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This Week in Space – 28/05/10

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Shuttle Endeavour Launch STS-130 07/02/2010

UPDATE #2 – Endeavour successfully launched on Monday morning – the final night launch of a Space Shuttle.

UPDATE #1 – Today’s launch was scrubbed due to poor weather. Mission managers have scheduled space shuttle Endeavour’s next launch attempt for Monday 8th February (tomorrow) at approx 9:00AM GMT).

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to launch tomorrow morning (Sunday 7th February) at about 9:30 AM GMT.

It the last night-time shuttle launch planned, and there are only four shuttle launches currently planned after this.

The mission, STS-130, will take the Tranquility module of the ISS into orbit as well as Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that will provide a 360 degree view of the station and surroundings for its inhabitants.

Spaceflightnow.com offer good coverage of NASA launches – with a continuously updated status feed and a launch program (which will start at 5 AM GMT)

Live Shuttle Atlantis Mission Coverage

Watch continuing live coverage of space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission to the International Space Station (via spaceflightnow.com)

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NASA TV

This is a feed of NASA TV. Along with scheduled programmes, they also feature day-to-day coverage of activities onboard the International Space Station and other NASA projects. Click the play button to start the video stream.

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Live Shuttle Atlantis Launch Coverage

Beginning now live from the Kennedy Space Center, you can see science journalist Miles O’Brien covering today’s launch which will see the Space Shuttle Atlantis begin it’s mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. He’s joined by former NASA spokesman David Waters and astronaut Leroy Chiao.

Go to http://spaceflightnow.com/ and follow the links. (The video stream may take some time to load)

ISS Viewing Times in March

The International Space Station is making evening passes over Essex once again and as Space Shuttle Discovery launched yesterday on a mission to the ISS you’ll be able to see that too.

For viewing times and details click on the “ISS Tracking” link on the right, or click here.

The first pass is tonight.

Live Coverage of STS-119 Discovery Shuttle Launch

You can see live coverage of tonight’s shuttle launch by clicking the links below. The video streams may take some time to load properly, just be patient.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts119/status.html (Spaceflightnow.com webcast with Miles O’Brien)

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html (direct NASA TV feed)

http://www.spacevidcast.com/ (commentary and analysis)

Space news roundup

The shuttle Discovery is approaching the end of its nine-day stay at the space station. Hatches connecting the International Space Station to the shuttle are due to be closed off on Tuesday, with departure scheduled for Wednesday.

On Sunday, astronauts completed the mission’s final spacewalk, replacing an empty gas tank and collecting a sample of dusty debris from a joint on one of the station’s solar panel units. Nasa is hoping the debris will give it clues about why another joint is malfunctioning.

The new Japanese-built components of the station are coming online, with the robotic arm being unfolded for the first time. The 10m-long crane is part of the Kibo laboratory. Next year, NASA plans to launch an outdoor platform with telescopes and experiments that will extend Kibo.

On Mars, the Phoenix lander continues to carry out it’s mission.  However, the unexpected “clumpy” nature of the soil on the Martian northern plains has frustrated efforts to carry out some of experiments.

A sample delivered to a mini-lab oven failed to make it through a sorting filter, and attempts to vibrate the filter have had little effect. Researchers working on the mission are now practising various motions to sprinkle the further material with the robotic scoop.  This will hopefully produce a finer-grained sample and allow some material to pass beyond the filter.

Meanwhile closer to home, tests on UK-led technology at the heart of a proposed Moon mission have been a successful. Three penetrator missiles were fired into a sand bunker in Wales, designed to mimic the lunar surface.  According to Professor Alan Smith, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, the results had exceeded expectations. He is a leading figure in the MoonLITE mission, which hopes to fire instruments into the Moon in 2013.

Space Shuttle Discovery Launches Tonight

Update@21:30 – Launch now set for 22:02.

Tune in to NASA TV tonight at approximately 20:45 to see STS-124 lift-off on it’s mission to the International Space Station.

Also note that you will be able to see both the ISS and Discovery pass over our skies during the next few days. Click here to find out when and where.

Next Shuttle launch: 11th March

The next Space Shuttle launch, this time for Endeavour, is scheduled for the morning of Tuesday 11th March (at approx 06:28 GMT).

It will be the twenty-fifth shuttle mission to visit the ISS, and will deliver the first module of the Japanese laboratory, Japanese Experiment Module (Kibō), and the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robotics system to the station.

The completion of the mission will leave nine flights remaining in the Space Shuttle program until its end in 2010

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