@SpaceX: Falcon 9 and #Dragon rolled out from hangar, looking pretty on the pad. In final prep for launch tmrw 10:10A ET!
PASADENA, Calif. - Two compact laboratories inside NASA's Mars rover Curiosity have ingested portions of the first sample of rock powder ever collected from the interior of a rock on Mars.
Curiosity science team members will use the laboratories to analyze the rock powder in the coming days and weeks.
The rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments received portions of the sample on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23, respectively, and began inspecting the powder.
"Data from the instruments have confirmed the deliveries," said Curiosity Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
The powder comes from Curiosity drilling into rock target "John Klein" on Feb. 8. One or more additional portions from the same initial sample may be delivered to the instruments as analysis proceeds.
During a two-year prime mission, researchers are using Curiosity's 10 science instruments to assess whether the study area in Gale Crater on Mars ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
SpaceX reported a few minutes ago the Falcon9 and Dragon have passed their readiness review and are ready for launch at 1010am Friday. An earlier tweet also indicated a 90% chance of good weather for launch time.
I have truly waited my whole life hoping for something like this, it is a stepping stone, I give them my full support and hope the stars align at the same time the planets do, God Speed!!
UPDATE: After you read all of this, Here is a pdf link to the feasibility study done for this mission(18 pages)http://www.inspirationmars.com/Inspiration%20Mars_Feasibility%20Analysis_IEEE.pdf
A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation believes in the exploration of space as a catalyst for growth, national prosperity, knowledge and global leadership. History has shown that strong nations reap these benefits when they boldly follow a path rooted in curiosity and guided by technological innovation.
We created our foundation to inspire Americans to take advantage of this unique window of opportunity to push the envelope of human experience, while reaching out to our youth to expand their views of their own futures in space exploration. Revitalizing interest among our students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is a vital part of our overall mission. Our goal is to provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station.
NASA and America’s space program have been a critical part of inspiring our nation and people everywhere to reach for their dreams and dare to invent their future. The Inspiration Mars Foundation is committed to moving America farther and faster toward our destiny as the world leaders in technical innovation, science, exploration and discovery.
Mars presents a challenging, but attainable goal for advancing human experience and knowledge. We plan to launch "A Mission for America" that will use existing space transportation hardware and further drive technology development. It will generate knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It will encourage and embolden all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring the next generation of explorers to pursue their destiny through STEM education and exploration.
In 2018, the planets will literally align, offering a unique orbit opportunity to travel to Mars and back to Earth in only 501 days. Inspiration Mars is committed to sending a two-person American crew – a man and a woman – on an historic journey to fly within 100 miles around the Red Planet and return to Earth safely.
The mission’s target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018. This exceptionally quick, free-return orbit opportunity occurs twice every 15 years. After 2018, the next opportunity won’t occur again until 2031. The mission will provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station. It will be financed primarily through philanthropic donations, with some potential support from government sources.
This mission will be a flyby passing within 100 miles of the surface of Mars. Additional maneuvers will be minor course corrections only, using the gravitational influence of Mars to “slingshot” the vehicle onto a return course to Earth. An inflatable habitat module will be deployed after launch and detached prior to re-entry.
Investments in human space exploration technologies and operations by NASA and the space industry are converging in time to make such a mission achievable. The mission is being designed based on proven Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) systems and technologies that are available on the market today. We are currently in discussions with many of the leading U.S. commercial aerospace companies to tap into their existing launch engines and vehicles. Environmental and life support operations will be directly derived from International Space Station technologies, which have proven design, development and operational lessons to draw from.
This mission will showcase American innovation at its best, generating knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It represents an unprecedented, long-duration research opportunity that will lead to new, cutting-edge discoveries. It validates decades of taxpayer investment in NASA technology and strengthens the United States’ position as a leader in exploration. It inspires the next generation of explorers to pursue their destiny through STEM education. This mission is the ultimate demonstration of our collective space exploration capabilities to date.
Rewards & Risks
The beauty of this mission is its simplicity. The flyby architecture lowers risk, with no critical propulsive maneuvers, no entry into the Mars atmosphere, and no rendezvous and docking. It also represents the shortest duration roundtrip mission to Mars. The 2018 launch opportunity coincides with the 11-year solar minimum providing the lowest solar radiation exposure. The next launch opportunity for this mission (2031) will not have the advantage of being at the solar minimum.
There are risks associated with the mission, as is true of every space exploration mission. But these are exactly the kinds of risks that America should be willing to take in order to advance our knowledge, experience and position as a world leader. We believe the risks and challenges we have uncovered are well within the scope of our collective experience and can be overcome to achieve a safe and successful mission. In fact, studies by experts have found that the technology and systems are viable with proper integration, testing and preparation for flight.
We are steadfastly committed to the safety, health and overall well-being of our crew. We will only fly this mission if we are convinced that it is safe to do.
Role with NASA
Our "Mission for America" aligns perfectly with our nation's emerging space priorities and programs, and will contribute valuable research to accelerate the next generation of systems and their missions. NASA has a strong plan for taking Americans farther into space and is investing wisely in a new human spacecraft and heavy lift launch vehicle - systems our nation needs for our long-term plans beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO). We're using the proven LEO systems and technology that NASA and the industry have created to seize this unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to create public awareness, enthusiasm and momentum for a long-term commitment and vision for space exploration beyond LEO…all the way to Mars.
In addition, the foundation has formed a partnership with NASA via a reimbursable Space Act Agreement between Paragon and the Ames Research Center to conduct thermal protection system and technology testing and evaluation. Foundation officials will also seek to tap into NASA’s knowledge, experience and technologies to fine-tune and/or develop some of the more challenging elements of this mission, including environmental controls, radiation protection, and human health and productivity plans.
This mission showcases American innovation at its best. We will tackle this unique challenge via a low-cost, collaborative, nonprofit approach that has the support of NASA and an evolving team of industry partners. We are engaging the best minds in industry and government to develop and integrate the space flight systems and to design innovative research, outreach and education programs for the mission.
NASA’s Ames Research Center
Paragon Space Development Corporation
Applied Defense Solutions
Space Exploration Engineering Corporation
"I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it"
President Barack Obama. Kennedy Space Center, April 15, 2010
As reported earlier speculation mounts as Dennis Tito prepares for a press conference tomorrow in Washington DC. Tito is expected to announce a 501 day manned mission to Mars to be launched in January 2018. The mission is said to be a free return as illustrated by the graphic above. I have been looking through all my usual sources but have not found much more to report, SpaceX remains silent and all twitter traffic by Elon Musk and the gang are focused on the March 1st ISS resupply mission. If you think about it, it would make sense for SpaceX to not say anything, Tito would be a paying customer and they would not want to steal any of his thunder. We are excited to hear the plan tomorrow and will update as soon as new information is released.
Update: Today's Test fire was successful
Via spacefliggt now
In preparation for the March 1st launch SpaceX will conduct a static fire today.
The static fire, scheduled for Monday afternoon at SpaceX's launch pad at Cape Canaveral, will occur at the end of a practice countdown. The launch team stationed about 10 miles from the rocket will load kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the booster and oversee a computer-controlled countdown sequence leading to ignition of the Falcon 9's first stage engines.
The rocket's nine Merlin 1C engines will fire at full power for about two seconds, reaching more than 800,000 pounds of thrust while the vehicle remains firmly attached to the launch pad at Complex 40.
After a successful static fire, engineers will remove the two-stage rocket from the launch pad. Workers will connect the launcher's ordnance and pack the final items inside the Dragon spacecraft for shipment to the space station.
Colors of the Innermost Planet:
This colorful view of Mercury was produced by using images from the color base map imaging campaign during MESSENGER's primary mission. These colors are not what Mercury would look like to the human eye, but rather the colors enhance the chemical, mineralogical, and physical differences between the rocks that make up Mercury's surface.
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Adding a 2nd image below just to show how Mercury appears to our eyes
I have been sitting on this story for a couple of days. Billy Goforth emailed it to me and I told him not to hold his breath unless SpaceX was involved. Well as more information is leaked it turns out Elon Musk appears to be on board with plans to use a modified Dragon. I am still trying not to get too excited, the press conference is scheduled for February 27th
...... More details :
The NewSpace Journal says it obtained a copy of the paper Tito plans to present in Montana and gives a summary of its main thrust.
Tito's paper discusses "a crewed free-return Mars mission that would fly by Mars, but not go into orbit around the planet or land on it. This 501-day mission would launch in January 2018, using a modified SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched on a Falcon Heavy rocket," the NewSpace Journal writes. "According to the paper, existing environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) technologies would allow such a spacecraft to support two people for the mission, although in Spartan condition."
The mission would be privately financed and cheaper than previous estimates for manned Mars efforts, the NewSpace Journal adds, though no overall cost is given.
The purported involvement of California-based SpaceX is not a huge surprise, as company founder Elon Musk has repeatedly stressed his desire to help humanity reach and eventually colonize Mars. Indeed, SpaceX has been developing a mission concept called "Red Dragon," which would use its Dragon capsule to send astronauts to the Red Planet.
A 501-day mission would pose potentially serious physiological and psychological issues for astronauts (standard stints aboard the space station are currently just six months).
Investing in Technology to Enable the Future: NASA Creates Space Technology Mission Directorate
WASHINGTON -- As part of the Obama Administration's recognition of the critical role that space technology and innovation will play in enabling both future space missions and bettering life here on Earth, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has announced the creation of the Space Technology Mission Directorate. The directorate will be a catalyst for the creation of technologies and innovation needed to maintain NASA leadership in space while also benefiting America's economy.
The Space Technology Mission Directorate will develop the cross-cutting, advanced and pioneering new technologies needed for NASA's current and future missions, many of which also benefit America's aerospace industries, other government agencies, and address national needs. NASA will focus leadership responsibility for the existing Space Technology Program in the mission directorate, improving communication, management and accountability of critical technology investment activities across the agency.
"A robust technology development program is vital to reaching new heights in space -- and sending American astronauts to new destinations like an asteroid and Mars," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "A top priority of NASA is to invest in cross-cutting, transformational technologies. We focus on collaboration with industry and academia that advances our nation's space exploration and science goals while maintaining America's competitive edge in the new innovation economy."
Associate Administrator Michael Gazarik will head the organization. He previously served as the director of the Space Technology Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist. Serving as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs, James Reuther brings years of expertise in technology development, research and project management to oversee the nine programs within the mission directorate. Reuther previously served as deputy director of the Space Technology Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist. Dorothy Rasco, formerly the business manager of the Space Shuttle Program and the manager of the Space Shuttle Program Transition and Retirement, will join the directorate as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Management, assisting with the organizations strategic planning and management.
The Space Technology Mission Directorate will employ a portfolio approach, spanning a range of discipline areas and technology readiness levels. Research and technology development will take place within NASA centers, in academia, and industry, and leverage collaboration with other government and international partners.
NASA's Chief Technologist Mason Peck serves as the NASA administrator's principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning agencywide technology policy and programs. Peck's office will lead NASA's technology transfer and commercialization efforts, integrating, tracking, and coordinating all of NASA's technology investments across the agency. The Office of the Chief Technologist also will continue to develop strategic innovative partnerships, manage agency-level competitions and prize activities, as well as document and communicate the societal impacts of the agency's technology efforts.
On this day in 1962 John H. Glenn of the USMC became the first American to orbit the earth. He rode an Atlas LV-3B into orbit (a modified Atlas ICBM), went around the Earth three times; had some false indications about his heatshield/landing bag which were expertly handled and then reentered being picked up by a US Destroyer, USS Noa. the history is pretty well known I would just note three things.
First I can well remember watching this on the TV...I've since met now Senator Glenn and he is a pleasant fellow (I had the honor of flying him some in the vomet comet when he got his second flight). He was kind enough to sign some stamps commemorating his flight...My Grandmother bought me an entire sheet of the 4 cent stamps and I've picked up a few since. Second I have seen both the capsule (Friendship 7) and the one known piece(s) of the Atlas rocket that remains. The fragments are today on display in the Science Museum in Pretoria. Serial numbers are clearly visible as is a nice letter from JHG. Also I have been to "Kano Control" in Nigeria which is the site of where the NASA tracking station was. Today it is a "center" in the Nigerian air traffic control system.
It has taken a long time but we are as a nation on the verge of a real space Odyssey. Probably SpaceX but at least two other private companies are on the verge of developing a private human rated spacecraft.
the picture is a computer generated one of what Friendship 7 would have looked like on orbit. I've had the opportunity to look closely at the Mercury which would have been MA_10 and was offered a chance to sit in it. I declined...unlike Col. Glenn...it would have been a really tight fit.