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International Space News & Discussion
Thread to track and discuss space launcher and satellite capability

To start with S.Korea's second Nero SLV launch failure

[left][url="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-06/10/c_13343799.htm"]S. Korean space rocket might have exploded: science minister[/url][/left]

Quote: [url="http://english.news.cn/"][color="#666666"]English.news.cn[/color][/url] 2010-06-10 17:51:31

[size="1"][color="navy"]South Korean two-stage satellite-carrier Naro-1, or the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), lifts off from the Naro Space Center in South Jeolla Province, about 485 kilometers south of Seoul, South Korea, June 10, 2010. South Korea launched Naro-1, a locally assembled space rocket Thursday, but contact with the rocket was lost only 137 seconds after the takeoff. (Xinhua/Yonhap)[/color][/size]

SEOUL, June 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's domestically assembled space rocket, which crashed after reaching the altitude of 70 km, might have exploded, Seoul's science minister Ahn Byung- man told reporters.

The two-stage satellite-carrier Naro-1, or the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1), lifted off from the Naro Space Center in South Jeolla Province, about 485 kilometers south of Seoul, at 5:01 p.m. local time (0801 GMT), but communications with it was lost 137 seconds after the takeoff.

The minister offered an apology to the public over botching up the ambitious project, but said the country will continue its efforts to better the technology. South Korean and Russian experts will form a team to look into the cause of the failure.

The launch of the 140-ton rocket, made with the help of Russian experts, came a day after a technical problem with firefighting equipment delayed the initially planned blastoff. South Korea has put 502.5 billion won (404.5 million U.S. dollars) into developing the Naro-1.

Last year, a technical glitch botched up the first attempt at the rocket launch. A faulty fairing assembly prevented the rocket from putting the satellite into the orbit and the rocket veered off course.

With yet another failed attempt, South Korea has to put a brake on its ambition to join the ranks of a handful of other countries which have succeeded in putting a satellite into orbit using a locally assembled rocket.

[color="navy"]Related: [/color]

[url="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-06/10/c_13343799.htm"][color="navy"]S. Korean space rocket crashed: YTN[/color][/url]

SEOUL, June 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's locally assembled space rocket, which lost contact only 137 seconds after the takeoff, crashed after reaching altitude of 70 km, Seoul's news channel YTN reported Thursday.

YTN pictures showed the rocket falling from the sky.
[size="3"]With the last flight of the Space Shuttle in July 2011, there is no longer any reusable spacecraft for the US.

I fail to understand why this came to an end without a replacement/upgraded spacecraft technology in place [/size]
[size="3"][Image: icon_confused.gif][/size][size="3"]. Economics is cited as reason, but is it the actual reason? How does space shuttle economics compare with that of war economics of US, in which there is so much wanton play?

[size="3"][url="http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article2444846.ece"]Trouble for the Space Station[/url] : The Hindu -- 12/09/2011

Quote:It was in July 2011 that the last of the Space Shuttles, Atlantis, made the final trip to the International Space Station. With the Shuttles' retirement, only Russia's Soyuz spacecraft can transport crew to and from the huge station that is orbiting the earth. But with a question mark hanging over the Soyuz rocket that launches the manned capsule, there is a very real possibility that the station might have to be temporarily abandoned. The issue arose after a Soyuz rocket, which lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on August 24, malfunctioned. The Progress cargo vessel it was carrying, with supplies for the space station, ended up crashing to the ground. The loss of those supplies is not a cause for concern as the station is well-stocked and can easily support the three Russians, two Americans, and one Japanese who are currently living aboard for several months. The problem is that the replacement crew, who are scheduled to leave for the station on September 21, is likely to be delayed while the Russians make sure it is safe for them to travel on the Soyuz rocket. But the astronauts on the space station may not be able to remain till the next crew arrive. That's because the two Soyuz capsules docked to the space station, in which they are to return home, are time-limited. Each of those capsules is certified to remain in space for only 200 days. Consequently, one set of three astronauts is now expected to leave the space station later this month and the remaining three in mid-November.[/size]

[size="3"]The Soyuz rocket is a lineal descendant of the launcher that carried the world's first satellite, Sputnik, and subsequently the first human to travel in to space, Yuri Gagarin. A production defect has been identified as the culprit in the latest failure. A week earlier, a Proton rocket with a communications satellite onboard developed trouble. Last December, another Proton rocket failed, followed by a Rokot booster this February. Some media reports suggest that poor pay, an ageing workforce, and inadequate state support are leading to a decline in quality standards in Russia's once well-funded space sector. After the Soyuz failure, the Russian government ordered an industry-wide review and improvement of quality control procedures. It is, however, clearly desirable to have an alternative to the Soyuz capsule and rocket, which can provide much-needed back-up. But it could take a few years for U.S. spaceflight companies, like Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), to develop the necessary man-rated space hardware. Till then, Russia will have to shoulder the responsibility for taking astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

[size="3"][url="http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2456540.ece"]A push farther out into solar system[/url] The Hindu, September 15, 2011


Quote:[floatright][Image: th16_mar_col_eps_782775e.jpg][/floatright]NASA has unveiled plans for a massive new launcher capable of powering manned space flights well beyond low-Earth orbit and ultimately to Mars.

NASA chief Charles Bolden made the announcement on Wednesday of the design for the Space Launch System (SLS), which the space agency touted as the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V rocket put U.S. astronauts on the Moon.

“The next chapter of America's space exploration story is being written today,” said Mr. Bolden. The launcher, which will take until 2017 to build and cost an estimated $35 billion, will fill a gap in U.S. manned flight programme created by the retirement of the last U.S. space shuttle in July after 30 years of service.

But NASA said it would be far more powerful, capable of carrying much larger payloads eventually to Mars.

Still, the launcher borrows heavily from the space shuttle, said a former officer. .

For instance, the first stage of the new launcher will use the shuttle's cryogenic engine fuelled with a mix of hydrogen and oxygen kept at very low temperatures, he told AFP.

The system will be topped with a capsule initially capable of carrying into space payloads of 70 to 100 metric tonnes, and expanded over time to carry up to 130 metric tonnes.

“The SLS will carry human crews beyond low-Earth orbit in a capsule named the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle,” NASA said.

The first test launch is scheduled for 2017 followed by manned flights in 2021.

NASA could use it for a mission to an asteroid in 2025. NASA has indicated that it expects to send astronauts around Mars before eventually landing on the red planet, but not before 2030.

[size="3"]Satellite launch plunge: [url="http://www.merinews.com/article/defunct-climate-satellite-will-make-a-sizzling-death-plunge/15858448.shtml"]Defunct climate satellite will make a sizzling death plunge[/url]

Quote:At least 26 large pieces of the dead satellite will hit the ground on Earth - after surviving the sizzling temperatures of atmospheric re-entry. NASA scientists are trying to veer its course to unpopulated areas like the Arctic.

[Image: line-horizontal-black-fade.gif]

[floatright][Image: 1316585485024.jpg][/floatright]THE SCHOOL-bus size defunct Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), which cost 750 million dollar and was launched in 1991 by the space shuttle Discovery to study the ozone layer including the Earth’s upper atmosphere is likely to crash down to Earth any time on September 23, 2011. It was designed for a three-year mission but it lasted for 14 years, and worked faultlessly till newer satellites made it obsolete.

The UARS weighs about six and a half tons, is 35 feet long and 15 feet wide, and is flying in an orbit that reached a high point about 240 kilometres above earth – and most of it will burn up on re-entry. This is the largest satellite to come back to earth unrestrained since Skylab in 1979.[/size][size="3"]According to NASA scientists’ calculations, UARS, which was NASA’s first multi-instrumented satellite and decommissioned in December 2005, was expected to de-orbit September 23, plus or minus a day but close to making its fall. Nobody knows just yet where it will land on ground. Officials indicated that UARS satellite debris could be anywhere between the latitudes of northern Canada and southern South America. At least 26 large pieces of dead satellite will hit the ground on Earth surviving the sizzling temperatures of atmospheric re-entry.[/size]

[size="3"]The velocity of these pieces is projected to be tens to hundreds of miles an hour, and there is one-in-3200 chance its debris could hit any person or structure. If the satellite does fall or passes while flying over an inhabited region of earth, skywatchers could see a “dazzling light” in clear weather.[/size]

[size="3"] There is no cause for worry as about 150 tons of large and small pieces of solid extraterrestrial bodies land on our planet every day. Some are visible and some are not; most of the debris is so small it’s never found.[/size][size="3"]Advance warning from NASA officials about it falling is because of the varying density of upper atmosphere and they would not able to tell where it is going to ground. The NASA team on debris control for obsolete satellite will only able to tell two hours before it falls back to Earth. However, they will attempt to chart its path towards the Arctic and north of Antarctica. It will all depend on the mystery of sun, which is constantly changing the output of energy.[/size]

[size="3"][url="http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2494428.ece?homepage=true"]All set for China's space module launch today[/url] : The Hindu, September 28, 2011

Quote:[floatleft][Image: TH28-ROCKET__794655e.jpg][/floatleft][/size][size="3"]A spokesperson for China's manned space programme said on Wednesday that fuel had been injected into the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket in preparation for launching the Tiangong-1 space module on Thursday as planned.[/size]

[size="3"]The Long March-2FT1 is the latest modified model of the Long March-2 rocket series and features a more powerful thrust force, said spokeswoman Wu Ping at a press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.[/size]

[size="3"]The Long March-2FT1, given more than 170 improvements, is 52-metre long with a payload to low Earth orbit of 8.6 tonnes,said Mr. Wu.[/size]

[size="3"]The modifications came after an unsuccessful launch in August when a Long March-2C rocket failed to send an experimental satellite into orbit. Engineers conducted comprehensive technical evaluations and made modifications to Tiangong-1's Long March-2F carrier rocket, which shares most of its components with the failed Long March-2C.[/size]

[size="3"]To contain the Tiangong-1 module, which is larger than China's Shenzhou manned spacecraft, the Long March-2FT1 has a larger nose fairing, according to Jing Muchun, chief designer of the Tiangong mission's carrier rocket system.[/size]

[size="3"]The shape of the rocket's boosters has also been modified to allow for greater fuel volume than the Long March-2F model, resulting in an increase in its thrust power, said the chief designer.[/size]

[size="3"]Compared with carrier rockets that the United States and Russia have used to launch Moon-landing vehicles and space station components, China's Long March rocket series is much less powerful.[/size]

[size="3"]For example, a carrier rocket must have a payload capacity of at least 20 tonnes to send one single part of the International Space Station into low Earth orbit. “China's manned space programme aims at building up a space station, so we need a more powerful carrier rocket,” Jing told Xinhua at the launch center.[/size]

[size="3"]“Research and development on a new, bigger carrier rocket that burns more environmentally-friendly liquid-oxygen-kerosene fuels is in progress,” he said. [/size]


[size="3"][url="http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/article2497461.ece?homepage=true"]China launches Tiangong-1 for space station[/url] : The Hindu, September 29, 2011

Quote:[floatleft][Image: CHINA_SPACE_1_795625f.jpg][size="2"]

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong

-1 unmanned space lab module blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in

northwest China's Gansu Province, on Thursday. Photo: AP[/size][/floatleft][/size][size="3"]China launched an experimental module to lay the groundwork for a future space station on Thursday, underscoring its ambitions to become a major space power. [/size]

[size="3"] The box car-sized Tiangong-1 module was shot into space from the Jiuquan launch centre on the edge of the Gobi Desert aboard a Long March-2FT1 rocket. [/size]

[size="3"] After moving it into orbit, China plans to launch an unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to practice docking maneuvers with the module, possibly within the next few weeks. Two more missions, at least one of them manned, are to meet up with it next year for further practice, with astronauts staying for up to one month. [/size]

[size="3"] The 8.5-ton module, whose name translates as “Heavenly Palace-1,” is to stay aloft for two years, after which two other experimental modules are to be launched for additional tests before the actual station is launched in three sections between 2020 and 2022. [/size]

[size="3"] “This is a significant test. We’ve never done such a thing before,” Lu Jinrong, the launch centre’s chief engineer, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency. [/size]

[size="3"] The space station, which is yet to be formally named, is the most ambitious project in China’s exploration of space.[/size]


[size="3"][url="http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/article2506970.ece"]NASA's flying telescope in search of distant stars[/url]

[indent][size="3"][quote name="The Hindu" date="October 3, 2011"]SOFIA will unravel the mystery of how new stars form out of clouds of gas

A new and powerful telescope is being used by NASA astronomers for studying the atmospheres of planets and the formation of stars.

However, unlike most of the space agency's telescopes, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is not in space — rather it flies around mounted on a Boeing 747 jet with a large door cut on the side for it to see out.

One reason why scientists have chosen to put the telescope on a plane is that the plane lands every day, says Alycia Weinberg, astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, who is in charge of planning observations on SOFIA. The daily landings let researchers fix things or upgrade instruments. Plus, with no more space shuttle missions, fixing telescopes in space ranges is no more viable.

Another reason a flying telescope makes sense is that at 45,000 feet you're above most of the moisture in atmosphere. For, water vapour makes viewing the sky at infrared wavelengths impossible. Like sounds that are too low or too high for human ears to hear, infrared wavelengths are light and the human eye cannot see them.

But, Dr. Weinberg says, lots of things glow at infrared wavelengths like “the cocoons of dust that old stars give off as they go through their final stages of life.”

Those cocoons of dust are where new stars come from.

One of the things astronomers especially like to do with light from distant objects is put it through a spectrometer that can reveal the kinds of atoms and molecules that are in the light from whatever the telescope is pointed at.

David Neufeld, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, has big plans for one of SOFIA's spectrometers.

“I'm looking for a small molecule composed of one sulfur atom and one hydrogen atom. It's called mercapto, and it's never been seen before in the interstellar gas.”

Professor Neufeld will be observing a cloud of gas in the interstellar space between the Earth and a patch of space with the memorable name, W49N.

Mercapto radicals form at certain temperatures. “So if we see it, what it will tell us is that the clouds of interstellar gas that we are looking at, which are thought to be very, very cold, may have parts of them where it's been heated up to much higher temperatures,” he says. [/quote]

[size="3"][url="http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article2509681.ece"]Littered space[/url]

[quote name="Editorial, The Hindu" date="October 4, 2011"]A one-inch long piece of debris in space travels at 7.5 km per second, about 30 times the speed of a jumbo jet. It can easily destroy a satellite in orbit; and a centimetre-long fragment can seriously damage a satellite. Researchers are currently tracking some 22,000 junk objects — from small bits of debris to large satellites. There are about 500,000 waste fragments between 1 cm and 10 cm in length. The amount of junk accumulating in space has been growing over the last five decades, and is estimated to triple in the next two decades. Little wonder that a recent report by the U.S. National Research Council warns that the amount of debris in space has already reached a “tipping point.” [color="#ff0000"]{ Of course, we have to take their word for it! } [/color]The increase in debris can come in two ways — addition of new material from broken satellites and spent rocket stages, and newer and smaller objects thrown up by the collision of two waste materials. For instance, in 2009, the collision of two satellites over Siberia — a defunct Russian military satellite (Cosmos 2251) and a functioning U.S. Iridium satellite — created nearly 1,700 waste items. But even more waste was created by the testing of an anti-satellite weapon by China in January 2007 when an obsolete Chinese weather satellite was struck by the weapon. According to Nature, nearly 40,000 particles between 1 cm and 10 cm, and around 800 pieces of more than 10 cm in length, were generated by this collision. In all, the “catalogued debris fragments” stood “more than doubled” by the two incidents.

Clean-up strategies have to contend against several odds. For one thing, by its very nature, the task of removing the waste is formidable and prohibitively expensive. Secondly, it is dogged by legal problems, which are a legacy of the Cold War. Under international law, no nation can salvage or collect the space objects of other nations, and this applies to debris orbiting in space!
[color="#ff0000"]{ So what next? Debris-cleaning tax on all nations for the improprieties of a few[/color][/size]
[size="3"][color="#ff0000"], like carbon tax? [/color][/size][size="3"][color="#ff0000"] }[/color] It was time that countries urgently revisited this absurd legal position. The space environment is becoming increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts. More recently, the crew of the International Space Station had to take shelter inside the Soyuz spacecraft as a junk item narrowly missed hitting the station. A similar incident occurred in 2009. Unlike the space station that has special shields for protecting it, the satellites are highly vulnerable to debris strikes. Providing better protection and indulging in debris avoidance manoeuvres are currently the only ways of avoiding damage from impact. But there is yet another problem: these measures are increasing the cost of spacecraft design and operation.[/quote]

Landing of Secret X-37B Space Plane Caught on Video

via Space.com. Credit: 30th Space Wing - Vandenberg AFB


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