The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia.
As part of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's investigation, NASA devised a plan to save Columbia's crew had they known that the foam strike damaged the shuttle. Previously.
"I was going through boxes of my grandparents old photographs and found some incredible pictures of a tragic shuttle launch from 1986. I scanned them and made an album.
My grandmother actually passed peacefully last week, and was because of her passing that I found these. We were all going through boxes and boxes of photos to find pictures to display at her memorial. I just happened to get the box with the Challenger pictures at the bottom, which was kind of special for me because I am the biggest NASA fan in the family," said Mike Hindes. [more inside]
NASA's abandoned plan for a re-usable, nuclear powered moon shuttle
. [more inside]
10 years ago today, the flagship of the Space Shuttle fleet, Columbia
, broke apart upon its return to earth
. [more inside]
Each space shuttle launch was documented by 125 cameras aimed at its engines, solid rocket boosters, orbiter, and umbilicals. The 45-minute film Ascent
compiles the "best of the best": astounding 400 fps footage from three missions (STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124), produced by NASA aerospace engineer Matt Melis, and narrated by Melis and photographer Kevin Burke.
Photos of the Flight Deck (cockpit) of the Space Shuttle Endeavour
, fully powered for one of the final times, by young former NASA photographer Ben Cooper
The Shuttle Launches,
all 135 of them, playing simultaneously.
Edited by McLean Fahnestock.
If you're looking for the Challenger video, it is in the second row from the top, the 6th frame from the right.
The Space Shuttle Discovery
, known for launching the Hubble telescope
, as well as being the workhorse
of the fleet
, made a final flight
today. [more inside]
"What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis
, and Endeavour
" before they transition
into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space
It's probably too late to take your Hasselblad aboard a Space Shuttle
, but if the opportunity arises, read the Astronaut's Photography Manual
(PDF) and you might capture photos like this one
Hey, remember the ISS, that space station
the Space Shuttle
helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station
for a bit. [more inside]
Initially the conventional wisdom was that spacesuits “would be like rockets: adamantine, metallic, armored and smooth.” But in practice, rigid spacesuits repeatedly failed under testing. So when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon they were protected from the vacuum of space by flexible spacesuits crafted from twenty-one layers of fabric, “each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles” for the Playtex Corporation.
The Spirit of the Spacesuit
, Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo [more inside]
STS 133 Space Shuttle Discovery
(Single Link Space shuttle Launch)
In 1976, in response to NASA's development of the Space Shuttle, the USSR began it's own reusable launcher program, the Buran
(Snowstorm), based at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
in what is now Kazakhstan. [more inside]
SLYT slow motion shuttle liftoff. (Up to 60,000 frames per second)
Go For Launch!
Timelapse video of preparing STS-131 (Discovery) for launch. [more inside]
As the shuttle program winds down, astrophotographers like Thierry Legault are taking advantage of these last opportunities to capture absolutely incredible shots like this one
, showing Atlantis' transit in front of the sun as it performs its inspection backflip before docking with the ISS. His other photography includes this magnificent series
of the launch of STS-125
. [more inside]
Barring the need for STS-335
and any potential extension to the program, today's 2:30 EST scheduled launch of OV-104 Atlantis
(pdf) will be her 32nd and final trip to space. She's had
a good run
(gratuitous launch vid
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-131
is being fueled for a scheduled liftoff at 6:21 AM EST,
and will be only the sixth twilight launch. Shuttle Discovery's trajectory towards the International Space Station will take it north, along the American eastern seaboard
, visible to early risers as far north as New York. [more inside]
The best space shuttle launch video you will see today.
As compiled and edited by NASA's SE&I imagery team at Johnson Space Center.
Atlantis. Hubble. And a big, yellow friend.
Astrophotographer Thierry Legault managed to get amazing shots of Space Shuttle Atlantis
approaching the Hubble Space Telescope during a transit of the sun
. [more inside]
A space shuttle is fired to sky. People from all around the place
gets a camera and shoots it. They publish the photos on Twitter. Result: Awesomeness
NASA releases the Columbia shuttle disaster report.
Space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003 as a result of damage sustained to its thermal protection system. This report details the possible lethal incidents and the investigation board's recommendations based on their findings. [more inside]
Video and audio from a camera mounted on one of the side solid rocket boosters during the launch of STS-124.
As the camera is initially facing the main booster, there's not that much to see (except water vapor collecting on the lens and interesting-looking changes in the main booster's surface) until around 1:50, when the booster rocket is jettisoned. After that, enjoy the ride from space to splashdown, but watch out for flying debris! Here's the view from the other booster
, without sound. More onboard STS cameras, previously. [N.B. -- Adjust volume accordingly, it gets loud! Looks even better in high-quality and full-screen modes.]
Some photo galleries
(and youtube video
) of Buran
, the USSR's space shuttle program
) from the 1980's, long since abandoned
. Bonus: A comparison between
Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More
on Buran from russianspaceweb.com
, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran
, (and their photos
), frozen in time a decade ago.
Four years ago today
the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated shortly upon reentry. Here is a sad, but, fascinating real time video recreation of the final moments
, compiled from various sources including Nasa radio transmissions.
Rocket's red glare! STS-121 lifts of successfully
on the Forth of July, on a mission to deliver equipment, supplies and an additional crewmember to the International Space Station
. Said Wayne Hail, Shuttle Program Manager, "Great nations dare great things and take risks along the way, and I can think of no better way to explore the space frontier than the way we set out today." Photos
Discovery is coming home...
Around now (6.06am EDT) STS114 is due to commence firing its orbital maneuvering engines for 2 minutes and 42 seconds and commence its entry of the atmosphere to return home to Edwards Air Force base. Florida was declared a "no go" both yesterday and today due to weather conditions.
Weather at Edwards is good
Landing tracks from NASA available here
BBC story with live video footage is here
Pilot Jim Kelly is handling the de-orbit burn, according to commentary and mission commander Eileen Collins will make the final approach and touch down at Edwards.
Best of luck, Discovery, I'm sure I speak for all when I say that all of our thoughts are with you.
Astronaut Steve Robinson
took a picture of himself that Escher
would've loved, when out fixing the Space Shuttle Discovery. Available in hi-res
, too (not safe for dialup).
Is there any purpose
to the kind of manned space flights
we seem to be concentrating on?
A nice graphic of the 15000 hits the shuttle program has had.
The space shuttle (and NASA) return to flight
tomorrow at a scheduled launch time of 1551 ET, weather permitting. They had a laundry list of things to fix, and of course, they've fixed all of them... except the three that actually killed the last crew
They're launching nonetheless, and NASA TV will be covering it
, with a couple of lists of
mirror site links.
I wish them well.
Three days and Counting
Breathe deep, mine eyes, the frosty saga of eternal suns.
From unseen depths and dreams undreamt,
I sing the gleaming cantos of unvanquished space.
By thought I embrace the universal,
With wings of mind I sail the infinitude.
Glory! 'tis the stars which beckon man's spirit and set our souls adrift!
NASA says shuttle is ready for July 13 launch, but doubts remain.
With two catastrophic failures marring the Space Shuttle's safety record, many people fear that the coming launch of the shuttle Discovery
could turn in to a billion-dollar fireworks display. While NASA is optimistic about the coming mission, an independent panel of aerospace executives, academics and former astronauts
are not. They concluded that NASA has failed to fully implement three of the fifteen return-to-flight recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB
) in August 2003. While we wish the astronauts a safe and uneventful journey, serious doubts
remain as to NASA's competency
to continue carrying mankind to the stars. Perhaps our best hopes now lie with private ventures such as Scaled Composites
The truth that MeFites don't want you to know.
As a follow-up to this post on "the Coffins GWB doesn't want you to see
," it is revealed that many of the photographs that ran rampant over the Internet and wire services weren't of fallen American soldiers, but were of the crew of the Columbia.
Columbia's Final Minutes
A fascinating (if horrifying) account of the shuttle's destruction.
"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday.
Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational
and behavioral issues
that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
"I imagine this is the last we will hear of this."
Or not. NASA releases email between NASA engineers leading up to the Columbia disaster documenting significant concerns regarding damage done to the shuttle on takeoff. Engineers calculated the likelihood of a 7" x 30" gouge in the heat shields, but when they let management know of their concerns, they weren't taken seriously, were forced to work "at night" to do simulations, and found that requests for additional information were "treated like the plague."
Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster
- Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves
Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.