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Archive for the ‘space travel’ category: Page 265

Apr 4, 2020

Crew Dragon Demo-2 will be a Really Long Test Drive.

Posted by in categories: space, space travel

“Depending on when we launch they’re going to be up there for probably two to three months.”

NASA Administrator Bridenstine
SpaceX and NASA
Elon Musk speaks with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, along with astronauts Victor Glover, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken and Mike Hopkins, in front of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule. Credit NASA

The next launch to the Space Station is planned for April 9th and is only a few days away. Preparations for the launch have been complicated with illness and coronavirus complications. AS OF NOW, the launch is still on track to rocket American astronaut Chris Cassidy and his two Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Originally, Ivanishin and Vagner were backup for expedition 63. Due to a temporary health condition, Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner were moved forward onto the prime crew. Because of delays in the US Commercial Crew Program, the crew on the ISS may be lower that normal.

Boeing and SpaceX delays put ISS operations at Risk

Since delays to the US Commercial Crew Program might leave Cassidy as the only crew member on the USOS for an extended period of time, Anatoli Ivanishin has been training on US EMU spacesuits. Cassidy has completed multiple EVAs in the past, including an unscheduled EVA. In the unlikely event that an unscheduled EVA is required before additional USOS crew members arrive on the station, then Ivanishin can support Cassidy. Should Ivanishin participate in EVA in the EMU he would be the first Russian cosmonaut to use an EMU since 2007 where Yuri Malenchenko performed the EVA with NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson. Vagner has been to training on operation the USOS Robotic Arm (Canadarm 2) should there be a need to robotically support any EVA carried out by Cassidy and Ivanishin.

At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 63 crewmembers Chris Cassidy of NASA (left) and Anatoly Ivanishin (center) and Ivan Vagner (right) of Roscosmos practice rendezvous techniques on a laptop simulator April 1 as they prepare for launch. They will launch April 9 on the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station. Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Credit NASA

The three astronauts are scheduled to be in space until October 2020 by which time a SpaceX Crew Dragon should be able to rotate a new crew onto the ISS.

During expedition 63, NASA and SpaceX hope to accomplish the first humans launched to the ISS from American soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission is a flight test with crew. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will take the Crew Dragon for a “Test drive” on the Demo-2 mission. NASA hopes to certify all of the systems operational for future crewed missions to the International Space Station.

Apr 3, 2020

Jeff Bezos’ space company is pressuring employees to launch a tourist rocket during the pandemic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, space travel

Employees at Jeff Bezos’ aerospace firm Blue Origin are outraged that senior leadership is pressuring workers to conduct a test launch of the company’s New Shepard rocket — designed to take wealthy tourists into space — while the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the United States.

To conduct the flight, Blue Origin officials are considering transporting employees from the company’s main headquarters in Kent, Washington — a town near Seattle where COVID-19 cases have surged — to a small town in West Texas called Van Horn. The town, which has a population of just over 2,000, is home to Blue Origin’s test launch facility where the company has conducted all past flights of the New Shepard rocket.

Many employees fear that traveling to Van Horn might expose them to the novel coronavirus and inadvertently introduce COVID-19 to the residents of the rural town where there is very little infrastructure to handle an outbreak. The Verge spoke exclusively with four Blue Origin employees who all asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from the company. They say they are frustrated by the company’s desire to conduct a launch, as it could unnecessarily jeopardize the health of employees at Blue Origin and residents of Van Horn.

Apr 3, 2020

SpaceX loses its third Starship prototype during a cryogenic test

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

Shortly after the failure, SpaceX’s founder and chief engineer, Elon Musk, said on Twitter, “We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake.” A testing issue would be good in the sense that it means the vehicle itself performed well, and the problem can be more easily addressed.

This is the third time a Starship has failed during these proof tests that precede engine tests and, potentially flight tests. Multiple sources indicated that had these preliminary tests succeeded, SN3 would have attempted a 150-meter flight test as early as next Tuesday.

Continue reading “SpaceX loses its third Starship prototype during a cryogenic test” »

Apr 2, 2020

Elon Musk’s SpaceX bans Zoom over privacy concerns

Posted by in categories: education, Elon Musk, encryption, privacy, space travel

NASA, one of SpaceX’s biggest customers, also prohibits its employees from using Zoom, said Stephanie Schierholz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. space agency.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston office on Monday issued a warning about Zoom, telling users not to make meetings on the site public or share links widely after it received two reports of unidentified individuals invading school sessions, a phenomenon known as “zoombombing.”

Investigative news site The Intercept on Tuesday reported that Zoom video is not end-to-end encrypted between meeting participants, and that the company could view sessions.

Apr 2, 2020

‘Build your own little spaceship’ — Chris Hadfield on isolation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space travel

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield is spending lockdown searching for a better test for COVID-19, rewiring his stove, and talking to Euronews about what isolation means — and how to deal with it.

Apr 2, 2020

More than 12,000 apply to become an astronaut for NASA’s ‘Artemis Generation’

Posted by in category: space travel

The results are in and, no surprise, a lot of people want to be a NASA astronaut.

More than 12,000 people have applied to join what NASA is calling the “Artemis Generation,” a new class of astronauts to help the agency return humans to the moon and reach outward to Mars. It’s the second highest number of applications the agency’s astronaut corps has ever received, NASA officials said.

Mar 31, 2020

Two more astronauts join SpaceX’s first crewed mission to the ISS

Posted by in category: space travel

Two more astronauts have been assigned to the first operational crewed flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Noguchi Soichi, of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will join NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr., who were assigned to the mission in 2018. If all goes according to plan, this will be the first in a series of regular Crew Dragon flights to the ISS, NASA said in a press release.

Mar 31, 2020

Here’s SpaceX’s plan to help NASA build a moon Gateway and explore space

Posted by in category: space travel

The company is developing an all-new capsule.

Mar 31, 2020

ESA Prepares To Nudge BepiColombo Towards Mercury

Posted by in category: space travel

European Space Agency (ESA) flight engineers are going to social distance at work in order to fine-tune the BepiColombo spacecraft’s trajectory to the planet Mercury.

Mar 30, 2020

Why a business case for Mars settlement is not required

Posted by in categories: business, economics, Elon Musk, government, space travel

Some people have claimed that a “business case” for profitable interplanetary trade with a Mars settlement, or at least the identification a saleable product for trade, is required before such a settlement can be established or supported by business or government. But there is no reasonable prospect for trade in any significant mass of physical material from a Mars settlement back to Earth in the near future due to the high transport costs. In his recent article in the National Review, “Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars,” Robert Zubrin makes exactly the same point: a business case based on physical trade is not necessary and makes little sense. Later trade and commerce via non-physical goods such as software is probable once a settlement is fully operational. More significant and interesting economic situations will occur on Mars.

A good model for the expenditures needed to found colonies is the Greek and Phoenician expansion all across the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas in the period early in Greek history (before about 600 BC), leading to the founding of one of the greatest trading cities in history, Carthage. The cities who founded each colony did not expect immediate profit, but wanted good places for an expanding population and knew that, once the new cities were established, trade would also become established. Most of the cost was probably in building more ships. When European colonies were first established in the New World by Spain and Portugal, the emphasis was initially on a search for treasure, not production of products. English and Dutch colonies later led the way to commerce across the Atlantic, with tobacco, sugar, and cotton suddenly becoming a major part of world trade.

A look at some of the steps required to create a Mars settlement will help us understand at least a little about Mars settlement economics. For a Mars settlement, motivation and economics are interwoven. It is possible for at least a partial business case to be made for the transport of settlers and the materials they will need to initiate some phase of Mars settlement. This includes the current effort to create a large number of reliable, low cost, and reusable super-heavy boosters and spacecraft, able to take payloads of 100 tons or more of cargo and passengers to Mars and land them at the right location. Part of this development and construction cost will be defrayed by commercial and government uses of the same vehicles, such as placing very heavy payloads in LEO and taking equipment and passengers to and around the Moon.