Monday, September 29, 2008

SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 1 to Orbit

A. Launch of the Falcon 1 Flight 4 vehicle from Omelek Island, in the Kwajalein Atoll, 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Liftoff occurred Sunday 28 September 2008, at 4:15 PM (PDT), 23:15 (UTC).

B. The critical stage separation sequence began about 2 minutes and 37 seconds into flight with shutdown of the Merlin first stage engine, then separation of the first and second stages, followed by ignition of the Kestrel second stage engine.

C. About nine and a half minutes after launch, the second stage engine shuts down, and the Falcon 1 becomes the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Space Derelicts

OObjects has a gallery of abandoned space vehicles and facilities. Pictured is a rotting Buran space shuttle, a USSR craft from Cold War days. 

Falcon 1 | Static Fire

The static firing for SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket took place on Saturday [20 Sep 2008, CA time], as expected, and no major issues came up.

The replacement of a component in the 2nd stage engine LOX supply line would add a few extra days to the schedule, so the updated launch window estimate is now Sept 28th through Oct 1st [CA time].

Monday, September 22, 2008

Atlantis & Endeavor

Gizmodo has a nice pic of space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavor sitting in the launch pads. Endeavor is in standby as a rescue craft for the Atlantis, which is due to fly to repair the Hubble Telescope. 

Dwarf Planet Named Haumea

The International Astronomical Union named the football-shaped dwarf planet 2003 EL61 after a Hawaiian fertility goddess - Haumea.

Haumea, discovered in 2005, is the fifth dwarf planet in our Solar System, after Ceres, Pluto, Eris and Makemake.

Lucy in the Skies with Diamonds


A dwarf star in Centaurus is believed to have a solid diamond for a core - with a 2,500 mile diameter!

The star - called BPM 37093 and located 50,000 light years away - has a diamond core weighing a billion trillion trillion carats (2.7 thousand trillion trillion tons). 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SpaceX Falcon's 4th Flight

SpaceX's Falcon rocket is still on track for a September launch countdown.

Expedited delivery – SpaceX purchased a C-17 flight from the USAF to fly the Falcon 1 Flight 4 vehicle from Los Angeles International to the Kwajalein Atoll. Image: SpaceX.

SpaceX’s Falcon 1 Flight 4 on the launch pad at Omelek Island in the Kwajalein Atoll of the Marshall Islands (19 Sep 2008).

LHC Out for 2 Months

The Large Hadron Collider will be out of commission for 2 months, barely a few days after it was launched. 

The LHC's 30-ton transformer failed yesterday. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Green is In, Even in Astronomy

Take this observatory for example.

The Keilder Observatory in UK is a self-sustainable design - it generates its own electricity via a windmill and roof-mounted solar panels. The structure is made of fir, and has nice touches, such as composting toilets.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Partial Rings in Saturn's Moons

Cassini spacecraft was reported to have detected partial rings in Saturn's inner moons Anthe and Methone, which orbit Mimas, a larger moon