Archive for July, 2006

By July 6, 2006 Read More →

Sony Poos?

I might be a bit slow with this blog entry, it may not be that ‘new’ but having heard about it I just had to comment:

Surely Sony isn’t serious, it has to be that they are poking fun at Nintendo’s Wii but the word on the street it that Sony has trademarked the controller for the upcoming PS3, PooS!

Does this mean that kids are going round their friends houses to play with their Wii and PooS? Console manufacturers are just going Potty!

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , ]

Posted in: Editorial
By July 6, 2006 Read More →

Race towards ISS

Space Shuttle Discovery and the STS-121 crew race towards their rendezvous with International Space Station. Discovery is slated to dock with ISS at 17:52 GMT today.

Discovery is carrying cargo of almost 13 tonnes consisting of equipment and supplies for ISS.

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , , ]

By July 5, 2006 Read More →

Preparing Canada Arm

On the first full day of Mission STS-121 the crew of Discovery are preparing to examine the vehicle heat shield for damage. The examinations are designed to show up any damage sustained during the eight-and-a-half-minute climb to space.

A 15-metre boom was added to the shuttle’s robotic arm after the Columbia disaster. The extension allows cameras to inspect the heat shield underneath the orbiter for any damage from falling foam or ice during launch.

But if they saw some damage, the only way to reach some of these areas to repair them would be to put an astronaut on the end of the boom. This has not been formally tested, although an astronaut did ride on the end of the extension on the last mission.

Matt

Image credit: NASA/KSC

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , , ]

By July 5, 2006 Read More →

Discovery tank ‘Performed Well’

In the evening press conference held on Tuesday afternnon at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Shuttle Program Wayne Hale reported that the external tank’s performance was greatly improved during the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery

During liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-121 on July 4, a camera captured a small piece of debris (pointed to by the arrow) that is believed to be a part of a shim used on the thermal protection system on the orbiter. The piece did not cause any damage nor will the loss be a concern for the mission or landing.

It has been reported that other debris has been captured on film as it fell away from the external tank.

Shortly after ET jetison Mission Specialist Mike Fossum reported having seen a long, thin fabric like object floating away from the Orbiter. He described the object as being ‘4 to 6 feet in length, mabe as much as 8 feet, floating away from the orbiter between the ET and the orbiter at a distance of maybe 40 to 45 yards’. Mike later said that the object appeared to have straps on it and was fabric-like.

Nasa has since reported that an ice sheet was observed falling away shortly after ET jet. and the suggestion is that this is what Mike Fossum saw.

Personally I think there is a lot of difference between fabric material with strapping and an ice sheet but understand that no images of this particular event have yet been released.

Matt

Image credit and quotes: NASA/KSC

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

By July 4, 2006 Read More →

Successful launch!

Following the frustrating flight cancellations over the weekend, Discovery blasts off on time for mission STS-121.

Is there a better way for the americans to celebrate the 4th July?!

There have been some early reports that some debris fell off the external tank some time into the launch but Nasa have stated that they feel that, although it is rather early to say, the debris was not shed at a critical time within the launch but that there will be a full analysis of all the video footage over the next few days.

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

By July 4, 2006 Read More →

Discovery all set!

The astronauts are buckled into their seats inside Discovery’s cabin. The STS-121 crew is now going through final checks inside the orbiter to prepare for liftoff.

The Ground Launch Sequencer (GLS) computer has been activated in the firing room. The GLS is a master computer program which controls the final nine minutes of the countdown. The GLS will monitor approximately one thousand different measurements to ensure the system operates within predetermined limits.

Everything looks good for a 19:38 launch, one minor problem could be the cross wind at the shuttle launch facility. Althought this doesn’t pose a problem for the launch, in the event of an emergency abort where the shuttle had to return to the launch facility the wind velocity has to be between certain limits.

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

By July 4, 2006 Read More →

Another Discovery glitch

Engineers have just doscovered another issue with Discovery that is being addressed at this time. A backup circuit breaker that controls the primary heaters on the segment joints of both solid rocket boosters has failed. A team called “Red Team” will be going out to the mobile launcher platform to quickly replace the circuit breaker and then leave. This isn’t a mission threatening problem as Discovery could fly with only the main circuit breaker functioning, but since there is the time to replace the failed unit, the team will do so.

The latest weather update suggests that there is upwards of an 80% chance of a clear launch window today.

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

By July 4, 2006 Read More →

Discovery ‘GO’ For Independence Day Launch

Over night Nasa have conducted extensive tests on Discovery’s external fuel tank. Analysis has shown that the area around the crack is intact and there is no concern for heating as there is adequate foam in place on the strut. Additional borescope inspection of the tank revealed that the bracket has no cracks.

The weather forecast in the area shows that there is a 60% chance of launch today. The ten-minute launch window opens up at 18:38 GMT.

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

By July 3, 2006 Read More →

Discovery still safe?

Following the inspection of Discovery’s external tank which led to the finding of a crack in the foam covering Nasa made the following comments:

“At a Mission Management Team meeting this morning, a decision was made to continue analyzing available data before making a final decision regarding tomorrow’s launch attempt. The question is whether there needs to be a hands-on inspection of the area around the foam crack before launch.”

It is believed that the fueling and emptying of the external tank along with the rain over the weekend led to ice build up which has then caused a crack to appear in the foam. It is now understood that a small piece of foam has been shed from the area around the crack.

Nasa have since said that even if that piece of foam had come loose during launch that it would have been too small to have caused any problems.

Didn’t they say that last time?

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]

By July 3, 2006 Read More →

Crack in shuttle tank foam

Engineers conducting a routine check of the shuttle Discovery after Sunday’s launch postponement have found a crack in the foam insulation lining the orbiter’s external tank.

The 12cm-long, 3mm-deep breakage was spotted near a bracket close to the top of the fuel tank, Nasa confirmed.

Its not yet known what this could mean to the launch but probably puts mission STS-121 very much in jeopardy.

“We don’t know if it’s a problem or not (for the launch),” said US space agency spokesman George Diller.

“If we decide we have to do something about it, we probably cannot launch tomorrow,” Diller was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): , , , , , , , ]