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SpaceX’s historic NASA astronaut launch debut on track for second attempt – Teslarati

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Rather than making history on May 27th, SpaceX’s highest-profile launch ever – Crew Dragon’s NASA astronaut launch debut – was scrubbed just minutes before liftoff by stormy Florida weather. Unfortunately, conditions appear to be even less favorable on Saturday and Sunday backup windows.

Weather trended well, until it didn’t

The day began with launch fans growing increasingly concerned about a system of low-pressure off of Florida’s northeast coast that strengthened into tropical storm Bertha – the second named storm before the official start of the Atlantic basin hurricane season on June 1st. As the day progressed, Bertha became less of a worry for SpaceX recovery and emergency abort drop zones as it moved further north up the coast eventually making landfall in South Carolina. Then the thunderstorms began firing up.

Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for build and flight reliability at SpaceX, looks at a monitor showing a live feed of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on the launch pad during the countdown for a launch attempt of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Going into launch day launch weather officer, Mike McAleenan of the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predicted a 60% chance of favorable launch weather conditions. That decreased slightly to 50% during the morning’s launch weather briefing. The 50/50 shot of Florida weather cooperating to get the launch off during the one-second long launch window opportunity remained the main concern for the rest of the day.

An ominous thunderstorm rolls over LC-39A ahead of SpaceX’s ultimately scrubbed first attempt to launch the Crew Dragon Demo-2 test flight on Wednesday, May 27th. (Credit: Richard Angle for Teslarati)

During the final thirty minutes of the countdown, many of the weather constraints that were holding up a green-light for launch from cleared up, but one last weather rule remained no-go. McAleenan stated over the internal weather communication loop during NASA’s live broadcast that if the launch window could’ve extended another 10 minutes, the weather would probably cooperate. This wasn’t the case, though. The launch attempt was ultimately aborted just 14 minutes shy of liftoff due to the “field mill” rule not clearing in time. The lightning field mill rule refers to a sophisticated electrical field system that spans the entire area of Kennedy Space Center and the surrounding area of Cape Canaveral responsible for continuously detecting the electrical charge of the atmosphere.

Protecting rockets from producing lightning

Rockets are not permitted to launch through an electrically charged atmosphere because of the possibility of what is called “triggered” lightning – lightning that is actually produced by a rocket bursting through an electrically charged atmosphere. Sending a rocket through an already unstable atmosphere can cause a disturbance, a lightning bolt, to be triggered. This phenomenon has the capability of being potentially dangerous for the rocket and, more importantly in this case, the occupants on board.

A very helpful infographic published by the 45th Weather Squadron regarding the natural and triggered lightning launch rules. (Credit: 45th Weather Squadron)

Demo-2, Round 2

Following a scrubbed first attempt, the 45th Weather Squadron released the L-3 (3 days until launch) forecast for the second attempt to send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. The prediction looked much like the one going into Wednesday’s attempt. On Thursday morning, May 28th, a new L-2 (2 days until launch) forecast was released showing very little change from the evening before.

SpaceX’s next attempt at a Demo-2 launch will occur on Saturday, May 30th, at 3:22:41pm EDT with another backup attempt scheduled for Sunday, May 31st at 3:00:07pm EDT. The outlook for the weather, however, looks much the same as it did for Wednesday. The 45th Weather Squadron is currently predicting only a 40% chance of favorable launching conditions on both days, and that’s just for the weather directly over LC-39A at the time of launch.

A L-3 weather forcast provided by the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron outlines a 40% chance of acceptable weather conditions at time of launch for SpaceX’s back-up attempt to lauch the first ever crewed mission, Demo-2, on Saturday, May 30th. (Credt: U.S. Space Force – 45th Weather Squadron)

The 45th Weather Squadron does not predict other conditions that can determine a scrub of launch including upper-level atmospheric winds capable of completely sheering apart a rocket at altitude, or weather conditions for booster recovery and the recovery zones needed to rescue the Dragon capsule in the event of an emergency abort scenario. SpaceX has its own team of professionals that work in tandem with the 45th Weather Squadron to monitor the conditions of the recovery and abort zones. SpaceX takes things into consideration like wave height and patterns to determine whether or not conditions are appropriate enough for crews to perform any and all recovery operations that may be needed.

For Saturday’s attempt, the SpaceX Demo-2 will once again face the challenges of precipitation and dangerous lightning producing anvil and cumulus clouds. Expect launch day to look much like it did during the first attempt on Wednesday. SpaceX will need to thread one seriously precise needle to pull off the most historic rocket launch in company history.

Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes.

SpaceX’s historic NASA astronaut launch debut on track for second attempt




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How Local Photographer Captured These Stunning Images Of Comet NEOWISE In Skies Over Peterborough – PTBOCanada

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Comet NEOWISE has been lighting up the early morning skies around the globe this month and Peterborough photographer Jay Callaghan was up bright and early on Thursday (July 9th) to capture it.

Currently NEOWISE is roughly 141 million kilometres from Earth and is gradually making its way closer to our planet as each day passes. The best time locally to see the comet has been in the early morning hours before sunrise, so in the wee hours, around 3:30 a.m., Jay was out capturing stunning images from the top of Armour Hill of the comet as well a great shot over Little Lake with the planet Venus to the right.


View from Armour Hill

View from Armour Hill

“Locating the comet can be a bit of a challenge but with use of websites dedicated to the comet, such as The Sky Live as well as Sky Map app for Android phones, I was able to pinpoint when and where the comet would be when it rose at 2:59 a.m. this morning,” Callaghan tells PTBOCanada.

”Once the location is known, it was easy to find the comet and even see it with the naked eye,” he adds. “The humidity on the horizon made it a bit difficult to see at first but the camera had no issue capturing it.”


View from Armour HillView from Armour Hill

View from Armour Hill


View from Armour HillView from Armour Hill

View from Armour Hill

Callaghan, known for his beautiful pictures of the outdoors and wildlife in the area and for tweeting—and stormchasing—about the weather locally, used a Canon 80D and Sigma 18-35 and 70-200 lens to take the comet photos.

“The shots ranged in exposure times of anywhere from 1-6 seconds depending on the amount of light as well as other settings on the camera (ISO, aperture, etc),” he tells PTBOCanada.


View from Little LakeView from Little Lake

View from Little Lake

For those interested in viewing the comet, here’s what Callaghan recommends:

-> As the comet gets closer to earth, the chances of seeing it after sunset will increase but unfortunately, at this time, it appears that the magnitude (or brightness) of the comet looks to be getting lower so the sooner you can get out to see it the better. 

-> Make sure to visit the The Sky Live website, enter in your location and keep an eye on the rise and set times of the comet, as well as what constellation it will be residing in, for a chance to catch a glimpse.

-> Your best bet is to get away from city lights and don’t forget the binoculars and camera. 

-> The comet will make its closest approach to Earth on July 23rd when it will be approximately 103 million kilometres away and then will slowly disappear from our view.

Engage with us on social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Write to us at tips@ptbocanada.com. Sign up for PTBOBuzz newsletter here.

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CBC Edmonton puts your COVID-19 questions to Dr. Mark Joffe of Alberta Health Services – CBC.ca

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It’s been more than 16 weeks since Alberta was plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixteen long weeks, from early spring into early summer. For many of us, that’s 16 weeks of work-from-home, school-from-home, shop-from-home — and sometimes, worry-from-home.

Restrictions are easing and there’s a semblance of a return to the way things were. But as this week’s outbreak at Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital shows us, COVID-19 is still very much a threatening presence for Albertans.

Join us here at 11 a.m. MT as Edmonton News at 6 host Nancy Carlson puts your questions about COVID to Dr. Mark Joffe, an Alberta Health Services vice-president and medical director for northern Alberta.

 To submit questions, tune into the broadcast on the CBC Edmonton Facebook page.

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NASA remembers STS-135 mission: Plans to send the first woman to Moon in 2024 – TechGenyz

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Almost nine years back America was basking in the glory of witnessing the historic landing of Atlantis on July 21 for the final time at 5 a.m. in the morning near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Set out on July 8, Atlantis had been the final flight for Space Shuttle Programme, on the STS-135 mission. The mission was headed by commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Douglas Hurley along with specialists Sandra Magnus, and Rex Walheim.

STS-135, the 33rd flight was set off to carry the Raffaelo multipurpose logistics module, aiming to supply logistics, spare parts to the International Space station. The purpose was also to investigate the refueling of existing spacecraft and bring for improvisation in the upcoming systems.

In remembrance of the last mission, NASA made a post on their official website. It has already started preparing for the upcoming mission that is to take place in 2024 in order to expedite the Moon. Artemis will see the first woman on the moon and next man on the Moon by 2024.

As per the space agency, it will use innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. The primary objective of the mission is to explore the moon’s surface and create sustainable missions to the Earth’s satellite by 2028.

The Artemis lunar exploration program will focus on a strategic expansion of America’s global economic impact and progressing as a leader by advancing better demonstrations and business approaches. It will conduct two missions headed by Artemis I and Artemis II.

As the name suggests, Artemis, from the Greek goddess of Moon will not merely set out for an expedition to the moon but will be observing life at other celestial bodies for a future mission to Mars.

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