CHRISTMAS IN SPACE 50 YEARS LATER

The Expedition 58 crew will spend Christmas in space for the first time since the Apollo 8 crew exactly 50 years ago.

CHRISTMAS IN SPACE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 50 YEARS

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The Expedition 58 crew will spend Christmas in space for the first time since the Apollo 8 crew exactly 50 years ago.

Three people from the U.S., Canada and Russia are orbiting Earth today getting ready to observe Christmas and experience New Year’s Eve from space aboard the International Space Station. Back on Earth, another three station crew members have returned to their home bases just 24 hours after completing a 197-day mission aboard the orbital lab.

HISTORY MADE IN A MUCH LARGER SOYUZ SPACESHIP

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Christmas was spent on Apollo 8 in 1968. This was a much smaller spaceship than is used today to transport astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station

The first time three humans spent Christmas in space was 50 years ago in 1968 during Apollo 8 and was also the first time a crew orbited the Moon. This Christmas astronauts Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency with cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos will be soaring about 250 miles above the Earth’s surface in a much larger spacecraft. The Expedition 58 trio will share a traditional meal aboard the orbital lab, share gifts and call down to family during their off-duty day.

Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission on the station and will spend his second Christmas in space. McClain and Saint-Jacques are getting used to life in space for the first time and will return to Earth in June with Kononenko.

NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor returned to Houston late Thursday just one day after landing in Kazakhstan wrapping up her six-and-a-half month stay aboard the orbital lab. She parachuted to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft with her Expedition 57 crewmates Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.

Written By: Mark Garcia NASA

FACTS AND FIGURES OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

Mark Garcia, NASA Editor, updated the facts, figures, and some history of the space station with expanded artistic rendering in the image below. Universal Digest is glad to add this information in addition to the standard article procedure. Because of the historic situation of astronauts not having been in a spaceship by itself since the moon orbits 50 years ago, it is a good time to provide this to the readers.

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This is a detailed expansion of the International Space Station. Mark Garcia of NASA just updated the facts, figures and history in November of 2018.

SPACE STATION DETAIL OF FACTS, FIGURES, AND HISTORY

230 individuals from 18 countries have visited the International Space Station

The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000

An international crew of six people live and work while traveling at a speed of five miles per second, orbiting Earth about every 90 minutes.
In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, traveling through 16 sunrises and sunsets

Peggy Whitson set the record for spending the most total time living and working in space at 665 days on Sept. 2, 2017
The acre of solar panels that power the station means sometimes you can look up in the sky at dawn or dusk and see the spaceship flying over your home, even if you live in a big city. Find sighting opportunities at http://spotthestation.nasa.gov

The living and working space in the station is larger than a six-bedroom house (and has six sleeping quarters, two bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree view bay window).
To mitigate the loss of muscle and bone mass in the human body in microgravity, the astronauts work out at least two hours a day.

Astronauts and cosmonauts have conducted more than 205 spacewalks (and counting!) for space station construction, maintenance and repair since December 1998

The solar array wingspan (240 feet) is about the same length as the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.

The large modules and other pieces of the station were delivered on 42 assembly flights, 37 on the U.S. space shuttles and five on Russian Proton/Soyuz rockets.

The space station is 357 feet end-to-end, one yard shy of the full length of an American football field including the end zones.

Eight miles of wire connects the electrical power system aboard the space station.

The 55-foot robotic Canadarm2 has seven different joints and two end-effectors, or hands, and is used to move entire modules, deploy science experiments and even transport spacewalking astronauts.

Six spaceships can be connected to the space station at once.

A spacecraft can arrive at the space station as soon as six hours after launching from Earth.

Four different cargo spacecraft deliver science, cargo and supplies: Orbital ATK’s Cygnus, SpaceX’s Dragon, JAXA’s HTV, and the Russian Progress.

Through Expedition 52, the microgravity laboratory has hosted more than 2,400 research investigations from researchers in more than 103 countries.

The station’s orbital path takes it over 90 percent of the Earth’s population, with astronauts taking millions of images of the planet below. Check them out at https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov

More than 20 different research payloads can be hosted outside the station at once, including Earth sensing equipment, materials science payloads, particle physics experiments like the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02 and more.

The space station travels an equivalent distance to the Moon and back in about a day.

The Water Recovery System reduces crew dependence on water delivered by a cargo spacecraft by 65 percent – from about 1 gallon a day to a third of a gallon.

On-orbit software monitors approximately 350,000 sensors, ensuring station and crew health and safety.

The space station has an internal pressurized volume equal that of a Boeing 747.

More than 50 computers control the systems on the space station.

More than 3 million lines of software code on the ground support more than 1.5 million lines of flight software code.

In the International Space Station’s U.S. segment alone, more than 1.5 million lines of flight software code run on 44 computers communicating via 100 data networks transferring 400,000 signals (e.g. pressure or temperature measurements, valve positions, etc.).

SPACE STATION SIZE AND MASS DETAIL

International Space Station Size & Mass:

Pressurized Module Length: 240 feet (73 meters)
Truss Length: 357.5 feet (109 meters)
Solar Array Length: 239.4 feet (73 meters)
Mass: 925,335 pounds (419,725 kilograms)
Habitable Volume: 13,696 cubic feet (388 cubic meters) not including visiting vehicles
Pressurized Volume: 32,333 cubic feet (916 cubic meters)
With BEAM expanded: 32,898 cubic feet (932 cubic meters)
Power Generation: 8 solar arrays provide 75 to 90 kilowatts of power
Lines of Computer Code: approximately 2.3 million

Last Updated: Nov. 5, 2018

Editor: Mark Garcia NASA


UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.

Universal Digest is committed to providing its audience with the most timely news reporting; however, there are times where this is not possible. Therefore, a concise reporting of historical news occurrences are published, as soon as, is practicable.

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APOLLO 20 MISSION – WAS IT REAL?

These are Apollo patches of planned missions 18, 19, and 20 that did not take place.
Did the Apollo 20 mission really happen? This article takes a look at the history of claims that it did.
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These are Apollo patches of planned missions 18, 19, and 20 that did not take place.
Google search for Apollo 20 patches yields much more.
I watched “Aliens on the Moon” on the Destination America channel, yesterday. I must say the two-hour episode was most interesting. I could see where serious research was undertaken, yet one thing stood out that could not be denied. It was still speculative. Until we can get up close to touch, photograph, and explore, it should not be construed as irrefutable evidence.
 
When it got to the part about William Rutledge, I did a little digging…hoax, in my humble opinion (IMHO). Of course, being human, I could be wrong; however, what follows makes me think I am not. The presentation of evidence was professional and compelling, but it was not substantiated beyond the shadow of a doubt. Yes, a search of NASA Apollo mission patches came up positive up to Mission 20; however, no mission was flown past 1972. The claims of finding an alien (named Moona Lisa) in an old, crashed spacecraft, as well as, spacecraft images have been debunked as models. Stanley Kubrick actually took pictures of the Apollo 11 spacecraft interior and could have been used in the production of the Apollo 20 mission claims.
The Saturn V was the only rocket booster capable of freeing man and materiel past earth orbit. 1 was used to lift Skylab into orbit and 12 were used for the manned moon missions. Except for Apollo 13, which had to abort due to an oxygen module explosion, missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 did successfully land on the moon.
The launch of a Saturn V rocket could be heard and seen for miles around. Further, a launch from Vandenberg AFB from the California central coast would have raised eyebrows of many area inhabitants. Vandenberg AFB does launch more satellites into orbit than the Kennedy Space Center; however, its facility has not and is not adapted for the launch of such a large vehicle.
The following is a video of the Apollo 8 launch:

The concept that we could have so secretly sent a three man crew is beyond the words fantastic and believable. NASA astronaut, Leona Snyder is determined as fictitious after extended searches, I could find no evidence of her existence. Alexei Leonov is now 82 years of age and has quite a remarkable history. Although, he was busy in 1975 linking Russian space craft with the Americans in earth orbit, his activities in no way show where he was on the moon in 1976. 
On one of my trips to Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the summer of 1991, I found present assessments of why we did not continue the moon missions was mostly financial…NASA had no money and the morale of personnel was quite low. Upon query about alien artifacts or other evidence being found, the response was consistent. Nothing had been found and they hoped it would be different.
 
Now, in 2017, we are still viewing quite speculative videos in TV media. What amazes me is how the sensationalism prevails over concrete evidence. If it were not for my personal observations, I’d be so done with this stuff. If it is entertainment over evidence the public desires, then, what may come of all this?
 
Further, what will happen if it turns out proof we are not alone becomes fact. Although, it would not faze me in the least, I contend that the prevalent consideration of worldwide panic would be more correct.
* Please note: Click on black, highlighted links above to view source material.
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NEXT GENERATION ROCKET – SLS!

The next generation of space travel will consist of the latest, heavy launch technology, the SLS (Space Launch System)!

This week’s Rocketology post is by the newest member of the SLS communications team, Beverly Perry.

When NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) first flies, it will slice through Earth’s atmosphere, unshackling itself from gravity, and soar toward the heavens in an amazing display of shock and awe. To meet the engineering challenges such an incredible endeavor presents, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center draws upon a vast and diverse array of engineering talent, expertise and enthusiasm that spans multiple disciplines and, in some cases, a generation. Or two.

Kathryn Crowe is a twenty-something aerospace engineer who tweets from her smartphone and calls herself a “purveyor of the future.” Hugh Brady, on the other hand, began his career at Marshall during the days of punch cards and gargantuan room-sized IBM mainframes with an entire 16 kilobytes (!) of memory.

Kathryn Crowe and Hugh Brady

While they’ve had very different experiences, Kathryn Crowe and Hugh Brady share a common excitement for their work on SLS.

But if you think these two don’t have much common ground on which to build a strong working foundation, well, think again. Although the two aerospace engineers may be separated by a couple generations, they speak of each other with mutual admiration, respect and enthusiasm. And like any relationship built on a solid foundation, there’s room for fun, too.

Even though Brady’s career spans 50-plus years at NASA, he’s anything but jaded, to hear Crowe tell it. “Hugh still seems to keep that original sense of excitement. I figure if he thinks I’m doing okay, then I must be doing okay since he’s seen almost our entire history as an agency. It’s nice to have him to help keep me straight,” says Crowe, who recently received NASA’s Space Flight Awareness Trailblazer Award, which recognizes those in the early stages of their career who demonstrate creative, innovative thinking in support of human spaceflight. “And, he always tries to bring a sense of humor to everything he does.”

“I’ve enjoyed being mentored by Kathryn,” jokes the seventy-something Brady, who admits to failing retirement (twice, so far) because he loves the space program and can’t stay away. (Also, he said, because he doesn’t care for television. But mostly it’s because he loves space exploration and working with young, talented engineers.)

Crowe and Brady have worked together evaluating design options and deciding on solutions to make the second configuration of SLS as flexible and adaptable as possible. This upgraded configuration – known as Block 1B – adds a more-powerful upper stage and will stand taller than the Saturn V. It could fly as early as the second launch of SLS, which will be the first crewed mission to venture into lunar orbit since Apollo. Block 1B also presents the opportunity to fly a co-manifested payload, or additional large payload in addition to the Orion crew capsule.

Illustration showing the Block 1B configuration of the rocket and 8.4 and 10 meter payload fairing options

The addition of an Exploration Upper Stage to SLS will make the next generation rocket more powerful and open up new mission possibilities.

For Crowe, a self-described “shuttle baby,” working on a future configuration of SLS means the chance to look at the big picture. “I like to have a global view on things. For this particular rocket, we’ve made it as flexible as we can. We can complete missions that we don’t even know the requirements for yet!”

For Brady, “Things have a tendency to repeat.” While technology and solutions continue to improve, some of the challenges of spaceflight will always remain the same. When it comes to wrestling with the challenges of a co-manifested payload, Brady draws on his experience, but focuses on solutions that are tailored for SLS. It’s bringing lessons from the past into the present in order to find the best solution for future missions. “It’s drawing on what we’ve learned from the past but not necessarily repeating the past. We want the best solution for this vehicle,” he emphasizes.

Crowe says the experience and knowledge Brady brought to the table made all the difference when studying options for the next generation SLS vehicle. “Hugh would say, ‘I think we worked on this particular technical problem when we were initially flying.’ He could draw parallels so we didn’t reinvent the wheel,” Crowe says. Since then, Brady has become something of a mentor to Crowe and other younger team members.

“When you put that kind of technical information on the table it gives people better information – information that’s based on prior experience,” Brady says. “We may not pick the same solution, because technology changes over time, but we will have more and better information to use when making decisions.”

“I think that having that kind of precedent to build upon it really is a beautiful thing,” Crowe says.

For his part, Brady says he feels a “comfort” level in passing the United States’ launch vehicle capabilities on to the next generation of engineers and other supporting personnel. “One of the things I find very exciting is to look around and see the young talent around the center with their energy and enthusiasm. I feel good thinking about when I do hang it up – again – that they will carry on and even do more than we did,” he says.

When you ask Crowe if humans will get to Mars, she says, “For sure I think within my lifetime I will see humans on Mars. I think more than ever right now is the right time to return to human spaceflight. We have the right skills and expertise. And when we successfully complete our mission and show that sort of hope to people again, that’s going to be equally as important as technological benefits.”

“That’s the objective,” Brady says. “I can’t wait until we fly again. It’s a tremendous feeling! It’s exhilarating! It’s time.”

The next generation of space travel mechanisms will truly by exciting! Please enjoy the following short video animation of such a launch:


UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.

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Mars, Miles, Mass and Momentum

During his yearlong mission aboard the International Space Station, Scott Kelly traveled over 143 million miles in orbit around Earth.

On average, Mars is 140 million miles away from our planet.

Coincidence? Well, basically yes.

Scott Kelly with plant-growth experiment

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took this selfie with the second crop of red romaine lettuce in August 2015. Research into things like replenishable food sources will help prepare the way for Mars. (And the red lettuce even kind of matches the Red Planet!)

There’s nothing average about a trip to Mars; so of course you don’t travel an “average distance” to get there. Launches for robotic missions – the satellites and rovers studying Mars today – are timed around when Earth and Mars are about a third of that distance, which happens every 26 months.

While the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, straight lines are hard to do in interplanetary travel. Instead, Mars missions use momentum from Earth to arc outward from one planet to the other. The Opportunity rover launched when Earth and Mars were the closest they’d been in 60,000 years, and the rover still had to travel 283 million miles to reach the Red Planet.

On the International Space Station, Scott Kelly was traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour, an ideal speed for orbital research that keeps the station steadily circling Earth every 90 minutes. To break free of orbit and go farther to deep space, spacecraft have to travel at higher speeds. Opportunity, for example, traveled at an average of 60,000 miles per hour on the way to Mars, covering twice the distance Kelly traveled on the station in just over half the time.

Graphic showing Opportunity’s trajectory from Earth to Mars

Although Earth and Mars were relatively close together when Opportunity launched, the rover’s trip out was twice the average distance between the two planets.

The fastest any human being has ever traveled was the crew of Apollo 10, who hit a top speed of almost 25,000 miles per hour returning to Earth in 1969. For astronauts to reach Mars, we need to be able to propel them not only faster than the space station travels, but faster than we’ve ever gone before.

But the real lesson of Kelly’s year in space isn’t the miles, it’s the months. The human body changes in the absence of the effects of gravity. The time Kelly spent in space will reveal a wealth of new data about these changes, ranging from things like how fluid shifts in microgravity affected his vision to the behavioral health impacts of his long duration in the void of space. This information reveals more about what will happen to astronauts traveling to Mars and back, but it also gives us insight into how to equip them for that trip, which will be approximately 30 months in duration round-trip. What sort of equipment will they need to keep them healthy? What accommodations will they require to stay mentally acute? What sort of vehicle do we need to build and equip to send them on their journey?

Months and millions of miles. Momentum and mass. These are some of the most basic challenges of Mars. We will need to build a good ship for our explorers. And we will need the means to lift it from Earth and send it on its way fast enough to reach Mars.

An engine section weld confidence article for the SLS Core Stage is taken off the Vertical Assembly Center at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans

An engine section weld confidence article for the SLS Core Stage is taken off the Vertical Assembly Center at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

While Scott Kelly has been living in space helping us to learn more about the challenges, we’ve been working on the rocket that will be a foundational part of addressing them. Scott Kelly left Earth last year half a month after the Space Launch System (SLS) Program conducted a first qualification test of one of its solid rocket boosters. Since then, we have conducted tests of the core stage engines. We’ve started welding together fuel tanks for the core stage. We’ve begun assembling the upper stage for the first flight. We’ve been building new test stands, and upgraded a barge to transport rocket hardware. The Orion program has completed the pressure vessel for a spacecraft that will travel around the moon and back. Kennedy Space Center has been upgrading the facilities that will launch SLS and Orion in less than three years.

And that’s just a part of the work that NASA’s done while Kelly was aboard the space station. Our robotic vanguard at Mars discovered evidence of flowing liquid water, and we’ve been testing new technologies to prepare us for the journey.

Down here and up there, it’s been a busy year, and one that has, in so many ways, brought us a year closer to Mars. The YearInSpace months and millions of miles may be done, but many more Mars milestones are yet to come!

 


UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.

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