Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

Lost in Space: Astronaut Who Lost Her Tools Admits “Ooops”

November 20, 2008

The astronaut who lost her tool bag on a spacewalk admitted Wednesday that she made a mistake by not checking to see if the sack was tied down, and said she’s still smarting over the whole thing.

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper said in an interview with The Associated Press that it was “very disheartening” to lose her bag full of tools. She was trying to clean up grease that had oozed out of a grease gun in the backpack-size bag, when the tote and everything in it floated away Tuesday.

The bag was one of the largest items ever lost by a spacewalking astronaut. NASA put the price tag of the tool bag at $100,000.

For a split second, she thought she might be able to grab it and she tried to judge how far away it was. Just as quickly, “I thought, no, that would probably just make things worse and the best thing to do would be to just let it go.”

In this image from NASA TV, a tool  kit bag, top right, floats ...
“There she goes!”  In this image from NASA TV, a tool kit bag, top right, floats to the right and rear of the International Space Station, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. The bag was being used by astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper during a scheduled 6 1/2-hour spacewalk. Stefanyshyn-Piper lost grasp of it during a procedure and it floated away.(AP Photo/NASA TV)

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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.”

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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Capitalism, fiscal woes; contempt for economic liberty

November 9, 2008

There has always been contempt for economic liberty. Historically, our nation was an important, not complete, exception. It took the calamity of the Great Depression to bring about today’s level of restrictions on economic liberty. Now we have another government-created calamity that has the prospect of moving us even further away from economic liberty with the news media and pundits creating the perception that the current crisis can be blamed on capitalism.

We see comments such as those in the New York Times: “The United States  has a culture that celebrates laissez-faire capitalism as the economic ideal.” Or, “For 30 years, the nation’s political system has been tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules.” Another says, “Since 1997, Mr. Brown [the British prime minister] has been a powerful voice behind the Labor Party’s embrace of an American-style economic philosophy that was light on regulation.”

By Walter E. Williams
The Washington Times

First, let’s establish what laissez-faire capitalism is. Broadly defined, it is an economic system based on private ownership and control over of the means of production. Under laissez-faire capitalism, government activity is restricted to the protection of the individual’s rights against fraud, theft and the initiation of physical force.

Professor George Reisman has written a very insightful article on his blog titled “The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis.” ( nsible.html) You can decide whether we have an unregulated laissez-faire economy. There are 15 Cabinet departments, nine of which control various aspects of the U.S. economy. They are the Departments of: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Commerce and Interior. In addition, there is the alphabet soup cluster of federal agencies such as: the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH and NASA.

Here’s my question to you: Can one be sane and at the same time hold that ours is an unregulated laissez-faire economy? Better yet, tell me what a businessman, or for that matter you, can do that does not involve some kind of government regulation.

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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.


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)

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

Space shuttle Endeavour blasts off

March 11, 2008

By Marcia Dunn, Associated Press Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Endeavour and a crew of seven blasted into orbit Tuesday on what was to be the longest space station mission ever, a 16-day voyage to build a gangly robot and add a new room that will serve as a closet for a future lab.
Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy ... 

The space shuttle roared from its seaside pad at 2:28 a.m., lighting up the sky for miles around.

It was a rare treat: The last time NASA launched a shuttle at nighttime was in 2006. Only about a quarter of shuttle flights have begun in darkness.

“Good luck and Godspeed, and we’ll see you back here in 16 days,” launch director Mike Leinbach radioed to the astronauts right before liftoff.

“God truly has blessed us with a beautiful night here, Mike, to launch, so let’s light them up and give Him a show,” replied Endeavour’s commander, Dominic Gorie.

They did…

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Only in America: Boundless Technology; Brilliant Youth

February 22, 2008

“Never have so many owed so much to so few.”
–Winston Churchill

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Friday, February 22, 2008

Wednesday, USS Lake Erie’s sailors launched an SM-3 Missile that streaked into space to hit an errant U.S. spy satellite exactly as planned: right amidships of the 1,000 pound toxic hydrazine fuel tank.

The satellite was at about 133 miles in altitude and traveling at 17,000 miles per hour or 24 times the speed of sound.

In the twinkling of an eye, America demonstrated new, or at least unknown and unproven, technology and capability. The United States, for the first time, exploded a satellite in shallow space or just before reentry using tactical systems: ships and missiles and men trained to fight “in the air” were reaching into space: for the first time ever.

My Vietnam-born bride said, “Only in America.” Then she said, “The sailors did it.”

As she so often does, my wife Lien was making a huge statement with the fewest of words. She, in one breath, extolled the wonders of American technology as well as the devotion, care and brilliance of our American people: especially our often maligned American youth.

The next day, Serbian youths ransacked the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and several other Embassies that violated their ideas about what was right and wrong about Kosovo.

I don’t recall America’s youth rioting to this extent for a while.

Sailors love, cherish, care for and maintain their ships and often high-tech and high-cost equipment with the greatest precision and detail. They are devoted, driven and professional.  They are both hard working and delightful.

If you have troubled kids or a dim view of American youth: visit a U.S. Navy ship.

I’ll extend this line of thinking to U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force airmen. I’m no Ollie North but I’ve been around the U.S. military and around the globe.

I have one unshakable conclusion: our young Americans are serving superbly.

We are a nation at war.

The war is a war of ideas.  We oppose no nation, no people and no religion.  Yet the people with other ideas are armed and dangerous: they use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and women and children and the mentally infirm with bombs wrapped around them. 

We are using about one percent of our population to fight, with arms, the war against terror.

“Never have so many owed so much to so few.”

That one percent is sacrificing life and limbs, and I mean arms and legs are lost every day, for You.

I am reminded every day of Sir Winston Churchill: “Never have so many owed so much to so few.”

I am moved by the wonders of the U.S. Navy reaching into space and the dichotomies of this nation.

Some geniuses at the Pentagon, as they prepared to blast a satellite to smithereens and then watch the chucks or, as military analyst John Pikes calls them, “gravel,” of the space debris reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up; said: “We need a toxic debris clean up team!”

But of course.

America needs a “Toxic Space Debris Clean Up Team.”

Never mind that junk in the form of meteors have been hitting the Earth for centuries and that satellites and their parts have been crashing to Earth since the 1950s without incident.

America needs a “Toxic Space Debris Clean Up Team.”

Funny, I don’t recall China’s “Toxic Space Debris Clean Up Team” when they blew up a satellite last year.  Do you?

They have 1.3 Billion people.  We Americans have a 0.3 Billion.  That is about 300 Million.

We stand, in terms of history and population, in China’s margin.

My wife submitted this commentary. “Only in America.”

So, with haz-mat suits at the ready, a quick response team stood on alert Thursday, the day after the satellite was destroyed, to head anyplace on Earth that the pieces of a lame satellite shot down by the U.S. Navy might fall.

And for the ultimate dichotomy: inside the “Toxic Space-Only Rocket Fuel Mop Up Kit” do you know what you’ll find?

Kitty litter.

Only in America.

Next time you have a cat stuck in a tree or sewer or a hunk of burning space debris smoldering on your lawn, dial 911.

Only in America.

American has ambulances almost everywhere.  In India, they pack you into the back seat of a taxi and hope for the best.

My friends in the world community will forgive me for this.  Others will castigate me.  But I believe in the wonder and wonders of America.

I live in a land of Boundless Technology and Brilliant Youth.

It might not always be so.

But for now, as my wife says, “Only in America.”

U.S. Navy Setting Up To Kill Dangerous Satellite

February 19, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 19, 2008

The U.S. Navy is setting up at sea with two missile armed ships to kill a satellite heading toward reentry with about 1,000 pounds of frozen toxic hydrazine fuel aboard.

The hydrazine could pose a threat to people and animals on the ground if it landed on earth, the U.S. Department of Defense and other government sources have said.  A National Security Council spokesman indicated that President Bush made the decision to order the Navy to eliminate the satellite.

The ships making ready to launch missiles are the USS Lake Erie and USS Decatur, according to U.S. Navy sources.  Lake Erie is a guided missile cruiser that has had special crew training and experience with the SM-3 missile which is expected to be used during this event.  Decatur is a guided missile destroyer with similar crew training and experience.
USS Lake Erie docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)

At least three SM-3 missile are known to be dedicated to this mission.
Read Admiral Brad Hicks, the senior engineer in the Navy with oversight over these missiles and the support computer programs and systems, is know to be at sea aboard one of these ships.

The missile launch to attempt to kill the satellite cannot occur before the Space Shuttle Atlantis lands on Wednesday. 

According to sources, NASA has requested that the Navy hold off until Atlantis lands, even though there is practically no danger to the space shuttle from this event.
Decatur entering San Diego Harbor, 9 March 2004.
USS Decatur (DDG-73)

Both Russia and China have objected to the event, saying that the United States is potentially starting an arms race in space.

China already demontrated an-anti satellite (ASAT) capability by using a former strategic intercontinental launch system to take out a Chinese made satellite.

The Defense Department said that China’s test was in “deep space” and “the great altitude” of several hundred miles.  The U.S. Navy is attemting to destroy a U.S. made satellite at about 150 miles from the surface of the earth.  The satellite target is nearing reentry and is of potential danger to an area of life on earth.

The U.S. Navy’s SM-3 is much smaller and less capable than a Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile.  Experts tell Peace and Freedom that the Russian and Chinese objections are “laughable.”

The “kill vehicle” which is expected to hit the satellite is guided by an infra-red heat source.  Since the satellite is “cold,” the shot must occur while the sun is reflecting an IR source off the satellite.  This only occures during a time-frame once every day.

The first attempt to kill the satellite will occur on Thursday. 

The Navy is prepared to attempt additional intercepts of the satellite if necessary.


US to try satellite shoot-down Thursday: report

Navy Will Attempt to Down Spy Satellite

US to try satellite shoot-down Thursday: report

February 19, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States will take its first shot at an out-of-control spy satellite on Thursday, trying to knock it into the sea before it crashes to Earth, possibly causing damage, CNN news reported Monday.

This undated file photo released by the US Department of Defense ...
A second attempt would be possible if the first misses, the channel said, citing military sources. Pentagon officials were not immediately available for confirmation.
USS Lake Erie docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70) docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A U.S. Navy ship like this will likely launch the missile
intended to kill the satellite.

China: No to U.S. Missile Shot at SatelliteRussia Says U.S. Satellite May Be “Space Weapon” Test

Navy Will Attempt to Down Spy Satellite

NASA wants the shuttle on the ground before the Navy shoots:

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Navy Will Attempt to Down Spy Satellite

February 16, 2008

By Marc Kauffman and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 15, 2008; Page A01

A Navy cruiser in the Pacific Ocean will try an unprecedented shoot-down of an out-of-control, school-bus-size U.S. spy satellite loaded with a toxic fuel as it begins its plunge to Earth, national security officials said yesterday.made the decision because it was impossible to predict where a tank containing the fuel might land in an uncontrolled descent, officials said.

The Pentagon said it decided to use a modified, ship-fired anti-ballistic missile to make the attempt sometime after Feb. 20 to avoid creating debris that could threaten the space shuttle on its return from the international space station.

Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Navy missile will be fired as the satellite reenters the atmosphere and “has a reasonably high opportunity for success.” The Pentagon and NASA have been working on the missile modifications for the past three weeks.

Deputy national security adviser James F. Jeffrey said the decision was based on the fact that the satellite is carrying a substantial amount of hydrazine, a hazardous rocket fuel.

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Shuttle astronauts gear up for Spacewalk

February 11, 2008
By LIZ AUSTIN PETERSON, Associated Press Writer

HOUSTON – Space shuttle Atlantis’ astronauts geared up for a spacewalk Monday that NASA said would remain unchanged despite a last-minute switch in crew for medical reasons.

“The only difference is who’s going out the hatch,” said flight director Mike Sarafin.

The primary purpose of the spacewalk is to help install the $2 billion European lab, Columbus, that Atlantis ferried to the international space station.

German astronaut Hans Schlegel was supposed to carry out the spacewalk with American Rex Walheim but was pulled from the job Saturday because of an undisclosed illness.

He was fine for Thursday’s liftoff and became ill in orbit, European Space Agency officials said, adding that the condition was neither life-threatening nor contagious. While NASA declined to release any details, citing medical privacy, a majority of astronauts suffer from space motion sickness during their first few days in orbit.

Schlegel, 56, looked and sounded well Sunday, and was expected to take part in the second spacewalk of the mission on Wednesday. On Monday, however, Schlegel was given the task of helping choreograph…

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