Fall Down And Go Boom!

If you hadn’t heard, yesterday an Antares rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. blew up during takeoff from the Virginia spaceport.

First, things like this will happen until we find a better way of launching objects (and people) into orbit.

I think Steve Buscemi’s character Rockhound in the (much maligned) film Armageddon said it best: “You know we’re sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?”

A lot of things can go wrong when you are basically lighting a giant bottle rocket to take you to space.

This was to be Orbital’s third mission to launch a Cygnus resupply craft to the ISS.  After the investigation as to what went wrong, Orbital will send up another craft.

Still, we need to find a better way to get to space.  Current spacecraft are expensive and mostly single use.  We need to invest in something better.

 

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

A New ISS Commander and a First for Japan.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata is the new commander of mission 39 of the ISS.

Koichi wakata.jpg

Wakata has been a member of four NASA Space Shuttle missions and a long-duration stay on the International Space Station.  He has logged more five months in space over the past twenty years.

International_Space_Station_after_undocking

Yesterday, March 10, 2014, Wakata took over command of the ISS.  Previously, Wakata was a crew member on ISS missions 18, 19, and 20.  He is the first person  serve on five different crews without returning to Earth: STS-119, Expedition 18, Expedition 19, Expedition 20 and STS-127.

Congratulations Commander Wakata, it is well deserved.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

How the Crisis in the Ukraine Affects Space Science.

I normally do get involved with politics, but this is a special case.  Without a reasonable resolution to the situation in the Ukraine, space could be adversely affected.

If the trouble between Russia and the rest of the world doesn’t work itself out soon, there could be dire consequences for the International Space Station.

Without a viable transport to the ISS, we and the other nations that have an interest in the space station rely on Russia to get personnel back and forth.

Although there are alternative supply transports, the only way that scientists and other crew member, Russia is currently the only human space taxi available.  Without the Soyuz spacecraft, the ISS is effectively dead.

Although the crisis in the Ukraine has had its dramatic moment, I believe (and hope) that it stabilizes quickly.  However, this should give all the other ISS member countries pause to think about alternative transportation to and from the station.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Space And Time (lapse)

There is a very interesting time lapse movie here that shows the Earth from the ISS.

International_Space_Station_after_undocking

Although looking at it, the images seem to be real time, given the fact that the ISS orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes.

I haven’t found out all the astronaut(s) took the images other than Don Pettit who is in the last image.  I do know that the images came from Expeditions 29, 30 and 31.  It would be interesting to find out what equipment they used.

I am currently doing a long term time-lapse of my back yard.  That may seem a little simple, but my back yard overlooks Pasadena and I can see Mt. Wilson clearly.  This time of year is especially nice due to the weather (yes, sometimes in winter we get some weather here).  But the clouds at sunrise and sunset make spectacular viewing.  I just wish I had 4 cameras with at least 100 degree coverage that I could mount on my roof facing to the compass points.

I’ll post the video once I have it completed.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Happy Birthday ISS.

November 20th marked the date that the first part of the International Space Station was sent into orbit.

The Russian Zarya module was the first piece of the puzzle launched in 1998.

The rest of the station was built required more than 40 assembly flights.  Not to mention all the supplies that need to still be ferried for the people manning the station.

The station was complete (well mostly) by 2010.  It just seems like there has always been an ISS, but the station isn’t much older than cell phones (modern ones, not the brick that passed as mobile phones).

Considering that the partnership agreement to build the ISS was signed on January 29, 1998, it is pretty impressive that this first, massive undertaking by cooperating governments got moving so quickly and has lasted this entire time.

I just goes to show that great things can happen when we all work together.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Can The Space Olympic Games Be Far Behind?

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.

Olympic torch to make first-ever spacewalk

This past Thursday, a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying an unlit Olympic torch along side the astronauts blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS).  Although this isn’t the first Olympic Torch launched into space (two others made the trip in 1996 and 2000), it will be the first one ever IN space.

Saturday the ISS crew took the torch for a spacewalk. For over an hour the Olympic torch floated with astronauts (or cosmonauts) in open space.

The torch will remain unlit for obvious safety reasons and when it is returned to earth the torch will have finished another leg of the longest Olympic torch journey ever.

The Winter Games begin Feb 7, 2014.

So with this milestone, how long will we have to wait for synchronized space gymnastics?

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman