The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:28 p.m. EST on Dec. 19, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.
Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This flare is classifie [...]
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the agency’s industry partners completed 23 agreement and contract milestones in 2014 and participated in thousands of hours of technical review sessions. The sessions focused on creating a new generation of safe, reliable and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit destinations.
“To say we’ve been busy would truly be an understatement,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of the Commercial Crew Program. “Our partners at Blue [...]
As a new and crucial chapter is being written in the extraordinary Ariane saga, the space community is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first Ariane flight, on 24 December 1979, which made the ambition of European access to space a reality.
After the misfortune encountered by Ariane’s forerunner, Europa, and the difficulties experienced by the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) in defining a sustainable scenario for the design and production of a European launcher, th [...]
George had a thought in comments on the last post that could easily be relevant. If SpaceX starts reusing the Falcon9 cores, which are the cheapest cores in current production, then how much more financial sense would it make to reuse the SLS cores? The success of SpaceX could put pressure on NASA via the taxpayer to save the hundreds of millions of dollars per launch of the SLS system.
NASA may be the wrong target. ULA has quite expensive Atlas and Delta cores that they should have a financial interest in recovering. The Atlas could use some fairly small kerosene/LOX engines from in-house or any number of suppliers, including XCOR and Masten. Any number of small firms now have in-house expertise on vertical landing systems. Adding a small number of pressure fed engines for the landing sequence would add weight and complexity, with these engines optimized for sea level operation could also be used to increase allowable GLOW.
After main engine cutoff of the booster, residual propellant could be pumped into one of the empty helium spheres. There will be time in between main engine cutoff to compress helium from the main tanks into the new repurposed landing tanks. It seems possible that a minimal amount of hardware would but need to be added to the stage.
The Delta system could use the RL 10 and Delta Clipper software so as to use the same hydrogen propellant as the RS 68. This could use known systems to recover quite expensive hardware.
What's creating methane on Mars? Recent measurements from the robotic Curiosity rover currently rolling across Mars indicate a surprising 10-fold increase in atmospheric methane between measurements only months apart. Life is a major producer of methane on Earth, and so speculation is rampant that some sort of life -- possibly microbial life -- is creating methane beneath the surface of Mars.
Other possibilities do exist, though, with a leading model being the sudden release of methane produ [...]
The Space Show, hosted by David Livingston at www.TheSpaceShow.com, will have the following guests this week:
1. Monday, December 22, 2014, 2-3:30 PM PST (22-23:30 GMT)
GOLDEN OLDIE IN ADVANCE OF THE TOM OLSON 2014 YEAR IN REVIEW SHOW ON DEC. 30.
The show today is Tom's 2011 Space Year in review program. We will be replaying the 2011, 2012 and 2013 review shows prior to the live 2014 review. Take notes, see how accurate our discussion was year by year. When you see the program archive [...]
Today the solstice occurs at 23:03 Universal Time, the Sun reaching its southernmost declination in planet Earth's sky. Of course, the December solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the south. When viewed from northern latitudes, and as shown in the above horizontally compressed image, the Sun will make its lowest arc through the sky along the southern horizon.
So in the north, the solstice day has the shortest length of time between sunrise and suns [...]
New video recorded during the return of NASA’s Orion through Earth’s atmosphere this month provides a taste of the intense conditions the spacecraft and the astronauts it carries will endure when they return from deep space destinations on the journey to Mars.
Among the first data to be removed from Orion following its uncrewed Dec. 5 flight test was video recorded through windows in Orion’s crew module. Although much of the video was transmitted down to Earth and shown in real time on [...]
Have you seen a panorama from another world lately? Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this one sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. Taken by Neil Armstrong looking out his window of the Eagle Lunar Module, the frame at the far left (AS11-37-5449) is the first picture taken by a person on another world.
Toward the south, thruster nozzles can be seen in the foreground on the left, while at the r [...]
Sometimes a horse of a different color hardly seems to be a horse at all, as, for example, in this newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The famous Horsehead nebula makes a ghostly appearance on the far right side of the image, but is almost unrecognizable in this infrared view. In visible-light images, the nebula has a distinctively dark and dusty horse-shaped silhouette, but when viewed in infrared light, dust becomes transparent and the nebula appears as a wispy arc.