Category Archives: History

Copernicus Sees Apollo Launch Pad

It’s fun to see Copernicus take part in the Apollo 11 Anniversary with this image of the Apollo 11 launch pad as the area is now.

ESA has a larger version of this image, the file size is about 8.5 MB so if you have a slower connection it might take some time. Here’s the link. I do highly recommend looking at it though because it is excellent.

The image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Here’s ESA’s caption:

Celebrating 50 years since Apollo 11 blasted off with the first humans that would walk on the Moon, Copernicus Sentinel-2 captures the historic launch site at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, US.

On 16 July 1969, the Saturn V rocket carrying Apollo 11 began its momentous voyage to the Moon. It lifted off from launch pad 39A – which can be seen in this Copernicus Sentinel-2 image from 29 January 2019. Launch pad 39A is the second pad down from the top (the launch pad at the far top is 39B).

The crew – Neil Armstrong, mission commander, Michael Collins, command module pilot and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, lunar module pilot – were embarking on a milestone in human history.

Just four days later, the lunar module, the Eagle, touched down. Watched on television by millions around the world, Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the Moon, famously saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

A few minutes later he was joined by Buzz Aldrin. They took photographs, planted the US flag, spoke to President Richard Nixon via radio transmission and spent a couple of hours walking and collecting dust and rocks. The two men returned to lunar module, slept that night on the surface of the moon, and then the Eagle began its ascent back to re-join the command module, which had been orbiting the Moon with Michael Collins. Apollo splashed back down safely in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July.

The Moon has again captured the attention of space agencies. ESA and international partners are now looking forward to the next era of human exploration, and to better understand the resources available on the Moon to support human missions longer-term. While Apollo 11 touched down for the first time on the near side of the Moon 50 years ago, it is time to explore the far side, examine different types of lunar rocks there to probe deeper into the Moon’s geological history and to find resources like water-ice that are thought to be locked up in permanently shadowed craters near the Moon’s south pole.

Apollo 11 Launch with Walter

Walter is Walter Cronkite with CBS News at the time in America. Classic broadcaster, someone whose standards should be emulated today in the American press, but sadly are not.

Ah well.

Apollo 11 Launches

What a time this was! I am dating myself, but I do remember.

This NASA feed comes from Terminal Countdown Videos. There will be another video shortly if you don’t have time for this one. The upcoming will be from CBS News at the time.

The Story of Robert Goddard

“The Story of Robert Goddard, Father of Modern Rocketry”

It is in memory of this brilliant scientist that NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, was established on May 1, 1959. = NASA

It seems like I can remember a television documentary on Goddard but I can’t seem to find it (it was a long while back). If I can figure out what it was I’ll post a link, it was quite good.

Event Horizon Telescope – Result

The first video comes to us from Harvard University and shows the black hole and the second is Avery Broderick explaining the image and that video comes to us from “Videos from Space”.

Both are from the press conference earlier today.

Earlier –

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project and the (US) National Science Foundation (NSF) press conference to announce this amazing feat.

The (US) National Science Foundation is providing this feed. If something should go awry, bear with me and I’ll have another source shortly.

M-87 info at SEDS

The Event Horizon Telescope

Today is the day!!

Yes, the Event Horizon Telescope will give is a look at the black hole at the center of our galaxy!

Come back at 13:00 UT / 09:00 for the big reveal during a live press conference.

Opportunity Signing Out

The last image from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The partial image marks the end of a remarkable mission unless there is some miracle.

The image is from the PanCam on the rover. Thanks to NASA and the rest (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU ) for sharing.

NASA: Taken on June 10, 2018 (the 5,111th Martian day, or sol, of the mission) this “noisy”, incomplete image was the last data NASA’s Opportunity rover sent back from Perseverance Valley on Mars. The partial, full-frame image from the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) was sent up to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter around 9:45 a.m. PDT (12:45 p.m. EDT) to relay back to Earth as an intense dust storm darkened the skies around the solar-powered rover. The image was received on Earth at around 10:05 a.m. PDT (1:05 p.m. EDT).

Opportunity took this image with the left eye of the Pancam, with its solar filter pointed at the Sun. But since the dust storm blotted out the Sun, the image is dark. The white speckles are noise from the camera. All Pancam images have noise in them, but the darkness makes it more apparent. The transmission stopped before the full image was transmitted, leaving the bottom of the image incomplete, represented here as black pixels.

While this partial full-frame image was the last that Opportunity transmitted, it was not actually the last set of images from Opportunity. This image was taken at around 9:30 a.m. PDT (12:30 p.m. EDT) on June 10, 2018. Another set of images (PIA22930) was taken about three minutes later. The thumbnail versions of the last images taken were transmitted, but the rover lost contact before transmitting the full-frame versions.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about Opportunity, visit https://www.nasa.gov/rovers and https://mars.nasa.gov/mer

SpaceX Demo-1 Last Steps

The SpaceX Demo-1 mission is about to come to a close as far as the “optics” goes. The analysis will go on for weeks to be sure.

Thanks to NASA for the coverage (replays later in the day) the live feed will remain up for much of the day.

Undock: 07:31 UTC / 02:31 ET

Splashdown: 13:45 UTC / 08:45 ET

Here’s the recovery:

Good luck on a solid finish SpaceX!!!!

So far so good. The undocking was successful and as far as I know free of anomalous events. I will leave the NASA feed up for most of the day and post replays later.

Demo-1 Docking Replay

Here is a replay of the Crew-Dragon docking to the International Space Station. Thanks to Videosfromspace for the replay.

Hatch Opening. COMPLETE! 12:07 UTC

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NASA TV coverage of the historic SpaceX Demo-1 mission.

I had a technical issue but I cleared that up.

The hatch opening is scheduled for 08:30 ET / 13:30 UT.

They are putting Crew-Dragon through it’s paces right now. I like the timing overlay. The image of Crew-Dragon alone in the black is rather surreal.

Two critical steps remain, docking and undocking/return. Scratch docking, we have at least a soft-dock, I have lost audio on two devices. I have captions going on one of them (this feed actually).

I wonder how Ripley enjoyed his flight. Who’s Ripley?

Docking complete! Audio is back too.

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Here we have the docking. Fingers crossed for success; funny that implies luck, but luck should not and must not be a factor. I don’t care – good luck SpaceX!