this time with my family even more. Take this time to focus on the human relationships reach out, send an email, call someone, because theres a little more opportunity now.

CHAMITOFF: Life will be a bit different, but you will adapt to it quickly. We are an incredibly adaptable species. We live in all sorts of extreme environments, including zero-gravity. One thing we do need, however, is each other. We cant do this alone. Consider reaching out to others if you know they are alone. As long as we have family and friends to share this experience with, we will be okay.

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Feast your eyes on these treats in the night sky, with ISS, Venus and the constellations – Gloucestershire Live

Posted: at 5:47 am

There wasnt much to get excited about last night as news of the coronavirus-prompted UK lockdown broke but those who looked up at the sky over Gloucestershire had a treat.

These pictures from budding astronomer Susan Snow capture the moment the International Space Station went over Bishops Cleeve, near Cheltenham.

She tweeted the images, saying Venus and the star clusters Pleiades, Hyades and Orion could also be seen.

The clarity of the pictures were no doubt helped by the sustained period of high pressure we have over the UK at the moment.

It means there are few clouds, plenty of sunshine and clear skies at night so the stars can be seen relatively easily.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty and is the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon.

The International Space Station is a space station in low Earth orbit. It is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.

The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.

For the latest on the coronavirus UK lockdown, visit our blog

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Mir, the first modular space station – The Hindu

Posted: at 5:47 am

The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. A joint effort by participating space agencies, ISS serves as a space environment research laboratory. In terms of design, the ISS belongs to the third generation that allows modules to be added or removed from the existing structure, thereby allowing for greater flexibility.

The first generation of space stations such as Soviet Unions Salyut 1 and the U.S. Skylab had monolithic designs that consisted of one module with no resupply capability. The second generation of space stations, such as Soviet Unions Salyut 6 and Salyut 7, consisted of a monolithic station, but with ports to allow resupply cargo spacecraft. The third generation, which are called modular space stations and now includes the ISS, correspond to those with more than one primary spacecraft that are launched independently and docked in space.

Soviet Unions Mir space station marked the beginning of the third generation of space station design. The name Mir can be translated from Russian to mean peace, world or village an apt choice for a space station that hosted people of various nationalities.

On February 20, 1986, the assembly process began with the launch of Mirs core module into orbit. Kvant 1 (1987), an astrophysics laboratory; Kvant 2 (1989), an augmentation module containing supplementary life-support equipment; Kristall (1990), a technology module that served as a materials-sciences lab; Spektr (1995), a power module that also allowed for remote observation of Earths environment; a docking module (1995); and Priroda (1996), Earth sensing module for experimenting with remote sensing; were the different modules launched and added to Mir over a decade.

Mir, however, started hosting humans even as more and more modules were added to it. Starting from March 1986, when the first crew docked with Mir, up until June 2000, when the last occupants left the space station, Mir received crew members from a number of expeditions. During its 15-year space flight, Mir played host to over 100 people from 12 different countries.

When the Mir space station was designed and launched, it was built for a five-year life span. The Soviet Union broke down and Mir was operated by the new Russian Federal Space Agency after 1991, but it endured for almost another decade.

A series of problems, both technical and structural, caught up with Mir as years went on. Despite these failures and some accidents, it remained in operation. It was only in November 2000 that the Russian government decided to decommission the space station.

On January 24, 2001, a Russian Progress cargo ship carrying double the normal amount of fuel rendezvoused with Mir. Once the docking took place, Progress fired its thrusters to push the station into a controlled descent, thereby utilising the extra fuel.

On March 23, 2001, Mir ceased to exist as it broke up in the Earths atmosphere upon re-entry. Airlines rerouted their Pacific flights and ships were warned ahead as a safety precaution. It proved to be unnecessary as the debris that did not burn up crashed into the south Pacific Ocean at the planned target zone, causing no harm to anyone.

On March 23, 1996, U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid transferred to Mir from the space shuttle Atlantis for a planned five-month stay.

The first American woman to live in a space station, Lucid was also the first U.S. astronaut on an extended stay on the Mir.

As a biochemist, Lucid carried out a number of scientific experiments aboard Mir during her stay.

Her return was delayed owing to a number of reasons. She eventually made her return flight, again on Atlantis, and was back on Earth on September 26, 1996.

Her 188-day sojourn in space was a record then for time spent in space, both for women and Americans.

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Mir, the first modular space station - The Hindu

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NASA astronaut to head to space station without fanfare – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Posted: at 5:47 am

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A NASA astronaut whos about to leave the planet for six months will blast off without any family or fanfare because of the coronavirus.

Chris Cassidy said Thursday that he wont have any guests at his April 9 launch from Kazakhstan. He expects to say goodbye in Russia to his wife, Julie, on Friday, three weeks earlier than planned.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, shes going back home to Houston. One of their three children, meanwhile, is trying to get back to the U.S. from New Zealand.

There will be a smaller team than usual at the launch pad, too.

It really is going to be strange, Cassidy told The Associated Press from cosmonaut headquarters in Star City, Russia.

He said hes already in quarantine ahead of his launch to the International Space Station.

The things that are stressing the rest of the world and the rest of America, are the same things that are stressing me right now, said Cassidy.

Its not like any other time in our lives as a generation, really, right? said the 50-year-old Navy captain and former Navy SEAL. Ill have my own interesting story to tell in years to come.

Cassidy is also dealing with a rare late-in-the-game crew switch. Hell spend 6 months on the space station with two Russians assigned to the flight just a month ago, after one of the original cosmonauts suffered an eye injury.

While training together to catch up, Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner have been taking precautions to stay germ free, frequently washing their hands and keeping a safe distance from others.

The space station crew will drop from six to three a week after his arrival. It will remain at three people until SpaceX launches two NASA astronauts, as early as May, or another crew arrives on a Russian Soyuz capsule in the fall.

With only three people on board, it promises to be extraordinarily busy.

That doesnt bother me at all, Cassidy told the AP. In fact, Im excited. Bring it on.

Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner leave Tuesday for the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will be isolated there in a special hotel for astronauts, as is customary. But on launch day, there wont be the usual cheering, back-slapping throngs of well-wishers or journalists either.

Their families, bosses and dozens of others normally jam a special room behind a glass wall while the astronauts put on their spacesuits before liftoff.

Not this time.

Well be looking through the glass at maybe one video camera or something like this and then well get on the bus to go to a launch pad with a minimal team there, Cassidy said.

As for the Feb. 19 crew switch, Cassidy, from York, Maine, initially was crushed by the news. The former chief of NASAs astronaut corps and two-time space flier, Cassidy already knew the backup cosmonauts..

So no issues there, he said. However, my heart hurt for my two friends who thought they were so close to a rocket launch and were not going to get one, he told the AP.

Invanishin, like Cassidy an experienced spaceman, said earlier this week that hes surprised to be suddenly rocketing away, but life happens. He said the crew swap could have occurred even closer to launch and so the three have had some time for the news to settle in.

Cassidy acknowledges his stress level is higher than usual right now from worrying about his loved ones.

Were only human, he said, and well work through it and be fine.

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Want To Get Away? These Astronauts Talk About Life Off Earth, Dealing With Isolation and Facing Fears – WMFE

Posted: at 5:47 am

Scott Kelly on the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Since our podcast and radio show Are We There Yet? is celebrating its 4th birthday and many of us are quarantined at home with lots of free time our host Brendan Byrne is sharing his favorite conversations with astronauts.

Listen back to his picks on this binge-able list and be sure to subscribe to the podcast, or listen in every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on WMFE and WMFV.

Scott Kelly spent almost a year in space as part of an experiment to understand how our bodies function for an extending time in microgravity. He spoke to Byrne about the physiological challenges of life off Earth and the emotion toll isolation took on his mind. Kelly recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about his time in isolation and his tips for folks during the coronavirus pandemic.

LISTEN: WMFE | Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield most famously spent his time isolated on the International Space Station filming a music video set to David Bowies Space Oddity. But Hadfields trip wasnt all fun and games there was real danger. He spoke with Byrne about how he deals with fear and the unknown.

LISTEN: WMFE

Nicole Stott is a frequent flier on the podcast. On her first appearance on the show, she talks about the hobby she brought up with her for her long stay on the ISS a set of watercolor paints. She tells Byrne about how her time in space gave her a fresh perspective on life down on Earth.

LISTEN: WMFE | Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Space stinks. Well, it doesnt stink until you come back. NASA astronaut Bruce Melnick talks about the wall of smell that hits you when you return to Earth on the Space Shuttle. Melnick also tells Byrne about the challenges of using the space toilet. Really high-brow stuff, we promise.

LISTEN: WMFE | Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Before making history as part of the first all-female spacewalk, Jessica Meir joined the podcast to talk about her expertise the physiology of animals in extreme environments and how the lessons learned will help get humans back to the moon and on to Mars.

LISTEN: WMFE | Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Do you have a favorite episode? Share it with Brendan Byrne and the rest of the space fans out there shoot us an email at AreWeThereYet@wmfe.org

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Want To Get Away? These Astronauts Talk About Life Off Earth, Dealing With Isolation and Facing Fears - WMFE

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NASA Captures Footage Of UFO On Space Station Live Feed – KFI AM 640

Posted: February 27, 2020 at 1:19 am

If you are a science nerd who is ever bored, NASA has a YouTube channel filled with videos that might tickle your fancy, and among them is a live feed from the International Space Station. Recently, the astronauts on the ISS were doing some routine maintenance on the station but as the camera rolled, a pinecone shaped metallic object moved past the space station before turning upward and shooting off into space.

Scott C. Waring, the founder of UFO Sightings Daily, was the one who first spotted the unidentified flying object, and he posted a video showing exactly where it was and what it looks like. He explained, "I was watching the NASA live space station cam when I noticed the camera zooming in on a strange object coming from below the space station. At first I thought it was a capsule or satellite, but its speed increased, and after 22 minutes it shot up and into deep space. I believed if it was a capsule it would have gone into low earth orbit then lower to land, but when this object shot upward into deep space, it literally blew my mind. This could be USAF top-secret alien tech fused craft, but I dont think so, the person on the camera seemed dismayed and unprepared for its sudden appearance."

As Scott points out, whoever at NASA was controlling the camera noticed the object as well because they zoomed in on it. No one from the space agency has commented yet on what it could be, but it isn't the first time something like this has happened. In 2016, a strange light was spotted near Earth on the NASA live feed. Soon after it appeared, the feed was cut. NASA later stated the object was either space junk, a reflection, or light from Earth.

If you want to keep an eye out for UFOs on the NASA ISS live feed, you can here.

Photo: YouTube

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Central Florida teen sworn into Army by astronaut on International Space Station – WESH 2 Orlando

Posted: at 1:19 am

A Central Florida high school student is part of military history after she was given her oath by an astronaut on the International Space Station.Linsey Alexander is a teenager with a big future ahead of her and ready to make history. She was one of a thousand or so military recruits who were sworn in from 150 places all around the country.The oath was given by Col. Andrew Morgan, an astronaut on the International Space Station.Alexander submitted a question that was read to Col. Morgan from the space center in Houston."In what ways did you overcome obstacles, so we as future soldiers can take those lessons with us into our careers?" she asked.The answer she got from Morgan was: Don't quit."I can't stress that enough. Things that are worth doing are difficult," Morgan said. "That's always a good motto to follow, no matter what you're doing.You should never give up, if it's something you really want to do," Alexander said.Even though she was sworn in from space, Alexander told WESH 2's Dave McDaniel her desired assignment is closer to the ground. She will become an Army paratrooper, jumping out of planes. She'll make her first jump as soon as she's 18.

A Central Florida high school student is part of military history after she was given her oath by an astronaut on the International Space Station.

Linsey Alexander is a teenager with a big future ahead of her and ready to make history. She was one of a thousand or so military recruits who were sworn in from 150 places all around the country.

The oath was given by Col. Andrew Morgan, an astronaut on the International Space Station.

Alexander submitted a question that was read to Col. Morgan from the space center in Houston.

"In what ways did you overcome obstacles, so we as future soldiers can take those lessons with us into our careers?" she asked.

The answer she got from Morgan was: Don't quit.

"I can't stress that enough. Things that are worth doing are difficult," Morgan said.

"That's always a good motto to follow, no matter what you're doing.You should never give up, if it's something you really want to do," Alexander said.

Even though she was sworn in from space, Alexander told WESH 2's Dave McDaniel her desired assignment is closer to the ground. She will become an Army paratrooper, jumping out of planes. She'll make her first jump as soon as she's 18.

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First Ever Future Soldier Swear-In From International Space Station – kjrh.com

Posted: at 1:19 am

Today, a ceremony will take place from the International Space Station for the first ever Future Solider Swear-In from space.

Officials say the ceremony will be held in over 300 locations in the United States.

About 110 Future Soldiers from across Oklahoma, out of 850 from across the U.S., will raise their hands in oath of enlistment ceremony with NASA astronaut and U.S. Army Col. Andrew Morgan, who is on-board the International Space Station.

Below are the Oklahoma locations who will be hosting the ceremony:

Lawton, Okla. - Eisenhower High SchoolShawnee, Okla - Gordon Cooper Technology CenterPryor, Okla. - Pryor High SchoolSouthmoore High School - Moore, Okla.

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Here’s when the International Space Station will be visible in Louisville skies – WLKY Louisville

Posted: at 1:19 am

The International Space Station will be visible in Louisville skies throughout the week.The space station will look like an airplane or very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesnt have flashing lights or change direction, according to NASA's website. It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical airplane.All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. NASA officials said this is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.The station will be visible in Louisville in short spurts through March 1. The station will make its appearance Sunday at 6:06 a.m. for 5 minutes, Monday at 5:21 a.m. for 1 minute, Monday at 6:55 a.m. for 5 minutes, and Tuesday at 6:09 a.m. for 4 minutes. For more information on when you can spot the station and its exact coordinates, visit spotthestation.nasa.gov.Two new exhibits are open at the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. The ISS-Above gives visitors a real time live stream look at earth from the International Space Station. The second exhibit teaches visitors about the Sloan Digital Sky survey, a 20-year project to map 300 million stars and galaxies.

The International Space Station will be visible in Louisville skies throughout the week.

The space station will look like an airplane or very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesnt have flashing lights or change direction, according to NASA's website. It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical airplane.

All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. NASA officials said this is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.

The station will be visible in Louisville in short spurts through March 1. The station will make its appearance Sunday at 6:06 a.m. for 5 minutes, Monday at 5:21 a.m. for 1 minute, Monday at 6:55 a.m. for 5 minutes, and Tuesday at 6:09 a.m. for 4 minutes.

For more information on when you can spot the station and its exact coordinates, visit spotthestation.nasa.gov.

Two new exhibits are open at the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. The ISS-Above gives visitors a real time live stream look at earth from the International Space Station. The second exhibit teaches visitors about the Sloan Digital Sky survey, a 20-year project to map 300 million stars and galaxies.

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