Astronaut Chris Cassidy (NASA) and Luca Parmitano (ESA) performed an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) which began at 1909 GMT on 10 July. During the spacewalk ,which lasted six hours seven minutes, the two astronauts made various equipment retrievals and change-outs including replacing a failed component on an antenna, installing radiator grapple bars onto the outboard P-1 and S-1 trusses, retrieving two materials science experiments, The astronauts also routed power cables in preparation for the arrival of a new NAUKA Russian module.
Archive | July, 2013
Proton failure may have other contributory causes but guidance system was definitely wired up wrongly
The failure of a Proton M/Blok DM-03 on 2 July, destroying three Glonass spacecraft in the process, continues to intrigue. While it was initially suspected that there had been an engine failure and a premature lift off due to a pad fault, now it seems that the principal cause of the rocket’s “fishtailing” trajectory, subsequent arch over, break up and crash, was due to a faultily installed guidance system.
The final configuration of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle has been finalised by the European Space Agency (ESA). It will use three parallel solid rockets as a “multi P linear” configuarion followed by a solid second stage with a Vinci-engined final stage using using liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as propellants. The full description is on our main Flightglobal space news page here.
While many UK astronomers remain either sceptical or even fearful over attempts to contact extra-terrestrial life, this has not stopped them from setting up the UK SETI Research Network (UKSRN) which now has the Astronomer Royal himself, Martin Rees, installed as its patron.
On 4 July, contact was lost with the Express-MD1 communications spacecraft disrupting coverage of four main Russian television channels to parts of Russia. The cause was reported by the Russian government to be due to faulty orientation of the satellite’s antennas. Engineers are working to recover the spacecraft.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has released this video clip which spectularly shows its latest up and down flight during its experimentation with a rocket test vehicle exploring the science and art of operating reusable first stages. On June 14, SpaceX’s Grasshopper flew 325 m (1066 feet) from its luanch pad in McGregor, Texas, an altitude higher than Manhattan’s Chrysler Building, before smoothly landing back on the pad.
As it presses forward with a plan to give its Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles dual launch capabilty, that is to launch two major satellites on one launch, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin colloboration ULA (United Launch Alliance) has selected the Swiss firm RUAG Space to build the necessary composite adapters and fairings. The contract signed on 27 June was follow-on to the business that RUAG already does for ULA in providing provides payload fairings for interstage adapters for the Atlas launcher.
Having previously indicated that it would be up to the service providers to provide the crew for any commecial manned test spaceflights as part of the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) programme, now it seems that NASA has performed a partial U-turn. According to reports, NASA is now demanding that successful biddes will have to have at least one NASA astronaut on any test flight that goes to the International Space Station (ISS). The flight should take place in 2015 or 2016.
You could say that it is back to the good old/bad old days (depending on your point of view) of the old Cold War-era Soviet management-style after it was revealed that the Russian authorities are now engaged in a “hunt for the culprits” with respect to the launch failure of the Proton M/Blok DM-03 launch vehicle which destroyed three Glonass navigation satellites on 2 July.
Having previously expressed our consternation over European satellite operator Eutelsat’s naming system for its satellites (yes – it remains very confusing), we noted our intention to make things clearer on the Flightglobal/Ascend SpaceTrak database by using the Eutelsat title along with the international number for each Eutelsat satellite. However, we have come to the conclusion that this too is not clear enough. Following suggestions from the insurance market, from now on, the SpaceTrak database will use the official spacecraft name as set by the orbital location of the Eutelsat spacecraft along with the original name the satellite was known by when it was launched. This will be in brackets/parantheses. The international number and the launch date can still be used if there is any doubt about the identity of a spacecraft.
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