Saturday, June 25, 2022

Watch Live Launch Coverage MONDAY of the CAPSTONE Mission to the Moon

 Hey, Space Placers!

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket sits on the pad at the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand for wet dress rehearsal ahead of the CAPSTONE launch.
Credits: Rocket Lab

News Flash directly from NASA:

Tune in Monday, June 27, to watch the launch of CAPSTONE, our first mission testing a unique flight path around the Moon that Gateway, our future lunar space station, will also use.

CAPSTONE will launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company's Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. Once released from Rocket Lab's Photon satellite bus, the microwave-sized spacecraft – which is owned and operated by Advanced Space for NASA – will embark on a four-month journey to its target destination: the Moon. CAPSTONE will spend at least six months testing an unusual orbital path around the Moon, helping reduce risk for future spacecraft and demonstrating navigation technologies that would allow future spacecraft to determine their location in space without relying exclusively on tracking from Earth.
NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV
The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 6 a.m. EDT (10:00 UTC) on Monday, June 27. Live coverage will begin at 5 a.m. on NASA Television, the agency's websitethe NASA app, and our social media channels.

Members of the public are invited to join the virtual NASA Social to get a behind-the scenes look at CAPSTONE, learn what makes CAPSTONE unique among NASA’s missions, meet the rocket launching CAPSTONE, and more.

And after the launch, you can follow CAPSTONE’s journey live using NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System interactive real-time 3D data visualization. Starting about one week after launch, you can virtually ride along with the CubeSat with a simulated solar system view. NASA will post updates in the visualization on the agency’s Ames Research Center home page as well as Twitter and Facebook.

'This is an important mission to help pave the way for NASA's "Return to the Moon to Stay This Time" as it will pave the way for the Lunar GATEWAY & ultimately Artemis missions.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, June 20, 2022


 Hey, Space Placers!

iPhone 12 Image  of the Last Milky Way Pic for Spring 2022

Taken At Big Meadows Shenandoah National Park

Learn a little bit about OUR SOLAR SYSTEM.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, June 18, 2022


 Hey, Space Placers!

Pre-dawn this week is THE TIME to see all 5 of the visible planets and the Moon. As an added bonus for telescope users Uranus and Neptune can be observed as well,

This planet-Moon parade can easily be seen just about anywhere as long as you have a good view of the Eastern horizon so you can spot low Mercury and Venus and work your way up to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

More info here.

Enjoy the view!

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, June 17, 2022


Hey, Space Placers!

Straight from NASA:

June 16, 2022 
RELEASE 22-061
NASA Updates Astronaut Assignments for Boeing Starliner Test Flight
NASA astronauts Suni Williams, left, Barry "Butch" Wilmore, center, and Mike Fincke, right, watch as a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is rolled out to the launch pad.
NASA astronauts Suni Williams, left, Barry "Butch" Wilmore, center, and Mike Fincke, right, watch as a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission, Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA will fly two astronaut test pilots aboard the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station, where they will live and work off the Earth for about two weeks.

CFT commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, whom NASA assigned to the prime crew in October 2020, will join NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will serve as pilot. Williams previously served as the backup test pilot for CFT while assigned as commander of NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, Starliner’s first post-certification mission. As CFT pilot, Williams takes the place of NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, originally assigned to the mission in 2018. NASA reassigned Mann to the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission in 2021.

Based upon current space station resources and scheduling needs, a short duration mission with two astronaut test pilots is sufficient to meet all NASA and Boeing test objectives for CFT, which include demonstrating Starliner’s ability to safely fly operational crewed missions to and from the space station. To protect against unforeseen events with crew transportation to the station, NASA may extend the CFT docked duration up to six months and add an additional astronaut later, if needed.

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, whom the agency previously assigned as the Joint Operations Commander for CFT, will now train as the backup spacecraft test pilot and remains eligible for assignment to a future mission. Fincke’s unique expertise will continue to benefit the team as he retains his position as flight test lead, filling a vital role in Starliner certification.

"Mike Fincke has dedicated the last nine years of his career to these first Boeing missions and Suni the last seven. Butch has done a marvelous job leading the team as the spacecraft commander since 2020,” said Reid Wiseman, chief, Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “It was great to see Starliner’s successful journey to the International Space Station during the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission last month. We are all looking forward to cheering on Butch and Suni as they fly the first crewed Starliner mission."

Wilmore, Williams, and Fincke each have flown previously as long-duration crew members aboard the space station.

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps continues to prepare for an upcoming long duration mission aboard Starliner-1. NASA also has identified backup flight opportunities for Epps on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for additional scheduling and resource flexibility. Epps has begun cross-training on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to prepare for this possibility.

Meanwhile, NASA and Boeing are continuing to conduct OFT-2 data reviews while assessing future CFT launch opportunities. Following successful completion of the uncrewed OFT-2 mission, the Starliner crew module has returned to Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will undergo system checkouts and vehicle inspections. The Starliner team is in the process of delivering the initial test flight data to NASA and jointly determining forward work ahead of a crewed flight. These engineering and program reviews are expected to continue for several weeks, culminating in a launch schedule assessment at the end of July, based upon spacecraft readiness, space station scheduling needs, and Eastern Range availability.

“Starliner and the Atlas V performed well during all phases of OFT-2, and now we are taking a methodical look at each system to determine what needs to be upgraded or improved ahead of CFT, just as we do with every other crewed flight,” said Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “Additionally, Butch, Suni, and Mike have been instrumental in the development of Starliner on the path to having a second space station crew transportation system.”

For the crewed flight test, Boeing’s Starliner will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Following a successful CFT mission, NASA will begin the final process of certifying the Starliner spacecraft and systems for crew missions to the space station. Regular, long-duration commercial crew rotation missions enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the orbiting laboratory. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars, starting with the agency’s Artemis missions, which include landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface. 

Find out more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at:


Thursday, June 16, 2022


 Hey, Space Placers!

Been cloudy so I have started taking cloud pics with my iPhone & iPad. You may want to try doing the same. You just point, frame and shoot - your Smartphone should do the rest. I do edit my pics but DO NOT ADD COLOR.