History UsefulNotes / NASA

8th Sep '16 8:51:58 PM Mitchz95
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** [[Myth/EgyptianMythology OSIRIS]]-[[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs REx]], a sample return mission planned to be launched in 2016 to study an asteroid called [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Bennu]] and learn about their origins.

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** [[Myth/EgyptianMythology OSIRIS]]-[[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs REx]], a sample return mission planned to be launched in 2016 to study an asteroid called [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Bennu]] Bennu and learn about their origins.
its origins. The probe will rendezvous with Bennu in 2018, study the asteroid for about 500 days, then collect a sample and return it to Earth in 2023.
29th Aug '16 11:31:02 PM KnightofNASA
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Generally, a radio transmission addressed to "Houston" (especially from anyone in space) is a reference to NASA's Mission Control Center at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in the Texan city of the same name. And no, [[SmallReferencePools JSC (or KSC) is not the only NASA center in existence, nor it is the NASA headquarters.]] In fact, there are '''nine''' main NASA facilities [[note]]Ames Research Center (in Mountain View, CA, not far from Google's HQ), Armstrong/Dryden Flight Research Center (at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California), Glenn/Lewis Research Center (at the edge of UsefulNotes/{{Cleveland}}, OH), Goddard Space Flight Center (in Greenbelt, MD, northeast of DC), Johnson Space Center (Houston), Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, FL), Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA, next to Langley AFB), Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL), Stennis Space Center (border of Louisiana and Mississippi between Biloxi and New Orleans), and a bunch of facilities they micromanage[[/note]] alongside Jet Propulsion Laboratory [[note]] a laboratory under the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) but largely funded through NASA, similar to the deal the University of California has with the Department of Energy to fund Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Berkeley[[/note]] in Pasadena, CA, Deep Space Network,[[note]] in Madrid, Spain; Canberra, Australia; Goldstone, California [[/note]] two other tracking stations, two abandoned tracking stations in Australia, the NASA infrared telescope at Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, and finally, the NASA Headquarters, located in a fairly nondescript building around the corner of 300 E Street SW, UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC. [[note]] the most recent ones, anyways. Past locations includes the Little White House and the Cosmo Club. Future locations include the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fcyNJwY9BY moon]]. [[/note]]

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Generally, a radio transmission addressed to "Houston" (especially from anyone in space) is a reference to NASA's Mission Control Center at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in the Texan city of the same name. And no, [[SmallReferencePools JSC (or KSC) is not the only NASA center in existence, nor it is the NASA headquarters.]] In fact, there are '''nine''' main NASA facilities [[note]]Ames Research Center (in Mountain View, CA, not far from Google's HQ), Armstrong/Dryden Flight Research Center (at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California), Glenn/Lewis Research Center (at the edge of UsefulNotes/{{Cleveland}}, OH), Goddard Space Flight Center (in Greenbelt, MD, northeast of DC), Johnson Space Center (Houston), Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, FL), Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA, next to Langley AFB), Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL), Stennis Space Center (border of Louisiana and Mississippi between Biloxi and New Orleans), and a bunch of facilities they micromanage[[/note]] alongside Jet Propulsion Laboratory [[note]] a laboratory under the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) but largely funded through NASA, similar to the deal the University of California has with the Department of Energy to fund Lawrence Livermore Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley[[/note]] in Pasadena, CA, Deep Space Network,[[note]] in Madrid, Spain; Canberra, Australia; Goldstone, California [[/note]] two other tracking stations, two abandoned tracking stations in Australia, the NASA infrared telescope at Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, and finally, the NASA Headquarters, located in a fairly nondescript building around the corner of 300 E Street SW, UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC. [[note]] the most recent ones, anyways. Past locations includes include the Little White House and the Cosmo Club. Future locations include the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fcyNJwY9BY moon]]. [[/note]]
27th Aug '16 2:48:55 PM Doug86
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** MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission) arrived successfully in Martian orbit in 2015 to study the Martian atmosphere. Notable for having its preparation halted due to the 2013 Government Shutdown just mere weeks before the launch window, which, if missed, meant that they would have had to wait two more years. An emergency measure was passed so MAVEN could launch on time. MAVEN was instrumental in confirming (with other data) that Mars still has flowing water, of a sort, and confirmed information about how Mars lost much of its atmosphere over the eons due to a very weak magnetosphere, allowing the solar wind to strip the planet.

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** MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN [=EvolutioN=] Mission) arrived successfully in Martian orbit in 2015 to study the Martian atmosphere. Notable for having its preparation halted due to the 2013 Government Shutdown just mere weeks before the launch window, which, if missed, meant that they would have had to wait two more years. An emergency measure was passed so MAVEN could launch on time. MAVEN was instrumental in confirming (with other data) that Mars still has flowing water, of a sort, and confirmed information about how Mars lost much of its atmosphere over the eons due to a very weak magnetosphere, allowing the solar wind to strip the planet.
12th Jul '16 2:33:50 AM BNSF1995
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* Apollo 1: caught fire during a "dry run" for the launch, killing the three astronauts on board.[[note]]This mission was originally going to be called "Apollo 3", because there had been two unmanned Apollo missions prior. The astronauts, however, unofficially claimed the "Apollo 1" name for their mission. After the fire, NASA officially granted them the "Apollo 1" name, bumping the two unmanned missions to 2 and 3; this doesn't show up in any official timelines, as these prior unmanned flights are consistently referred to as AS-201 and AS-202.[[/note]]

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* Apollo 1: caught fire during a "dry run" for the launch, killing the three astronauts on board.[[note]]This mission was originally going to be called "Apollo 3", because there had been two unmanned Apollo missions prior. The astronauts, however, unofficially claimed the "Apollo 1" name for their mission. After the fire, NASA officially granted them the "Apollo 1" name, bumping the two unmanned missions to 2 and 3; this doesn't show up in any official timelines, as these prior unmanned flights are consistently referred to as AS-201 and AS-202. To date, neither of these missions have been referred to as Apollos 2 and 3.[[/note]]



* Apollo 17: the last mission to the Moon (Apollo missions 12, 14, 15, and 16 were successful manned landings and 18, 19 and 20 were cancelled since Nixon slashed NASA's budget for various reasons, such as its connection to John F. Kennedy, his opponent in the 1960 election, and the need to continue funding the American war effort in Vietnam). The only time where a civilian scientist (Harrison Schmitt) has been able to walk on the Moon.

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* Apollo 17: the last mission to the Moon (Apollo missions 12, 14, 15, and 16 were successful manned landings and 18, 19 and 20 were cancelled since Nixon slashed NASA's budget for various reasons, such as its connection to John F. Kennedy, his opponent in the 1960 election, and the need to continue funding the (ultimately futile) American war effort in Vietnam). The only time where a civilian scientist (Harrison Schmitt) has been able to walk on the Moon.



From the beginning of the Apollo program, NASA had been looking into using spare Apollo hardware for a number of other scientific missions. This outgrowth of Apollo was called the Apollo Applications Program, which proposed a number of ambitious ideas. These included plans for a manned orbital observatory, a UsefulNotes/{{Venus}} flyby using the third stage of the Saturn V as a "wet workshop," and various lunar habitats. The only one of these ideas to reach fruition was Skylab, a SpaceStation built into an empty stage from a spare Saturn V. Skylab suffered severe damage during its launch in 1973, but the crews that followed it up managed to repair it, and it was inhabited for most of the next nine months. Early shuttle missions were planned to resuscitate the station, but before the shuttle could be launched it fell out of orbit and crashed into Australia.

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From the beginning of the Apollo program, NASA had been looking into using spare Apollo hardware for a number of other scientific missions. This outgrowth of Apollo was called the Apollo Applications Program, which proposed a number of ambitious ideas. These included plans for a manned orbital observatory, a UsefulNotes/{{Venus}} flyby using the third stage of the Saturn V as a "wet workshop," and various lunar habitats. The only one of these ideas to reach fruition was Skylab, a SpaceStation built into an empty stage from a spare Saturn V. Skylab suffered severe damage during its launch in 1973, but the crews that followed it up managed to repair it, and it was inhabited for most of the next nine months. Early shuttle missions were planned to resuscitate the station, but before delays to the shuttle could be launched it fell out of orbit program and crashed into Australia.
increased sun activity in 1979 saw Skylab deorbit over Australia on (ironically) July 4, 1979.



In a development that has been controversial to say the least, the 2011 federal budget proposed by President UsefulNotes/BarackObama on February 1, 2010 does not include any elements of Constellation, effectively canceling the program to develop the boosters and redefining the Orion capsule as a "Multi-Purpose Crew Module." In its place, the administration has proposed a stronger focus on education and research to develop "game-changing technologies" before continuing with a manned exploration agenda, with American access to the International Space Station delegated to a rapidly-growing commercial spaceflight industry. This has garnered a mixture of both approval and criticism within NASA and within Congress (which has final authority over the budget)--some say that previous exploration goals were too ambitious for current technology, while others insist that if a clear-cut goal for exploration is defined, the required technology will be developed as it is needed (as it was during Apollo). Time will tell what the final outcome is.

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In a development that has been controversial to say the least, the 2011 federal budget proposed by President UsefulNotes/BarackObama (who was openly hostile towards Constellation, calling it "over-budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation") on February 1, 2010 does not include any elements of Constellation, effectively canceling the program to develop the boosters and redefining the Orion capsule as a "Multi-Purpose Crew Module." In its place, the administration has proposed a stronger focus on education and research to develop "game-changing technologies" before continuing with a manned exploration agenda, with American access to the International Space Station delegated to a rapidly-growing commercial spaceflight industry. This has garnered a mixture of both approval and criticism within NASA and within Congress (which has final authority over the budget)--some say that previous exploration goals were too ambitious for current technology, while others insist that if a clear-cut goal for exploration is defined, the required technology will be developed as it is needed (as it was during Apollo). Time will tell what the final outcome is.



To replace the Ares boosters as the primary launch vehicle for the Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Module, NASA is currently working on a new booster called the Space Launch System. Reusing as much Space Shuttle hardware as possible, including the solid rocket boosters and a five-engine configuration of the RS-25 main engines used by the Space Shuttle, the SLS continues the Ares concept with all flight-tested hardware. It won't fly with a manned crew until at least 2020.

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To replace the Ares boosters as the primary launch vehicle for the Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Module, NASA is currently working on a new booster called the Space Launch System. Reusing as much Space Shuttle hardware as possible, including the solid rocket boosters and a five-engine configuration of the RS-25 main engines used by the Space Shuttle, the SLS continues the Ares concept with all flight-tested hardware. It won't fly with a manned crew until at least 2020.
2020. Orion will then be used for a manned asteroid rendevouz, which has seen mixed reception by the public. On one hand, many say an asteroid rendevouz carries lower risk and is cheaper. On the other hand, many say an asteroid is not a legitimate goal, and that mankind is long overdue for a return to the Moon.



Three companies have contracts. One has a remarkable lead overall: UsefulNotes/{{SpaceX}}. Founded by Paypal billionaire Elon Musk, the company has developed its Falcon launch vehicles and its crew/cargo module, the Dragon, and is the first private company to launch a spacecraft to the ISS on May 22, 2012, and dock their vehicle to the ISS. They started operational flights in October 2012. The Dragon and Falcon are designed to almost-fully reusable, with extremely cool recovery/abort modes that may ultimately bring a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUUnYgo1-lI&feature=relmfu manned Dragon spacecraft]] or [[http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=1 expended Falcon boosters]] back to Earth ''via a powered rocket landing,'' Series/{{Space 1999}} style. Also on the first contract was Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences) and their Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Despite a catastrophic crash of the ORB-3 cargo rocket in October, 2014, they continue sending supplies thanks to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle until Orbital returns to flight on their Antares rocket by mid 2016.

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Three companies have contracts. One has a remarkable lead overall: UsefulNotes/{{SpaceX}}. Founded by Paypal and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, the company has developed its Falcon launch vehicles and its crew/cargo module, the Dragon, and is the first private company to launch a spacecraft to the ISS on May 22, 2012, and dock their vehicle to the ISS. They started operational flights in October 2012. The Dragon and Falcon are designed to almost-fully reusable, with extremely cool recovery/abort modes that may ultimately bring a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUUnYgo1-lI&feature=relmfu manned Dragon spacecraft]] or [[http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=1 expended Falcon boosters]] back to Earth ''via a powered rocket landing,'' Series/{{Space 1999}} style. Also on the first contract was Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences) and their Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Despite a catastrophic crash of the ORB-3 cargo rocket in October, 2014, they continue sending supplies thanks to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle until Orbital returns to flight on their Antares rocket by mid 2016.



Getting cargo to the ISS has been comparably easier than getting crew to the station. Until 2011 (with some downtime after the ''Columbia'' accident), the Space Shuttle program was the normal means for most Expedition crews to reach and return from the station. With the STS program's end in 2011, NASA rented seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the station. though this is becoming more difficult owing to deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia regarding the Ukraine Crisis and North Korea.

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Getting cargo to the ISS has been comparably easier than getting crew to the station. Until 2011 (with some downtime after the ''Columbia'' accident), the Space Shuttle program was the normal means for most Expedition crews to reach and return from the station. With the STS program's end in 2011, NASA rented seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the station. though this is becoming more difficult owing to deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia regarding the Ukraine Crisis and North Korea.
Korea. It doesn't help that Russia has embargoed the sale of rocket engines for rockets launching military payloads.



* The Outer Solar System: The outer solar system probes are generally fly-bys, with a few orbiters and one lander to date. Five of them (The ''Pioneers'', the ''Voyagers'' and ''New Horizons'') have achieved escaped velocity for the solar system and are headed out into interstellar space, where they'll roam for millions of years unless picked up by a faster spacecraft at some far future date. None, however, are headed for any nearby star, and at the speeds at which they are traveling, they'd take tens of thousands of years to cover the distances to the stars anyway. Most of these probes rely on RTG [[note]]'''R'''adioisotope '''T'''hermoelectric '''G'''enerators--not nuclear reactors in the traditional sense, they convert the heat energy from decaying plutonium directly into electricity[[/note]] units to power themselves; however, the combination of more efficient solar cells and increasingly expensive nuclear fuel has lead to solar power becoming a viable option (such as with ''Dawn'' and ''Juno'').

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* The Outer Solar System: The outer solar system probes are generally fly-bys, with a few orbiters and one lander to date. Five of them (The ''Pioneers'', the ''Voyagers'' and ''New Horizons'') have achieved escaped velocity for the solar system and are headed out into interstellar space, where they'll roam for millions of years unless picked up by a faster spacecraft at some far future date.date or, god forbid, extraterrestrials. None, however, are headed for any nearby star, and at the speeds at which they are traveling, they'd take tens of thousands of years to cover the distances to the stars anyway. Most of these probes rely on RTG [[note]]'''R'''adioisotope '''T'''hermoelectric '''G'''enerators--not nuclear reactors in the traditional sense, they convert the heat energy from decaying plutonium directly into electricity[[/note]] units to power themselves; however, the combination of more efficient solar cells and increasingly expensive nuclear fuel has lead to solar power becoming a viable option (such as with ''Dawn'' and ''Juno'').



** The ''Juno'' mission, launched in 2011, is on a mission to study Jupiter, and scheduled to arrive in orbit in July 2016, before being de-orbited into Jupiter, as ''Galileo'' had been, 15 months and 33 polar orbits (to avoid Jupiter's radiation belts, which badly damaged ''Galileo'') later.

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** The ''Juno'' mission, launched in 2011, is on a mission to study Jupiter, and scheduled to arrive arrived in orbit in July 2016, before being de-orbited into Jupiter, as ''Galileo'' had been, 15 months and 33 polar orbits (to avoid Jupiter's radiation belts, which badly damaged ''Galileo'') later.
12th Jun '16 5:38:54 PM nombretomado
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* MsMarvel worked for NASA as a security chief in her first appearances. In the early issues of the 2012 Captain Marvel series, she travels back to the Mercury program as part of a weird TimeTravel mix-up.

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* MsMarvel ComicBook/MsMarvel worked for NASA as a security chief in her first appearances. In the early issues of the 2012 Captain Marvel series, she travels back to the Mercury program as part of a weird TimeTravel mix-up.
20th May '16 1:19:04 AM BNSF1995
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* Apollo 1: caught fire during a "dry run" for the launch, killing the three astronauts on board.[[note]]This mission was originally going to be called "Apollo 3", because there had been two unmanned Apollo missions prior. The astronauts, however, unofficially claimed the "Apollo 1" name for their mission. After the fire, NASA officially granted them the "Apollo 1" name, bumping the two unmanned missions to 2 and 3.[[/note]]

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* Apollo 1: caught fire during a "dry run" for the launch, killing the three astronauts on board.[[note]]This mission was originally going to be called "Apollo 3", because there had been two unmanned Apollo missions prior. The astronauts, however, unofficially claimed the "Apollo 1" name for their mission. After the fire, NASA officially granted them the "Apollo 1" name, bumping the two unmanned missions to 2 and 3.3; this doesn't show up in any official timelines, as these prior unmanned flights are consistently referred to as AS-201 and AS-202.[[/note]]



* Apollo 11: first manned mission to land on the Moon. Neil Armstrong gets to say his famous lines. Gently parodied by ''Film/TheDish'', which loosely follows the tale of the radio observatory in Australia responsible for tracking the mission. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11_missing_tapes NASA erased their recordings of the event.]]

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* Apollo 11: first manned mission to land on the Moon. Neil Armstrong gets to say his famous lines. Gently parodied by ''Film/TheDish'', which loosely follows the tale of the radio observatory in Australia responsible for tracking the mission. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11_missing_tapes NASA erased their recordings of the event.event, which they never lived down.]]



* Apollo 17: the last mission to the Moon (Apollo missions 12, 14, 15, and 16 were successful manned landings and 18, 19 and 20 were cancelled). The only time where a civilian scientist (Harrison Schmitt) has been able to walk on the Moon.

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* Apollo 17: the last mission to the Moon (Apollo missions 12, 14, 15, and 16 were successful manned landings and 18, 19 and 20 were cancelled).cancelled since Nixon slashed NASA's budget for various reasons, such as its connection to John F. Kennedy, his opponent in the 1960 election, and the need to continue funding the American war effort in Vietnam). The only time where a civilian scientist (Harrison Schmitt) has been able to walk on the Moon.



Designed to be the opposite of the Saturn V, the Shuttle [[note]]officially called the Space Transportation System in NASA's nomenclature[[/note]] has been described as a "do anything vehicle, but not a go anywhere one": it is a versatile vehicle and was designed to be an economical one. (That's by the standards of space flight to begin with, and it actually ended up costing a ''lot'' more per launch than envisioned.) It cannot, however, get further than low Earth orbit. The Shuttle was originally proposed as part of a complete infrastructure of American Earth-orbit facilities, including the Space Station Freedom (see below); budgetary cutbacks meant that only one portion of the proposal could be funded, and the Shuttle was selected. Somewhat ironically, it is only in the final stages of its life-cycle that the advent of the International Space Station has allowed the Shuttle to be used in the capacity for which it was originally designed.

Strictly speaking, the big black-and-white thing that looks kind of like an airplane is called an "orbiter"; the space shuttle consists of an orbiter, a large external fuel tank (which is not recovered--a new one must be used every time), and two Solid Rocket Boosters. Six orbiters have been built in total:
* ''Enterprise'' (after ''that [[Franchise/StarTrek Enterprise]]'', seriously![[note]]It was originally to be named ''Constitution'' in honor of the frigate launched in 1797[[/note]]). Built primarily for testing purposes, ''Enterprise'' was actually capable of spaceflight (as it is missing several minor things like ''heat shielding'' or ''engines''), though there were originally plans to refit it for such.[[note]]''Enterprise'' was designed internally by superstructure as "OV-101." Rather than an overly costly refit of her for operational use, NASA decided that a structurally-identical frame used for early tests would be fitted for flight instead: "STA-099." This became "OV-099," otherwise known as '''''Challenger.''''' Imagine the MassOhCrap and fandom-mourning moments that the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' community would have doubly-suffered, on top of the general sadness of the tragedy, were it ''Enterprise'' that was destroyed that day.[[/note]]

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Designed to be the opposite of the Saturn V, the Shuttle [[note]]officially called the Space Transportation System in NASA's nomenclature[[/note]] has been described as a "do anything vehicle, but not a go anywhere one": it is a versatile vehicle and was designed to be an economical one. (That's by the standards of space flight to begin with, and it actually ended up costing a ''lot'' more per launch than envisioned.) It cannot, could not, however, get further than low Earth orbit.orbit (though some works of fiction have the Space Shuttle going beyond Earth orbit). The Shuttle was originally proposed as part of a complete infrastructure of American Earth-orbit facilities, including the Space Station Freedom (see below); budgetary cutbacks meant that only one portion of the proposal could be funded, and the Shuttle was selected. Somewhat ironically, it is only in the final stages of its life-cycle that the advent of the International Space Station has allowed the Shuttle to be used in the capacity for which it was originally designed.

Strictly speaking, the big black-and-white thing that looks kind of like an airplane is called an "orbiter"; the space shuttle consists of an orbiter, a large external fuel tank (which is not recovered--a new one must be used every time), and two Solid Rocket Boosters.Boosters (which ''were'' recovered and reused). Six orbiters have been built in total:
* ''Enterprise'' (after ''that [[Franchise/StarTrek Enterprise]]'', seriously![[note]]It was originally to be named ''Constitution'' in honor of the frigate launched in 1797[[/note]]). Built primarily for testing purposes, ''Enterprise'' was wasn't actually capable of spaceflight (as it is missing several minor things like ''heat shielding'' or ''engines''), though there were originally plans to refit it for such.[[note]]''Enterprise'' was designed internally by superstructure as "OV-101." Rather than an overly costly refit of her for operational use, NASA decided that a structurally-identical frame used for early tests would be fitted for flight instead: "STA-099." This became "OV-099," otherwise known as '''''Challenger.''''' Imagine the MassOhCrap and fandom-mourning moments that the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' community would have doubly-suffered, on top of the general sadness of the tragedy, were it ''Enterprise'' that was destroyed that day.[[/note]]



* ''Columbia'' (after the first American vessel to circumnavigate the world, and also the ''Apollo 11'' Command Module). The first space shuttle launched (in 1981). Slightly different from later shuttles due to design changes. ''Columbia'' remained in service until 2003, when it broke up during atmospheric reentry, killing all aboard.
* ''Challenger'' (after the ship used for the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenger_expedition Challenger expedition]]). First launched in 1983. Carried the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride, into space. Sadly, ''Challenger'' is best known for its [[NeverLiveItDown destruction in 1986 just over a minute after liftoff.]]

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* ''Columbia'' (after the first American vessel to circumnavigate the world, and also the ''Apollo 11'' Command Module). The first space shuttle launched (in 1981). Slightly different from later shuttles due to design changes. ''Columbia'' remained in service until 2003, when it broke up during atmospheric reentry, killing all aboard.
aboard. The reason for the disaster lies in the foam on the external tank. During launch, a piece of foam was shed from the tank, which hit the leading-edge tip of ''Columbia's'' left wing. Shedding foam was a longtime problem with the shuttle system, dating back to the very first mission. This time, though, the foam hit the shuttle in a critical spot, allowing hot gases to seep into the shuttle and tear it apart.
* ''Challenger'' (after the ship used for the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenger_expedition Challenger expedition]]).expedition]], and the Apollo 17 Command Module). First launched in 1983. Carried the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride, into space. Sadly, ''Challenger'' is best known for its [[NeverLiveItDown destruction in 1986 just over a minute after liftoff.]]]] The destruction was caused by a design flaw in the solid-rocket booster that, when combined with abnormally-strong wind shear and temperatures you'd never expect for Florida, caused a "bleed-through" on the external tank. It had happened several times before, but nothing wrong ever happened, so NASA made it a feature of the system. On this mission, the bleed-through caused the SRB to tear itself from the external tank, flinging the stack broadside into its own airstream (keep in mind the shuttle was flying at ''Mach-1'' at the time), and tore the orbiter and external tank apart, as the airstream pushed them too far past stress tolerances. The SRBs, which were designed with a higher stress tolerance, remained in flight, out of control, before being destroyed by the Range Safety Officer. To this day, the media still refers to the disaster as an explosion, though the correct term is disintegration, as all indications suggest that the crew was still alive after break-up, only to be killed when they slammed into the Atlantic at roughly 200 MPH. Those with this knowledge still refer to the general consensus of there being an explosion collectively groan at this CriticalResearchFailure.



It has been said, not entirely inaccurately, that the ISS came about because each member had something they lacked. The Russians lacked money, NASA expertise, and the Canadians, Japanese, and Europeans a human spaceflight program, and ISS rectified this. [[note]] That the Russians got money, NASA got access to Russian know-how, and the Canadians, Japanese, and Europeans a manned space program without the costs and dangers of building their own hardware[[/note]] Launched in 1998 and permanently manned since 2000, it is now the size of a five bedroom suburban house in living space alone, and nearly a million kilograms in mass. The ISS is essentially two stations: the Russian Orbital module (the larger part), which is basically Mir mark 2, and the US Orbital Section, which is a mishmash of sections built by the other partners.

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It has been said, not entirely inaccurately, that the ISS came about because each member had something they lacked. The Russians lacked money, NASA expertise, and the Canadians, Japanese, and Europeans a human spaceflight program, and ISS rectified this. [[note]] That the Russians got money, NASA got access to Russian know-how, and the Canadians, Japanese, and Europeans a manned space program without the costs and dangers of building their own hardware[[/note]] Launched in 1998 and permanently manned since 2000, it is now the size of a five bedroom suburban house in living space alone, and nearly a million kilograms in mass. The ISS is essentially two stations: the Russian Orbital module (the larger part), which is basically Mir mark 2, and the US Orbital Section, which is a mishmash of sections built by the other partners.
partners, though mainly comprised of elements meant for Space Station Freedom, plus the cancelled European station ''Columbus''.



NASA's latest manned spaceflight project calls for the Shuttle to be retired some time around 2010 and replaced by the Orion spacecraft, a semi-reusable capsule similar to the Apollo spacecraft. New rockets are being developed, Ares I and V. The Orion spacecraft, together with the Altair lander, will be capable of manned lunar missions, near-Earth asteroid encounters, and potentially even interplanetary travel. The first test launch of the program, Ares I-X, took place on October 27, 2009.

In a development that has been controversial to say the least, the 2011 federal budget proposed by President UsefulNotes/BarackObama on February 1, 2010 does not include any elements of Constellation, effectively canceling the program to develop the boosters and redefining the Orion capsule as a "Multi-Purpose Crew Module." In its place, the administration has proposed a stronger focus on education and research to develop "game-changing technologies" before continuing with a manned exploration agenda, with American access to the International Space Station delegated to an as-yet non-existent commercial spaceflight industry. This has garnered a mixture of both approval and criticism within NASA and within Congress (which has final authority over the budget)--some say that previous exploration goals were too ambitious for current technology, while others insist that if a clear-cut goal for exploration is defined, the required technology will be developed as it is needed (as it was during Apollo). Time will tell what the final outcome is.

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NASA's latest manned spaceflight project calls called for the Shuttle to be retired some time around 2010 and replaced by the Orion spacecraft, a semi-reusable capsule similar to the Apollo spacecraft. New rockets are were being developed, Ares I and V. The Orion spacecraft, together with the Altair lander, will be would have been capable of manned lunar missions, near-Earth asteroid encounters, and potentially even interplanetary travel. The first test launch of the program, Ares I-X, took place on October 27, 2009.

In a development that has been controversial to say the least, the 2011 federal budget proposed by President UsefulNotes/BarackObama on February 1, 2010 does not include any elements of Constellation, effectively canceling the program to develop the boosters and redefining the Orion capsule as a "Multi-Purpose Crew Module." In its place, the administration has proposed a stronger focus on education and research to develop "game-changing technologies" before continuing with a manned exploration agenda, with American access to the International Space Station delegated to an as-yet non-existent a rapidly-growing commercial spaceflight industry. This has garnered a mixture of both approval and criticism within NASA and within Congress (which has final authority over the budget)--some say that previous exploration goals were too ambitious for current technology, while others insist that if a clear-cut goal for exploration is defined, the required technology will be developed as it is needed (as it was during Apollo). Time will tell what the final outcome is.



Three companies have contracts. One has a remarkable lead overall: UsefulNotes/{{SpaceX}}. Founded by Paypal billionaire Elon Musk, the company has developed its Falcon launch vehicles and its crew/cargo module, the Dragon, and is the first private company to launch a spacecraft to the ISS on May 22, 2012, and dock their vehicle to the ISS. They started operational flights in October 2012. The Dragon and Falcon are designed to almost-fully reusable, with extremely cool recovery/abort modes that may ultimately bring a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUUnYgo1-lI&feature=relmfu manned Dragon spacecraft]] or [[http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=1 expended Falcon boosters]] back to Earth ''via a powered rocket landing,'' Series/{{Space 1999}} style. Also on the first contract was Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences) and their Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Despite a catastrophic crash of the ORB-3 cargo rocket in October, 2014, they continue sending supplies thanks to an United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle until Orbital returns to flight on their Antares rocket by mid 2016.

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Three companies have contracts. One has a remarkable lead overall: UsefulNotes/{{SpaceX}}. Founded by Paypal billionaire Elon Musk, the company has developed its Falcon launch vehicles and its crew/cargo module, the Dragon, and is the first private company to launch a spacecraft to the ISS on May 22, 2012, and dock their vehicle to the ISS. They started operational flights in October 2012. The Dragon and Falcon are designed to almost-fully reusable, with extremely cool recovery/abort modes that may ultimately bring a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUUnYgo1-lI&feature=relmfu manned Dragon spacecraft]] or [[http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=1 expended Falcon boosters]] back to Earth ''via a powered rocket landing,'' Series/{{Space 1999}} style. Also on the first contract was Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences) and their Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Despite a catastrophic crash of the ORB-3 cargo rocket in October, 2014, they continue sending supplies thanks to an a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle until Orbital returns to flight on their Antares rocket by mid 2016.



Getting cargo to the ISS has been comparably easier than getting crew to the station. Until 2011 (with some downtime after the ''Columbia'' accident), the Space Shuttle program was the normal means for most Expedition crews to reach and return from the station. With the STS program's end in 2011, NASA rented seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the station.

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Getting cargo to the ISS has been comparably easier than getting crew to the station. Until 2011 (with some downtime after the ''Columbia'' accident), the Space Shuttle program was the normal means for most Expedition crews to reach and return from the station. With the STS program's end in 2011, NASA rented seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the station.
station. though this is becoming more difficult owing to deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia regarding the Ukraine Crisis and North Korea.



By September 2014, NASA chose SpaceX's Dragon V2 (called by NASA as the "Crew Dragon") and Boeing's CST-100 (now also known as the "Starliner") as the new low-earth-orbit manned ferries to the ISS, leaving the SNC Dream Chaser cut as a manned vehicle (although SNC successfully picked up a COTS contract 2 with a smaller unmanned cargo variant noted above). The new manned ships start flying in earnest sometime in 2017.

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By September 2014, NASA chose SpaceX's Dragon V2 (called by NASA as the "Crew Dragon") and Boeing's CST-100 (now also known as the "Starliner") as the new low-earth-orbit manned ferries to the ISS, leaving the SNC Dream Chaser cut snubbed as a manned vehicle (although SNC successfully picked up a COTS contract 2 with a smaller unmanned cargo variant noted above). The new manned ships start flying in earnest sometime in 2017.
20th Apr '16 9:49:00 PM StevieC
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* Apollo 13: the "successful failure." Several critical equipment failures meant that the craft could not land on the Moon, but due to the tenacity of both the astronauts in the craft and the controllers, astronauts, scientists and engineers on the ground, all three crew members made it back alive. Made into [[Film/{{Apollo13}} an excellent novel and movie]]. Jim Lovell, who went past the Moon twice on Apollo missions 8 and 13 but never got to land on it, deserves a special mention here.

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* Apollo 13: the "successful failure." Several critical equipment failures meant that the craft could not land on the Moon, but due to the tenacity of both the astronauts in the craft and the controllers, astronauts, scientists and engineers on the ground, all three crew members made it back alive. Made into [[Film/{{Apollo13}} an excellent novel and movie]]. Jim Lovell, who went past the Moon twice on Apollo missions 8 and 13 but never got to land on it, deserves a special mention here. Also, due to the nature of the emergency-abort maneuver's free-return-trajectory around the Moon, the 3 man crew of Apollo 13 hold the world-record of travelling a greater distance away from the center of the earth than any other humans in history.
16th Mar '16 6:58:27 PM KnightofNASA
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* The European Space Agency's ''Rosetta'' mission visited a comet in 2014. A small lander was sent to probe the icy worldlet but was unable to latch on to the very low gravity comet to orient itself sunward for powr for more than a few hours of study before its batteries expired.

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* The European Space Agency's ''Rosetta'' mission visited a comet in 2014. A small lander was sent to probe the icy worldlet but was unable to latch on to the very low gravity comet to orient itself sunward for powr for more than a few hours of study before its batteries expired.
15th Mar '16 6:51:52 AM Mitchz95
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** MAVEN, a probe from the Indian space agency, arrived successfully in Martian orbit in 2015 to study the Martian atmosphere. Notable for having its preparation halted due to the 2013 Government Shutdown just mere weeks before the launch window, which, if missed, meant that they would have had to wait two more years. An emergency measure was passed so MAVEN could launch on time. MAVEN was instrumental in confirming (with other data) that Mars still has flowing water, of a sort, and confirmed information about how Mars lost much of its atmosphere over the eons due to a very weak magnetosphere, allowing the solar wind to strip the planet.

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** MAVEN, a probe from the Indian space agency, MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission) arrived successfully in Martian orbit in 2015 to study the Martian atmosphere. Notable for having its preparation halted due to the 2013 Government Shutdown just mere weeks before the launch window, which, if missed, meant that they would have had to wait two more years. An emergency measure was passed so MAVEN could launch on time. MAVEN was instrumental in confirming (with other data) that Mars still has flowing water, of a sort, and confirmed information about how Mars lost much of its atmosphere over the eons due to a very weak magnetosphere, allowing the solar wind to strip the planet.
15th Mar '16 6:39:55 AM Glasender
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** MAVEN, a probe on its way to Mars to study the Martian atmosphere. Notable for having its preparation halted due to the 2013 Government Shutdown just mere weeks before the launch window, which, if missed, meant that they would have had to wait two more years. An emergency measure was passed so MAVEN could launch on time.
** Not all of the Mars missions were successful. Two of the unmanned Mars probes--the Mars Climate Orbiter, and the Mars Polar Lander--have gone down in infamy as two of NASA's biggest failures. The Climate Orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere because of UnitConfusion: the output from one piece of Earth-based software was in pound-seconds and the program that used it as input expected [[TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay Newton-seconds]]. The Polar Lander crashed on landing because on-board software detected a jolt while extending its landing gear, interpreted this jolt incorrectly as the landing pads touching the ground, and shut off the engines.

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** MAVEN, a probe on its way to Mars from the Indian space agency, arrived successfully in Martian orbit in 2015 to study the Martian atmosphere. Notable for having its preparation halted due to the 2013 Government Shutdown just mere weeks before the launch window, which, if missed, meant that they would have had to wait two more years. An emergency measure was passed so MAVEN could launch on time. \n** Not all MAVEN was instrumental in confirming (with other data) that Mars still has flowing water, of a sort, and confirmed information about how Mars lost much of its atmosphere over the eons due to a very weak magnetosphere, allowing the solar wind to strip the planet.
** Historically, most
Mars missions were successful.unsuccessful--in fact, it's a larger graveyard of failed spacecraft than successful ones. Two of the unmanned Mars probes--the Mars Climate Orbiter, and the Mars Polar Lander--have gone down in infamy as two of NASA's biggest failures. The Climate Orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere because of UnitConfusion: the output from one piece of Earth-based software was in pound-seconds and the program that used it as input expected [[TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay Newton-seconds]]. The Polar Lander crashed on landing because on-board software detected a jolt while extending its landing gear, interpreted this jolt incorrectly as the landing pads touching the ground, and shut off the engines.
engines. Russia (as the Soviet Union) has had virtually no success in a soft-landing of any of its missions there.



** The ''New Horizons'' probe, launched in 2006, is the first to study dwarf planet Pluto and its moons when it arrived in July 2015; after its flyby, it can be potentially targeted to other nearby Kuiper Belt objects (three possible targets have been identified). The fifth spacecraft on a trajectory to leave the solar system, ''Horizons'' derives its velocity from a more powerful launch rocket and one gravitational assist from Jupiter. It carries the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto. Cue jokes about how Tombaugh is powering up ''New Horizons'' by rolling in his box.
** The ''Dawn'' mission, a probe propelled by ion engines, to the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. The solar-powered ion engines have lower thrust than normal rockets but are very efficient and can fire continuously for long durations to achieve an overall greater velocity. Dawn is a hybrid of a fly-by craft and an orbiter, as its ion engines permit to enter orbit, then exit and head to a different location.

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** The ''New Horizons'' probe, launched in 2006, is the first to study dwarf planet Pluto and its moons when it arrived in July 2015; after its flyby, it can be potentially targeted to other nearby Kuiper Belt objects (three possible targets have been identified). The fifth spacecraft on a trajectory to leave the solar system, ''Horizons'' derives its velocity from a more powerful launch rocket and one gravitational assist from Jupiter. It carries the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto. Cue jokes about how Tombaugh is powering up ''New Horizons'' by rolling in his box. \n Pluto's geology and appearance pleasantly surprised everyone, [[https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/images/index.html?id=367260 particularly the large heart-shaped ice formation]] that seemingly told its big blue brother, "I still love you, although you call me a dwarf."
** The ''Dawn'' mission, a probe propelled by ion engines, to the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.Ceres, also arrived in 2015. The solar-powered ion engines have lower thrust than normal rockets but are very efficient and can fire continuously for long durations to achieve an overall greater velocity. Dawn is a hybrid of a fly-by craft and an orbiter, as its ion engines permit to enter orbit, then exit and head to a different location. Ceres has strange "bright spots" in the center of some craters that, thanks to study, have been determined as a type of magnesium salts from a subsurface layer, perhaps from sediment from water or other ices.


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* The European Space Agency's ''Rosetta'' mission visited a comet in 2014. A small lander was sent to probe the icy worldlet but was unable to latch on to the very low gravity comet to orient itself sunward for powr for more than a few hours of study before its batteries expired.
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