Posted tagged ‘ISS’
In one of its final missions, the space shuttle Endeavour launched this morning at 4:14am EST from the Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle mission has as its main goal the delivery of a connecting module to the International Space Station. The module will increase living space on the ISS and also has an attached robotic, windowed control station. Only four more missions remain for the space shuttle program before it is retired by the end of the year.
NASA is currently working to meet the early February launch date for the space shuttle Endeavour. Currently, NASA engineers are working to repair broken hoses on the new space station module, Tranquility, that Endeavour is taking to the International Space Station (ISS). The new module uses liquid ammonia to keep its electronic equipment cool in space. The hoses that carry the ammonia have been unable to sustain the necessary pressure to cool Tranquility, but repairs are underway.
The Russian spacecraft carrying the Poisk module docked with the International Space Station today after a two-day trip from Earth. While Poisk has arrived, it is not yet ready to be used to dock spacecraft or for spacewalks. It will take at least until January before it can be used. For more information, see space.com.
A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying the Poisk Mini-Research Module-2 launched from Kazakhstan this morning. The Poisk will serve as a docking port for spacecraft visiting the International Space Station (ISS) and as an airlock for spacewalking astronauts. The unmanned Poisk is due to arrive at the ISS on Thursday. Poisk is the first Russian addition to the ISS since the Pirs in 2001. For more information, see redOrbit.
The space shuttle Discovery is finally back in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center, completing its mission to the International Space Station. Due to poor weather conditions, the shuttle landed in California on Edwards Air Force Base. You can see Discovery and the 747 that ferried it back to Florida in the photo below.
The White House panel of independent space experts released their recommendations this week. According to the panel, NASA’s plans for returning to the moon as a means of preparing for journeying to Mars simply will not work. The reason is simple: money. NASA needs to spend approximately $3 billion more per year to achieve human spaceflight.
The panel gave President Obama several options concerning a variety of issues for NASA. In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed returning to the moon by 2020. To pay for returning to the moon, he planned on retiring the shuttle in 2010 and shutting down the International Space Station in 2015. These deadlines are unworkable, according to the panel
All those deadlines have to change, the panel said. It proposed continuing to use the shuttle until 2011. It also termed shutting down the ISS “unwise” and argued its life should be extended. The panel also strongly encouraged including other countries and private for-profit firms in further space exploration. The panel also emphasized exploring easier to reach near-Earth objects such as asteroids or the moons of Mars before returning to the moon. For more information on the panel’s report, see ScienceNews.