The GeekDad Space Report for March 22, 2010

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Image of Hubble from Servicing Mission 4 from the new Hubble 3D IMAX Movie (Image: Warner Brothers - Courtesy of NASA)Image of Hubble from Servicing Mission 4 from the new Hubble 3D IMAX Movie (Image: Warner Brothers - Courtesy of NASA)

Image of Hubble from Servicing Mission 4 from the new Hubble 3D IMAX Movie (Image: Warner Brothers – Courtesy of NASA)

Welcome to another addition of the GeekDad Space Report! The one launch scheduled for this past week successfully lofted a new EchoStar satellite into orbit. I also want to report on the launch of of a Chinese satellite from the beginning of the month. The satellite, called Yaogan, was launched on a Long March 4 rocket from the Jiuquan (map) launch site on March 5th. The satellite is believed to be a reconnaissance platform. We have the launch of the pair of CubeSat satellites that I originally reported on in the March 8th Space Report up again this week. Let’s cheer on the student teams and hope for great launch conditions this week in Virginia!

Launches (Sources: Spaceflight Now World Launch Schedule, Wallops Flight Facility Daily Range Schedule)

Saturday, March 27-
Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, US
Launch Pad: Pad 1
Launch Vehicle: Terrier-Malemute Sounding Rocket
Payload: ADMASat & Ploy-Sat Testbed Cubesats
Launch Time: 10:00 EDT
Notes: Launch of a pair of Cubesat satellites on a sounding rocket. Backup launch scheduled for Sunday, the 28th.

Interesting Hubble Observations

In many ways, all of the Hubble observations are interesting, but here is a list of some of the standouts in the coming week. A more complete list can be found at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) This Week On HST Website. Something new starting this week, I am going to provide some information on the instruments that will be used for the observation. Hubble has a payload of five scientific instruments plus three Fine Guidance Sensors. Much like I do with the launches above, I will provide information on the instruments to be used and a link to more information about the instrument.

The Mass-dependent Evolution of the Black Hole-Bulge Relations

Instrument(s): NICMOS & WFC3

Is 47 Tuc Young? Measuring its White Dwarf Cooling Age and Completing a Hubble Legacy

Instrument(s): ACS & WFC3

The Impact of Starbursts on the Gaseous Halos of Galaxies

Instrument(s): COS

This is a small list of the overall observations. You may also see some of these observations popping up in other weeks as many observation programs consist of several observations over time.

Be sure to check out the new Hubble 3D IMAX movie that came out this week and check out fellow GeekDad John Booth’s great review of the movie! Once we have a baby sitter we are going to check it out. It was amazing enough seeing something my GeekMom wife and I had worked on floating through space on NASA TV during the mission, I can’t imagine what it will look like in 3D on an IMAX screen!

James Webb Space Telescope

The good news keeps coming for the progress of the James Webb Space Telescope! The NIRSpec instrument Engineering Model (EM) and the MIRI Structural & Thermal Simulator (STM) have both been delivered to the Goddard Space Flight Center (to the cleanroom I talked about last week) for integration to the flight Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) for preliminary testing. Things are starting to really jump on that program. I’ll be reporting on the Interesting JWST Observations before too long!

Manned Spaceflight

While the Space Shuttle Discovery continued preparation for an April 5th launch, Bigelow Aerospace announced position openings for Astronauts. Previous experience is “not a prerequisite but it is a plus.” MSNBC carried an article this week about the planned final flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Enterprise will be moved from its current location at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, where it has been on display since 2003. Enterprise will be moved to another museum to make room for the Space Shuttle Discovery which will be placed in the museum after its last planned mission, which takes place this November.

Have a great week everyone!

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