Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Horizons on its way - how did you watch?
January 19, 2006

Good afternoon,

The New Horizons launch was successful after a few delays for cloud cover. - LRK -

Interesting how one may need to multi-task between doing the dishes, washing the clothes, flipping through TV Channels and looking on the laptop with Windows Media and RealPlayer for the launch of New Horizons.

Add to that, Sangad (wife) wanting to cut my hair. :-)
(She did that after the launch and I looked out of the corner of my eye at the continuing tracking of the in orbit sequences and final kick and separation of spacecraft. )

I viewed NASA TV with Windows Media and RealPlayer and on a html page with a web cam at JHU/APL.

The Windows Media was about 30 seconds behind the RealPlayer video but had better audio on my laptop.
- LRK -

I managed to find a few news stations on cable that caught the launch just as it was finally ready to happen and here again the in studio announcers had stupid questions of their launch side reporters. :-(
- LRK -


I think we have our work cut out to educate the general public about space exploration and the benefits it has.

The NASA web sites are trying to add content for the students coming up through the ranks. We will need new scientists and engineers and some potential politicians that favor space, if it is all going to happen. IMHO

Jack Skis the Moon
Education News and Event Features

It will be interesting to see what improvements are made. NASA Watch had the following comments back in January 2005. Hope we do better this year.
- LRK -

NASA Education and PAO: Asleep at The Wheel (again)
NASA Ames to Host Thousands of Students for Annual Jason Event

"Starting Monday, Jan. 31, and continuing through Friday, Feb. 4, 2005, the main auditorium at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, will be 'transformed' into the Mississippi River Delta and Louisiana's Cajun country to host 5,200 Bay area students and teachers scheduled to participate in the 2005 JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands."

Editor's note: You'd think ARC PAO would want to drum up maximum visibility for this event. Apparently not: They only sent this media advisory out with 4 days advance notice (2 of which are on a weekend). Also, with 5,200 students participating in a NASA event, you'd think that NASA's Education Office would be heavily promoting this event. Again, the answer is no. The last "news" on the Education website at NASA HQ is dated 15 Jan 2005. No mention is made of this event.

Oh yes, then there is this new solicitation:

NASA Solicitation: Seeking Collaboration to Conduct Student Competition to Name the Node 2 Element of the International Space Station

"NASA seeks an unfunded collaboration with a commercial or non-profit organization to define, organize and execute a nationwide project-oriented competition for K-12 students in U.S. schools to select a name for the Node 2 element of the International Space Station (ISS) to be launched on a future Space Shuttle flight."

There is no mention of this national education project on the Education website either.

And then there are these College-level education awards announced today as well:

NASA Funds Work-Force Development Projects to Support Vision

"NASA has selected 32 consortia in the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. They will receive $3 million in awards this year for aerospace work force development to support the Vision for Space Exploration."

No mention of this announcement either. It is hard to imagine how you are going to excite students - and educators - when so many people at NASA PAO and its Education office are asleep at the wheel.


Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Your suggestions could show up here. :-) - LRK -
New Horizons will be a one-way journey to the Kuiper Belt and beyond; unlike some missions that return back to the Earth.


New Horizons launch press conference in progress:
+ Watch NASA TV
After launch aboard a Lockheed-Martin Atlas V rocket, the New Horizons spacecraft set out on a journey to the edge of the solar system. Liftoff occurred Jan. 19, 2006 at 2:00:00 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. New Horizons is headed for a distant rendezvous with the mysterious planet Pluto almost a decade from now.
As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system's last, great planetary secrets. The New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and Charon in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.

Primary Launch Window:
January 17 - February 14, 2006

Launch Vehicle:
Atlas V 551 first stage; Centaur second stage; STAR 48B solid rocket third stage

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

• To Pluto via Jupiter Gravity Assist (first 17 days of window)
• Direct to Pluto (last 12 days of window)


The Voyage
Early Cruise: Assuming liftoff during the primary launch window in January 2006, the first 13 months include spacecraft and instrument checkouts, instrument calibrations, trajectory correction maneuvers, and rehearsals for the Jupiter encounter.
Jupiter Encounter: Closest approach scheduled to occur between Feb. 25- March 2, 2007. Moving about 47,000 miles per hour (about 21 kilometers per second), New Horizons would fly 3 to 4 times closer to Jupiter than the Cassini spacecraft, coming within 31.7-32.4 Jupiter radii of the large planet.

Interplanetary Cruise: activities during the approximately 8-year cruise to Pluto include annual spacecraft and instrument checkouts, trajectory corrections, instrument calibrations and Pluto encounter rehearsals.


Link to Reuters RSS feeds if your interested. - LRK -

NASA probe blasts off for Pluto
Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:52 PM ET

By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - The world's first mission to Pluto blasted into space on Thursday on an Atlas 5 unmanned rocket to begin a 9 1/2-year journey to the only unexplored planet in the solar system.

After two days of delays due to poor weather and a power outage, the 197-foot tall (60-meter) rocket, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., lifted off at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

High winds at the Florida launch site forced the first scrub of the launch of the New Horizons spacecraft on Tuesday, followed on Wednesday by a storm-triggered power outage at the mission control center in Laurel, Maryland.

With an unprecedented five solid-fuel strap-on boosters, the rocket sent the relatively tiny spacecraft into space faster than any object launched by man before. It sprinted into the sky and quickly disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.

"The five solid rocket boosters are burning just fine, sending the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to the very edge of our solar system," said launch commentator Bruce Buckingham, shortly after the liftoff.

The launch sparked a small protest and was overseen by the Department of Energy because the spacecraft carried 24 pounds (10.9 kg) of radioactive plutonium that will decay over time, providing heat that the probe's generator can turn into electricity to power instruments and systems.

NASA has used the non-weapons grade plutonium, processed into ceramic pellets, for 24 previous science missions which, like New Horizons, travel too far to tap the sun's energy for solar power.

NASA chose the largest expendable rocket in the U.S. fleet to get the New Horizons spacecraft moving as quickly as possible on its 3 billion mile (4.9 billion-km) journey to Pluto. After additional boosts by two upper-stage motors, the probe was expected to move at 36,000 mph (57,934 kph).

Next year, the spacecraft is expected to pick up an additional 9,000 mph (14,483 kph) by bouncing off Jupiter's massive gravity field for a slingshot maneuver toward Pluto. Even so, it will take New Horizons until July 2015 to reach Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

Pluto is the largest and best known of a relatively new type of planetary body called a Kuiper Belt object. The Kuiper Belt is located beyond Neptune's orbit, which is 30 times farther away from the sun than Earth. It contains frozen objects believed to be leftover remains from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

While not much is known about Pluto, by the time the probe arrives, scientists may have a better idea of what to look for. A capsule containing samples of a Kuiper Belt-formed comet were returned to Earth on Sunday.

"For all the ideas and theories that people might have, we have some real ground truth," said University of Washington's Donald Brownlee, the principal investigator for the so-called Stardust mission.

"We have some actual samples of the material that the solar system was formed from," he said.


© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Ooops - LRK - but they said I could send you an e-mail link.
RSS source for Science news

Press Release Source: NASA

NASA Awards Scientific Support Services Contract
Thursday January 19, 2:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA has selected SGT, Inc., Greenbelt, Md., for award of the Geophysics, Geodynamics and Space Geodesy Support contract.
The contractor provides support for ongoing missions such as the Laser Geodynamic Satellite and new missions like the Mercury Messenger and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The work includes but is not limited to instrument and software development and maintenance; scientific data analysis; associated technical and administrative work. This contract supports NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Science Mission Directorate, Greenbelt, Md.

SGT will receive a cost-plus award fee, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity task order contract with a minimum value of $1 million and a maximum value of $39 million. The contract has a five-year ordering period; however, individual efforts may extend beyond five years.
The principal work will be performed at Goddard, Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va., and at the contractor's facility.

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

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