NASA International Space Station funding could end by 2025 under Trump administration

January 26, 2018 by  
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The International Space Station (ISS) was launched in 1998, and since then astronauts from around 18 countries have visited. Now,  Donald Trump’s administration  could be aiming to end NASA funding for the two-decades-long effort.  The Verge reported they reviewed a draft budget proposal that included plans to stop support for ISS by 2025. 2028 is the date many people consider to be the end of the ISS’ operational lifetime, according to The Verge. Barack Obama’s administration approved an extension of the space station until at least 2024. The Verge also said many people in the commercial space industry have hoped for another extension until 2028, so NASA could transition ISS operations to the commercial sector, or companies could “establish a commercial module in lower Earth orbit” – which they might not be able to accomplish by 2024. Related: NASA is returning to the moon – but they don’t know how The Trump administration proposal doesn’t seem to give them a lot of time. The Verge pointed out the draft could be altered before the official budget request – although they spoke with “two people familiar with the matter” who said the directive would be included in the final proposal. Then Congress would have to approve the budget proposal. This is a bad idea. Let's decide when to deorbited #ISS based on the readiness of its successor, not by picking a date and crossing our fingers. https://t.co/lUkUmgWh2b — Michael L-A (@CommanderMLA) January 25, 2018 Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria tweeted the move would be a bad idea. The Verge said an intention to cancel funding could signal to international partners the United States isn’t interested in the program’s continuation – and many of those partners haven’t yet decided if they’ll keep working on the effort after 2024. The ISS costs NASA around $3 to $4 billion a year, and some people in Congress seem to think that money would be better spent on deep space vehicles. But according to The Verge, “canceling the ISS too early without a viable replacement could lead to a gap of human activities in lower Earth orbit.” Via The Verge Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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NASA International Space Station funding could end by 2025 under Trump administration

Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

January 4, 2018 by  
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China lost control of their first space station Tiangong-1 in 2016 – and now pieces of it could come crashing back down to Earth. Research organization Aerospace Corporation recently predicted the station could re-enter our planet’s atmosphere sometime around the middle of March. Around 2,000 to 8,000 pounds of the almost 19,000-pound station could hit the surface. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, was the first station China built and launched. They sent it to space in 2011, and two manned missions to the station were completed. Tiangong-1 wasn’t supposed to last much past 2013, but China decided to lengthen its lifespan. Then they lost control in 2016. The station’s orbit has been gradually degrading, so its re-entry will ultimately be uncontrolled, according to The Verge . Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space All this may sound like really bad news. And it’s true that thousands of pounds of Tiangong-1 could make it back to Earth. But multiple space agencies have been tracking the station, and think it may crash down between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitude – a region largely covered in ocean. Most of the land in that area is also unpopulated. In the Aerospace Corporation’s map shown above, there’s a zero probability of trash re-entry in blue areas; green areas have lower probability and yellow areas have a higher probability. But the organization said, “When considering the worse-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.” This also won’t be the first time an object as big as Tiangong-1 – or even larger – has made an uncontrolled re-entry. Phobos-Grunt, an almost 30,000-pound Russian spacecraft intended for a trip to Mars failed and plummeted to Earth in 2012. And NASA’s almost 160,000-pound Skylab, their old space station, also made an uncontrolled re-entry, according to The Verge. Humanity has been launching rockets for around 50 years – and a single person is known to have perhaps been struck by space trash in all that time. In 1997, Lottie Williams was taking a walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma when metal fragment hit her shoulder , and according to Wired, NASA confirmed the time and place were consistent with the re-entry of a second-stage Delta rocket – although the shard wasn’t ever positively identified, and Williams wasn’t injured. Via The Verge , Business Insider , and Aerospace Corporation Images via CMSE via Phys.org , Aerospace Corporation , and copyright ESA – D. Ducros

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Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

Blast from a VERGE past: An astronaut’s sustainability lessons

September 19, 2016 by  
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NASA’s pioneering space effort is working with the private sector to develop sustainable technologies that enable long-distance space travelers to make what they need — from food and water to building supplies — from locally acquired raw materials. On the mainstage at VERGE 2015, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and Jason Crusan of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division spoke about the sustainability lessons learned from NASA’s tests on the International Space Station.

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The ESA tests Kombucha resilience on an unprotected journey through space

August 10, 2015 by  
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Samples of kombucha are currently attached to the outside of the International Space Station, exposed to the harsh elements beyond our protective atmosphere. At face value, this may sound downright strange, yet The European Space Agency has its reasons for testing whether the yeast and bacteria in Kombucha can survive an unprotected journey through space. Read the rest of The ESA tests Kombucha resilience on an unprotected journey through space

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“Really odd” SpaceX rocket explosion likely caused by one faulty metal strut

July 21, 2015 by  
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When an unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket headed to the International Space Station suddenly exploded shortly after take off on June 28, it brought an end to a string of 18 successful missions conducted with the new rocket. Now, after poring over thousands of pieces of data, SpaceX engineers believe the incident was caused by a single faulty two-foot-long by one-inch-thick metal strut, in what Elon Musk referred to in a conference call with reporters as “a really odd failure mode.” Read the rest of “Really odd” SpaceX rocket explosion likely caused by one faulty metal strut

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Polish designer lives every minimalist’s dream in a tiny 140-square-foot apartment

July 21, 2015 by  
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Astronauts need caffeine too, and now they can make it an espresso

May 8, 2015 by  
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If you were waiting to go to the International Space Station until they had good coffee, well, NOW you can go. Like any good Italian, Samantha Cristoforetti is fond of her morning cuppa. In particular, she’s partial to her morning espresso . But when you work on the space station, that can be a little hard to come by, until now. Cristoforetti isn’t just an astronaut and the first Italian woman to orbit the Earth, she’s also the first space barista. But making the the shot of espresso  was no mere lark. It was actually a study in specialized physics. Until now, physicists were unsure just how a highly pressurized and piping hot liquid would react in the near weightless environment of the International Space Station. A specialized espresso maker, called the ISSpresso was designed by Argotec, an engineering and software firm in Turin as well as the Italian coffee producer Lavazza. Making a proper espresso—a singular alchemy of high temperature, water pressure and perfectly tamped coffee—is difficult enough to master on earth. Microgravity conditions made the task still more complicated, and Argotec took two years to work out how to do it… but the force of coffee was strong with this one. Via The New York Times Images via NASA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: coffee in space , espresso in space , italian astronaut , samantha cristoforetti , space station espresso , woman italian astronaut

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An unmanned Russian supply spacecraft is spinning out of control in orbit

April 30, 2015 by  
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A Russian spacecraft currently in orbit 200km (124.27 miles) above Earth known as the Progress M-27M cargo vessel is spinning out of control as it orbits the Earth. Fortunately, the craft , which was launched from Kazakhstan on Wednesday, does not have any crew on board, but unless control can be regained, the spacecraft will return to Earth in it’s out of control spin and will likely explode upon re-entering the atmosphere in a spectacular fashion. The Progress M-27M was designed to carry cargo to the International Space Station and is carrying 2,357kg (5,196 pounds) of fuel and supplies – which should make the fireworks even more interesting. It is not known exactly what could have sent the spacecraft reeling, but a sudden release of gas, an explosion or even a rocket thruster that didn’t shut down could have caused it. In 1966, the Gemini VIII spacecraft piloted by Neil Armstrong had a similar rocket thruster issue and his piloting skills were required to save the craft. Via Phys.org Image via NASA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cargo spacecraft out of control , international space station cargo ship , progress m27m , rocket explosion , russian cargo spacecraft , russian space craft , russian spacecraft spinning out of control , spacecraft explosion , spacecraft in orbit , uncontrolled spacecraft

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Astronauts can sip espresso in space thanks to PSU’s 3D-printed zero gravity cup

December 16, 2014 by  
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Astronauts have a pretty rough time living in a microgravity environment. Sure, at first there’s exhilaration at the whole floating experience, but then one has to learn to pee into a vacuum cleaner and season food with liquid salt. And as for a morning espresso with that perfect crema? Well, that was pure fantasy, until a team at Portland State University developed an ingenious 3D-printed cup that lets astronauts sip their morning latte in style. Check out a video of the cup in action below! Read the rest of Astronauts can sip espresso in space thanks to PSU’s 3D-printed zero gravity cup Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: capilliary forces , coffee , espresso , international space station , iss , microgravity , nasa , Portland State University , psu , spacex

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Astronauts can sip espresso in space thanks to PSU’s 3D-printed zero gravity cup

Made in Space: NASA Creates First-Ever 3D-Printed Object in Space

December 1, 2014 by  
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NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station have created the first-ever object to be 3D printed in space . The 3D printer , which was developed by Made in Space , was delivered to the ISS by a SpaceX mission back in September, and on November 17 Expedition Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore installed and calibrated the device. On November 24 it produced its first component: a faceplate for the printer itself that reads “Made in Space.” Read the rest of Made in Space: NASA Creates First-Ever 3D-Printed Object in Space Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printer , 3D printing , butch wilmore , green design , iss , made in space , nasa , space exploration , spacex , zero gravity

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