Station Taxi Flight Bumps Cargo Spaceship Arrival
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, a second company hired by NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station sailed through the first leg of its debut run. Orbital Sciences Inc. launched its Antares rocket carrying the unmanned Cygnus space vehicle into orbit.
The Orbtial Sciences Antares rocket launch as seen in infrared light.
The Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Expedition 37 is set for launch to the space station on Sept. 26.
In the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft is lowered into position for its encapsulation in the third stage of a Soyuz rocket Sept. 19.
On Thursday, Sept. 19, the Harvest Moon -- the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox -- rises over Washington D.C.
Mark Gee/National Maritime Museum
This week saw the announcement of the winners for the Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 awards. The overall winner was this stunning photo of the Milky Way ('Guiding Light to the Stars'), taken by Mark Gee.
Giant clumps of newborn stars are stirred amongst clouds of dark dust and glowing gas in this amazing new image of IC 4628, also known as the "Prawn Nebula."
NASA, ESA, J. Blakeslee (NRC Herzberg Astrophysics Program, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory), and K. Alamo-Martinez (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Researchers announced this week the discovery of over 160,000 globular clusters lurking inside Abell 1689 -- the largest population of globular clusters ever seen in the Cosmos.
ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola
Resembling a swarm of starlings mid-flight these tiny blue points of light are the stars that comprise dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31, located in the constellation Cetus, The Whale.
Wednesday’s scheduled launch and speedy arrival of three new crewmembers to the International Space Station will delay the rendezvous and docking of Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo ship until Saturday.
The company, one of two hired by NASA to fly cargo to the station following the retirement of the space shuttles, had hoped to fly its demonstration Cygnus ship to the station on Sunday but a software problem prompted a delay until Tuesday.
Engineers have developed and tested a software patch to fix the glitch, but attempting a rendezvous and docking on Tuesday would cut it too close to the Wednesday night arrival of a Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three new station crewmembers, officials said on Monday.
Typically, the station needs at least 48 hours between spacecraft dockings.
“This new schedule will allow the Orbital operations team to carefully plan and be well-rested before restarting the critical final approach to the space station. Meanwhile, Cygnus has all the resources needed to remain in orbit for an extended period of time,” Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s executive vice president, said in a statement.
Cygnus, one of two cargo ships developed in partnership with NASA, blasted off on its debut mission on Wednesday aboard an unmanned Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia. Orbital Sciences plans to return to the station in December with the first of eight cargo hauls under a $1.9 billion NASA contract.
Image: A Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday. Liftoff of a Soyuz capsule with three new space station crewmembers is scheduled for 4:58 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, with docking to follow about six hours later. Credit: Carla Cioffi/NASA