Artemis I: NASA SLS launch postponed at least to late September, possibly October

After the first failed attempt to launch NASA SLS for the first time for the Artemis I mission on August 29, there appears to be good prospects for the second attempt in early September. After postponing the launch from September 2 to 3, preparations were underway when the agency once again had to shut down operations to resolve an issue.

The good news this time is that it is not the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion capsule that caused the final block of the launch attempt but rather a refueling structure (according to what emerged from the first investigations on the incident). However, this means postponing the launch of Artemis I at least until the end of September or even the end of October. Bill Nelson (NASA administrator) has however confirmed that, despite the postponement, the agency intends to launch the Artemis II mission in 2024 while the Artemis III moon landing is still expected in 2025. However, these are provisional estimates that could be revised in the future (and almost certainly will be).

NASA SLS launch for Artemis I postponed for a few weeks
During the conference that was held yesterday evening, after the announcement of the postponement of the launch by the space agency, the first information on what happened was given. The executives present however stated that the analyzes are still in progress and therefore more details will be released shortly. The situation is therefore evolving both as regards the examination of the problems and the timing of the launch of Artemis I.

While some of the problems that plagued NASA SLS seem to always involve the same component, in reality they are different parts. In the last launch attempt yesterday evening (Italian time) it was a leak of liquid hydrogen from a quick release fitting that feeds the central stadium. Despite the attempts of the ground crews (from repositioning the fitting to using helium under pressure after closing a valve or heating and cooling the section), it was not possible to re-seal the fitting, thus leading to the premature end of operations.

China beats the US in space launches in the third quarter of 2021, reaching 15

The space launch market is becoming increasingly important both in terms of numbers and in terms of revenues. Through the data released by BryceTech we can look at the data for the third quarter of 2021. According to what was reported, China through the CASC (Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Company) carried out more space launches during the quarter, touching 15 launches against 3 of reality like SpaceX for the United States. But there is much more also thanks to the comparison with the second quarter of this year. China and the US dominate the space launch market Also according to the information released by BryceTech, between the 15 launches of CASC and the 3 of SpaceX Arianespace ranks with 5 while Roscosmos is in fourth position with 2 launches. In Q3 2021, companies such as ULA, Firefly, Astra, iSpace, Northrop Grumman, Rocket Lab and Expace made a single launch. This account, however, as recalled by those who defined the table, also includes failed launches as in the case of Firefly. By way of comparison, in the previous quarter (Q2 2021), there were 11 launches of SpaceX and CASC respectively. 3 instead were those of Roscosmos and Arianespace, 2 those of ULA and Northrop Grumman and 1 Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab and the Iranian space agency. If we consider the number of spacecraft / satellites launched (regardless of operation), Arianespace dominates the ranking with 111 units, followed by SpaceX with 61, CASC with 30. The other companies are all further down in the rankings. Altogether 226 spacecraft / satellites were launched with 73% being for telecommunications. Only 12 were for data collection from space and 2% were manned or with cargo destined for space stations. Furthermore, 90% were smallsats which, however, concern only 24% of the mass. In the last quarter 577 spacecraft / satellites were launched with 83% related to telecommunications.

SpaceX sends four civilians into orbit. The Inspiration4 mission has started

The SpaceX mission “Inspiration4”, the first space mission with a crew of only four private citizens without any previous astronaut training, started in the Italian night. For the next three days, the four “civilians” aboard the Crew Dragon will travel in low earth orbit, flying over 90% of the inhabited land of planet Earth

The Insiration4 space mission, the first in the world entirely civilized by SpaceX, left at 8 pm (2 am in Italy). On board the Crew Dragon “Resilience” that now orbits over our heads, in fact, there are four people who have never carried out any specific training as an astronaut, other than that given by SpaceX in view of the mission. Of the four people on board, only one is a billionaire, the venture’s financier Jared Isaacman. The other three are “normal” people (at least by the standards that astronauts have accustomed us to): geoscientist Sian Proctor, engineer Christopher Sembroski and Dr. Hayley Arceneaux (the first person in space with a prosthesis). Each of the four crew members was assigned a call sign for communications during the mission: “Rook” for Isaacman, “Leo” for Proctor, “Nova” for Arcenaux and “Hanks” for Sembroski “Hanks”.

Inspiration4 has left Earth from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the embarkation point for the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions, and for the next three days it will travel overhead flying in low Earth orbit, possibly even higher. of the International Space Station (which is about 390 kilometers high). The four crew members were selected by SpaceX on the basis of four different human characteristics that well represent the spirit with which the earthlings are facing the future of space exploration: leadership, prosperity, generosity and hope.

The mission’s goal is completely new in the space exploration landscape: not scientific research but charity. In fact, the purpose of Inspiration4 is to raise 200 million in funds for childhood cancer research conducted by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the most advanced centers in the world. Anyone can somehow “finance” this space mission by sending their donation. Beyond the nice gesture, SpaceX revolutionizes space once again, no longer a frontier, but an absolutely familiar place for both those who leave and those who remain on the ground, which can feel much more involved in the new space age of humanity than it is. it could do so earlier with missions run by state space agencies.

NASA is testing a flying taxi: the future of mobility is taking shape.

NASA has started flight tests on an electric eVTOL built by Aviation and intended for the rapid transport of people. The air taxi allows NASA to collect data on performance and acoustics to help the sector evolve, but not only: what has been learned will serve to fill any gaps in the regulations written by the FAA. by Manolo De Agostini published on 03 September 2021, at 15:01 in the Science and technology channel NASA NASA “studies” the so-called “flying cars”. The US Space Agency has started flight tests with Joby Aviation’s eVTOL (acronym Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing), a flight powered entirely by electricity and capable of getting up and landing vertically. The initiative, part of the National Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) campaign, will run until Friday 10 September at the Joby Electric Flight Base located near Big Sur, California. It is the first time that NASA has tested an eVTOL, an aircraft that many could act as an air taxi for those in the cities and surrounding areas, adding another way of moving people and goods than traditional ones. NASA’s goal is to collect vehicle performance and acoustics data (via more than 50 microphones to monitor different flight phases) for use in modeling and simulating future concepts. The test will help identify gaps in FAA (Feal Aviation Administration) regulations and policies so that eVTOLs can become an integral part of future mobility. One of their strengths, in addition to reducing pollution, should in fact be the acoustic profile: being ideally less noisy than helicopters, they could be more suitable for flights in densely populated areas. NASA’s experiments will serve as a preamble to a test phase, known as NC-1, scheduled for 2022, with more complex flight scenarios and also carried out with other aircraft. In short, NASA’s job is to act as a consultant to the FAA to arrive at clear and safe regulations. According to some experts it will take five years or more to see an eVTOL fly in the American skies, while Joby is more optimistic and is aiming to launch an air taxi service in 2024. Joby Aviation went public a few weeks ago on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), after ten years of activity and a business that has yet to go live but which, as soon as it starts, could soon become a multi-billionaire again.

A super laser will protect us from lightning: tests at the top of the Swiss Alps

Installed on top of the Säntis a laser capable of capturing lightning strikes and directing them in a controlled manner to the ground. This modern lightning rod system was created to protect sensitive installations, things and people over an area much larger than the Franklin lightning rod.

Lightning strikes are as fascinating as they are dangerous, both for the environment (they can trigger accidents) and for the safety of people and things. The climate change that we are sadly already experiencing leads to increasingly devastating and violent storms and already today, on average, lightning strikes between 6,000 and 24,000 people a year. There are techniques to protect yourself from lightning, but for now the best solution is still based on the concept of lightning rod, invented by Benjamin Franklin almost 300 years ago.

The Laser Lightning Rod (LLR) project of the European consortium EIC FET-Open wants to go further, and for this reason a new type of lightning protection based on the use of a powerful laser fired upwards has been developing for some years. capable of capturing and discharging lightning strikes. It is a technique that aims to transfer the charge present in the clouds to the ground in a controlled way.

As reported by CNN, the technology is now ready for field testing at the weather station in Säntis (Switzerland), at an altitude of 2500 meters. Getting the laser up to that height wasn’t easy when you think that 29 tons of material were transported to the top of the mountain, including 18 tons of concrete blocks to anchor everything securely in the face of strong winds.

University of Geneva researchers led by Professor Jean-Pierre Wolf lead the European Union-funded consortium that includes universities in Paris and Lausanne, rocket manufacturer ArianeGroup and German laser manufacturer Trumpf Scientific Lasers, tasked with developing a compact laser source with an unprecedented combination of energy and speed.

“This is one of the places in Europe most affected by lightning,” Wolf explained. “There is a radio transmission tower that is hit 100 to 400 times a year. So it’s a great place to do our experiments.”

Lightning strikes form when turbulent air inside a thundercloud swirls violently around ice crystals and water droplets, stripping electrons from their atoms and creating separate zones with opposite electrical charges. These electric fields can become very strong and because opposite charges attract each other, they can connect through a discharge of electricity, namely lightning.

The laser mimics and enhances this natural scenario by generating an electric field so strong that it directly strikes electrons from their atoms, creating the opposite charges necessary for lightning to form. The idea is to make the clouds discharge lightning in a controlled way. “That’s why we call it laser lightning rods,” Wolf told CNN. The beam will run along the existing transmission tower, which is over 120 meters high.

Traditional lightning rods only protect a limited area of ​​the ground, while the laser will cover a larger area, although exactly how much cannot yet be said. Furthermore, according to the theory, the laser could not only capture lightning generated by thunderstorm activity, but also trigger extra ones by discharging the clouds.

Virgin Galactic’s historic space launch

The company of billionaire Richard Branson opens the era of tourism in space a few days before that of Jeff Bezos, who did not take it well

On Sunday afternoon Italian time, the flight of the Virgin Galactic space plane is scheduled to begin, the space company of the British billionaire Richard Branson who will be aboard the aircraft for the first time. The flight of the VSS Unity – this is the name of the space plane – with Branson on board will exceed 80 kilometers of altitude, a threshold beyond which, according to some internationals, space begins and anticipates a similar flight of the Blue Origin space company by a few days. , scheduled for July 20, which will host billionaire and founder Jeff Bezos.

Branson, in short, will go to space before Bezos, and even if that of Virgin Galactic is still official for an experimental flight, with a group composed exclusively of company employees, for many it will be a fundamental moment in the field of space travel for private citizens.

The goal of both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin is to shortly begin inaugurating suborbital flights for private and wealthy passengers who intend to pay large sums per course for a few minutes for weightlessness during a space travel. The two companies, both led by famous and exuberant billionaires, however, responded two very different ways to get into space.

The flight of the VSS Unity spacecraft will depart from Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America, located in New Mexico, United States. It will also be a remarkable event from a media point of view: it will be streamed and presented by Stephen Colbert, the famous American comic and television presenter. Singer Khalid is expected to give a performance, and billionaire Elon Musk, founder of the space company SpaceX, has hinted that he may be present.

7th May: How to see the last supermoon of 2020



The SuperLuna show returns, even if it will be the last time for 2020 in which we will be able to attend this particular “space” show. Thursday 7 May the sky will give us the last Super Moon of the year. It will be the fourth and last of 2020, after those of February, March and April. Our satellite, in fact, will reach the Full Moon phase that day near its perigee (i.e. the minimum distance from Earth, which will touch at 05.05 on 7 May, 359655 km from us, against an average distance of just over of 384,000 km), so it will be a little closer, brighter and a little bigger than usual.

This “overlap” between full moon and passage to the perigee is now popularly referred to as “super moon”. The term, in itself, has no scientific value: in astronomy we prefer to speak of the Full Moon at Perigeo, but undoubtedly the nickname “Superluna” has a charm of its own. After this last appointment in 2020, the Superluna will return on April 27, 2021. Regarding its “floral identity”, the full moon of May was tied by the Native Americans to the flowers of the fields, which are abundant at this time of the year..

The imbeciles on the coronavirus

the illustration of Pawel Kuczysnki

By now the infection is affecting the whole world, and almost everyone is starting to understand the seriousness of the problem.

In Italy, coronavirus news has been in national newspapers for almost a month, but people have been joking for too long, and only now some are starting to repent. The thing that bothers me is seeing people’s imbeciles. In Italy there are people who joke all the time.

This is one of the reasons why I go sporadically on social …In northern Italy there are herniated damages and the damage to the image worldwide will affect all companies .. there is little to laugh about but people never change, even in emergencies ..

The elderly, who are the most at risk, would be able to cough you in the face, living in the doubt of being positive …