NASA We Explore

Why do we explore?  Simply put, it is part of who we are, and it is something we have done throughout our history. In NASA’s new video, “We Are the Explorers,” we take a look at that tradition of reaching for things just beyond our grasp and how it is helping us lay the foundation for our greatest journeys ahead.

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STS-129

NASA is hard at work for our continuation of space exploration.  Like Gen Kranz the Flight Director for Apollo 13 at the time said, “When bad things happen, we just calmly laid out all the options and failure was not one of them”.  Tough and competent, “we are forever accountable for what we do or fail to do.  We will never take anything for granted. We will never fall short of our knowledge or our skills”.

Space shuttle Atlantis ascent highlights from the STS-129 mission to the International Space Station.

Until we move out of low orbit which won’t be long,  let’s look back and ride with an old friend.  The  Space Shuttle Atlantis,  ascent highlights from the STS-129 mission to the International Space Station.

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Riding the Booster

Commemorating Space Shuttle DVD/BluRay by NASA/Glenn a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by the folks at Skywalker Sound.  The sound is all from the camera microphones and not fake or replaced with foley artist sound.  The Skywalker sound folks just helped bring it out and make it more audible.

This is the best,  the audio is outstanding along with the filming.  A speed indicator is featured in the upper right of the film.  You can witness the approach to the speed of sound along with the audio and check out the smoke plume trail from the Cape rising from Florida on UP!  This is seen from the booster camera on descent.

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Landing Day Wake Up Song and Greeting

Kate Smith’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” woke Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. But unlike most wakeup songs, which are played in honor of a particular crew member, this one was dedicated to all the men and women who have worked for the Space Shuttle Program in the past three decades.

OK here we go, need a push America for I just got done watching Inside Job. Knew this shit was going on just hadn’t watch the film yet. If this doesn’t piss you off about the Jack Wagons out there you are one of them. So with that said this wake up call from NASA to Atlantis on her final landing is not only dedicated to the crew and team but for all of us on this planet that steer in the right direction or at lease try.

Like all the effort put into the Shuttle program and it was a world effort and shows that humans can go above and beyond the call no matter what flag you are under. The Shuttle proved that maybe we were learning something even greater than the design and building of the ISS and that is to get along with one another. Do you think?

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The Last Shuttle Crew Addresses Kennedy Space Center

Wow!  Great ending: 🙂

I watched this and thought man this is the most Right With The Ship we have today and the people behind the Shuttle Program that made this happen, yeah I’ve got a lump in my throat. This is the best example of people working together on the planet that you can think of, 48 states producing parts and service and 16 country’s involve in the ISS (International Space Station) because of a space craft.

The Shuttle is in the history books now and I believe no other ship will bring a community of states and nations closer than this Bird has. Walking away from Atlantis gives all of us a sense of Pride, Respect and Honor (Did you feel that Jack Wagon the name I give to the ones who go against the grain in society this moment is not for you) this moment belongs to all who work on creation that helps others.

There is a good photo op at the end of the vid The Atlantis looks very proud you will see that.

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Atlantis Final Landing at Kennedy Space Center

Final landing of the Shuttle Program:

After more than 30 years, the space shuttle era has come to a close. Space shuttle Atlantis and the STS-135 crew landed safely on runway 15 at 5:57 a.m. EDT at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida, ending a 13-day journey of more than five million miles. It was the final and 133rd landing in shuttle history. The STS-135 crew consisted of Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim.

Americas space exploration will continue even though what is being said in the media about cut backs the human spirit will remain with it’s eyes toward the skies.

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Tribute to NASA and Atlantis the Space Shuttle Program Next step Orion

Thanks NASA we were on every Ride.

Space Shuttle program:

NASA’s Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System (STS), is the United States government’s current manned launch vehicle program. The winged Space Shuttle orbiter was launched vertically, usually carrying four to seven astronauts (although eight have been carried) and up to 50,000 lb (22,700 kg) of payload into low earth orbit. When its mission is complete, the shuttle can independently move itself out of orbit using its Maneuvering System (it orients itself appropriately and fires its main OMS engines, thus slowing it down) and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. During descent and landing the orbiter acts as a re-entry vehicle and a glider, using its OMS system and flight surfaces to make adjustments.

The shuttle is the only winged manned spacecraft to achieve orbit and land, and the only reusable space vehicle that has ever made multiple flights into orbit. Its missions involved carrying large payloads to various orbits (including segments to be added to the International Space Station), provided crew rotation for the International Space Station, and performing service missions. The orbiter has also recovered satellites and other payloads from orbit and returned them to Earth, but its use in this capacity was rare. However, the shuttle has previously been used to return large payloads from the ISS to Earth, as the Russian Soyuz spacecraft has limited capacity for return payloads. Each vehicle was designed with a projected lifespan of 100 launches, or 10 years’ operational life.

The program started in the late 1960s and has dominated NASA’s manned operations since the mid-1970s. According to the Vision for Space Exploration, use of the space shuttle was to be focused on completing assembly of the ISS by 2011, after which it will be retired. NASA planned to replace the shuttle with the Orion spacecraft, but budget cuts have placed full development of the Orion craft in doubt.

Program history:

The first fully functional orbiter was the Columbia (designated OV-102), built-in Palmdale, California. It was delivered to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on March 25, 1979, and was first launched on April 12, 1981—the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin‘s space flight—with a crew of two. Challenger (OV-099) was delivered to KSC in July 1982, Discovery (OV-103) in November 1983, and Atlantis (OV-104) in April 1985. Challenger was originally built and used as a Structural Test Article (STA-099) but was converted to a complete shuttle when this was found to be less expensive than converting Enterprise from its Approach and Landing Test configuration, according to NASA. Challenger was destroyed during ascent due to O-Ring failure on the right solid rocket booster (SRB) on January 28, 1986, with the loss of all seven astronauts on board. Endeavour (OV-105) was built to replace Challenger (using structural spare parts originally intended for the other orbiters) and delivered in May 1991; it was first launched a year later. Seventeen years after the Challenger accident, Columbia broke up on reentry, killing all seven crew members, on February 1, 2003, and it has not been replaced. NASA maintains warehoused extensive catalogs of recovered pieces from the two destroyed orbiters. Out of the five fully functional shuttle orbiters built, three remain. Enterprise, which was used for atmospheric test flights but not intended for orbital flight, had many parts taken out for use on the other orbiters. It was later visually restored and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum‘s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Check out NASA”S New Ride

Eyes to the skies see ya up there soon.


Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-135: The Mission

STS-135 (ISS assembly flight ULF7) is the final mission of the American Space Shuttle. It uses hardware originally processed for the STS-135 contingency mission, as the Launch On Need (LON) rescue mission designated to support STS-134 was not ultimately needed. The mission launched on 8 July and is scheduled to land on 20 July 2011. The four person STS-135 crew was the smallest of any shuttle mission since April 1983’s STS-6. The mission’s primary cargo was the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC). The flight of MPLM Raffaello on Space Shuttle Atlantis also marked the first and only time that Atlantis hauled an MPLM to space.

Although the mission was authorized, it initially had no appropriation in the NASA budget, raising questions about whether the mission would fly at all. On 20 January 2011, program managers changed STS-335 to STS-135 on the flight manifest. This allowed for training and other mission specific preparations. On 13 February 2011, program managers told their workforce that STS-135 would fly “regardless” of the funding situation via a continuing resolution. Until this point, there had been no official references to the STS-135 mission in NASA official documentation for the general public.

During an address at the Marshall Space Flight Center on 16 November 2010, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that the agency needed to fly STS-135 to the station in 2011, due to likely delays in the development of commercial rockets and spacecraft designed to transport cargo to the ISS. “We are hoping to fly a third shuttle mission (in addition to STS-133 and STS-134) in June 2011, what everybody calls the launch-on-need mission… and that’s really needed to [buy down] the risk for the development time for commercial cargo,” Bolden said.

The mission was included in NASA’s 2011 authorization, signed into law on 11 October 2010, but funding remained dependent on a subsequent appropriation bill. United Space Alliance signed a contract extension for this mission, along with STS-134; the contract contained six one-month options with NASA in order to support continuing operations.

The US government budget approved in mid-April 2011 called for $5.5 billion for NASA’s space operations division, including the space shuttle and space station programs. According to NASA, the budget running through 30 September 2011 ended all concerns about funding the STS-135 mission.

Payload:

Atlantis will ferry extra supplies to the International Space Station. Since the ISS program is likely to be extended to 2020, the station will likely require more spare supplies after the shuttle retires. A shuttle extension would allow the crew to maintain the completed space station, but an ISS extension was never intended to be a guaranteed shuttle program extension, and the shuttle program is officially to end after STS-135. Therefore, the more delivery of excess supplies for the station, the better.

Multi-Purpose Logistics Module:

Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello will make up the majority of the payload. The MPLM will be filled with 16 resupply racks, which is the maximum that it can handle.

Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier:

The Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC) will also be carried on this mission. The External Thermal Cooling System (ETCS) Pump Module (PM) on ESP-2, which failed and was replaced on orbit in August 2010, is planned to have a ride home on the LMC so that a failure analysis can be performed on the ground. The Robotic Refueling Mission will ride up to the station on the underside of the LMC to be placed onto the ELC-4.

Robotic Refueling Mission:

Atlantis will carry the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) developed by the Satellite Servicing Capabilities project at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). It plans to demonstrate the technology and tools to refuel satellites in orbit by robotic means. After the proof of concept, the long-term goal of NASA is to transfer the technology to the commercial sector.

RRM will include four tools, each with electronics and two cameras and lights. Additionally, it will have pumps and controllers and electrical systems such as electrical valves and sensors.

The RRM payload was transported to the Kennedy Space Center in early March 2011, where the GSFC team will perform the final preparations for space flight. Once up in the International Space Station, RRM will be installed into the ELC-4. The Dextre robot will be used during the refueling demonstration.

TriDAR:

This mission is the third flight of the TriDAR sensor package designated DTO-701A (Detailed Test Objective), a 3D dual-sensing laser camera, intended for potential use as an autonomous rendezvous and docking sensor. It was developed by Neptec Design Group and funded by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. Previously TriDAR was flown twice on STS-128 and STS-131, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. TriDAR provides guidance information that can be used for rendezvous and docking operations in orbit, planetary landings and vehicle inspection/navigation of unmanned rovers. TriDAR does not rely on any reference markers, such as reflectors, positioned on the target spacecraft. To achieve this, it relies on a laser based 3D sensor and a thermal imager. Geometric information contained in successive 3D images is matched against the known shape of the target object to calculate its position and orientation in real-time.

The sensor is installed on the exterior airlock truss next to a Trajectory Control System (TCS) sensor. The TriDAR hardware was installed in Atlantis’ Payload Bay on 6 April 2011. On STS-135 TriDAR will also be used to demonstrate technology for autonomous rendezvous and docking in orbit. The crew will have a laptop set up to display the information that is acquired by the system, however it will not be used to provide information to the Shuttle’s TCS.

Down-mass payload:

The failed ammonia pump module that was replaced in August 2010 is expected to be returned inside Atlantis’ payload bay. Also, a problematic Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Heat Exchanger (HX) is expected to be returned inside the MPLM.


The Space Shuttle (Narrated by William Shatner)

Atlantis goes up with 4 Astronauts today weather permitting  and with no Shuttle back up for the first time.

God’s Speed Atlantis

CAPE CANAVERAL – She’s been in space 32 times since 1985, and orbited the earth 4,648 times.

But like the Greek letter Omega logo for the space shuttle Atlantis reflects – this is the end of the Atlantis, and the last of NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program.

The space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for a 11:26 AM liftoff, weather permitting. (she’s up) After days of relentless rain, the skies cleared Friday morning, apparently clearing the way for an on-time launch.

“We do have a shot at this today,” Flight director Mike Leinbach said, although officially the weather report showed a 70 percent chance of postponement.

Tanking took place during the night, despite earlier lightning which threatened the key step in the mission.

On this final voyage, Atlantis will carry a year’s worth of supplies to the international space station. The payload includes everything from a cell phone to a new ammonia pump to replace a broken one at the station.

The mission will also send a robotic refueling mission, an experiment designed to test tools and technologies to robotically refuel satellites in space, NASA said. It will take 12 days to carry the 8,000 lbs. of supplies.

Hundreds of thousands of people already began gathering before dawn Friday in public areas to view the last launch.

Check out the post here of Atlantis for more details- Atlantis in HD
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NASA we are all riding with you and to see you back on the Pad soon.
Shuttle the Planet’s Mechanical  Bird, helped 15 countries and parts from 48 states in America.
Mark-mb productions

Discovery Her Last Roll Over

STS 133

Space Shuttle thermal protection system:

From Wikipedia:

Reentry heating differs from the normal atmospheric heating associated with jet aircraft, and this governs TPS design and characteristics. The skin of high-speed jet aircraft can become hot from atmospheric friction, but this frictional heating is similar to rubbing your hands together. The Orbiter reenters the atmosphere as a blunt body by having a very high (40-degree) angle of attack, with its broad lower surface facing the direction of flight. Over 80% of the heating the Orbiter experiences during reentry is caused by compression of the air ahead of the ultrasonic vehicle, in accordance with the basic thermodynamic relation between pressure and temperature.

A hot shock wave is created in front of the vehicle, which deflects most of the heat and prevents the orbiter’s surface from directly contacting the peak heat. Therefore reentry heating is largely convective heat transfer between the shock wave and the orbiter’s skin through superheated plasma.

The key to a reusable shield against this type of heating is very low-density material, similar to how a thermos bottle inhibits convective heat transfer. Some high temperature metal alloys can withstand reentry heat; they simply get hot and re-radiate the absorbed heat. This technique, called “heat sink” thermal protection, was planned for the X-20 Dyna-Soar winged space vehicle. However, the amount of high-temperature metal required to protect a large vehicle like the Space Shuttle Orbiter would have been very heavy and entailed a severe penalty to the vehicle’s performance.

Similarly, ablative TPS would be heavy, possibly disturb vehicle aerodynamics as it burned off during reentry, and require significant maintenance to reapply after each mission. (Unfortunately, TPS tile, which was originally specified never to take debris strikes during launch, in practice has also needed to be closely inspected and repaired after each landing, due to damage invariably incurred during ascent, even before new on-orbit inspection policies were established following the loss of Columbia.)

High-temperature reusable surface insulation (HRSI)

HRSI tiles (black in color) provide protection against temperatures up to 1260 °C. There are 20,548 HRSI tiles which cover the landing gear doors, external tank umbilical connection doors, and the rest of the orbiter’s under surfaces. They are used in areas on the upper forward fuselage, parts of the orbital maneuvering system pods, vertical stabilizer leading edge, elevon trailing edges, and upper body flap surface as well. They vary in thickness from 2.54 cm (one inch) to 12.7 cm (five inches), depending upon the heat load encountered during reentry. Except for closeout areas, these tiles are normally 15.2 by 15.2 cm (6 by 6 inch) squares.

The HRSI tile is composed of high purity silica fibers. Ninety percent of the volume of the tile is empty space giving it a very low density (144 kg/m³, 9 lb/ft³) making it light enough for spaceflight.  The uncoated tiles are bright white in appearance and look more like a solid ceramic than the foam-like material that they are.

The black coating on the tiles is Reaction Cured Glass (RCG) of which tetrasilicide and borosilicate glass are some of several ingredients. RCG is applied to all but one side of the tile to protect the porous silica and to increase the heat sink properties.

The coating actually is also absent from a small margin of the sides adjacent to the uncoated (bottom) side. To waterproof the tile dimethylethoxysilane is injected into the tiles by syringe. Densifying the tile with tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) also helps to protect the silica and waterproof.

An uncoated HRSI tile held in the hand feels like a very light foam, less dense than styrofoam, and the delicate, friable material must be handled with extreme care to prevent damage. The coating feels like a thin, hard shell and encapsulates the white insulating ceramic to resolve its friability, except on the uncoated side. Even a coated tile feels very light, lighter than a same-sized block of styrofoam. As expected for silica, they are odorless and inert.

HRSI is used in conjunction with stronger, waterproof materials in the Space Shuttle heatshielding to give a balance of strength and resistance to the high re-entry temperatures experienced in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

HRSI is primarily designed to withstand transition from areas of extremely low temperature (the void of space, about -270 °C) to the high temperatures of re-entry (caused by interaction, mostly compression at the hypersonic shock, between the gases of the upper atmosphere & the hull of the Space Shuttle, typically around 1600 °C)

Columbia accident and aftermath

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed on reentry due to a failure of the TPS. The investigation team found and reported that the probable cause of the accident was that a piece of foam debris punctured an RCC panel on the left wing leading edge and allowed hot gases from the reentry to enter the wing and disintegrate the wing from within, leading to eventual loss of control and breakup of the shuttle.

The Space Shuttle’s thermal protection system has received a number of controls and modifications since the disaster. They have been applied to Space Shuttle Discovery (as well as to the remaining shuttles) in preparation for future launches into space.

On 2005’s STS-114 mission, in which Discovery made the first flight to follow the Columbia accident, NASA took a number of steps to verify that the TPS was undamaged. The 15.2 m-(50-foot)-long Orbiter Boom Sensor System, a new extension to the Remote Manipulator System, was used to perform laser imaging of the TPS to inspect for damage. Prior to docking with the International Space Station, Discovery performed a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, simply a 360° backflip rotation, allowing all areas of the vehicle to be photographed from ISS. Two gap fillers were protruding from the orbiter’s underside more than the nominally allowed distance, and the agency cautiously decided it would be best to attempt to remove the fillers or cut them flush rather than risk the increased heating they would cause. Even though each one protruded less than 3 cm (1.18 inch), it is believed that leaving them in that state could cause heating increases of 25% upon reentry.

Because the orbiter doesn’t have any handholds on its underside (as they would cause much more trouble with reentry heating than the protruding gap fillers of concern), astronaut Stephen K. Robinson worked from the ISS’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. Because the TPS tiles are quite fragile, there had been concern that anyone working under the vehicle could cause more damage to the vehicle than was already there, but NASA officials felt that leaving the gap fillers alone was a greater risk. In the event, Robinson was able to pull the gap fillers free by hand, and caused no damage to the TPS on Discovery.

Video Provided by NASA Television