Category Archives: Launch / Landing

Launch Day

A security helocopter surveys the area aound the launch pad for the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft before its arrival.  Photo Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
A security helocopter surveys the area aound the launch pad for the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft before its arrival. Photo Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Mission: One Year in Space

Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-16M

Crew: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka

Launch Day / Time: 27 March 2015 at 19:42 UTC / 15:42 EDT

Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Note: Crew members Kelly and Kornienko will be aboard the ISS until March 2016. The long duration is to study how the body reacts and adapts to life in space. The research is needed for future missions say to Mars and may have implications for helping patients here on Earth recovering from long terms of bed rest to helping those with poor immune systems.

Scott Kelly has a twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly who will participate in a number of comparative genetic studies.

From NASA:
There are seven key elements of research on the one-year mission. Functional studies will examine crew member performance during and after the 12-month span. Behavioral studies will monitor sleep patterns and exercise routines. Visual impairment will be studied by measuring changes in pressure inside the human skull. Metabolic investigations will examine the immune system and effects of stress. Physical performance will be monitored through exercise examinations. Researchers will also monitor microbial changes in the crew, as well as the human factors associated with how the crew interacts aboard the station.

NASA-TV coverage is scheduled to begin at 18:30 UTC / 14:30 EDT

Launch Replay

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MMS Launch

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission (NASA) launched March 12 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The mission features four identical observatories to orbit Earth to provide a view of magnetic reconnection in three dimensions.


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Vega Launch Replay

ESA launched the Vega VV04 with the ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle or IXV on 11 February. The IXV was launched at 13:40 GMT from Kourou, French Guiana in what appeared to be about the smoothest take off I’ve ever seen.

Once the Vega reached 340 km / 211 miles the IXV separated and continued up to 412 km / 256 miles. From the maximum altitude the IXV coasted back to Earth just as planned, the 500 + sensors on board the IXV captured data all the way.

As the IXV neared the surface parachutes deployed to slow the spacecraft to a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Congratulations ESA, this is a big step!

About the IXV

Video source

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SpaceX Update

The SpaceX launch was aborted very late in the count (T – 1 min 28 secs).  There was “some actuator drift” in the thruster vector control system.   The actuator drift occurred in a 2nd stage actuator.

New launch date and time is Saturday 10 Jan 2015 at 04:47 ET/ 09:47 UTC,




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SpaceX Launch Tomorrow

Mission/Orbiter: SpaceX CRS-5 / Dragon

Launch Vehicle:  SpaceX Falcon 9 

Note: Will carry Cloud-Aerosol Transport System, a laser instrument to measure clouds and the location and distribution of pollution, dust, smoke, and other particulates in the atmosphere. See additional at end of post.

Current Status: LAUNCH ABORTED The abort happened late in count, almost to liftoff. Anomaly is actuator drift on the thrust vector control system.

Launch Date: Saturday, 10 January 2015 04:47 EDT / 09:47 UTC UPDATED

ISS arrival: 12 Jan 2015 at 06:00 ET / 11:00 UTC  UPDATED

Odds of Launch: UNK percent  UPDATED

NOAA’s Forecast:

Monday Night A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

When Dragon reaches the ISS on 08 Jan, the robotic arm will be used to capture it and will be operated by Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and supported by Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. The coverage will be 04:30 ET / 09:30 UTC with capture at about 06:00 ET / 11:00 UTC.

You can catch the launch and return at NASA-TV link above and will link the replay after the launch when it comes available.

PLUS!! I believe SpaceX is going to try to land the first stage on on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. Sure they only give it a 50 percent chance of success but I’d say that’s pretty good.


Image Credits: NASA / NOAA

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Orion in Orbit


Won’t be long and the flight will be over.  We should get to see the video of re-entry, I want to see those big parachutes.

Follow the mission LIVE at the NASA TV link in banner above.

So far all is going very well so from a systems point of view mission managers must be quite pleased.

YES live video from the ORION

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Splash Down!

WOW!  What excellent video!  I’ll leave the link up for a time and will post a copy of the video when a linkable one comes out.


Video source

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Tomorrow’s First Step to Mars

Mission/Orbiter:  Exploration Flight Test-1 / Orion (United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Lockheed Martin)

Launch Vehicle:  ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket 

Note: This is the first flight of spacecraft that will take astronauts to Mars.

Current Status: Go

Launch Date: Thursday, 04 December 2014 07:05 EDT / 12:05 UTC

Mission Duration: 4.5 hours

Odds of Launch: 60 percent

Hoping to put up a look at Complex 37 at KSC when it comes available. — Webcam Image courtesy: NASA/Kennedy Space Center

NOAA’s Forecast:

Wednesday Night A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. Northeast wind around 10 mph.

Thursday A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Keeping an eye on the weather!  This flight is short in duration and long on expectations.

You can catch the launch and return at NASA-TV link above and hope to have Live video on this page when the time comes.

Image Credits: NASA / NOAA

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