Archive for the ‘Kibo’ Category

Shuttle docks with space station

March 13, 2008
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Endeavour pulled up to the international space station and docked Wednesday, kicking off almost two weeks of demanding construction work.

This image provided by NASA shows the cargo bay of the Space ...
This image provided by NASA shows the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Endeavour where the logistics module for the Japanese Kibo laboratory awaits being added to the growing International Space Station. Space shuttle Endeavour closed in on the international space station on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 for a late-night linkup that will kick off almost two weeks of demanding construction work.
(AP Photo/NASA, HO)

Before the late-night linkup, Endeavour’s commander, Dominic Gorie, guided the shuttle through a 360-degree backflip to allow for full photographic surveillance.

It’s one of the many safety-related procedures put in place following the Columbia tragedy in 2003.

The space station crew used cameras with high-powered zoom lenses to photograph Endeavour from nose to tail, especially all the thermal tiles on its belly. The pictures — as many as 300 — will be scrutinized by engineers on the ground to see whether the shuttle suffered any damage during Tuesday’s launch.

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America Needs To Do More Hard Work

March 10, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom 

“We have lift off!”

Those words, spoken at every space launch, bury decades of work and investment necessary to make tough missions successful.

After U.S. military forces toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, President George W. Bush confidently marched across the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln beneath a banner bearing the words “Mission Accomplished.”

That was May 1, 2003.
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President Bush addressing sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln
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Democrats have derided the president since as over confident and ill prepared for the long-term work needed to insure peace and security in a new democratic Iraq.

Today, as we approach May 1, 2008, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes say the war in Iraq is costing the United States $12 Billion every month – three times the predicted monthly costs in 2003.  Add to that thousands of wounded and dead.
USS Lake Erie docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70) docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

When USS Lake Erie, a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser, shot down an errant satellite on February 20 of this year, the missile and satellite intercept was rooted in a ship and combat systems development that began in the 1970s and a missile and ballistic missile defense effort that started in 1991. The costs would be staggering but are difficult to tally.

The point is simple: as we watch space shuttle Endeavour launch from the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow for a rendezvous with an orbiting International Space Station, the important thought is not those few seconds of “We have lift off.” The more important part of our space “endeavor” is the huge investment made by engineers, scientists, astronauts, mission planners, financial analysts and tens of thousands of others since the 1950s.

Endeavor’s mission to the ISS will last 16 days: the longest shuttle mission ever to the ISS.  A main task at the ISS will be installing the first stage of the Japanese laboratory called Kibo, a micro-gravity research facility which aims to open a vital new stage in deeper space exploration. Kibo, which means “hope” in Japanese, will be delivered in three stages. Once installed, it will complete the research nucleus of the ISS along with the American, Russian and European laboratories.

The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its launch pad at ...
The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 8, 2007.(Scott Audette/Reuters)

Projects like our shuttle and ISS efforts take tons of sweat.

The same might be said of the war in Iraq. The same Democrats that criticized George W. Bush for “Mission Accomplished” are now critical of Senator John McCain for saying that American troops could be in Iraq for a long time – maybe up to 100 years.

This should not be too much a surprise to a nation with troops in Germany since 1945 and troops in South Korea since the brokered cease fire in the mid-1950s.

Tough tasks take a very long time and they also cost a lot of money.

The United States is the richest nation on earth ever – and the longest lasting democracy ever. And the Founders didn’t create our Constitution and the other underpinnings of this greatness overnight: it took years.

Life — and especially foreign policy — is not a viedo game.  It takes care, patience invested energy and time. Patience (for those who have forgotten) is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.  Thus goals are achieved.

In a society now enamored by lighting fast cell phones and an American Idol contest that only has drama for weeks at a stretch, we might reflect upon American greatness and history which teaches us, without a doubt, that great achievements are only within our grasp after long-term effort and investment — and plenty of it.

Related:
Only in America: Boundless Technology; Brilliant Youth

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.
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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 ...