The GeekDad Space Report for March 8, 2010

Geek Culture

The International Space Station from the Space Shuttle Atlantis (Image:NASA)The International Space Station from the Space Shuttle Atlantis (Image:NASA)

The International Space Station from the Space Shuttle Atlantis (Image:NASA)

Welcome to another edition of the GeekDad Space Report! The two launches last week of a Glonass navigation satellite and the next GOES weather satellite both made it off the ground, with a couple day delay on the GOES satellite. An interesting launch this week! There is a scheduled launch of a sounding rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia Coast. Most folks don’t know that there is a launch facility on the US mid-Atlantic Coast but the Wallops Flight Facility has had launch operations since 1945. Check out the launch outlook below for more information on this sounding rocket launch!

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

Thursday, March 11-
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: 12:00 GMT (07:00 EST)
Notes: Launch of a pair of Cubesat satellites on a sounding rocket. Backup launches scheduled for the 12th & 13th

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.

Planetary Nebulae, Globular Clusters and Binary Mergers

A Fundamental Test of Accretion Physics with NGC 4203

The Nuclear Structure of OH Megamaser Galaxies

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.

James Webb Space Telescope

This past week it was announced that the first flight mirror segment for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) completed polishing. Wired Science has an article about the mirror polishing and how steps are being taken to not repeat the error that caused the flaw in the primary mirror of the Hubble Space Telescope. In all, there will be 18 segments working together to form the primary mirror. I worked on JWST for several years and can say, without a doubt, that this observatory will be an amazing engine for discovery. Having the first mirror polished is incredibly exciting.

Manned Space

Hot on the heels of STS-130, the Space Shuttle Discovery has been rolled out to the launch pad in preparation for next month’s STS-131 mission to the ISS. There is a great writeup on the rollout over at Spaceflight Now.

That’s about all for this week. If you missed John Booth’s GeekDad article on helping NASA spot coronal mass ejections be sure to check it out!

Have a great week everyone!

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