NASA: After a rocky start and then a stellar 26-year performance, NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite - 1 (TDRS-1) is scheduled for decommissioning on October 28.
Communications equipment that links TDRS-1 to the ground has failed and without this capability it can no longer relay science data and spacecraft telemetry to ground stations located at the White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, N.M., and on Guam.
ATK: Alliant Techsystems has delivered a technological first to NASA: a full-scale, crew module structure made of composite materials. The Composite Crew Module (CCM) is a unique capsule design that has the potential to reduce the overall weight of future manned launch vehicles.
[Larger image] International Space Station Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt landed their Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft on the steppes of Kazakhstan Sunday, wrapping up a six-month stay. Joining them was spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte, who spent 11 days in space. Padalka, the Soyuz commander, guided the spacecraft to a parachute-assisted landing at 12:32 a.m. EDT at a site northeast of the town of Arkalyk.
Both stages firing
Ad Astra Rocket Company's VASIMR(R) VX-200 rocket prototype reached its highly- coveted 200 kW maximum power milestone at 11:59 am (CST) in tests conducted at the company's Houston laboratory. The DC power trace actually exceeded the design requirement by 1 kW and exhibited the clear signature of a wellestablished plateau at peak power (see graph). The achievement comes after an intense experimental campaign that began last April when the engine was fitted with a powerful low temperature superconducting magnet, a critical component that enables VASIMR(R) to process large amounts of plasma power. The electrical power processing is accomplished using high efficiency, 95%, solid state RF generators built by Nautel Ltd of Halifax, Canada.
IMAGE: This is female astronaut candidate Jerrie Cobb testing in Gimbal Rig.
In the early years of the "space race" (1957-1975) two men sought to test a scientifically simple yet culturally complicated theory: that women might be innately better suited for space travel than men. In 1960 the thought of a woman in space was a radical one, and justifiably so. On the ground 75% of American women did not work outside the home and females were banned from military flight service altogether. In marriage, wives were required to have their husband's permission to take out a bank loan, buy property, or purchase large household goods such as a refrigerator. Despite the social odds, a Harvard-educated surgeon and a U.S. Air Force General sought to determine if, from a purely practical perspective, women were suitable for space flight.
View of the interior of the newly attached Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) docked to the International Space Station, photographed on 18 Sept. 2009 by an Expedition 20 crew member in the Harmony node. The HTV attachment was completed at 5:26 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2009. high res (1.1 M) low res (84 K)