Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Space Exploration Technologies Corp

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...
Jessica Watkins Will Be First Black Woman to Join Space Station Crew

Jessica Watkins Will Be First Black Woman to Join Space Station Crew

Technology
Two decades after the International Space Station became humanity’s long-lasting home in orbit, Jessica Watkins, a NASA astronaut, is poised to become the first Black woman to join its crew for a long-term mission.NASA announced on Tuesday that Dr. Watkins, a geologist raised in Lafayette, Colo., would serve as a mission specialist on SpaceX’s next astronaut flight, known as Crew-4, to the space station. She will join two other NASA astronauts and an Italian astronaut for a six-month mission aboard the orbital lab that is scheduled to start in April.In an interview, Dr. Watkins said she hoped going to the space station would set an example for children of color, and “particularly young girls of color, to be able to see an example of ways that they can participate and succeed.”She added, “F...

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 Crew-3 Dragon Docks With Space Station

SpaceX Crew-3 Dragon Docks With Space Station

Technology
Four astronauts boarded the International Space Station on Thursday after a daylong trip inside a spacecraft built by Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX. The quartet pushed to more than 600 the number of people to have flown to space, a further milestone in 2021, the busiest year for human spaceflight in over a decade.SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, nicknamed Endurance, docked with the orbital lab at 6:32 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, about 40 minutes ahead of a schedule announced earlier.“Docking complete, happy to be at the I.S.S.,” Raja Chari, the Crew-3 commander, said from the capsule as he and his fellow astronauts, buckled side-by-side in their seats, joined hands in celebration.Almost two hours later, the hatch opened and the smiling crew members entered the space station one at a time,...
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...

SpaceX Carries NASA Astronaut Mission Home With Safe Water Landing

Technology
Four astronauts inside a capsule built by SpaceX streaked across the Florida night sky like a meteor before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico Monday night. The water landing capped an eventful six-month stay on the International Space Station.The space travelers were part of a mission called Crew-2: Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA; Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA, Japan’s space agency; and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.“It’s great to be back to planet Earth,” Mr. Kimbrough, Crew-2’s commander, said to SpaceX mission control from inside the capsule after it and four large parachutes fluttered down into still waters near Pensacola, Fla. He and his fellow astronauts left the space station at 2:05 p.m. Eastern time on Monday afternoon, and returned to Earth at 10:33 p.m.Two...

Blue Origin Loses Legal Fight Over SpaceX’s NASA Moon Contract

Technology
A federal judge on Thursday rejected Jeff Bezos’ latest legal attempt to overturn NASA’s multibillion-dollar moon lander contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, ending a monthslong battle between the space companies of the world’s two richest men.The dispute created a significant obstacle to NASA’s plans for returning humans to the moon for the first time since 1972. The ruling leaves Mr. Bezos’ company with few other legal avenues to challenge the contract, making it more likely that whenever American astronauts return to the lunar surface, they will be traveling in a spacecraft built by Mr. Musk's company.But NASA has been unable to work on the program with SpaceX for the duration of Blue Origin’s legal challenges, which may delay the return to the moon.“It’s been disappointing to not be able ...

Why SpaceX’s Crew-3 Launch Was Delayed to Wednesday

Technology
It’s been a busy year for human spaceflight, with three short tourist flights to the edge of space, an orbital journey by a team of amateur astronauts, a Russian film crew shooting movie scenes in orbit and two Chinese crews visiting the country’s new space station.Amid all this activity, American and Russian spacecraft have been traveling to and from the International Space Station. A flight had been scheduled for Sunday morning, but it will now be shifted to the early hours of Wednesday morning.Why was the flight delayed?Weather around NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Falcon 9 will launch from, is expected to be favorable for an on-time liftoff.But “it’s not just what happens at the launchpad,” said Will Ulrich, a launch weather officer at the Space Force’s 45th Space Wing i...
SpaceX Needed to Fix the Toilet Before NASA Astronauts Launch

SpaceX Needed to Fix the Toilet Before NASA Astronauts Launch

Technology
But the toilet predicaments haven’t stopped there. Another Crew Dragon capsule that docked to the space station in April with four astronauts aboard has the same plumbing system as the Inspiration4 capsule. SpaceX engineers feared the same “contamination” might have occurred on that spacecraft.The engineers’ suspicions were correct.NASA astronauts living on the station snaked a borescope device — a cable with a tiny camera at the end — underneath the capsule’s floor and discovered traces of urine in places it shouldn’t be, Mr. Gerstenmaier said. “Yes, there was some indication of some contamination under the floor,” he said.That raised new concerns. In space, urine is mixed with a potentially corrosive compound, oxone, to eliminate ammonia. Could the oxone-laced urine, sitting in the capsu...