Friday Night Block Party: Box

November 15th 2013

Welcome to another Friday Night Party!

 pinwheel block party

We are quilting through the blocks of the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along and this week the block I am showing is out of order because I had Christmas on the brain! Sorry!

windmill

photo from www.wallpapers-group.com

This block is called the Box, but it looks more like the windmill, or pin wheel-y type of block.

FWQA book block 9

I really liked combining different scraps from the pile that I had used for different projects, there are so many possible combinations, it’s great playing with them all!

FWQA BOX block #9

This is from “We ain’t no farmer’s wife but quilt like one”

Jennifer Worthen

Thanks to our sponsors!  This month the giveaway is 2 charm packs from Fat Quarter Shop.

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    Posted: January 8, 2006Designed and integrated at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. – with contributions from companies and institutions around the world – the New Horizons spacecraft is a robust, lightweight observatory designed to withstand the long, difficult journey from the launch pad on Earth to the solar system’s coldest, darkest frontiers.The New Horizons science payload was developed under direction of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), with instrument contributions from SwRI, APL, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Colorado, Stanford University and Ball Aerospace Corporation.Fully fueled, the agile, piano-sized probe weighs 478 kilograms (1,054 pounds). Designed to operate on a limited power source – a single radioisotope thermoelectric generator – New Horizons needs less power than a pair of 100-watt light bulbs to complete its mission at Pluto.On average, each of the seven science instruments uses between 2 and 10 watts – about the power of a night light – when turned on. The instruments send their data to one of two onboard solid state memory banks, where data is recorded before later playback to Earth. During normal operations, the spacecraft communicates with Earth through its 2.1-meter (83-inch) wide high-gain antenna. Smaller antennas provide backup and nearEarth communications. And when the spacecraft hibernates through long stretches of its voyage, its computer is programmed to monitor its systems and report status back home with a specially coded, low-energy beacon signal. The spacecraft’s “thermos bottle” design retains heat and keeps the spacecraft operating at room temperature without large, excess heaters. Aside from protective covers on five instruments, New Horizons has no deployable mechanisms or scanning platforms. It does have backup devices for all major electronics, its star-tracking navigation cameras and data recorders.New Horizons will operate in a spin-stabilized mode after launch, during early operations and while cruising between planets, and in a three-axis “pointing” mode that allows for pointing or scanning instruments during planetary encounters. There are no reaction wheels on the spacecraft; small thrusters in the propulsion system handle pointing, spinning and course corrections. The spacecraft navigates using onboard gyros, star trackers and Sun sensors.The spacecraft’s high-gain antenna dish is linked to advanced electronics and shaped to receive even the faintest radio signals from home – a necessity when the mission’s main target is more than 3 billion miles from Earth and round-trip transmission time is nine hours. Science PayloadThe New Horizons science payload consists of seven instruments – three optical instruments, two plasma instruments, a dust sensor and a radio science receiver/radiometer. This payload was designed to investigate the global geology, surface composition and temperature, and the atmospheric pressure, temperature and escape rate of Pluto and its largest moons. They will also be used to study the Jupiter system if the spacecraft is launched on a Jupiter-Pluto trajectory, as the team prefers. If an extended mission is approved, the instruments will probe additional Kuiper Belt Objects that the spacecraft can reach.The payload is incredibly power efficient – with the instruments collectively drawing less than 28 watts – and represent a degree of miniaturization that is unprecedented in planetary exploration. The instruments were designed specifically to handle the cold conditions and low light levels at Pluto and in the Kuiper Belt beyond. AliceMass: 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds)Average Power: 4.4 watts Development: Southwest Research Institute Principal Investigator: Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute Purpose: Study atmospheric composition and structureAlice is a sensitive ultraviolet imaging spectrometer designed to probe the composition and structure of Pluto’s dynamic atmosphere. A spectrometer separates light into its constituent wavelengths (like a prism). An “imaging spectrometer” both separates the different wavelengths of light and produces an image of the target at each wavelength.Alice’s spectroscopic range extends across both extreme and far-ultraviolet wavelengths from approximately 500 to 1,800 Angstroms. The instrument will detect a variety of important atomic and molecular species in Pluto’s atmosphere, and determine their relative abundances, giving scientists the first complete picture of Pluto’s atmospheric composition. Alice will search for an ionosphere around Pluto and an atmosphere around Pluto’s moon Charon. It will also probe the density of Pluto’s atmosphere, and the atmospheric temperature of Pluto, both as a function of altitude.Alice consists of a compact telescope, a spectrograph, and a sensitive electronic detector with 1,024 spectral channels at each of 32 separate spatial locations in its long, rectangular field of view. Alice has two modes of operation: an “airglow” mode that measures ultraviolet emissions from atmospheric constituents, and an “occultation” mode, where it views the Sun or a bright star through an atmosphere and detects atmospheric constituents by the amount of sunlight they absorb. Absorption of sunlight by Pluto’s atmosphere will show up as characteristic “dips” and “edges” in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum of light that Alice measures. This technique is a powerful method for measuring even traces of atmospheric gas. A first-generation version of New Horizons’ Alice (smaller and a bit less sophisticated) is flying successfully aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, which will examine the surface of Comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko and study its escaping atmosphere and complex surface. Ralph Mass: 10.3 kilograms (22.7 pounds) Average Power: 6.3 watts Development: Ball Aerospace Corporation, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Southwest Research Institute Principal Investigator: Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute Purpose: Study surface geology and morphology; obtain surface composition and surface temperature mapsRalph is the main “eyes” of New Horizons and is charged with making the maps that show what Pluto, its moons, and other Kuiper Belt Objects look like. (The instrument is so named because it’s coupled with an ultraviolet spectrometer called Alice in the New Horizons remote-sensing package – a reference familiar to fans of “The Honeymooners” TV show.) Ralph consists of three panchromatic (black-and-white) and four color imagers inside its Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), as well as an infrared compositional mapping spectrometer called the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA). LEISA is an advanced, miniaturized short-wavelength infrared (1.25-2.50 micron) spectrometer provided by scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. MVIC operates over the bandpass from 0.4 to 0.95 microns.Ralph’s suite of eight detectors – seven charge-coupled devices (CCDs) similar to those found in a digital camera, and a single infrared array detector – are fed by a single, sensitive magnifying telescope with a resolution more than 10 times better than the human eye can see. The entire package operates on less than half the wattage of a night light.Ralph will take images twice daily as New Horizons approaches, flies past and then looks back at the Pluto system. Ultimately, MVIC will map landforms in black-and-white and color with a best resolution of about 250 meters (820 feet) per pixel, take stereo images to determine surface topography, and help scientists refine the radii and orbits of Pluto and its moons. It will aid the search for clouds and hazes in Pluto’s atmosphere, and for rings and additional satellites around Pluto and other Kuiper Belt Objects. It will also obtain images of Pluto’s night side, illuminated by “Charon-light.”At the same time, LEISA will map the amounts of nitrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, and frozen water and other materials, including organic compounds, across the sunlit surfaces of Pluto and its moons (and later Kuiper Belt Objects). It will also let scientists map surface temperatures across Pluto and Charon by sensing the spectral features of frozen nitrogen, water and carbon monoxide. And Pluto is so far from the Sun that Ralph must work with light levels 1,000 times fainter than daylight at Earth – or 400 times fainter than conditions Mars probes face – so it is incredibly sensitive.Radio Science Experiment (REX)Mass: 100 grams (3.5 ounces) Average Power: 2.1 watts Development: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Stanford University Principal Investigator: Len Tyler, Stanford University Purpose: Measure atmospheric temperature and pressure (down to the surface); measure density of the ionosphere; search for atmospheres around Charon and other KBOsREX consists only of a small printed circuit board containing sophisticated signal-processing electronics integrated into the New Horizons telecommunications system. Because the telecom system is redundant within New Horizons, the spacecraft carries two copies of REX. Both can be used simultaneously to improve the data return from the radio science experiment.REX will use an occultation technique to probe Pluto’s atmosphere and to search for an atmosphere around Charon. After New Horizons flies by Pluto, its 2.1-meter (83-inch) dish antenna will point back at Earth. On Earth, powerful transmitters in NASA’s largest Deep Space Network antennas will beam radio signals to the spacecraft as it passes behind Pluto. The radio waves will bend according to the average molecular weight of gas in the atmosphere and the atmospheric temperature. The same phenomenon could happen at Charon if the large moon has a substantial atmosphere, but Earth-based studies indicate this is unlikely.Space missions typically conduct this type of experiment by sending a signal from the spacecraft through a planet’s atmosphere and back to Earth. (This is called a “downlink” radio experiment.) New Horizons will be the first to use a signal from Earth – the spacecraft will be so far from home and moving so quickly past Pluto-Charon that only a large, ground-based antenna can provide a strong enough signal. This new technique, called an “uplink” radio experiment, is an important advance beyond previous outer planet missions.REX will also measure the weak radio emissions from Pluto and other bodies the spacecraft flies by, such as Jupiter and Charon. Scientists will use the data to derive accurate globally averaged day-side and night-side temperature measurements. Also, by using REX to track slight changes in the spacecraft’s path, scientists will measure the masses of Pluto and Charon and possibly the masses of additional Kuiper Belt Objects. By timing the length of the radio occultations of Pluto and Charon, REX will also yield improved radii measurements for Pluto and Charon.Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)Mass: 8.8 kilograms (19.4 pounds) Average Power: 5.8 watts Development: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Principal Investigator: Andy Cheng, Applied Physics Laboratory Purpose: Study geology; provide high-resolution approach and highest-resolution encounter images LORRI, the “eagle eyes” of New Horizons, is a panchromatic high-magnification imager, consisting of a telescope with an 8.2-inch (20.8-centimeter) aperture that focuses visible light onto a charge-coupled device (CCD). It’s essentially a digital camera with a large telephoto telescope – only fortified to operate in the cold, hostile environs near Pluto.LORRI images will be New Horizons’ first of the Pluto system, starting about 200 days before closest approach. At the time, Pluto and its moons will resemble little more than bright dots, but these system-wide views will help navigators keep the spacecraft on course and help scientists refine their orbit calculations of Pluto and its moons. At 90 days before closest approach – with the system more than 100 million kilometers (60 million miles) away – LORRI images will surpass Hubble-quality resolution, providing never-beforeseen details each day. At closest approach, LORRI will image select sections of Pluto’s sunlit surface at football-fieldsize resolution, resolving features at least 50 meters across.This range of images will give scientists an unprecedented look at the geology on Pluto, Charon, and additional Kuiper Belt Objects – including the number and size of craters on each surface, revealing the history of impacting objects in that distant region. LORRI will also yield important information on the history of Pluto’s surface, search for activity such as geysers on that surface, and look for hazes in Pluto’s atmosphere. LORRI will also provide the highest resolution images of any Kuiper Belt Objects New Horizons would fly by in an extended mission. LORRI has no color filters or moving parts – operators will take images by pointing the LORRI side of the spacecraft directly at their target. The instrument’s innovative silicon carbide construction will keep its mirrors focused through the extreme temperature dips New Horizons will experience on the way to and past Pluto-Charon.Solar Wind at Pluto (SWAP)Mass: 3.3 kilograms (7.3 pounds) Average Power: 2.3 watts Development: Southwest Research Institute Principal Investigator: David McComas, Southwest Research Institute Purpose: Study solar wind interactions and atmospheric escapeThe SWAP instrument will measure interactions of Pluto with the solar wind – the high-speed stream of charged particles flowing from the Sun. The incredible distance of Pluto from the Sun required the SWAP team to build the largest-aperture instrument ever used to measure the solar wind.Pluto’s small gravitational acceleration (approximately 1/16 of Earth’s gravity) leads scientists to think that about 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of material escape its atmosphere every second. If so, then the planet behaves like a comet, though Pluto is more than 1,000 times larger than a typical comet nucleus. The atmospheric gases that escape Pluto’s weak gravity leave the planet as neutral atoms and molecules. These atoms and molecules are ionized by ultraviolet sunlight (similar to the Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere). Once they become electrically charged, the ions and electrons become “picked up” and are carried away by the solar wind. In the process, these pick-up ions gain substantial energy (thousands of electron-volts). This energy comes from the solar wind, which is correspondingly slowed down and diverted around Pluto. SWAP measures low-energy interactions, such as those caused by the solar wind. By measuring how the solar wind is perturbed by the interaction with Pluto’s escaping atmosphere, SWAP will determine the escape rate of atmospheric material from Pluto.At the top of its energy range SWAP can detect some pickup ions (up to 6.5 kiloelectron volts, or keV). SWAP combines a retarding potential analyzer (RPA) with an electrostatic analyzer (ESA) to enable extremely fine, accurate energy measurements of the solar wind, allowing New Horizons to measure minute changes in solar wind speed.The amount of Pluto’s atmosphere that escapes into space provides critical insights into the structure and destiny of the atmosphere itself.Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI)Mass: 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds)Average Power: 2.5 watts Development: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Principal Investigator: Ralph McNutt Jr., Applied Physics Laboratory Purpose: Study the density, composition, and nature of energetic particles and plasmas resulting from the escape of Pluto’s atmospherePEPSSI, the most compact, lowest-power directional energetic particle spectrometer flown on a space mission, will search for neutral atoms that escape Pluto’s atmosphere and become charged by their interaction with the solar wind. It will detect the material that escapes from Pluto’s atmosphere (such as molecular nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane), which break up into ions and electrons after absorbing the Sun’s ultraviolet light, and stream away from Pluto as “pick up” ions carried by the solar wind.The instrument will likely get its first taste of Pluto’s atmosphere when the planet is still millions of kilometers away. By using PEPSSI to count particles, and knowing how far New Horizons is from Pluto at a given time, scientists will be able to tell how quickly the planet’s atmosphere is escaping and gain new information about what the atmosphere is made of.PEPSSI is a classic “time-of-flight” particle instrument: particles enter the detector and knock other particles (electrons) from a thin foil; they zip toward another foil before hitting a solid-state detector. The instrument clocks the time between the foil collisions to tell the particle’s speed (measuring its mass) and figures its total energy when it collides with the solid-state detector. From this, scientists can determine the composition of each particle. PEPSSI can measure energetic particles up to 1,000 kiloelectron volts (keV), many times more energetic than SWAP can. Together the two instruments make a powerful combination for studying the Pluto system. Student Dust Counter (SDC)Mass: 1.9 kilograms (4.2 pounds) Average Power: 5 watts Development: Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder Principal Investigator: Mihaly Horanyi, University of Colorado at Boulder Purpose: Measure concentration of dust particles in outer solar systemDesigned and built by students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the SDC will detect microscopic dust grains produced by collisions among asteroids, comets, and Kuiper Belt Objects during New Horizons’ long journey. Officially a New Horizons Education and Public Outreach project, SDC is the first science instrument on a NASA planetary mission to be designed, built and “flown” by students.The SDC will count and measure the sizes of dust particles along New Horizons’ entire trajectory and produce information on the collision rates of such bodies in the deep outer solar system. SDC will also be used to search for dust in the Pluto system; such dust might be generated by collisions of tiny impactors on Pluto’s small moons.The instrument includes two major pieces: an 18-by-12-inch detector assembly, which is mounted on the outside of the spacecraft and exposed to the dust particles; and an electronics box inside the spacecraft that, when a hit occurs on the detector, deciphers the data and determines the mass and speed of the particle. Because no dust detector has ever flown beyond 18 astronomical units from the Sun (nearly 1.7 billion miles, about the distance from Uranus to the Sun), SDC data will give scientists an unprecedented look at the sources and transport of dust in the solar system.With faculty support, University of Colorado students will also distribute and archive data from the instrument, and lead a comprehensive education and outreach effort to bring their results and experiences to classrooms of all grades over the next two decades.Spacecraft Systems and ComponentsStructureNew Horizons’ primary structure includes an aluminum central cylinder that supports honeycomb panels, serves as the payload adapter fitting that connects the spacecraft to the launch vehicle, supports the interface between the spacecraft and its power source, and houses the propellant tank. Keeping mass down, the panels surrounding the central cylinder feature an aluminum honeycomb core with ultra-thin aluminum face sheets (about as thick as two pieces of paper). To keep it perfectly balanced for spinning operations, the spacecraft is weighed and then balanced with additional weights just before mounting on the launch vehicle.Command and Data HandlingThe command and data handling system – a radiation-hardened 12-megahertz Mongoose V processor guided by intricate flight software – is the spacecraft’s “brain.” The processor distributes operating commands to each subsystem, collects and processes instrument data, and sequences information sent back to Earth. It also runs the advanced “autonomy” algorithms that allow the spacecraft to check the status of each system and, if necessary, correct any problems, switch to backup systems or contact operators on Earth for help. For data storage, New Horizons carries two low-power solid-state recorders (one backup) that can hold up to 8 gigabytes (64 gigabits) each. The main processor collects, compresses, reformats, sorts and stores science and housekeeping data on the recorder – similar to a flash memory card for a digital camera – for transmission to Earth through the telecommunications subsystem. The Command and Data Handling processor, data recorder, power converters, Guidance and Control processor, radio science and tracking electronics, and interfaces between the processors and science instruments are housed in the Integrated Electronics Module (IEM), a space- and weight-saving device that combines the spacecraft’s core avionics in a single box. New Horizons carries a redundant IEM as a backup.Thermal ControlNew Horizons is designed to retain heat like a thermos bottle. The spacecraft is covered in lightweight, goldcolored, multilayered thermal insulation blankets, which hold in heat from operating electronics to keep the spacecraft warm. Heat from the electronics will keep the spacecraft operating at between 10-30 degrees Celsius (about 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the journey. New Horizons’ sophisticated, automated heating system monitors power levels inside the craft to make sure the electronics are running at enough wattage to maintain safe temperatures. Any drop below that operating level (about 150 watts) and it will activate small heaters around the craft to make up the difference. When the spacecraft is closer to Earth and the Sun, louvers (that act as heat vents) on the craft will open when internal temperatures are too high. The thermal blanketing – 18 layers of Dacron mesh cloth sandwiched between aluminized Mylar and Kapton film – also helps to protect the craft from micrometeorites.PropulsionThe propulsion system on New Horizons is used for course corrections and for pointing the spacecraft. It is not needed to speed the spacecraft to Pluto; that is done entirely by the launch vehicle.The New Horizons propulsion system includes 16 small hydrazine-propellant thrusters mounted across the spacecraft in eight locations, a fuel tank, and associated distribution plumbing. Four thrusters that each provide 4.4 newtons (1 pound) of thrust will be used mostly for course corrections. The spacecraft will use 12 smaller thrusters – providing 0.8 newtons (about 3 ounces) of thrust each – to point, spin up and spin down the spacecraft. Eight of the 16 thrusters aboard New Horizons are considered the primary set; the other eight comprise the backup (redundant) set.At launch, the spacecraft will carry 77 kilograms (170 pounds) of hydrazine, stored in a lightweight titanium tank. Helium gas pushes fuel through the system to the thrusters. Using a Jupiter gravity assist, along with the fact that New Horizons does not need to slow down enough to enter orbit around Pluto, reduces the amount of propellant needed for the mission. Guidance and ControlNew Horizons must be oriented in a particular direction to collect data with its scientific instruments, communicate with Earth, or maneuver through space. Attitude determination – knowing which direction New Horizons is facing – is performed using star-tracking cameras, Inertial Measurement Units (containing sophisticated gyroscopes and accelerometers that measure rotation and horizontal/vertical motion), and digital solar sensors. Attitude control for the spacecraft – whether in a steady, three-axis pointing mode or in a spin-stabilized mode – is accomplished using thrusters.The IMUs and star trackers provide constant positional information to the spacecraft’s Guidance and Control processor, which like the command and data handling processor is a 12-MHz Mongoose V. New Horizons carries two copies at each of these units for redundancy. The star-tracking cameras store a map of about 3,000 stars; 10 times per second one of the cameras snaps a wide-angle picture of space, compares the locations of the stars to its onboard map, and calculates the spacecraft’s orientation. The IMU feeds motion information 100 times a second. If data shows New Horizons is outside a predetermined position, small hydrazine thrusters will fire to re-orient the spacecraft. The Sun sensors back up the star trackers; they would find and point New Horizons toward the Sun (with Earth nearby) if the other sensors couldn’t find home in an emergency.Operators use thrusters to maneuver the spacecraft, which has no internal reaction wheels. Its smaller thrusters will be used for fine pointing; thrusters that are approximately five times more powerful will be used during the trajectory course maneuvers that guide New Horizons toward its targets. New Horizons will spin – typically at 5 revolutions per minute (RPM)- during trajectory-correction maneuvers, long radio contacts with Earth, and while it “hibernates” during long cruise periods. Operators will steady and point the spacecraft during science observations and instrument-system checkouts.CommunicationsNew Horizons’ X-band communications system is the spacecraft’s link to Earth, returning science data, exchanging commands and status information, and allowing for precise radiometric tracking through NASA’s Deep Space Network of antenna stations.The system includes two broad-beam, low-gain antennas on opposite sides of the spacecraft for near-Earth communications: a 30-centimeter (12-inch) diameter medium-gain dish antenna and a large, 2.1-meter (83-inch) diameter high-gain dish antenna. The antenna assembly on the spacecraft’s top deck consists of the high, medium, and forward low-gain antennas; this stacked design provides a clear field of view for the low-gain antenna and structural support for the high and medium-gain dishes. Operators aim the antennas by turning the spacecraft toward Earth. The high-gain beam is only 0.3 degrees wide, so it must point directly at Earth. The medium-gain beam is wider (14 degrees), so it is used in conditions when the pointing might not be as accurate. All antennas have Right Hand Circular and Left Hand Circular polarization feeds.Data rates will depend on spacecraft distance, the power used to send the data and the size of the antenna on the ground. For most of the mission, New Horizons will use its high-gain antenna to exchange data with the Deep Space Network’s largest antennas, 70 meters across. Even then, because New Horizons will be more than 3 billion miles from Earth and radio signals will take more than four hours to reach the spacecraft, it can send information at about 700 bits per second. It will take nine months to send the full set of Pluto encounter science data back to Earth.New Horizons will fly the most advanced digital receiver ever used for deep space communications. Advances include regenerative ranging and low power – the receiver consumes 66% less power than current deep space receivers. The Radio Science Experiment (REX) to examine Pluto’s atmosphere is also integrated into the communications subsystem.The entire telecom system on New Horizons is redundant, with two of everything except the high gain antenna structure itself.PowerNew Horizons’ electrical power comes from a single radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), which provides power through the natural radioactive decay of plutonium dioxide fuel. The New Horizons RTG, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, carries approximately 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of plutonium dioxide. Onboard systems manage the spacecraft’s power consumption so it doesn’t exceed the steady output from the RTG, which will decrease by about 3.5 watts per year. Typical of RTG-based systems, as on past outer-planet missions, New Horizons does not have a battery for storing power. At the start of the mission, the RTG will supply approximately 240 watts (at 30 volts of direct current) – the spacecraft’s shunt regulator unit maintains a steady input from the RTG and dissipates power the spacecraft cannot use at a given time. By July 2015 (the earliest Pluto encounter date) that supply decreases to 200 watts at the same voltage, so New Horizons will ease the strain on its limited power source by cycling science instruments during planetary encounters.The spacecraft’s fully redundant Power Distribution Unit (PDU) – with 96 connectors and more than 3,200 wires – efficiently moves power through the spacecraft’s vital systems and science instruments.Telescopes.comLargest selection and the best prices anywhere in the world. Free shipping on select items. is the largest dealer of both Meade and Celestron Telescopes. 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    Posted: February 5, 2007Sea Launch’s command ship and its slightly wounded rocket platform are sailing back to port, just days after the heart-stopping explosion that destroyed a Zenit 3SL booster and its communications satellite cargo at liftoff. The Sea Launch vessels — Odyssey in foreground and Commander in distance — head for home. Credit: Sea LaunchThe international company Monday released three photographs showing the vessels departing the equatorial launch site in the Pacific Ocean bound for the trip to Home Port in Long Beach, California.The Sea Launch Commander, housing the control center and all personnel, was positioned a few miles uprange from the Odyssey launch platform when disaster struck the 20-story rocket. No one was hurt in the blast.But the converted Norwegian oil-drilling platform that carries the rocket from California to the equator and serves as the floating launch pad felt the fury as the booster exploded in a fireball. Remarkably, the platform survived without sustaining major damage.”We’re very, very pleased to have the vessels underway,” said Sea Launch spokeswoman Paula Korn. “To be able to see those vessels sailing is big for us.”The voyage typically takes a couple of weeks. The platform has been staffed with a crew of 55 to 60 for the journey home, Korn estimated. The Odyssey platform escape the explosion without major damage. Credit: Sea LaunchThe most significant injury to Odyssey was the loss of its rocket flame deflector, but officials have begun looking at options to repair the platform. Once back in port, teams will examine the vessel and determine what work is required, Korn said. Whether the repairs can be accomplished in Long Beach is yet to be determined.The partner firms comprising the Sea Launch venture, including the Ukrainian Zenit rocket teams and Russian engine builders, are in the midst of investigating what went wrong as the vehicle was igniting for liftoff carrying the 13,000-pound NSS 8 communications spacecraft.Sea Launch has established its Failure Review Oversight Board to study the partners’ findings, conclusions and recommendations. Kirk Pysher, vice president and chief systems engineer for Sea Launch, will chair the board. It could be a few weeks before the investigation is completed and the information is presented to the oversight commission, officials said.Speculation is rampant on some Internet sites about what system should be blamed for the explosion. Sea Launch, however, isn’t releasing any official information until the investigation runs its course. This aerial view was shot in front of Odyssey. Credit: Sea LaunchThe Zenit’s first stage RD-171 engine shares noteworthy similarities with the RD-180 engine that powers the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket family. ULA officials said Monday they are watching the investigation, as is the case when any failure hits the space industry, to determine whether the problem that brought down the Zenit could impact Atlas 5.The next Atlas 5 launch is scheduled for February 22 to deploy a cluster of research satellites into space for the U.S. military. The Sea Launch incident hasn’t delayed preparations for the flight thus far.Sea Launch had hoped to fly six commercial satellite deployment missions this year. When flights can resume will depend on the investigation findings and repairs to Odyssey.”We’ve gotten just enormous support from our customers and the whole community. It is just an outpouring,” Korn said.”It’s been incredibly supportive. It’s hard to even describe it because it’s so moving.”STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Rocket-carrying Odyssey platform sailing to launch site SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: May 12, 2014 Sea Launch’s mobile Odyssey launch platform has departed the company’s Southern California home port bound for the equatorial Pacific Ocean for liftoff of the Eutelsat 3B communications satellite in late May, officials said Monday. The Odyssey launch platform departed the Port of Long Beach on Sunday. Photo credit: Sea LaunchThe ocean-going platform left Sea Launch home port in Long Beach, Calif., at about 10:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. EDT; 1730 GMT) Sunday, according to a Sea Launch spokesperson.It takes nearly two weeks to transit from Long Beach to the launch position along the equator at 154 degrees west longitude about 1,400 miles south of Hawaii.The Eutelsat 3B spacecraft, fueled and encapsulated inside the payload fairing of Sea Launch’s Zenit 3SL rocket, will provide broadband, multimedia and television services over Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. The satellite is owned by Paris-based Eutelsat and is designed on the Eurostar E3000 platform manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space.The Odyssey platform — a converted North Sea oil drilling rig — is due to arrive at the launch site in time to begin the Zenit rocket’s 72-hour countdown.Liftoff is set for May 26 at 5:10 p.m. EDT (2:10 p.m. PDT; 2110 GMT).The bulk of the launch team will leave Long Beach this week aboard the Sea Launch Commander, which doubles as the company’s rocket assembly hangar and control center.The flight with Eutelsat 3B will mark Sea Launch’s 36th mission since 1999. It will be Sea Launch’s first mission since a launch failure seconds after liftoff in February 2013 destroyed a Zenit 3SL rocket and the Intelsat 27 communications satellite.The Zenit rocket’s return-to-flight mission was in August 2013 with an Israeli communications satellite in a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.Sea Launch puts large commercial telecommunications satellites in orbit using Zenit 3SL rockets comprised of Ukrainian-built first and second stages and a Russian Block DM-SL upper stage provided by RSC Energia. The upper part of the Zenit 3SL rocket, including the Block DM-SL upper stage and payload fairing, is visible during a dry rollout test before departing Long Beach. Photo credit: Sea LaunchNyon, Switzerland-based Sea Launch is 95 percent owned by a subsidiary of Energia.The launch of Eutelsat 3B was delayed from April 15 after a rocket component was damaged during preflight testing at the Long Beach home port. The error occurred during a “dry rollout” of the rocket, in which technicians hoist the Zenit booster atop the Odyssey platform’s launch mount before heading to the launch site.The error caused mechanical damage to the lateral plate on the Zenit rocket’s interstage truss, which connects the first and second stages of the Ukrainian part of the launcher, according to a Sea Launch statement.Workers repaired the damage and conducted a second dry rollout test May 9 before Odyssey’s departure from Long Beach.The Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket will deploy the 13,155-pound Eutelsat 3B satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit with an apogee, or high point, of 22,143 miles and a perigee, or low point, of 239 miles.The orbit will be aligned over the equator, an advantage of Sea Launch’s launch site at 0 degrees latitude, reducing the fuel required to boost the spacecraft into its operational perch 22,300 miles above the intersection of the equator and 3 degrees east longitude.Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: .Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Project OrionThe Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA’s first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Sea Launch mission for Eutelsat delayed SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: April 7, 2014 Sea Launch has delayed its next mission after a rocket component was damaged during preflight testing at the company’s home port in Southern California, officials announced last week. The Zenit 3SL rocket undergoes a “dry rollout” on the Odyssey launch platform March 29. Photo credit: Sea LaunchThe company’s Zenit 3SL rocket was set to boost the Eutelsat 3B communications satellite into orbit April 15 from a mobile ocean-based launch platform, marking Sea Launch’s first mission since a launch failure seconds after liftoff in February 2013.Sea Launch’s Odyssey launch platform and Sea Launch Commander control ship were due to depart home port in Long Beach, Calif., in the first week of April.One of the final milestones before the vessels left California for the equatorial Pacific launch site was the attachment of the Eutelsat 3B spacecraft to the Zenit 3SL launcher inside the Sea Launch Commander control ship, which also serves as an assembly hall for the company’s rockets.Once the rocket was attached to its satellite payload, technicians transferred the integrated vehicle to the adjacent Odyssey platform for a final check on top of the vessel’s launch mount.The Switzerland-based, Russian-owned launch services provider said a “discrepancy in the nominal movement of the cable-mast and the Zenit 2S [launch vehicle] lateral plate occurred while installing the [rocket] onto the launch pad.”The Zenit 2S name refers to the rocket’s core two-stage vehicle, which is designed and built in Ukraine by Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash. The basic Zenit 2S booster is topped by a Block DM-SL upper stage supplied by Energia, the Moscow-based space contractor which also owns a majority stake in Sea Launch.Sea Launch said in a statement the error on the launch pad March 29 caused mechanical damage to the lateral planet on the Zenit rocket’s interstage truss, which connects the first and second stages of the Ukrainian part of the launcher.”A decision was made to de-mate the payload unit and Block DM-SL aboard the Sea Launch Commander to resolve the issue, establish the root cause and perform additional checks of the interface between the launch vehicle and ground support equipment connectors,” the statement said.Eutelsat 3B is one of two Sea Launch missions with firm payload assignments. A dual-payload launch with Russian and Angolan communications satellites is on the manifest for 2016.Sergey Gugkaev, Sea Launch’s CEO, said in March the company was negotiating with a customer for another launch opportunity by the end of 2014.Sea Launch also has several more contract options with satellite operators.Manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, Eutelsat 3B will provide broadband, multimedia and television services over Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. The spacecraft is owned by Paris-based Eutelsat.Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: .STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Sea Launch returns to flight with Eutelsat satellite SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: May 26, 2014 Sea Launch delivered a 6.6-ton European telecommunications satellite to orbit Monday after a dazzling liftoff of a Ukrainian-built Zenit 3SL rocket, marking the commercial launch company’s first mission since February 2013. The Zenit 3SL rocket lifts off from the Odyssey launch platform at 2110 GMT (5:10 p.m. EDT) Monday. Photo credit: Sea LaunchThe 200-foot-tall launcher soared into blue skies over the equatorial Pacific Ocean after igniting its RD-171M main engine at 2110 GMT (5:10 p.m. EDT) and ascending from the Odyssey launch platform, a converted North Sea drilling rig acquired by Sea Launch in the 1990s.The Zenit 3SL rocket’s first two stages, designed by Yuzhnoye and built by Yuzhmash in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, fired for eight-and-a-half minutes as the booster raced east from the launch site located along the equator at 154 degrees west longitude — about 1,400 miles south of Hawaii.The rocket jettisoned its nose shroud, manufactured by Boeing Co., once it was above the dense lower atmosphere, shedding weight as the launcher gained speed.A Russian-built Block DM-SL upper stage fired two times to accelerate the Eutelsat 3B communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit, aiming for an orbit ranging in altitude from 236 miles to 22,244 miles.The 13,155-pound (5,967-kilogram) satellite was deployed by Sea Launch one hour after liftoff.Sea Launch reported the rocket injected the spacecraft into an accurate orbit just a few miles off prelaunch targets. Satellite controllers established contact with Eutelsat 3B a few minutes later, confirming a successful mission on Sea Launch’s first flight since a rocket failure destroyed an Intelsat communications payload in February 2013.Investigators blamed last year’s mishap on a failure inside a hydraulic steering system on the Zenit rocket’s first stage.”I am very pleased to once again announce the successful launch for our valued Eutelsat customer, our third in a row for them,” said Sergey Gugkaev, CEO of Sea Launch. “I wish to express my gratitude to all of our colleagues at the launch site, home port and production and maintenance facilities for their hard work and dedication to Sea Launch program.”The Eutelsat 3B spacecraft will use an on-board engine to raise its orbit to an altitude of 22,300 miles, where its speed will match the rate of Earth’s rotation, making the satellite appear to hover over a fixed location along the equator at 3 degrees east longitude.Eutelsat 3B’s 15-year mission will serve markets in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Latin America. Artist’s concept of the Eutelsat 3B satellite in orbit. Photo credit: Airbus Defence & SpaceOutfitted with 10 antennas, 51 transponders and flexible beams to tailor coverage to changing market demands, Eutelsat 3B will broadcast television, Internet, and data services to millions of households, businesses and users.”We are delighted to see Eutelsat 3B on its way to 3 degrees East and thank Sea Launch and Energia for this flawless launch,” said Michel de Rosen, chairman and CEO of Paris-based Eutelsat. “Eutelsat 3B will be a powerful asset to our in-orbit resources, enabling us to increase the operational flexibility and reach we provide customers in a vast service area spanning Brazil, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.”Airbus Defence and Space manufactured the spacecraft for Eutelsat. It carries 30 Ku-band, 12 C-band and nine Ka-band transponders. The Ka-band payload will provide broadband connectivity, including satellite Internet access for air travelers in Brazil.Comprised of components from Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Norway, the Sea Launch system began operations in 1999. After enduring bankruptcy and three launch mishaps, Switzerland-based Sea Launch is under new Russian ownership and has a new chief executive at the helm.In an interview before Monday’s launch, Sea Launch CEO Sergey Gugkaev said the company needs to fly three missions per year at “normal pricing” to break even.”There are lot of variables in that question — the price of the launch, the interest that we need to pay to our financial institutions — but I would say from three launches per year we are break-even,” Gugkaev said.Monday’s flight was Sea Launch’s 36th mission since 1999, and it was the third satellite owned by Eutelsat to fly on Sea Launch.Peter Stier, a company spokesperson, said Monday that hardware for another Sea Launch mission was on schedule to support a launch as early as January 2015, but officials have not identified a payload for the mission. He said the launch provider is “actively talking to customers” about the January launch opportunity.The Zenit rocket’s two-stage core vehicle is “essentially complete” at the Yuzhmash facility in Ukraine, according to Stier, and the Block DM-SL upper stage for the next launch has already arrived from Russia at Sea Launch’s home port in Long Beach, Calif.Stier said Sea Launch has also procured a payload fairing from Boeing for the early 2015 launch opportunity. The Zenit 3SL rocket lifts off from the Odyssey launch platform at 2110 GMT (5:10 p.m. EDT) Monday. Photo credit: Sea LaunchOfficials said the time required to complete prelaunch analysis and flight design products was the primary schedule driver for the next Sea Launch mission. It takes several months to complete those tasks once a payload is assigned to a launch.Five Sea Launch vehicles are in various states of construction to support launches over the next couple of years, Stier said.Industry officials said there has been no interruption to rocket manufacturing at Yuzhmash so far due to the crisis in Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. But political turmoil, headlined by tit-for-tat sanctions instituted and threatened by the United States and Russia, have put a cloud of uncertainty over the future of many commercial satellite launches, including those by Sea Launch, which employs approximately 70 full-time workers at its home port in Southern California.Officials worried the sanctions might restrict exports of satellites with U.S.-built components to launch on Russian rockets, but the U.S. government has not revoked any export licenses or denied any new requests since the sanctions were announced.Sea Launch plans to launch the Energia 100 and AngolaSat communications satellites in a dual-payload configuration in 2016. Both satellites are to be manufactured by Energia, giving Sea Launch its first toehold in the Russian commercial launch market.Sea Launch is 95 percent owned by Energia Overseas Ltd., a subsidiary of the Russian aerospace contractor which also builds the Block DM upper stage.Sea Launch says it has multiple launch “commitments” from international satellite operators, plus the deal to launch Energia 100 and AngolaSat.Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: .John Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!Celebrate the shuttle programFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Zenit 3SL launch timelineSPACEFLIGHT NOW

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    STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: October 3, 2008Shuttle program managers are now targeting Nov. 14 for launch of the Endeavour on a space station repair and resupply mission. No target dates have yet been set for shuttle Atlantis’ launch on a now-delayed flight to service the Hubble Space Telescope, but it appears the earliest possible launch slot is mid February. Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight NowSEE MORE IMAGES Under that scenario, the shuttle Discovery would serve as the Hubble crew’s rescue vehicle. As a result, Discovery’s launch on a high priority station assembly flight, currently targeted for Feb. 12, would be delayed. But NASA managers are considering a variety of options, including one that would keep the February station flight on track and instead delay Hubble Servicing Mission 4 to early May. Mission managers hope to have a better idea about how to proceed after additional assessments over the next week or so.Atlantis had been scheduled for launch Oct. 14 from pad 39A, but the flight was put on hold earlier this week after a critical electronic component aboard Hubble malfunctioned, preventing science data from reaching the ground. The component is part of a redundant computer system and a backup channel is available. But with the failure of the A-side electronics, Hubble could be knocked out of action for good by a subsequent failure. NASA managers opted to delay Atlantis to give engineers time to prepare replacement hardware.Engineers at the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md., currently are reviewing the complex procedures needed to switch Hubble over to its B-side data management system, which has not been activated since before launch in 1990. It’s not yet clear when the switchover will be attempted. Because of the critical nature of the operation, Hubble managers want to make sure the procedure is solid before it is implemented.At the Kennedy Space Center, shuttle engineers are setting their sights on getting Endeavour ready for flight, preparing to remove the Hubble payload from Atlantis’ cargo bay so the shuttle can be hauled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building Oct. 20. Endeavour, the Atlantis rescue vehicle, is mounted atop pad 39B. The current plan calls for Endeavour to be moved from pad 39B to 39A on Oct. 25 for final preparations.Shuttle program managers plan to hold a flight readiness review Oct. 21 and 22, followed by an executive-level review Oct. 30. Endeavour’s crew, meanwhile, plans to fly to the Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 26 to review emergency procedures and participate in a dress-rehearsal countdown on Oct. 29.If all goes well, the countdown will begin for real on Nov. 11, setting up a launch attempt at 7:55 p.m. on Nov. 14. Docking is expected around 5:10 p.m. on Nov. 16. Four spacewalks are planned, each one starting around 1:50 p.m., on Nov. 18, 20, 22 and 24. Undocking is expected around 10:49 a.m. on Nov. 27 with landing back at the Kennedy Space Center targeted for 2:18 p.m. on Nov. 29.In the near term, the Russian space program is gearing up to launch a fresh crew to the space station. Expedition 18 commander Mike Fincke, flight engineer Yuri Lonchakov and Richard Garriott, a space tourist, are scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:01 a.m. EDT on Oct. 12 aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft. Garriott, the son of former Skylab and shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott, will be the first second-generation American to fly in space.Fincke and Lonchakov will replace Expedition 17 commander Sergey Volkov and flight engineer Oleg Kononenko, who were launched to the station April 8 aboard the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft. Volkov, Kononenko and Garriott are scheduled to undock from the station around 8:20 p.m. on Oct. 23 for a landing in Kazakhstan three hours later, at 11:46 p.m. EDT.The two previous Soyuz entries ran into problems that triggered steep, off-course landings. Russian engineers believe the electrical environment around the station caused arcing that, in turn, affected specific pryo bolts used to separate the Soyuz crew module just before atmospheric entry.Volkov and Kononenko removed a pyro bolt from the TMA-12 spacecraft during a July 10 spacewalk and plan to bring it back to Earth for a detailed analysis. With the bolt removed, Russian engineers believe the TMA-12 vehicle will separate normally.”They sent us a report and they assured us that everything should be OK,” Volkov told CBS News today. “Of course, we’ve done a spacewalk to remove this pyro bolt that they thought might be causing the problem for previous crews’ landing. They made some mathematical calculation for the re-entry into the atmosphere. And they said everything should be OK.”Expedition 17 flight engineer Gregory Chamitoff, launched to the station aboard a space shuttle on May 31, will remain aboard the lab complex with Fincke and Lonchakov when Volkov and Kononenko depart. Chamitoff is scheduled to return to Earth aboard Endeavour in November, taking the seat of his replacement, Expedition 18 flight engineer Sandra Magnus.Chamitoff said today he was excited at the prospect of visitors after four months in space.”We’re ready to have them on board, we’re very excited they’re coming,” he said of the Expedition 18 crew. “Of course, I’m going to miss these guys very much. We’ve had a great time together for a long time. If we were … to go to Mars and back, we’d have done great together I think. But we’re looking forward to our friends that are coming up. I can’t wait to welcome them here. And it’s the same for the shuttle, too. We’ve done a lot of work to prepare for the shuttle and all the shuttle’s going to do here, all the stuff that has to be off loaded and all the stuff that has to be loaded on the shuttle. We’re looking forward to it.”Outgoing station astronauts typically spend several days briefing their replacements on the intricacies of station operation. Fincke is a station veteran, but the lab has changed considerably since he was there in 2004.”It’ll be easier for him to come on board for the second time,” Chamitoff said. “I won’t have to worry about showing him all the ropes, he’ll know most of everything. But since he was here, we’ve added many modules to the space station. Everything behind me, actually, is brand new since he was here. So two spectacular laboratories. … So there’s a lot to show him, how we do everything and what’s going on in those laboratories. So there’s plenty of us to talk about.”Including politics. Chamitoff said he’s been able to watch presidential debates and speeches from the Republican and Democratic conventions that were beamed up from mission control. Both Fincke and Chamitoff will cast their votes from orbit via computers aboard the station.”It’s great that we’re able to do that, it’s really important to vote, especially this time,” Chamitoff said. “There’s a lot going on on the ground. We’ve been following and we’re both really glad we’re going to be able to vote. It’s basically like an absentee ballot, an electronic ballot especially set up between NASA and the county. We fill it out electronically, send it down and then the county records it. They actually convert it to a paper ballot. Anyway, this is all in place and we should be able to vote. So it’s great.”Chamitoff rode out Hurricane Ike aboard the space station. The storm was so huge, he said, it wouldn’t fit in his camera’s field of view.”Our hearts go out to everybody in Houston right now because we know it’s a very big effort now to recover for everyone and a lot of folks have a lot that they have lost,” he said. Because mission control and the Johnson Space Center shut down the week of the storm, “we didn’t really see much of what happened other than what we heard directly from the control center until afterwards. And it’s devastating to see everything that happened there, really devastating. But my family could leave town. Our house does have some roof damage, but of course, nothing compared to what many other people have had to deal with.”He said the crew tracked Ike’s progress as the station flew over and “we certainly saw the hurricane before it approached and hit Houston.””You know, this hurricane was so massive,” Chamitoff marveled. “Other ones we were able to sort of see clear borders around the hurricane and the center and see kind of the flow of clouds entrained into the hurricane. This one was so difficult to get the whole thing in any camera lens. It was unbelievable. And of course, afterwards now, when we’re flying over with a high zoom lens, it is possible for us to see the changes there. I’ve been able to see Galveston and taken some pictures. There’s clearly missing structures along the coast. Those pictures will kind of be good to help look at exactly what happened, before and after.”Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:INTERVIEW WITH SPACE STATION’S EXPEDITION 17 CREW VIDEO:ENDEAVOUR COMMANDER AND PILOT PRACTICE LANDINGS VIDEO:ISS PROGRAM MANAGER UPDATES SOYUZ INVESTIGATION VIDEO:ISS PROGRAM MANAGER DESCRIBES SARJ REPAIR PLAN VIDEO:ISS PROGRAM MANAGER DISCUSSES RADIATOR DAMAGE VIDEO:EXPEDITION 18 PRE-FLIGHT MISSION BRIEFING VIDEO:AERIAL VIEWS OF ATLANTIS AND ENDEAVOUR VIDEO:ENDEAVOUR AT SUNRISE ON LAUNCH PAD 39B VIDEO:AERIAL VIEWS OF ENDEAVOUR AFTER ROLLOUT VIDEO:ENDEAVOUR ROLLS FROM VAB TO LAUNCH PAD VIDEO:TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ARRIVAL AT PAD 39B VIDEO:TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ENDEAVOUR LEAVING VAB VIDEO:SHUTTLE HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK VIDEO:ENDEAVOUR’S DEPARTURE FROM HANGAR VIDEO:TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ENDEAVOUR GOING VERTICAL VIDEO:TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF BEING HOISTED OFF TRANSPORTER VIDEO:TIME-LAPSE MOVIE OF ENDEAVOUR MOVING TO VAB STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.No ‘focused’ heat shield inspections needed BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

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