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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Tiger Squadron Tackles Round Two. Blue Origin's Amazing Rocket Landing. Japanese Probe Arrives at Venus. New Earth Forming Around Distant Star. The Imaginarium.

Farpoint Voyager: The Tiger Squadron Practically Perfect in Every Way?

     Last Saturday, Farpoint Voyager's Tiger Squadron faced the second round of this school year's long duration mission on the USS Magellan.  Word on the street was they wouldn't have a big turn out.  Fearing Spring Vacation had taken its toll, I put out a call for additional hands from the other squadrons.  Matt responded to the call from the Phoenix Gray Squadron.  Lizzie found a stuffed tiger from her collection and brought it as a team mascot. 
     Alex L., is a new member of the Tiger Squadron.  He joined the Voyager Club a few months back and didn't want to miss out on all the fun of an LDM.  Welcome Alex to the Tiger Squadron. 

The Tiger Squadron shown in the Magellan's Brig. Captain Sam looks a bit upset. "Where did I go wrong?" he kept repeating over and over again.

      Several members of last year's LDM winning Prometheus Team created the Tiger Squadron.  With them came Bradyn Lystrup, Prometheus coach and former Voyager flight director extraordinaire. They did well on Saturday, getting further in the mission than any other squadron.  They say they are the team to beat and challenge all the little people from the other squads to keep up. 

Mr. Williamson

Launch, Land, Repeat. Blue Origin's Amazing Rocket Liftoff and Landing in Video  
A brilliant column of fire, blasting out the back of a rocket ship, lit up the cool blue sky above the west Texas desert on Saturday (April 2), when the private spaceflight company Blue Origin successfully launched and landed its New Shepard vehicle for the third time.

Blue Origin's photos and amazing video of the New Shepard launch show the rocket heading skyward, where it eventually separated from the crew capsule (although no one was inside). The crew capsule parachuted back to Earth, but the rocket booster used its thrusters to make a graceful vertical landing.
This is the third time Blue Origin has flown this particular New Shepard vehicle, which makes the test flight somewhat historic. The company (which has been using the motto of "Launch. Land. Repeat." for the flights) is aiming to dramatically lower the cost of suborbital spaceflights by reusing its boosters, rather than discarding them, which is what engineers have had to do with nearly every other rocket in history. Check out more photos from New Shepard's third launch and landing here.
Astronomy News Summary

Scientists may have just snapped baby photos of an alien Earth.
The planet-forming disk around a nearby sunlike star called TW Hydrae sports a gap at about the same distance from the star as Earth lies from the sun, new images captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile reveal.
"Previous studies with optical and radio telescopes confirm that this star hosts a prominent disk with features that strongly suggest planets are beginning to coalesce," study lead author Sean Andrews, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said in a statement.

At Venus, A Japanese Spacecraft is Almost 

Ready for Big Science

A Japanese spacecraft's long-awaited Venus campaign is finally about to begin.
Japan's Akatsuki probe was originally supposed to arrive at Venus in December 2010, but an engine failure caused the spacecraft to miss its target and zoom off into orbit around the sun. But this past December, Akatsuki's handlers managed to guide the craft back to Venus, and now the probe is just about ready to start science operations.
"Akatsuki has been performing test observations by turning on its onboard observation instruments one by one," Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) officials wrote in an update on Friday (April 1).  

The Imaginarium

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