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Sonntag, 12. August 2012 - 22:54 Uhr

Astronomie - Saturn,Mars,Spica-Dreieck und Perseide

 

Fotos: c-hjkc

 


4129 Views

Sonntag, 12. August 2012 - 21:44 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Neue Fotos von Curiosity-Mast-Kamera

 

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Wall of Gale Crater

This color image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows part of the wall of Gale Crater, the location on Mars where the rover landed on Aug. 5, 2012 PDT (Aug. 6, 2012 EDT). This is part of a larger, high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera.


This image of the crater wall is north of the landing site, or behind the rover. Here, a network of valleys believed to have formed by water erosion enters Gale Crater from the outside. This is the first view scientists have had of a fluvial system - one relating to a river or stream -- from the surface of Mars. Known and studied since the 1970s beginning with NASA's Viking missions, such networks date from a period in Martian history when water flowed freely across the surface. The main channel deposit seen here resembles a dirt road ascending into the mountains, which are actually the north wall and rim of Gale Crater.

Although Curiosity is about 11 miles (18 kilometers) away from this area and the view is obscured somewhat by dust and haze, the image provides new insights into the style of sediment transport within this system. Curiosity has no current plans to visit this valley system, since the primary objective of the rover is south of the landing site. But images taken later and with the 100-millimeter Mastcam are likely to allow scientists to study the area in significantly more detail.

The images in this mosaic were acquired by the 34-millimeter MastCam over about an hour of time on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9, 2012 EDT), each at 1,200 by 1,200 pixels in size.

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Exposed by Rocket Engine Blasts

This color image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows an area excavated by the blast of the Mars Science Laboratory's descent stage rocket engines. This is part of a larger, high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera.



With the loose debris blasted away by the rockets, details of the underlying materials are clearly seen. Of particular note is a well-defined, topmost layer that contains fragments of rock embedded in a matix of finer material. Shown in the inset in the figure are pebbles up to 1.25 inches (about 3 centimeters) across (upper two arrows) and a larger clast 4 inches (11.5 centimeters) long protruding up by about 2 inches (10 centimeters) from the layer in which it is embedded. Clast-rich sedimentary layers can form in a number of ways. Their mechanisms of formation can be distinguished by the size, shape, surface textures and positioning with respect to each other of the fragments in the layers.

The images in this mosaic were acquired by the 34-millimeter Mastcam over about an hour of time on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9, 2012 EDT), each at 1,200 by 1,200 pixels in size.

In the main version, the colors portrayed are unmodified from those returned by the camera. The view is what a cell phone or camcorder would record since the Mastcam takes color pictures in the exact same manner that consumer cameras acquire color images. The second version, linked to the main version, shows the colors modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing," is useful for scientists to be able to recognize and distinguish rocks by color in more familiar lighting.

Fotos+Quelle: NASA


3524 Views

Samstag, 11. August 2012 - 22:42 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity sah Sky-crane Absturz

 

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Witnessing the Descent Stage Crash?

The distant blob seen in the view on left, taken by a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover, may be a cloud created during the crash of the rover's descent stage. Pictures taken about 45 minutes later (right) do not show the cloud, providing further evidence it was from the crash.

The bright spot at upper center, which is larger in the view at right, is due to image saturation from looking at the sun.

These images are from the rover's rear Hazard-avoidance cameras. They are one-quarter of full resolution.

 

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Als Mars-Rover „Curiosity“ am Montagmorgen auf dem Roten Planeten landete und erste Fotos in die Heimat schickte, entdeckten Forscher eine riesige Staubwolke in der Ferne. Was könnte das sein? Etwa Aliens?

Die Antwort der Wissenschaftler: ernüchternd und simpel. Es ist eine Raketenstufe, die sich nach der Landung planmäßig von der „Curiosity” loslöste und rund 600 Meter von der Sonde entfernt aufschlug. Kameras fingen den Aufprall ein. NASA-Experten sagen, es handele sich um einen bemerkenswerten Zufall, dass man diesen Aufschlag einfangen konnte. „Curiosity” sei zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Platz gewesen und habe in die richtige Richtung geschaut.


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Samstag, 11. August 2012 - 08:27 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-Sol 4

 

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Inspecting Curiosity's Descent Stage Crash Site

This portion of an image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been annotated to show the relative positions between NASA's Curiosity rover (right) and the impact site of its sky crane, or descent stage. The azimuth from north of the rover is about 290 degrees (north is up and zero degrees).

This information was used to determine whether the rover was pointed in the right direction to have captured an image of the plume from the crash of the descent stage using is rear-facing Hazard-Avoidance cameras. The gyrocompass on Curiosity indicates that the rover is pointed at 112 degrees, which, after subtracting 180 degrees since the picture was taken from the rear, gives the same direction of the sky crane crash to within 12 degrees.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.

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Zeroing in on Rover's Landing Site

The red "X" marks the spot where NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Early estimates made immediately after the rover landed (green diamond) indicated the rover touched down about one-and-a-half miles (2.4 kilometers) from the point it was targeting, to the left and out of sight on this graphic. This is well within the targeted landing region, called the landing ellipse, marked by the light blue line. Later after landing, images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (not shown here) were able to pinpoint the rover's precise location, as shown by the red "X."

Before landing, the mission team had also made predictions about where six entry ballast masses released from the descending spacecraft would land, as indicated by the dark blue landing ellipse and six dots. These weights, which are made of a heavy metal called tungsten, were released to straighten the descending spacecraft out from the tilted position it needed to ride through the atmosphere.

The overlaid black-and-white picture shows the actual landing positions of the ballasts, as indicated by the dark scour marks they left on the surface. Arrows indicate the locations. That picture was taken by the Context Camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The background color image is from MRO.

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Curiosity Preps for a Planned 'Brain Transplant'

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 01:34:28 AM GMT+0200

A healthy Curiosity spent Sol 4, its fifth day on Mars, preparing for this weekend's planned "brain transplant"--transitioning to a new version of flight software on both of Curiosity's redundant main computers. The new software is better suited for Mars surface operations, such as driving and using Curiosity's robotic arm. The "brain transplant" will take place during a series of steps beginning this evening and continuing through Aug. 13. The new software was uploaded to the rover's memory during the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft's flight from Earth. Key capabilities in the new software enable full use of Curiosity's powerful robotic arm and drill, and advanced image processing to check for obstacles while driving. This will ultimately allow Curiosity to make longer drives by giving the rover more autonomy to identify and avoid potential hazards and to drive along a safe path that the rover identifies for itself.



The flight team elected to defer further science activities until after the flight software transition is completed. Several Mastcam color images were downlinked. The mission's science team is busy analyzing images Curiosity has taken of its surroundings, and is discussing features of interest that they will investigate in a few weeks once initial checkouts of the rover and the landing site are completed.

Quelle: NASA


3434 Views

Freitag, 10. August 2012 - 22:24 Uhr

Astronomie - Saturn, Mars, Spica - Dreieck am Westhimmel

 

Fotos: c-hjkc

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3469 Views

Freitag, 10. August 2012 - 20:16 Uhr

Luftfahrt - US-ARMY testen weltgrößtes Spionage-Luftschiff

 

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Das "Long Endurance Multi Intelligence Vehicle" soll 92 Meter lang sein (Quelle: Northrop Grumman)

Das Projekt ist äußerst geheim: Das "Long Endurance Multi Intelligence Vehicle" kann wochenlang in großer Höhe schweben. Mögliches Einsatzgebiet: Afghanistan. Der Antrieb stammt aus Deutschland.

In aller Stille haben die US-Streitkräfte das weltweit größte Spionageluftschiff in einem gut anderthalbstündigen Erstflug getestet. Am vergangenen Dienstag, 7. August, hob von einem Militärflughafen in Lakehurst im US-Bundesstaat New Jersey das Spezialluftschiff ab. "Alle Ziele wurden während des Fluges erreicht", teilte ein Sprecher der US-Streitkräfte am Mittwoch auf FTD-Anfrage mit.

Zunächst sei es darum gegangen, einen sicheren Start und eine sichere Landung zu absolvieren und die Flug-Kontrollsysteme zu erproben. Das in der Fachwelt als LEMV (Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle) bezeichnete Luftschiff hat nach Angaben aus Branchenkreisen eine Länge von gut 92 Metern.

Neue Epoche der Luftaufklärung

Es ist damit das aktuell größte fliegende Luftschiff. Es läutet nach Jahrzehnten die Rückkehr der US-Militärs beim Einsatz großer Luftschiffe für Militäraufgaben ein. In den 30er-Jahren hatten die USA sogar Luftschiffe als fliegende Flugzeugträger im Einsatz. Das LEMV-Projekt ist auch eine neue Epoche in der Aufklärung aus der Luft an Stelle unbemannter Drohnen.

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Northrop Grumman’s open architected Long Endurance Multi Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is a revolutionary aviation concept that will shape the future of ISR.  We’ve developed a clean aerodynamic design with less drag than competing designs, use existing proven hull materials, a type certified engine, off-the-shelf sensors, and the Army’s Universal Ground Control Station with 100% interoperability with DCGS-A.  We integrate ISR payloads most efficiently through our Murphy Bay on the vehicle centerline.  Every design tradeoff was made with an unyielding commitment to schedule. Our open architecture and business model invites third parties to get onboard the aircraft with limited interference, weapon system, balanced by its elegant simplicity.

Key Features
• Simple, non-exotic solutions with proven components
• Energy efficient.  Fuel consumption more than 10x less than comparable capability
• 12-24 forward deployed crew members to support 18 vehicles 24/7/365
• 1,500nm – 2,400nm range with 15,000 lbs (Heavy Lift Configuration)
• More than 21 days endurance with 2,750 lbs payload (ISR Configuration)
• Payload Volume more than 2,700 cubic feet, heavy lift yield additional volume
• Service Ceiling greater than 22,000 ft. MSL
• Loiter/dash speed: 30/80 kts

Capabilities
• More than 21 days of unblinking stare
• Proven multi-INT payload integration
• Multi-mission capable: persistent surveillance, force protection, counter-drug operations,
• Support host nation ops, disaster, humanitarian relief, overwatch/support troops
• Flexible Murphy Bay modules to accommodate current and future payloads
• Very short or vertical takeoff, excellent ground stability
• Bow thruster provides low-speed control and position hold capability
• Leverage proven type-certified engine
• Future growth accomplished through field installations
• Radar, SIGINT, Full Motion Video, LOS/BLOS COMM Relay

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WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 8, 2012) -- For more than 90 minutes, Aug. 7, the hybrid air vehicle known as the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle stayed afloat above Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, or LEMV, like a blimp, is capable of carrying multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads for more than 21 days at altitudes greater than 22,000 feet. The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducted the first flight test of vehicle.

"Murphy Bays" on the LEMV on the LEMV can carry a wide variety of sensors and equipment, and design specifications for the LEMV require the vehicle to provide up to 16 kilowatts of electrical power for those payloads.

The LEMV is intended to be used to conduct long-term Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, or ISR, and persistent stare-type missions, and can also be used as a communications relay.

The primary objective of the first flight was to perform a safe launch and recovery of the LEMV. A secondary goal was to verify the flight control system operation. Additional objectives included airworthiness testing and demonstration, as well as system-level performance verification.

All objectives were met during the first flight.

The football field-sized LEMV can operate at altitudes greater than 22,000 feet above mean sea level, has a 2,000 mile radius of action, can carry a 2,750 pound ISR payload for more than 21 days, and boasts a fuel consumption that is more than 10 times less than comparable capabilities.

Design requirements for the LEMV include providing up to 16 kilowatts of electrical power for payload, as well as runway independence.

The LEMV is designed to be a recoverable and reusable multi-mission platform. It can be forward located to support extended geostationary operations from austere locations and capable of beyond-line-of-sight command and control.

During this first flight, the LEMV was manned, though the air vehicle can also operate unmanned.

Following a planned and detailed inspection of the vehicle, there will be additional manned flights.

Quelle: US ARMY

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3852 Views

Freitag, 10. August 2012 - 19:34 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity Foto-Update

 

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Mars Weather Map, Aug. 5

This global map of Mars was acquired on Aug. 5, 2012, by the Mars Color Imager instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. One global map is generated each day to forecast weather conditions for the entry, descent and landing of NASA's Curiosity rover. The atmosphere is clear and seasonal around Gale Crater, in agreement with the computer models used to simulate Curiosity's landing. The dust storm southwest of Gale Crater, first seen on July 31, changed into an inactive dust cloud on Aug. 2, and now has dispersed even further. Dust activity had been picking up on parts of the planet before landing, but none of these dust clouds arrived at Gale Crater before Curiosity did.

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Hitting the Marks

This graphic shows the times at which NASA's Curiosity rover hit its milestones during its entry, descent and landing on Mars. The times the events actually occurred are shown in red. The times that Earth received confirmation that the events occurred appear in blue. All times are listed in Pacific Daylight Time.

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Traces of Landing

This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA's Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage's rocket engines. The images that were used to make the mosaic were obtained by the rover's Navigation cameras on Aug. 7 PDT (Aug. 8 EDT).

The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The back of the rover is to the left. The blast marks can be seen in the middle of the image. Several small bits of rock and soil, which were made airborne by the rocket engines, are visible on the rover's top deck.

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Witnessing the Descent Stage Crash?

The distant blob seen in the view on left, taken by a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover, may be a cloud created during the crash of the rover's descent stage. Pictures taken about 45 minutes later (right) do not show the cloud, providing further evidence it was from the crash.

The bright spot at upper center, which is larger in the view at right, is due to image saturation from looking at the sun.

These images are from the rover's rear Hazard-avoidance cameras. They are one-quarter of full resolution.

Fotos; NASA


3480 Views

Freitag, 10. August 2012 - 12:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Atlas-V mit NROL-36-Satelliten startklar

 

 

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012
Ready to take a classified national security payload and a batch of hitchhiking cubesats into space early Thursday from California, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is in the final days of preparations for blastoff.
The middle-of-the-night launch will occur some time between 12 midnight and 1:30 a.m. local (3:00-4:30 a.m. EDT; 0700-0830 GMT). The actual target liftoff time has not yet been revealed.
MONDAY, JULY 30, 2012
9:45 a.m. local (12:45 p.m. EDT; 1645 GMT)
The target launch time for Thursday's Atlas 5 rocket has been announced to the public. Liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base is scheduled for 12:40 a.m. local (3:40 a.m. EDT; 0740 GMT).
The exact duration of the daily launch window hasn't been disclosed. But officials previously said the liftoff would not occur after 1:30 a.m. local.
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Fotos: ULA
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Top-secret surveillance spacecraft and several smaller research satellites will be launched aboard an Atlas 5 rocket scheduled for blastoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Thursday.
The United Launch Alliance rocket is sitting at Space Launch Complex-3 East on South Base, where crews have spent the past several months preparing the booster for blastoff.
The team is shooting for liftoff at 12:40 a.m. Thursday, Air Force officials said. The actual launch window remains top secret but officials earlier said the liftoff would occur by 1:30 a.m.
However, unfavorable weather or technical troubles can delay launches. For Thursday, weather officers are calling for a 10 percent likelihood of a delay with cumulus clouds cited as the chief concern.
Visibility might be troublesome for would-be spectators thanks to the coast’s traditional summertime marine layer.
“The typical marine layer will be in place, reducing visibility at SLC-3E throughout the entire count with some thin cirrus overhead,” forecasters said.
With fog in the forecast, visibility could be restricted to one-half mile, officials said.
Crews have been eyeing Aug. 2 as the departure day for months and the team didn’t face any significant problems in prepping the space booster, officials said.
Mission managers are set to meet today for a final launch readiness review.
“Things are actually looking really good. We are on track,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Gillen, who took the helm of the 4th Space Launch Squadron on June 18 at Vandenberg. “We are where we would hope to be, where we would expect to be at this point.”
The Atlas 5 booster will carry a clandestine satellite to orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office, and officials are remaining tight-lipped about its mission and cost.
“Any NRO launch is critical to national security, to delivering new intel capabilities out to the warfighters,” Gillen said. “There is an ever-growing need over the last 10 years and even though we are winding down some operations in Afghanistan and Iraq the need for intel is still growing. These satellites play a key role in providing that intelligence to the warfighters and the troops on the ground.”
Along with the primary payload 11 micro satellites, dubbed CubeSats, are slated to hitch a ride aboard the Atlas rocket.
Some of the CubeSats are part of NASA’s educational program that lets university students get hands-on experience. Students from Cal Poly are again participating.
 Vandenberg restricts access only to those with authorization to enter the base, but several public spots around the Lompoc Valley offer good views of launches from SLC-3. The Atlas 5 launch pad is visible on the horizon while looking toward South Base.
Possible off-base viewing sites include the peak of Harris Grade Road and several locations in south Vandenberg Village.
For safety reasons, Jalama Beach County Park, which is directly south of Vandenberg, will be evacuated from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday, officials said.
The Air Force also established a public viewing site on its land, but outside its gates, off Corral Road. To reach the area, take Highway 1 to the Santa Maria gate and proceed on Lompoc-Casmalia Road. At the barriers, turn right onto Corral Road and stay to the left.
This is the fourth of four NRO missions scheduled in 2012 from both Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
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Update: 2.08.2012
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An Atlas 5 rocket’s launch attempt from Vandenberg Air Force Base was scrubbed early today with the team now aiming for departure early Friday morning.
The new planned time for blastoff from Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base is 12:27 a.m. Friday, officials said.
The delay was blamed on a problem with Western Range instrumentation deemed mandatory for the rocket launch due to safety reasons.
The team reported the trouble about 12:40 a.m., but crews were unable to fix the problem before today’s launch opportunity expired.
Crews have a limited time to get the rocket off the ground each day so that the satellites are placed in the proper orbit.
Friday’s attempt is “pending resolution of the instrumentation issue,” officials said.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket and its primary payload, a classified spacecraft for the National Reconnaissance Office, remain “safe and secure,” officials said.
Weather conditions are not expected to interfere with Friday’s launch countdown.
Update: 3.08.2012 / 15.00 MESZ
An Atlas 5 rocket’s next try for liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base won’t come until Aug. 14 at the earliest after mission managers were forced to scrub the first countdown.
A new launch time was not yet available.
The delay of more than a week gives Western Range crews more time to resolve a problem with instrumentation deemed mandatory for the flight.
The Western Range is made up of a series of sensors at the base and elsewhere in California that tracks just-launched rockets and missiles from Vandenberg to ensure they remain safely on course.
The problem popped up as the team counted down toward liftoff early Thursday at Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base, but could not be resolved before the launch opportunity expired.
Crews have a limited time to get the rocket off the ground each day so that the satellites are placed in the proper orbit.
Initially, officials hoped to resume counting down toward launch Friday morning and then Saturday, but decided Thursday evening that even more time was needed to fix the range instrumentation issue.
An Aug. 14 attempt is contingent upon resolution of the range instrumentation problem, officials said.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket and its primary payload, a classified spacecraft for the National Reconnaissance Office, remain “safe and secure,” officials said.
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Update: 10.08.2012
Weitere Verzögerungen beim Start von Atlas-V-Rakete:
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A glitch with Western Range equipment has postponed the departure of an Atlas 5 rocket and its classified payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base again, delaying liftoff another two weeks.

The new launch date has not been set, but the blastoff isn’t expected to occur any earlier than Aug. 30, Air Force officials said Thursday afternoon.

The team came within minutes of liftoff early Aug. 2, but had to scrub the countdown because of a glitch involving Western Range equipment deemed critical for the mission.

“They’re still working the issue at this point,” Lt. Austin Fallin, a base spokesman, said Thursday morning.

The problem was billed initially as a 24-hour delay, pushing the mission to Aug. 3, and then another announcement said it would slip to Aug. 4. However, officials ruled the evening of Aug. 2 that they needed nearly two more weeks to resolve it. They had been targeting Aug. 14, but decided this week to scrap those plans so that Western Range crews would have more time.

“Our team has been working since then to identify the cause of the malfunction and to test and certify the MFCC (Mission Flight Control Center) for operations so Vandenberg can support a safe launch,” Vandenberg officials said in a written statement.

The Western Range is made up of a series of sensors at the base and elsewhere in California that tracks

just-launched rockets and missiles from Vandenberg to ensure they remain safely on course.

The malfunction occurred in Vandenberg’s Mission Flight Control Center, which processes radar, optical and telemetry data from the various instrumentation sites on and off Vandenberg, officials confirmed.

If a rocket or missile veers off course, a mission flight control officer at Vandenberg issues a command to terminate the flight.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket and its primary payload, a classified spacecraft for the National Reconnaissance Office, remain “safe and secure,” officials have said.

The delay means that another Atlas 5 rocket sitting at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., is expected to move to the front of the launch lineup. That mission with two NASA satellites is planned for Aug. 23.쇓

 
 

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Freitag, 10. August 2012 - 09:04 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA´s Morpheus explodiert bei Test

 

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NASA's project Morpheus lander exploded during a free-flight test Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center.

During the test, the capsule tipped over and crashed, caught fire and exploded around 12:40 p.m.

"[The] vehicle lifted off the ground and then experienced a hardware component failure, which prevented it from maintaining stable flight," said NASA spokeswoman Laurel Lichtenberger. "No one was injured, and the resulting fire was extinguished by KSC fire personnel."

The lander had been put through testing for a year, and had previously completed a successful tether test at KSC a week earlier.

"Engineers are looking into the incident, and the agency will release information as it comes available," said Lichtenberger.

The goal was to fly approximately a half-mile and then land safely.

There is no word yet on any future test flights for the lander.

Morpheus is a NASA-designed vehicle large enough to carry 1,100 pounds of cargo to the moon.

It is one of 20 projects NASA engineers are working on for future deep space missions.

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3588 Views

Freitag, 10. August 2012 - 08:48 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity Sol 3

 

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Foto: NASA - Curiosity-Zoom-Foto

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Curiosity Reveals its First ‘Living Color’ Mars Surface Panorama

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 02:48:00 AM GMT+0200

Curiosity awoke from her "beauty sleep" today to the toe-tapping tune "Good Morning" from the musical "Singing in the Rain," feeling healthy and refreshed and ready for a busy day of continued health checks and imagery. The rover continues to perform very well. Today's Sol 3 morning and afternoon passes by NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft provided a plethora of new data, including more high-resolution black-and-white 360-degree and deck panorama images from her Navigation Camera, or Navcam, which revealed some small pebbles deposited on the deck during landing, which should pose no problems for mission operations. Curiosity also returned 130 low-resolution thumbnail images from the color Mast Camera, or Mastcam, providing scientists and engineers with their first color panorama glimpse of Gale Crater.



Curiosity's day began with a "beep" from its low-gain antenna, telling the flight team that their master sequence of activities for that sol was successfully activated from the ground. The flight team then uploaded files to the rover's remote electronics unit memory in preparation for the upcoming Sol 5 upgrade of Curiosity's software to optimize Curiosity for surface operations. Curiosity's backup computer was then powered on and successfully checked out. The Radiation Assessment Detector instrument is operating as planned and collected additional data on surface radiation. The Mastcam is operating as planned and successfully executed its 360-degree and calibration target observations. In addition, early checkouts of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), Chemistry & Mineralogy Analyzer (CheMin), Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), and Dynamic Albedo Neutrons (DAN) instruments were all successful. The mission's science team began creating a geological map of about 150 square miles (about 390 square kilometers) within Gale Crater, including the landing area.



Curiosity is "go" for its planned Sol 4 activities.


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