Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2014-10-26

October 31, 2014

Video of the failed Antares launch taken from a plane

Dear readers and followers,

Everyone saw the videos taken from the ground of the dramatic failed space launch of the Antares rocket, however, this time +Ed Sealing had the opportunity to make the video from a plane. 

Image from the video of +Ed Sealing

The video is really impressive and taken with an iPad Mini from a Cessna 177 Cardinal from an altitude of 914 meters.

Credit video: +Ed Sealing 

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Incident Response Team completed an initial assessment of Wallops Island

Dear readers and follower,

The Wallops Incident Response Team completed today an initial assessment of Wallops Island, Virginia, following the catastrophic failure of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. (local time, EDT) Tuesday, October 28th , from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

“I want to praise the launch team, range safety, all of our emergency responders and those who provided mutual aid and support on a highly-professional response that ensured the safety of our most important resource, our people,” announced Bill Wrobel, Wallops director. “In the coming days and weeks ahead, we'll continue to assess the damage on the island and begin the process of moving forward to restore our space launch capabilities. There's no doubt in my mind that we will rebound stronger than ever.”

The initial assessment is a cursory look; it will take many more weeks to further understand and analyze the full extent of the effects of the event. A number of support buildings in the immediate area have broken windows and imploded doors. A sounding rocket launcher adjacent to the pad, and buildings nearest the pad, suffered the most severe damage. At Pad 0A the initial assessment showed damage to the transporter erector launcher and lightning suppression rods, as well as debris around the pad.

The Wallops environmental team also is conducting assessments at the site. Preliminary observations are that the environmental effects of the launch failure were largely contained within the southern third of Wallops Island, in the area immediately adjacent to the pad. Immediately after the incident, the Wallops’ industrial hygienist collected air samples at the Wallops mainland area, the Highway 175 causeway, and on Chincoteague Island. No hazardous substances were detected at the sampled locations. Additional air, soil and water samples will be collected from the incident area as well as at control sites for comparative analysis.

The Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Resources Commission reported today they have not observed any obvious signs of water pollution, such as oil sheens. Furthermore, initial assessments have not revealed any obvious impacts to fish or wildlife resources. The Incident Response Team continues to monitor and assess.

Credit image: +NASA Wallops 

Based on initial sweeps conducted by an Orbital safety team, it appears a significant amount of debris remains on the site and it is likely substantial hardware evidence will be available to aid in determining root cause of the Antares launch failure. Some of the Cygnus cargo has also been found and will be retrieved as soon as they have clearance to do so to see if any survived intact. 
After up close visual inspections by the safety team, it still appears the launch site itself avoided major damage. There is some evidence of damage to piping that runs between the fuel and commodity storage vessels and the launch mount, but no evidence of significant damage to either the storage vessels or launch mount. Detailed evaluations by MARS and their engineering team will occur in the next couple of days. An Orbital-led team has begun cataloging and documenting the location of all pieces of debris over the next several days after which the debris will be relocated to storage bays on the island for further evaluation.

Telemetry data has been released to Orbital and their engineers presented a very quick look assessment to the Accident Investigation Board at the end of the day. It appears the Antares vehicle had a nominal pre-launch and launch sequence with no issues noted. All systems appeared to be performing nominally until approximately T+15 seconds at which point the failure occurred. 
Evidence suggests the failure initiated in the first stage after which the vehicle lost its propulsive capability and fell back to the ground impacting near, but not on, the launch pad. Prior to impacting the ground, the rocket’s Flight Termination System was engaged by the designated official in the Wallops Range Control Center.

Source: +Orbital Sciences and Technologies, Inc. and +NASA

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October 29, 2014

Antares rocket failed during its launch to ISS and exploded

Dear readers and followers,

The +Orbital Sciences and Technologies, Inc.'s Antares rocket lifted off to start its third resupply mission to the International Space Station, but suffered a catastrophic anomaly shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT. The Orbital Sciences team is executing its contingency procedures, securing the site and data, including all telemetry from the Antares launch vehicle and Cygnus spacecraft. Before launch the Orbital team was not tracking any issues.No injuries have been reported, and Orbital reports that all personnel around the Wallops Flight Facility launch site have been accounted for.

Credit video: +NASA Wallops 

"Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today's launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station.” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of +NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, regarding today's Orbital Sciences Corp's launch mishap.

Damage was contained to the hazard area, but there may have been a scattering of debris. Public safety is our number one priority. If people find debris in the vicinity of the launch tonight, please stay away & call the Incident Response Team at 757-824-1295.

Source: +Orbital Sciences and Technologies, Inc. and +NASA

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October 28, 2014

Antares rocket launch from NASA's Wallops could be seen in Washington D.C. this evening

Dear readers and followers,

[Update]: Orbital Sciences is set to try a second attempt to launch its Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo ship today at 6:22 p.m. EDT the launch window is about 10 minutes long. Public viewing of the launch will be available at the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops, as well as at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore.

The launch of the Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia may be visible in D.C. this evening, October 28th 2014. Coverage of the mission begins at noon and will be live-streamed here.

The Orbital Sciences’ rocket will carry Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Its payload is about 5,000 25000 kg of supplies and experiments, dedicated for the International Space Station. The spce launch is scheduled at 6:45 p.m. Today, October 28th. If weather permitting, people from DC should be able to see the rocket approximately 180 seconds after launch, as presented in the following picture. 

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October 27, 2014

Comet 67P/ Tchourioumov-Guérassimenko smells terrible

Dear readers and followers,

the European spacecraft, Rosetta is orbiting the distant comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko and revealed funny conclusions. It seems that the comet smells terrible. Since early August, the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) has been ‘sniffing the fumes’ of 67P/C-G with its two mass spectrometers.
Actually, "It stinks" said Kathrin Altwegg, a researcher at the University of Bern in Switzerland who runs an instrument called ROSINA that picked up the odor.

Credit image : +European Space Agency, ESA 

The European space agency has realeased the constitution of the analyse: The mix includes ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), formaldehyde (CH2O) and methanol (CH3OH). As the Kathrin Altwegg, principal investigator for ROSINA, put it: “The perfume of 67P/C-G is quite strong, with the odour of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide), horse stable (ammonia), and the pungent, suffocating odour of formaldehyde. This is mixed with the faint, bitter, almond-like aroma of hydrogen cyanide. Add some whiff of alcohol (methanol) to this mixture, paired with the vinegar-like aroma of sulphur dioxide and a hint of the sweet aromatic scent of carbon disulphide, and you arrive at the ‘perfume’ of our comet.”

Credit image: +European Space Agency, ESA 

Fun for now. But that could change. The comet is currently getting closer and closer to the sun. And like anything you leave out in the sun too long, it will soon start to smell even worse.

After a 10 year journey of some seven billion kilometres, the Rosetta mission is now heading towards its next major milestone : setting the lander Philae on a comet. Rosetta is a robotic space probe built and launched by the +European Space Agency, ESA to perform a detailed study of comet called 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko with both an orbiter and lander module (Philae). On November 12th 2014, a lander is scheduled to touch down on a comet for the first time in the history of spaceflight.
Source: +European Space Agency, ESA

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NASA stops the rumors about 3 days without sun on Earth

Dear readers and followers,

after many rumors and hearsays on the web and social networks since the last week,  +NASA confirms that NONE full day of darkness will occur this year in the days in December 21st, 22nd and 23rd. The land will NOT remain during these three days without sun. The rumor talked about a huge solar storm, but it will not be the case. There are many solar storm each months. In February 2014 a powerful X4.9-class solar flare has been recorded by NASA . This solar flare is the most intense flare of 2014 so far, and one of the most intense of the current solar cycle. Solar flare are really critical, specially for the spacecrafts orbiting Earth. Few weeks ago, the Orb-1 mission of the Antares rocket delayed due to high space radiation environment induced by a high class solar flare. Fortunately, the solar flare was not Earth directed.

The head director of +NASA Charles Bolden did a announcement witht he aim to stop the rumors and ask people to stay calm. 

The rumor is used to come back on the web each year. This hearsay talked about a plunge into total darkness for three days on Earth;this is the incredible event announced for centuries by different traditions and religions and supposed support the transformation of the Earth in our time..... only rumors !!

So you could stay calm and enjoy the end of 2014 with your friends and family in peace.

Source: +NASA

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