Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A New Odyssey is Under Construction! The First Week of School. Awesome Video. Space News. The Imaginarium.

Construction Begins on New Odyssey Simulator

     You read it correctly.  The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center at Central School will soon be the home to a new Odyssey simulator.   As you recall, the Odyssey was removed during last year's Space Center renovations.  It was necessary, but sad for hundreds who considered the Odyssey their favorite Space Center simulator.  The old Odyssey's electricals were not up to par.
There were other problems needing correcting, but the cost of making the repairs was close to the cost of taking out the old and building a new.
     Construction began last week.  The Odyssey II will be built in the same room as the Odyssey.  It will share a wall with the Voyager instead of the library (the librarian is overjoyed I'm sure).  The Odyssey II will hold up to 10 people.  Every station will be wheelchair assessable.
     The Space Center will be able to take up to 42 students per class once the Odyssey II opens for business.  This brings the Space Center back to full field trip operations: two classes per day instead of last year's one class per day.  Pictures and regular construction updates will be available as they are made public.

The First Week of School: Four Days that Felt Like 100 Years

     How was your first week of school?
     I'm holding on by the skin of my teeth at Renaissance Academy.  For all practical purposes I might as well be labeled a new first year teacher.  After all, the 1989-1990 school year was the last time I taught a full time 6th grade class.  I'm fine with classroom management; its the new Utah Core Curriculum I've got to master.
     I've got a fine, cooperative class who've shown remarkable patience as I've stumbled about trying to teach new material and remember their names.  After spending hours at the school this weekend, I feel confident about the names and the language arts program.  I believe next week will be smoother.
     I'm sure many of my old staff and volunteers would have enjoyed watching me waffle my way through the first few days.  There is nothing like seeing the old boss sweating buckets underneath while looking surprisingly cool and collected on the outside.  Its a skill you perfect when working as a flight director knowing that anything and everything will go wrong eventually.  You learn to hide disasters from your crew or make them think it was all a part of their mission.
     A new week is upon us.  Let's be great and do our best.

Mr. W.

Amazing 9 year old, great voice and awesome use of tech. 




Space and Science News


International Space Station: Second Spacewalk in a Week



Cosmonaut Misurkin during Thursday's EVA.

It's not easy to do two spacewalks in a week, but cosmonauts Misurkin and Yurchikhin just did that. On Thursday during a spacewalk of nearly six hours, they performed maintenance and inspections, and worked on a laser communications experiment until they discovered the base was loose and would require more planning and work than they had time for.



Congratulations to the Russians! Cosmonauts unfurl the flag of Russia during that nation's Flag Day.


Astronaut Nyberg works on the Combustion Integrated Rack.

During the last week the ISS crew continued station maintenance, EVA suit preparations, experiments, and normal spaceflight routines. Karen Nyberg worked on the Combustion Integration Rack, monitoring experiments in weightless combustion. She also performed experiments with the In-Space3 equipment, studying how certain fluids react in a magnetic field in zero-gravity.



Was the camera upside down? Parmitano at work.

Italian astronaut Parmitano installed an Ethernet hub in the Columbia module, and assisted astronaut Cassidy in testing air samples throughout the station for any possible biological contaminations. In a closed environment, it's essential to keep a lid on wastes and molds that could interfere with life support.

From Houston's MIssion Control, engineers began the task of moving the station's robotic arm to a different location near the Kibo module. They are preparing for moving experiments from the Japanese experiment rack to other parts of the station exterior.

UFO watchers go an unexpected sighting during the spacewalk as some strange object was seen by Chris Cassidy floating mysteriously near one of the Progress spaceships. It turned out to be an antenna cover.


Now it's an Identified Flying Object.

ISS: Russian EVA breaks time record



NASA computer image of spacewalk in progress. Credit: NASA and NASASpaceFlight.com.

Yesterday morning cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin set a new Russian spacewalk duration record, coming in from the EVA after 7 hours and 29 minutes of maintenance and preparation for the new module coming later this year.


Yurchikhin outside the ISS, installing cable TV. I mean, installing cables for future power routing.

In fact, the cable routing was to extend ethernet wiring from the Zarya and Poisk modules, in preparation for the new module to replace the expiring Pirs module. AT one point in the EVA, cosmonaut Yurchikhim was positioned attached to the Russian cargo boom arm and moved into a working position outside Zarya to work on power cables.


Yurchikhin on the Strela robot arm.

While Yurchikhin continued preparations for the module installation, Misurkin installed an experiment on the outside of the Poisk module and then worked on cable installation as well. This was Misurkins second EVA, and Yurchikhins 7th (!). The EVA was the 172nd ISS spacewalk.

Pictures from Docking the HTV4



Astronaut Nyberg in the cupola, practicing docking with the Robotic Arm controls. The view from the cupola windows is extraordinary. Images today from NASA, in the Image Gallery for the ISS mission. Good to see my tax dollars at work!

They make it look too easy, but it's not. On August 9, Japan's HTV4 automated cargo spacecraft reached the International Space Station and was carefully guided to docking through a collaborative effort of the astronauts, Japan's mission control, and NASA's mission control. Following a textbook-perfect series of grappling and robotic arm maneuvers, the craft was docked at the Node 2 docking port. That's the same docking port used by SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft (currently on Earth). What doesn't show in the pictures are the thousands of hours of practice, preparations, and troubleshooting that goes into making sure these systems work perfect every time. And the astronauts make it look good.



Just before Docking: Get your cameras ready... Cassidy and Nyberg in the cupola with HTV4 seen floating above Earth yet some distance from the ISS.

And it's also not just a simple matter to get the spacecraft up to the ISS. There's quite a complex dance of maneuvers, thruster firings, communications relays and a myriad of system checks that ensure that the cargo arrives on time. Well, at least safely. NASASpaceFlight.com has a great article on the techniques used to get the HTV4 into position for the astronaut crew just before grappling. You can catch lots of information here: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/08/japans-htv-4-berths-with-the-iss/



Much closer now. Better get the arm ready.


Nyberg working the robotic arm controls. Although this picture was taken during a training session on board the ISS, the actual scene would have been no different.


And the spacecraft is caught...

HTV4 will stay at the station for some time, as the crew removes the cargo and eventually fills the craft with garbage, waste, and broken or discarded equipment. Some months from now the HTV4 will be undocked, and sent to burn up in the atmosphere over an empty ocean. SpaceX's Dragon will be arriving at the same Node 2 docking port early in 2014.

By Mark Daymont
Farpoint Educator

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