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Mandella
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Reply #1295 on: April 26, 2019, 02:01:19 PM

It occurs to me that it might be relevant to remind folks that the Commercial Crew program is not the usual cost plus pork barrel you might be used to in the space business. Basically, both SpaceX and Boeing are paid as per milestone reached, not per development time. Their respective capsules remain their own property, as does their own liability management.

Effectively NASA is buying a service, and if that service is not delivered then it is not paid for. So this RUD is on SpaceX's dime, as was Boeing's. They get no extra money for it -- the contract is settled and done years ago.

So bad news for SpaceX, except that since their motto is "fail forward" one would hope they have these contingencies budgeted for. If not, well, like I said above the Dreamchaser crew is ready and eager to step forward (and they have also been developing their crew version at their own expense, without even the safety net of a contract).

And that, IMHO, is what makes New Space so disruptive to Old Space. We have private companies developing space launch systems with their own discretionary funds. SpaceX might have the benefit of Commercial Cargo and Crew contracts, but Falcon Heavy was their own wholly owned project, and Starship also. Sierra Nevada also seems set on doing their own thing regardless, and then we're not even mentioning the dozens of smallsat launchers coming into play (Electron, Relativity, etc.).

Holy crap I almost forgot Blue Origin in all of that.

So yeah, there are going to be RUDs. This is not the first or last one, probably even for SpaceX. But the floodgates look like they may finally be open, and if SpaceX can't get the job done somebody else will. But it looks like space access might finally be getting brought "down to Earth," and not just a way for nation states to burn cash.

Okay end rant. I've killed enough time, now I have to go out and wire the yard for this wonder of Swedish space age engineering (300 years of excellence!) robot yard mower I just bought. I was hoping that by 2019 they wouldn't need wires anymore.....
calapine
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Reply #1296 on: April 26, 2019, 06:55:47 PM

cost plus vs. fixed price isn't a new space vs. old space thing, both exist for a while.

And small sat launchers, oh boy is that the next bubble coming up.

Launcher oversupply in general is going to an issue starting 2022+. Not only for SpaceX, but also Blue Origin, Arianespace and the Russians. Bezos can keep a rocket flying indefinitely with his cash of course, but that's totally different to a sustainable business case. (And no, "SpaceXs we create our own demand with Space link" won't fly. That constellation concept has so many issues. Funnily enough even Shotwell seems sceptical by now)

That's not to say New Space is bad, but that people expect a revolution and what we will get is just another evolutionary step.

I realize this is not more than a bunch of "because I said so", but I find it so incredibly hard to drill this down into a conclusive argument. How does one disprove a narrative?

I'll post more, but until then just take that as my opinion. And opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic!
Mandella
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Reply #1297 on: April 27, 2019, 12:16:54 AM

I absolutely agree with you about the small sat launchers. Going to be a huge shakeout -- I'd be pretty wary of investment unless you follow the industry *very* closely.

But that said, gonna be plenty of options to get your cubesats up in the next couple of years (assuming some of these guys actually make it to orbit -- more than Rocket Lab anyway), so now is the time!

As for the rest, meh. I'm sitting back with a cold one in hand and rather less sun-stroked than this afternoon and I find myself not in an argumentative mood. I'll keep posting cool stuff that is happening in space, old or new, and let others argue how somebody else ain't doing it right.

There is a lot of cool stuff going on too. Lots to pick from lately, and I hope that is a trend that will continue.

And hey, I'm still stoked about that Dreamchaser...
Mandella
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Reply #1298 on: April 27, 2019, 11:36:58 AM

And speaking of cool things and my job as the space hype train conductor:

https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1121797276190437376/photo/1

Dang twitter don't embed here.




Posted by Blue Origin with a mysterious caption of 5.9.19


woooo! what can it be???

Okay, took the internet about three seconds to decode it. That is the ship Freedom trying to navigate an ice pack while searching for the lost Shackleton Expedition.

Now, it turns out there is a Shackleton Crater on the moon, where quantities of water ice are strongly suspected.

So clearly Ned Stark will be resurrected and unite the Seven Kingdoms.

Or, I guess Blue Origin's first lunar lander is going to be named the Freedom and aimed at Shackleton Crater?
Chimpy
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Reply #1299 on: April 29, 2019, 05:37:56 PM

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/04/ksc-apparently-has-told-its-workers-theyll-be-fired-for-taking-rocket-photos/

While this has probably been a policy for a while, seems like someone sharing the video of the "anomaly" that showed how serious the "damage" to the vehicle was is what caused this to be enforced now.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 05:41:07 PM by Chimpy »

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Khaldun
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Reply #1300 on: April 29, 2019, 09:01:52 PM

I have to grant that this is complicated. Not because of SpaceX: no privatization of public facilities, ever, whatever your contract. If you're subcontracting public goods, you should still be exposed to public review. But if I were a professional photographer contracted to take photos and the staff could photo things I wasn't permitted to see or photograph, I'd be a bit cheesed off.
Chimpy
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Reply #1301 on: April 29, 2019, 09:41:54 PM

I have to grant that this is complicated. Not because of SpaceX: no privatization of public facilities, ever, whatever your contract. If you're subcontracting public goods, you should still be exposed to public review. But if I were a professional photographer contracted to take photos and the staff could photo things I wasn't permitted to see or photograph, I'd be a bit cheesed off.


Oh, I understand the reasons for the policy and it makes sense.

I just am seeing it through the (admittedly jaded) lens of the information both SpaceX and NASA released to the press about how there was an "anomoly" that caused "damage" to the module but when that narrative was broken by the explosive (har har) video evidence they are suddenly keen on cracking down on staff doing things that they had not been cracking down on before.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Mandella
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Reply #1302 on: April 30, 2019, 12:03:16 PM

I have to grant that this is complicated. Not because of SpaceX: no privatization of public facilities, ever, whatever your contract. If you're subcontracting public goods, you should still be exposed to public review. But if I were a professional photographer contracted to take photos and the staff could photo things I wasn't permitted to see or photograph, I'd be a bit cheesed off.


Oh, I understand the reasons for the policy and it makes sense.

I just am seeing it through the (admittedly jaded) lens of the information both SpaceX and NASA released to the press about how there was an "anomoly" that caused "damage" to the module but when that narrative was broken by the explosive (har har) video evidence they are suddenly keen on cracking down on staff doing things that they had not been cracking down on before.

If this was a couple months later and it was looking like something was being covered up I would be all about some whistleblower posting a vid, even such a crappy one as this.

But everybody knew there was an explosion and fire (great clouds of red smoke ya know and a big boom), and this video really doesn't add anything to public knowledge except the opportunity for drama. (Anomaly is the word used for everything from early cutoff to Challenger disaster -- people seem to have problems with that but that it is.) Also bear in mind that the leak was from the NASA side, and they are the ones who are coming down hard on everyone for it.

Hell, SpaceX will probably show a (much better quality) video of the explosion themselves given time.
Mandella
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Reply #1303 on: May 02, 2019, 01:39:46 PM

NASA and SpaceX just answered some questions about the Dragon 2 anomaly:

https://youtu.be/s6a9Ct9O_nY

Honestly, there is still not much to see here, but for people who need some sort of official assurance that they are actually looking into it, there you go. They are *still* in the process of securing the site, and have just began looking at debris. Hydrazine is really nasty stuff -- the type of nasty that just a drop on the skin can ruin your whole life. But that said they have extensive data from the event, plus all the debris will be recovered. The exact cause of the anomaly will be found -- just not last week.

I would say that, just as with Boeing last July, we are probably not going to get the depth of information that we might want. I would say that, but this is SpaceX and they are pretty sensitive to public opinion so I wouldn't be surprised to get a bit more info -- probably with funny music in the background along with a blooper reel.

Edit: Here is the entire thing. I didn't realize that Chris Bergin from NASAspaceflight didn't have the Q&A edited into his take above. There are some more questions and answers about the incident, and even a few things said about CRS-17 (which is what the pre-launch conference was actually about).

https://youtu.be/FiDAFUvKdLw
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 01:59:19 PM by Mandella »
Mandella
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Reply #1304 on: May 05, 2019, 12:28:28 PM

Totally cribbing this from the forums on another site, but I thought some of you guys might be interested in this:




Just another earthrise pic right? Well yeah, but it was taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 in 1966. The thing is, up until a few years ago the only version the public ever got to see were grainy low res images, which made everyone think that was all their was. Turns out our early Orbiters where using highly advanced (for the day of course) spy satellite tech, and said spy agencies weren't too happy to let the Russkies know how good that was. These high quality images were used in Apollo landing site planning, and then filed away in a cabinet somewhere until the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) found out and started restoring the original tapes.

These spy sats actually shot on film, developed the film internally, scanned the image and beamed it back.

So, Cold War, huh, what's it good for? Well, great space imaging for one, apparently.
Mandella
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Reply #1305 on: May 07, 2019, 12:20:38 PM

Dreamchaser now has an "official" Mattel Matchbox!!



Squee!!

Unfortunately I don't think it can do this:




Maybe Transformers will make one next?

Mandella
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Reply #1306 on: May 09, 2019, 05:38:41 PM

Dun Dun DUUUNnnnnn!




{photo taken by Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd}

Bezo's showing off his new lunar lander.

Dude wants it all, and not just Mars. Guy was also showing off pictures of O'Neil's space colonies from the 70s!

'Bout time.

blueorigin.com/blue-moon
Mandella
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Reply #1307 on: May 15, 2019, 12:53:12 PM

IN a surprise move, Elon Musk announced today that the annual company picnic would be held in low Earth orbit. Here is the first stack of fold-able picnic tables ready for launch!




Okay okay, real story here, for any who'd like to read up on the next big thing:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2019/05/first-starlink-mission-heaviest-payload-launch-spacex/
Mandella
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Reply #1308 on: May 23, 2019, 02:29:22 PM

A little old, but I just ran into this vid of Beth Moses verbally describing her first flight as a test tourist in the USS Unity, which also includes some really good shots of the flight. I hate to be impressed, as Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson irritates me almost as much as Elon Musk irritates others, but I have to admit that this spaceplane looks very sweet, especially as it folds itself up for "re-entry."

For all my reservations, I think I'd rather ride up in this thing than Bezos' New Shepard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaVoG1nuu2c?t=001

Also, first Scotsman in "space!"

Mandella
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Reply #1309 on: May 25, 2019, 01:01:35 PM

This is really cool looking, so I had to share. Remember all those picnic tables from two posts above? Here they are lined up and heading to a higher orbit.




The video gives a much better feel for the motion.


https://vimeo.com/338361997
calapine
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Reply #1310 on: June 04, 2019, 12:16:05 PM

Sorry for zoning out of the thread for a while. Life was too stressy for Space.

Just a payload info graphic. But the animal theme is Heart Heart :



Technical point: Those performance numbers are heavily sandbagged. Typical esa understatement, but I don't see what's the point of it.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 12:20:14 PM by calapine »

Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic!
Mandella
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Reply #1311 on: June 04, 2019, 01:24:12 PM

That reminds me on another site people were arguing about how many elephants some launcher or the other could lift to orbit, so naturally the discussion swayed instantly to packing. Are the elephants just sitting in the faring? Do they get an acceleration couch? Can they be dead? If dead, can we chop them up and rearrange parts? Can they be blended?

These are important questions!

 awesome, for real
Mandella
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Reply #1312 on: June 07, 2019, 11:58:26 AM

https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-takes-oneweb-to-court-over-canceled-launch-contract/


Richard Branson is a major investor in (obviously) Virgin Orbit and Oneweb, so basically he is suing himself.

Okay, I know this sort of thing happens in business not all that infrequently, but I still got a chuckle...

 why so serious?
calapine
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Reply #1313 on: June 11, 2019, 12:54:40 AM

ESA posted some info about the upcoming SpaceRider, which will serve as a reusable micro-gravity laboratory with months-long missions.




Especially the landing part is rather interesting, it's neither parachute nor Space-shuttle-runway but something in between:

10 second outtake

ESA Blog post with the full animation and explations: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Transportation/Space_Rider_Europe_s_reusable_space_transport_system



Bonus info graphic about Vega C, the updated Vega:



« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 01:34:49 AM by calapine »

Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic!
Mandella
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Reply #1314 on: June 11, 2019, 11:45:12 AM

Ohhh, the Rogallo wing is back!

I always liked the look of that system. Hope ESA can get it to work. I mean, it's been fifty years since NASA tried -- hopefully there's been some advancements in the field since then.

Mandella
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Reply #1315 on: June 12, 2019, 12:07:52 PM

Just wanted to share the view from T-1:30 for this morning's SpaceX launch out of Vandenberg:



Gotta love the west coast morning launches...

But a successful launch of a billion dollars plus of CSA* goodness, so all's good, visibility or no...



*Canadian Space Agency, not Confederate States of America -- I know, I get them confused all the time too!
Mandella
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Reply #1316 on: June 16, 2019, 11:38:56 AM

This may have been posted before, but what a neat resource for anyone interested in Apollo 11!

https://apolloinrealtime.org/11/

Not just a single feed, this site is loaded with transcripts and other info on the mission.

Might be neat to relive the moon landing in realish time on the fiftieth anniversary...
Brolan
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Reply #1317 on: June 16, 2019, 08:29:04 PM

Awesome website.  Takes me back to Colorado Springs in 1969 when I was watching this on a Montgomery Wards black and white TV.
Mandella
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Reply #1318 on: June 16, 2019, 10:36:54 PM

Yep. My dad let me stay up past my bedtime to watch.

I've never doubted it was a giant leap for mankind.
Abagadro
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Reply #1319 on: June 16, 2019, 11:02:46 PM

This may have been posted before, but what a neat resource for anyone interested in Apollo 11!

https://apolloinrealtime.org/11/

Not just a single feed, this site is loaded with transcripts and other info on the mission.

Might be neat to relive the moon landing in realish time on the fiftieth anniversary...

That is really cool. Thanks.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

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Cyrrex
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Reply #1320 on: June 17, 2019, 07:11:13 AM

It must have been unreal being able to watch that real time. 

"...maybe if you cleaned the piss out of the sunny d bottles under your desks and returned em, you could upgrade you vid cards, fucken lusers.." - Grunk
Brolan
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Reply #1321 on: June 17, 2019, 08:37:12 AM

Weirdly the most unreal thing was watching the usually professional Walter Cronkite become overwhelmed after the LEM landed on the Moon. That kind of thing just didn’t happen in those days.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 09:56:40 AM by Brolan »
Khaldun
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Reply #1322 on: June 17, 2019, 11:26:08 AM

Yeah, I remember that blowing my mind almost as much as the landing itself--he was so controlled normally. 

Mandella
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Reply #1323 on: June 17, 2019, 02:29:58 PM

 I really miss Walter.

 cry

But oh yeah could he get excited about rocketry! I didn't see this one live, but remember this footage from the first Saturn V launch? They didn't really understand the acoustic energy that thing was going to produce and the press bunker was *waaay* too close.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uoVfZpx5dY

"LOOK at that ROCket go!!!"

 DRILLING AND MANLINESS
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 02:36:32 PM by Mandella »
pxib
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Reply #1324 on: June 22, 2019, 10:34:51 PM

The image is too large to appreciate on a forum, but I thought it was a lovely picture of all our little friends in the solar system: The Asteroids

I'm also a sucker for maps with logarithmic axes.

farther refers to physical distance, further refers to metaphorical distance, father refers to emotional distance
Mandella
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Reply #1325 on: June 26, 2019, 11:56:56 AM

The image is too large to appreciate on a forum, but I thought it was a lovely picture of all our little friends in the solar system: The Asteroids

I'm also a sucker for maps with logarithmic axes.

That is a fun map.

There sure is a lot of non-planet real estate out there in the solar system isn't it?

Lucas
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #1326 on: June 27, 2019, 03:30:55 PM

NASA announces the "Dragonfly" mission to Titan; I'm going nuts   roflcopter roflcopter Thumbs up! Thumbs up! Love Letters

It's a flying quadcopter-something!!!

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-flying-mission-to-study-titan-for-origins-signs-of-life

Quote
NASA has announced that our next destination in the solar system is the unique, richly organic world Titan. Advancing our search for the building blocks of life, the Dragonfly mission will fly multiple sorties to sample and examine sites around Saturn’s icy moon.

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive in 2034. The rotorcraft will fly to dozens of promising locations on Titan looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth. Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet; it has eight rotors and flies like a large drone. It will take advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere – four times denser than Earth’s – to become the first vehicle ever to fly its entire science payload to new places for repeatable and targeted access to surface materials.

Titan is an analog to the very early Earth, and can provide clues to how life may have arisen on our planet. During its 2.7-year baseline mission, Dragonfly will explore diverse environments from organic dunes to the floor of an impact crater where liquid water and complex organic materials key to life once existed together for possibly tens of thousands of years. Its instruments will study how far prebiotic chemistry may have progressed. They also will investigate the moon’s atmospheric and surface properties and its subsurface ocean and liquid reservoirs. Additionally, instruments will search for chemical evidence of past or extant life.

“With the Dragonfly mission, NASA will once again do what no one else can do,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe. This cutting-edge mission would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago, but we’re now ready for Dragonfly’s amazing flight.”

Dragonfly took advantage of 13 years’ worth of Cassini data to choose a calm weather period to land, along with a safe initial landing site and scientifically interesting targets. It will first land at the equatorial “Shangri-La” dune fields, which are terrestrially similar to the linear dunes in Namibia in southern Africa and offer a diverse sampling location. Dragonfly will explore this region in short flights, building up to a series of longer “leapfrog” flights of up to 5 miles (8 kilometers), stopping along the way to take samples from compelling areas with diverse geography. It will finally reach the Selk impact crater, where there is evidence of past liquid water, organics – the complex molecules that contain carbon, combined with hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen – and energy, which together make up the recipe for life. The lander will eventually fly more than 108 miles (175 kilometers) – nearly double the distance traveled to date by all the Mars rovers combined.

“Titan is unlike any other place in the solar system, and Dragonfly is like no other mission,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for Science at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “It’s remarkable to think of this rotorcraft flying miles and miles across the organic sand dunes of Saturn’s largest moon, exploring the processes that shape this extraordinary environment. Dragonfly will visit a world filled with a wide variety of organic compounds, which are the building blocks of life and could teach us about the origin of life itself.”

Titan has a nitrogen-based atmosphere like Earth. Unlike Earth, Titan has clouds and rain of methane. Other organics are formed in the atmosphere and fall like light snow. The moon’s weather and surface processes have combined complex organics, energy, and water similar to those that may have sparked life on our planet.

Titan is larger than the planet Mercury and is the second largest moon in our solar system. As it orbits Saturn, it is about 886 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) away from the Sun, about 10 times farther than Earth. Because it is so far from the Sun, its surface temperature is around -290 degrees Fahrenheit (-179 degrees Celsius). Its surface pressure is also 50 percent higher than Earth’s.

Dragonfly was selected as part of the agency’s New Frontiers program, which includes the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, Juno to Jupiter, and OSIRIS-REx to the asteroid Bennu. Dragonfly is led by Principal Investigator Elizabeth Turtle, who is based at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. New Frontiers supports missions that have been identified as top solar system exploration priorities by the planetary community. The program is managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Planetary Science Division in Washington.

“The New Frontiers program has transformed our understanding of the solar system, uncovering the inner structure and composition of Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere, discovering the icy secrets of Pluto’s landscape, revealing mysterious objects in the Kuiper belt, and exploring a near-Earth asteroid for the building blocks of life,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “Now we can add Titan to the list of enigmatic worlds NASA will explore.”

Err...See ya in 2034 for the touchdown  why so serious?

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Mandella
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Reply #1327 on: June 27, 2019, 03:47:11 PM

One of the most aggravating things about the Huygen's probe was, after all that way, it had to just sit there.

It's the 21st century, send a rover or just don't go!!
Mandella
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Reply #1328 on: June 29, 2019, 12:12:57 PM

And speaking of rovers, China's Yutu 2 woke up successfully for its 7th lunar day, after sleeping through another two week long lunar night.

https://gizmodo.com/china-s-mission-on-the-moons-far-side-resumes-after-rec-1835945658

(Sorry for the gizmodo link.)

Mandella
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Reply #1329 on: July 05, 2019, 01:37:46 PM

In the "Space Stuff as Art" category, I submit this view from *inside* one of the fairings from the recent Falcon Heavy launch as it re-enters the atmosphere.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1146546495241371649


They managed to catch this one too, after one and a half years and several redesigns, both of catcher and the fairing parachute.

I had honestly written this off as a failed project, and then they pull it off.


https://twitter.com/i/status/1146574336205058048
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