Monday, November 30, 2015

Exploration Mission-1

Hey Space Placers!

I hope all of my U.S. readers had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

NASA's next unmanned mission with the Orion spacecraft and the 1st ever flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) is called Exploration Mission-1.

Orion and ESA Service Module NASA

This will be a very important test of Orion, SLS and the European Space Agency's Service Module. It excites me to think we will be sending a manned rated spacecraft to the Moon and orbiting beyond it. EM-1 will be the test run for the first manned mission of Orion and SLS possibly in late 2021 or later.

EM-1 is slated for launch in late 2018 with the first manned launch of Orion-SLS slipping from 2021 to 2023.

You have to remember that NASA is building all of this hardware on a shoestring budget as there has been no significant plus up to NASA's budget. The FY16 $18.6 billion pays for the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, building the James Webb Space Telescope, spacecraft exploring the solar system, weather satellites, R&D, aerospace and safety.

We get ALOT from NASA. Too bad the U.S. Congress doesn't see that and elects to pay the Russians almost half a billion dollars for seats on their Soyuz instead of paying more into NASA's Commercial Crew Program

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, November 27, 2015

Full Beaver Moon on Thanksgiving Day 2015

Hey Space Placers!

Enjoy these views of the setting Full Beaver Moon on Thanksgiving Day 2015. The first pic shows the Moon's differing minerals in the maria in the varying colors. You can also see crater rays.

The video shows the International Space Station flying across the Moon.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

JWST Gets 1st Mirror Mounted

Hey Space Placers!

The James Webb Space Telescope received its 1st of 18 mirror segments today!

Both NASA/Chris Gunn
This is a HUGE step forward in the construction of JWST which is slated for launch in October 2018.

I will be visiting NASA Goddard Space Flight Center early next year to get the latest.

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the U.S. May you and yours have a SAFE and wonderful holiday.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, November 23, 2015

Earth Might Have Hairy Dark Matter

Hey Space Placers!

Enjoy this article about Dark Matter and our Earth.

We are surrounded by the stuff and our Universe probably couldn't have formed as we see it today if it weren't for Dark Matter.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, November 20, 2015

Orion Spacecraft Gets Apollo Command Module Look

Hey Space Placers!

NASA's new Orion spacecraft is getting a new shiny look to it that is reminiscent of the Apollo Command Module:

Orion New Look
Both From NASA

This is what Orion looked looked like after recovery from Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1). You can see the back shell tiles that protected the spacecraft during the searing heat of re-entry.

Orion "Old Look"
The new look of Orion adds an extra layer of protection to the spacecraft based upon the results of EFT-1 and the higher temperatures that will be encountered when the spacecraft returns from beyond the Moon in Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

Here is what the Apollo Command Module looked like. I took this pic at Kennedy Space Center.

NASA sure got it right in building Apollo and that is carrying through as a legacy to Orion.

I can hardly wait to see what Orion looks like in lunar orbit.

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, November 16, 2015

JWST Starts Final Deep Freeze Test

Hey Space Placers!

Check out this video on NASA's latest and final deep freeze test of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

This is a CRITICAL test to make sure that JWST can withstand the rigors of deep cold in space. Sky Guy in VA

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pics From Peaks of Otter

Hey Space Placers!

Great group at Peaks of Otter last night, 60+. Had a wonderful star gazing session too.

Here are some pics-enjoy!

Sharp Top mountain x's 2

Beautiful sunset w/ Moon

Stars in a stream - you can see the bottom of the stream too
Orion with Barnard's Loop on left frames Sharp Top Mountain
Had some technical issues on download of images :-(...salvaged what I could.....better next time!

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Latest on Rosetta and Comet 67P

Hey Space Placers!

In the US take time to pause and remember all of our Veterans throughout our history. Without them we would not enjoy the liberty and freedom we have today....the world would also be a far more dangerous place. Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT Moon, Planets, Fireballs 11/6-11/10

Hey Space Placers!

IF the clouds leave us alone tomorrow morning and Saturday there will be a gorgeous lineup with the planets in the predawn sky and the waning crescent Moon - probably with Earthshine.

Also the Taurid Meteor Shower is underway until the 10th which produces bright fireballs like we had in 2005 -  in VA there were multiple reports on Halloween night.

I'll at Shenandoah National Park and will try to get some pics if it is clear.

Clear Skies!

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NASA Looking for New Astronaut Candidates

Hey Space Placers!

Think you have the 'Right Stuff'?

NASA will be accepting applications for its next group of astronaut candidates starting December 14, 2015. Get all the details here.

The last class was selected in 2013.

Good luck!

Sky Guy in VA