Friday, July 29, 2005

Ten planet discovered! Hades? Planet X?

A tenth planet has been discovered and was announced today by Mike Brown of Caltech. The discovery was made at Mount Palomar Samuel ocean Telescope. Mike Brown along with colleagues Chad Trujillo, of the Gemini Observatory, and David Rabinowitz, of Yale University, made the discovery on Jan. 8.

I wonder what name will be chosen when the International Astronomical Union annouces the discovery? This is great! Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh. It was a fluke that Tombaugh found Pluto. The calculations that predicted a planet after Neptune and Uranus were flawed. He looked anyway and found Pluto. It's funny back then they still looked for Planet X but determined a tenth planet did not exist. Well I think they are wrong now!

USA Leaders in Space

I love the way the Whitehouse press core has been hitting up Scott McClellan this week on shuttle questions. He is doing better. The message the president wants to send to the American people is we are the leaders in space and it will continue. The vision to explore space will continue.

"Q Is the administration going to take any steps to take a hard look at what's going on with the shuttle program at NASA right now? Does the President believe that the NASA administration has an effective control of the program, in light of what's happened the last 24 hours?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, a couple things. One, the safety of the crew is the top priority. The President relies on the judgment of the experts, the engineers at NASA. Engineers at NASA look at all the issues, and they assess the risk. The President appreciates NASA's commitment to safety and acting out of an abundance of caution. He is confident in the job that Administrator Griffin and the experts at NASA are doing.

In terms of the latest announcement, NASA has not made any decision or announced anything about the timing of the next mission. The experts at NASA continue to look at all the facts and all the data. And once they have had the opportunity to do so, then they will come to some conclusions and make decisions about how to proceed.

Q Scott, to follow up on that.


Q Does the President consider the grounding -- the shuttle grounding a setback to the U.S. space program?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I think I just made a point -- I don't know that the officials at NASA describe it the same way you do. They have not announced, nor have they made any decision regarding future missions for the space shuttle. They're continuing to look at all the data, and that's what they're doing right now, and to assess the situation and determine how to proceed forward.

Q So the administration doesn't see it necessarily as a setback to the program?

MR. McCLELLAN: What we continue to do is wish the crew on board the shuttle Discovery success, and a successful mission. And they are continuing to move forward on their mission, and we appreciate Commander Collins and the entire crew, and all that they are doing.

Q On another matter --

MR. McCLELLAN: Space exploration is a high priority for the United States, and we want to continue to lead the way."

Right on Mr. President! The USA will continue to lead the way in Space.
(HT Space Politics)

Discovery Commander loves space!

Discovery commander Eileen Collins was surprised at the foam coming off the external tank. She thought the problem was "licked." She is staying focused on the mission and is confident since they are in "good hands with the people on the ground." Collins added, "I love being in space. It's magical up here."

Well said Commander! Godspeed Discovery crew.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

It's the Freon Virginia!

After surfing the blogs today and listening to talk radio this morning we have the culprit on the foam. In 1997 Freon was taken out of the process to apply the foam to the external fuel tank. To be "Green" and appease the EPA, NASA changed its application process. From a 1997 flight of the Shuttle had 308 ceramic tiles damaged versus the usual 40 tiles damaged per flight. OK NASA get a waver and get the fleet rolling again! The International Space Station will be shut down if we don't get the shuttle flying again. (HT Whizbag , Mikes Noise and Instapundit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shuttle fleet grounded

The news is bad. I guess NASA overlooked something:

"We had a debris event on the PAL ramp along the LOX field line - below the point where the LH2 ramp begins. Our expectation is that we would not have an unexpected debris event. The PAL ramp is one area we should have reviewed. We knew we would have to remove the PAL ramp. We did not have enough data to be safe and remove it. We had very few problems with it so we decided that it was safe to fly it as is. Clearly, with the event we had, we were wrong." (HT NASA Watch)

Since this is a test flight, back to the drawing board about PAL ramp. All shuttle launches are grounded until future testing said Bill Parsons, Shuttle fleet manager.

President's message on NASA

"On behalf of all Americans, I wish the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery a safe and successful mission. Today's launch marks NASA's return to flight following the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew in February 2003. I thank the men and women of NASA who have dedicated themselves to putting our space program back on track. Our space program is a source of great national pride, and this flight is an essential step toward our goal of continuing to lead the world in space science, human space flight, and space exploration."

Discovery's tiles

I was going to live blog the launch of Discovery. I was having too much fun with my kids and watching yesterday's morning launch with them to blog. I liked the way NASA TV covered the Astronauts inside Discovery as the white room techs were strapping them in and making sure their com systems were working. It was great to see the replays of the launch from different camera locations.

With all the cameras taking pictures of the shuttle tiles and foam debris I thought Discovery came out pretty good. The main concern is the 1 1/2 inch tile that fell off during liftoff. The tile was near one of the landing gear housing. I remember when Columbia was first launched in 1981. Lots of tiles fell off and it came back safe. After over 100 launches it was pretty good for one tile to fall off this launch. I think its being overplayed but we have to get all the information before making assumptions. However, Columbia's accident 2 1/2 years ago is still on our minds. NASA can't afford another tragedy.

We're back and the Vision will go forward. To the Stars!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Darkside of the Moon

The play Darkside will open at the Empire Theater on August 5th and will close at the end of the Month. OCSS President Larry Evans designed the Apollo 18 Mission Patch and rendered by OCSS member Robert Kline. Also, Larry Evans is a technical advisor for the play and has a small role.

OC Space Society Annual Picnic

My Family and I attended the annual OCSS summer get together at Brookhurst Park on Saturday. We celebrated the 36th Moon Landing anniversary. The park's play equipment "simulates" the surface of the moon. We were privileged to have a BBC film crew to interview and film some of the members about space travel. It will be shown on BBC around Halloween and later this fall in the states on the Discovery/Science channel. We tried to launch a "water fueled model rocket" in the park. Launch was scrubbed, rescheduled for this Tuesday! (Rocket provided by Robert Klien. The kids loved it!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Beam Scotty to Heaven!

I'm sadden to say James Doohan, who portrayed "Scotty" from the Original Star Trek Series has died today at his home in Seattle Washington. He was 85 years old and was suffering from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. My husband really loved Scotty and TOS (I do too!). Because of Scotty, my husband chose Mechanical Engineering as his career. May Scotty rest in peace.

Here's another link to Scotty. Click on the "Wit and Wisdom of Montgomery Scott" to see a wonderful montage of classic lines by Scotty.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shuttle launch delayed to Tues. July 26

The fuel tank sensor is still giving NASA engineers problems. The launch window remains open until the end of the month of July and won't open back up until September. Lets hope the problem is found and launch continue. NASA needs to get the ISS finished and the Vision started with CEV developemnt.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Pigs in space

When I heard this on Drudge last night I new someone would mention the Muppet show "Pigs in Space".(HT Blogs of War)

History in Space this week

The Moon landing occured 36 years ago this week and the Mars Viking landing occured 29 years ago. Let's hope the Vision goes forth and we go back to exploring these two wonderful places.

Enterprise Space

NASA chief Mike Griffin is looking at private compaines to build space craft for the Vision missions. In today's Space Review the case for buying directly from private enterprises:

"NASA should begin to buy space transportation services directly from the private sector instead of buying launch vehicles in the same complex and bureaucratic way the Pentagon buys bombers. For cargo services this should be relatively easy, but if they want to buy transport services for astronauts from the entrepreneurial sector the safety requirements will have to be very carefully written. Too strict and they will make it impossible for anyone to compete; too loose and they will be putting lives at risk unnecessarily."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Live Blogging of Return to Flight

I'll be live blogging the STS-114 launch this Wendesday July 13. More stuff at .

Countdown 101
T Minus 3 hours and holding...
The Shuttle astronauts are suiting up and the Ice inspection team is out inspecting Discovery.

T Minus 3 hours and counting....
The shuttle crew are all dressed up and leaving for launch pad 39B.

The crew is at the pad gate now....

The crew is getting off the elevator....

The white room staff fussing over the crew and final prep...

(The Yahoo portal on NASA TV is working great, I switched from NASA TV, was getting a bad delay

Go Japan! Nice Flag.

Computer Number 5 is booting up....

Last of the 7 crew has boarded Discovery...

Low level fuel cut off sensor problem now, so the engines cut off early there will be fuel to the engines. Launch has been scrubbed today! Ah Shucks!

I'll blog again on the next day to launch.

Space Advocates take notice

Space advocates take notice. We must unify! The Vision depends on us to get the message out. We have to stop bickering about details and work together to make sure our future congress and presidential candidates get the message that “clearly” explains the space Vision President Bush presented. (ht SpacePolitics)

"Although the major space advocacy organizations have had similar messages over the years, they have always argued about details—almost like sects of a religion engaging in warfare over rituals. This needs to change. Although the space advocacy community has little or no control over the national and international events that could have an impact on political support for NASA (terrorism, economic problems, another space shuttle accident), they need to control the areas in which they can have an influence. They must work together to guarantee that the future president, as well as the present and future Congresses (the 2006 Congressional elections are coming up), are provided a clear and concise message, one that will explain that the Vision is not just a flight of fancy by President Bush. It is not only technically and financially feasible, but also extremely important to the future of the United States. The space advocacy community must play leading role in disseminating this message. However, it has to be undertaken in a more sophisticated and unified manner than has been attempted in the past".

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Minor Repairs to Shuttle Discovery

The engineers at NASA took a replacement part from Endevor to fix the panel damaged from the window cover that fell. The Ice team is going to inspect to make sure the Ice is not a problem at launch. If all is a go, I'll be blogging it live.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Crew of Discovery

I'm amazed of the crew of Discovery. The commander Eileen Collins reminds me of Amelia Earhart (ht OCRegistar). Gary Robbins thinks they could have been sisters. Collins looks to Earhart for insperation as she piloted a space shuttle and will lead NASA back to space.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Return to Flight

The Link to STS-114 is at Return to Flight. All systems go and good luck to the crew and flight.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Blast of a Comet

My husband and I dragged the kids to the Planetary Society's Comet Bash last Sunday night at Citrus College Performing Arts Building in Glendora. The presentation had great speakers. Louis Friedman, Executive Director of the Planetary Society talked about the Cosmos 1 Solar Sail. The Russian rocket shot out of a submarine failed about 83 seconds into flight never making it to space. Dr. Friedman was trying to be nice without saying bad things about the Volna rocket. There will be another launch (they have enough spare parts) but with another rocket. I suggest talking to Elon Musk at Space X (a board member of Planetary Society).

The second speaker was Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, chairman of B612 Foundation. His topic was about Near-Earth Asteroid and Earth Impact Update. NEO's are objects that cross the earth's orbit with short period orbits. He talked about an Asteroid 2004 that will be within 3 Sigma ellipse on 4/13/2029 (Friday 13th). He talked to Congress in May about the possibility of setting up a mission to "bump" a NEO to move its orbit away from Earth. Two things that hamper this, there is no international group heading up a mission or overseeing NEO's and second, NASA is holding off the Nuclear engine program.

Bill Nye the Science Guy (Vice President of the Planetary Society) then talked about Comets and why the Deep Impact project is important. Comets are very old (more than 4.5 billon years) and contain elements present at the beginning of the solar system. He is a great speaker and the Kids loved it.

Bill Smythe, a Deep Impact Mission Scientist talked more about the mission hardware and Deep Impact probe. He worked on the imaging cameras on the spacecraft(s). He was interrupted when the first pictures came in on NASA TV.

The fantastic pictures were neat to view with other space enthusiasts. Commentary was provided by the Bills (Nye and Smythe) and Bruce Betts, the Director of Projects for the Planetary Society.