Russia Sends Cargo Up to Space Station
A Russian booster rocket on Friday successfully launched an unmanned cargo ship toward the International Space Station, where the crew is anxiously awaiting it after the successive failures of two previous supply missions. A Soyuz-U rocket blasted off flawlessly from Russia-leased Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan, placing the Progress M-28M ship into a designated orbit, safely en route to the station. On Sunday, it’s set to dock at the station currently manned by Russians Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and NASA’s Scott Kelly. The ship is carrying 2.4 metric tons of fuel, oxygen, water, food and other supplies for the crew, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said. The previous Progress launch in April ended in failure, and on Sunday a U.S. supply mission failed when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket broke apart shortly after liftoff. The mishaps were preceded by last October’s launch pad failure of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket, also carrying station cargo for NASA. Despite the failures, NASA said the station is well-stocked with enough supplies for the crew to last at least until October. However, the trouble-free launch Friday was essential for the station program, which has exclusively relied on Russian spacecraft for ferrying crews after the grounding of the U.S. shuttle fleet.
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Russian Cosmonaut to Set New Record for Living in Space
Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka is about to set a new record for the time that he has spent living and working in space. The previous record was set by his predecessor, Sergei Krikalev. Padalka has been living in orbit for two years, two months and 15 days. Krikalev, who earlier headed the Cosmonaut Training Center, worked on board Russia’s Mir space station and then on the International Space Station for 803 days, nine hours and 41 minutes, Pravda.Ru reports with reference to RIA Novosti. Gennady Padalka renews his record daily. Should the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft descends on September 11 as planned at the moment, the Russian cosmonaut will spend in space 877 days.
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North Korean Space Scientist to U.S. People: ‘Trust Us’
In December 2012, North Korea’s fledgling space program at last had something to celebrate. After an embarrassing failure earlier that year — a previous rocket had blown up just after takeoff in April — they claimed to have placed Kwangmyongsong 3-2, an earth observation satellite, in orbit. The secretive state had claimed two previous satellite successes in 1998 and 2009, though no one outside of the country was ever able to detect them. This time, however, international experts generally agreed that KMS 3-2 was in space, but most were skeptical that it was operational. While North Korea claims its space program is completely peaceful, many international governments think its real nature is military — the same rocket technology to put a satellite in orbit can be used to deliver nuclear warheads to any part of the planet. The launch triggered further U.N. sanctions against the DPRK.
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Ariane 5 Launch Rescheduled for July 15
Officials with the Arianespace launch consortium said July 6 that oil contamination concerns that postponed the launch of a European weather satellite and a Brazilian telecommunications satellite aboard an Ariane 5 rocket had been resolved and that the mission is now scheduled for July 15. The launch of the MSG-4 and Star One C4 satellites had been scheduled for July 8 but was postponed after oil was spotted on the rocket’s fairing. Evry, France-based Arianespace initially declined to specify the cause of the delay, saying only that “additional checks as part of the preparation of [the] mission” were needed before proceeding with the launch.
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Understanding the Aftermath Of SpaceX’s Failed Falcon Launch
On Sunday morning, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket broke apart nearly 30 miles above Cape Canaveral just a few minutes after launch, marking its first full mission failure. The rocket was taking the Dragon capsule, carrying more than 4,000 pounds of supplies, to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX had previously completed six successful resupply missions to the ISS, the latest one in April. While there were no humans on board and no accidents on the ground, the lost cargo contained over 4,000 pounds of food, water, and science experiments for the crew on station. William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, stated that the ISS crew will be fine and has sufficient supplies for the next four months. The next ISS resupply mission is scheduled to launch on July 3rd with the Russian Progress 60P vehicle. In the NASA press briefing following the accident, SpaceX was asked if there was anything that was done differently for this launch than in the previous six launches. SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, responded, “There’s nothing that stands out as being different for this particular flight.” SpaceX will now lead an accident investigation, making use of telemetry from 3,000 different channels that were transmitting information during the launch. “If there’s something there, we’re going to find it,” Shotwell said. An unlucky series of events makes this the third failed resupply mission to the ISS in the past eight months. An Orbital Sciences resupply mission failed in October, the exact cause of which continues to be disputed. And in May, a Russian resupply mission was placed in the wrong orbit, forcing its cargo to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to providing supplies to the ISS, this launch was going to be SpaceX’s third attempt to softly land the first stage of their two-stage Falcon 9 on a platform in the sea. If they succeeded, it would have been the first time a rocket has ever been fully recovered for reuse. About ten minutes after launch, SpaceX intended to detach the first stage of the Falcon 9 from the upper stage and cargo, flip the first stage 180 degrees, have it reenter into the Earth’s atmosphere faster than the speed of sound, and steer it to a floating barge in the sea. If that sounds difficult, it’s because it is. SpaceX’s first two attempts at this complex strategy impressively ended up on target. However, they both resulted in violent explosions. The first attempt occurred in January and failed because the rocket prematurely ran out of the hydraulic fluid used to steer the small fins that help control the rocket’s descent. Because of this, it landed with too much lateral force and exploded on
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Air Force Says Rocket Accident Won’t Bump SpaceX from Competition
SpaceX can compete to launch a U.S. Global Positioning System satellite despite a Falcon 9 rocket accident this weekend, the Air Force said on Wednesday. “SpaceX remains certified and can compete for the upcoming GPS III launch service,” Lt. General Samuel Greaves, who heads the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, wrote in an email to Reuters. The Air Force plans to release a solicitation for launch service proposals this month, the first time SpaceX, which is owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, will be eligible to compete against United Launch Alliance (ULA). The joint-venture of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing has had a monopoly on the military’s launch business.
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SpaceX Rocket Explosion Raises Worries About Space Station
A SpaceX rocket that exploded after liftoff on Sunday was the third resupply mission in a row to the International Space Station to end in catastrophe. The tons of food, equipment, and experiments that have gone up in flames over the last year are raising concerns about supplying the space station and the astronauts who live there—and about the future of the burgeoning private space industry. For the three astronauts living aboard the space station, the clock is ticking. “The commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. But with the string of recent losses, the space station is due to dip into reserve supplies of food and the canisters that collect toilet waste by the end of July, and to run out by the first week of September, according to NASA’s estimates.
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NASA Technology Program Seeks to Help Suborbital Vehicle
A NASA program originally established to provide suborbital flights for experiments is now expanding its scope to include development of key technologies for the vehicles themselves. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate issued an announcement of collaborative opportunity May 21 covering public-private partnerships for the development of what it terms “emerging space technology systems capabilities.” The goal of the program is to help private companies develop key technologies that could be used for suborbital and orbital launch vehicles and spacecraft. “The entrepreneurial U.S. commercial space industry is rapidly evolving, including the development of new suborbital and orbital launch vehicles,” the announcement states. “However, it is also clear that this emerging industry faces significant challenges.”
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Long-term Life Support on Mars Should be Possible Someday, Study Says
A company says a proposed Environmental Control and Life Support System could extract water from rocky material on Mars. The system would convert some of the water to oxygen for astronauts to breathe. But many questions about the system need to be answered, so engineers will need more time to study it, a study’s authors say.
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Space to Become Main Battlefield in Next Ten Years
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson is ready to invest his wealth in a web coverage project for the most hard-to-reach corners of the world, districts with a poor infrastructure, and passengers of various airlines. It can be done by means of 648 low-altitude satellites. Leonid Delitsyn, an IT analyst from FINAM GLOBAL, explained in an interview with Pravda.Ru whether it was really possible to create such a global satellite network and how it could affect global processes. “Global low-altitude satellite projects were initiated as far back as in the 90’s, when the main competitors were Iridium and Teledesic. Iridium still exists, although this operator also went through a bankruptcy. Such projects are very cash-consuming and their payback can stretch for decades, because they largely depend on the financial support from the government and on how project initiators will persuade some market niches that such project is really necessary. But as a rule they count on public or defence contracts,” Leonid Delitsyn said. As the expert stressed, in a certain sense the world will have to go through a decade of new “star wars”, because the space has become a provider of communication services and the remote sensing of the Earth. It’s not only satellite images, but also video. “Such materials are required in agriculture, meteorology and carriage by sea. While earlier the Space was mainly used for military purposes, now the circle has widened, and there appeared customers who are ready to pay. The space is in demand. What is good in the satellite Internet is that it is available everywhere, but it’s very expensive, and no considerable cost reduction can be expected as long as there are few satellites. But if Branson and Elon Mask launch satellites, such networks will be quite equivalent, and the Internet can become cheaper. It is very important, because many developing countries almost have no Internet
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