The GeekDad Space Report for April 19, 2010

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The Volcano Eyjafjallajökull Eruption From Aqua's MODIS Instrument (Image: NASA)The Volcano Eyjafjallajökull Eruption From Aqua's MODIS Instrument (Image: NASA)

The Volcano Eyjafjallajökull Eruption From Aqua's MODIS Instrument (Image: NASA)

Hello and welcome to this week’s GeekDad Space Report. The picture to go with this week’s post is an incredible image captured by the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull whose cloud of ash has caused travel disrutipions by grounding flight over Europe. Be sure to check out the GeekDad article answering questions about the eruptions. I reported on a single launch planned for last week, the launch of a communications satellite by India. Unfortunately, the upper-stage went off course and sent the payload into the sea.

The Space Shuttle Discovery has departed the International Space Station and was scheduled to land today. Mission Control has waved off both attempt this morning due to poor weather at the Kennedy Space Center. The next landing opportunity for Kenned Space Center is 7:33 a.m. EDT tomorrow and landing opportunities for Edwards Air Force Base will also be considered.

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

Wednesday, April 21
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V – 501 Configuration
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) (Map View)
Payload: X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
Launch Time: 22:44 – 01:07 (4/22/2010) GMT – 18:44-21:07 EDT
Notes: Launch of a recoverable spacecraft by the US Air Force. Scheuduled to land at an undisclosed point in the future at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Saturday, April 24
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launch Vehicle: Proton
Payload: SES 1
Launch Time: 11:19 GMT
Notes: Launch of a telecommunications satellite for SES World Skies.

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.

Active Galactic Nuclei in nearby galaxies: a new view of the origin of the radio-loud radio-quiet dichotomy?

Instrument(s): NICMOS & WFC3

Resolving the Smallest Galaxies with ACS

Instrument(s): ACS

How Galaxies Acquire their Gas: A Map of Multiphase Accretion and Feedback in Gaseous Galaxy Halos

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.

Discoveries from Cluster

The Cluster mission, a group of four identical spacecraft, has measured the acceleration of electrons in Earth’s magnetosphere. It is this acceleration that pushes the electrons, brought in on the Solar winds, into atmospheric molecules causing the glow of the aurora.

Cryosat -2 Radar Up & Running

I have previously reported on the launch of the Cryosat-2 mission and the successful launch that occurred. Continuing their line of success, the mission has successfully activated the radar instrumentation and all systems are functioning beautifully. Be sure to check out the video in the BBC article of the launch of Cryosat-2 aboard a converted ICBM!

Have a great week everyone!

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