Boeing’s new Starliner unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth on Sunday, landing in the New Mexico desert in the United States six days early after a clock problem prevented a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Images broadcast by NASA showed the spacecraft touching down safely in the dark after a descent slowed by three large parachutes.
The Starliner capsule was launched Friday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but shortly after separating from its Atlas V launch rocket, its thrusters failed to activate as planned, preventing it from reaching an orbit high enough to meet up with the ISS.
The space station orbits at an altitude of about 400 kilometers (250 miles) above sea level. Notably, the flight, carrying only a dummy, was meant to be a final dress rehearsal before a crewed flight.
After calculating that the craft had burned too much propellant for several minutes, Boeing and NASA were forced to guide the Starliner back to Earth without fulfilling its planned mission.
Starliner was able to establish a communications link with the ISS, and to test in space its docking mechanism as well as its solar panels, batteries, thrusters and heat regulation system.
Canadian Space Agency using satellite data to track endangered right whales – CBC.ca
The Canadian Space Agency is harnessing satellite technology to monitor and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales in the country’s waters.
The agency said Tuesday it will lead a $5.3-million project funded by the federal government called smartWhales, which will use satellites to detect the presence of right whales and to predict the animals’ movements.
Canada is giving a total of $5.3 million over three years to five companies for a series of projects to help protect the endangered species.
One of the projects will involve a system that can rapidly provide location data and detect if the whales are approaching a fishing vessel.
Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says collecting satellite data about the movement of the whales is key to preventing collisions between whales and vessels and to spot cases where the animals are caught in fishing gear — two of the leading causes of right whale deaths.
In late October last year, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium released its annual report card, estimating that only 356 right whales were alive at the end of 2019.
Spacewalking astronauts improve station's European lab | TheSpec.com – TheSpec.com
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Spacewalking astronauts installed a high-speed data link outside the International Space Station’s European lab on Wednesday and tackled other improvements.
NASA’s Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover floated out early and headed straight to Columbus, one of the three high-tech labs at the orbiting outpost.
“That’s a beautiful view,” Hopkins observed as the station soared 260 miles (420 kilometres) above Kazakhstan.
The astronauts hauled with them a fancy new antenna for Columbus that will provide faster communication with European researchers via satellites and ground stations. Although they had trouble driving in some of the bolts to attach the boxy antenna, the size of a small refrigerator, it appeared to be secure and Mission Control declared success.
Danish astronaut Andreas Morgensen guided the spacewalkers from Mission Control in Houston, where controllers wore masks and were seated apart because of the pandemic.
The spacewalkers also needed to hook up power and data cables for an experiment platform for science research outside the European lab that’s been awaiting activation for almost a year.
SpaceX delivered the platform named Bartolomeo to the space station last spring. The shelf was installed with the station’s robot arm, but had to wait until Wednesday’s spacewalk to get hooked up and activated.
Airbus, which built and runs Bartolomeo, is selling space on the platform for private research projects. It’s Europe’s first commercial venture outside the station.
Hopkins and Glover will perform a second spacewalk on Monday to complete battery upgrades to the station’s solar power grid. The latest spacewalk was the third for Hopkins and first for Glover.
They are part of SpaceX’s second astronaut flight that launched in November. Their docked Dragon capsule was visible on NASA TV during the spacewalk.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
nasa mars helicopter – Intelligent Aerospace
WASHINGTON – NASA’s Perseverance explorer will land on the red planet on Feb. 18, but the rover won’t be the only newly arrived robotic explorer. The wheeled robot carries the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity on its belly, and NASA has posted a handy list of things to know about this mission. Although, several of the six facts seem to drive home that NASA doesn’t really know if Ingenuity is going to work. In fact, it could still be seen as a success at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory even if it crashes on its first flight, Ryan Whitwam reports for Extreme Tech. Continue reading original article.
The Intelligent Aerospace take:
January 27, 2021 –The Mars helicopter weighs in at four pounds on Earth (and 1.5 pounds on Mars) and has rotors that come in at four feet tip-to-tip. It is powered by a solar panel that charges Lithium-ion batteries, which allows for one 90-second flight per Martian day. In that time, it can fly up to 980 feet at an altitude up to 15 feet. It will fly autonomously.
Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
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