Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cadet Experiences. Saturday's Class Canceled. Space and Science News. The Imaginarium. Enjoy a Great Start to the Weekend.

Hello Troops,
     Another weekend with many many missions at the CMSEC and the DSC Space Centers.  It is a good time to be a Farpoint Cadet.  You're choices are almost as vast as the universe itself!  Yes, I'm prone to exaggeration, it is my one true fault.
    At our last Farpoint general meeting, I asked the cadets to write one impression or memory from their volunteering experiences at the space centers.  I'll post their responses over the next few weeks, starting tonight with Dakota's.
     I'll be at the Discovery Space Center tonight chaperoning the overnight camp.  I'll be sure to bring a few extra blankets.  It will be cold night with snow in the morning.

Saturday's Programming Class Canceled
     Speaking of snow, the weather department has issued a winter storm warning for northern Utah.  We can expect accumulations on the valley floors from a day long storm.  Growing up in South Dakota has taught me a healthy respect for heavy winter storms so I've decided to cancel tomorrow's Farpoint Programming Department's class at Renaissance.  I don't want your parents to have to brave the weather and their fellow Utah drivers.

Mr. W.

A Space Center Experience 
By Dakota H.
Farpoint Cadet

  Over a year ago, I was looking on the calendar for some Voyager missions. I had just barely become a Space Center volunteer and I wanted to start off strong.  Then I saw three Voyager mission on the same day. I was so excited.  I wrote the emails to Mr. Williamson and I sent them.  As the day approached, the excitement built and then the day before the missions I looked on the blog and the most shocking news was before my face.  The Space Center had closed.  I was devastated.  That day was suppose to be one of the greatest days in history for me and it turned out to be one of the worst.  But it's OK now since the Space Center has reopened.

Kids and Christmas
The Atlanta Boy's Choir Performs a Great Christmas Piece You May Not Know.  Bach's Christmas Oratory

Today's Space and Science News
By Mark Daymont
Farpoint Educator

Progress 35 Docks to ISS after Glitch

Progress Capsule on approach to ISS, from a previous mission.

On late Friday November 30, the Progress M-21M (NASA designation Progress 53) robotic space cargo delivery spacecraft was finally docked to the Russian-built Zvesda module on the ISS. After it first reached rendezvous with the station, ground controllers had the ship perform a 1-mile flyby of the station to check out the Kurs automated docking system. All systems seemed ready, and the approach was initiated, but the craft suddenly went into station-keeping mode about 60 meters from the docking port.

Expedition 38 commander Oleg Kotov practicing the maneuvers for manual docking of a Progress vehicle. This practice would come in handy just a couple of days later.

Not to worry: Oleg was there. Oleg Kotov is the Expedition 38 commander, having recently taken command from Expedition 37 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin just last month. Just as recently as Nov. 22nd, he and fellow cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin practiced the techniques required to manually dock the Progress in case of a system glitch. Manually in this case means, remote-control from the station, as opposed to allowing the Progress auto-docking Kurs system to perfrom the maneuvers under supervision from Ground COntrollers. On Friday, Commander Kotov took to the laptop-controlled ISS system to pass radio controls to the Progress 53 craft, and docking was completed successfully. 

Progress capsules are launched on the Soyuz family of rockets.

This Progress mission lifted off from Baikonur on Monday November 25, and took the normally longer orbital route to the station in order to test upgrades to the automated systems. It carries about 3 tons of neeeded supplies to the station, including water, propellant, atmosphere, and parts. The docking hatches were opened Saturday and the crew will take out supplies as schedule permits. Eventually the capsule will be filled with disposables and trash and then burned up over the ocean next year.

India's Mangalyaan Mars mission lifts off from Sriharikota.

India and China have set their sights on missions to far off worlds. On November 5, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a PSLV-C25 rocket carrying the Mangalyaan mission on its way to the Red Planet. Without many of the resources the US includes in NASA, India is trying to achieve it's mission at a very low cost - only about $73 million. After six orbits of the Earth, the craft launched itself on a slingshot orbit around the Sun (to gain speed from the gravity assist). The MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) is expected to arrive at Mars next September, and the challenge will be to get the craft into Mars' orbit. After arriving, it will makes studies of the ground composition and analyze elements of the atmosphere.

Long March 3B liftoff from Xichang launch facilities in Sichuan. Xinhua credit.

Early Sunday morning China sent its Yutu rover on its way to the Moon atop a Long March rocket. Lifting off from Sichuan, China, the Long March successfully placed the lunar craft on a trajectory to the Moon. Solar panels have deployed and are powering the spacecraft during its journey. The robotic rover, Yutu, has a plutonium-powered motor for its exploration of the lunar surface. The attempt to land the rover on its surface-lander craft will be made on December 14. If all goes well, it should arrive in the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum) and begin exploring shortly after. The Chang'e 3 mission is a testbed of topographic recognition systems, chemical analysis, and lunar dust radar penetrator instruments. By 202, China hopes to launch a sample-return mission.

China's Yutu lunar rover. AFP credit.

The Imaginarium
You pass on the ordinary, we'll take a double helping of extraordinary please.

Tiling a floor in pennies

This sums up the true spirit of Christmas

A quick way to holiday up your kitchen

Found in a local bookstore

Think about it.

Teens and younger are clueless.
What is it?

Homemade fireplace for the holidays

In a Japanese mall

His favorite Disney character

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