Astronaut Chris Hadfield with our moustache patches

We attended the Chris Hadfield book signing event in Cardiff on Tuesday 17th December. We happily queued with a few hundred happy others. It got cold but kept dry. A great bunch of interested and interesting people, old and young with Chris Hadfield as the inspiration for being there.

A brief encounter but well worth the wait, Chris signed with inscriptions if required. We presented Chris with some of the moustache patches, he offered to sign one for me, but me at 55 years (and still tongue tied, astronauts my boyhood heroes) I politely refused and regretted it ever since. Ah well there is always next time.

Photos courtesy of Bryar.

Chris Hadfield Moustache Patches Waterstones Chris Hadfield signs

Astronauts Prepare for Spacewalks

Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins checks out the spacesuit he will wear outside the International Space Station on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. He and fellow astronaut Rick Mastracchio will conduct a series of spacewalks to replace an ammonia pump that is part of the station’s coolant system. This will be Hopkins’ first spacewalk, while Mastracchio has had six previous ones on STS-118 and STS-131.
Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins checks out his spacesuit

Ken Willoughby – Space Lectures Announces Latest Apollo Astronaut Guest

Ken Willoughby – Space Lectures announces the Next Guest in a fantastic line up of Apollo Astronauts

None other than Apollo 16 Command Module Pilot Thomas ‘Ken’ Mattingly

Space Lectures website for details

Apollo 13 era astronaut thomas k. mattingly

Great News for Shuttle Fans too as Ken Mattingly  was the Commander on Missions STS-4 and STS-51C

Thomas K. Mattingly II (Rear Admiral, USN, Ret.) NASA Astronaut (former)

PERSONAL DATA: Born in Chicago, Illinois, March 17, 1936. One grown son.

EDUCATION: Attended Florida elementary and secondary schools and is a graduate of Miami Edison High School, Miami, Florida; received a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Auburn University in 1958.

ORGANIZATIONS: Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Fellow, American Astronautical Society; and Member, Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and the U.S. Naval Institute.

SPECIAL HONORS: Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1982); NASA Distinguished Service Medals (2); JSC Certificate of Commendation (1970); JSC Group Achievement Award (1972); Navy Distinguished Service Medal; Navy Astronaut Wings; SETP Ivan C. Kincheloe Award (1972); Delta Tau Delta Achievement Award (1972); Auburn Alumni Engineers Council Outstanding Achievement Award (1972); AAS Flight Achievement Award for 1972; AIAA Haley Astronautics Award for 1973; Federation Aeronautique Internationale’s V. M. Komarov Diploma in 1973.

EXPERIENCE: Prior to reporting for duty at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, he was a student at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School.

Mattingly began his Naval career as an Ensign in 1958 and received his wings in 1960. He was then assigned to VA-35 and flew A1H aircraft aboard the USS SARATOGA from 1960 to 1963. In July 1963, he served in VAH-11 deployed aboard the USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT where he flew the A3B aircraft for two years.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Mattingly is one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966.

He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 8 and 11 missions and was the astronaut representative in development and testing of the Apollo spacesuit and backpack (EMU).

He was designated command module pilot for the Apollo 13 flight but was removed from flight status 72 hours prior to the scheduled launch due to exposure to the German measles.

He has logged 7,200 hours of flight time — 5,000 hours in jet aircraft.

From January 1973 to March 1978, Mattingly worked as head of astronaut office support to the STS (Shuttle Transportation System) program. He was next assigned as technical assistant for flight test to the Manager of the Orbital Flight Test Program. From December 1979 to April 1981, he headed the astronaut office ascent/entry group. He subsequently served as backup commander for STS-2 and STS-3, Columbia’s second and third orbital test flights. From June 1983 through May 1984, Mattingly served as Head of the Astronaut Office DOD Support Group.

A veteran of three space flights, Mattingly has logged 504 hours in space, including 1 hour and 13 minutes of EVA (extravehicular activity) during his Apollo 16 flight. He was the command module pilot on Apollo 16 (April 16-27, 1972), was the spacecraft commander on STS-4 (June 26 to July 4, 1982) and STS 51-C (January 24-27, 1985).

Captain Mattingly resigned from NASA in 1985.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Apollo 16 (April 16-27, 1972) was the fifth manned lunar landing mission. The crew included John W. Young (spacecraft commander), Ken Mattingly (command module pilot), and Charles M. Duke, Jr. (lunar module pilot). The mission assigned to Apollo 16 was to collect samples from the lunar highlands at a location near the crater Descartes. While in lunar orbit the scientific instruments aboard the command and service module “Casper” extended the photographic and geochemical mapping of a belt around the lunar equator. Twenty-six separate scientific experiments were conducted both in lunar orbit and during cislunar coast. Major emphasis was placed on using man as an orbital observer capitalizing on the human eye’s unique capabilities and man’s inherent curiosity. Although the mission of Apollo 16 was terminated one day early, due to concern over several spacecraft malfunctions, all major objectives were accomplished through the ceaseless efforts of the mission support team and were made possible by the most rigorous preflight planning yet associated with an Apollo mission.

apollo 16 ken mattingly portrait

STS-4, the fourth and final orbital test flight of the Shuttle Columbia, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 27,1982. Mattingly was the spacecraft commander and Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., was the pilot. This 7-day mission was designed to: further verify ascent and entry phases of shuttle missions; perform continued studies of the effects of long-term thermal extremes on the Orbiter subsystems; and conduct a survey of Orbiter-induced contamination on the Orbiter payload bay. Additionally, the crew operated several scientific experiments located in the Orbiter’s cabin and in the payload bay. These experiments included the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System experiment designed to investigate the separation of biological materials in a fluid according to their surface electrical charge. This experiment was a pathfinder for the first commercial venture to capitalize on the unique characteristics of space. The crew is also credited with effecting an in-flight repair which enabled them to activate the first operational “Getaway Special” (composed of nine experiments that ranged from algae and duckweed growth in space to fruit fly and brine shrimp genetic studies). STS-4 completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing on a concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on July 4, 1982.

thomas k mattingly space shuttle commander

STS-51C Discovery, the first Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on January 24, 1985. The crew included Ken Mattingly (spacecraft commander), Loren Shriver (pilot), Jim Buchli and Ellison Onizuka (mission specialists), and Gary Payton (DOD payload specialist). STS-51C performed its DOD mission which included deployment of a modified Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) vehicle from the Space Shuttle Discovery. Landing occurred on January 27, 1985.

JANUARY 1987

This is the only version available from NASA. Updates must be sought from the above named individual.

Apollo 13 era portrait

Apollo 16 era portrait

Shuttle era portrait

Helping China to the Moon

Kourou tracking station

29 November 2013Shortly after China’s Chang’e-3 spacecraft departs Earth to land on the Moon, ESA’s network of tracking stations will swing into action, providing crucial support for the vessel’s five-day lunar cruise.

China’s Chang’e-3, named after the mythological goddess of the Moon, is scheduled for lift off on 1 December from the Xichang launch base in China’s Sichuan province on a journey to deposit a lander and a six-wheeled rover on the lunar surface.

The landing, in the Sea of Rainbows on 14 December, will be the first since Russia’s Luna-24 in 1976.

Immediately after liftoff, ESA’s station in Kourou, French Guiana, will start receiving signals from the mission and uploading commands on behalf of the Chinese control centre.

The tracking will run daily throughout the voyage to the Moon. Then, during descent and after landing, ESA’s deep-space stations will pinpoint the craft’s path and touchdown.

“We are proud that the expertise of our ground station and flight dynamics teams and the sophisticated technologies of our worldwide Estrack network can assist China to deliver a scientifically important lander and rover to the Moon,” says ESA’s Thomas Reiter, Director for Human Spaceflight and Operations.

“Whether for human or robotic missions, international cooperation like this is necessary for the future exploration of planets, moons and asteroids, benefitting everyone.”

The effort is being run from the Estrack Control Centre in ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Following lunar mission progress

Chang’e-3 liftoff is set for around 18:00 GMT on 1 December, and the 15 m-diameter dish in Kourou will pick up the first signals around 18:44 GMT.

Working with Chinese tracking stations, Kourou will support the mission through lunar orbit entry on 6 December continuing until just prior to its descent to the surface, expected around mid-day on 14 December.

The landing and rover operations on the Moon will be commanded via two Chinese tracking stations at Kashi, in the far west of China, and at Jiamusi, in the northeast.

“After the lander and rover are on the surface, we will use our 35 m-diameter deep-space antennas at Cebreros, Spain, and New Norcia, Australia, to provide ‘delta-DOR’ location measurement,” says Erik Soerensen, responsible for external mission tracking support at ESOC.

“Using this delta-DOR technique, you can compute locations with extreme accuracy, which will help our Chinese colleagues to determine the precise location of the lander.”

Cebreros and New Norcia stations watch lunar landing

Together with Cebreros, New Norcia will record Chang’e-3’s radio signals during landing, which will help the Chinese space agency to reconstruct the trajectory for future reference.

A team of engineers from China will be on hand in Darmstadt. “While we’re very international at ESOC, hardly anyone speaks Mandarin, so having Chinese colleagues on site will really help in case of any unforeseen problems,” says Erik.

“Both sides are using international technical standards to enable our stations and ESOC to communicate with their mission and ground systems.”

Spacelab and 30 years of ESA astronauts

Spacelab-1/STS-9 launch

Thirty years ago this week the first European-built Spacelab was launched on the Space Shuttle. ESA’s first astronaut, Ulf Merbold, flew on the mission, marking ESA’s entry into human spaceflight.

On 28 November 1983 at 11:00 local time, the ninth Space Shuttle mission was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA.

The six astronauts on Spacelab-1 worked in two teams on 12-hour shifts, allowing for continuous operations. They performed over 70 experiments in solar physics, space plasma physics, astronomy, Earth observation, material science, technology and life sciences.

After circling Earth 166 times in just over 10 days, Space Shuttle Columbia landed back on Earth on 8 December.

Space laboratory

Spacelab was a cooperation between ESA and NASA, with Europe responsible for funding, designing and building Spacelab and agreeing to deliver free of charge the engineering model, the first flight unit and ground equipment in return for a shared first mission.

In preparation for Spacelab, ESA Member States in 1978 put forward 53 astronaut candidates, and four were selected: Ulf Merbold of Germany, Wubbo Ockels of the Netherlands, Claude Nicollier of Switzerland and Franco Malerba of Italy.

Ulf was selected for the first Spacelab mission, with Wubbo as backup. Wubbo flew on the Spacelab-D1 mission in 1985.

Between 1983 and 1998, Spacelab modules flew on the Space Shuttle 22 times and totalled 244 days in orbit. Experiments surveyed the possibilities of weightless research in many scientific areas that led to space-age metals used in mass-produced smartphones and revealed areas of space research that show promise in treating chronic muscle diseases.

Spacelab evolution

Many of Spacelab’s features live on in space hardware that is flying above us today. The pressure shell was reused for the Harmony and Tranquility modules on the International Space Station, and supply spacecraft, such as ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles and the commercial Cygnus, reuse Spacelab’s exterior structure.

Europe’s Columbus laboratory on the Station evolved from Spacelab. On the inside, Spacelab used standardised science racks that contributed to its success and were adopted for all of the Station’s laboratory modules.

In the same way that Spacelab was operated by international teams of astronauts, so are today’s European experiments and laboratories on the Station. They are kept running and performing science by the Station’s permanent crew – which now includes European astronauts.

Astronaut Helmet with Moustache

Grab yourself a space themed collectable and make a donation to the Movember charity at the same time.

This limited edition patch (100 only) is the first in a series of space themed collectables that assist good causes too. Recent space station commander Chris Hadfield, sporting a fine moustache, raised the profile of space exploration around the world with his musical abilities and a series of ‘life in space’ videos broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS).

About Movember

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world. With their “Mo’s” men raise vital funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health. As an independent global charity, Movember’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.

Fifty pence from the sale of each patch will be donated to the Movember charity. Find out more about Movember here!

Limited Edition Astronaut Helmet Patch

Order your patch today!

Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield Book Signings

Canadian Astronaut on his book tour this side of the Atlantic, go along and meet him, have a chat, buy a book and get it signed……………………

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

For ISS and Space Shuttle mission patches visit the Spaceboosters Online Store!


 December 13, 2013
Leicester, England (United Kingdom)
TBA –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

National Space Centre

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December 14, 2013
London, England (United Kingdom)
TBA –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

[Venue TBA]

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December 14, 2013
Dublin, Ireland
12:00pm –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Eason’s (O’Connell Street)

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December 15, 2013
London, England (United Kingdom)
 Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Waterstones (Piccadilly)

Meet

Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

WATERSTONE’S PICCADILLY Sunday, 15 December 2013, 3:00PM

The world renowned astronaut and YouTube sensation will be signing copies of his new book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.  Please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Further terms and conditions may apply.

Further details: 020 7851 2419

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December 16, 2013
London, England (United Kingdom)
 Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Waterstone’s (Oxford) and
Science Museum (London)

Meet the worlds most famous Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield in Oxford!

Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

WATERSTONE’S OXFORD Monday, 16 December 2013, 12:00PM

We are excited to a announce a unique chance to meet everyone’s favourite Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. While serving as Commander of the International Space Station Chris became a worldwide social media sensation posting breath taking photos from Space, and famously recording a zero-gravity version of David Bowie’s classic “Space Oddity”. Chris will be signing copies of “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”. Please plan your docking with the store early, as we expect huge interest in this out of the world event!

Further details: 01865 790212

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December 17, 2013
Cardiff, Wales (United Kingdom)
3:00pm –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Meet an Astronaut!

Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

WATERSTONE’S CARDIFF THE HAYES Tuesday, 17 December 2013, 3:00PM

Astronaut and YouTube sensation Chris Hadfield will be in the store signing copies of his new book ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ – the vivid and refreshing insights in this book will teach you how to think like an astronaut, get what you want, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth.

Further details: 02920665606


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December 17, 2013
Chepstow, Wales (United Kingdom)
TBA –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

The Drill Hall

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December 18, 2013
Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom)
7:00pm –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Talk and book signing: “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”
The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

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December 19, 2013
London, England (United Kingdom)
TBA –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Found in Music event and book signing: “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”
[Venue TBA]

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January 9, 2014
Dublin, Ireland
TBA –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Laya Healthcare Pendulum Summit
Convention Centre Dublin
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January 11, 2014
Dublin, Ireland
9:30am –  Chris Hadfield (STS-74, STS-100, Soyuz TMA-07M, ISS 34/35)

Royal Dublin Society

 

Celebrating Fifteen Years of the International Space Station

Astronaut James H. Newman waves during a spacewalk
Astronaut James H. Newman waves during a spacewalk preparing for release of the first combined elements of the International Space Station. The Russian-built Zarya module, with its solar array panel visible here, was launched into orbit fifteen years ago on Nov. 20, 1998. Two weeks later, on Dec. 4, 1998, NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour launched Unity, the first U.S. piece of the complex. Endeavour’s forward section is reflected in Newman’s helmet visor in this image. During three spacewalks on the STS-88 mission, the two space modules built on opposite sides of the planet were joined together in space, making the space station truly international.

Since that first meeting of Zarya and Unity, the space station grew piece by piece with additions from each of the international partners built across three continents and leading to the largest and most complex spacecraft ever constructed. The space station, now four times larger than Mir and five times larger than Skylab, represents a collaboration between NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, representing 15 countries in all.

In support of station assembly and maintenance, station and shuttle crews have conducted 174 spacewalks totalling almost 1,100 hours – the equivalent to nearly 46 days of spacewalks to build and maintain the complex. The station, with a mass of almost a million pounds and the size of a football field, is second only to the moon as the brightest object in the night sky.

Over the years, a great deal of research has been done on the space laboratory, which has already yielded tremendous results toward various fields. The science of the space station has provided benefits to humankind in areas such as human health, Earth observation and education. Many more results and benefits for both space exploration and life on Earth are expected in the coming years.

ISS 15 Years Insignia – available soon.

Space Station 15 Years Logo

 

NASA Spacecraft Begins Collecting Lunar Atmosphere Data

NASA LADEE

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is ready to begin collecting science data about the moon.

On Nov. 20, the spacecraft successfully entered its planned orbit around the moon’s equator — a unique position allowing the small probe to make frequent passes from lunar day to lunar night. This will provide a full scope of the changes and processes occurring within the moon’s tenuous atmosphere.

LADEE now orbits the moon about every two hours at an altitude of eight to 37 miles (12-60 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. For about 100 days, the spacecraft will gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky.

“A thorough understanding of the characteristics of our lunar neighbor will help researchers understand other small bodies in the solar system, such as asteroids, Mercury, and the moons of outer planets,” said Sarah Noble, LADEE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Scientists also will be able to study the conditions in the atmosphere during lunar sunrise and sunset, where previous crewed and robotic missions detected a mysterious glow of rays and streamers reaching high into the lunar sky.

On Nov. 20, flight controllers in the LADEE Mission Operations Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., confirmed LADEE performed a crucial burn of its orbit control system to lower the spacecraft into its optimal position to enable science collection. Mission managers will continuously monitor the spacecraft’s altitude and make adjustments as necessary.

“Due to the lumpiness of the moon’s gravitational field, LADEE’s orbit requires significant maintenance activity with maneuvers taking place as often as every three to five days, or as infrequently as once every two weeks,” said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at Ames. “LADEE will perform regular orbital maintenance maneuvers to keep the spacecraft’s altitude within a safe range above the surface that maximizes the science return.”

In addition to science instruments, the spacecraft carried the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration, NASA’s first high-data-rate laser communication system. It is designed to enable satellite communication at rates similar to those of high-speed fiber optic networks on Earth. The system was tested successfully during the commissioning phase of the mission, while LADEE was still at a higher altitude.

LADEE was launched Sept. 6 on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V, an excess ballistic missile converted into a space launch vehicle and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. LADEE is the first spacecraft designed, developed, built, integrated and tested at Ames. It also was the first probe launched beyond Earth orbit from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission. Ames manages the overall mission and serves as a base for mission operations and real-time control of the probe. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the science instruments and technology demonstration payload, the science operations center and overall mission support. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.

For more information about the LADEE mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ladee