The GeekDad Space Report for March 29, 2010

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Launch of Two Student CubeSat Payloads From NASA's WFF (Image: NASA)Launch of Two Student CubeSat Payloads From NASA's WFF (Image: NASA)

Launch of Two Student CubeSat Payloads From NASA's WFF (Image: NASA)

Welcome to another week for the GeekDad Space Report. I have been reporting for a few weeks now on the launch of a student CubeSat payload aboard a sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. I am very happy to report this week that the mission made it off the ground this past weekend! The mission launched on Saturday at 10:09 a.m. EDT and preliminary reports indicate that the payload performed well. Congratulations to the teams involved! We have one manned launch this week of a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) and a Space Shuttle launch to the ISS so early next week that I decided to report on the launch this week. I will provide more details in next week’s Space Report but wanted to make sure everyone knew about the launch.

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

Friday, April 2-
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Spacecraft: Soyuz
Launch Time: 04:04 GMT
Notes: Launch of members of the next expedition to the Space Station.

Monday, April 5-
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch Pad: Launch Complex 39A (Map View)
Mission: STS-131
Launch Time: 10:21 GMT (06:21 EDT)
Notes: Dubbed the “Experiment Express” mission, this mission will consist of a changeout and addition of a number of scientific experiments.

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.

The Nuclear Structure of OH Megamaser Galaxies

Instrument(s): ACS

Is the atmosphere of the hottest known transiting exoplanet evaporating?

Instrument(s): COS

Stretching the diversity of cosmic explosions: The supernovae of gamma-ray bursts

Instrument(s): ACS & WFC3

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.

Manned Spaceflight

This week, as noted above, brings the launch of the remainder of the Space Station Expedition 23 crew to the ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. The new crew will join the three members of the Expedition 23 crew already in place at the station. The three new crew members are:

The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been set for April 5th and I will include more details on the launch, hopefully including information on a successful launch, next week.

New Space Program

This week, the United Kingdom announced the creation of a new Space Agency. The new UK Space Agency will be headquartered in Swindon, England and represents a new focus for space exploration in the UK. The UK has always been very active in space exploration but the goal of the new agency is to focus those efforts better and replace the British National Space Centre. Congratulations to the UK on the new program!

Have a great week everyone!

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