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Miscellaneous Launches and Payloads (updates)

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DocM    14,815

Pitiful when a cartoon like that may be more accurate than the program planners, isn't it? Maybe if so many parts didn't fall off in transit & roll around the floor.....

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Beittil    495

Not to mention that XKCD has been pretty much spot on quite often already... 

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DocM    14,815

And so it begins; NASA looking at BFR as a possible replacement for SLS.

 

https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/luvoir/

Quote

The Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) is a concept for a highly capable, multi-wavelength space observatory with ambitious science goals. This mission would enable great leaps forward in a broad range of science, from the epoch of reionization, through galaxy formation and evolution, star and planet formation, to solar system remote sensing. LUVOIR also has the major goal of characterizing a wide range of exoplanets, including those that might be habitable - or even inhabited.

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,484

We called it! So did Academia! Not enough parts, and the factories that produce those parts won't be back online until 2022 at the EARLIEST in some cases due to the STS Infrastructure shutdown that began in 2010.

 

BFR/BFS is THE most logical path forward. Completely reusable, the CH4 fuel is far safer, easily-produced/stored, does not require cryogenics for storage either (although cryogenics are applicable in storing more of it), many parts are mass-producible pretty much anywhere that has a decently-equipped machine shop able to go to Aerospace tolerances (which is pretty much everywhere) ... the list goes on.

 

SLS is SO far out-of-date technologically that it's not even WORTH building anymore. And what's more, it has cost FAR too much money and taken too much time.

 

Get a few launches out of it and relegate it to history as "the ultimate folly/pork barrel project". We've got WAY better gear now.

 

If the money spent on SLS/Orion were spent on BFR/BFS and the Habitation technologies we'd be on [expletive] MARS now, with a dozen ships already there. Alpha Colony would be up and running with a thousand people happily bouncing around the surface doing their jobs marvelling at the views sending back INCREDIBLE science and 5,000 images a [flipping] sol -- with an additional two dozen ships leaving Earth SOI as I type this.

 

Let that sink in, folks. That's the magnitude of how big a cluster[bleep] this is. We could have been on Mars and the Moon by now.

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DocM    14,815

Haaretz....(Israel)

 


First Israeli Spacecraft to Head to Moon on Back of Elon Musk's SpaceX Rocket

The first Israeli spacecraft planned to land on the Moon will be launched in December, the SpaceIL initiative behind the craft announced on Tuesday. The plan is for the spacecraft to land on the Moon on February 13, 2019, after a two-month trip.

The SpaceIL organization is participating in the Google Lunar XC Prize competition to land the first privately funded unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. Even though the competition officially ended with no winner at the end of March this year, after a number of extensions to the deadline for the $30 million in cash prizes, the competition still continues without the cash. 

But SpaceIL continued to develop its spaceship, which it began to build in 2013 in cooperation with Israel Aeronautics Industries. The spacecraft will be launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musks SpaceX company. The spacecraft will separate from its two-stage launch rocket at a height of 60,000 kilometers above the earth, where it will enter an elliptical orbit around the earth, which will expand slowly until the craft is captured by lunar gravity. 

Ido Anteby, the CEO of the nonprofit SpaceIL, says this will be the smallest spacecraft ever to land on the Moon. "It is about two meters in diameter and a meter and a half high. It will weigh 585 kilograms at launch, but will land with a weight of only 180 kilos after burning off most of its fuel."

SpaceIL is hoping to make Israel the fourth country in the world  after the United States, Russia and China, to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Beyond the technological and public relations achievement, the initiative is meant to arouse interest in space and science among Israelis, and especially the younger generation, and encourage them to study the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.
>

 

spaceil-lander-879x485.jpg

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DocM    14,815

/sigh....

 

The Telescope That Ate NASA continues to chomp.

 

https://spacenews.com/nasa-weighs-delaying-wfirst-to-fund-jwst-overrun/

 


>
Testifying before the House Science Committee in the first half of a two-part hearing on JWST, Bridenstine suggested that slowing down work on the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) until after JWST is launched could be a way to deal with JWSTs increased cost while maintaining a "balanced portfolio" of large and small astrophysics programs.

"The idea of WFIRST presumed that JWST would be on orbit and delivering science," he said. "So it is my recommendation that we move forward with WFIRST after we move forward with JWST."

"It is true we can do some development now. I'm not saying that we need to shut down WFIRST, and we shouldn't do it," he added. "What I'm saying is theres opportunity here."

Current plans for WFIRST call for a launch in 2025, assuming full funding. That funding is uncertain at the moment, though, since the administration proposed cancelling WFIRST in its 2019 budget request. House and Senate versions of appropriations bills would keep the mission going, but the House bill offers $150 million versus $352 million in the Senate bill. The latter amount, NASA says, is what's needed to keep the mission on schedule.
>

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Unobscured Vision    2,484

At this rate it's going to eat NASA.

 

And by the time it actually launches the ground-based scopes are going to be so sensitive that the science that it was slated to do can be done on Terra Firma at high altitudes.

 

So ... what benefits are there (and what need is there) to justify JWST's existence now? Oh wait ... Northrop-Grumman's. I'd call it "the ultimate pork barrel project" but that's SLS/Orion. This'll be the #2 though.

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Jim K    10,794

The final Delta II launch is about to take place.  This workhorse has had more than 150 missions over 29 years.

 

 

 

About the payload ... ICESat-2
 
Quote

The Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, will measure the height of a changing Earth, one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses a second. Slated for launch in 2018, ICESat-2 will carry a photon-counting laser altimeter that will allow scientists to measure the elevation of ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and more - all in unprecedented detail.

 

Our planet's frozen and icy areas, called the cryosphere, are a key focus of NASA's Earth science research. ICESat-2 will help scientists investigate why, and how much, our cryosphere is changing in a warming climate. The satellite will also measure heights across Earth's temperate and tropical regions, and take stock of the vegetation in forests worldwide.

 

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Jim K    10,794

Japan successfully lands two rovers on asteroid Ryugu...a first.
 

Quote

MINERVA-II1: Successful image capture, landing on Ryugu and hop!

 

On September 21, the small compact MINERVA-II1 rovers separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft (time of separation was 13:06 JST). The MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, Rover-1A and Rover-1B. We have confirmed both rovers landed on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data. Analysis of this information confirmed that at least one of the rovers is moving on the asteroid surface.

 

MINERVA-II1 is the world’s first rover (mobile exploration robot) to land on the surface of an asteroid. This is also the first time for autonomous movement and picture capture on an asteroid surface. MINERVA-II1 is therefore “the world’s first man-made object to explore movement on an asteroid surface”. We are also delighted that the two rovers both achieved this operation at the same time.

 

Fig2.thumb.jpg.b2929cb332630b3ec3c6d2757fd09661.jpg

 Image captured by Rover-1B on September 21 at around 13:07 JST. This color image was taken immediately after separation from the spacecraft. The surface of Ryugu is in the lower right. The coloured blur in the top left is due to the reflection of sunlight when the image was taken.

 

Fig3.thumb.jpg.e870166dcaeffe4bc5e38591e58d1c41.jpg

 Image captured by Rover-1A on September 22 at around 11:44 JST. Color image captured while moving (during a hop) on the surface of Ryugu. The left-half of the image is the asteroid surface. The bright white region is due to sunlight.

 

Ryugu-and-Hayabusa2-shadow.thumb.jpg.1384460cd11b7c3bf0bd99ee68142d2a.jpg

This spectacular photo shows asteroid Ryugu as well as the spacecraft shadow visible on the surface, as Hayabusa 2 was descending on September 21, 2018, to release the pair of rovers. The image was taken from about 443 feet (135 meters) from the space rock.

 

JAXA

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DocM    14,815

Good job JAXA!! 

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Unobscured Vision    2,484

NICE!!

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Beittil    495

Nice job, to bad they are not nearly as good at public engagement as ESA was back then with Rosetta though. 

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