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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Solar Storm Attacks Earth!

False Color image of Solar Eruption.

Well, yes, it's a solar storm, and yes, it is hitting the Earth, so I call it an attack just for the effect. But the fact is, this Solar Flare that is hitting the Earth and causing fantastic Polar Lights could just as well cause interference in satellite communications. These disruptions could affect GPS navigation systems, high-flying aircraft travel, power grid transmission lines, and radio signals. Listen to news updates for anything serious though.

This all stems from what's called a CME, or "Coronal Mass Ejection" that occurred on the Sun yesterday and has begun hitting the Earth's magnetic field.

Shields Up!

You can get detailed information on the best site I know for tracking this storm, SpaceWeather, at:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Delays in Resupply to ISS

Falcon 9 and Dragon under preparation.

It will not launch earlier than late April, but SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply capsule are making progress towards their flight. The soon-to-be-historic flight will accomplish two major milestones for SpaceX. The mission combines its next objective, that of a rendezvous near the station, with its next objective, which is actual docking. By achieving the two goals in one flight, SpaceX will leap forward in their progress and save money as well. If successful, it ill be the first commercial resupply of the ISS (outside of Space Agencies). Last week, the Falcon 9 rocket seen in the picture above made a successful testing on the pad of its fueling and simulated launch.

ATV-2 on approach to ISS.

Meanwhile. on Friday March 2, European Space Agency directors announced a delay in the launching of the next cargo resupply to the ISS. Workers will need to re-enter the cargo area of the craft, designated ATV-3 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 3) to retighten cargo straps and prevent load shifting during the launch. This delay will move the launch to March 23. The ATV-3, officially nicknamed Edualdo Amaldi (after an Italian physics scientist), will carry 7 tons of fuel, water, air, and supplies to keep operations going on the ISS. The ATV is to be launched on top the Arianne 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in South America.

By Mark Daymont
Space Center Eductor
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