By Andrew Rush – Just as the early railroads transformed the American West and spurred an economic boom across our then young nation, commercial activity in space is blossoming. Expansion of these activities, especially in-space manufacturing, will expand human activity outward and lead to new American economic booms. While the promise of commercial activities in space may be as vast as the promise of the American West, actions must be taken now in order to stay on the path of converting this promise to economic value.
Much of our current progress in space-based operations such as manufacturing can be credited to the multibillion dollar investment in the creation of International Space Station (ISS) and the designation of the U.S. segment of ISS as a National Lab for conducting space-based research for economic development in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
With the direct U.S. support of the ISS proposed to end in the 2025 timeframe, there’s an industry imperative to scale up and accelerate planning for transition from ISS to commercial space stations or other Private-Public Partnership (PPP) models.
If action is not taken, investment in the ISS and the ISS National Lab, private investment in ISS-based activity, and budding space-based products and services will be wasted. more>
Posted in Broadband, CONGRESS WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Government, Industrial economy, International Space Station, Manufacturing, Technology, United States
Island of Hawaii From the International Space Station
NASA – From the International Space Station, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) took this photograph of the island of Hawaii and posted it to social media on Feb. 28, 2015. Cristoforetti wrote, “And suddenly as we flew over the Pacific… the island of #Hawaii with its volcanoes! #HelloEarth”
Crewmembers on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique point of view located 200 miles above the surface as part of the Crew Earth Observations program. Photographs record how the planet is changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth and reservoir construction, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, floods and volcanic eruptions. Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 40 years, beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s. The ISS maintains an altitude between 220 – 286 miles (354 – 460 km) above the Earth, and an orbital inclination of 51.6˚, providing an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Samantha Cristoforetti
Astronauts Complete Series of Three Spacewalks
NASA – On Sunday, March 1, Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry Virts and Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore ventured outside the International Space Station for their third spacewalk in eight days. Virts and Wilmore completed installing 400 feet of cable and several antennas associated with the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system known as C2V2. Boeing’s Crew Transportation System (CST)-100 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon will use the system in the coming years to rendezvous with the orbital laboratory and deliver crews to the space station.
Virts (@AstroTerry) tweeted this photograph and wrote, “Out on the P3 truss. #AstroButch handing me his cable to install on the new antenna. #spacewalk”
Space Station Flyover of Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa
NASA – European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this photograph from the International Space Station and posted it to social media on Jan. 30, 2015. Cristoforetti wrote, “A spectacular flyover of the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. #HelloEarth”
Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Samantha Cristoforetti
Rocky Mountain National Park Viewed From the International Space Station
NASA – Marking the 100th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain National Park on Jan. 26, 2015, Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry Virts posted this photograph, taken from the International Space Station, to Twitter. Virts wrote, “Majestic peaks and trails! Happy 100th anniversary @RockyNPS So much beauty to behold in our @NatlParkService.”
Image Credit: NASA/Terry Virts
Interior View From the International Space Station Cupola
NASA – This image of the interior view from the International Space Station’s Cupola module was taken on Jan. 4, 2015. The large bay windows allows the Expedition 42 crew to see outside.
The Cupola houses one of the space station’s two robotic work stations used by astronauts to manipulate the large robotic arm seen through the right window. The robotic arm, or Canadarm2, was used throughout the construction of the station and is still used to grapple visiting cargo vehicles and assist astronauts during spacewalks. The Cupola is attached to the nadir side of the space station and also gives a full panoramic view of the Earth.
Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico
NASA – From the International Space Station, Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry W. Virts took this photograph of the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Gulf Coast at sunset and posted it to social media on Dec. 14, 2014.
The space station and its crew orbit Earth from an altitude of 220 miles, traveling at a speed of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Because the station completes each trip around the globe in about 92 minutes, the crew experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets each day.
Image Credit: NASA/Terry Virts
Astronaut Reid Wiseman Shares Earth Art While Preparing for Return
NASA – NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman shared this image of Yellowstone via his twitter account this morning. Wiseman later tweeted: “We cranked up our #Soyuz this morning and test fired all the thrusters. Everything worked flawlessly – ready for a Sunday departure.” – @astro_reid
The homebound Expedition 40/41 trio, consisting of Soyuz Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Alexander Gerst and Wiseman, is counting down to its Nov. 9 departure inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. They are packing gear to be returned home while they continue science and maintenance on the U.S. side of the International Space Station.
Back on Earth, the new Expedition 42/43 crew is getting ready for its launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 23. Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov will be joined by NASA astronaut Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard a Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft to begin a 5-1/2 month mission aboard the orbital laboratory.
Space Station Blog
Image Credit: NASA/Reid Wiseman
Hurricane Gonzalo Viewed From the International Space Station
NASA – This image of Hurricane Gonzalo was taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst on Oct. 16, 2014. In addition to the crew Earth observations from the space station, NASA and NOAA satellites have been providing continuous coverage of Hurricane Gonzalo as it moves toward Bermuda.
> NASA Hurricane: Gonzalo (Atlantic Ocean)
Image Credit: Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA
Starry Sky from the Space Station
NASA – ISS041-E-009477 (13 Sept. 2014) — One of the Expedition 41 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station on Sept. 13, 2014 captured this image of a starry sky.
The white panel at left belonging to the ATV-5 spacecraft, which is docked with the orbital outpost, obstructs the view of Scorpius.
The red star Antares is directly to the left of the bottom of the second ATV panel from the top. The two stars that are close together and on the lower left of the photo comprise Shaula, the tip of the scorpion’s tail. The open cluster close to Shaula is M7.
The hardware at bottom right is part of one of the station’s solar panels.
Posted in Nature, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Antares, Expedition 41, International Space Station, NASA, Scorpius, Shaula, Technology