All posts by Tom

Arianespace Launches VA-246

Arianespace is launching (hopeuflly) two satellites: GSAT-11 and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A atop of an Ariane 5 rocket.

The GSAT-11 is for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A isfor the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

The launch windows is as follows, and THANK YOU Arianespace for this very nice list!

 Between 3:37 p.m. and 4:53 p.m. Washington DC time
 Between 5:37 p.m. and 6:53 p.m. Kourou, French Guiana time
 Between 20:37 and 21:53 Universal Time (UTC)
 Between 9:37 p.m. and 10:53 p.m. Paris time
 Between 2:07 a.m and 3:23 a.m Bangalore time, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018
 Between 5:37 a.m. and 6:53 a.m Seoul and Tokyo time on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Expedition 58 to Launch to ISS – Replay


Crew to launch via a Soyuz MS-11. Launch is scheduled for 06:31 ET / 11:31 UTC from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

I believe this is the 140th launch of the Soyuz, not this particular spacecraft LOL, my apologies. Never mind (LOL) I cannot find my source.

Update, I did find the source, but now I want to double check that number.

A Busy (LIVE) Day

It’s a busy day of LIVE feeds (replays later in the day) tomorrow.

First at 08:30 UTC / 05:30 ET coverage of the Expedition 58 crew launch to the ISS *

Then at 16:40 UTC / 11:40 ET (coverage begins 5 minutes later) of the arrival of the OSIRIS-REx’s arrival at Asteroid Bennu *

Finally at 18:32 UTC / 13:32 ET SpaceX will launch from Vandenberg AFB in California.

* These feeds are from the same source and will remain active for most of the day.

Tuesday 04 December at 18:50 UTC / 14:50 ET Arianespace launches VA-246

Assembling a Rocket

“How Do You Assemble the Largest Rocket Ever Made?” Very carefully.

It’s going to be a busy week with a few live coverage events starting with the launch of Expedition 58 to the International Space Station followed by the arrival of OSIRIS-REx at the asteroid Bennu. Plus a SpaceX launch – see note below.

Then we have a Space X launch of a cargo-spaceship to the International Space Station (a busy place) and the launch of a couple of communications satellites aboard an Ariane V rocket. I believe one of the satellites is a replacement of an Indian satellite for one that failed to reach orbit last April.

So lots of live feeds with replays added later in the day.

Note: Space X is also launching the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission to low Earth orbit tomorrow, so that clears up some scheduling. That launch is from Vandenberg AFB in California.

NASA Announces Moon to Mars Partnerships

The list is below. A couple of them may be familiar but there are probably a few you’ve never heard of check them out.

Check them out:
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.: Pittsburgh
Deep Space Systems: Littleton, Colorado
Draper: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Firefly Aerospace, Inc.: Cedar Park, Texas
Intuitive Machines, LLC: Houston
Lockheed Martin Space: Littleton, Colorado
Masten Space Systems, Inc.: Mojave, California
Moon Express: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Orbit Beyond: Edison, New Jersey

SpaceBok Hops Along

I have to say it, yes right here: I love this thing. According to the press release below, the SpaceBok could jump as high as 4 meters if it were on the moon! I was going to try and describe the motion then I thought a video would be perfect and then remembered the first video I saw of the SpaceBok and even found it – see below.

ESA’s caption: This walking and hopping robot is currently being tested in ESA’s Mars Yard.

SpaceBok is a quadruped robot designed by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich, under the supervision of Professor Marco Hutter and PhD student Hendrik Kolvenbach, for future missions to the Moon or Mars.

“Legged robots can traverse unstructured terrain and could be used to explore areas of interest, such as craters, which rovers are unable to reach,” explains team member Patrick Barton. “As they are very versatile, they can change gait to adapt to different terrain.”

“In contrast to other legged robots, SpaceBok is primarily built for hopping,” adds team member Elias Hampp. “While this is not particularly useful on Earth, it could reach a height of four metres on the Moon. This would allow for a fast and efficient way of moving forward.”

““We are currently implementing and testing vision sensors, to increase SpaceBok’s autonomy and robustness,” says team member Radek Zenkl.

ESA’s 8 x 8 m Mars Yard ‘sandbox’, filled with different sizes of sand, gravel, and rock, is part of the Planetary Robotics Laboratory at the Agency’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

They Call it Tangled

Hubblesite titled this image release “Tangled – cosmic edition. This supernova remnant fills the bill and I get a laugh when I think way back to when I was in primary school and we were taught that space was a collection of stars with vast amounts of nothing else. We know that is anything but true these days.

Click the image for a larger version or better yet go to the page I got this from and get one of the really large versions – makes a fantastic background for your computer.

About the image from Hubblesite:

This dark, tangled web is an object named SNR 0454-67.2. It formed in a very violent fashion — it is a supernovaremnant, created after a massive star ended its life in a cataclysmic explosion and threw its constituent material out into surrounding space. This created the messy formation we see in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescopeimage, with threads of red snaking amidst dark, turbulent clouds.

SNR 0454-67.2 is situated in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf spiral galaxy that lies close to the Milky Way. The remnant is likely the result of a Type Ia supernova explosion; this category of supernovae is formed from the death of a white dwarf star, which grows and grows by siphoning material from a stellar companion until it reaches a critical mass and then explodes.

As they always form via a specific mechanism — when the white dwarf hits a particular mass — these explosions always have a well-known luminosity, and are thus used as markers (standard candles) for scientists to obtain and measure distances throughout the Universe.

Credit:   ESA/Hubble, NASA