Space News April-May 2000...Note: The links below will
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Atlantis has landed at Kennedy Space Center!
29 May 2000 - 3AM - Atlantis is back on the
ground!! More details to follow.
New mission photos here!
The STS-101 crew completed a
successful mission to service and supply the International Space Station.
After a flawless docking with the station, a five-day stay and undocking,
Commander James Halsell landed Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space
Center at 1:20 a.m. CDT Monday. During the mission, Atlantis logged 6.6
million kilometers (4.1 million miles).
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
Today is Memorial Day. As you enjoy your holiday, please take a moment to reflect on
all the sacrifices made by all the fallen heroes on all the battlefields, so
that we could have the liberty we treasure.
26 May 2000 - Atlantis crew will undock from Space Station tonight at
7:03PM EDT! Last night, the astronauts sealed
up the station, after leaving it well stocked and
fully powered for its
first residents this fall. Check Mission Control's morning
and evening status reports.
At 3:04 a.m. CDT, the
STS-101 astronauts completed their stay inside the International Space
Station when they closed the last station hatch. While on the station, the
crew completed all of their scheduled tasks, which included performing
maintenance work, delivering supplies and raising the orbit of the station.
The crew was in the station for three days, eight hours and one minute.
Later today, Atlantis is scheduled to undock from the station at 6:03 p.m.
Landing is scheduled for 1:20 a.m. CDT Monday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Note: CDT (Houston time) is one hour earlier than EDT (Florida time).
See the Houston Chronicle's mission archive of photos and videos here!
The Russian-made crew module, "Zvezda", is ready
for launch this July. The ISS
component will launch aboard a Proton rocket from Baikonur.
25 May 2000 - Shuttle crew leaves the International Space Station
tonight! NASA reports:
The seven STS-101
astronauts spend their final full day docked to the International Space
Station as they prepare for undocking Friday evening.
Watch streaming video on NASA
TV to see continuing coverage of STS-101. Thursday at 11:26 p.m. CDT the
crew is scheduled to begin leaving the space station when it exits Zarya.
The NASA TV schedule is available online.
Everything remains on schedule for undocking on
Friday evening at 6:07 p.m. CDT. The station is now primed and ready to
receive the next major piece of the station, the Zvezda Service Module,
when it is launched between July 8-14.
Note: The station egress will begin Thursday night/Friday morning at
12:26AM EDT. The final hatch closings should occur between 2:30AM and 3AM
EDT. Check Mission Control's morning
and evening status
were successful in making
all repairs, transferring supplies for future crews, and boosting the
orbit of the space station.
Today In Space History: 39 years ago today (25 May 1961),
President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress and
made the bold
commitment to land a man on the moon before the decade was out. The
historic speech spurred America to kick the space race into high gear.
Sadly, JFK would not live to see the dream
accomplished in 1969...
24 May 2000 - Astronauts continue their work aboard the
International Space Station, performing maintenance and moving supplies from
Shuttle Atlantis to the station, in preparation for permanent occupancy
later this year. NASA reports:
The STS-101 astronauts will spend their second day inside the station as they
continue the maintenance work and supply transfer activities that began Monday. During their first day, Atlantis' crew moved 870 pounds of supplies
and equipment inside the station. At 7:01 p.m. CDT, the first of three planned station reboost maneuvers began.
Check Mission Control's morning
and evening status
III finally gets off the ground! After four aborted attempts, the
unmanned rocket at long last lifted off from Cape Canaveral, carrying a
22 May 2000 - Last night's space-walk went
well, with astronauts Jim Voss and
Jeff Williams spending over six hours outside the
Station, orbiting 206 miles above the Earth. They worked on the two
external cranes, repaired an antenna, and installed handrails for future
crews. Tonight, astronaut Helms and cosmonaut
have entered the station to
begin work on the ventilation system and begin
replacement of the
batteries which collect power from the solar arrays. NASA reports:
Commander Jim Halsell
and his crew entered the International Space Station at 7:03 p.m. CDT
Monday. They have begun their maintenance tasks, which include replacing
four batteries, three current converters and two current converter
controllers. Also, three fire extinguishers, 10 smoke detectors and four
cooling fans will be replaced. The shuttle and the station both continue
to operate with no significant problems.
is set to separate from the ISS Friday and return to KSC
on Monday (Memorial Day!). Check Mission Control's morning
and evening status reports.
NASA selling out???
The U.S. space agency is rumored to be developing commercial uses for the
International Space Station. I guess we can expect all that tax money
probe does Ganymede fly-by: remote spacecraft continues to deliver the
scientific goods as it swoops over another satellite of Jupiter (the solar
system's largest moon!)
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
21 May 2000 - 5:30PM EDT - After last night's spot-on
docking, the crew of
Shuttle Atlantis is
space-walk, scheduled for shortly
before 11PM EDT. See this morning's Mission Control Status here;
tonight's will be here.
Watch NASA TV for live video
coverage of the EVA.
In other news: The unmanned Atlas III rocket launch that was
scrubbed Saturday will be rescheduled
for no earlier than Tuesday, 23 May, with a launch window from 5:38 - 7:58PM Eastern Daylight Time.
21 May - 1:28AM EDT - Atlantis reports that there are
no leaks in the docking collar.
The crew is preparing their tools, and depressurizing the Shuttle cabin to
10.2 PSI, for tomorrow's
EVA. There is a Mission Status Briefing scheduled for about an hour from now (2:30 AM EDT). Watch NASA
TV for live video coverage.
21 May 2000 - 12:50AM EDT - The crew of STS-101 has performed a perfect
rendezvous and docking maneuver with the vacant ISS.
Commander Jim Halsell has acknowledged the great support they received from Mission Control at Houston. They will now perform leak checks
in preparation for entry into the space station tomorrow evening.
21 May - 12:35AM EDT - Atlantis has docked with the International Space Station!
Docking occurred on time at 12:31 AM EDT, as the combined spacecraft flew at a height of 209 statute miles over the Ukraine.
The docking ring is being retracted so that a "hard mate" can
occur between the Orbiter and the ISS.
In other news: Atlas
rocket scrubbed for fourth time! The booster, due to launch a European
comm satellite, was nearly prevented from launching by, of all things, a celebrity
fishing tournament (!!!), but in the end, an anomalous reading from
the flight control system kept the rocket grounded. The next chance for
the Russian-engined American rocket? Sunday
20 May 2000 - Shuttle docks with ISS tonight!
The seven astronauts aboard
Space Shuttle Atlantis spent most of their day preparing for upcoming
mission events. At 7 a.m. CDT Saturday, Atlantis was located 692
kilometers (430 statute miles) behind the space station. Commander Jim
Halsell and Pilot Scott Horowitz fired the shuttle’s engines to adjust
the rate at which Atlantis was catching up with the station. This morning
the crew will begin its sleep period at 8:11 a.m. CDT and wake up at 4:11
p.m. CDT to begin rendezvous activities. The International Space
Station continued to orbit the Earth Saturday morning as it awaited the arrival
of STS-101. Atlantis is scheduled to dock with the station at 11:31 CDT tonight.
Docking will occur over Eastern Ukraine near the Ukranian border with Russia.
The docking coordinates are 49 degrees 76 minutes north latitude and 38 degrees
20 minutes east longitude. Atlantis' seven-member crew will deliver supplies and
equipment and perform repairs on the station.
Note: The docking
is scheduled for Sunday morning at half-past midnight on the East coast.
This mission, only the second Shuttle docking with the
ISS, will perform
repairs on battery and comm systems, install external handrails, and stow
about 1 ton of supplies for future Station occupants. Part of their cargo
includes an (unlit) Olympic
torch and a flag which will help kick off this year's Olympic
Games in Sydney, Australia. This crew is slated to
return to Earth on 29 May 2000. Check Mission Control's morning
Today is Armed Forces Day (U.S.). Did you know that the Shuttle crew
currently in orbit features 3 Air Force and 2 Army personnel? Here's a
big salute from us to everyone in uniform!
Galileo probe reveals volcanoes and
NASA conference examines the future
of air and space flight...
Russia plans to put their space station on hiatus: Mir to be
vacated for the summer to
19 May 2000 - 10PM EDT - Atlantis
is in orbit, on its way to a Saturday night
rendezvous with the vacant International Space
Station. The pre-dawn
liftoff from Florida's Kennedy Space Center was the 23rd
night launch of the program. The crew
is made up of 4 American men, 2 American women, and one Russian man. Check
Mission Control's morning
19 May - 7:15AM EDT - NASA spokesmen at KSC confirmed the excellent condition of
Atlantis, noting some minor issues, but overall calling the
launch of the
newly-modified spacecraft "flawless". They discussed future
launches this year (3 more are expected). Since the launch took place late
in the crew's workday (but pretty early in ours!), the crew is scheduled
for sleep only four hours from now.
19 May - 7:00AM EDT - The STS-101 crew is making preparations
to transform Atlantis from a launch vehicle into an orbiting platform, for
tomorrow's docking with the ISS.
They are getting ready to open the payload bay doors, and are firing the
Orbital Maneuvering System engines to circularize their orbit.
19 May - 6:20AM EDT - Atlantis is in
orbit! A beautiful sunrise
launch at KSC went flawlessly. Mission Control has confirmed External Tank separation,
and all systems are performing as expected.
19 May - Launch Day! Shuttle Atlantis is set to fly at 6:12AM EDT today.
Latest KSC status here;
follow the launch live at Florida
Today, and CBS
News. Watch live video on NASA
TV! (Check schedule here).
Check back with us for launch coverage and mission analysis!
18 May 2000 -
Atlantis countdown continues:
The Space Shuttle is
set to launch early Friday morning from Kennedy Space Center, on its 10-day
mission to re-supply the vacant International Space Station and boost
its sagging orbit, decayed by high solar activity and friction with
the Earth's atmosphere. CNN correspondent Miles
O'Brien gives an excellent analysis of the
whole ISS saga.
The launch team continues
preparations for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on Friday. Weather
forecasters indicate a 100-percent chance of favorable weather for launch
Friday and a 90-percent chance of favorable weather Saturday, May 20. At
the launch pad this morning, workers completed final efforts to stow the
flight crew's equipment aboard Atlantis. Operations to load the external
tank begin tonight as early as 7:47 CDT. When Atlantis
launches, the International Space Station will be flying over Turkey,
northeast of Ankara near the Black Sea.
Latest KSC status here;
Watch live video on NASA
TV! (Check schedule here).
III launch scrubbed for third time -- Officials are not sure when the next
launch opportunity will be for the unmanned rocket.
engine sets endurance record: an experimental rocket engine was fired
for 290 seconds at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The X-33
spacecraft may one day replace the current-generation Shuttle fleet.
National Academy of Sciences recommends priorities
for astronomy research.
comet which passed though our solar system 3 years ago (but not
spotted at the time) has been discovered via old photos.
awards banquet tonight, Dan Goldin to present...
Cold War, Hot Moon: Did the U.S. consider
exploding a nuclear device on the lunar surface in the 1950's?
Scientists involved in the project have come out about the Air-Force-sponsored
plan to create a show of force to the Soviets, who were then winning the space race.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and the project was
abandoned. A young
Carl Sagan was one of the scientists who argued against it (do you think he
said it would be "lunacy"? Get it?? Sorry...)
17 May 2000 - Yesterday's second failed attempt to launch the EUTELSAT
communications satellite (aboard the new Atlas III
rocket) is pushing
back the launch of Shuttle Atlantis by one more
day. The new date -
19 May 2000 at 6:12AM EDT.
Early Wednesday morning, launch
controllers at Kennedy Space Center added 23 ˝ hours to the launch
countdown for STS-101 at the T minus 11 hour built-in hold. Atlantis and
its seven-member crew are now scheduled to lift off at 5:12 a.m. CDT
Friday, May 19. Thursday, the Rotating Service Structure will move away
from the orbiter at about 9 a.m. CDT, and refueling of the external tank
will begin Thursday night at about 7:47 CDT. Weather forecasters are
saying that there is only a 10 percent chance of weather delaying the
launch on Friday.
More details in today's Shuttle Status Report.
This mission will prepare for the docking of the Russian-built crew
quarters for the ISS.
NASA is concerned about safety
issues with the "Zvezda" module.
15 May 2000 - NASA has started the
countdown for the launch
Atlantis. They tried 3 times last
month, but were thwarted by
high winds at the launch pad, and at emergency landing sites. NASA reports:
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the countdown for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis
began at 8:30 a.m. CDT Monday at the T minus 43 hour mark. Meanwhile,
preparations for the launch continued on schedule. Sunday night, Atlantis'
seven-member crew arrived at KSC. Weather forecasters are predicting only
a 10 percent chance of unacceptable weather for Thursday's launch, which
is scheduled for 5:38 a.m. CDT.
NASA is weighing options for future
unmanned missions to
One choice could be to use an
airbag system similar to the one used
on 1997's successful Pathfinder mission.
Today In Space History: 37 years ago today (15 May
1963), astronaut Gordon Cooper was launched into Earth orbit aboard Mercury
9, the last of the series. The flight took Cooper
around the globe 22 times, and featured the first use of a TV camera in
space, as well as the first controlled re-entry.
13 May 2000 - Chandra, the orbiting X-Ray telescope launched last year, has imaged a blast
wave from a supernova - the first time such an event has been captured
so soon after a star explodes.
Comet" makes one more trip: NASA's original aircraft for
high-speed climbs & dives (to simulate weightlessness) was known as
the "Vomit Comet". The KC-135
Zero-G Trainer was in use from 1973 to 1995. Now
retired, it will be on permanent location at Houston's Johnson Space
9 May - Looking to get to the moon, but can't be bothered with all that pesky training?
Do you get "space-helmet hair"? Here's an easier way - just wait until you're
dead, and have your
remains buried in lunar soil, courtesy of Celestis,
Inc. (only $12,500!). Final frontier, indeed...
Latest International Space Station status report
8 May 2000 - More extrasolar planets discovered? Astronomers in Switzerland,
working remotely through a Chilean observatory, have discovered evidence that may lead to the observation of
up to eight planets orbiting distant stars. The gravitational influence
they exert on their stars indicates that these worlds may be several times
the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
A Boeing Titan IV rocket launched a
satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (not NASA, folks!)
today. It was the first
successful launch of the beleaguered rocket since 3 failed attempts
over the past 2 years grounded the heavy-lift booster.
6 May 2000 - Sea Launch to try again: After a rocket carrying comm satellites exploded in March,
the international consortium, whose goal is to have a sustainable rocket
base on a floating platform in the Pacific, announced that they will make
another launch attempt this July.
bites NASA: Johnson Space Center hit by computer virus, email
Will Iran launch its own telecomm satellites? An Iranian government spokesman says that
his country will orbit two small satellites this year - one made with Russia's help.
5 May - Tonight's planetary
alignment, where the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
all appear close together in the sky, is the subject of wild speculation
about ecological disasters (tidal waves, etc) here on Earth. GET A CLUE!
The combined gravitational
effect of every planet in our solar system still is only a fraction
compared with the effects of the Sun and Moon, which are there every day. I'm
going back to my bunker now. Earthbound observers won't get to see the
show - the Sun is blocking the
view. A similar event in 2002 will be visible.
Yesterday's Space Day event featured talks from former astronauts John Glenn and Sally Ride.
Senator Glenn summed up aviation history as he spoke at the National Air
& Space Museum, and Dr. Ride described weightlessness and getting
along with her Shuttle crewmates.
Status report from NASA KSC...
To keep going back in the timeline, check the
Space News Archive for Jan - Feb 2000,
Oct - Dec 1999,