Keith's note: While NASA pours money into its goofy R5 robot that cannot walk unless it is on a hoist, controlled by a human, and is always broken, Boston Dynamics continues to make astonishing progress on autonomous robots. Imagine if you had something like this on Mars as part of a sample return mission. It would allow access to places that rovers cannot go and has dexterity unmatched by anything NASA has built. Wouldn't it be cool if that first SpaceX Red Dragon opened up and one of these droids walked out?
Recently in Videos Category
It's part of an ongoing effort to correct what Ortiz called "misperceptions" about the Army by the general public. "We constantly hear America talk about the Army in a very detrimental way, in that we are low-tech, we are low-skill, and for the most part, because of those first two, we are the institution of last resort," he said, adding that the responses from the public became so familiar that "two years ago, we stopped asking."
Keith's 4:38 pm Update: Well, if nothing else, PeTA finally got a protester inside the International Space Station. As readers of NASA Watch know, I am all for making the ISS relevant to the public in new ways and for making childish jokes at NASA's expense whenever possible. But given the immense cost of the ISS, its untapped potential for research, and complaints from potential users that there is not enough upmass or crew time, I have to wonder why NASA goes out of its way to highlight such stuff - especially when people like Sen. Grassley already criticize some of the real science done on ISS.
I did not hear back from NASA PAO on my initial request so I sent the following questions to NASA PAO. Someone will tell me to go file a FOIA request and then NASA will try to weasel out of answering that request. But if they can spend money flying a gorilla suit into outer space then they can waste some more time explaining why they did it. The answer may well be simple and routine but NASA will make the process as complicated as they possibly can.
- Can you tell me what the Gorilla suit is made out of i.e. what kind of material(s)?
- Is this Gorilla suit COTS (where was it purchased?) or was it specially made? How much did it cost?
- Was the Gorilla suit subjected to standard outgassing, flammability, microbial, and particulate standards? Did it meet those requirements or was a waiver granted?
- How much does the Gorilla suit weigh and how much volume did it use inside the cargo vehicle that carried it up?
- Is the suit considered "crew preference", "crew clothing", or "education and outreach"?
- Will the Gorilla suit remain on the ISS after Kelly leaves? If so where will it be stored?
- Did the shipping of the Gorilla suit to orbit bump anything off the manifest - if so, what was bumped?
- Was this manifested by JSC or CASIS?
- Who approved of the shipping of the gorilla suit to the ISS? Was NASA HQ involved in the decision making process?
Keith's 6:23 pm update: ULA says that it charges something around $100 million for an Atlas V launch. ULA also says that it charges $164 million for a Atlas V launch. Lets go with the lower number. The most recent Cygnus OA-4 carried 7,745 pounds of cargo. Lets not even bother to include what it cost to build the Cygnus. Assuming a $100 million launch cost simple math shows a per pound cost of $12,911. If you use the higher number its $21,174 per pound. This amazon.com gorilla suit weighs 4.3 pounds. Lets assume that the gorilla suit in space is a generic gorilla suit. That means that NASA probably spent between $55,517 and $91,052 to ship a gorilla suit to the ISS that will probably only be worn once - and only for an hour or two. In other words it will probably end up as trash at some point and be thrown away. Then, of course, there was the personnel cost to certify that it could fly safely, pack it, etc. etc. So the real cost goes up a lot - certainly close to $100,000. Scott Kelly has already completed more than 99% of his mission. He could have waited another week to wear the gorilla suit and saved NASA a lot of money. Just sayin'
Keith's 24 Feb 2016 8:07 pm update: Still nothing from NASA.
Keith's 25 Feb 2016 4:04 pm update: Still nothing from NASA.
"Today, as part of the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, "Action Day" participants will view the video Call to Earth - A Message from the World's Astronauts, featuring International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly, Flight Engineer Kjell N. Lindgren, and 16 astronauts from 6 countries urging leaders of COP21 to take action to mitigate climate change now, not tomorrow."
"On November 6, 2015 UP Aerospace successfully executed a mission for NASA to deploy the Maraia Earth Return Capsule. The mission reached an altitude of 75 miles above Spaceport America and landed 30 miles down range on White Sands Missile Range. The missions was UP Aerospace's 10th SpaceLoft rocket launch and the first deployment mission."
"Kjell Lindgren played Amazing Grace on the pipes after recording a message about research scientist Victor Hurst, who was involved in astronaut training. ... In a video recorded in the last few days, Mr Lindgren said all of them had come into contact with Dr Hurst during their training and were "shocked and saddened" to hear about his death. Dr Hurst worked for US engineering company Wyle Science as a research scientist and instructor. He died suddenly in October, aged 48. Nasa flight engineer Mr Lindgren said: "He always had a quick smile, a kind word. I don't know if anyone was more enthusiastic and professional about being involved in human space flight."
"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke about the agency's journey to Mars during remarks to the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC., on Wednesday, October 28, 2015. NASA recently released the report "Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration," outlining its plan to reach Mars in phases, starting by testing technologies and conducting research aboard the International Space Station; developing the necessary hardware and procedures in the proving ground around the moon; and finally sending astronauts to Mars itself."
Keith's note: The trailer for "The Martian" is out. (Once again) the public will love it - and Neil Tyson will hate it.
Keith's note: YouTube has flagged this video on copyright grounds. The creators tell me that they are working the issue and that it should be working again now.
"Has a Massive BOONDOGGLE Hobbled NASA? - Chris Hayes: NASA space agency celebrated a major successful launch on Friday. However, a former NASA official says it's being undermined by short-sighted politicians pushing old technology to keep pork barrel spending in their districts With Lori Garver, former Deputy NASA Administrator.
From ALL IN, MSNBC"
Jockey "Supporting Greatness" TV advertisement.
"NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a 5 hour and 28 minute spacewalk Saturday to remove a faulty ammonia pump on the International Space Station. A second spacewalk to install a new unit now is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 24."
Keith's note: This video was directed by Rajan Mehta, combining his footage of the aurora borealis with imagery from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Make sure to play it full screen with the sound cranked up.
Keith's note: As NRAO lays everyone off and starts to go dark, it posted this really nice promotional video for the VLA narrated by Ellie Arroway aka Jodie Foster.
If you go to NRAO you get a shutdown notice: "Effective 7 p.m. EDT, Friday, 4 October 2013, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) temporarily suspended all operations because of the US Federal government shutdown."
"The National Science Foundation (NSF) is likely to cancel the US Antarctic programme's upcoming field season if the US government shutdown persists through mid-October -- jeopardizing hundreds of scientists' work in glaciology, ecology and astrophysics. The agency has kept its three Antarctic research stations open during the initial days of the shutdown, which began on 1 October, under rules designed to protect human lives and US government property. But Lockheed Martin, the contractor that runs the NSF's Antarctic operations, has told researchers that it will run out of money by mid-October."
Government Shutdown Mars Arecibo Anniversary, Space News
"Operations of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico are continuing for the moment despite the shutdown, observatory director Robert Kerr said at an Oct. 2 press conference here. He said the National Science Foundation, Arecibo's principal funder, authorized the observatory to spend what remaining funds it has on hand, although because the shutdown occurred at the beginning of the new fiscal year, there are few such funds available."
Keith's 10 Dec note: I never understand the purpose of these videos since everyone in them just looks ... well ...
Keith's 11 Dec update: The video has now been made private. You can see a preview here. Lots of Star Wars costumes, women wearing fuzzy antlers, cheerleader uniforms, etc. IMHO there were too many antlers and not enough cowbells.
Keith's 11 Dec additional update: The video is viewable again. The responses to the posting of this video are hilarious. Let me summarize: Several dozen NASA people make a video wherien they act overtly silly at work. They then go out of their way to tell NASA Watch about it. Surprise: I posted a link. If they did not want to be seen being silly by others then why did they make a video, post it on YouTube, and then tell NASA Watch about it? As for those of you who do not get the "cowbell" reference, you really need to watch more Saturday Night Live.
FWIW had there been YouTube when the Space Station Freedom Program Office in Reston was operational in the 1990s you can rest assured we'd have out done these JSC folks with our antics.
This Video was achived by "stacking" image sequences provided by NASA from the Crew at International Space Station. These "stacks" create the Star Trails, but furthermore make interesting patterns visible. For example lightning corridors within clouds, but they also show occasional satellite tracks (or Iridium Flashes) as well as meteors - patterns that interrupt the main Star Trails, and thus are immediately visible. The many oversaturated hot pixels in some of the scenes are the inevitable result of ultrahigh ISO settings the Nikon D3s in ISS-use are pushed to for keeping exposure times short by all means (owed to the dramatic speed the ISS travels). As there are no dark frames or RAW data currently available, hot pixels are not easy to remove.
"On Aug 24th 2012 we sent my son's favorite train "Stanley" to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field and we got some great footage of the trip. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing."
Keith's note: This gives me yet another excuse to link to my all-time favorite space video "Reach" - which resulted from a NASA competition. True to form, NASA promptly forgot about this video as soon as it was made.
"The video, which landed (pun intended) on a new video channel called Satire, marries the popular LMFAO hit "Sexy and I Know It" with factoids from the NASA Curiosity mission. It comes complete with shout-outs to Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. ... The team has yet to hear feedback from NASA, although a member of the cast and production team, Anne Ketola, is a former NASA employee. The badges the team wears on their shirts, says Cohn, are actual NASA mission badges."
Mars Rover's Discoveries, The Onion
"After completing a difficult landing on the Martian surface last week, NASA's car-sized rover Curiosity has begun deploying its highly advanced cameras and instruments, which will provide the most thorough data on the Red Planet yet. Here are several of its early discoveries:"
"Every frame in this video is a photograph taken from the International Space Station. All credit goes to the crews on board the ISS. I removed noise and edited some shots in photoshop. Compiled and arranged in Sony Vegas. Music by John Murphy - Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor)." More.
Keith's note: If you want to download a copy of this utterly stunning piece of video artistry try this link. Why NASA.gov does not feature things like this is simply baffling. They launched artists to the space station. Who knew?
"I believe in 'just trying your best' no matter if you win or lose, succeed or fail the truth will always prevail and so Satyameva Jayte is an ancient Sanskrit term meaning just that. If we do good things then good things will happen to us and vice versa. So if we look after our world then it will be a better place for all of us, if we neglect or damage it then the outcome and truth will not be very good especially for our future generations, our actions dictate our future ... The time lapse sequences of photographs were taken by the crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS), I downloaded over 20k+ images and ..." More.
Keith's note: While the demonstrably inept staff at CASIS struggle to figure how to post a few Powerpoint files online - or write/post a simple travel report about the recent International Space Station utilization meeting - this videographer - with zero NASA funding - has managed to produce this astonishing video which, in and of itself, effusively exudes vastly more raw inspiration as to the intrinsic value of the ISS than anything CASIS has done to date - or is likely to do anytime soon.
I think NASA has the implementation process for ISS absolutely backward. There is wisdom in the masses - especially given that the space insiders - with all their expertise - have so obviously dropped the ball.
Keith's note: Scott Parazynski and I did a number of live video chats with Miles O'Brien while while we were at Everest Base Camp exactly 3 years ago. Miles was originally supposed to have joined us but ended up being stuck in his laundry room in New York which doubled as his media studio. Toward the end of this video I pulled out a piece of hardware and teased the audience to guess what it was and its purpose. I don't think I ever asked for reader comments at the time. So ... anyone care to guess what I am holding and why we had it with us?
Sander van den Berg: "The footage in this video is derived from image sequences from NASA's Cassini and Voyager missions. I downloaden a large amount of raw images to create the video."
"February 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the day in 1962 when U.S. Senator John Glenn piloted his Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first U.S. orbital mission. This video recounts that event in history."
Boing Boing: "Chris sez, "My name is Chris Peterson. I run web communications for MIT Admissions and have been a loyal BB reader for years. For the last several years we have been sending our admitted students their acceptance letters in cardboard tubes. First because we sent a poster, but now it's its own thing. 2012 is the anniversary of an old MIT balloon hack, so we put a letter in all of the Early Action admit tubes telling them we wanted them to hack the tubes somehow. Lots of them are great, but this one, from Erin King (MIT '16) in Georgia, is the best."
Keith's note: I sent my old NASA badge to the summit of Mt. Everest [image], so ... I totally understand.
Newt defends his space program, Politico
"Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Sunday defended his comments about expanding the U.S. space program. "This was not some slip. This was a deliberate effort to start a conversation," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Last month, Gingrich said during a campaign stop in Florida that by his second term as president the U.S. flag would be planted again on the moon and that there would be a permanent lunar base."
Growing Opportunities on Earth Rather Than Colonies on the Moon, Rick Santorum RedState
"Already, the debt of the U.S. federal government threatens to engulf the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Each American citizen's share of the United States' public debt is over $48,000, but let's be honest for a minute. This burden won't fall on our shoulders: it will fall on our children's. There is over $200,000 in government debt for every American child. My goal is to shrink this number, and we can if we pursue policies that make life better for American households -- unlike Speaker Gingrich's moon colony. Our children are far too precious to be saddled with growing debt for a government that doesn't keep its promises. This money is better spent on earth - or kept in the pockets of American families, where it truly belongs."
Keith's note: And of course, SNL got in on space policy by opening with a segment titled "Newt Gingrich: Moon President". Oh yes, another segment "Secret Word featured U.S. astronaut Buster Allright who had some peculiar post-flight problems with "probes". If you are outside the U.S. you can watch the skit here on YouTube.
"NASA conducted a successful 500-second test firing of the J-2X rocket engine on Wednesday, Nov. 9, marking another important step in development of an upper stage for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS). Data from the test will be analyzed as operators prepare for additional engine firings. The J-2X and the RS-25D/E engines for the SLS core stage will be tested for flight certification at Stennis. Both engines use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. The core stage engines were developed originally for the space shuttle."
Keith's note: Video: Shenzhou-8 Rendezvous and Docking with Tiangong-1
"In 2011, United Space Alliance had several employees diagnosed with breast cancer. This group of survivors recently banded together and decided they wanted to do something to help raise awareness of breast cancer issues within the aerospace community during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. So, we decided to do our own USA "Pink Glove Dance" with a space twist on it. Everyone who participated was a volunteer and did so on their own time. It was shot and edited by USA volunteers and students from the University of Houston-Clear Lake Digital Media Studies Program. We worked with NASA and Space Center Houston to shoot in certain facilities. The goal from beginning to end has been to show support to the USA breast cancer survivors and raise awareness among our peers that early detection saves lives."
The Astronaut's Secret, Kickstarter
"What is "The Astronaut's Secret"? "The Astronaut's Secret" will be a 30 minute documentary about the life of Astronaut Rich Clifford. It will uncover how he and NASA kept his Parkinson's Disease a secret for 17 years, explore the impact of the end of the Shuttle Program on Rich's life, and follow him as he speaks nationwide about the importance of Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease."
The Astronaut's Secret, official website
Keith's note: NASA Watch readers need to fund this project. I just donated $100. Rich has a compelling story to tell.
Keith's note: This time lapse film by Dustin Farrell is best viewed in HiDef. First noticed on Gizmodo. The music on this video is from the soundtrack of the film "Sunshine". Crank up the audio. Wake up the person in the cubicle next to you. Savor the moment. Relish the planetary and celestial goodness. NASA creates similar stuff on a daily basis - yet they stumble when it comes to doing so a coordinated way to leverage their websites and brand visibility so as to get things out to the widest audience possible.
NASA employee advice: Walk down the hallway and tell the bureaucrat jerk who stands in your way of telling taxpayers what it is you do - and tell them to go pound sand. If NASA does not start to promote things like this - then others will. NASA does not have an exclusive license on promoting what is cool ... NASA runs the risk of becoming irrelevant - despite its accomplishments.
"NASA conducted a 40-second test of the J-2X rocket engine Sept. 28, the most recent in a series of tests of the next-generation engine selected as part of the Space Launch System architecture that will once again carry humans into deep space. It was a test at the 99 percent power level to gain a better understanding of start and shutdown systems as well as modifications that had been made from previous test firing results."
"State broadcaster CCTV and the Chinese space agency collaborated on a short video to mark the liftoff of China's unmanned Tiangong 1 space lab Thursday night (Sept. 29), The Guardian newspaper reports. The 98-second video gives an animated look at the launch and Tiangong 1's mission -- all set, puzzlingly, to an instrumental version of "America the Beautiful."
Keith's note: Gee, the Chinese certainly seem to like the U.S. - quite a contrast from the chart that astronaut Andy Thomas used recently within an official NASA presentatino wherein several Chinese astronauts are shown having trampled an American flag left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts.
"My references are various, from Chris Ware for his extraordinary layout and (sometimes abstract) images, Hans Richter, Len Lye, Stanley Kubrick or Godfrey Reggio (with his qatsi trilogy). I must also quote the speech of JFK ( youtube.com/ watch?v=6z1DidldxUo)"
Keith's note: This is a preview of things to come from NASA Watch's new twin sibling, the soon-to-be relaunched - and enhanced - NASAHackSpace. Working motto: "This is not a NASA Website. You do not need permission to explore space. Fix NASA's stuff - or just do it yourself."
Keith's note: Video: Build A Rocket!from Rocket Boys the Musical
Keith's note: On the day that the SLS ageeement was announced, I thought this was an appropriate video to show - courtesy of the original Rocket Boy himself, Homer Hickam. This scene is from "Rocket Boys the Musical" based on Homer Hickam's memoir Rocket Boys, the #1 New York Times bestseller which was also made into the movie "October Sky". It is the scene where the rocket boys realize what they need to do to open up a grand new future. The clip is from Theatre West Virginia's presentation of the show earlier this month. "Rocket Boys the Musical" is being developed for the Broadway stage. For more information, please go to http://www.rocketboysthemusical.com
- Photo: Turks, Caicos Islands, Inagua, and Cuba As Seen From Orbit
- Photo: Saturn's Moon Helene
- I mages: Japan tsunami caused icebergs to break off in Antarctica
- Image: Southern Namibia and Northern South Africa As Seen From Orbit
NASA today debuts an inspirational video featuring the International Space Station and its crews set to the song "World" by recording artists Five for Fighting. The video features imagery of both the space station and the space shuttles that have served as the workhorses of space station construction and resupply. It uses selections from orbit as well as Earth-bound training and launch activities to communicate the importance of space exploration and its benefits for future generations. Intermixed are selections of video that show the beauty of planet Earth as seen from the space station and scenes of children inspired by space exploration. The lyrics emphasize that "history starts now" and invite listeners to ask the question, "What kind of world do you want?"
"I got up early today to see the ISS and Endeavour fly over my house. Its always cool to see them flying in formation like this. This morning's viewing was at 4:48 am low in the North, so I was not sure I'd see things due to the brightening sky. As the two vehicles approached from due West I could only make out one fast moving light. But as the viewing geometry improved I was rewarded with two almost equally bright lights moving in clear association with one another - albeit briefly. Then the trees blocked my view. (My graphic is an attempt to draw what I saw.)
While I was waiting there for the flyby I thought back the film "The Right Stuff" where a group of wise aborigines ponders the night sky while sparks fly up from a fire. I wondered what sort of cosmology a modern stone age tribe in Borneo isolated from the rest of the world would think of all these lights in the sky moving in ways our ancestors would never have seen. Imagine what sort of cosmology they might have created to explain such lights."
Note: This video was sent to me by a reader after they read my original article: "Here's what you may have seen this morning - the Shuttle Endeavour leads the ISS, at about 4:50am (EDT) this morning. This handheld video was taken with my Canon S5-IS, with a maximum 12X optical zoom. It may not be "broadcast quality" but is presented as a tribute to the last flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour.- Michael Kowalchuk Ferdinand, IN"
"These new, crystal clear high-definition videos shot from the Endeavour's Solid Rocket Boosters provide a stunning view of what it is like to launch into space."
"Photographed from a shuttle training aircraft, space shuttle Endeavour and its six-member STS-134 crew head toward Earth orbit and rendezvous with the International Space Station."
Keith's note: Two years ago on 19 May 2009 Scott Parazynski became the first human to travel into space and stand atop the highest point on our planet. While Scott was standing in the jetstream, this is how I relayed the news via satellite phone at 4:35 am local time from a comparatively mild location at 0 degrees F at Everest Base Camp. Meanwhile, Miles O'Brien was our lifeline back to the real world and was sitting in his laundry room in New York. It does not take a lot of money to convey exploration from remote places - just determination and a compelling, personalized story to make it work. More about Scott's exploits and the after effects here.
"Benefits of space surround us. Exploration fuels innovation. Groundbreaking technologies we develop to explore space keep us close and safe right here at home. A new era of exploration awaits. Imagine what's next. Think Outside the Circle. For more information visit www.spacecoalition.com"
This video is from a 11 May 2011 centrifuge run at the NASTAR center with SwRI scientist Cathy Olkin in the cockpit. The view simulates what one would see on a suborbital flight profile aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two. These centrifuge rides are an integral feature of the NASTAR Center's suborbital scientist astronaut training program.
Keith's note: Of course, NASA JSC PAO continues to totally ignore this activity - even though local residents driving by the center can hear loud noises and see lots of smoke. Why won't Mike Coats let people see these rocket tests through official channels - just like he promotes astronaut visits to City Hall and e-waste recycling events? Or are such mundane things more worthy of JSC PAO attention than actual hardware development and testing?
Keith's note: Of course, JSC PAO will never let you see this video if they can help it. That officially sanctioned roadblock not withstanding, this team deserves credit for going around JSC PAO anyways and showing people what they are doing - warts and all. Bravo guys. Keep at it.
Keith's note: A new SpaceX Commercial Crew video shows Dragon landing - on Mars.
"This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide. Spain's highest mountain @(3715m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world's best observatories." More
"A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 here at 6:38 p.m. EST today. Designated NROL-27, the mission is in support of national defense. This marks the fourth NRO launch accomplished by ULA since Sept. 20, 2010 and occurred just six days after the Atlas V launch of the OTV-2 mission Previously, ULA launched NROL-41 on an Atlas V from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. on Sept. 20, 2010. Then it launched NROL-32 on a Delta IV Heavy from here Nov. 21, 2010 and on Jan. 20, ULA launched NROL-49 on a Delta IV Heavy from VAFB."
Keith's note: This is a much longer version of the previously released video - with music. If at all possible watch this at 720p resolution. As the payload slowly rotates you will see Discovery's vapor trail at the Earth's limb. The payload (with camera) swings to the west (where the sun is) and then swings back to the east, past Discovery's vapor trail, around to the west again and then continues to rotate to the east toward the fading vapor trail.
"Last week a balloon with a student-oriented payload shot high resolution photos and video from an altitude of over 110,000 feet of Space Shuttle Discovery as it climbed into space.These images and video were released today as part of a mission report provided by Quest for Stars representative Bobby Russell at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) at the University of Central Florida."
Make sure watch in HD! More Robonaut-1 mission video and imagery will be released in conjunction with a presentation at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference being held in Orlando 28 Februrary to 2 March.
Co-sponsored by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, this mission is one in a series of flights conducted by Quest for Stars, a California-based non-profit educational organization that uses off-the-shelf hardware and a little ingenuity to allow students to place experiments at the edge of space at exceptionally low cost.
Quest for Stars and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education have now joined together to promote the use of these low cost delivery systems. This mission will be the first of what is hoped to be many future collaborations.
- First Photos: Shuttle Discovery's Trail Into Space As Seen from Over 70,000 Feet in a Balloon
- Robonaut-1 Balloon Mission Live Video and Mission Updates
- Challenger Center and Quest For Stars Chase Attempt to Photograph Discovery At The Edge of Space
Keith's note: This video, "The Sagan Series (Part 2): Life Looks for Life" is the second video by Reid Gower. You may recall that an earlier video of his (the precursor to this one) went uber viral a month or so ago with over 900,000 views on YouTube Alas, NASA was unable to find a way to link to that video then and I doubt that they will find a way to link to this one now. I would very much like to be proven wrong - but I am not holding my breath.
Keith's update: To be fair, NASA Is not ignoring videos like this. In fact with Mr. Gower's previous video they did try and find a way to link to it or acknowledge it. This is where NASA's notoriously inconsistent official party poopers, the lawyers, come in. The issue has to do with the sources of imagery and sounds that Mr. Gower has used. This video is a mash-up - a compilation of sampled images, music, and vocals assembled from a variety of sources. Although Mr. Gower has been diligent in listing his sources, NASA's issue is whether he actually has their formal permission to use these materials. The Fair Use Doctrine does enter into this - somewhat - except some works are sampled in great part - like Carl Sagan's voice and the background music. NASA has gotten clearance from the organizations that guard recording artist issues to allow things such wake up songs and other copyright items to be used since NASA is not out to make a profit and uses these works for education purposes.
Life is a montage of other people's stuff - but these are the rules that this one government agency tells itself that it must follow in this fashion. But as culture adapts, NASA needs to adapt too. This is not the first video to appear that NASA should pay attention to and it will not be the last. Instead of just staying silent NASA needs to explain why it cannot link to such things. All that continued silence does is to support the premise made by many (like me) that NASA doesn't "get it". NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Outreach Alan Ladwig has stopped by here to make comments on this topic. Perhaps NASA Watch readers could offer him some solutions to this problem - and some encouragement. He's trying.
Keith's note: As much as I loathe the overuse of the word "awesome" by Gen Y, the NASA Advisory Council took an informal vote during lunch break and asked me to post this video. Tip of the hat to NASA PAO. Direct link for those of you that have YouTube blocked by NASA.
Keith's update: A Carnegie astronomer notes: "While brimming with enthusiasm, this video makes a major error by claiming that JWST will be able "to see the Earth" if it was 25 light-years away. Sadly, this is not true. Here is what the JWST web page states is the true capability of JWST: "Webb can only see large planets orbiting at relatively large distances from the parent star. To see small Earth-like planets, which are billions of time fainter than their parent star, a space telescope capable of seeing at even higher angular resolution will be required. NASA is studying such a space mission, the Terrestrial Planet Finder." This quote is from the JWST web page located at: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/faq.html#basic JWST will do fantastic science, but if someone says that it will do things that are impossible for it to do, the entire project is likely to suffer.
"On January 28, 1986, our nation lost seven heroes as the Challenger Space Shuttle was destroyed shortly after launch. It was a tragic day, etched in the minds of us all and in the history books of our nation. And yet tragedy let to triumph, as the families of the astronauts created an educational program to honor the astronauts and inspire the next generation. They formed the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, with a mission to "inspire, explore and learn". Now with a national network of 48 Challenger Learning Centers, the program takes students on simulated missions to space, reaching 400,000 students every year - over 4,000,000 during our 25 year history. Join us for a year-long series of events, as we honor the legacy of the Challenger 7 heroes - and celebrate the accomplishments of the Challenger Learning Center network."
For more information on the Challenger Center for Space Science Education please go to challenger.org/25
Challenger Center Board Member Richard Garriott, private space explorer, salutes Challenger Center from the International Space Station.
Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, co-founder of Challenger Center for Space Science Education, talking to Students on 25th Anniversary of Challenger.
Keith's 12 Jan update: The video has really gone viral (aintitcool, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Gizmodo) . 1/4 million views in just several days. It would be a shame for NASA not to capitalize on this in some way. At a minimum can't NASA's YouTube channel "favorite" and "share" this video? Not responding sort of makes point initial made by "Damewse" i.e. "I got frustrated with NASA and made this video. NASA is the most fascinating, adventurous, epic institution ever devised by human beings, and their media sucks. Seriously. None of their brilliant scientists appear to know how to connect with the social media crowd, which is now more important than ever. In fact, NASA is an institution whose funding directly depends on how the public views them."
"NASA needs all the help it can get and more people need to be excited about space exploration. I know we as a community have the talent to do this. From the community description: This will be a place we can come together to promote all of the great ideas and institutions that benefit us all (both short term and long term) but could use a little help with their public perception."
Comment by "Fandango1978": "I sent it to Neil Degrasse Tyson yesterday, 1 hour ago he posted your video on Twitter and 3 hours ago on Facebook. NASA now officially knows about your video."
Comment by "rgower" (who apparently is also "Damewse"), Reddit
"Sorry I've been absolutely swamped and overwhelmed with the response. CNBC and Fox news actually want to do interviews with me, believe it or not."
I'd really like to know who "Damewse" is. As best I can tell from his videos he is a 24 year old guy who lives in British Columbia.
Keith's 12 Jan update: One reader informed me that the author of this incredibly popular video is Reid Gower. The photo on this Facebook page looks like the fellow shown in several videos. You can follow him on Twitter at @reidgower
"Damewse": "I got frustrated with NASA and made this video. NASA is the most fascinating, adventurous, epic institution ever devised by human beings, and their media sucks. Seriously. None of their brilliant scientists appear to know how to connect with the social media crowd, which is now more important than ever. In fact, NASA is an institution whose funding directly depends on how the public views them.
In all of their brilliance, NASA seems to have forgotten to share their hopes and dreams in a way the public can relate to, leaving one of humanities grandest projects with terrible PR and massive funding cuts. I have a lot of ideas for a NASA marketing campaign, but I doubt they'd pay me even minimum wage to work for them. I literally have an MSWord document entitled NASAideas.doc full of ideas waiting to share. I thought maybe, just maybe someone might be able to work their magic for me on that. But the primary point of this post is to vent my frustration with NASA. Sure, they've fallen victim to budget cuts but I honestly think cutting media will seal NASA's own fate. Unless they can find a way to relate to the general public, support for their projects will always be minimal, and their funding will follow suit. A social media department would easily pay for itself in government grants because it could rekindle the public interest in the space program."
Keith's 11 Jan update: As "damewse", the guy who created the video that everyone is watching notes, the original video, music etc., which served as his inspiration (and was reused), was created by Michael Marantz. This is his Marantz's original video.
"This piece contains readings from Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot". I have edited his words to tell this short narrative. The Time lapse images were taken in Mexico and Utah. The piano is self-composed. I hope you enjoy this piece, it has given me hope once again."
Keith's update: As "damewse", the guy who created the video that everyone is watching notes, the original video, music etc., which served as his inspiration, was created by Michael Marantz. This is his video.
"Are we alone in the universe? Find out all about the search for extraterrestrial life in this educational parody of Ke$ha's hit song, "We R Who We R."
Keith's note: I suppose your reaction to this depends upon your taste in music, your age, etc. That said, I happen to think that this video is clever. It's also rather contemporary and even has lyrics about NASA SMD's self-hyped Arsenic/E.T. story ...
"The finding of the Preliminary Failure Analysis Team is that the primary cause of the failure is the untimely and inadvertent snapping of a group of 10 connectors located at the bottom portion of the Russian Cryogenic Stage. Some of these connectors carry command signals from the onboard computer residing in the Equipment Bay (located near the top of the vehicle) to the control electronics of the four L40 Strap-ons of the First Stage."
"A new Mars movie clip gives us a rover's-eye view of a bluish Martian sunset, while another clip shows the silhouette of the moon Phobos passing in front of the sun. America's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, carefully guided by researchers with an artistic sense, has recorded images used in the simulated movies."
China Launches Beidou-2 L2 the 7th Satellite in Compass Navigation Satellite System (with Video), SpaceRef
"This afternoon at 3:20 p.m. EST China launched the Beidou-2 L2 satellite he 7th satellite in their Compass Navigation Satellite System. The satellite was launched from the XiChang Satellite Launch Center in near Liangshan in Sichuan province on a Long March 3A rocket. This is the 15th successful Chinese launch this year."
"Photographic documentation of a Space Shuttle launch plays a critical role in the engineering analysis and evaluation process that takes place during each and every mission. Motion and Still images enable Shuttle engineers to visually identify off-nominal events and conditions requiring corrective action to ensure mission safety and success. This imagery also provides highly inspirational and educational insight to those outside the NASA family."
"Well, this doesn't happen every day. In yesterday's post, I talked about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's walk across the lunar surface back in 1969 and wondered, how come they walked such a modest distance? Less than a hundred yards from their lander?"
Keith's note: Hmm, do you believe this traditional, boring version (as told by Armstrong) or the version below with much better special effects?
"Holy conspiracy! The first trailer for Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon is here, and while it isn't full of the director's trademark explodey touch, that title is starting to make a bit more sense. Get ready for everything you thought you knew about the moon landing to be thrown out the window!"
Hi res trailers here
According to ESA: "The Space Game is a game and a crowdsourcing experiment run by the Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency aimed to improve the methods for designing interplanetary trajectories. We do not claim that computers are not able or are particularly bad at solving such problems. Rather, we think that 'watching' humans design complex interplanetary trajectories can be of help to improve the intelligence of computer algorithms."
"Below are the four questions in which NASA Administrator Charles Bolden answered questions from the moderator and the audience. The question context is in reference to a statement that Bolden made earlier this in which he said NASA would work towards getting humans to Mars not in months but weeks."
"After answering the question of how the space potty works, astronaut Mike Massimino now visits the Advanced Water Recovery Systems Development Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Chemists have been working hard to develop a next-generation trash bag for future exploration, including testing different forms of trash...and fake vomit. Watch as Massimino and the scientists lend their noses in the name of exploration and see if NASA's mixture is potent enough in this edition of "NASA Behind the Scenes."
Video from a Google NexusOne smartphone with specially programmed Android apps, installed aboard James Dougherty's Intimidator-5 on a CTI N4100 load. Launch from Black Rock Playa on 24-July-2010 thanks to Maverick Civilian Space Foundation.
Keith's note: I feel compelled to feature this masterful video by Karen Lau and David Sanders at least once a year. This was done when Craig Steidle ran ESMD. For a brief moment, they "got it".
So folks, drop the petty internal and external politics, and think big picture - just for a moment.
I don't see this sort of thinking at NASA any more. NASA will go nowhere unless it finds its mojo again.
"We're going to carve out some time for people to give some Ignite talks at SpaceUp DC this year. Ignite is a great format. You provide 20 slides that will auto advance every 15 seconds. If you could tell the world anything about space in 5 minutes what would it be? We double dog dare you to give it a try. Here's an example of a VERY popular Ignite talk from the first SpaceUp in San Diego in Febuary. This should make your blood boil."
"The number of languages used on the International Space Station has recently increased. In addition to those spoken in the 15 countries that have had representatives aboard the space station, American Sign Language, or ASL, is now included. NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson has sent a message in ASL from the station to the deaf community."
Keith's note: As a former professional Sign Language interpreter myself (mid-70s to early 80s), stories like this certainly get my attention. As such, I do not mean to detract from this but, this is not the first time that an astronaut has signed a message in space for use back on Earth. It may well be the first video downlinked live with signing, however. According to former astronaut Bill Readdy, he signed a short message on STS-42 back in 1992 (see YouTube video from CollectSpace below). The was not downlinked live but It was recorded and later appeared on a Gallaudet University's TV show "Deaf Mosaic". Bill still remembers some of the signs to this day. That said, this recent video is cool and is exactly the sort of thing NASA should be encouraged to do in the future so as to broaden its ability to interact with all citizens.
"Once upon a time, a bunch of guys got together with a crazy idea - build rockets that go farther and faster than mankind had ever gone before. It's nice to know that America still builds rockets ..."
Keith's note: Included in this video is an interview with Mike Griffin wherein he puts his spin on NASA budget issues as leader of the "Constellation Nation".
Japanese Asteroid Lander Hayabusa Plunges Home to Earth, (with video) Ken Kremer
"Japan's Hayabasa asteroid probe staged a breathtakingly beautiful plunge through Earth's atmosphere earlier today (Jun 13) at over 27,000 MPH, the second fastest on record. The heat shield protected the craft from the fiery heat of reentry which exceeded 5000 F."
Keith's note: After a last second halt in the countdown earlier in the day the Falcon 9 launch vehicle made a perfect climb to orbit at 2:45 pm EDT. All indications are that the vehicle performed flawlessly. So much for the commerical space haters out there - they are eating Falcon feathers right now.
Space X update 4:40 pm EDT: Orbital info: Nominal shutdown and orbit was almost exactly 250km. Telemetry showed essentially a bullseye: ~0.2% on perigee and ~1% on apogee.
"Some people just can't take a little bit of constructive criticism. Over the weekend, a PETA supporter took to the stage at the National Space Society's International Space Development Conference to interrupt a speech by NASA administrator Charles Bolden. Today, we received a phone call from Gary Barnhard, executive director of the National Space Society, threatening to sue us if we released details of the microphone takeover to the media. Ground control to Major Tom? Wondering what happened that the National Space Society doesn't want you to see"
Keith's 3 June 12:26 am update: After a phone call from Gary at midnight, I no longer know who to believe. As far as I am concerned both NSS and PeTA are simultaneously telling the truth - and lying - unless someone can produce an audio recording of this phone call. You can read the he said/she said back and forth I had had with NSS and PeTA below.
"Keith Cowing talks about the kind of hacks made famous by the Apollo 13 mission, instances where the crew had to improvise using materials at hand. He discusses the following: Skylab Rescue - the umbrella used to replace solar insulation and boating tools bought at a local marina; Syncom Rescue - tools made out of plastic and duct tape; Apollo 13 CO2 removal, use of LEM engine, etc.; Apollo lunar rover fender repair; STS-120 EVA solar panel repair, and ISS camera tracker made from a power tool. Cowing also talks about some of his own projects including the greenhouse he designed and built on Devon Island (and some serious hacks) near the North Pole. Currently, he's working in partnership with NASA Ames to restore a 1960's era Titan I ICBM & convert it for educational use."
Keith Cowing: Famous Hacks at NASA (Maker Faire video), Huffington Post
Go For Launch!, Air and Space
"In this unique time-lapse video created from thousands of individual frames, photographers Scott Andrews, Stan Jirman and Philip Scott Andrews condense six weeks of painstaking work into three minutes, 52 seconds. The action starts in the hangar-like Orbiter Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where Discovery has been outfitted for its STS-131 mission."
"John P. Holdren, the President's Science Advisor and Director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy was asked to clarify the Administration's space-science priorities during the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. The question related in particular to sending humans back to the moon. His response was offered 13 May 2010."
"For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be."
The visions we offer our children shape the future.
It matters what those visions are.
Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Dreams are maps."
"NASA successfully tested the pad abort system for the Launch Abort System developed for the Orion crew exploration vehicle at 9 a.m. EDT. The 97-second flight test is called the Pad Abort 1 test, or PA1. It is the first fully integrated test of the Launch Abort System developed for Orion. The test took place at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M."
"I know there have been a number of questions raised about my administration's plan for space exploration, especially in this part of Florida where so many rely on NASA as a source of income as well as a source of pride and community. And these questions come at a time of transition, as the Space Shuttle nears its scheduled retirement after almost thirty years of service. This adds to the worry of folks concerned not only about their own futures, but about the future of a space program to which they have devoted their lives."
Keith's note: My earlier characterization of the event at KSC as being a "flyby" was due in great part to the nearth total blackout in terms of what would be happening. PAO knew nothing and therefore shared nothing. Internal plans were constantly shifting around. Up until the other day, all that was known publicly was landing, departure, and speech time. Nothing else. Now we see that there was a lot more to this event. So I hereby rescind my "flyby" moniker. As far as what the agenda and intent of this series of events were supposed to be, at first OSTP held NASA back and then it started to leak stuff ahead of NASA. In the future, America's space program would be better served by making the nature of such events much more open that there be better coordination - by and from - the White House.
Marc's note: Today we're starting a new trial feature called The Cape Insider with Jason Rhian reporting from the cape. We encourage you to interact with Jason. Your feedback is important to us. His first story is:
"His remarks added further detail to plan and corrected rumors that were flying about in that there will be no more shuttle flights after the three currently planned. A date for manned missions beyond the moon was announced as taking place by 2025 with an initial mission to an asteroid."
Keith's note: This video shows Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking at the University at Buffalo making an impassioned plea for NASA and the value it has to all Americans. In my experience, no one has ever managed to capture this in such a cogent response. Tyson is the sort of people who should be speaking at the OSTP space summit. But no. Politics preside. Instead, its OSTP Vs NSC and OSTP/NSC Vs NASA and a food fight over who gets to say what NASA needs to do at the Summit. What a colossal missed opportunity.
"STS-130 video highlights as compiled by the SE&I imagery team here at JSC from all of the ground, air, ET and SRB assets."
"The public can follow along with NASA on its journey of lunar discovery. On March 15, the publicly accessible Planetary Data System will release data sets from the seven instruments on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter."
Keith's note: Apparently no one does fact checking for NBC's Jay Barbree any more. In this video he says that NASA has spent "$10 billion" on the Constellation program and that NASA Is "close to completing it". He also claims that it would cost "$5 to 6 Billion to shut this program down" and that "70 to 100,000" NASA and contractor jobs would be lost. He also claims that "Mission Control would go dark in Houston at the Manned Spacecraft Center ... as well as installations in California and Utah." He then says "America will be going to third, fourth, and fifth place" in space. As for where the policy came from he says "I cannot find anybody to tell me that President Obama's fingerprints are on this [plan] ... the only fingerprints that I know are on this plan are from lower level bureaucrats." In closing he says "We need to get to the bottom of this because pretty soon we could be killing a lot of astronauts".
Reader note: A few days ago I again saw the "Step Forward" commercial that was run a lot after Obama was elected with its notable quote "Where's my moon" on TV. The commercial indicates we are to go to USAService.org I did so in hopes of obtaining some inspiration. I wound up at http://www.inauguralstore.com/. I could only laugh! Try it for yourself.
NASA Chief Bolden reorganizes his space agency (includes memo excerpts with other changes), Orlando Sentinel
"As announced previously, the Office of Strategic Communications will be disbanded. ... Office of Public Affairs: This organization will be renamed the Office of Communications and will be led by an Associate Administrator. The Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications will report to the Office of the Administrator and will also serve as NASA Press Secretary (also see "Changes in Center Reporting")..."
Keith's note: Curiously, the description of NASA PAO AA Morrie Goodman's job - as offered by Goodman himself last week during a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council's Education and Public Outreach Committee - is a little bit more expansive. Make that MUCH more expansive. If you listen to this video (starting at around 08:25) Goodman says:
"I have three goals. Number one is I need to make sure that the agency's message is heard loud and clear and that our position is well known, well articulated, in the best way possible for people to understand and hopefuly come to the same conclusions that we do about the things that we do and where we are going. The other job that I have is to be - I am the White House liaison for space. Uh, uh, um, In that fashion I have to articulate not only NASA's view but - you know, it is NASA's view - because what the President decides for NASA is what NASA does - basically."
"I am the White House liaison for space"? Hmm. I thought David Noble was the White House Liaison. It even says so here at NASA.gov. Goodman is the guy who is supposed to do all of NASA's messaging "loud and clear", so what he said must be accurate, right?
Embedded video below
The NASTAR Suborbital Scientist Training Program provides space flight physiology training for prospective 'Suborbital Scientist-Astronauts' interested in understanding how to take advantage of emerging low-cost, frequent suborbital 'human-in-the-loop' experiments and Research & Education Mission (REM) opportunities.
"A ribbon-cutting ceremony with Endeavour commander George Zamka and station commander Jeff Williams to celebrate the arrival of Tranquility and its seven-windowed cupola on the International Space Station includes the placement on permanent display in the node of a rock brought back from the moon's Tranquility Base by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, and carried by shuttle astronaut Scott Parazynski to the summit of Mt. Everest in 2009."
- Video: Moon Rock and Everest Rock Ready for Trip to the Space Station
- Preview: Confessions of a Moon Rock Courier
- Moon Rock Gains Traveling Companion for Historic Return to Space
- Playing With Moon Rocks and Duct Tape at the Dinner Table
- Photos From Moon and Everest Rock Event at NASA
"The shuttle Endeavour delivers "windows on the world" to the International Space Station, aftershocks from the Obama Administration's budget bombshell rattle NASA, prospects for a shuttle program extension - while remote - live on, the Solar Dynamics Observatory soaks up the sun, SpaceX gets ready to light the candle on Falcon 9, and Hubble/ESA/the European Southern Observatory wow us with some new out-of-this-world pictures."
"Here's a teaser for the weekend. This is flight 3 from our testing today looking up from the edge of the launching pad. The flight is a boosted hop to 68 meters (our current FAA waiver is 76 meters for now). This is our 7th free flight of XA-0.1-B, Xombie and our first since our Northrop-Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge level 1 win in October of 2009. Testing went very well for the day and Xombie is performing admirably. More video after the Presidents' day weekend. Visit www.masten-space.com for more information."
This video of NASA JSC's "Project M" depicts a Robonaut-based, tele-operated mission to the Moon - one that JSC claims could be accomplished in 1,000 days once the go-ahead was given.
"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden outlines the Administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request as the agency's road map for a new era of innovation and discovery, and answers questions from reporters as the featured Newsmaker at the National Press Club in Washington Feb. 2"
Keith's note: If you go to 55:18 in this video, I ask Charlie Bolden how he is going to get people to make the transition from flying government-operated spacecraft to commerically- operated spacecraft - and the emotion that goes with making the transition from one way of thinking to another. Bolden's reply gets deep into the emotions and mindsets that underly the changes that the Constellation workforce is now going through - and how he is going to work through that process with them.
"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden gave the keynote address at the 215th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting held in Washington, DC. With some 3,500 in attendance and more than 2,200 scientific presentations this is the largest astronomy meeting in history. Some of the topics discussed at this year's event include black holes, exoplanets, exploding stars and pulsars."
Marc's note: From NASA's Constellation program comes today's video: Constellation Year in Review 2009. It's the holidays and year end so why not a feel good video that showcases all of Constellations achievements with all the centers contributing.
After watching the video what do you think of Constellation's progress this past year? Video after the jump.
One of our readers was quick to point out that along with the video a new Constellation blog post was posted today stating that they have finalized the thrust oscillation issue fix.
Constellation Finalizes Thrust Oscillation Fix, NASA Constellation Blog
"When we discover an engineering risk, like thrust oscillation, we tackle it with full rigor," said Jeff Hanley, Constellation Program manager. "That's what this team has done with thrust oscillation. We assumed the worst when the problem was first discovered. The good news is there is no empirical evidence of problematic oscillations from our ground test of the first stage development motor or during the Ares I-X first test flight."
Keith's 25 Nov note: This video was compiled by the SE&I folks using all the ground, air, SRB and ET video from the STS-129 launch.
Keith's 26 Nov update: NASA SE&I had this video taken offline at YouTube. It has been reposted at Exposure Room.
Features musical contribution from Gorkha. Captioned and spotlight images from HiRISE, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Highly explosive. See http://uahirise.org for more.
Blasting for lunar H20 on CNN.com - NASAwatch.com's Keith Cowing talks about the rocket that crashed into the moon in search of water.
Margaret Warner's Full Interview With Keith Cowing of NASA Watch regarding LCROSS
Keith's note: As was the case yesterday with this NASA Watch posting "Let's Bomb The Moon Into Oblivion Once And For All" JSC IT has apparently once again blocked this NASA Watch posting of CNN video as well. What are these people afraid of? Streaming video? Do they block NASA TV?
"This is a clip of the VadoHD video camera at an altitude between 80,000 ft and 100,000 ft. The camera is attached to the payload of a research weather balloon. The balloon was launched from the lawn of the University of Houston and traveled approximately 20 miles East to Baytown TX before the balloon burst and the payload fell to Earth by parachute. The VadoHD survived ambient air pressures as low as 1/100th of an atmosphere, temperatures as low as -60C, and even survived being run over by an industrial lawn mower 1 week after falling to Earth. Incidentally we never would have found the payload if it hadn't been run over by this lawn mower. All of the data was intact on the camera and though a lawn mower blade destroyed the LCD screen, the VadoHD still takes great video!"
Today's Video: To The Edge of Space - For $148, earlier post
"Fabian Tischer, 28, grew up just a few miles from the telecommunications tower and produced the clip to realise his childhood fantasy of watching the iconic building lift off into space. "As a child, I used to think the TV tower in the centre of the former capital of East Germany was a rocket. And now, with my technical possibilities, I have transformed it into that," he told Telegraph.co.uk."
"XCOR Aerospace announced today that it has reached several significant milestones in the 5K18 rocket engine test program. This is the engine that powers XCOR's Lynx suborbital spacecraft. The engine can be seen running in several newly released videos including a video demonstrating the very stable "shock diamond" pattern visible in the engine's supersonic exhaust. "Like all of our rocket engines, this engine has demonstrated the ability to be stopped and re-started using our safe and reliable spark torch ignition system", said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. "The basic cooling design has also been completed and the engine is able to run continuously at thermal equilibrium. With those milestones reached, the 5K18 test program is now moving forward into a second phase of tuning and optimization, in which we will also greatly increase our cumulative run time."
NASA and NOAA's newest weather satellite, GOES-14, has captured some fascinating views of Hurricane Bill. This is a collection of a few quick movies put together by the GOES-14 team.
Keith's note: Now I know how NASA faked part of the Moon landings - especially the part where Neil and Buzz bounced around. Some French guy figured it out. Thanks @GreatDismal (author William Gibson)
Keith's note: True to form the characters were talking about sex and dating before the first commercial aired. Before 30 minutes had elapsed they had pulled off their clothes. This was interwoven with a series of tired and worn out space movie cliche subplots and utterly implausible events. Based on what was spoken, in real life, half of the crew would not pass any reasonable psych exam. Other lines were just ignorant like "does anyone know if Hindus commit suicide?" Then there was the needless risk of a spacesuit with a person inside. And so on. Alas, the show looks gorgeous and they clearly spent a lot of money on sets and visuals. Some scenes were rather stunning. A small statue of Ganesha hitches a ride at the front of a ship bound for Venus was kind of interesting as was the unauthorized EVA that led up to it. With all the money the show's producers sent on the look and feel you'd think that they'd spent an equal amount on getting good writers. Oh well.
"Eyal: No, we did not, but the producers went down to NASA. They spent a bunch of time talking with NASA; and I think NASA would have endorsed the show had they not had a little trepidation of the sort of, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives pedigree of the producers. They felt like, okay, well, we don't want our [space] program to be turned into a sex romp. And I can guarantee that's not exactly what it is. There are relationships but it's not like sex left and right. It's more psychological and nuanced. It's very well written and very human."
"1969 - felt so fine ... we floated free ... stayed up past our bed time .... gathered round the black and white TV watching cloudy images of human men just like me sailing across the Sea of Tranquility ... The astronauts in insect suits climbed out of their cocoons and floated down to the ground like cartoons - we bounced with them like balloons ... as we danced with those images ... in the Sea of Tranquillity..."
"It's the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing--when it was still tranquil. Before the moon-buggy, golfing and other right stuff galluphumpery.
Now the astronauts are all hot on Mars. The red planet. Which makes sense. Let the moon be restored to its tranquillity. Let the sea of tranquillity slowly forget our intrusion in the long shift of millenia.
And us sublunary types can look up at her, and her dark quiet seas, and in moments pass again into our purer minds."
Video below. CAUTION: It's infectious.
"Retired Columbia native and Marine Corp Major General and former astronaut Charles F. Bolden, Jr was inspired and shaped by great teachers in South Carolina's public schools, including several family members. You, too, can chose to make this extraordinary difference in the lives of young people, teaching them to reach for the stars. Produced for the Palmetto Horizon Foundation by Ferillo & Associates, Inc. and edited by Take Ten Productions."
Buzz Aldrin punches conspiracy theorist, Sun Sentinel
"How many times today do I have to hear that 6 percent of Americans believe the 1969 moon landing was fake? Does that really mean anything? Keep in mind a 2005 Gallup poll found that 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses. That means six times more people believe in Casper than the government faking the moon landing. Here's how Buzz Aldrin reacted to one conspiracy theorist."