Category Archives: Space Exploration

New Horizons beats Voyager 1’s Record for being farthest from Earth while capturing images

It took 27 years, but finally, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beat Voyager 1’s record for being farthest from Earth while capturing images. Taken on December 5, 2017, New Horizons image of the open star cluster NGC 3532 (also commonly known as the Football Cluster or the Wishing Well Cluster) became the farthest image ever made by any spacecraft, breaking a 27-year record set by Voyager 1. But for a very short time! About 2 hours later, New Horizons broke its own record with images of two Kuiper Belt objects.

For a short time, the image below, New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) frame of the galactic open star cluster NGC 3532 (aka the Football Cluster or the Wishing Well Cluster), taken on December 5, 2017 (released on February 8, 2015), was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft, breaking a 27-year record set by Voyager 1. New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers or 40.9 astronomical units-AUNotes 1) from Earth when LORRI took the routine calibration image.

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Watch: Falcon Heavy Test Flight

This will go down as one of the greatest videos in history, and you must share it with everyone you know. It is one of the great achievements our species has ever done. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy test flight was successful and the rocket’s upper stage, together with Elon Musk’s electric sports car Tesla and the dummy “Starman”, are on their way to Mars.

When Falcon Heavy lifted off, it became the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. This rocket that may one day carry humans to the Moon or Mars! With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)-a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel-Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.

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Top 20 Longest Spacewalks in History

Spacewalking or Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere (a moonwalk is also an EVA). The first skywalker was the Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov. He became the first human to conduct an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on March 18, 1965; exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk. Since this very short EVA, a lot of astronauts/cosmonauts spent many hours outside their spacecraft, mostly for maintenance missions. Here are the top 20 longest spacewalks in history.

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Can you find the spacewalker’s legs in this photo?

During the Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Expedition 54 Commander Aleksandr Misurkin’s spacewalk on February 2, 2018, NASA astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei published a photo on his twitter account and asked his followers that “Can you find the space-walker’s legs in this photo?” Vande Hei added “Russian spacewalk continues!”

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Watch: Astronaut Shares Photos of Places He’d Visited on Earth Alongside Photos of the Same Locations he Snapped from Space

NASA astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik, the commander of the Expedition 53 (the 53rd expedition to the International Space Station) has published a beautiful video on his twitter account titled “Through the eyes of a spaceman: One World Many Views”. In the video, Bresnik shared photos of places he’d visited on Earth alongside photos of the same locations he snapped from space. He also wrote: “You don’t have to be in outer space to experience the beauty of our home planet. Capture the beauty of a moment, or the excitement of an instant, and share it with others.”

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Watch: Earth from the Geostationary Orbit

An amazing time-lapse video of Earth from the geostationary orbitNotes 1. The video was generated from the images taken by Japanese weather satellite Himawari 8, which takes a photo of Earth every 10 minutes. Himawari 8 is the 8th of the Himawari geostationary weather satellites operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

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There’s a Memorial to Fallen Astronauts on the Moon

On August 2, 1971, during the third EVA (Extravehicular activity) of Apollo 15 Notes 1 mission, commander David Scott drove the rover away from Lunar Module, where the television camera could be used to observe the lunar liftoff. Then he left a small aluminum statuette called “Fallen Astronaut” next to the rover, which commemorates those astronauts and cosmonauts who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration. Scott also left a plaque bearing the names of 14 known American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts deceased by that time, along with the statuette. The names of Astronauts and cosmonauts were inscribed in alphabetical order on the plaque.

The “fallen astronaut” statuette was created by the Belgian sculptor, painter, and printmaker Paul Van Hoeydonck. It is an 8.5-centimeter (3.3 in) aluminum sculpture, a small stylized figure, meant to depict an astronaut in a spacesuit. Before the mission, commander David Scott met Van Hoeydonck at a dinner party. It was there agreed that Van Hoeydonck would create a small statuette for Scott to place on the Moon. Scott’s purpose was to commemorate those astronauts and cosmonauts who had lost their lives in the furtherance of space exploration. He also designed and separately made a plaque listing fourteen American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts’ names who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration. Van Hoeydonck was given a set of design specifications: the sculpture was to be lightweight but sturdy, capable of withstanding the temperature extremes of the Moon; it could not be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group. According to Scott, it was agreed Van Hoeydonck’s name would not be made public, to avoid the commercial exploitation of the US government’s space program. Scott kept the agreement secret from NASA management prior to the mission, smuggling the statue aboard his spacecraft.Notes 2

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Watch: 12 Years Ago, New Horizons’ fantastic voyage began with a spectacular launch

Twelve years ago, on January 19, 2006, aboard an Atlas V rocket, NASA’s New Horizons probe started its fantastic voyage of exploration with a spectacular launch from the Florida coast toward Pluto and the mysterious realm of the Kuiper Belt beyond.

Video: two views of launch of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket on January 19, 2006, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. New Horizons was the fastest spacecraft ever launched, leaving Earth at approximately 16.26 kilometers per second (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph).

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25th launch anniversary of TDRS-6 (Amazing Photos)

Today, to celebrate 25th launch anniversary of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 6 (TDRS-6), the American communications satellite which launched by Space Shuttle Endeavour on January 13, 1993, NASA has published two amazing photos on its twitter account. The American space agency has tweeted that “Happy 25th launch anniversary to TDRS-6, launched on this day in 1993! TDRS-6 is still operational today, well past its intended design life“.

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