Daily Archives: June 30, 2011

Space Shuttle Update (24)

SPACE WATCH · NASA TV · STS-135: Last Space Shuttle Mission
Boeing: Slide show · Book (pdf)

Launch Date: 11:26 a.m. EDT, July 8, 2011

ET X-rays
NASA – At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians prepare to conduct Computed Radiography (CR) X-ray scans of 50 support beams, called stringers, on the shuttle-facing side of Atlantis’ external tank at Launch Pad 39A.

The hi-tech images are being taken of the tops and bottoms of the 21-foot long beams, which are located on the tank’s intertank section. The scans will confirm there are no issues with Atlantis’ tank. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

STS-135 Crew at Kennedy for TCDT
At the Shuttle Landing Facility, NASA Astronaut Jerry Ross (center) and space shuttle Atlantis’ NASA Flow Director, Angie Brewer (right) are on hand greet the STS-135 crew. From left are Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus, Pilot Doug Hurley, Commander Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialist Rex Walheim.

The crew are at Kennedy at to participate in a launch countdown dress rehearsal called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) and related training in preparation for the upcoming STS-135 mission. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett June 20, 2011

Suit Check
In the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus checks the fit of her launch and landing suit and helmet.

The STS-135 crew is at Kennedy to participate in a launch countdown dress rehearsal called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) and related training in preparation for the upcoming STS-135 mission. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

STA Landing Practice
STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson and Pilot Doug Hurley take off from the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to perform touch-and-go landings aboard their Shuttle Training Aircrafts (STA).

An STA is a Gulfstream II jet that is modified to mimic the shuttle’s handling during the final phase of landing. Ferguson and Hurley will practice landings as part of standard training before space shuttle Atlantis’ launch to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

M113 Driver Training
Battalion Chief David Seymour provides supervision while space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-135 crew members participate in M113 armored personnel carrier training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Driving the M113 is Pilot Doug Hurley; seated are Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus (background right) and Commander Chris Ferguson.

An M113 is kept at the foot of the launch pad in case an emergency exit from the launch pad is needed and every shuttle crew is trained on driving the vehicle before launch. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Pad Q and A
The STS-135 crew members gather at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A in Florida for a question-and-answer session with media.

From left are Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.

Space shuttle Atlantis’ astronauts are at Kennedy to participate in a launch countdown dress rehearsal called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) and related training. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett June 22, 2011


Phew! Asteroid Miss Earth by 7,600 Miles

By Olivia B. Waxman – At 1:00 pm EDT, the asteroid dubbed 2011 MD — only 5-20 meters in diameter — will narrowly miss the Earth by about 7,600 miles. In February, 2011 CQ1barely avoided hitting the planet by 3,400 miles.

The Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) team has been monitoring 2011 MD since telescopes in Socorro, New Mexico, discovered it on June 22nd. more> http://twurl.nl/3tj5t3


Engineer to launch bacteria aboard final shuttle mission

R&D Mag – Cynthia Collins, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer, is leading a series of experiments called Micro-2A that will be aboard the shuttle during its scheduled 12-day mission. The research seeks to understand how microgravity changes the way potentially dangerous bacteria grows. In particular, the research will examine how they form difficult-to-kill colonies called biofilms. The research has important implications for protecting astronauts while they are in space in enclosed and difficult-to-clean spaces, such as the International Space Station, or during extended space missions deeper into our solar system. It also provides new information in the fight against ever-more virulent bacterial infections such as staph, food poisoning, sepsis, and pneumonia. more> http://twurl.nl/wzx5ol

Global maritime carbon deal dead in the water

ShipBy Arthur Neslen – EU officials believe that a global deal to cut maritime carbon emissions is currently unachievable and are instead talking up an initiative by the Bahamas to regulate the world’s shipping fleets as an alternative.

In 2007, BP estimated the annual CO2 emissions from shipping at between 600 and 800 million tonnes, some 5% of global greenhouse gases, and double the carbon pollution from aviation.

In a business as usual scenario, shipping emissions – which like aviation, are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol – are expected to increase up to 75% by 2027. more> http://twurl.nl/metoyi


Lobbyists took $100K cut in pay to work for members of Congress

By Kevin Bogardus and Rachel Leven – The ex-lobbyists who went to work in the House earned, on average, more than $238,000 per year while working on K Street. Those same lobbyists are on pace to make more than $144,000 per year, on average, in the House, which equals an average pay cut of about $94,000.

Ex-lobbyists who went to work in the Senate last year were earning more than $309,000, on average, in their old jobs, according to financial disclosure forms. They are on pace to take in an average of more than $160,000 as a staffer, for an average pay cut of more than $149,000. more> http://twurl.nl/eguhqp


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