adplus-dvertising
Connect with us

Science

First Massive SLS Rocket Core Stage for NASA’s Artemis Completed and Loaded for Transport – SciTechDaily

Published

 on


The first Artemis rocket stage is guided toward NASA’s Pegasus barge Jan. 8 ahead of its forthcoming journey to NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Teams rolled out, or moved, the completed core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the barge in preparation for the core stage Green Run test series. Pegasus, which was modified to ferry SLS rocket hardware, will transport the core stage more than 40 miles from Michoud to Stennis for the comprehensive core stage Green Run test series. Green Run, named for its testing of new, or green, hardware progressively, is the final test campaign ahead of the first Artemis launch. Credit: NASA

The first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage for NASA’s Artemis program completed manufacturing work at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and was loaded onto the agency’s Pegasus barge on January 8, 2020, for delivery to NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. With NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard in attendance, NASA rolled out the core stage for the SLS rocket onto Pegasus in preparation for the Green Run test series, the final test campaign ahead of the agency’s first Artemis launch.

300x250x1
NASA Pegasus Barge Infographic

NASA’s barge, Pegasus, will ferry the massive core stage of the agency’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, on journeys from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to other NASA centers for testing and for launches. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep-space missions. Credit: NASA

“NASA’s Space Launch System core stage is part of the Artemis program, which is a national asset,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard. “The SLS rocket was built to deliver American astronauts and maximum payloads to the Moon and deep space destinations. Rolling out the completed core stage from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility to go on to NASA’s Stennis Space Center for further testing is an exciting leap forward in the Artemis program as NASA teams make progress toward the launch pad.”

The roughly 1.3-mile trip from the Michoud factory to the barge’s dock is just the start of the SLS flight hardware’s journey. Pegasus will ferry the SLS core stage from Michoud to Stennis, where the core stage will be lifted and placed into the historic B-2 Test Stand for the core stage Green Run test campaign that will begin later this year. The Green Run series is a comprehensive test campaign of the stage — from its avionics and propulsion systems to its four RS-25 engines — that will verify the core stage design ready for launch.

“Completion of this first-time build of the Space Launch System rocket’s core stages puts humans on the cusp of a new era of space exploration,” said John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “NASA’s SLS rocket is designed to evolve so a variety of missions can be accomplished first to the Moon for the Artemis missions and then to Mars and other deep space destinations.”

Before launching NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon, the SLS rocket stage will take the same water route that the first stages of the Saturn V rocket did when it was transported from Michoud to Stennis for testing during the Apollo Program in the 1960s and 1970s. Pegasus, which previously ferried the space shuttle tanks from Michoud to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was modified to make it longer and stronger to accommodate the core stage and ferry the SLS rocket hardware. Following Green Run, the barge will carry the core stage flight hardware to Kennedy for launch preparations.

Space Launch System Rocket Core Stage

The SLS rocket’s core stage is the largest stage NASA has ever built at its Louisiana factory including the Saturn V rocket stages for the agency’s first Moon missions. With a design featuring some of the most sophisticated hardware ever built for spaceflight, the core stage is the powerhouse of the SLS rocket. In addition to its miles of complex cabling, avionics and propulsion systems, its two propellant tanks hold a combined 733,000 gallons of propellant to power the four RS-25 engines.

“This is a historic moment for NASA’s Artemis program and a proud time for the Space Launch System Core Stage team as the first flight article leaves the factory floor,” said Julie Bassler, the NASA SLS Stages manager. “Roll out of the core stage to Stennis ahead of the core stage Green Run test series signals an exciting next phase as NASA prepares for the first Artemis launch. The Green Run test series will verify the stage is ready to ship to the launch site.’”

Manufacturing the SLS rocket’s core stages is a combined effort for NASA and its industry partners. More than 1,100 companies across the United States contributed toward the production of the SLS rocket. Boeing built the core stage at NASA’s facility in New Orleans, and Aerojet Rocketdyne upgraded and supplied the RS-25 engines.

NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans

Teams at Michoud are working in tandem to manufacture and assemble core stages for the first three Artemis lunar missions. With the assembly of the core stage for Artemis I complete, NASA is focusing its efforts on building the core stages for Artemis II, the first crewed mission of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, and Artemis III, the mission that will send American astronauts to the lunar South Pole.

In addition to the progress of the SLS rocket in 2019, NASA and its partners completed production of NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The spacecraft is undergoing final testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio. NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy has verified the launch pad’s infrastructure and sound suppression system for the first Artemis launch. Kennedy’s launch team held its first formal training simulation, while flight controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston conducted a similar simulation training for Orion’s uncrewed flight to the Moon.

NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS, along with Orion and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon on a single mission.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Why do animals keep evolving into crabs?

Published

 on

A flat, rounded shell. A tail that’s folded under the body. This is what a crab looks like, and apparently what peak performance might look like — at least according to evolution. A crab-like body plan has evolved at least five separate times among decapod crustaceans, a group that includes crabs, lobsters and shrimp. In fact, it’s happened so often that there’s a name for it: carcinization.

So why do animals keep evolving into crab-like forms? Scientists don’t know for sure, but they have lots of ideas.

Carcinization is an example of a phenomenon called convergent evolution, which is when different groups independently evolve the same traits. It’s the same reason both bats and birds have wings. But intriguingly, the crab-like body plan has emerged many times among very closely related animals.

The fact that it’s happening at such a fine scale “means that evolution is flexible and dynamic,” Javier Luque, a senior research associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, told Live Science.

300x250x1

Related: Does evolution ever go backward?

Crustaceans have repeatedly gone from having a cylindrical body plan with a big tail — characteristic of a shrimp or a lobster — to a flatter, rounder, crabbier look, with a much less prominent tail. The result is that many crustaceans that resemble crabs, like the tasty king crab that’s coveted as a seafood delicacy, aren’t even technically “true crabs.” They’ve adopted a crab-like body plan, but actually belong to a closely related group of crustaceans called “false crabs.”

The king crab isn’t actually a “true crab.” (Image credit: lightasafeather via Getty Images)

When a trait appears in an animal and sticks around through generations, it’s a sign that the trait is advantageous for the species — that’s the basic principle of natural selection. Animals with crabby forms come in many sizes and thrive in a wide array of habitats, from mountains to the deep sea. Their diversity makes it tricky to pin down a single common benefit for their body plan, said Joanna Wolfe, a research associate in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University.

Wolfe and colleagues laid out a few possibilities in a 2021 paper in the journal BioEssays. For example, crabs’ tucked-in tail, versus the lobster’s much more prominent one, could reduce the amount of vulnerable flesh that’s accessible to predators. And the flat, rounded shell could help a crab scuttle sideways more effectively than a cylindrical lobster body would allow.

But more research is needed to test those hypotheses, Wolfe said. She is also trying to use genetic data to better understand the relationships among different decapod crustaceans, to more accurately pinpoint when various “crabby” lineages evolved, and pick apart the factors driving carcinization.

There’s another possible explanation: “It’s possible that having a crab body isn’t necessarily advantageous, and maybe it’s a consequence of something else in the organism,” Wolfe said. For example, the crab body plan might be so successful not because of the shell or tail shape itself, but because of the possibilities that this shape opens up for other parts of the body, said Luque, who is a co-author of the 2021 paper with Wolfe.

The lobster’s tail, which helps it swim and crush prey, is more prominent than a crab’s. (Image credit: Jacob Maentz via Getty Images)

For example, a lobster’s giant tail can propel the animal through the water and help it crush prey. But it can also get in the way and constrain other features, Luque said. The crab body shape might leave more flexibility for animals to evolve specialized roles for their legs beyond walking, allowing crabs to easily adapt to new habitats. Some crabs have adapted their legs for digging under sediment or paddling through water.

“We think that the crab body plan has evolved so many times independently because of the versatility that the animals have,” Luque said. “That allows them to go places that no other crustaceans have been able to go.”

The crab-like body plan also has been lost multiple times over evolutionary time — a process known as decarcinization.

“Crabs are flexible and versatile,” Luque explained. “They can do a lot of things back and forth.”

Wolfe thinks of crabs and other crustaceans like Lego creations: They have many different components that can be swapped out without dramatically changing other features. So it’s relatively straightforward for a cylindrical body to flatten out, or vice versa. But for better or worse, humans won’t be turning into crabs anytime soon. “Our body isn’t modular like that,” Wolfe said. “[Crustaceans] already have the right building blocks.”

 

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Rocket Lab Launches Second Batch of TROPICS Satellites – SpaceWatch.Global

Published

 on


Credit: Rocket Lab

Ibadan, 29 May 2023. – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has successfully completed the second of two dedicated Electron launches to deploy a constellation of tropical cyclone monitoring satellites for NASA. The “Coming To A Storm Near You” launch lifted off on May 26 at 15:46 NZST (03:46 UTC) from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, deploying the final two CubeSats of NASA’s TROPICS constellation to orbit.

“Coming To A Storm Near You” is Rocket Lab’s second of two TROPICS launches for NASA, following the first launch on May 8th NZST. Like the previous launch, “Coming To A Storm Near You” deployed a pair of shoebox-sized satellites to low Earth orbit to collect tropical storm data more frequently than other weather satellites. The constellation aims to help increase understanding of deadly storms and improve tropical cyclone forecasts.

Rocket Lab has now launched all four satellites across two dedicated launches within 18 days, enabling the TROPICS satellites to settle into their orbits and begin commissioning ahead of the 2023 North American storm season, which begins in June.

300x250x1

“Electron was for exactly these kinds of missions – to deploy spacecraft reliably and on rapid timelines to precise and bespoke orbits, so we’re proud to have delivered that for NASA across both TROPICS launches and meet the deadline for getting TROPICS to orbit in time for the 2023 storm season,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Thank you to the team at NASA for entrusting us with such an important science mission, we’re grateful to be your mission launch providers once again.”

‘Coming To A Storm Near You’ was Rocket Lab’s fifth mission for 2023 and the Company’s 37th Electron mission overall. It brings the total number of satellites launched into orbit by Rocket Lab to 163.

Adblock test (Why?)

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

Science

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 29 May 2023: Milky Way Galaxy and the Bioluminescent Sea – HT Tech

Published

 on


Our solar system, with the Sun at the center and 8 other planets besides Earth, reside in an obscure part of a galaxy known as the Milky Way Galaxy. It is a barred spiral galaxy that spans about 100,000 light-years across and was formed approximately 14 billion years ago. According to NASA, the Milky Way Galaxy has over 100 billion stars and all of them orbit a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center, which is estimated to be four million times as massive as our Sun.

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a breathtaking snapshot of the Milky Way Galaxy captured over the bioluminescence of the sea in the Maldives. What is the turquoise glow in the water? It occurs due to single-celled Planktons, known as Noctiluca scintillans, which illuminate when stimulated by the sea waves to keep predators away. The Milky Way Galaxy dominates the sky with the Omega Centauri star cluster to the left and the Southern Cross Asterism in the center. The picture was captured by astrophotographers Petr Horalek and Sovena Jani.

NASA’s description of the picture

What glows there? The answer depends: sea or sky? In the sea, the unusual blue glow is bioluminescence. Specifically, the glimmer arises from Noctiluca scintillans, single-celled plankton stimulated by the lapping waves. The plankton use their glow to startle and illuminate predators. This mid-February display on an island in the Maldives was so intense that the astrophotographer described it as a turquoise wonderland. In the sky, by contrast, are the more familiar glows of stars and nebulas.

300x250x1

The white band rising from the artificially-illuminated green plants is created by billions of stars in the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy. Also visible in the sky is the star cluster Omega Centauri, toward the left, and the famous Southern Cross asterism in the center. Red-glowing nebulas include the bright Carina Nebula, just right of center, and the expansive Gum Nebula on the upper right.

Adblock test (Why?)

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending