The odds of a space-junk crash this evening (Jan. 29) aren’t as slim as we had thought, it turns out.
Two dead satellites — the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and the Gravity Gradient Stabilization Experiment (GGSE-4) — will zoom past each other today in the skies above Pittsburgh, analyses by California-based company LeoLabs indicate.
As of Tuesday (Jan. 28), LeoLabs’ calculations suggested that the two craft would miss each other by from 43 feet to 285 feet (13 to 87 meters) at closest approach, which will occur at 6:39 p.m. EST (2339 GMT). And the probability of a smashup was quite low — just 0.1%.
But the latest outlook isn’t quite so rosy. Additional calculations suggest that the two objects will miss each other by a mere 39 feet (12 m), LeoLabs announced via Twitter this morning. And the chance of an impact is now back up around 1%, as LeoLabs had calculated earlier this week — but might even be as high as 5%.
“Since we learned that GGSE 4 has a deployed 18-m boom and we do not know which direction it is facing relative to IRAS, this changes the assumptions used in computing collision risk,” company representatives explained in a tweet this morning.
“Adjusting our calculations to account for larger object sizes (by increasing our combined hard body radius from 5 m to 10 m), this yields an updated collision probability closer to 1 in 20,” they wrote in another tweet.
4/ Adjusting our calculations to account for larger object sizes (by increasing our combined Hard Body Radius from 5m to 10m), this yields an updated collision probability closer to 1 in 20.January 29, 2020
The nearly 2,400-lb. (1,090 kilograms) IRAS, a joint project involving NASA, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, launched in January 1983 to study the heavens in infrared light. Its mission ended 10 months later.
GGSE-4, which weighs just 190 lbs. (85 kg), was lofted in 1967 and ceased operations in 1972. The little satellite was a U.S. National Reconnaissance Office craft that collected signals intelligence, according to Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who keeps tabs on many of the objects circling Earth. And GGSE-4 was just a cover name; the satellite’s true moniker was POPPY 5B, McDowell said.
We should hope that IRAS and GGSE-4 sail safely past each other Wednesday evening. Both are hurtling through space at more than 32,000 mph (51,500 km/h), and a collision would generate a new swarm of debris in sun-synchronous orbit, a valuable patch of space occupied by many spacecraft.
Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
Apollo 15's fiftieth Anniversary: Moon Touchdown Observed In Shocking Element – TheNewsTrace
New Pictures Launched to Fox Information Display the Apollo 15 moon touchdown in exceptional element 50 years later.
The footage, remastered through “Apollo Remastered” writer Andy Saunders, display the Lunar Roving Car (LRV) because it was once managed through astronauts Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin on this planet surfaced for the primary time.
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Scott and Irwin landed the lunar module Falcon on July 30, 1971, in keeping with a file of the occasions through NASA.
The venture was once introduced from Cape Canaveral, Florida 4 days previous and entered orbit on July 29.
Irwin and Scott then separated the Falcon from fellow astronaut Alfred Worden, who remained in orbit aboard the Undertaking.
Scott and Irwin landed at Hadley-Apennine and performed 4 spacewalks and 3 box journeys the usage of the LRV, for a complete of nineteen hours and 17.5 miles.
The pair accumulated 170 kilos of lunar subject material, together with: rock and soil samples, whilst Worden additionally took images and performed an intensive collection of observations from above.
About 57 hours later — after dozing fairly undisturbed at the moon, save for a imaginable oxygen leak — Scott and Irwin were given in a position to rejoin Worden.
On August 2, the Falcon took off from the moon – observed at soil the primary time by means of an LRV tv digital camera — and the spacecraft docked with Undertaking because the module launched into its fiftieth lunar orbit.
Changing into on August 5 changed into the primary human to accomplish a deep area EVA (extravehicular job), go out the spacecraft, climb to the again of the carrier module and take away movie cassettes from the cameras and go back in lower than 20 mins.
At 4:46 p.m. ET on August 7, Apollo 15 crashed into the Pacific after a venture of greater than 12 days.
The team was once rescued from the waters north of Honolulu through the USS Okinawa.
Apollo 15 set a number of data for manned spaceflight, together with the heaviest payload in lunar orbit, most radial distance traveled at the moon from the spacecraft, maximum EVAs at the lunar floor, and longest period for EVAs at the lunar floor, the longest lunar orbit, the longest manned lunar venture, the longest Apollo venture, the primary deep area and operational EVA, and the primary first satellite tv for pc orbiting the moon through a manned spacecraft.
Whilst many American citizens bear in mind Apollo 11 — the primary spaceflight to land people at the moon — and the near-fatal Apollo 13 venture, Apollo 15 and the LRV stay historic symbols of the USA area program’s lunar program.
Saunders Pictures — together with frames shot with a Hasselblad digital camera — had been merged into panoramas and come with each pictures shot at the lunar floor and of the Endeavour, which might be highlighted in a YouTube video.
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Along with lunar panorama photographs, Saunders has remastered footage of the primary tracks taken through the LRV, the Apollo Lunar Floor Experiments Bundle (ALSEP) setup, and a photograph of Irwin saluting the American flag.
People first drove on the Moon 50 years ago today – Yahoo Movies Canada
NASA just celebrated another major moment in the history of Moon exploration. The New York Times noted that July 31st, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Roving Vehicle’s first outing — and the first time people drove on the Moon. Apollo 15 astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin took the car on a stint to collect samples and explore the lunar surface more effectively than they could on foot.
Scott and Irwin would eventually drive the rover two more times (for a total of three hours) before returning to Earth. The Apollo 16 and 17 missions each had an LRV of their own. There was also a fourth rover, but it was used for spare parts after the cancellation of Apollo 18 and further missions. All three serving models remained on the Moon.
Early development was problematic, in no small part due to the lack of real-world testing conditions. They couldn’t exactly conduct a real-world test drive, after all. The team eventually settled on a collapsible design with steel mesh wheels that could safely handle the Moon’s low gravity, lack of atmosphere, extreme temperatures and soft soil.
The LRV was modest, with a 57-mile range, four 0.19kW motors and an official top speed of 8MPH. It was also expensive, with cost overruns bringing the price of four rovers to $38 million (about $249 million in 2021 dollars). It was key to improved scientific exploration during the later stages of the Apollo program, though, and it was also an early example of a practical electric vehicle — humans were using a battery-powered ride on the Moon decades before the technology became mainstream on Earth.
We wouldn’t count on humans driving on the Moon any time soon, although that reflects the progress made in the 50 years since. NASA and other space agencies are now focused on robotic rovers that can explore the Moon without worries about crew safety. Those humans that do go on rides will likely use autonomous vehicles. Think of this anniversary as celebrating a first step toward the technology you see today.
Russia reports pressure drop in space station service module – Yahoo News Canada
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said on Saturday that pressure in a Russian service module on the International Space Station had dropped as a result of an air leak.
Pressure had fallen over a two-week period before a Russian research module, the Nauka, threw the station out of control when its engines fired shortly after docking on Thursday, but Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said the two events were not linked.
The fall in pressure was a result of a known minor air leak in an isolated transfer chamber of the Zvezda service module and pressure will be raised in the next 24 hours, Roscosmos said in a statement.
“It was an expected and not a ‘sharp’ drop in the still problematic Zvezda and it is not linked to the research module,” Rogozin tweeted in response to media reports.
Pressure in the service module dropped on July 29, the day the Nauka research module docked, to about one third of its level on July 14 but would be increased, Rogozin tweeted.
The air leak in the Zvezda module, which provides living quarters for crew members and life support systems, was detected last year. It poses no danger to the crew but persists despite attempts to fix it by sealing cracks.
Russia said on Friday that a software glitch, and possible lapse in human attention, were to blame for an emergency caused by inadvertently reignited jet thrusters of the Nauka research module.
On Saturday, Russian crew entered the research module after the air was tested and cleaned, Rogozin tweeted.
Russia held a scientific council meeting on Saturday to discuss the future use of the Russian segment of the space station, which was sent into orbit in 1998 and is supposed to work until 2028.
“The chief constructors council noted after considering the current condition of the Russian ISS segment that the use of the Russian ISS segment after 2024 creates additional risks due to the ageing of equipment,” Roscosmos said.
(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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