NASA

Courtesy Terry Virts

From Texas Standard:

As private space companies begin to send more astronauts to the International Space Station, it's easy to imagine how they could one day send civilian travelers into space, too.

When that day comes, retired NASA astronaut, Col. Terry Virts, wants space travelers to be prepared. His new book, "How to Astronaut: An Insider's Guide to Leaving Planet Earth," is a humorous how-to, of sorts, for the space curious.

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, left, and Robert Behnken returned to Earth on Sunday after blasting off to the International Space Station in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in May.
Kim Shiflett / NASA

After spending two months at the International Space Station, astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley returned to Earth on Sunday afternoon.

An Astronaut's View Of The SpaceX/NASA Partnership

Jun 1, 2020
NASA/Public Domain

From Texas Standard:

Saturday's launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent two astronauts to the International Space Station or ISS. It was the first time in almost a decade that humans had left the Earth from U.S. soil, and it was also the first joint mission between NASA and a private company.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

NASA astronauts are heading to space from U.S. soil for the first time in nine years, aboard SpaceX's Dragon capsule, the maiden crewed flight of the innovative spacecraft.

The mission, which is sending Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station, is a bold new venture for the space agency's plan to allow commercial companies to take its astronauts into low-Earth orbit.

NASA Johnson/Flickr (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Being confined and socially distanced from others during the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for many people. But it may help to know that some have lived in quasi-isolation successfully, and even managed to learn valuable lessons from the experience.

NASA (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Like every other business or government agency, NASA is operating very differently right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the space agency does have ongoing missions, including a scheduled launch next month that will send astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

A person's sweaty forward
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Last year was the world’s second-warmest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. And the Austin area was not immune to the warming trends.

One of NASA's first employees, key to creating the U.S. space program, has died at 95. Chris Kraft was the agency's first flight director and managed all of the Mercury missions, as well some of the Gemini flights. He was a senior planner during the Apollo lunar program. Later he led the Johnson Space Center in Houston and oversaw development of the space shuttle.

the moon
Christopher Dart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The first lunar landing was almost 50 years ago, and NASA is making plans to return to the moon. This time around, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says, the agency plans to stay there.

The space agency is planning to build a “lunar gateway,” or a space station, that will orbit the moon and make it easier for astronauts to come and go. It’s part of its long-term plan to develop a lunar outpost.

Updated Nov. 26 at 3:12 p.m. ET

NASA's InSight probe landed successfully on Mars Monday shortly before 3 p.m. ET.

Two tiny spacecraft that flew with the lander to Mars were able to relay telemetry from the probe as it descended to the surface. As a result, mission managers knew immediately that the landing had worked. Unsurprisingly, the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., erupted in cheers.

NASA

NASA's InSight probe is set to land on Mars this afternoon at around 2 p.m. CST. Launched in May, the probe will end its journey to the Red Planet, where it will begin a two-year mission to gather data on Mars' terrain. 

Watch a livestream of the landing below, courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. 

Photo credit: NASA

From Texas Standard.

The first words uttered from the surface of the moon were “Houston, tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” More than 50 years ago, part of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s legacy was making the biggest city in his home state a center of space exploration. Fast forward to today, you’d think that excitement about projects aimed at Mars and beyond would be reason for ‘Space City’ to celebrate a coming renaissance – but there may be problems on the relaunching pad.

Credits: NASA / Lockheed Martin

From Texas Standard.

A flight from Dallas to London takes about nine hours on average – not bad, considering it's 4,800 miles away. But imagine cutting that travel time in half. That’s the promise of supersonic flight – a plane moving faster than the speed of sound. It’s not only possible; it’s also been done commercially before.

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik

From Texas Standard.

Did you watch the big SpaceX rocket launch last week? It was pretty remarkable – a massive rocket lifting a payload of more than 60 tons into space and then gracefully touching down. Falcon Heavy got a lot of people thinking about the possibilities of commercial space flight. And that may include the Trump administration.

Scott Lieberman

From Texas Standard:

Fifteen years ago today, on a clear blue Texas morning, the Space Shuttle Columbia reentered Earth's atmosphere after a successful 16-day science mission.

But after communications were not regained with Columbia when expected, it became apparent something was terribly wrong. The shuttle had disintegrated over East Texas skies, killing all seven astronauts on board.

Here are the voices of several Texans whose memories of Feb. 1, 2003 remain vivid, and whose lives were forever changed by what happened that day.

NOAA Photo Library/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

A musician and a scientist fall in love and then move to the South Pole. It’s not the intro to a joke – it’s the story of Jennifer McCallum and John Bird, the authors and protagonists of a new book called “One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole.”

Wendy Stenzel / NASA, Ames Research Center

Researchers have discovered a new planet in a distant solar system, bringing the total number in the system to eight – the same number as in our own solar system.

That's a first.  

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Austin may not be in best spot to see the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, but there will be a show, nonetheless.

The visible path of the total eclipse runs diagonally across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina — well to our north — but we’ll still see about 65 percent of the sun obscured by the moon at its peak.

The eclipse will begin in Austin at around 11:41 a.m., reach its maximum at about 1:10 p.m. and then be completely over by 2:39 p.m.

When a resupply rocket takes off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., today, viewers at home will be able to experience the launch like they were along for the ride.

That's because a special 360-degree camera has been installed at the base of the Atlas V rocket en route to the International Space Station.

On This week’s program, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr speaks with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of ‘Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Help Win the Space Race.’

To paraphrase an age-old saying: If at first you don't succeed, well, dust off the historic launch pad and try another liftoff.

A large space rock came fairly close to Earth on Sunday night. Astronomers knew it wasn't going to hit Earth, thanks in part to a new tool NASA is developing for detecting potentially dangerous asteroids.

Project 404/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It's been a long time since kids sat with parents on living room couches watching live pictures from Mission Control in Houston. Even though NASA no longer looms in the American imagination as much as it once did, with a Mars expedition in the works and the rise of Space X and Blue Origin among others, a powerful case can be made that a renaissance is just around the corner.

Houston-area U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, who's chair of the House Space subcommittee, has launched a new mission on Capitol Hill.


NASA

From Texas Standard:

Big news this morning from NASA’s planet-hunting mission: The Kepler Space Telescope at the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory has revealed the most Earthlike planet found to date, researchers say. The planet, called Kepler-452b, lies in the constellation Cygnus, about 1,400 light years from Earth. It qualifies as super-Earth-sized, as it's about 1.6 times larger than Earth, and its orbital period is quite similar to ours, at 385 days.

The Kepler scope was launched in 2009 to detect Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zones of distant stars — planets that have the potential to sustain life like that on Earth.

“We are pushing toward Earth 2.0,” McDonald Observatory astronomer Michael Endl said in a press release. “This planet is probably the most similar to Earth yet found.”

Courtesy of Don Rutledge ©

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Richard Paul, an award-winning independent public radio documentary producer, and Steven Moss, Associate Professor of English at Texas State Technical College, co-authors of ‘We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program.’

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

Spacewalking astronauts have successfully replaced a failed coolant pump on the International Space Station.

NPR's Joe Palca reports that American spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio had to bolt the massive pump in place (on the ground, it weighs 780 pounds), connect four ammonia lines and plug in five electrical cables. The ammonia is a refrigerant used in the station's two-part cooling system, which is necessary to dissipate heat from the onboard electrical equipment.

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