Sunday Space Blogging – 16 Aug 2009

Ares I-X Test Vehicle:

Standing tall at its fully assembled height of 327 feet, the Ares I-X is one of the largest rockets ever processed in the Vehicle Assembly Building's High Bay 3, Super Stack 5 at the Kennedy Space Center.  Ares I-X rivals the height of the Apollo Program's 364-foot-tall Saturn V. Five super stacks make up the rocket's upper stage that is integrated with the four-segment solid rocket booster first stage. Ares I-X is the test vehicle for the Ares I, which is part of the Constellation Program to return humans to the moon and beyond.  The Ares I-X flight test currently is targeted for Oct. 31.  Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Standing tall at its fully assembled height of 327 feet, the Ares I-X is one of the largest rockets ever processed in the Vehicle Assembly Building's High Bay 3, Super Stack 5 at the Kennedy Space Center. Ares I-X rivals the height of the Apollo Program's 364-foot-tall Saturn V. Five super stacks make up the rocket's upper stage that is integrated with the four-segment solid rocket booster first stage. Ares I-X is the test vehicle for the Ares I, which is part of the Constellation Program to return humans to the moon and beyond. The Ares I-X flight test currently is targeted for Oct. 31. Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

To the Moon – with extreme engineering

The Lunar Orbiter astonishes even today. It had to take pictures, scan and develop the film on board, and broadcast it successfully back to earth. Naturally, the orbiter had to provide its own power, orient itself without intervention from ground control, and maintain precise temperature conditions and air pressure for the film processing, and protect itself from solar radiation and cosmic rays – all within severe size and weight constraints.


NASA’s Plan For Detecting Potentially Threatening Asteroids Is in Financial Jeopardy

Congress charged NASA with finding 90 percent of nearby space rocks greater than 140 meters (460 ft) by 2020. Now the National Research Council warns that the space agency will fall short of that goal without more funding. The National Research Council’s interim report points out the familiar situation where the government assigns NASA goals without the necessary funding to carry out its mandate.

The key to “saving the Earth” from a potentially cataclysmic impact (or even near-hit) is to find the threat early enough to do something about it.

Step Outside
A photo gallery of spacewalks.