Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Hey Space Placers!


NASA has announced it has selected Boeing and Space-X for the Commercial Crew Transportation Program.

Get details here.

This is a very important date in American spaceflight history as it sets America on the path to having its own access to space since 2011. The first manned flight for both companies is scheduled for 2017.

Tune in today, 9-16-14 at 4 pm EDT to hear who NASA will select as the winner of NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation Program.

This will be interesting to watch live from Kennedy Space Center, Florida as NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and his senior leaders make the announcement.

This is a MAJOR announcement as it will decide between Boeing, Sierra Nevada or Space-X, or a combination of these three, as to who will win the contract to deliver U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The selection will allow the winner(s) to go full speed on developing their manned spacecraft for the transportation of U.S. astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and ISS. This is a capability the U.S. has not had since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

The U.S. (and the other ISS partners) have had to rely on and pay Russia for seats on the Soyuz spacecraft. The U.S. has been paying about $71 MILLION a seat and tensions over the Ukraine has strained U.S.-Russian ties. There has been no real affect on the operation of the ISS as a result although Russia has indicated it will cease ISS participation sooner than the U.S. desires.

Each of the competing companies has their own design:

Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft is very similar to Apollo/Orion;

Space-X will convert its very successful Dragon spacecraft that currently delivers cargo to the ISS into a manned version;

Sierra Nevada has chosen a spaceplane, the Dream Chaser for its design.

You can learn more about the CCP here.

I personally think that NASA will not put all of its manned access to LEO and ISS in just one basket, especially with this being a COMMERCIAL and not government program like Orion/SLS are. It makes sense to have two private companies available in case one goes under and/or has an accident which would ground U.S. astronauts again. We saw this happen with the Challenger and Columbia accidents and cancellation of the program altogether.

NASA cannot afford such a repeat again. The U.S. has to have its own manned access to LEO/ISS AND the ability to go deep into space which NASA's Orion/SLS will give us.

Watch this and get goose bumps like I did…..

More on this tonight.

Sky Guy with GOOSE BUMPS in VA

Monday, September 15, 2014

Site J For Philae

Hey Space Placers!

The cross marks the spot for Rosetta's Philae Lander - or Site J as ESA calls it (See yesterday's blog). This was one of five sites selected from a larger list that ESA had compiled and studied.

ESA has just announced its selection of the landing site and it will be a combination of safe landing probabilities and high science return for Philae.

The landing will take place in November 2014.

Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sky Guy INTERNET VIEWING ALERT 9-15-14 ESA To Announce Comet Landing Site

Hey Space Placers!

The European Space Agency (ESA) will announce on 9-15-14 at 5 a.m. EDT where its Philae lander which is currently attached to the Rosetta spacecraft, will put down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA will chose the final landing site from 5 candidate sites. The landing will take place some time in November. You can watch the announcement here.

Comet 67/P has no visible ice/water patches on its surface and is darker than charcoal. A NASA instrument aboard Rosetta has made some observations of the comet that can be read about here.

The Rosetta spacecraft took a GREAT selfie:

This is going to be a fantastic mission to follow in the year to come. WIth the Philae lander making observations from the surface and the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting the comet while it swings around the Sun we will get data that will add greatly to our knowledge of these icy leftovers from our solar system's formation.

More to come.

SKy Guy in VA

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Space Weather/Aurora Update For 9/10-12/14

Hey Space Placers!

You may want to follow these links to get the latest on space weather-possible auroras that could be impacting our planet the next few days:



More info on the event:


Hoping for auroras (Northern Lights) in VA as I last saw them in 2004:

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Here She Is - The 1st Spaceflight Rated Orion Built

Hey Space Placers!

Isn't she a BEAUTY!!! The first space-rated Orion spacecraft built:

NASA  Photo
Go to this link to see the full hi-res version and get more information.

We are less than 90 DAYS away from the scheduled launch of Exploration FLight Test-1 (EFT-1) on December 4th.

I can hardly wait. I will be at sea when the launch is scheduled but will be watching on the Internet.

NASA is making steady progress towards getting back into the manned spaceflight business. The Space Launch System  NASA's new rocket it is building to launch Orion and other spacecraft into deep space.


Sky Guy in VA

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sky Guy INTERNET ALERT - Nicaragua Meteorite Impact

Hey Space Placers!

The Internet is lit up over a reported meteorite impact in Nicaragua that left a crater.





Some news reports are indicating that this ALLEGED impact was caused by asteroid 2014 RC (see my blog from yesterday)

IT WAS NOT. Here is the latest from NASA on 2014 RC and the alleged impact event.

The crater will have to be studied using proven scientific techniques to confirm if this was in fact a meteorite impact event. There are several factors to me that are working against this as being a meteorite impact event:

  • There should have been reports of a fireball in the day or night sky by witnesses from a population area of over 1 million people;
  • Meteorites should have been visible in the immediate area surrounding the crater as the energy released by this event WOULD NOT have vaporized the impactor.
Bottom line is that this should NOT be characterized as a meteorite impact event until proven as such, let alone associated with asteroid 2014 RC which is absolutely incorrect.

More as it develops.

Sky Guy in VA