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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Nautilus Takes Top Team! The IKS Highlander Ribbon Cutting in Pennsylvania - the 15th Operating Simulator in the Fleet. Space and Science News. The Imaginarium

Nautilus Takes LDM Round 3 Top Team 
     The Nautilus Squad wrestled the Top Team designation away from the Phoenix Team after the results of this year's Long Duration Mission Round Three were announced at a recent Farpoint Voyagers Club meeting.
     Speaking on behalf of his crew, Round Three's Captain Sam said, "We want to thank all those little people in the other squadrons for making this possible."  I asked him to explain what he meant.
     "We won because of our awesomeness, and we didn't mess up as much as them.  It's that simple, enough said."  Of course, my memory of what was really said may be faulty......  But that's to be expected on The Troubadour.
     These are the placements after Round 3's competition:
#1:  Nautilus
#2:  Scorpio
#3:  Prometheus
#4:  Kraken
#5:  Phoenix

Dream Flight Adventures Announces the Opening of the Newest Simulator in the Fleet, the IKS Highlander at J E Harrison Middle School, Pennsylvania.

Highlander-SignLast night crowds came from far and wide to Baldwin-Whitehall School District to witness the public launch and ribbon-cutting of the IKS Highlander, our latest full immersion simulator classroom.
Highlander-Ribbon-CuttingThe Highlander is a fantastic example of what can happen when teachers, administrators, craftsmen, and local stakeholders rally to create something amazing for students.
Highlander-Launch-1We’re thrilled for J E Harrison Middle School and—most importantly—its lucky students who get to fly the Highlander on its missions.
Today's Operating Simulators Inspired by the original USS Voyager in order by their sponsoring organization.  The only experiential learning simulators of their kind in the world.

The Ship that Inspired and Started Them All.
The USS Voyager (1990-2012)

  • USS Odyssey (CMSEC, Central School, Alpine School District)
  • USS Galileo (CMSEC, Central School, Alpine School District)
  • USS Magellan (CMSEC, Central School, Alpine School District)
  • USS Phoenix (CMSEC, Central School, Alpine School District)
  • UCS Columbia (DSC and Stone Gate Center for the Arts)
  • UCS Challenger (DSC and Stone Gate Center for the Arts)
  • UCS Endeavor (DSC and Stone Gate Center for the Arts)
  • UCS Everest (DSC and Canyon Grove Academy)
  • UCS Pathfinder (DSC and Canyon Grove Academy)
  • UCS Leo (Lakeview Academy)
  • UCS Titan (DSC. Mobile Simulator. Utah)
  • IKS Titan (Dream Flight Adventures. Shaler Area Elementary School, Pennsylvania)
  • IKS Dreamcatcher  (Dream Flight Adventures.  Penn Hills Elementary School, Pennsylvania)
  • IKS Highlander (Dream Flight Adventures.  JE Harrison Middle School, Pennsylvania)
  • IKS Buccaneer (Dream Flight Adventures.  Stewart Elementary School, Pennsylvania)
Simulators in Construction
  • USS Voyager II  (Farpoint. Renaissance Academy, Lehi, Utah)
  • UCS ?  (DSC and Merit Academy, Springville, Utah)
  • IKS Horizon (Dream Flight Adventures. Location top secret)
Space and Science News
by Mark Daymont
Farpoint Educator

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Abort Test WIN!

Dragon 2 blasts off from the rocket simulator on the pad. Credit: NASA/Space News.

Another milestone has been reached by SpaceX as they prepare a new crewed spacecraft to take American astronauts into orbit. The Dragon 2 space capsule abort test was designed to see if the craft's unique rocket system could safely remove the capsule from a dangerous rocket launchpad. And it did.  Eight SuperDraco thruster engines swiftly propelled the Dragon 2 test capsule from the rocket pad and out over the Atlantic shore.

The test occurred at Launch Complex SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday this week. The SuperDraco engines are integrated into the capsule itself, which is different than the escape tower designs of the 20th Century space systems.  Their power is so good that one of the engines could fail and the craft would still be able to lift astronaut crewmembers to safety. Once launched, the simulated service module fell away, and after coasting a bit, the capsule deployed parachutes for a watery landing down the coast.

Splashdown near the shore.

You can read more about the test and the test dummy occupant, at NASA

Blue Origin Launches Test Rocket and Capsule

The BE-3 engine powers the New Shepherd system into the clear Texas skies. Credit:Blue Origin.

Amazon founder Jeff  Bezos must have been very proud last week to see a successful launch of his New Shepherd space system from a Texas launch site. Although space media have known of Blue Origin, Bezos' private space company, the company leadership has kept their development somewhat under wraps. The test launch took some space enthusiasts by surprise. NASA had not included Blue Origin in their grants of Commercial Crew Development money. Blue Origin went ahead with their project anyway, and Thursday April 30 saw the first public test of the new capsule on the rocket.

Touchdown! The capsule lands safely downrange slowed by three main parachutes.

The company's BE-3 engine sent the rocket up swiftly and the capsule separated as planned, reaching an altitude over 300,000 feet. After reaching apogee, the New Shepherd capsule oriented so that the descent parachutes could deploy.  The capsule is designed for short sub-orbital flights, taking paying passengers into zero-gravity for a 15-minute mission. With the recent delays in the Virgin Galactic space tourism project, it's possible that Blue Origins could end up being first in space tourism operations.

New Shepherd capsule. Credit: Blue Origin.

Progress M-27M Burns Up

The re-entry of Progress M-27M would have appeared similar to this re-entry of one of Europe's ATV cargo ships.

After a troubled launch when Russian flight controllers determined that the robotic cargo spacecraft Progress M-27M was spinning out of control, the decision was made to try to safely de-orbit the craft and let it burn up in the atmosphere. There was just enough communication left working to get the ship to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and self-destruct. Any pieces of the craft that survived the breakup and fire would have splashed down in an empty Pacific area.

Previous Progress in orbit near ISS.

It's a sad ending for the 150th Progress mission to the International Space Station. Now Russian mission planners are preparing a revised schedule of launches and landings for other spacecraft.
The Imaginarium


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