Thursday, October 30, 2014

NASA Wallops 1st Assessment Post ISS Supply Mission Mishap

Hey Space Placers!

NASA Wallops Island has done its 1st assessment of damage to structures and the environment since yesterday's explosion of the ISS resupply mission ANtares rocket - see yesterday's blog.

This will be an ongoing situation with NASA and Orbital posting additional updates.

Sky Guy Crossing the Atlantic

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ISS Resupply Mission Explodes

Hey Space Placers!

I am just learning of the explosion, or in NASA terms, mishap, of the Orbital Sciences Antares rocket just after launch on 10/28/14. News travels a bit slow while crossing the Atlantic Ocean even in the Internet age.

The unmanned resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was the 3rd resupply mission for the Dulles, VA based Orbital Sciences Corporation. This was the st launch of the two stage Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Island Flight facility, and was the largest launch vehicle to ever be launched from the historic facility.

The Antares lifted off and exploded 6 seconds later and was captured live by NASA TV HD cameras. The explosion is all the more dramatic as it was at night. Fortunately there were no injuries but I am pretty sure the launch pad had to suffer some damage from the exploding fireball and debris.

The launch had been originally scheduled for 10/27/14 but had to be scrubbed due to a sail boat being in the launch zone.

A mishap investigation board will be convened to determine what caused the explosion. The rocket sends telemetry (data) back to mission controllers for a large number of engine and rocket sensors plus the board will review manufacturing records for the record. There will also be wreckage that can be used to determine what happened. I am pretty sure Orbital and NASA will find out what happened and make sure that the issue is corrected.

It has been a long time since there has been a US launch mishap like this and it proves once again that launching rockets is not a slam dunk evolution. Here is NASA's official comment on the mishap. Also, here is the news conference that was held by NASA regarding the mishap.

The other resupplier to the ISS is SpaceX and its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule. SpaceX will have to do the resupply missions until the cause of the Orbital Sciences launch mishap is found and corrected which will take some amount of time.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

UNREAL HST Photo of Jupiter

Hey Space Placers!

Greeting from Tenerife.

Check out this UNREAL picture taken of Jupiter by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Get the background on the photo here.

Sea Dream I leaves for Barbados tonight.

Sky Guy Greg

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Newest ISS Resupply Mission

Hey Space Placers!

Greeting from the Atlantic Ocean.

Getting settled in on Sea Dream I and hoping for clear skies tonight for our onboard guests as we attempt to hole our 1st "At Sea Under The Stars" session.

If you are on the US East Coast you might be able to see the newest resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) launch from NASA'sWallops Island Flight Facility, located on the Eastern Shore of VA.

As of a few minutes ago all systems are "GO" for launch at 6:45 p.m. EDT

This will be the first nighttime launch of the Antares Rocket so you need to check this visibility map and this info from Orbital to see if you can se the ascent of the rocket from your location in DC, VA, MD, and the US East Coast.
A rocket launch at night is a sight to see as I saw a space shuttle and the LADEE mission do so and it was impressive.

Antares on the Pad At Sunrise
Hope to have some at sea pics soon…

Sky Guy in The Atlantic Aboard Sea Dream I

Friday, October 24, 2014

Best Artistic Rendition of a Black Hole?

Hola From Malaga, Spain Space Placers!

Lots of walking amid ruins, castles and Picasso today.

But here is an artistic rendering, perhaps the most accurate ever of a black hole that was done for the upcoming movie Interstellar - see my previous blog. 

The amazing past of it is that Kip Thorne, a black hole expert is the moving force behind this artistic rendering - AND he claims that he will be able to publish two science papers because of it.

The Movie opens in two weeks.

Sky Guy Awaiting Sea Dream I in Malaga, Spain

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hubble Space Telescope Sees Comet Siding Spring & Mars

Hey Space Placers!

Greetings from beautiful Malaga, Spain. A truly gorgeous city….

From NASA a truly INCREDIBLE pic:

The News Release:


This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 p.m. EDT October 19, 2014. The comet passed by Mars at approximately 87,000 miles (about one-third of the distance between Earth and the Moon). At that time, the comet and Mars were approximately 149 million miles from Earth.

The comet image shown here is a composite of Hubble exposures taken between Oct. 18, 8:06 a.m. EDT to Oct. 19, 11:17 p.m. EDT. Hubble took a separate photograph of Mars at 10:37 p.m. EDT on Oct. 18.

The Mars and comet images have been added together to create a single picture to illustrate the angular separation, or distance, between the comet and Mars at closest approach. The separation is approximately 1.5 arc minutes, or one-twentieth of the angular diameter of the full Moon. The background star field in this composite image is synthesized from ground-based telescope data provided by the Palomar Digital Sky Survey, which has been reprocessed to approximate Hubble’s resolution. The solid icy comet nucleus is too small to be resolved in the Hubble picture. The comet’s bright coma, a diffuse cloud of dust enshrouding the nucleus, and a dusty tail, are clearly visible.

This is a composite image because a single exposure of the stellar background, comet Siding Spring, and Mars would be problematic. Mars is actually 10,000 times brighter than the comet, and so could not be properly exposed to show detail in the Red Planet. The comet and Mars were also moving with respect to each other and so could not be imaged simultaneously in one exposure without one of the objects being motion blurred. Hubble had to be programmed to track on the comet and Mars separately in two different observations.

The images were taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

Touring tomorrow before Sea Dream I arrives on Saturday.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2001: A Space Odyssey Coming to the UK - Interstellar Promo

Hey Space Placers!

Wish I was going to be in the UK in the near future as there is going to be a limited release of Stanley Kubrick's immortal 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is being done in advance of the highly anticipated (and highly praised) movie Interstellar directed by Christopher Nolan.

2001 is my all time space scifi flick because of the grandeur of the sets, story and music. I saw 2001 when it premiered in 1968 at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Pretty amazing memory even after all these years.

2001 can to this day, 40+ years after its release, hold its own against CGI and special effects. The low Earth orbit (LEO) Moon, Jupiter, spacecraft sets still astound and spell bound viewers. It is a classic that will never be surpassed.

The movie is best seen now in BluRay on a large screen TV in a PITCH BLACK room with surround sound speakers. Still gives me goose bumps to see the Moon from orbit and on the surface with the beautiful music and sets.

Interstellar looks amazing and I love Matthew McConaughey and Hans Zimmer, so……….

I will be there to see it I hope on opening night 11/7/14.

I am heading to sea again aboard Sea Dream I  so I may be out of touch at times.

Sky Guy Heading To Sea