NASA cuts ties to Russia, jeapordizing our space travel

Traveling to and from the International Space Station will now be a big challenge for the U.S.

Traveling to and from the International Space Station will now be a big challenge for the U.S.

With the recent Russian annexation of the Crimea, its political ties to the U.S. have become strained, to say the least. Now word comes that NASA, our  preeminent federal space agency, has officially cut its ties with Russia and its space program.

This becomes highly problematic for the U.S. agency since we retired all our Space Shuttles in 2011 and have none at present to replace them. It’s going to take a few years yet for the new  Orion deep-space vehicle to be available and fully operational. And several private companies are still working on creating spacecraft to shuttle humans to the International Space Station.

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Prestyl heating panels create green functional art

Good artwork enhances any room’s décor. PrestylUSA has taken this a step further, using distinctive artwork that serve as heating sources to efficiently heat both residential and commercial buildings.

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Father and son capture outer space with everyday ingredients

A view of the blackness of space from the father and son amateur space capsule

Most of us have dreamed of going into space, whether we admit it out loud or not.

This past August, a father and son from Brooklyn, NY, achieved space – via an HD video camera and weather balloon.

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Recycled water in Space

To infinity and beyond!

Well, at least to the  U.S. Space Station. The US astronauts are now enjoying recycled water in space.  See a video clip of first tasting (which looks pretty good) at http://tinyurl.com/qulhy5.

It’s an awesome accomplishment – straight out of the movie “Water World”. Just don’t think about where the clear water came from. 
 

NASA’s Astronauts Celebrate 50 Years

NASA’s first astronauts – the “Mercury7″ – celebrate a landmark anniversary. 50 years ago today, on April 9th, NASA introduced men whose names would become familiar around the world – Gus Grissom, Alan Shephard, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Deke Slayton, John Glenn and Gordon Cooper.

John Glenn, famous for 2 spectacular space flights, commented “The experience back then of being selected and participating in the early flights is so vivid to me, it seems like this all happened a couple of weeks ago.”

The Mercury flights proved man’s ability to take to the stars and paved the way for future expeditions like Gemini and Apollo.

For more information on the Mercury flights, see the Mercury section in Universe Today’s Guide to Space.

Dreams of Space Can Come True

 

This replica of the Space Shuttle stands proudly at the Marshall Space Flight Center

This replica of the Space Shuttle stands proudly at the Marshall Space Flight Center

I promised you some tales of my time at Space Camp. Here’s the first installment of that amazing experience.

Marshall Space Flight Center – the site where Space Camp took place on February 6th and 7th, 2009– is located on the Redstone Arsenal, an Army installation in Huntsville, Alabama.

One of three main sites where NASA manages the U.S. space program, it’s complete with it’s own Mission Control (more on that in a future post) and training center filled with a variety of simulators, astronauts have trained here to prepare for missions into the unknown.

Marshall’s just one tenant housed on the Army base. Others include the Army Material Command, contractor companies and Aviation Challenge, a sister camp to Space Camp for kids and parents who want to experience what flight and survival training for Army pilots is like.

Arriving late the evening before the start of Space Camp, I was treated to a drive by the campus. Amazingly, I saw actual space-related missiles and rockets from NASA’s space program of the 70’s, along with a fantastic replica of the Space Shuttle!

Standing out sharply against the dark night sky, these majestic visions brought back childhood memories – being surrounded by family, excitedly glued to the television set with collectively held breaths watching heroic men like John Glen or Alan Shepherd blast off into the fiery unknown.

How could I have imagined then that years later I’d participate in a program that would give me a real flavor of what that might actually be like. With my own personal blue flight suit and a group of around 18 media-related folks, I was embarking on one of the most exhilarating journey – a breathtaking childhood dream come true.

There are many stories yet to tell. Be sure to come back for more!