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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Renaissance Academy and Farpoint Get Their First Ship. Construction Completed Saturday. Space and Science News. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
     It took most of Saturday morning to complete.  It was confusing at times and frustrating throughout.  It took patience, perseverance, steadfastness and imagination.  There were good times and bad.  There were happy moments and sad, but throughout the entire experience - our spirits were high in the knowledge that we: the few, the proud, and the chosen brought the first simulator to Renaissance Academy.  Troops, I present to you today Farpoint's first ship:  Our Tardis!

Bill Schuler and I are seen assembling one of the ship's outer walls and deflector SpaceTime shielding.
Many on the staff recognized the look on my face.  The contortions are caused by extreme concentration and confusion at the task before us.

     Building a Tardis is exhausting work.  One mess up, one screw left untightened, one stray wire, one tab not inserted correctly could cause a ripple in space time.  Any one of you could have disappeared from existence in the blink of an eye because of one of Mr. Schuler's Big Bang sneezes and the exposure of the ship's sensitive environment to copious amounts of spittle.

     I'm photographed adding the last piece of equipment to the Tardis.  With the beacon firmly secured, the Tardis sprang to life.  Five minutes later she was purring like a kitten.

     Mark Daymont was our quality control engineer on this project.  He is seen just after completing his last inspection of the ship's inners and outers.  He looks please and rightfully so.  The ship was running within normal parameters and ready for fueling.  This ship is far beyond anything ever built at either space center.  It chews right through dilithium crystals.  It scoffs at anti-matter.  This ship is light years beyond all of that.  Farpoint's Tardis runs on Imaginite.
     Mark handed me the key to the door.  "All that's left is to take it for a spin," he said with a smile.  He and I were thinking the same thing. The Tardis couldn't pass inspection without proving it did what it was designed to do, navigate space and time in an efficient, thoughtful manner.
     "Let's go." I opened the door and the three of us stepped in.

     We took our positions and began reading the readout displays on the control surface.  "OK gentlemen, where do we want to go?"  I asked with hand on the space/time capacitor.
     "Surprise us," Bill answered while fumbling with a stuck therum modulation interface.
     "You're wish is my command."  I turned the dial and pulled the large lever.  The Tardis shuttered, spat, growled and moaned before executing the order.  Space and time was answerable to us.  The power rush felt real good!  I maneuvered around the surface and announced our destination. "Let's go to lunch."
     "Using a Tardis to go to lunch is a bit overkill isn't it?"  Mark questioned.
    "Not if its at the end of the universe?" I pushed the lever back into position, primed the fuel injectors, released the brake and  pushed the big read button.  "I know this awesome cafe right at the edge of the universe you've got to try."  And with that introduction to the day's outing, we were off!  The clock on the classroom wall showed 12:18 P.M.

     It took some time to get to the cafe at the end of the universe, but considering what they have on the menu, the trip was well worth it.  Several thousand calories later we were back in the Tardis and heading home.  The journey was uneventful, except for the bumpy part near the unexpected supernova.
The classroom's clock showed 12:19 P.M. when we stepped out of the Tardis and back into my classroom at Renaissance.
     "That was fun," Bill commented while working on a piece of stuck roasted Denebian Slime Devil with a toothpick.  We gathered our tools and walked toward the classroom door.  Mark stopped to take one last picture of Farpoint's first ship before I turned the lights out and shut the door.

     You will all have to stop by my classroom and let me take you for a spin sometime.  Please have a destination and time in mind to save time.

Mr. Williamson

Space and Science News

Russians, Japanese keeping Expedition 36 Supplied
By Mark Daymont
Farpoint Educator

Japan's H-2 rocket stands on Pad 2 at Tanegashima.

These are busy times for space enthusiasts, even without an American manned spacecraft of their own. Not only are rockets launching around the world to place satellites in orbit, rockets are also launching to keep our only manned outpost in space supplied with food and equipment.  This afternoon, Japan's Space Agency launched an H-2 heavy rocket from Pad 2 of the Yoshinobu Complex on Tanegashima Island. Lifted into space was the HTV-4 (H-2 Transfer Vehicle #4) carrying 3.6 tons of supplies and equipment on course to rendezvous with the ISS next Friday.

H-2 liftoff from Pad 2.  HTV-4 coverage by JAXA and seen on SpaceflightNow,com

On board the cargo spacecraft is a new robot: Kirobu. The little human-shaped robot is being called a "robot astronaut" and will perform a Japan-to-ISS conversation with astronaut Koichi Wakata, due to come aboard the ISS in November. Kirobu is programmed with voice-and-face-recognition systems. Japan's roboticists hope to learn how to make robot helpers that will accompany astronauts on long space voyage missions.

Kirobu experiences a moment of microgravity on a parabolic jet flight. Credit: Kibo robot project.

This is the fourth mission of the HTV cargo program. The first HTV was launched in 2009. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) handles rocket launches from its Tanegashima Island Space Center. After the cargo is removed from the HTV-4 over the next couple of months, ISS crew members will eventually fill the container with trash and disposables, undock the module and direct it to burn up over the ocean. Currently, only SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft is capable of returning to Earth with cargo.

JAXA mission control center for HTV launch.

Station POV: Progress 50 undocks from ISS.

Russia has also recently resupplied the ISS. After undocking the Progress 50 robotic cargo ship from the station (which will also burn up over the ocean), astronauts of Expedition 36 began preparations for another supply effort from Russia. The Progress 50 (designated by Russia as Progress M-18M) included a big piece of equipment from the ISS: the TVIS (Treadmill with Vibration Isolation System), which was replaced recently by a new model BD-2 brought aboard by Progress 51 (M-19M), Up until now, every ISS crew has used the treadmill as part of their physical health program. Some of us who have a love-hate relationships with treadmills on Earth might smile at the thought of the treadmill burning up over the Pacific Ocean.

Astronauts Parmitano (L) and Nyberg practice spacecraft docking procedures.

On approach: Progress 52 heads for a docking. ISS POV.

On July 27, the Russian spacecraft Progress 52 (M-20M) blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on a direct-to station orbital path. Instead of the normal multi-day approach, the launch window allowed for a 6-hour short trip to the ISS. With Ground flight control maneuvering the Progress spacecraft, the docking occurred at the Russian-built Pirs Module. On board the cargo, NASA and Russian controllers placed some tools which will be helpful in analyzing what may have gone wrong with astronaut Parmitano's EVA suit earlier this month when water began flowing into the space helmet. 

Crowded parking space at the ISS. HTV is on its way as well.

Front view of Progress 52.

July 16: EVA. Astronaut Cassidy replacing equipment.

Engineers are still working out the glitches that occurred when the water leak began only an hour into the EVA on July 16. If they cannot determine the exact cause on the station, they may have to wait for the next SpaceX Dragon flight so the suit can be sent home to Earth. The urgency to discover the problem's cause  is due to the unknown nature, which could affect other NASA spacesuits that the astronauts depend on. As for astronaut Parmitano, he weathered the incident well and continues his mission challenges very well on the ISS.

talian Superman: Parmitano flies through Japan's Kibo module entrance in a familiar pose.

Japan's robotic vision: Robot Astronauts as long-duration mission companions? 
Kirobu is just the start it seems.

The do it yourself sandwich

A creative way to advertise toilet paper

At least the kid was honest
One creative ice sculpture

Wow, if it hadn't been for that one cone I think I would have
walked right into that sidewalk hazard.
Risk Management at work for you

Awesome bookstore
I think they need a worker or two.
Perfect license plate

Fido like to take himself for walks

One family's creative way of letting the cat back in

naughty children.
Punish them all!

You haven't got long to make your mark before you join the green pool

Is this proof of marshmallow cannibalism?

When a jawbreaker isn't enough

What it takes to shield an oceanic cable.

What we get out of one tree

A sign for every manager

Breakfast anyone?

The NSA is at it again

 A sign in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients

Thinking ahead

A creative child's car seat

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