samedi 25 août 2012

Death of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on moon












NASA patch.

August 25, 2012

American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82 years, announced Saturday the U.S. television network NBC News.

Apollo 11 - Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong had heart surgery earlier this month. Aboard the shuttle Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin teammate had walked on the moon July 20, 1969.

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, July 20, 1969. "That's one small step for a man but a giant leap for mankind," he had then said.

video
First Moon Landing 1969

The Apollo 11 moon mission turned out to be Armstrong's last space flight. The following year he was appointed to a desk job, being named NASA's deputy associate administrator for aeronautics in the office of advanced research and technology.

Neil Armstrong in 2011

He left NASA a year later to become a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati. The former astronaut lived in the Cincinnati area with his wife, Carol.

NASA - Biography of Neil Armstrong: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/bios/neilabio.html

NASA - Who Is Neil Armstrong ?: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/who-is-neil-armstrong-k4.html

Apollo 11 -- First Footprint on the Moon: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/home/F_Apollo_11.html

Images, Video, Text, Credits : NASA / Reuters.

All my condolence to the family and friends, former colleagues and to its friend astronauts. Orbiter.ch

jeudi 23 août 2012

Ten years and still going strong for Microgravity Science Glovebox












NASA / ESA - Microgravity Science Glovebox patch.

23 August 2012

Designing and operating equipment in space is an achievement in itself, but ESA’s Microgravity Science Glovebox has been working for ten years on the International Space Station.

This Glovebox is a sealed workspace that allows astronauts to conduct a large variety of experiments that could otherwise be hazardous to their health. Its large and versatile working area is accessed through loading ports and astronauts manipulate items inside using sturdier and safer versions of kitchen gloves, similar to the way researchers experiment with contagious materials and organisms on Earth.

ESA astronaut Pedro Duque uses Glovebox in 2003

Built by Astrium in Bremen, Germany, the Glovebox was the first European facility to use the standardised scientific rack system on the Space Station. It arrived on the ISS during Expedition 5 in 2002 and has been in operation ever since. 

The equipment has been used for over 12 000 hours on 24 different experiments from NASA and ESA, certainly a record for all Space Station research facilities.

Microgravity Science Glovebox

The atmosphere inside the Glovebox workspace can be kept at lower pressure than that of the International Space Station, so that if the experiment enclosure broke or was opened, any chemical spills, small parts or even fires are contained safely inside.

This technology has allowed astronauts to test different ways of safely fighting fires in space. By starting fires in the Glovebox, they could be sure that the fire would not spread, despite testing untried methods of extinguishing fires in spacecraft.

Microgravity Science Glovebox (Front view)

The Glovebox facility has been used in many research fields, from materials science to fluid physics, for example providing data that may help design better brake systems or improve manufacturing of lighter and stronger metal alloys.

Despite its long life, the Microgravity Science Glovebox is not retiring soon. Instead of returning to Earth this year as originally planned, NASA has decided to keep using this unique hardware until at least 2020 and even upgrade the facility while it is still on the ISS.

The system will be improved to allow experiments on living organisms. Part of the upgrade will see the scientific laboratory fitted with new biological filters, new gloves and an ultraviolet decontamination system to support life-science experiments.


ESA astronaut André Kuipers training with Glovebox

Its video recording system will get new high-definition cameras and monitors, high frame-rate cameras and digital video storage to allow the scientists on Earth to review experiments in more detail. The upgrades should be ready to be flown to the International Space Station in 2013.

Martin Zell, ESA’s Head of Space Station Utilisation, concludes: "Our cooperation with NASA on this project has worked seamlessly during development and over the past ten years of operations to facilitate 14 ESA experiments in addition to all the NASA experiments. With hundreds of experiment runs, the Glovebox has led to excellent scientific results that are of high importance here on Earth. We foresee good perspectives for the new experiments under preparation."

About human spaceflight: http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAM1B0VMOC_index_0.html

For more information about International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images, Text, Credits: Credits: ESA / P. Duque / D. Ducros / NASA.

Cheers, Orbiter.ch

mercredi 22 août 2012

NASA Mars Rover Begins Driving at Bradbury Landing












NASA - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) patch.

August 22, 2012

 (Click on the image for enlarge)

This 360-degree panorama shows evidence of a successful first test drive for NASA's Curiosity rover. On Aug. 22, 2012, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet (4.5 meters), rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet (2.5 meters). Curiosity is about 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has begun driving from its landing site, which scientists announced today they have named for the late author Ray Bradbury.

Making its first movement on the Martian surface, Curiosity's drive combined forward, turn and reverse segments. This placed the rover roughly 20 feet (6 meters) from the spot where it landed 16 days ago.

NASA has approved the Curiosity science team's choice to name the landing ground for the influential author, who was born 92 years ago today and died this year. The location where Curiosity touched down is now called Bradbury Landing.

"This was not a difficult choice for the science team," said Michael Meyer, NASA program scientist for Curiosity. "Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars."

Today's drive confirmed the health of Curiosity's mobility system and produced the rover's first wheel tracks on Mars, documented in images taken after the drive. During a news conference today at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the mission's lead rover driver, Matt Heverly, showed an animation derived from visualization software used for planning the first drive.

"We have a fully functioning mobility system with lots of amazing exploration ahead," Heverly said.

Curiosity will spend several more days of working beside Bradbury Landing, performing instrument checks and studying the surroundings, before embarking toward its first driving destination approximately 1,300 feet (400 meters) to the east-southeast.

"Curiosity is a much more complex vehicle than earlier Mars rovers. The testing and characterization activities during the initial weeks of the mission lay important groundwork for operating our precious national resource with appropriate care," said Curiosity Project Manager Pete Theisinger of JPL. "Sixteen days in, we are making excellent progress."

The science team has begun pointing instruments on the rover's mast for investigating specific targets of interest near and far. The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument used a laser and spectrometers this week to examine the composition of rocks exposed when the spacecraft's landing engines blew away several inches of overlying material.

The instrument's principal investigator, Roger Weins of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, reported that measurements made on the rocks in this scoured-out feature called Goulburn suggest a basaltic composition. "These may be pieces of basalt within a sedimentary deposit," Weins said.

Wiggle in the Gravel

This set of images shows the movement of the front left wheel of NASA's Curiosity as rover drivers turned the wheels in place at the landing site on Mars. Engineers wiggled the wheels as a test of the rover's steering and anticipate embarking on Curiosity's first drive in the next couple of days. This image was taken by one of Curiosity's Navigation cameras on Aug. 21. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Curiosity began a two-year prime mission on Mars when the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft delivered the car-size rover to its landing target inside Gale Crater on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The mission will use 10 science instruments on the rover to assess whether the area has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

In a career spanning more than 70 years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and nearly 50 books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time.

His groundbreaking works include "Fahrenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles," "The Illustrated Man," "Dandelion Wine," and "Something Wicked This Way Comes." He wrote the screenplay for John Huston's classic film adaptation of "Moby Dick," and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted 65 of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of "The Halloween Tree."

JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about Curiosity is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl .

Follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at:
http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

Latest images: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/images/index.html

Curiosity gallery: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/gallery-indexEvents.html

Curiosity videos: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?collection_id=18895

Images, (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA / Dwayne Brown / JPL / Guy Webster / D.C. Agle.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

ISS orbit correction took














ISS - International Space Station patch / ESA - ATV-3 "Eduardo Armaldi" patch.

22/08/2012

August 22 in accordance with the program of the International Space Station (ISS) carried out the correction of its orbit.

The maneuver was carried out in two pulses with propulsion system (PS) of the European cargo spacecraft ATV-3 "Edoardo Amaldi"

First switching control is made in 13 hours 45 minutes 00 seconds Moscow time. Operating time was 384 seconds. As a result, the station has received an additional boost of 0.9 meters per second, the average height of its orbit was 414.8 kilometers.

ATV reboost ISS

At 17 hours 17 minutes 00 seconds Moscow time the second time included European truck engines, which have worked 2088.5 seconds. As a result, ISS has received an additional boost of 4.9 meters per second, the average height of the orbit of the station was 420.5 kilometers.

The purpose of the operation - the formation of the ISS before the descent to Earth of manned spacecraft "Soyuz TMA-04M" as well as the launch of THC "Soyuz TMA-06M" and its subsequent docking with the station.

Originak text in Russian: http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=19440

Images, Text, Credits: Press Service of the Russian Space Agency on Information MCC (Roscosmos PAO) / ESA / Translation: Orbiter.ch.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

lundi 20 août 2012

Summer running at the LHC












CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

20 August 2012

 The Large Hadron Collider (Image: CERN)

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has delivered over twice as many collisions to the ATLAS and CMS experiments this year as it did in the whole of 2011.

Last year, ATLAS and CMS each recorded a total of around 5.6 inverse femtobarns of data. This measure of accelerator performance is equivalent to about 560 trillion proton-proton collisions. On 3 August, the LHCb experiment passed the 1 inverse femtobarn mark (100 trillion proton collisions delivered) for this year; ATLAS and CMS passed 10 inverse femtobarns the following day. The LHC is well on its way to its goal of delivering in the order of 1500 trillion proton-proton collisions in 2012.

The LHC is operating at 1380 proton bunches per beam, the maximum value set for this year, with around 1.5 × 1011 protons in each bunch. The accelerator has also far exceeded the best instantaneous collision rate achieved last year: the maximum peak luminosity in 2011 was 3.6 × 1033 collisions per square centimetre per second; the most recent record 7.2 × 1033 cm-2 s-1.

The higher collision energy of 4 TeV per beam this year (compared to 3.5 TeV per beam in 2011) and the resulting higher number of collisions are expected to enhance the machine's discovery potential considerably, opening up further possibilities in the searches for new physics.

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 20 Member States.

Find out more:

    The Large Hadron Collider: http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/LHC/HowLHC-en.html

    ATLAS: http://atlas.ch/

    CMS: http://cms.web.cern.ch/

    LHCb: http://lhcb-public.web.cern.ch/lhcb-public/

Image (mentioned), Text, Credit: CERN.

Regards, Orbiter.ch

New NASA Mission to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars












NASA / JPL - InSight Mission final logo.

August 20, 2012

NASA has selected a new mission, set to launch in 2016, that will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars to see why the Red Planet evolved so differently from Earth as one of our solar system's rocky planets.

The new mission, named InSight, will place instruments on the Martian surface to investigate whether the core of Mars is solid or liquid like Earth's, and why Mars' crust is not divided into tectonic plates that drift like Earth's. Detailed knowledge of the interior of Mars in comparison to Earth will help scientists understand better how terrestrial planets form and evolve.


Artist rendition of the proposed InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) Lander. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

"The exploration of Mars is a top priority for NASA, and the selection of InSight ensures we will continue to unlock the mysteries of the Red Planet and lay the groundwork for a future human mission there," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The recent successful landing of the Curiosity rover has galvanized public interest in space exploration and today's announcement makes clear there are more exciting Mars missions to come."

InSight will be led by W. Bruce Banerdt at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. InSight's science team includes U.S. and international co-investigators from universities, industry and government agencies. The French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, or CNES, and the German Aerospace Center are contributing instruments to InSight, which is scheduled to land on Mars in September 2016 to begin its two-year scientific mission.

InSight is the 12th selection in NASA's series of Discovery-class missions. Created in 1992, the Discovery Program sponsors frequent, cost-capped solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. NASA requested Discovery mission proposals in June 2010 and received 28. InSight was one of three proposed missions selected in May 2011 for funding to conduct preliminary design studies and analyses. The other two proposals were for missions to a comet and Saturn's moon Titan.

InSight builds on spacecraft technology used in NASA's highly successful Phoenix lander mission, which was launched to the Red Planet in 2007 and determined water existed near the surface in the Martian polar regions. By incorporating proven systems in the mission, the InSight team demonstrated that the mission concept was low-risk and could stay within the cost-constrained budget of Discovery missions. The cost of the mission, excluding the launch vehicle and related services, is capped at $425 million in 2010 dollars.


Artist rendition of the formation of rocky bodies in the solar system. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

"Our Discovery Program enables scientists to use innovative approaches to answering fundamental questions about our solar system in the lowest cost mission category," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. "InSight will get to the 'core' of the nature of the interior and structure of Mars, well below the observations we've been able to make from orbit or the surface."

InSight will carry four instruments. JPL will provide an onboard geodetic instrument to determine the planet's rotation axis and a robotic arm and two cameras used to deploy and monitor instruments on the Martian surface. CNES is leading an international consortium that is building an instrument to measure seismic waves traveling through the planet's interior. The German Aerospace Center is building a subsurface heat probe to measure the flow of heat from the interior.

JPL provides project management for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Discovery Program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more information about InSight, visit: http://insight.jpl.nasa.gov

For more information about the Discovery Program, visit: http://discovery.nasa.gov

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA / Dwayne Brown / JPL / DC Agle / Guy Webster.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

THC Progress M-15M completed flight










ROSCOSMOS - Russian Vehicles patch.

20/08/2012

August 20 at 20.12 Moscow time on a predetermined area of ​​the South Pacific was flooding incombustible residue cargo vehicle (THC) Progress M-15M. At 19.22 Moscow time, in accordance with the program laid down in the ship's on-board computer specialists Mission Control Center (MCC) FSUE TsNIImash, to "space truck" was added to the main engine braking, followed by the controlled reduction of the THC from orbit.

Progress-M undocking

THC Progress M-15M was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 20 and docked with the International Space Station (ISS) two days later, bringing the cargo of food, fuel, water and equipment. Joint mission to the station lasted until July 23.

After its completion, and disconnection of operational management specialists MCC conducted operations re docking with the ISS in order to develop an advanced approach "Course-ON." July 29 "space truck" in automatic mode again docked to the docking bay module "Pirs" (S-1).

Final undocking THC to the ISS on July 31. After the THC for 20 days in the free flight, during which the board conducted an experiment "Radar-Progress". The purpose of this experiment was to determine the spatial and temporal dependence of density, temperature, ionic composition of local inhomogeneities of the ionosphere resulting from on-board liquid rocket engines. The experiment has been involved full-time equipment: propulsion, radio VHF (TORU), and a set of ground-based radio observations.

Original text in Russian: http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=19432

Image, Text, Credits: Press Service of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos PAO) / NASA TV / Translation: Orbiter.ch.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Cosmonauts Begin First Expedition 32 Spacewalk


















ISS - Expedition 32 Mission patch.

August 20, 2012

Expedition 32 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko began the first spacewalk of the Expedition 32 mission at 11:37 a.m. EDT Monday.

The primary task during the 6.5-hour excursion is to move the Strela-2 cargo boom from the Pirs docking compartment to the Zarya module. The move is another step in preparing Pirs for its eventual undocking and disposal, which will make room for the docking of the new Russian multipurpose laboratory module to the Zvezda nadir port. Other tasks include the installation of micrometeoroid debris shields on the exterior of the Zvezda service module and the deployment of a small science satellite. More tasks are planned if time permits.

Debris Panel Installation Sites. Credit: NASA

View graphics from the Aug. 14 spacewalk briefing: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition32/eva_briefing_081412.html


Image above: Expedition 32 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko. Credit: NASA.

Padalka has conducted eight previous spacewalks and is wearing the spacesuit bearing red stripes. Malenchenko has conducted four spacewalks and is wearing the spacesuit with blue stripes. The spacewalk is the 163rd in support of station assembly and maintenance.

Over the past couple of weeks, Padalka and Malenchenko completed a variety of tasks in anticipation of the spacewalk including resizing their Orlan spacesuits, conducting routine spacesuit maintenance, configuring spacewalk equipment and conducting a suited “dry run” check.


Image above: Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko work outside the station during the first spacewalk of the Expedition 32 mission. Credit: NASA TV.

A second Expedition 32 spacewalk, scheduled for Aug. 30, will be conducted by NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide. The duo will don U.S. extravehicular mobility unit spacesuits for the first U.S.-based spacewalk since July 2011. It will be a 6.5-hour excursion designed to replace a faulty power relay unit on the station's truss, rig power cables for the arrival late next year of a Russian laboratory module, replace a failing robotic arm camera and install a thermal cover on a docking port.

Read more about Expedition 32: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition32/index.html

Expedition 32 Mission Summary (4.7 MB PDF): http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/668459main_exp32_summary.pdf

Images (mentioned), Text, Credit: NASA.

Cheers, Orbiter.ch

Fantastic Phobos












ESA - Mars Express Mission patch.

20 August 2012

Some 135 years after its discovery, Mars’ largest moon Phobos is seen in fantastic detail – and in 3D – in an image taken by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft as it passed just 100 km by.

Phobos in 3D

This view is much different to the faint object that astronomer Asaph Hall would have just been able to make out as he observed the Red Planet through the United States Naval Observatory’s 66 cm telescope in 1877. Through this telescope he discovered Mars’ smaller, outermost moon Deimos on 12 August and the larger, innermost moon Phobos on 18 August.

More than a century later later, spacecraft in orbit around Mars are studying Phobos in unprecedented detail.

In this image, a bite-sized chunk appears to be missing from the right edge of the irregular shaped moon – this is a side-on view of the rim of large impact crater Stickney, so-called after the maiden name of the discoverer’s wife.

Families of grooves appear to emanate from Stickney, carving channels across the approximately 27 km length of the moon. Initially thought to be associated with the Stickney impact crater, one recent theory suggests that they were instead formed when Phobos passed through debris clouds thrown up from the surface of Mars by asteroid impacts onto the planet’s surface.

Orbiting Mars at just 6000 km from the planet’s surface, it is closer to its parent planet than any other known moon in our Solar System. The moon’s proximity means that it hurtles around Mars faster than the planet rotates: for an observer on the surface of Mars, Phobos would appear to rise and set twice a day.

The moon’s orbit is decreasing and in some 50 million years time it will likely break up to form a debris ring around Mars, before colliding with the planet’s surface. 

More information:

Build your own 3D glasses: http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/classroom/glasses.shtml

Mars Express: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/index.html

Mars Express blog: http://blogs.esa.int/mex

Images, Text, Credit: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum).

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Rover's Laser Instrument Zaps First Martian Rock










NASA - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) patch.

August 20, 2012


This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP.

Today, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first time on Mars, using the beam from a science instrument to interrogate a fist-size rock called "Coronation."

The mission's Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, hit the fist-sized rock with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

Curiosity ChemCam. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The energy from the laser excites atoms in the rock into an ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam catches the light from that spark with a telescope and analyzes it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the target.

"We got a great spectrum of Coronation -- lots of signal," said ChemCam Principal Investigator Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M. "Our team is both thrilled and working hard, looking at the results. After eight years building the instrument, it's payoff time!"

ChemCam recorded spectra from the laser-induced spark at each of the 30 pulses. The goal of this initial use of the laser on Mars was to serve as target practice for characterizing the instrument, but the activity may provide additional value. Researchers will check whether the composition changed as the pulses progressed. If it did change, that could indicate dust or other surface material being penetrated to reveal different composition beneath the surface. The spectrometers record intensity at 6,144 different wavelengths of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light.

Curiosity ChemCam in action. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

"It's surprising that the data are even better than we ever had during tests on Earth, in signal-to-noise ratio," said ChemCam Deputy Project Scientist Sylvestre Maurice of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France. "It's so rich, we can expect great science from investigating what might be thousands of targets with ChemCam in the next two years."

The technique used by ChemCam, called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, has been used to determine composition of targets in other extreme environments, such as inside nuclear reactors and on the sea floor, and has had experimental applications in environmental monitoring and cancer detection. Today's investigation of Coronation is the first use of the technique in interplanetary exploration.

First rock for ChemCam. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP

Curiosity landed on Mars two weeks ago, beginning a two-year mission using 10 instruments to assess whether a carefully chosen study area inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

ChemCam was developed, built and tested by the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in partnership with scientists and engineers funded by the French national space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and research agency, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project, including Curiosity, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

More information about ChemCam is available at http://www.msl-chemcam.com .

Latest images: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/images/index.html

Curiosity gallery: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/gallery-indexEvents.html

Curiosity videos: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?collection_id=18895

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA / JPL / Guy Webster / D.C. Agle.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

dimanche 19 août 2012

The successful launch of the spacecraft Intelsat-21











Sea Launch logo. / Intelsat 21 logos.

19/08/2012

 Sea Launch ready To Launch Intelsat 21 on Odyssey rig

August 19, 2012 at 10:55 am Moscow time from the platform Sea Launch made ​​launch vehicle Zenit-2S with the upper stage DM-SL and telecommunications spacecraft (SC) Intelsat-21.

video
Sea Launch of Zenit with Intelsat 21

According to cyclogram flight at 11:25 Moscow time the spacecraft has been separated from the upper stage. SC Intelsat-21 launched into the target orbit.

Launch target

The Zenit-3SL vehicle will lift the 5,984 kilogram (13,192 lb.) Intelsat 21 spacecraft into a defined high-perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit.  Based on the BSSI 702MP platform, Intelsat 21 will refresh capacity for one of Latin America’s most popular media distribution neighborhoods, serving direct-to-home (DTH) and cable programmers. The satellite is designed to provide 18 or more years of service and features C-band services for North America, South America and Europe, and Ku-band services for North America, the Caribbean, Brazil and Europe. Replacing Intelsat 9, Intelsat 21 also features a Ku-band mobility beam, providing coverage across the South Atlantic to Intelsat’s maritime and aeronautical customers.  Intelsat’s global mobility platform is scheduled for completion in early 2013. The satellite’s final orbital location will be 302 degrees East longitude.

Intelsat 21 spacecraft

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Press Service of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos PAO) / Sea Launch / Translation: Orbiter.ch.

For more information about Sea Launch, visit: http://www.sea-launch.com/

Best regards, Orbiter.ch