Today a groundbreaking ceremony took place to mark the next major milestone towards ESO’s European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Part of the 3000-metre peak of Cerro Armazones was blasted away as a step towards leveling the summit in preparation for the construction of the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world.
Read more at: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1419/
Astronomers Use Hubble to study bursts of Star Formation in the Dwarf Galaxies of the early Universe
They may only be little, but they pack a star-forming punch: new observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that starbursts in dwarf galaxies played a bigger role than expected in the early history of the Universe.
Read more at: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1412/
Against a stunning backdrop of thousands of galaxies, this odd-looking galaxy with the long streamer of stars appears to be racing through space, like a runaway pinwheel firework.
Read more at: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0206a/?utm_content=buffer6715f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Rocket Launch: SpaceX Falcon 9 | ORBCOMM OG2This launch was rescheduled to June TBD.
Experience the memorable sights and sounds of the powerful roaring engines of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as it thrusts into the sky from SLC-40.
The rocket carries six second-generation ORBCOMM OG2 communications satellites, providing significant enhancements to messaging capabilities. Second-generation OG2 satellites include an Automatic Identification System (AIS), allowing AIS-equipped ships tracking, navigation and safety features. ORBCOMM Inc. is the exclusive provider of commercial satellite networks that are 100% dedicated to machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. The satellites provide two-way data messaging services for ORBCOMM’s global customers.
Located along the Banana River and only five miles from the launch pad, the Apollo/Saturn V viewing area offers guests both bleacher and lawn seating at the closest public viewing areas. The viewing areas feature live launch countdown commentary by Bob Crippen, veteran NASA astronaut.
SPHERE — the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument — has been installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility for finding and studying exoplanets uses multiple advanced techniques in combination. It offers dramatically better performance than existing instruments and has produced impressive views of dust discs around nearby stars and other targets during the very first days of observations. SPHERE was developed and built by a consortium of many European institutes, led by the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, France, working in partnership with ESO. It is expected to revolutionise the detailed study of exoplanets and circumstellar discs.
Read more at: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1417/
Galaxies, galaxies everywhere – as far as NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope can see. This view of nearly 10,000 galaxies is the deepest visible-light image of the cosmos. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, this galaxy-studded view represents a “deep” core sample of the universe, cutting across billions of light-years.
Download full size image(Large): http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2004/07/image/a/warn/
HUBBLE SITE RECOMMENDS:These images should be downloaded, not viewed with a browser. Even though the file sizes may be small, the number of pixels these images contain can be problematic for a browser. The image may not appear, it may cause your Web browser to lock up, or it may crash your computer. Some Web browsers will display a “broken image” icon in response to your attempt to view the picture.
Read more at: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2004/07/image/a/
An overview from the movie Planetary produced on the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.
The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.
• EDGAR MITCHELL – Apollo 14 astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences
• RON GARAN – ISS astronaut and founder of humanitarian organization Fragile Oasis
• NICOLE STOTT – Shuttle and ISS astronaut and member of Fragile Oasis
• JEFF HOFFMAN – Shuttle astronaut and senior lecturer at MIT
• SHANE KIMBROUGH – Shuttle/ISS astronaut and Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army
• FRANK WHITE – space theorist and author of the book ‘The Overview Effect’
• DAVID LOY- philosopher and author
• DAVID BEAVER – philosopher and co-founder of The Overview Institute
Agreement between Virgin Galactic, Spaceport America, and the Federal Aviation Administration is the first to cover a commercial spaceline
LAS CRUCES, NM. – May 28, 2014 – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, and Spaceport America announced today that they have signed a joint agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that helps clear the path for commercial flights of SpaceShipTwo. The historic agreement sets out the parameters for how routine space missions launched from Spaceport America will be integrated into the National Airspace System. Specifically, the agreement spells out how the FAA’s Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority will work with Virgin Galactic to smoothly and safely provide clear airspace for SpaceShipTwo.
Read more at: http://www.virgingalactic.com/news/item/virgin-galactic-and-spaceport-america-sign-key-agreement-for-access-to-airspace-for-spaceflights-/
Follow the history from the Ground Breaking in New Mexico to the first landing of the White Knight II carrying Spaceship II at Spaceport America.
Thruster to Power Revolutionary Launch Escape System on Dragon Spacecraft
HAWTHORNE, Calif. – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced today that it has completed qualification testing for the SuperDraco thruster, an engine that will power the Dragon spacecraft’s launch escape system and enable the vehicle to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.
The qualification testing program took place over the last month at SpaceX’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The program included testing across a variety of conditions including multiple starts, extended firing durations and extreme off-nominal propellant flow and temperatures.
The SuperDraco is an advanced version of the Draco engines currently used by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to maneuver in orbit and during re-entry. SuperDracos will be used on the crew version of the Dragon spacecraft as part of the vehicle’s launch escape system; they will also enable propulsive landing on land. Each SuperDraco produces 16,000 pounds of thrust and can be restarted multiple times if necessary. In addition, the engines have the ability to deep throttle, providing astronauts with precise control and enormous power.
The SuperDraco engine chamber is manufactured using state-of-the-art direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), otherwise known as 3D printing. The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high-performance superalloy that offers both high strength and toughness for increased reliability.
“Through 3D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods,” said Elon Musk, Chief Designer and CEO. “SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”
Unlike previous launch escape systems that were jettisoned after the first few minutes of launch, SpaceX’s launch system is integrated into the Dragon spacecraft. Eight SuperDraco engines built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch.
As a result, Dragon will be able to provide astronauts with the unprecedented ability to escape from danger at any point during the ascent trajectory, not just in the first few minutes. In addition, the eight SuperDracos provide redundancy, so that even if one engine fails an escape can still be carried out successfully.
The first flight demonstration of the SuperDraco will be part of the upcoming pad abort test under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) initiative. The pad abort will be the first test of SpaceX’s new launch escape system and is currently expected to take place later this year.