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A thread for everything related to NASA and human space exploration!

May 31, 2020 Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX!! 19 hour flight to the ISS. First private vehicle to take humans to orbit!

https://www.nasa.gov/content/live-launch-america-nasas-spacex-demo-2-mission-to-the-international-space-station

Also note the two cosmonaut companions on the left 🙂 

 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine -- "Times are tough right now. But I hope this moment in time is an opportunity for everybody to reflect on humanity and what we can do when we work together."

Screenshot from 2020-05-31 13-27-43.png

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That ship looks rather roomy!  Traditionally because of high costs, all US manned spacecraft (Mercury/Gemini/Apollo/Shuttle) tried their best to get by with as little cabin room as they could get away with.  Is NASA still going to do their Orion project? 

Also I want to again bring to everyone's attention this fascinating alternate history novel called Voyage (1996).  After the Apollo program NASA and President Nixon was trying to decide what to do next...and ultimately of course we went with the Space Shuttle.  But suppose they went with the other option, going full speed ahead with a manned mission to Mars?  Here humanity does indeed succeed in landing humans on Mars and returning them safely to the Earth on March 27, 1986 (just after my sixth birthday I might add)...but it came at a very, very heavy price which if you ask me would NOT have been anywhere near worth it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyage_(novel)

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There have been lots of good science fiction novels regarding Mars, including Kim Stanley Robinson's award winning books, the Mars Trilogy

But anyway, back to science, the image I posted above is from the ISS (International Space Station). By our standards it's definitely not roomy, and neither is the Dragon Capsule. However, it's not meant to be roomy. NASA is still planning to use the Orion Vehicle in the Artemis program - to get astronauts back on the Moon, and to have a permanent presence on the Moon! Super Exciting! 

I really hope one day, I'll be able to go to space, and perhaps even the Moon.

outside-of-dragon-spacecraft-mockup_1024.jpg

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https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-awards-northrop-grumman-artemis-contract-for-gateway-crew-cabin

The HALO will be the pressurized living quarters where astronauts will spend their time while visiting the Gateway. About the size of a small studio apartment, it will provide augmented life support in tandem with NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

gateway_ppehalo_angles_003.png

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Looks like it could be from some science fiction movie, but it's real life 🙂

2052819379_Screenshotfrom2020-11-1810-36-06.thumb.png.1d2cd6ddf79cfe7d5398e680bc3bb5d3.png

https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/935635454/4-astronauts-aboard-spacex-crew-dragon-successfully-dock-with-space-station

Four astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Resilience have arrived at the International Space Station, circling 262 miles above Earth, where they will stay until spring.

On their way to the station, the astronauts broadcast a tour showing off the high-tech Resilience, including a plush Baby Yoda bouncing around the capsule as a zero-gravity indicator.

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47 minutes ago, avatar! said:

Looks like it could be from some science fiction movie, but it's real life 🙂

 

What is sci-fi looking about this other than some stylistic changes to the outfits?

If anything it is some dystopian, fall-of-Rome-level-shit, that we've gone this long without being able to service our own launches.

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5 minutes ago, arch_8ngel said:

What is sci-fi looking about this other than some stylistic changes to the outfits?

If anything it is some dystopian, fall-of-Rome-level-shit, that we've gone this long without being able to service our own launches.

Astronauts launching to space from private companies - yeah, that was science fiction for many years! Since the 60s there was talk, speculations, dreams, of what the private sector would be doing with space. People figured that by the year 2000 there would at least be some form of permanent human habitation on the Moon. Well, that didn't happen did it! But, this is a great step in the right direction, so yes, this was certainly once the realm of science fiction and I hope it keeps going!

You're right, it's been nearly a decade since we had our own launches to the ISS, but that's because we grounded the entire Space Shuttle program. Overall, that was a good idea, because we now have much cheaper options (MUCH cheaper) and the technology has improved dramatically. The Resilience (capsule) absolutely looks it came out of a science fiction movie. The Artemis Program is on track to get us back to the Moon, so I'm optimistic and excited!

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2 minutes ago, Tabonga said:

70988---height_450.jpg.b8f79cbe8d2c6c8c3be6bc36659dba79.jpg

That's a cool cover. Heinlein had training as en engineer, and he took that science and used in this particular book.

I'm sure he would have been excited with what NASA has been doing. The new NASA suits by the way, especially those being developed for use on the Moon, are amazing.

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14 minutes ago, avatar! said:

That's a cool cover. Heinlein had training as en engineer, and he took that science and used in this particular boo

I'm sure he would have been excited with what NASA has been doing. The new NASA suits by the way, especially those being developed for use on the Moon, are amazing.

One of his other early novels (Rocketship Galileo) was about a small minimally funded private group that launches their own spaceship.

I have a complete run of the Ace Doubles science fiction books which featured two books bound back to back and they therefore had two covers.  They were published from 1952 to 1978 and the changes in the cover art both stylistically and thematically are pretty illuminating.

ace2x_d162.thumb.jpg.68f37ea0d5131cfe04fed84e4eb990fa.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ace_double_titles

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32 minutes ago, Tabonga said:

One of his other early novels (Rocketship Galileo) was about a small minimally funded private group that launches their own spaceship.

I have a complete run of the Ace Doubles science fiction books which featured two books bound back to back and they therefore had two covers.  They were published from 1952 to 1978 and the changes in the cover art both stylistically and thematically are pretty illuminating.

ace2x_d162.thumb.jpg.68f37ea0d5131cfe04fed84e4eb990fa.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ace_double_titles

I love that old artwork! And as you noted, Rocket Ship Galileo was science fiction, but no more (well, obviously only certain aspects such as private companies launching into space 🙂

Also, with regards to the latest SpaceX launch, it's one thing to launch satellites, but launching people is a completely different ballgame. Super exciting times we live in!

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55 minutes ago, avatar! said:

Astronauts launching to space from private companies - yeah, that was science fiction for many years! Since the 60s there was talk, speculations, dreams, of what the private sector would be doing with space. People figured that by the year 2000 there would at least be some form of permanent human habitation on the Moon. Well, that didn't happen did it! But, this is a great step in the right direction, so yes, this was certainly once the realm of science fiction and I hope it keeps going!

You're right, it's been nearly a decade since we had our own launches to the ISS, but that's because we grounded the entire Space Shuttle program. Overall, that was a good idea, because we now have much cheaper options (MUCH cheaper) and the technology has improved dramatically. The Resilience (capsule) absolutely looks it came out of a science fiction movie. The Artemis Program is on track to get us back to the Moon, so I'm optimistic and excited!

Private contractors were the people building our rockets and launch vehicles for a LONG time, though. 

But having more private companies involved is good, and having otherwise-unsolicited designs become viable is good for general competition in that market.

 

And I wasn't suggesting we should  have stuck with the shuttle.  It was a design that had to meet certain requirements that just weren't good requirements to have in the first place, which led to a lot of the issues.

The dystopia/fall-of-Rome comment was more about going from being the absolute leader in space systems to having to rent seats on Russian rockets as the new US design slid further and further "to the right" in terms of delays.  Original schedules would have had a shuttle replacement launch vehicle a long time ago.  That is more the nature of my gripe. 😛

 

 

EDIT:  did watch the launch with my kids, though, because it was historic.

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2 minutes ago, arch_8ngel said:

Private contractors were the people building our rockets and launch vehicles for a LONG time, though. 

But having more private companies involved is good, and having otherwise-unsolicited designs become viable is good for general competition in that market.

 

And I wasn't suggesting we should  have stuck with the shuttle.  It was a design that had to meet certain requirements that just weren't good requirements to have in the first place, which led to a lot of the issues.

The dystopia/fall-of-Rome comment was more about going from being the absolute leader in space systems to having to rent seats on Russian rockets as the new US design slid further and further "to the right" in terms of delays.  Original schedules would have had a shuttle replacement launch vehicle a long time ago.  That is more the nature of my gripe. 😛

 

 

EDIT:  did watch the launch with my kids, though, because it was historic.

I wasn't around, but I know that there was this huge national interest and excitement at the space program in the 60s (gotta beat the Soviets!) and somehow, well, things just went to "ho-hum". We definitely lost of our edge, perhaps in part because people assumed the USA "won" the space race and that was it!

No doubt, we are now in a second space race that looks to be West vs East - primarily the USA vs China. I do think we should invest more money into NASA and space exploration. Of course, some people argue that militarization might happen, but the truth is, it happened a LONG time ago! There are numerous military satellites in space from all countries. Weaponization of space is a different matter, hopefully that won't happen, but who knows. At any rate, I think the correct approach for now is to continue to invest in technologies and to keep us on track for building a permanent human habitat on the Moon.

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1 hour ago, avatar! said:

I love that old artwork! And as you noted, Rocket Ship Galileo was science fiction, but no more (well, obviously only certain aspects such as private companies launching into space 🙂

Most of Heinlein's early stuff was actually YA in a time when that category really didn't exist as such.   I recently went on a binge and reread a lot of his stuff -just doesn't hold up very well - not only is it really dated (which I can forgive) technologically but the writing is somewhat stilted.  He also tended to write in essentially an extended novella length so he tended to rush story elements and character development.

The only one that held up pretty well (of the ones I reread) was Tunnel in the Sky - which really was not dependent on any technology that would actually evolve IRL.

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Again, talking about "science-fiction" like reality, I found this really cool

https://www.yahoo.com/news/astronaut-spacex-dragon-beats-shuttle-184242713.html

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi — who became only the third person to launch aboard three kinds of spacecraft — said "the Dragon is the best, short answer.” He said the Dragon “really wanted to go to space,” something he could feel as the Falcon 9 rocket was being fueled minutes before liftoff and later in the launch as thrusters fired right outside his window seat.

“This feels like you are actually inside a dragon bringing us up to space, so that was quite a feeling,” he told reporters.

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321997941_Screenshotfrom2020-11-2518-24-05.png.47b77333fde22717e9bb15e61d0b2bda.png

NASA Is Officially Assembling the SLS in Florida

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55070302

The SLS is the giant rocket that will send US astronauts back to the Moon this decade - with the first crewed landing targeted for 2024. Engineers in Florida have begun stacking the segments that make up the vehicle's two solid rocket boosters. The rocket is scheduled to make its debut in November 2021. The SLS consists of a giant, 65m (212ft) - long core stage with four engines that's flanked by the twin solid fuel boosters. Together, these produce a massive 8.8 million pounds (39.1 Meganewtons) of thrust that can loft astronauts into orbit; the rocket subsequently hurls them towards the Moon.

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Things you take for granted on Earth - being able to wash your clothes!

282535759_Screenshotfrom2020-11-2718-26-41.png.6e893e7ba5d7e3b1d3adc7c201aa2ab7.png

https://www.yahoo.com/news/astronauts-could-stop-burning-underwear-142711852.html

No washing machine has been developed for use in zero-gravity and currently astronauts on the International Space Station wear their clothes for “as long as it is tolerable to the crew based on smell and crustiness”, according to a Nasa report from 2013.

It does beg the question, how many days can one wear underwear and still have it "tolerable"?

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