Archive for the ‘astronauts’ Category

Space Shuttle Astronauts Ready to Fly

November 13, 2008

Tomorrow, the space shuttle Endeavour will rocket into space.  “Space vehicles can be like submarines.  Both are metal tubes, basically,” said the first submariner ever selected as an astronaut in NASA’s manned space flight program, Navy Captain Stephan G. Bowen.  “The difference is,” he told us, “In space the view is better.  In the submarine the food is better.”

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Seven NASA astronauts are spending what they hope will be their last day on Earth before launching toward the International Space Station Friday night aboard the shuttle Endeavour.

The five-man, two-woman crew of Endeavour is a mix of spaceflight veterans and first-time flyers, but wholly committed to making vital repairs and delivering new gear to double the station’s occupancy up to six people next year.

Crew members of the space shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-126 ... 
Crew members of the space shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-126 arrive to prepare for launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida November 11, 2008.(Scott Audette/Reuters)

“I think every commander would like to think that he’s got the best crew that was ever assembled to fly a space station mission. I’m no exception,” said Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson in a NASA interview. “These folks are extremely talented, extremely hard-working.”

Endeavour is slated to launch toward the space station Friday at 7:55 p.m. EST (0055 Nov. 15 GMT) on a planned 15-day mission that will span Thanksgiving and the orbital laboratory’s 10th anniversary on Nov. 20.

Taking command

Shuttle commander Chris Ferguson is making his second trip to space on Endeavour’s STS-126 mission, but it’s his first trip in charge. He spent 12 days in space as the pilot for shuttle Atlantis to help deliver new U.S. solar arrays to the station in 2006.

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Veterans Day: American Submariner Zooms Into Space an Astronaut This Week

November 8, 2008

“Space vehicles can be like submarines.  Both are metal tubes, basically,” said the first submariner ever selected as an astronaut in NASA’s manned space flight program, Navy Captain Stephan G. Bowen.  “The difference is,” he told us, “In space the view is better.  In the submarine the food is better.”

This week, Veterans Day week, Captain Bowen is scheduled to serve his country in space aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.

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MOSCOW,  (RIA Novosti) – The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour will be launched on November 14 from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the International Space Station, NASA has informed Russia’s space agency.

The spacecraft will lift off at 8:55 p.m. EST (00:55 GMT November 15), to deliver commander Christopher J. Ferguson, pilot Eric A. Boe, specialists Stephen G. Bowen, Robert S. Kimbrough, Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper and NASA astronauts Donald R. Pettit and Sandra H. Magnus to the International Space Station.

Space shuttle Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson, left, answers ...
Space shuttle Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson, left, answers questions during a news conference with pilot Eric Boe, center, and mission specialist Steve Bowen at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies, including equipment needed to enlarge the station’s resident crew to six members, additional exercise equipment, devices for the regenerative life support system and spare hardware.

During their 15-day mission, the astronauts are to conduct four spacewalks and transfer and set up more than seven tons of equipment and supplies inside the orbital laboratory.

This Oct. 28, 2008 file photo shows Space shuttle Endeavour ... 
This Oct. 28, 2008 file photo shows Space shuttle Endeavour crew members, from left, commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Steve Bowen, Sandra Mangnus, Shane Kimbrough, Donald Petit and Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper at a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Endeavour, background, is scheduled for launch on Nov. 14. With a visit to the Hubble Space Telescope off until next spring at the earliest, NASA on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 chose Nov. 14 for its next space shuttle launch, a flight by Endeavour to the international space station.(AP Photo/John Raoux, file)
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Captain Stephen G. Bowen, USN

Upon completion of the submarine training pipeline he spent three years attached to USS PARCHE (SSN 683) and completed qualification in Submarines on USS POGY (SSN 647). After attending the MIT/WHOI Joint program in Ocean Engineering he reported to USS AUGUSTA (SSN 710) for duty as the Engineering Officer. During this tour he qualified for command of nuclear powered submarines. In 1997 he reported to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in the Office of Plans and Policy and worked on the USSOCOM Future Concepts Working Group. For 9 months in 1999 he was the Reactor and Propulsion inspector for the Navy’s Submarine Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). In May 2000 he became the first Executive Officer of the Pre-Commissioning Unit VIRGINIA (SSN 774) the first of the new VIRGINIA Class submaine.  Bowen is the first Submarine Officer selected by NASA in July 2000 as a mission specialist. He reported for training at the Johnson Space Center in August 2000. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch. Bowen is assigned to the crew of STS-126 targeted for launch in November 2008. Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies and equipment essential to sustain a crew of six on the International Space Station, including additional crew quarters, a regenerative life support system, and a Resistive Exercise Device (RED).


USS Pogy

Atlantis delivers new space lab

February 9, 2008
By Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew delivered a sparkling new lab to the international space station on Saturday, smoothly docking after a two-day chase around the world.

In this image taken from video provided by NASA TV, the space ...
In this image taken from video provided by NASA TV, the space shuttle Atlantis is seen from the International Space Station during a maneuver, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. Atlantis maneuvered toward a rendezvous with the international space station on Saturday, bringing a new $2 billion lab that European scientists can’t wait to see installed.
(AP Photo/NASA)

The $2 billion European science lab, Columbus, will be unloaded and attached to the space station on Sunday.

The two spacecraft linked up as they passed more than 200 miles above Australia. Just over an hour later, the 10 space travelers — seven shuttle astronauts and three station residents — threw open the hatches, laughing and shouting.

Just before docking, Atlantis did a 360-degree backflip so station commander Peggy Whitson and her crew could photograph the shuttle’s thermal shielding. Nearly 300 photos were beamed back to Earth so engineers could look for any signs of launch damage.

Mission Control requested extra pictures of a torn thermal blanket on Atlantis’ right orbital maneuvering system pod, back near the tail. The small tear was along a seam, and occurred during the launch, said flight director Mike Sarafin.

Engineers were analyzing the tear and whether it posed a hazard for re-entry at flight’s end. The exact size of the peeled-up section was unknown, but it appeared to be smaller than one that required spacewalking repairs last June….

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Shuttle Launched: Most Americans Yawn

February 8, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 8, 2008

The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis blasted into orbit Thursday with Europe’s gift to the international space station, a $2 billion science lab named Columbus.

The lab is filled with racks for experiments and research euipment and has fixtures on its exterior to host research exposed to the vacuum of space.  The lab represents the latest international addition to a facility already made of structures from the United States, Russia and Canada.

“It shows that there is a real partnership between communities,” NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said.

Space Shuttle Atlantis
Atlantis before the launch of
STS-115, August 29, 2006.

The launch followed a two month delay due to problems with fuel guages.

Yet this terrific national and international achievement of nations working together to venture into space and even live there seemed to be overlooked by most Americans.
art.shuttle.atlantis.launch.jpg

Atlantis blasts off February 7, 2008 on its way to the international space station to deliver a science lab.

The Fox News Channel televised the launch live, but viewers of other networks blissfully watched normal programming.  NBC aired Ellen Degeneris and ABC and CBS featured soap operas.

The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams did cover the shuttle mission: for exactly 28 seconds.The Washington Post editions of February 8 featured a picture with a caption — but no article and no crew names.

One was reminded of the scene in the Tom Hanks movie “Apollo 13” when the networks ignored a TV feed from space.
The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off Thursday afternoon Feb. ... 
The shuttle launch on February 7, 2008

Americans seemed to yawn.

But this shuttle mission, like each and every one of them, is a technological marvel and a wonder of experimentation and scientific achievement.  And men (and women) risk their lives in this process: high drama indeed.
The crew of space shuttle Atlantis departs their quarters for ...
The brave crew of space shuttle Atlantis departs their quarters for the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida February 7, 2008. Clockwise from left are Pilot Alan Poindexter, Leland Melvin, Stanley Love, France’s Leopold Eyharts, Germany’s Hans Schlegel, Rex Walheim and Mission Commander Stephen Frick. Mission STS-122 will take Atlantis to the International Space Station.
REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES)  

The two billion dollar science lab inside Atlantis is Columbus. Columbus, built by Europeans, will join the U.S. lab, Destiny, which was launched aboard Atlantis exactly seven years ago.

The much bigger Japanese lab Kibo, or Hope, will require three shuttle flights to get off the ground, beginning in March.

Atlantis’ commander, Stephen Frick, and his U.S., German and French crew will reach the space station on Saturday and begin installing Columbus the very next day. Three spacewalks are planned during the flight, scheduled to last 11 or, more likely, 12 days.

“We’re looking forward to doing our part to bring it up to Peggy Whitson and her crew on the international space station, and start its good work and many, many years of science,” Frick said before launch.

Besides Columbus, Atlantis will drop off a new space station resident, French Air Force Gen. Leopold Eyharts, who will swap places with NASA astronaut Daniel Tani and get Columbus working. Tani will return to Earth aboard the shuttle, ending a mission of nearly four months.

Eyharts will move into the space station for a little more than a month, replacing NASA astronaut Daniel Tani. He plans to help continue setting up and activating the Columbus module, Europe’s primary contribution to the space station.

The astronauts awoke Friday to “Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel, a dedication to French Air Force Gen. Leopold Eyharts from his wife and family.

Eyharts greeted his loved ones in English and French, saying, “I know it has been a somehow hard day for them and I want to thank them.”

The space shuttle Atlantis flies above a cloud on its way into ...
The space shuttle Atlantis flies above a cloud on its way into orbit following liftoff Thursday afternoon Feb. 7, 2008 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) 

Some of the technological wonder of NASA was on display Friday morning.  The NASA TV channel and MS NBC broadcast an interview with International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers Peggy Whitson and Daniel Tani.

Astronaut Tani’s Mother died while he was aboard the ISS and NASA sent to him an audio and visual feed of her funeral service.

To NASA’s relief, all four fuel gauges in Atlantis’ external fuel tank worked properly during the final stage of the countdown. The gauges failed back in December because of a faulty connector, and NASA redesigned the part to fix the problem, which had been plaguing the shuttles for three years.

NASA was anxious to get Atlantis flying as soon as possible to keep alive its hopes of achieving six launches this year. The space agency faces a 2010 deadline for finishing the station and retiring the shuttles. That equates to four or five shuttle flights a year between now and then, something NASA Administrator Michael Griffin considers achievable.
Space shuttle Atlantis soars above clouds after liftoff from ... 

“Today we are opening a new chapter for ESA,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the European Space Agency director general yesterday. “Just as Columbus discovered the New World, with Columbus, we are discovering a whole new world.”
 

Space shuttle Atlantis STS-122 commander Stephen Frick, front ...
Space shuttle Atlantis STS-122 commander Stephen Frick, front row right, pilot Alan Poindexter, left. Second row, mission specialist Rex Walheim, right, mission specialist Leland Melvin, left. Third row, European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel of Germany, right, mission specialist Stanley Love and last row, European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts of France , obscured, are seen on their way to pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Thursday Feb. 7, 2008. Atlantis is scheduled to launch Thursday afternoon on a 11-day mission to deliver Columbus, a laboratory module built by the European Space Agency.
(AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Atlantis is scheduled to remain operational until 2010, but is not currently scheduled for any missions beyond 2008.
Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy ... 

Report: Astronauts drank before launch

July 26, 2007

By Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At least twice, astronauts were allowed to fly after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so drunk they posed a flight-safety risk, an aviation weekly reported Thursday, citing a special panel studying astronaut health.

The independent panel also found “heavy use of alcohol” before launch that was within the standard 12-hour “bottle-to-throttle” rule, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology, which reported the finding on its Web site.

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