The space shuttle Endeavour, fresh from the STS-126 mission and mounted atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft, flies over California’s Mojave Desert on a three-day trip back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday Dec. 10, 2008.
December 22, 2006 — Space Shuttle Discovery lands on an illuminated Runway 15 at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility as the sun sets on the shortest day of the year, concluding mission STS-116.
With more than 23 times the power output of the Hoover Dam, NASA’s Ares I-X test rocket soars into blue skies above Launch Pad 39B in October 28, 2009. The rocket produces 2.96 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and reaches a speed of 100 mph in eight seconds.
Ares I was part of the Constellations Program which was developing the spacecraft to replace the Space Shuttle. The program was cancelled in 2010 by president Barack Obama and later replaced by the U.S. National Space Policy, which includes the proposal of manned missions to Mars and an asteroid by 2025. NASA announced that it had selected the design of the Space Launch System in September 2011.
35 years ago: NASA unveils first space shuttle, ‘Enterprise’
Thirty-five years ago today, in Sept. 17, 1976, NASA’s space shuttle Enterprise rolled out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities and was greeted by NASA officials and cast members from the ‘Star Trek’ television series. From left to right they are: NASA Administrator Dr. James D. Fletcher; DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. “Bones” McCoy on the series; George Takei (Mr. Sulu); James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott); Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); series creator Gene Rodenberry; an unnamed NASA official; and, Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).
The deconstruction of Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is complete. Still remaining and standing over the remnants of the fixed service structure are the 600-foot-tall lightning protection towers and the water tower used for sound suppression.
In 2009, the structure at the pad was no longer needed for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, so it is being restructured for future use. The new design will feature a “clean pad” for rockets to come with their own launcher, making it more versatile for a number of vehicles.
Technicians position microphones around the Orion MPCV and launch abort system test articles in preparation for the second round of testing in the acoustic chamber at Lockheed Martin’s facilities near Denver. The vehicle was bombarded by acoustic levels of 150 decibels to simulate conditions during launch and abort if necessary.
NASA unveiled its new rocket for deep space exploration - the Space Launch System - on Sept. 14, 2011. The rocket will launch astronauts into space on NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and serve as the go-to booster for U.S. missions to explore asteroids and, eventually, Mars.
This infographic above shows how the Space Launch System will work. The first test flight of the new rocket, which will be more powerful than NASA’s mighty Saturn V moon rocket, is set for 2017.
NASA is ready to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System — an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit.
The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.
NASA Announces Design for New Deep Space Exploration System
The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for transportation services to the International Space Station.
The SLS rocket will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, which will include the RS-25D/E from the Space Shuttle Program for the core stage and the J-2X engine for the upper stage. SLS will also use solid rocket boosters for the initial development flights. The SLS will have an initial lift capacity of 70 metric tons, evolvable to 130 metric tons enough to lift 75 SUVs.
This specific architecture was selected because it utilizes an evolvable development approach, allowing NASA to address high-cost development activities early on in the program and take advantage of higher buying power before inflation erodes the available funding of a fixed budget. Additionally, this architecture provides a modular launch vehicle that can be configured for specific mission needs using different stage booster combinations to achieve the most efficient launch vehicle for the desired mission.
The Space Launch System will be NASA’s first exploration-class vehicle since the Saturn V took American astronauts to the moon over 40 years ago. With its superior lift capability, the SLS will expand our reach in the solar system and allow us to explore cis-lunar space, near-Earth asteroids, Mars and its moons and beyond.
The first developmental flight, or mission, is targeted for the end of 2017.
The bright sun, a portion of the International Space Station and Earth’s horizon are featured in this image photographed during the STS-134 mission’s fourth spacewalk in May 2011. The image was taken using a fish-eye lens attached to an electronic still camera.
This is the astronaut’s photography manual provided by Hasselblad for NASA astronauts, giving astronauts special instructions on how to take the best photographs from space. The guide provides great information on lenses, exposure settings, and camera technique.
Hasselblad cameras are high quality, square-format film cameras that were used by astronauts throughout the NASA programs – even on the Moon. (The astronauts use digital cameras now).
Fire and smoke light up a blue sky as a United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy rocket propels NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission into space. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was at 9:08:52 EDT Sept.10.
The spacecraft are embarking on a three-month journey to reach the moon. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem around the moon to precisely measure and map variations in the moon’s gravitational field. The mission will provide the most accurate global gravity field to date for any planet, including Earth.
This detailed information will reveal differences in the density of the moon’s crust and mantle and will help answer fundamental questions about the moon’s internal structure, thermal evolution, and history of collisions with asteroids. The aim is to map the moon’s gravity field so completely that future moon vehicles can safely navigate anywhere on the moon’s surface.
Active galaxies called blazars make up the largest class of objects detected by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT). Massive black holes in the hearts of these galaxies fire particle jets in our direction. Fermi team member Elizabeth Hays narrates this quick tour of blazars, which includes LAT movies showing how rapidly their emissions can change.