A gallery of images (hopefully) is lead off with a long exposure photo by Bill Ingalis (Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalis) showing the gantry arms moving into position to secure the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for a 26 March 2014 launch. The gallery shows the Soyuz roll out.
The spacecraft will transport Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Steven Swanson (NASA), and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev (Roscosmos) to the International Space Station where they will participate in a six-month mission.
If all goes well I will have viewing links up before the launch. Fingers crossed for the ISP to hold it together though.
Mission: Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight
Launch Vehicle: Antares
Cargo ship: Cygnus
Date:08 January 2014 TBA (Possibly Thursday 9-Jan)
Status: LAUNCHED ON 09 Jan 2014
Analysis from SWPC:
Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 06/2100Z to
07/2100Z: Solar activity has been at high levels for the past 24 hours.
The largest solar event of the period was a X1 event observed at
There has been a number of launches in the past weeks, and now China gets in on the act.
China launched a mission to the moon. The payload the “Jade Rabbit” launched on 01 December 2013 at 17:30 UTC aboard a Long March IIIB rocket from the Xichang launch facility. Note: there is some confusion about the date, the YouTube video says 02 December at 12:30 EST but everything was released before then.
The “Jade Rabbit” is the translated name of the Chang’e-3 lunar rover Yutu. Yes they are attempting to put a rover on the lunar surface with the intent of exploring for “several months”.
The journey to the moon should take around four days and orbit insertion should be on Friday 06 December. Landing is expected on 14 December in the Sinus Iridum. It is said the lander will operate for up to a year.
It will be fun to watch how things go this week. There is a big difference between getting to the moon and successfully landing a rover there, so here’s wishing them good luck! You know somehow I think in not so many years China will put people on the moon.
A stunning image of Saturn’s rings. There are two moons in this image too, the larger of the two is obvious and is Epimetheus and the other is Daphnis.
Daphnis is a wee moon being only 8 km / 5 mi. and is very difficult to see unless you click the image to get the larger view. Look just to the right of center and in the rings just to the inside of the (Keeler) gap.
2. A SpaceX launch is scheduled for 22:45 UTC (17:45 EST). The flight will put the SES-8 communications into a geostationary orbit from Cape Canaveral Florida USA. Coverage: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/ Update: A delay due to an issue, next attempt not before Thursday. The delay came around T minus 3 minutes 40 seconds. I could not get back to the time and a news release with more info is still in the works.
While the moon Epimetheus passes by, beyond the edge of Saturn’s main rings, the tiny moon Daphnis carries on its orbit within the Keeler gap of the A ring. Although quite different in size, both moons create waves in the rings thanks to their gravitational influences.
ESA’s SWARM satellites are successfully launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia this morning in what has to be one of the prettiest launches I’ve seen in a long while. The launch went off perfectly at 12:03 UTC. ESA has since acquired signals from all three satellites so it would sound as if things are going smoothly.
The mission is going to be a very interesting one: study the magnetic field. Sounds simple, but it’s not so much. For example we know the magnetic field is basically set up by the molten core of iron at the Earth’s center.
Odds of Launch: 60 percent (as of the morning of 17 Nov )
Monday: A 50 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the afternoon.
MAVEN will collect data to determine the role that loss of volatile from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time, giving insight into the history of Mars’ atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.
To collect that data MAVEN will use a suite of eight sensors:
Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer
Langmuir Probe and Waves
Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer
Solar Wind Electron Analyzer
Solar Wind Ion Analyzer
Solar Energetic Particles
SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition
The principle investigator is Dr. Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP) and this will be the first Mars mission managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Three Expedition 37 crew members returned to Earth yesterday aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft. Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano undocked from the Zvezda service module at 6:26 p.m. EST Sunday to begin the journey home.
The trio landed in the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of Dzhezkazgan at 9:49 p.m. (8:49 a.m. Monday, Kazakh time). Welcome home!
The returning crew brought back a bit of very special cargo: the Olympic torch to be used to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia (07 Feb 2014).
The undocking marks the end of the Expedition 37 mission and the beginning of Expedition 38 aboard the ISS.