The man who designed the original spacecraft for Project Mercury and is credited with contributing to the designs of every U.S. human spacecraft from Mercury to the Space Shuttle has died. Dr. Maxime A. Faget, who in 1958 became part of the Space Task Group that would later evolve into the NASA Johnson Space Center, died Saturday at his home in Houston. He was 83 years old.
“Without Max Faget’s innovative designs and thoughtful approach to problem solving, America’s space program would have had trouble getting off the ground,” said NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe. “He also was an aeronautics pioneer. In fact, it was his work on supersonic flight research that eventually led to his interest in space flight. The thoughts and prayers of the entire agency are with his family.”
NASA scientists recently successfully radioed artificial intelligence (AI) software to a satellite. They tested the software’s ability to find and analyze errors in the spacecraft’s systems. Normally, troubleshooting is done on the ground.
The AI software, Livingstone Version 2 (LV2), automatically detects and diagnoses simulated failures in the NASA Earth Observing One (E0-1) satellite’s instruments and systems.
E0-1, launched in November 2000, is a flying test bed for new technologies and techniques intended to boost safety, reduce costs and development times. “This is the kind of technology NASA needs to support future exploration of the Earth, moon, Mars and beyond in the 21st Century,” said Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This software grants us the ability to troubleshoot the robotic systems required to handle increasingly complex tasks of exploration, while they are millions of miles and perhaps light years away from Earth,” he said.
In 1873, French author Jules Verne astounded readers with his tale of adventurer Phileas Fogg pushing the then limits of the possible by travelling Around the World in 80 Days. Today European environmental satellite Envisat routinely makes the same trip every 100 minutes.
If plans come together in time, an outdated Russian spacesuit could become the most unusual Amateur Radio satellite ever put into orbit. Being called “SuitSat” for now, the idea–from ARISS-Russia’s Sergei Samburov, RV3DR–sparked wide-ranging discussion among delegates to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Team meeting October 11-13 in Alexandria, Virginia.
With diminishing stowage space aboard the ISS, several Orlan spacesuits used for space walks have been declared surplus. Samburov’s notion is to have an ISS crew equip one of them as an Amateur Radio satellite–possibly including a camera in the helmet area–and launch it during a space walk. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says the project is on a fast track because it must be ready to roll in less than a year.
While Antarctica has mostly cooled over the last 30 years, the trend is likely to rapidly reverse, according to a computer model study by NASA researchers. The study indicates the South Polar Region is expected to warm during the next 50 years.
Findings from the study, conducted by researchers Drew Shindell and Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), New York, appeared in the Geophysical Research Letters. Shindell and Schmidt found depleted ozone levels and greenhouse gases are contributing to cooler South Pole temperatures.
Low ozone levels in the stratosphere and increasing greenhouse gases promote a positive phase of a shifting atmospheric climate pattern in the Southern Hemisphere, called the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). A positive SAM isolates colder air in the Antarctic interior.
Vancouver, B.-C., October 6, 2004 – A Canadian space milestone was commemorated when Dr. Marc Garneau, President of the Canadian Space Agency, was joined by Chief Astronaut Julie Payette, Astronauts Chris Hadfield and Bjarni Tryggvason, Vancouver students, and numerous dignitaries at the H. R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver. Twenty years ago, on October 5, 1984, all eyes in Canada were drawn the launch and pride swelled, as Marc Garneau became the first Canadian to lift off and travel into space.
Since then, eight Canadian astronauts have participated in 11 space missions. Many Canadian space milestones have been recorded over the past two decades including, Roberta Bondar, in 1992, who became the first Canadian woman to experience microgravity.
Innovative uses for plastics, rubber and their derivatives will be on display next week in Düsseldorf, at the world’s leading trade fair for plastics and rubber, K2004. A team from ESA will be present to show visitors how these commonplace materials can be used in space and how this can lead to new technology for use on Earth.
Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a “new star” in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets.
Modern astronomers, using NASA’s three orbiting Great Observatories, are unraveling the mysteries of the expanding remains of Kepler’s supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy.
When a new star appeared Oct. 9, 1604, observers could use only their eyes to study it. The telescope would not be invented for another four years. A team of modern astronomers has the combined abilities of NASA’s Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and Chandra X-ray Observatory, to analyze the remains in infrared radiation, visible light, and X-rays. Ravi Sankrit and William Blair of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore lead the team.
As Expedition 9 nears the end of its mission, the crew aboard the International Space Station prepared for the trip home by wrapping up science experiments, rehearsing, and continuing maintenance operations on the vehicle.
Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke donned their entry spacesuits and slid into the ISS Soyuz 8 (TMA-4) spacecraft docked to the Station to check for a good fit.
Next Friday, the crew will greet its first visitors in six months. Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao, Expedition 10 Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov and Russian Space Forces Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin are preparing for their launch to the Station. The Expedition 10 crew also conducted an inspection and fit check of their ISS Soyuz 9 (TMA-5) spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Space Shuttle fleet is housed and processed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. The order the Space Shuttles are listed in this report does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of future missions.
Processing continues in the Orbiter Processing Facility for Discovery’s Return to Flight mission. Throughout the week, significant progress was made on orbiter system testing. Technicians continue to bond the new wing leading edge sensors on the interior of the Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) panels. Optics tests continue, with the alignment of the Manipulator Positioning Mechanisms, in preparation for the Remote Manipulator System (Space Shuttle arm) installation.