Spaceflight & Cosmology

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NASA release new map and video of Pluto
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Created from over 100 images from the New Horizons probe flypast. Black areas were in shadow or not photographed.


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'Moon Machines' (6-Part Apollo Documentary)

Part 1 - The Saturn V Rocket


Part 2 - The Command Module


Part 3 - The Navigation Computer


Part 4 - The Lunar Module


Part 5 - The Space Suit


Part 6 - The Lunar Rover

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Tim Peake's Soyuz capsule goes on permanant display at the Science Museum
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(BBC)
The spacecraft that carried Tim Peake to and from the International Space Station last year has gone on display at London's Science Museum.
The museum says the Russian capsule is an important part of UK space history and hopes it will inspire the public. The Soyuz TMA-19M has been refurbished, but is still slightly singed from re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

Business Secretary Greg Clark has confirmed that Major Peake will make a second mission to the space station.
The timing will be decided by the European Space Agency (Esa). Mr Clark said: "Tim Peake's Principia mission inspired a generation, and showed just how far science can take you."

The UK committed in December to continue to participate in Esa's space station programme. And last week, Esa's director-general Jan Woerner set out his plans for human space flight at a news conference in Paris. He announced that another mission was "foreseen" for Major Peake in the next wave of European manned missions. A second flight for the British astronaut would likely happen in the period 2019-2024.

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Back in 1969, when the Space Age was at its peak, a confident Pan Am Airlines announced they were taking reservations for future flights to the moon! This is a genuine phonecall from interested "passengers" who decided to make reservations!

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Space X Launches from historic Pad 39A....

The SpaceX-10 cargo mission to the International Space Station launched from launch complex 39A (LC-39A) on February 19, 2017. It was the private spaceflight company’s first launch from the complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida that launched Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.

First Stage successfully lands for reuse!

The Falcon 9 first stage landed on SpaceX’s landing zone 1 after launching the SpaceX-10 cargo spacecraft to the Intenational Space Station. The rocket lifted off from launch complex 39A, the same launch pad used for Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.

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7 Earth-Sized Planets Discovered Orbiting Same Star




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SpaceX to fly two tourists around Moon in 2018 :o :shock:
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(BBC)
US private rocket company SpaceX has announced that two private citizens have paid to be sent around the Moon. The mission is planned for late 2018, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, adding that the tourists "have already paid a significant deposit".

"This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years," he said. The two unnamed people will fly aboard a spaceship which is set for its first unmanned test flight later this year. Mr Musk said the co-operation of America's Nasa space agency had made the plan possible.

He said the two passengers "will travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them". Mr Musk declined to reveal their identities, only saying that they knew each other and that "it's nobody from Hollywood". Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration. We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year."

The first mission would be unmanned, and the next one - with crew - was expected in the second quarter of 2018, the billionaire entrepreneur and inventor said. He also said the first passengers "are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here. They're certainly not naive, and we'll do everything we can to minimise that risk, but it's not zero."

The space tourists would make a loop around the Moon, skimming the lunar surface and then going well beyond, Mr Musk said. The mission will not involve a lunar landing. If Nasa decided it wanted to be first to take part in a lunar flyby mission, then the agency would have priority, Mr Musk said.
The US has not sent astronauts to the Moon since the early 1970s.

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Construction begins on ELT - Extremely Large Telescope

(ESO/Wikipedia)
The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is an astronomical observatory and the world's largest optical/near-infrared extremely large telescope now under construction. Part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), it is located on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The design comprises a reflecting telescope with a 39.3-metre-diameter (126 foot) segmented primary mirror and a 4.2-metre-diameter secondary mirror, and will be supported by adaptive optics, six laser guide star units and multiple large science instruments. The observatory aims to gather 13 times more light than the largest optical telescopes existing in 2014, and be able to correct for atmospheric distortions. It has around 256 times the light gathering area of the Hubble Space Telescope and, according to the ELT's specifications, would provide images 16 times sharper than those from Hubble.

The ELT is intended to vastly advance astrophysical knowledge by enabling detailed studies of planets around other stars, the first galaxies in the Universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature of the Universe's dark sector, and to detect water and organic molecules in protoplanetary disks around other stars. The facility is expected to take 11 years to construct.

On 11 June 2012, the ESO Council approved the ELT programme's plans to begin civil works at the telescope site, with construction of the telescope itself pending final agreement with governments of some member states. Construction work on the ELT site started in June 2014. By December 2014, ESO had secured over 90% of the total funding and authorized construction of the telescope to start, which will cost around one billion Euro for the first construction phase. The first stone of the telescope was ceremoniously laid on May 26, 2017, and first light is currently planned for 2024.

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This is one EU project that I hope we continue to participate in.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

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Total solar eclipse sweeps across the United States

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A brief history of Britain's space programme. Hosted by a bald bloke who wears some very loud shirts on his very informative channel, "Curious Droid".

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All rather depressing, developed on a shoestring then just as it is becoming successful for some unfathomable reason the government abandons the whole project. Or in this instance if what was reported is correct abandoned in some shoddy deal made by Heath with the French. How very believable. As usually short term expedience wins over long term gain.

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BBC documentary "The British Space Race" (2004)





The space race might seem a two-horse race between America and the Soviet Union, but for a short time Britain was the unlikely player in the world of rocket research. This is the story of the unsung pioneers of British space exploration - the rocket engineers, the scientists and the dreamers who, despite lack of resources, never gave up on their vision for bringing the future into the present. Featuring the original rocket engineers and Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist of Beagle 2.

The Beagle 2's fate remained a mystery until January 2015 when it was located intact on the surface of Mars in a series of images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera. The images suggest that two of the spacecraft's four solar panels failed to deploy, blocking the spacecraft's communications antenna, which was stowed underneath the unresponsive solar panels.

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I'm even more depressed having watched that. :cry:
If only the government realised that investing in science and engineering is investing for the future, Any short term pain will more than be made up by future rewards. Perhaps they do realise but are unwilling to face the pain or don't believe the public is willing.
Ever since the war their has been far to much of we cant do this and we cant do that. Just look at the whole brexit saga. To listen to some you would think that the sky was going to come crashing down on our heads the moment we voted to leave the EU, well it hasn't yet, and if all those moaners would concentrate on making a go if it rather than bleating on it wont.
Ironically of course my moaning is not going to do anything to improve the situation.

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The Chinese Space Program

(Curious Droid) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC726J5 ... Q0SZqr2mYQ
China has been developing their space program for almost as long the US starting in 1958 but it's only quite recently that it has caught up with the west and is poised to be a leader in space in the next decade or so. In this video, we look at how China is taking on the world in space.

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The Soviet Era Space Shuttle Program

(Mustard) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ZBQ- ... 4m5AzM6pww
On November 15, 1988, the world learned that the Soviet Union also had their own space shuttle. It had been secretly under development for well over a decade and it had cost the Soviets billions to build it. Several of the spacecraft were in various stages of construction. But the Soviet shuttle, named the Buran, would only ever launch once. Its development had largely been driven by the need to respond to the perceived military potential of the NASA Space Shuttle.

When the Buran was first launched, the world speculated that it would be used to build Soviet space stations or even assemble spacecraft for a manned mars mission. But as the Soviet Union began to collapse, funding for the Buran program was limited and eventually eliminated.

There’s no denying that the Buran looks very similar to the Space Shuttle. But in many ways, the Buran was quite different from the NASA Space Shuttle. The Buran orbiter didn’t have integrated main engines. Almost all of its lifting power was provided by a separate super-heavy rocket called Energia, which consisted of a core stage and 4 liquid-fueled boosters. Unlike the Space shuttle, which was a single system, the Buran orbiter, and its lifting rockets were actually two separate systems.

While the Shuttle, with its integrated engines, was more reusable, in practice, it required intensive maintenance between launches, which offset a lot of this advantage. But once in space, the Space Shuttle’s integrated engines no longer served a purpose. So, for most of the Shuttle’s mission, it was forced to haul around thousands of pounds of dead weight. Without integrated engines, the Buran could carry slightly more payload than the American Space Shuttle. But the Energia rocket could launch by itself, without the Buran attached. That meant it could carry external payloads into space, and could launch an astounding 100 tons. From the outset, the Buran was also capable of fully automated flight, meaning it could be launched, put into orbit and returned back to earth without any crew on board.

In the final days of the Soviet Union, when it was clear that the American shuttle had no meaningful military potential, the Soviet military no longer wanted anything to do with the Buran. The Soviet space community was left with a spacecraft that was expensive, complex, and largely without a real purpose.

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... and here's what it looks like now (OK, in 2016)
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/con ... 1900.1.jpg
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

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Japanese astronaut grows 9cm taller!
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"Good morning, good morning. Today there is a serious report. Actually, I had physical measurements since I got to space, but what ah, how tall were the heights up to 9 centimeters! With only 3 weeks with nyokinyo. Ever since I was a junior / high school student. I am a bit worried whether my body will fit in the return Soyuz seat."
Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, who arrived on the International Space Station in December 2017, has reported he has "grown" 9 centimetres (3.5 inches) in height since his arrival. This growth is caused by the spine relaxing in Earth orbit as it is not compressed by gravity!

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Energia/Buran

(Curious Droid) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC726J5 ... Q0SZqr2mYQ
If you thought the Buran, the Soviet space shuttle was just a copy of the US one, then think again. Although it looked very similar, under the hood it was very different and in many ways better than the US original. Here we will see some of the reasons why Buran was Space shuttle 2.0

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This could genuinely be a game changer for the cost of space activities.

http://www.spacex.com/webcast

Very, very impressive.

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Space X launches Falcon Heavy test flight - carrying a Tesla car!


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Oops! Starman in the Tesla Roadster will overshoot Mars and instead end up in the asteroid belt.

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(Curious Droid) Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC726J5 ... Q0SZqr2mYQ
Ever wondered how NASA got those amazing film shots of Apollo and the shuttle launching? And the boosters falling away from rockets as they fly into space? Then here we find out what cameras and techniques they used.

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