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News: At the Speed of Light Blog - MAS is the Melbourne Astronomical Society - BAS is the Brevard Astronomical Society -
CFAS is the Central FL Astronomical Society - SAS Florida Tech
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16  Observational Astronomy / Telescopes / Ortega Scope Pic on: July 28, 2009, 05:46:02 PM
This pic is from the Ortega Dedication 4/18/08. Taken from inside the scope looking out.
17  Shuttle Launches / Missions / Shuttle Launches / Missions / Presidential Panel Ponders Shuttle Extension on: July 28, 2009, 03:39:18 PM
Via FL Today Flame Trench - Space Blog
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Presidential Panel Ponders Shuttle Extension
A presidential panel is reviewing an option to extend the shuttle program through 2014, significantly reducing an anticipated five-year gap in U.S. human spaceflight.

The option is one of three that the panel -- dubbed the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee -- presented during a public hearing in League City, Texas, which is located near NASA's Johnson Space Center.

The other options:

++Retire the shuttle fleet as planned near the end of 2010.

++Add one additional shuttle mission and keep flying the shuttle through 2012.

Former NASA astronaut Sally Ride said the option to extend shuttle flights through 2014 is "the most realistic way to significantly reduce the gap" while taking advantage of the full capabilities of the International Space Station.

Ride said extending shuttle fleet operations through 2014 would enable the U.S. to retain a critically skilled work force that has taken decades to establish.

The option would only make sense if NASA developed a shuttle-derived heavy-lift vehicle for future missions beyond Earth orbit, Ride said. That implies NASA would not proceed with the development of its planned Ares V heavy-lift launcher.

The panel also will present the White House with options to extend the life of the International Space Station beyond 2015. Panel members indicated options passed on to the White House will include options to operate the station at least through 2020 if not longer.

Then-President George Bush in January 2004 put NASA on ccourse to complete the International Space Station and retire the shuttle fleet by the end of September 2010.

NASA at the time was directed to develop a new spaceship for astronauts by 2014 and then return Americans to the moon by 2020.

NASA is developing the Ares I and Ares V rockets along with an Apollo-style Orion space capsules to meet those goals.

NASA now has seven shuttle missions left on its books, the last of which is scheduled to launch in September of 2010. Ride said the panel did an analysis that showed the last flight is more likely to slip to March 2011 and that the Obama Administration and NASA should budget accordingly. She estimated that the additional cost in 2011 would be about $1.5 billion.

The second option -- adding one mission and flying shuttle through 2012 -- would cost $4.2 billion. This option was chosen because NASA now will have only one external tank available after the currently planned final mission.

The panel did not provide a cost estimate for the third option -- flying one to two shuttle missions per year through 2014.
18  Pictures / Space Vehicles / Satellites Tweet too on: July 28, 2009, 03:34:27 PM
19  Pictures / Space Vehicles / AMES > KSC on: July 28, 2009, 03:31:54 PM
Moonfest 2009 was hosted by the LCROSS mission and the NASA Lunar Science Institute at NASA Ames Research Center on July 19, 2009. More than 11,000 people braved the heat and traffic to join in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the moon landings, the LCROSS mission and space exploration. One of the highlights of the event were the rocket launches by the NASA Ames LUNAR Model Rocket Club.
20  Pictures / Space Vehicles / LCROSS Flyby's on: July 28, 2009, 03:27:27 PM
LCROSS Lunar Swingby Streaming Video (Launch +5 days)

      Two Perspectives of the LCROSS Lunar Swingby

      Approximately five days after launch, LCROSS performed a lunar swingby to enter into an elongated polar Earth orbit. This orbit positions LCROSS for impact on the lunar south pole (see mission overview video) on Oct. 9, 2009. Shortly after periselene, the time of closest approach to the lunar surface, the LCROSS science payload was switched on for the duration of one hour.

      During the swingby , the spacecraft's instruments calibrated by scanning three sites on the lunar surface. These sites were the craters Mendeleev, Goddard C and Giordano Bruno. They were selected because they offer a variety of terrain types, compositions and illumination conditions. The spacecraft also scanned the lunar horizon to confirm its instruments are aligned in preparation for observing the Centaur's debris plume.

      The following videos show two perspectives of the LCROSS lunar swingby. The first video is taken from the LCROSS visible light camera and the animation is a 3-D is representation of the spacecraft based to actual telemetry recieved during the swingby. Both videos are condensed in timeframe.

21  Pictures / Space Vehicles / LCROSS IMAGED on: July 28, 2009, 03:23:36 PM
Animated gif of LCROSS flyby June 29, 2009     

On Monday, June 29, 05:23 UT
LCROSS captured by Paul Mortfield, Backyard Astronomer
Sierra Remote Observatories

GOTO website Click on still image to see LCROSS animation of LCROSS in flight.
22  General Category / Aliens . UFOs / If you like aliens on: July 28, 2009, 03:15:28 PM
Listen to Coast to Coast AM - 1240AM

M-Sat 11p-5a
Sun 1a-6a

They talk quite a bit about UFO's and related topics - very X-Files.....
23  News Updates / General Space News / Space & Astronomy Public Lecture Series - BCC Cocoa P&O on: July 28, 2009, 03:07:47 PM
BCC launches Space and Astronomy Lecture Series
Sept. 4 - Oct. 9, featuring Kennedy Space Center, International Space Station directors, BCC Planetarium and Observatory   

BREVARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE, (COCOA), FLA. – Robert Cabana, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and a former space shuttle pilot, will address the topic “Moon, Mars, and the Stars: The Constellation Program and the Future of Space Exploration” on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Brevard Community College Planetarium and Observatory, Cocoa Campus, 1519 Clearlake Road.

The free panel discussion, the first session in the BCC Space and Astronomy Lecture Series, also will feature Russell Romanella, director of the International Space Station and Spacecraft Processing Directorate, and Jon Cowart, orbiter engineering manager for the NASA Kennedy Space Center Constellation Program.

As the United States space program focuses on returning to the moon in the next decade, the interest in Mars will soon follow, said Fiorella Terenzi, program coordinator and a BCC physics instructor. Attendees will hear the latest information on the next human space flight to the moon and Mars.

The lecture series will be held the second Friday of each month during the 2009-2010 academic year. The event will feature leading speakers followed by a public viewing session at the BCC Observatory atop the planetarium building. Cabana has flown four space shuttle missions serving as pilot and commander during these flights. In addition to his duties as an astronaut, Cabana's NASA experience includes assignments as deputy chief, Aircraft Operations Division; chief, NASA Astronaut Office; manager, International Operations, International Space Station Program; director, NASA Human Space Flight Program in Russia; deputy, International Space Station Program; and director, Flight Crew Operations.

Romanella is responsible for launch site ground processing of the International Space Station and Shuttle Payloads. While serving in this position, critical elements of the International Space Station have been successfully assembled at KSC, tested, and launched into orbit. These critical space station elements, including the U.S. Laboratory and international partner elements such as the Columbus European laboratory, the Japanese Logistics Module, and the Canadian robotic system. These elements are now operating in orbit and support the largest, most complex space station in human history. Romanella also is responsible for preparing the Kennedy Space Center for final assembly of the future human space launch vehicle: the Orion crew exploration vehicle.

Cowart has served as senior project manager responsible for all modifications to the launch pad, vehicle assembly building, and the mobile launch platform for the Ares I-X flight test, which is currently scheduled for launch in July 2009. Ares I is the launch vehicle which will carry astronauts into orbit after the Space Shuttle Program ends in 2010. Last year, Cowart was promoted to deputy mission manager for Ares I-X. The mission office is responsible for the entire Ares I-X flight test mission.

“Our free lecture series will be of service for our community and will offers those with an interest in space, aerospace and astronomy the chance to explore the latest research and innovations in the field as we probe further into the universe,” Terenzi said. “Our target audience is anybody interested in science, space and astronomy from family to high school students to universities and industries.

“The purpose of the lecture series is to inspire potential future students and their families to pursue carriers in math, science and engineering, to connect with our local community, to create a feed, an open line with our space coast industry and to increase awareness and appreciation for space, aerospace and astronomy and education as whole.”

For more information call the planetarium at (321) 433-7373 or visit the lecture series website at Jim Ross, Vice President for Advancement and Public Affairs, said, “We are honored to have the directors of Kennedy Space Center and the International Space Station to share their expertise on the future of space exploration. This is a wonderful educational opportunity for students and area communities to learn how aerospace industry is a great benefit.”

During the event, Terenzi and Mark Howard, director of the BCC Planetarium and Observatory, will speak on the subject “What’s New in the Night Sky,” a focus on what viewers can see in the sky with the naked eye. The lecture event will revive an interest in astronomy and showcase the planetarium’s programs, Terenzi said.

The college’s space and astronomy lecture series will continue on Friday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. in the planetarium with “What Lurks in the Hearts of Galaxies?” featuring Dr. Eric Perlman, associate professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology. In his talk, Dr. Perlman will discuss the central regions of galaxies, and what we find in them.

On Friday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the planetarium, the series will feature the seminar “Small Bodies and Big Impacts: Asteroids, Comets and the Origin of Earth’s Water,” featuring Dr. Humberto Campins, a professor of physics at the University of Central Florida. The lecture will focus on the role of asteroids and comet impacts on the origin of Earth's water and how organic molecules are reviewed.
24  News Updates / News / Updates / NASA Review Committee to Hold Public Meeting on July 30 in Cocoa Beach on: July 28, 2009, 02:42:56 PM
Via the National Space Society Space Coast Chapter's Website-

What: public meeting of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee

When: July 30, 2009 from 8am – 4pm

Where: Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront in Cocoa Beach, FL

The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
will hold three public meetings July 28-30. The meetings are open to
news media representatives. No registration is required, but seating
is limited to location capacity.

The third public session will be July 30 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT at
the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Grand Ballroom, 1550 North Atlantic
Avenue, in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Agenda topics will include NASA’s
Kennedy Space Center operations, committee sub-group reports, NASA’s
Constellation program and public comments.

Following each meeting, committee chairman Norman Augustine will be
available to answer questions from reporters. NASA Television will
carry the meetings and news conferences live on the agency’s media
channel. The events also can be viewed on the agency’s Web site.

To watch the events online, select the NASA TV media channel at:

Viewers also can watch and participate in the meeting online via
Ustream at:

For committee information, agendas, charter, biographies and
schedules, visit:
25  Observational Astronomy / Telescopes / Ortega Scope Pics on: July 28, 2009, 02:16:40 PM
These are some pics from way back in the day (April 18th 2008) at the Ortega Scope Dedication Party (and what a party that was!) In the first pic is Oscar Sifuentes, the Outreach Coordinator for the Brevard Astronomical Society.

Second pic is from outside

Third pic is from outside looking back at the party

You can find all these pics in much higher res by going to here
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