Space Shuttle Atlantis to Launch 16 Nov 2009

McZiderRed

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Continuing the scientific theme on Clip_the_Apex, I thought a bit of live action would be good! :)

Today, Monday 16 Nov 2009, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is due to blast off at 1928 GMT. Countdown clock.

After today's launch, there are only five planned missions left for the shuttle. Live coverage of the preparation and launch can viewed here on NASA TV.

There's just under two hours to go... :popcorn:
 

McZiderRed

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As the Atlantis mission is to dock & service the International Space Station, this web page tracks both the ISS and the shuttle at the same time. So on Wednesday, you should be able to watch their respective icons dock together!
 

cider_and_toast

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That live tracking website is great. I've used it a couple of times before.

For interest, in the search type "Prospero". That was the only British built satellite placed into orbit by a British built rocket.
 

McZiderRed

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cider_and_toast said:
For interest, in the search type "Prospero". That was the only British built satellite placed into orbit by a British built rocket.

That's cool. Thanks C_a_T.

"Prospero (Black Arrow)"! Britain sure knows how to name a rocket. 8-)
Launch date October 28, 1971. I was one year old... :)
 

cider_and_toast

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The story of Black Arrow is the usual one of brilliant work by UK technology but short sited lack of support from the UK government. The project had already been cancelled when the last Black Arrow rocket was being shipped to Australia for launch. The project director managed to convince the government that since the vehicle was already on it's way and had been paid for they should let it go. Realising that this would be the last chance to put a British satellite in space it had to work.

The previous launch went perfectly until the second stage failed to pressurise and the satellite (Orba) was lost.

Prosepro was designed to test various types of solar panel and carried some other small experiments. It was designed to last for a few months.

It's launch was so succesful that it will remain in orbit until the middle of this century. The main system was finally shut down a few years ago however the timing beacon can still be heard and tracked as it passes overhead. (I think it's beacon frequency is around 127Mhz)

The government saw no future in maintaining the ability to put satellites into low earth orbit and pulled out of ELDO which was the for-runner of the ESA in the early 70's. Interestingly, in all the launches of Black Arrow, Black Knight and Blue Streak there was only a handful of failures. A success rate that matched or exceeded almost every satellite delivery vehicle of any nation.
 

cider_and_toast

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Blue Streak Test Site - The remains of the Blue Steak test site at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria.

Black Arrow Test Site - Site of the Saunders Roe test site at High Down on the Isle of Wight where the Black Arrow rocket was "all up" tested before being shipped to Australia. The test pads are at either end of the semi circle with the block house in the middle. There is a small display and visitors centre in one of the old world war two bunkers at the top of the hill near the access road and you can access and walk around the entire site.
 

McZiderRed

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Thanks for posting the vids C_a_T. It's typical of British politicians to waste an opportunity created by British engineering ingenuity...

Well, it seems that cancelling the Black Arrow was just one part of the decline in British aspirations of being a space going nation. According to various press releases today, such as this in the Guardian, suggest that Britain's involvement is limited to a bit part.

NASA have recruited nematode worms from Bristol, for the current mission to the International Space Station, to test the affects of space travel on astronaut's muscles!

The diminutive space travellers are being flown into orbit as part of research that scientists hope will help explain how astronauts build and lose muscle as they circle the Earth.
Go for it me babbers!

If they need a translator when the plucky worms get back, then I volunteer as I speak fluent Bristolian!
 

McZiderRed

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OK. In case anyone's interested, here is an edited version of the itinerary of tomorrow's (Wednesday) activities for the shuttle, Atlantis, and the docking with the International Space Station.

ATLANTIS CREW WAKE UP09:28
RENDEZVOUS OPERATIONS BEGIN11:08
TI BURN14:05
ATLANTIS / ISS DOCKING
(may not be televised live)
16:53
SHUTTLE VTR PLAYBACK OF DOCKING17:18
ATLANTIS / ISS CREW HATCH OPENING18:53
[td]EVENT[/td][td]GMT[/td]

Personally, I've really enjoyed watching the footage on the NASA TV link (as posted at the top of this thread), but I think the real coup de grâce will be the docking of the shuttle with the Space station. Most events, as listed above, can be viewed live on that link. I, for one, will definitely be watching! :popcorn:
 

fat jez

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why oh why oh why are NASA still using imperial measurements. I watched the docking today and it was all given in feet per second. This is the space age, you're doing science, for goodness sake, use SI values!!!

*ahem* sorry :embarrassed:
 

cider_and_toast

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why oh why oh why are NASA still using imperial measurements. I watched the docking today and it was all given in feet per second. This is the space age, you're doing science, for goodness sake, use SI values!!!

The simple answer to that is that they are American and they know best.

There is of course the famous story of the Mars probe that crashed due to the fact that two different NASA centres were using imperial and metric measurements. (left hand / right hand interface failure!!!)
 

McZiderRed

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FB said:
I presume you nerdy, geeky space obsessed types have been here?

http://www.spacecentre.co.uk/Page.aspx/1/HOME/

As I've never been to that website, that must mean I'm not an obsessed nerdy, geeky space type. :D

If it's geeky to fancy the female flight controller who's sometimes in contact with the shuttle, Megan McCarthy,
then I'm guilty as charged... :whistle:
...obviously I'm not obsessed with her though! Now that would be nerdy!

*coughs* I'm watching this evening purely in the hope of some good footage of the space walk. :snacks:
 
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