Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Rocket Science and Propulsion

Watch NASA Launch DART, a Mission to Crash Into an Asteroid

Technology
NASA is about to launch a spacecraft with one simple mission: Smash into an asteroid at 15,000 miles per hour.The mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, leaves Earth early on Wednesday to test whether slamming a spacecraft into an asteroid can nudge it into a different trajectory. Results from the test, if successful, will come in handy if NASA and other space agencies ever need to deflect an asteroid to save Earth and avert a catastrophic impact.When is the launch and how can I watch it?The DART spacecraft is scheduled to lift off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday at 1:20 a.m. Eastern time (or 10:20 p.m. local time) from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.NASA plans to host a livestream of the launch on its YouTube channel starting at 12:30 a.m. on Wed...

Will Indonesia Edge Its Way into the Space Race?

Technology
BIAK, Indonesia — For 15 generations, members of the Abrauw clan have lived much like their ancestors. They farm with wooden plows in patches of the rainforest, gather medicinal plants and set traps to catch snakes and wild boar.The land they occupy on Biak island is everything to them: their identity, the source of their livelihood and the link to their forebears. But now the tiny clan fears it will lose its place in the world as Indonesia pursues its longstanding quest to join the space age.The Indonesian government claims to have acquired 250 acres of the clan’s ancestral land decades ago and has planned since 2017 to build a small-scale spaceport there to launch rockets. Clan leaders say the project would force them from their homes.Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, personally pitche...
SpaceX to Launch NASA Crew-3 Astronauts: How to Watch

SpaceX to Launch NASA Crew-3 Astronauts: How to Watch

Technology
Exit the Crew Dragon. Enter another Crew Dragon.On Wednesday night, SpaceX will carry another crew of astronauts to the International Space Station for a stay of about six months. Crew-3 is the name of the mission, and its astronauts will replace Crew-2, the quartet of NASA, European and Japanese astronauts who completed a water landing in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday night.When is the launch and how can I watch it?Liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the astronauts in the Crew Dragon sitting on top, is scheduled for 9:03 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. NASA will host a livestream of the launch on NASA TV and its YouTube channel beginning at 4:45 p.m.Weather around NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Falcon 9 will launch, is 80 percent favorable, according to the U.S. Space ...

NASA Moves Moon Landing Deadline Back to 2025

Technology
The obstacles to meeting the 2024 goal have been political and technical, from ambivalence among lawmakers in Congress to engineering challenges and delays with other systems and spacecraft that NASA may also need to get astronauts on the moon. The Covid pandemic also played a role. The agency’s centerpiece moon rocket, the Space Launch System, is a multibillion dollar undertaking that has experienced years of delays.But last week, NASA overcame a significant obstacle. The agency emerged victorious from a bitter and protracted legal fight with Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, which had lodged two protests against NASA’s decision to pick SpaceX. The dispute paralyzed the moon lander program for nearly six months, precluding NASA from working with SpaceX on Starship development.Yet St...
NASA Planning Moon Launch in 2022

NASA Planning Moon Launch in 2022

Technology
NASA set dates on Friday for its giant rocket to launch a spacecraft to the moon and back, beginning in mid-February next year. No, for real this time.In a news conference, officials from the space agency announced a two-week period beginning Feb. 12 for a flight — without astronauts aboard — of the Space Launch System, the biggest rocket flown by the agency in decades. It will loft Orion, a capsule for transporting astronauts to deep space, on an uncrewed trip that orbits the moon then returns to Earth.“We are on track to fly, and this team will be ready when our flight hardware is ready,” said Mike Sarafin, the NASA official who is the mission’s manager.Whether NASA will proceed with this February timeline depends on the results of testing on the ground leading up to the launch window, i...

Dying Satellite, Not U.F.O. or Meteor, Likely Caused Midwest Fireball

Technology
Something streaked across the night skies over Ohio, Michigan and Indiana during predawn hours on Wednesday. The fireball burned in hues of green, gold and pink, leaving a bright trail in its wake. It spent about two minutes breaking apart into smaller pieces during its descent from orbit before crossing over the border of the United States and Canada, somewhere over the Great Lakes.“I saw it coming across the sky,” said Stephanie Neal, a Williamsburg, Ohio, resident who saw the object. “It first had no tail, then a tail, then no tail again.”Holly Wood was taking her dog for a late walk in the suburbs of Cincinnati when she saw the blazing object.“For a split second I was like, am I watching an airplane crash? Then I was like, there’s no way — none of it made sense,” said Ms. Wood, who lik...
Boeing Deepens NASA Starliner Probe, Prompting More Delays

Boeing Deepens NASA Starliner Probe, Prompting More Delays

Technology
Boeing’s second chance to test launch its troubled astronaut capsule to the International Space Station was delayed again, possibly until the middle of 2022, as NASA and the aerospace giant go to new lengths to investigate problems with the spacecraft’s fuel valves.The postponement adds to the woes of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, a striking contrast with SpaceX, the private company founded by Elon Musk. Its passenger spacecraft, Crew Dragon, has lofted crews to orbit four times in the past two years, with a fifth scheduled on Halloween.The Starliner capsule came within hours of launching to the space station on an Atlas 5 rocket in August, as part of a 10-day test mission without humans on board. The goal was to demonstrate that the spacecraft was safe enough to fly NASA astronauts. But ...
Space Station Emergency Prompted by Russian Thruster Firing

Space Station Emergency Prompted by Russian Thruster Firing

Technology
On Sunday, the same spacecraft that experienced the thruster incident is expected to bring back to Earth a Russian film crew that was flown to the station on a different Soyuz spacecraft on Oct. 5. NASA mission control, heard on a livestream of mission control audio, indicated that the thruster firing incident delayed a planned film shoot in the station’s cupola, a room with six windows facing Earth. Ms. Cheshier said the MS-18 spacecraft’s undocking with the crew inside would occur at 9:14 p.m. Saturday, as planned.In July, Russia docked its Nauka module to the orbital base, adding a new room for science experiments on the Russian segment of the station. Hours later, Nauka’s thrusters suddenly started firing, spinning the station one and a half revolutions — about 540 degrees — before it ...
Why NASA Is Launching a Robotic Archaeologist Named Lucy

Why NASA Is Launching a Robotic Archaeologist Named Lucy

Technology
NASA is scheduled on Saturday to launch a probe toward clusters of asteroids along Jupiter’s orbital path. They’re known as the Trojan swarms, and they represent the final unexplored regions of asteroids in the solar system. The spacecraft, a deep-space robotic archaeologist named Lucy, will seek to answer pressing questions about the origins of the solar system, how the planets migrated to their current orbits and how life might have emerged on Earth.“We have never gone this far to study asteroids,” said Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA. “In so doing, we’re going to be able to better understand the formation of the solar system, and better understand ourselves and our development.”After a six-year cruise, Lucy will fly close to seven Trojan asteroids through 2033, completing wild ci...
In a Blue Origin Rocket, William Shatner Finally Goes to Space

In a Blue Origin Rocket, William Shatner Finally Goes to Space

Technology
Mr. Bezos, who has said he was inspired by “Star Trek” as a boy, listened, still as a statue. He may have been giving Mr. Shatner some space, but it was a sharp contrast to his appearance after his own brief spaceflight in July, when he was aboard the same spacecraft. Then, Mr. Bezos held forth from a stage, rousing condemnation from critics of the vast company he founded as he thanked Amazon’s employees and customers for making it possible for him to finance his private space venture.Mr. Shatner shared the capsule on Wednesday with three other passengers: Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin vice president who oversees New Shepard operations, and two paying customers: Chris Boshuizen, a co-founder of the Earth-observation company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of a company that buil...