Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Orion Spacecraft Ticking Off Milestones-Navy divers rehearse

In June,the Orion spacecraft crew module,or capsule,reached a milestone when it was sucessfully stacked on the service module at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center.The three Orion components-the third component being the launch abort system that is attached to the top of the capsule-are being readied in the facility for December's Exploration Flight Test-1.
The stacked modules are in the Final Assembly and System Testing(FAST) cell,where they undergo final systems tests before being rolled out for mating with the Delta IV Heavy rocket.Power connections are made,and bolts and fluid connector are placed during this phase of mission preparation.There are also electrical,avionic and radio frequency tests.*
The unmanned EFT-1 will see Orion launched to 3600 miles above Earth for a two-orbit,4.5 hour test flight.During the flight,systems critical for manned deep space missions will be evaluated.Finally,the Orion capsule will reenter the atmosphere at nearly 20,000 miles an hour before parachute system deployment and splashdown in the Pacific,where a US Navy amphibious warfare vessel will retrieve it.Engineers will scrutinise the performance of Orion's heat shield,which is the largest ever built,and the adapter linking the spacecraft to its rocket.*
Early in June,US Navy divers trained for recovering the capsule at the NASA Neutral Bouyancy Lab in Houston.They got an overview of Orion's thermal protection system hardware;worked out procedures for installing the back-up horse collar fixture for a well deck recovery and the contingency basket lifting straps.They also rehearsed the baseline attachment approach using upgraded hardware and a forward bay cover flip operation so the capsule can be recovered and placed right side up on the ship.*
At the end of June,a rigorous parachute system test was conducted over the Arizona desert of the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground.An Orion crew module mock-up was pulled out of a C-17 aircraft at 35,000 feet.In the final complete parachute system sequence test before December's inaugural Orion spaceflight,engineers applied various stresses to the system,which it in fact breezed through.*
In 2017,Exploration Mission-1 will integrate Orion with the new Space Launch System rocket,the most powerful rocket in the history of spaceflight.Its booster is manufactured by Alliant Techsystems,while its first stage engine is by Pratt&Whitney Rocketdyne.Lockheed Martin builds the Orion spacecraft,designing it for missions to an asteroid and Mars.*
Lockheed Martin(LMT),United Technologies(UTX),Alliant Techsystems(ATK)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

RIMPAC 2014 Sinking Exercise Held

RIMPAC 2014,the largest naval exercise in the world,is well underway off the coast of Hawaii.It runs from 26 June to 1 August.Some 22 nations,49 surface ships,submarines,200+ aircraft and 25,000 personnel are honing their skills in a broad range of maritime operations.*
On 14 July,the USS Tuscaloosa(LST 1187),a de-commissioned tank landing ship from the 1970s,was sunk in a live fire exercise in waters about 15,000 feet deep,57 nautical miles NW of Kauai.Proficiency in targeting,tactics and live firing was achieved by the participating ships,submarines and aircraft,which hail from the US,Canada,Brunei and Japan.
According to Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Simon Cullen,Deputy Commander of the RIMPAC Combined Task Force,it enabled individual units to conduct training that they could not otherwise have in their own waters,and allowed them to improve their interoperability by working with their partner nations to achieve their training objectives.*
The SINKEX was conducted in strict compliance with the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Launch of the New Horizons Spacecraft-2006 on a 10-year flight to Pluto

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NASA Mars MAVEN Launch 11/18/2013

Atlas V Launch MRO-Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Exploring Deep Space:NASA Admin Outlines Quest

Major General Charles F. Bolden,US Marine Corps Retired and Administrator of NASA,is directing the space agency on its challenging new path-and isn't taking any prisoners.The Obama administration has committed to the International Space Station for at least another 10 years,he told the audience at the Humans 2 Mars summit at George Washington University in April 2014.We have now been on the ISS continuously for almost 14 years.*
Astronauts in the Orion spacecraft will explore an asteroid and return samples to earth beginning in 2017.We've chosen an asteroid in lunar orbit as our proving ground.The Space Launch System that will get them there will be the most powerful launch system ever flown.*
Mars and its moons are probably not like low earth orbit.What we don't know is,what it is like flying out there.Then we will probably fly around the moons of Mars,and finally,figure out how to land humans on Mars.The data on radiation from Mars rovers will tell us how to protect astronauts on Mars.The challenge is huge,but we love huge challenges.*
The Space Launch System is already being manufactured in New Orleans.It will launch a Mars mission in the 2030s,GEN Bolden said.*
GEN Bolden is a graduate of the US Naval Academy.He became a Naval Aviator in 1970 and a Navy test pilot in 1979.In 1980,he was selected as an astronaut candidate.By 1992,he was the space shuttle commander of seven astronauts aboard STS-43.He left the astronaut corps to resume his Marine Corps career in 1994,with assignments as Deputy Commandant at the USNA and Commanding General,I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation Desert Thunder,Kuwait.In 2009,President Barack Obama appointed GEN Bolden NASA Administrator.