Ten Years of NuWho: Capaldi sings Happy Birthday

Y’know, only Doctor Who could celebrate its 50th anniversary, and then, two years later, it’s tenth.  :-P

Now, hearken back to March 17, 2005, and the day we saw the Ninth Doctor appear in the life of Rose Tyler, and bring the series back to life again……it was a bit longer before we got to see it on this side of the pond (well, apart from those of us willing to download from, ahem, certain types of site), but it was all so worth the wait.  I remember nervously sitting down to watch “Rose”, and then, with considerable satisfaction, thinking that yes, this is Doctor Who.  It’s going to be fine.

The Doctor is back.

Leave a comment

Filed under Doctor Who

India’s PSLV boosts their next navigation satellite into orbit

The US has GPS, Russia has GLONASS, China has Beidou, Europe is building Galileo, and India is not eager to be left out of the party — they’re building their own navsat constellation, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).  Yesterday they launched the fourth element of the constellation aboard a PSLV rocket in the XL configuration — six beefier solid rocket boosters strapped to the solid rocket first stage for some extra oomph below the hypergolic Vikas second stage, solid third stage, and hypergolic kick motor acting as a fourth stage.  It was a fully successful launch, and the spacecraft has been injected into the correct orbit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Space

Two Soyuz in one day: Soyuz TMA-16M and Galileos FM03 & FM04

Today was a very busy day for the Soyuz rocket!  First and certainly not least, the historic launch of Soyuz TMA-16M, a manned launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the first American heading for a yearlong mission (Scott Kelly) and the first Russian since the Mir program to do the same (Mikhail Kornienko), along with veteran Soyuz commander Gennady Padalka.  At the time of this posting, they have rendezvoused with the ISS and will be docking  soon.

And from Kourou, French Guiana, an unmanned Soyuz ST-B launched with the next two elements of the Galileo navigation satellite constellation, intended as a competitor to GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou:

Leave a comment

Filed under Space

And Oppy’s done it: the first robotic offworld marathon is complete!

After the successful upload of new software to allow Opportunity to resume use of its onboard flash memory (NVRAM), the rover was able to start rolling again and has now passed the marathon milestone of 26.219 miles, by about ten and a half feet.  Congratulations, Opportunity!

mars-rover-opportunity-traverse-map-PIA19154_th418

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Space

Foggy launch of GPS IIF-9 aboard Delta IV

Another successful flight for the Delta IV rocket!

Leave a comment

Filed under Space

And now you’ve named a rocket, why not some places?

NASA is looking for some names to use for yet-to-be-discovered features on Pluto and Charon in a few months.  They won’t have time to linger, so they want a large preselected list of about 100 to be going with.  They’re soliciting choices from three ballots (plus another shorter one for kids) covering the History of Exploration, the Literature of Exploration, and the Mythology of the Underworld.  (Fittingly, since Pluto is the lord of the underworld.)  They’re not all Greco-Roman, and not even all mythological — Literature of Exploration includes names like Han Solo, and my personal favorite is from Mythology of the Underworld: Z’ha’dum!

So go ahead.  Vote on your favorites!  They need your help before the pictures start coming back!  The winners will be submitted to the IAU for pre-approval before being applied to actual surface features, which will ensure there will be no need for interim names.  And you’ll help put a name on a map.  ;-)

Our Pluto: Public campaign to name the surface features on Pluto and Charon

Leave a comment

Filed under Space

Name that rocket!

No, this isn’t a silhouette identification quiz (though maybe I’ll do one of those later….), this is an actual request from United Launch Alliance.  The Atlas V and Delta IV rockets developed under the USAF’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program are not very competitive anymore, and ULA is working on a vehicle that can replace them both.  Currently designated the Next Generation Launch System and slated to be powered by Blue Origin’s methane-burning BE-4 engine, this rocket needs a name.  And they’ve decided to drop the legacy of both Atlas and Delta.  This will get a new name.

ULA has narrowed down the slate of contenders to three: Eagle, Freedom, or GalaxyOne.  Click here to vote for your choice!

(Note: GalaxyOne?  Seriously?  Sounds like a Samsung smartphone, not one of the most powerful launch vehicles on the planet.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Space