Thursday, April 17, 2014

SpaceX Launch Set For Friday, April 18

Falcon 9.  Photo Credit: Spacex.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- NASA, along with its International Space Station partners, and SpaceX have scheduled the Falcon 9 launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for Friday, April 18, 2014 at 3:25 p.m. EDT.

This SpaceX-3 mission will deliver a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station  carrying about 4,600 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk tools to support the ISS crew and more than 150 scientific investigations planned for ISS Expeditions 39 and 40.


SpaceX Launch Weather


The most recent forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts only a 40% chance of overall permissible weather conditions for the SpaceX Falcon 9 Friday launch.  The primary weather concerns for launch are lightning, thick clouds, and precipitation.  


If the Falcon 9 launch is scrubbed on Friday, SpaceX will attempt another launch on  Saturday, April 19, at 3:02 p.m. where weather chances improve to a 60% chance of overall permissible conditions for launch.

A First for SpaceX

SpaceX could make space history once again with this launch. This time, with a controlled descent of the Falcon 9's first stage.  Approximately 161 seconds into flight, the first-stage engines will shut down, an event known as main-engine cutoff, or MECO.  At that point, Falcon 9 is 80 kilometers (50 miles) high, traveling at 10 times the speed of sound.  Three seconds after MECO, the first and second stages will separate.


After separation, landing legs will be extended into a 60-foot span from the first stage. SpaceX will then attempt a controlled descent (with the help of retro rockets) of the first stage into the Atlantic Ocean.   The ultimate goal of this test is to create a reusable first-stage booster rocket that would decrease the overall launch costs.


Once in orbit, the Dragon capsule will rendezvous with the space station where it will be grappled and berthed to the complex for an expected four-week visit.  


Dragon is later scheduled to return to Earth for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. It will be bringing back more than 3,600 pounds of experiment samples and equipment. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

SpaceX Launch Scrubbed

Falcon 9.  Photo Credit: Spacex.
UPDATE:  SpaceX Launch Set For Friday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The launch of a Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket carrying a cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station scheduled to liftoff today from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida has been scrubbed due to a first stage helium link.


The next earlier possible date for launch is Friday, April 18, 2014 at 3:25pm ET. 

"Blood Moon" Lunar Eclipse Tonight, April 14, 2014

Lunar Eclipse. Credit: NASA.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- There will be a Full Moon tonight on Monday, April 14, 2014 beginning with a moonrise over the Atlantic Ocean at 7:25 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (with a few minutes of variation depending on your exact location).  The Full Moon will technically be 100% full at 3:43 a.m. EDT on April 15, 2014 before it sets at 7:05 a.m. 


For those planning a moonlit stroll along the beach on the U.S. East Coast, this Full Moon brings along with it a 3'9" Atlantic Ocean high tide that will occur around 8:14 p.m., with a few minutes of variation depending on your exact location.  A very low tide will occur at 2:17 a.m. Thursday morning.

These NASA videos explain when and where to watch the April 2014 total lunar eclipse (also known as a 'Blood Moon') that is the first of four full eclipses to make up a Tetrad.  Video Credit: NASA JPL and Science@NASA.



What Time Is The "Blood Moon" Lunar Eclipse?

A full lunar eclipse will also occur tonight and into the morning of April 15, depending on the viewer's time zone.


The lunar eclipse will begin at 12:53 a.m. EDT on April 15 (9:53 p.m. PDT on April 14) and ends at 6:38 a.m. EDT / 3:38 a.m. PDT the morning of April 15th.

But the total lunar eclipse, when the moon is expected to turn into a dark-copper red Blood Moon, will start at 3:07 a.m. EDT / 12:07 a.m. PDT and ends at 4:25 a.m. EDT / 1:25 a.m. PDT on April 15th


Viewing area of the April 2014 Lunar Eclipse.  Credit: NASA / JPL

The total eclipse will be viewable for most of North America and western South America.  People in the United States will not be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019.


According to NASA, this full lunar eclipse is special because it is the first of four consecutive full lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 that make up a Tetrad.  


For some believers in Christian prophecy, these four Blood Moons mark the beginning of the end of the World. 


Is Tonight's Full Moon also a 'Pink Moon'?


Full Moons in April are also known as a Pink Moon.  But the time of year that a Full Moon appears does not affect its color.  The April 2014 Full Moon will likely appear a dark-copper red to those who can view the full lunar eclipse.


 

SIMILAR ARTICLES:

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

SpaceX "GO' For Launch Despite Space Station Malfunction

Falcon 9 Rocket with expandable landing legs.  Credit: SpaceX via Twitter.

UPDATE:  SpaceX Launch Set For Friday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- NASA has given the O.K. for the launch of a Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket carrying a cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station (ISS) despite the loss of a computer command relay box aboard the ISS.


NASA, along with its international partners and SpaceX agreed on Sunday to proceed with the Falcon 9 launch scheduled to liftoff on Monday, April 14, 2014 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.  The launch window opens at 4:58 p.m.


NASA concluded that the SpaceX-3 mission could be conducted as planned without violating any launch commit criteria following the loss of a backup computer command relay box called a multiplexer/demultiplexer (MDM).   The prime multiplexer continues to operate flawlessly with no impact to station operations, NASA said.



Preparations are underway for a contingency spacewalk by two of the ISS crewmembers to replace the failed MDM with a spare housed inside the station no earlier that April 22. 


SpaceX Launch Weather

The most recent forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts an 80% chance of overall permissible weather conditions for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch.  The primary weather concern for launch are anvil clouds.  


A First for SpaceX

SpaceX could make space history once again with this launch. This time, with a controlled descent of the Falcon 9's first stage.  Approximately 161 seconds into flight, the first-stage engines will shut down, an event known as main-engine cutoff, or MECO.  At that point, Falcon 9 is 80 kilometers (50 miles) high, traveling at 10 times the speed of sound.  Three seconds after MECO, the first and second stages will separate.


After separation, landing legs will be extended into a 60-foot span from the first stage. SpaceX will then attempt a controlled descent (with the help of retro rockets) of the first stage into the Atlantic Ocean.   The ultimate goal of this test is to create a reusable first-stage booster rocket that would decrease the overall launch costs.


Once in orbit, the Dragon capsule will rendezvous with the space station where it will be grappled and berthed to the complex for an expected four-week visit.  The capsule is filled with about 4,600 pounds of supplies for the space station crew and missions being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory.


Dragon is later scheduled to return to Earth for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. It will be bringing back more than 3,600 pounds of experiment samples and equipment.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Atlas V Rocket Launch 90% 'GO' For Weather

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office (NROL-67) satellite from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is set to launch today, April 10, 2014 at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time


The most recent forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of overall permissible weather conditions for launch.  The primary concerns for launch is thick clouds.



The launch had been previously delayed by a range instrumentation outage that is necessary to support the launch. 

Weather 90% 'GO' For Atlas V Rocket Launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office (NROL-67) satellite from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is set to launch today, April 10, 2014 at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time


The most recent forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of overall permissible weather conditions for launch.  The primary concerns for launch is thick clouds.



The launch had been previously delayed by a range instrumentation outage that is necessary to support the launch. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mars Closest To Earth During 'Blood Moon' On April 14

Mars Opposition taken by the Hubble Telescope.  Credit: NASA


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- On April 14, 2014, Mars and Earth will be closest together on the same night a 'Blood Moon' total lunar eclipse occurs.


Mars will be so close to Earth this week that amateur astronomers with backyard telescopes will be treated to a viewing of the Red Planet in great detail, including being able to see the Martian polar ice cap that is made up of regular water ice and frozen carbon-dioxide (commonly known as dry ice).


A full lunar eclipse will also occur on the night of April 14 and into the morning of April 15, depending on the viewer's time zone.



The lunar eclipse will begin at 12:53 a.m. EDT on April 15 (9:53 p.m. PDT on April 14) and ends at 6:38 a.m. EDT / 3:38 a.m. PDT the morning of April 15th.


According to NASA, this full lunar eclipse is special because it is the first of four consecutive full lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 that make up a Tetrad.  


For some believers in Christian prophecy, these four Blood Moons mark the beginning of the end of the World, Armageddon, and the Apocalypse.


These NASA videos explain when and where to watch the April 2014 total lunar eclipse (also known as a 'Blood Moon') that is the first of four full eclipses to make up a Tetrad.  Video Credit: NASA JPL and Science@NASA.


The total lunar eclipse, when the moon is expected to turn into a dark-copper red Blood Moon, will start at 3:07 a.m. EDT / 12:07 a.m. PDT and end at 4:25 a.m. EDT / 1:25 a.m. PDT on April 15th. 


Viewing area of the April 2014 Lunar Eclipse.  Credit: NASA / JPL

The total eclipse will be viewable for most of North America and western South America.

 

On April 8th, the Earth, Mars, and sun were arranged in almost a straight line.   Astronomers call this alignment "opposition" because the sun and Mars are on opposite sides of the Earth.


That means that Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west, and Mars sets in the west just as the sun is rises in the east.  But the alignment on April 8th wasn't the closest that Mars and Earth were together.  That's because the planets' orbits around the sun are elliptical instead of perfectly round.



The following Science@NASA video explains how close Mars will be to the Earth on April 14: