Friday Links

Links are late again this week because I’ve been busy with stuff for my buddy’s wedding this weekend.  Today about half of the links are related to ATV-3 and its docking to the ISS this Wednesday (March 28th). A lot of the great ATV updates come from ESA’s ATV blog. They have been posting updates constantly so I haven’t included all of their content, go check it out for yourself!

ATV Stuff

Don Pettit got some great pictures of ATV on final approach looking aft from the Russian segment. He put them up along with a timelapse of docking at his blog. You have to see this

Speaking of timelapse, here is a timelapse of final approach and docking using the  NASA TV feed (rather than astronaut photography).

What stood out the most to me was how much wobble ATV had during the final hold at about 30 feet. In slow motion it usually looks and feels like approaching vehicles are holding perfect attitude, but that’s not possible of course. Then on contact, ATV drifts significantly in the docking ring before the probe is retracted for a hard mate. Realize that we’re talking about a very large vehicle (see photo on left) so that’s a lot of mass drifting around and a lot of force needed by the docking system  to rein it all in.

In celebration of the third ATV mission to ISS, ESA produced the following Beatles parody music video called Back at the ISS. Enjoy!

Here’s the first picture of Andre Kuipers inside ATV3. From the ESA blog.

ATV is having some sort of power problem that flight controllers are still resolving, but it seems ATV Control Center is confident they have good redundancy.

Down To Earth

Tonight at 8:30 PM is Earth Hour! The astronauts on ISS will be participating.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/astro_andre/statuses/179931302915616770″]

There was a brief article in the Washington Post about a Zero Gravity airplane flight.

NASA finally got the ATREX mission of the ground on Monday night creating a psychedelic light show in the sky for people on the Easy Coast. The mission released some tracers into the high atmosphere to track the wind currents, something still not well understood.

Photo via APOD

Jeff Bezos has announced that his research team has found the first stage of the Apollo 11 Saturn V launch vehicle in the Atlantic ocean. They plan to raise the engines from 14,000 feet of water. NASA has openly supported the private venture.

The Ukraine celebrates 50 years of spaceflight for their country.

If you’re into space politics (which I don’t post much about here. I like to keep it upbeat) then this might be a good summary of the Senate hearings last week, from Parabolic Arc.

In Orbit (not ATV-related)

Don Pettit takes the millionth astronaut photo from the ISS!

Speaking of Don Pettit’s pictures, he wrote an interesting post about ISS star trail photography.

The date for Expedition 30’s return to Earth date was revised. Dan Burbank, along with Russians Shkaplerov and Ivanishin, will come home on that date after 165 days on ISS (more than a month longer than originally planed).

I finally found how to get the English translation of Andre Kuipers’ blog from space. I recommend subscribing! Here is his post about taking refuge in the Soyuz vehicles last Friday, due to late notice space debris. I was on console as ADCO when we preparing, the shift before.

March 31, 2012 12:00 pm

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