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SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Florida

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Watch a replay of our live coverage of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket launched SpaceX’s 27th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Follow us on Twitter.

SFN Launch Replay

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A SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft packed with nearly 6,300 pounds of fresh food, hardware, and experiments for the International Space Station lifted off Tuesday night from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, kicking off a 36-hour transit to the orbiting research complex where it will dock for a month-long mission.

Liftoff of the Dragon spacecraft atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket occurred at 8:30:42 p.m. EDT Tuesday (0030:42 GMT Wednesday). The Falcon 9 thundered into a mostly clear sky on a crisp evening at the Florida spaceport.

The resupply flight is SpaceX’s 27th cargo deliver mission to the International Space Station, a series of logistics launches that began in 2012 under a multibillion-dollar Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

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This mission, known as CRS-27, continues a busy schedule for the seven-person crew on the space station, and their ground support teams on Earth. Earlier this month, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft launched to the space station with a fresh set of four crew members for a six-month expedition, replacing four station residents who returned to Earth on a separate Crew Dragon capsule Saturday night.

In the next few months, NASA and its commercial partners plan to send two short-duration crew missions to the station — the first astronaut mission on Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule, and a fully private mission with two Americans and two Saudi Arabian space fliers on a SpaceX Crew Dragon. Each mission will stay at the outpost for a week to 10 days.

An unpiloted Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply ship is set for launch to the space station from Virginia later this spring, and Russia’s space agency plans to return a damaged Soyuz spacecraft from the complex to Earth on March 28. The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft will land without a crew on-board after it leaked out all of its coolant fluid in December, an incident still under investigation by Russian engineers.

Last month, Russia launched a replacement Soyuz to provide a ride home later this year for the three-man crew originally expected to return to Earth on Soyuz MS-22.

The comings and goings are occurring as the seven-person crew on the space station continues a busy slate of research experiments and maintenance tasks on the space station. The Expedition 68 crew currently aboard the station is led by Russian commander Sergey Prokopyev, who is joined by with Russian cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Andrey Fedyaev, U.S. astronauts Frank Rubio, Steve Bowen, Woody Hoburg, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi.

SpaceX rolled the Falcon 9 rocket and Cargo Dragon capsule to the launch pad over the weekend, then raised it vertical for ground crews to finish loading time-sensitive cargo into the spacecraft Monday.

Stationed inside a firing room at a launch control center at Kennedy, SpaceX’s launch team began loading super-chilled, densified kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the 215-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 rocket at T-minus 35 minutes.

Helium pressurant also flowed into the rocket in the last half-hour of the countdown. In the last seven minutes before liftoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin main engines were thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as “chilldown.” The Falcon 9’s guidance and range safety systems were also configured for launch.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket headed northeast from Kennedy Space Center to line up with the orbital plane of the space station, climbing into the stratosphere with 1.7 million pounds of thrust from nine Merlin 1D main engines.

The rocket shut down its first stage booster about two-and-a-half minutes into the mission, allowing the booster to descend to landing on a drone ship about 186 miles (300 kilometers) downrange in the Atlantic Ocean approximately seven-and-a-half minutes after liftoff.

The exhaust plumes from the Falcon 9’s first stage (left) performing a recovery maneuver and the upper stage (right) speeding into space are seen in the sky over Cape Canaveral about three minutes after launch Tuesday night. Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

The Falcon 9 booster, tail number B1073, completed its seventh flight to space on the CRS-27 mission. The Dragon capsule, flying for the third time, deployed from the Falcon 9’s upper stage nearly 12 minutes after liftoff to begin the journey to the International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft is set to dock with the space station at 7:52 a.m. EDT (1152 GMT) Thursday to start a month-long stay at the orbiting research complex.

Astronauts on the space station will open hatches and begin unpacking cargo inside the pressurized compartment of the Dragon spacecraft, while the space station’s Canadian-built robotic arm will reach into the unpressurized trunk of the spacecraft to extract a half-ton package of science and tech demo experiments sponsored by the U.S. military’s Space Test Program.

The unpiloted cargo freighter is packed with 6,288 pounds (2,852 kilograms) of supplies and experiments, according to NASA. Nearly half the payload mass consists of research investigations, with crew supplies and hardware for space station systems also aboard the Dragon spacecraft.

The seven-person crew aboard the outpost will receive a shipment of fresh food, including apples, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, and cheeses, according to Phil Dempsey, NASA’s transportation integration manager for the International Space Station program.

Meghan Everett, NASA’s deputy chief scientist for the space station program, said the CRS-27 mission will launch equipment to support approximately 60 new scientific investigations and technology demonstration experiments. Most of the research payloads are packed inside the Dragon spacecraft’s pressurized cabin.

“With these investigations, we look forward to impactful scientific results to advance human exploration in space and technologies here on Earth,” Everett said.

The internal experiments include a pair of investigations from the National Institutes of Health and the ISS National Lab examining whether clinically approved drugs and new therapies can counteract changes in heart cells and tissues induced by the microgravity environment of spaceflight.

SpaceX’s patch for the CRS-27 resupply mission to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX

Students from Houston area high schools are also sending to the space station monopod camera mounts they assembled as part of a NASA-sponsored educational initiative. The five monopods have real applications for the crew on-board the space station, who have reported difficulty in positioning cameras floating in the middle of modules for photography inside the complex.

An experiment from NASA’s Ames Research Center launching aboard the CRS-27 mission will look into new technology that could enable better systems to scrub carbon dioxide from the air inside the space station. The experiment will study a way to control liquids using capillary forces, a stepping stone that could aid in the development of more efficient liquid-based carbon dioxide removal systems for use in microgravity, similar to technology used in submarines.

The European Space Agency’s Biofilms experiment will allow scientists to evaluate the formation of bacterial biofilms in space. Biofilms are combinations of microorganisms that create cleaning-resistant slimy material that can damage equipment and potentially cause infections. European scientists are looking into different types of antimicrobial surfaces that could inhibit biofilm growth.

“These results will directly inform selecting materials with antimicrobial qualities for future spacecraft,” Everett said.

A Japanese experiment also aboard the CRS-27 mission will expose bacteria and moss spores to the harsh environment of space using a bracket attached outside of the space station.

“The goal of this investigation is to look at the origin, transportation, and survival of life in space,” Everett said.

The military’s STP-H9 payload is fastened inside the aft trunk of the Dragon spacecraft. After docking with the space station, the lab’s Canadian-built robotic arm will reach into the trunk to grapple the STP-H9 package, then mount it on a port outside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module for at least one year of operations.

The STP-H9 payload is the seventh military Space Test Program package to be attached outside the International Space Station for experiments, following two similar STP experiment platforms that flew on space shuttles. NASA disposes of the STP payloads when their missions are complete, returning them into the atmosphere to burn up inside the Dragon spacecraft’s expendable trunk section, while the reusable cargo capsule parachutes to a soft splashdown at sea.

The experiments on the STP-H9 payload include an in-space laser power beaming demonstration developed by the Naval Research Laboratory.

An artist’s concept of laser power beaming from space. Credit: JAXA

The Space Wireless Energy Laser Link, or SWELL, experiment will attempt to establish an optical power beaming link between laser transmitters and receivers packaged inside a 5.7-foot-long (1.7-meter) tube. The experiment is an advancement in laser power beaming technology, which transmits energy in the form of electromagnetic waves, without the transport of mass.

Transmitting electrical energy using electromagnetic waves means power could be sent from place to place at the speed of light. The NRL says the feasibility and safety of laser power beaming has been proven on the ground.

Experiments in space could lead to applications involving the transmission of electricity from satellite to space, beaming energy from space-based power generators back to Earth for use on the ground, or supporting missions exploring permanently shadowed craters on the moon. Ultimately, power beaming could be used to propel spacecraft at record speeds to explore interstellar space.

But so far, no power beaming demonstration in orbit has tested the ability to transmit energy over a range of more than a meter, with greater than 1% end-to-end efficiency. The SWELL experiment aims to do that, and will collect data on how the hardware performs in the space environment.

“With this modest experiment, we will identify key focus areas for developing links of greater power and longer distance for space,” said Paul Jaffe, electronics engineer and SWELL principal investigator, in a statement. “By employing laser transmitters and photovoltaic receivers, power beaming links will be established that will pave the way for rapid, resilient, and flexible energy delivery systems.”

The U.S. military tested a microwave-based power beaming technology on a secretive mission aboard the Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane that was in orbit from 2020 until last year. The laser experiment on the STP-H9 payload package will probe a different way of beaming power from space to the ground.

“This is the next step in extending this capability for space, lunar, and planetary applications,” said Chris DePuma, SWELL program manager at the Naval Research Laboratory. “Power beaming is poised as a critical enabler for power distribution on the moon and elsewhere in space.”

“Power beaming might also be used for distributing power for and around Earth, including from satellites that collect solar energy in space,” Jaffe said. “SWELL is the next step into this new frontier.”

The Space Test Program – Houston 9, or STP-H9, payload package inside NASA’s Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: DoD Space Test Program

Other experiments on the military’s STP-H9 payload include an Electric Propulsion Electrostatic Analyzer from the Air Force Academy, and a Neutron Radiation Detection Instrument and Variable Voltage Ion Protection Experiment from NRL.

Another NRL experiment on the STP-H9 platform is the Experiment for Characterizing the Lower Ionosphere and Production of Sporadic-E, or ECLIPSE, will measure conditions in the ionosphere, a layer of the upper atmosphere where solar radiation can disrupt radio communications.

The Glowbug instrument on the STP-H9 payload, also managed by NRL with support from NASA, is a miniature gamma-ray telescope designed to detect cosmic rays emitted from super-energetic explosions in the distant universe, called gamma-ray bursts. Glowbug will also attempt to detect mysterious emissions of gamma-rays from thunderstorms on Earth.

A tech demo investigation called the SpaceCube Edge Node Intelligent Collaboration from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center — in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Aerospace Corp. — will evaluate artificial intelligence and machine learning technology using AI microchips.

And an experiment from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, called the Stellar Occultation Hypertemporal Imaging Payload, will test a high-resolution, high-frame-rate camera that could be used on future space missions to measure atmospheric temperature profiles by observing how the air bends, or refracts, light from a star passing through the atmosphere.

At the end of the CRS-27 mission, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will return to Earth for splashdown off the coast of Florida in mid-April, bringing home numerous research specimens, equipment requiring refurbishment, and hardware no longer needed on the space station.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1073.7)

PAYLOAD: Cargo Dragon (CRS-27)

LAUNCH SITE: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

LAUNCH DATE: March 14, 2023

LAUNCH TIME: 8:30:42 p.m. EDT (0030:42 GMT on March 15)

WEATHER FORECAST: 80% chance of acceptable weather; Moderate risk of upper level winds; Low risk of unfavorable conditions for booster recovery

BOOSTER RECOVERY: “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship east of Jacksonville, Florida

LAUNCH AZIMUTH: Northeast

TARGET ORBIT: 118 miles by 130 miles (190 kilometers by 210 kilometers), 51.6 degrees inclination

LAUNCH TIMELINE:

  • T+00:00: Liftoff
  • T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:24: First stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
  • T+02:28: Stage separation
  • T+02:35: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:38: First stage boost back burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+03:12: First stage boost back burn cutoff
  • T+05:44: First stage entry burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+06:01: First stage entry burn cutoff
  • T+07:07: First stage landing burn ignition (one engine)
  • T+07:36: First stage landing
  • T+08:38: Second stage engine cutoff (SECO 1)
  • T+11:34: Cargo Dragon separation
  • T+12:22: Nose cone open sequence begins

MISSION STATS:

  • 210th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 220th launch of Falcon rocket family since 2006
  • 7th launch of Falcon 9 booster B1073
  • 3rd flight of Dragon capsule C209
  • 180th Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
  • 64th SpaceX launch from pad 39A
  • 157th launch overall from pad 39A
  • 7th launch of an upgraded Cargo Dragon vehicle
  • 27th SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station
  • 16th Falcon 9 launch of 2023
  • 17th launch by SpaceX in 2023
  • 13th orbital launch attempt based out of Cape Canaveral in 2023
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Ice Age Squirrel Found in Canada! » Expat Guide Turkey – Expat Guide Turkey

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The remains of an Ice Age squirrel that was mummified to death during hibernation some 30,000 years ago have been found in Canada.

The 30,000-year-old animal found in the Klondike goldfields in 2018 will soon be on display in Whitehorse, Northern Canada.

Yukon paleontologists this week unveiled another unusual find from the gold fields near Dawson City: an Arctic squirrel that curled up and mummified as if it died during hibernation during the Ice Age.

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A Squirrel Mummy Found by Yukon Paleontologists at the Gold Field near Dawson City

The Ice Age squirrel was actually found a few years ago, but its announcement is now being made as the government is preparing the dead rodent for display at the Yukon in Whitehorse.

At first glance, this mummified animal looks like nothing more than a dried up pile of brown fur and skin.

Intact Bone Structure Detected Inside the Remains

Yukon government paleontologist Grant Zazula says, “It’s hardly recognizable until you see the tiny hands and claws, a little tail, and then the ears.” says.

“I’m always examining bones and these are very exciting. But when you see a perfectly preserved animal, especially if it’s 30,000 years old and you can see its face, its skin, its fur, it’s really special.”

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Apr 1: Tyrannosaur lips, bald eagles dine on beef, saving the orbital environment and more… – CBC.ca

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Quirks and Quarks54:02Tyrannosaur lips, bald eagles dine on beef, saving the orbital environment, how your fingerprints are built and how humans run on electricity


On this week’s episode of Quirks & Quarks with Bob McDonald:

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Tyrannosaurus rex had lips covering its terrifying teeth

Quirks and Quarks8:33Tyrannosaurus rex had lips covering its terrifying teeth

Many depictions of the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex show the dinosaur’s huge teeth as constantly exposed in a crocodilian smile. But a new study published in the journal Science concludes that theropod dinosaurs like the T. rex likely had scaly, lizard-like lips that covered their teeth completely when the dinosaur’s mouth was closed. Canadian paleontologist Dr. Thomas Cullen, a professor at Auburn University, and his co-authors analyzed wear patterns on tooth enamel of the dinosaurs, as well as jaw sizes, and compared them to modern-day animals. He said the T. rex mouth would have likely been most similar to that of a Komodo dragon.

Scientists and artists have developed two principal models of predatory dinosaur facial appearances: crocodylian-like lipless jaws or a lizard-like lipped mouth. New data suggests that the latter model, lizard-like lips, applies to most, or all, predatory dinosaur species. (Mark P. Witton)

Eagles are eating cows instead of salmon – and farmers are happy

Quirks and Quarks7:59Eagles are eating cows instead of salmon – and farmers are happy

In the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., bald eagles, which have historically fed on the carcasses of spawning chum salmon, have run short of their traditional food due to climate change and other factors. But a new study in the journal Ecosphere by Ethan Duvall, a PhD student in ecology at Cornell University, indicates the eagles have moved inland and are now scavenging cattle who have died on dairy farms. Farmers, it turns out, are happy with this, as it solves a troubling disposal problem, and because the eagles also displace rodents and other birds that do harm to the farms.

A bald eagle in flight against clouds in the blue sky
Bald eagles have shifted their diet from chum salmon carcasses to the carcasses of dairy cows in the northwestern U.S. (NICK BALACHANOFFF)

Inspired by the High Seas treaty, scientists are calling for the protection of space

Quirks and Quarks7:47Inspired by the High Seas treaty, scientists are calling for the protection of space

In early March, nearly 200 United Nations member countries agreed to the first-ever treaty to protect the world’s oceans. Imogen Napper, a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth in England, and a group of colleagues are calling for a similar legally binding treaty to protect the Earth’s orbit from exploitation by the ever-growing global space industry. Their concerns were put forward in a letter in the journal Science.

A woman looks up into a starry sky with a beam of light coming from her headband light
Marine biologist Imogen Napper has turned her attention from ocean plastic pollution to protecting the Earth’s orbit from space debris. (Eleanor Burfit)

Arches, loops and whorls — how your unique fingerprints are made

Quirks and Quarks7:40Arches, loops and whorls — how your unique fingerprints are made

There are eight billion people in the world, each with a unique pattern of ridges on our fingertips. Now, scientists have discovered that the process by which these intricate and complex patterns arise is similar to how animals get their spots or stripes. Duelling genetic and chemical signals during fetal development give rise to changes in the ridges and spaces between them that cover our fingertips. Denis Headon, a geneticist from the University of Edinburgh, traced how this interplay results in the complex whorls, loops and arches that make up our fingerprints. His research was published in the journal Cell.

A computer monitor on a black desk in an ambiently lit room has a giant fingerprint blown up on it taking up the entire screen.
A fingerprint is enlarged for examination at the US Homeland Security Investigation Forensic Laboratory in Tyson Corner, Virginia. A new study describes how our fingerprints get their unique patterns. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Humans are fueled by food — but we run on electricity

Quirks and Quarks19:31Humans are fueled by food — but we run on electricity

Every living cell works as a battery, with the ability to respond to and send out electrical signals. Science and technology journalist, Sally Adee, became fascinated with this realization after participating in an experiment in which a gentle electrical current, delivered to her brain, gave her the abilities of an expert sharpshooter. Bob McDonald speaks with her about her new book, We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body’s Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds. In it, she explores how much our biology — from our bodies’ ability to heal to the higher order processes of human thought — works through electricity.

Someone's hand can be seen holding a multitude of colourful wires emanating from the electrodes in a cap that he's wearing as he sits inside a makeshift cockpit.
A man holds electrodes set up on the head of Swiss scientist-adventurer and pilot Bertrand Piccard that will monitor his electrical brain waves prior to a non-stop 72 hours simulation test flight in 2013. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

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Meet the Canadian astronauts up for a seat on the Artemis II mission to the moon

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This Sunday, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will announce the four astronauts that will be blasting off to fly around the moon for the Artemis II mission, one of whom will be a Canadian astronaut.

The Artemis II mission will be the first crewed mission to orbit the moon in half a century, and the inclusion of a Canadian astronaut on the mission will make Canada the second country to have an astronaut fly around the moon.

In November 2024, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will launch the four astronauts into space for the Artemis II mission. They will pilot the Orion spacecraft around the Earth and then around the moon before returning home.

It’s the second step of a project that started last year with the unmanned Artemis I mission. The Artemis missions help to test the launch system and the spacecraft itself. The end goal is for scientists to construct a Lunar Gateway at the moon — a space station that could serve as a jumping off point for further deep space exploration.

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A trailer for the crew announcement was posted by NASA on Wednesday.

There are currently four active Canadian astronauts, but we won’t know until Sunday who will be the first Canadian astronaut to fly around the moon.

THE CANDIDATES

Joshua Kutryk

Kutryk was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta and grew up on a cattle farm in eastern Alberta. He is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and has been deployed in Libya and Afghanistan in the past.

He worked as an experimental test pilot and fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alberta before he was recruited by the CSA. He worked on numerous test flight projects as well as on improving the safety of fighter jets such as the CF-18.

Kutryk made it to the top 16 candidates for the CSA in 2009, but wasn’t selected until CSA’s 2017 recruitment campaign.

He obtained the official title of astronaut in January 2020.

Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons

Sidey-Gibbons comes from Calgary, Alberta, and first worked with the CSA while studying mechanical engineering at McGill University, where she conducted research on flame propagation in microgravity in collaboration with the agency.

Before joining CSA, she lived and worked in the U.K. as an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Her research there focused on how to develop low-emission combusted for gas turbine engines.

She was selected by the CSA in 2017 as a recruit along with Kutryk, and obtained the official title of astronaut in January 2020.

Jeremy Hansen

Hansen was born in London, Ontario and spent his childhood first on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario, and then Ingersoll, Ontario. He is married with three children.

By age 17, he had already obtained glider and private pilot licences through the Air Cadet Program. He is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and served as a CF-18 fighter pilot before becoming an astronaut.

Hansen graduated as an astronaut in 2011, after being selected as one of two recruits for the CSA in 2009. He currently represents the CSA at NASA and works at the Mission Control Center, serving as the point of connection between the ground and the International Space Station (ISS). He also helps to train astronauts at NASA, the first Canadian to do so.

David Saint-Jacques

Saint-Jacques grew up in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, near Montreal, and is married with three children.

Before joining the CSA, he worked as a medical doctor in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, an Inuit community in northern Quebec. He also works as an adjunct professor of family medicine at McGill University. As a biomedical engineer, he has worked in France and Hungary, and helped to develop optics systems for telescopes and arrays used at observatories in Japan, Hawaii and the Canary Islands.

He was selected as a recruit in 2009 by the CSA and graduated in 2011 from the NASA astronaut program. He has since worked with the Robotics Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office, as a support astronaut for various ISS missions and as the mission control radio operator for a number of resupply missions for the ISS.

In December 2018, Saint-Jacques flew to the ISS to complete a 204-day mission, which is the longest mission any Canadian astronaut has carried out in space to date. During this time, he became the fourth CSA astronaut to conduct a spacewalk and the first CSA astronaut to catch a visiting spacecraft using the Canadarm2.

 

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