NASA and Boeing launched the Starliner Commercial Crew space craft yesterday. One of the stages is BECO cutoff where the main booster detaches from the rocket, prior to the Centaur engine starting up, and pushing Starliner into orbit.
There’s an awesome view of the rocket from the ground that shows this spectacular effect at BECO cutoff:
NASA streamed a milestone in Human spaceflight yesterday: an all women spacewalk at the International Space Station. Although it wasn’t exactly a thrilling ride (I’m pretty sure that when it comes to working in Earth orbit, “thrilling” isn’t what you want), it was still momentous in that both astronauts doing the spacewalk were women.
Watching the stream on TV left me with the sense that how we and our kids view these events is very much a generational thing:
Parents who grew up with rare televised Space stuff: “Hey kids, check out these astronauts working in space, right now! Wow! And this time they’re all women, wow!”
Kids who grew up with on demand streams of constant Space stuff: “Oh, ok … ” <back to their gaming device>
About the spacewalk
If you’re interested in the mission (and likely older than 20-something), take a look at the NASA blog post about the mission:
Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:38 a.m. EDT. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are venturing out into the vacuum of space to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems.
Those grainy Moon photos the public saw back in the early days of NASA’s Moon missions were a ruse!
No, not that ruse. Humans really went to the Moon. The ruse is that NASA actually captured much higher resolution images, but didn’t disclose them publicly because they didn’t want the Soviets to know how good their imaging technology was at the time.
Fifty years ago, 5 unmanned lunar orbiters circled the moon, taking extremely high resolution photos of the surface. They were trying to find the perfect landing site for the Apollo missions. They would be good enough to blow up to 40 x 54ft images that the astronauts would walk across looking for the great spot. After their use, the images were locked away from the public until after the bulk of the moon landings, as at the time they would have revealed the superior technology of the USA’s spy satellite cameras, which the orbiters cameras were designed from. The main worry was the USSR gaining valuable information about landing sites that the US wanted to use. In 1971 many of the images were released, but nowhere near to their potential quality, and mainly to an academic audience as public interest in the moon had waned. Up until 2008 most of the reported images from the project were the 1966 versions that were grainy and lower quality.
Last week we learned that Voyager 2 had followed in its sibling’s metaphorical footsteps, and entered interstellar space. According to Ars Technica:
On Monday, NASA announced that one of its longest-running experiments has started a new phase. Five years after Voyager 1 reached interstellar space, its sibling, Voyager 2, has joined it there. While the Oort Cloud of icy bodies extends well beyond the probes’ current locations, they’ve gone past the point where the charged particles of the solar wind dominate space. Instead, their current environment is dominated by cosmic rays ejected by other stars.
You can also find loads of images, and other information about the mission on NASA’s InSight homepage. NASA makes so much content available about their missions, they’re one of the reasons the Internet is so amazing!