The GeekDad Space Report for June 1, 2010

Geek Culture

Landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center (Image: NASA)

Welcome to the GeekDad Space Report for the week of May 31st, 2010 (publishing the day after Memorial Day). If you are in the United States, I hope you enjoyed Memorial Day and if you aren’t in the United States, I hope you are had a great Monday as well! The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed this week, possibly for the last time, after a very successful mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The GPS satellite I have been reporting on the launch for finally launched this past Thursday but the Flacon 9 flight has still not occurred and is scheduled, along with three other launches, for this week.

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

Wednesday, June 2
Launch Site: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
Launch Vehicle: Rokot
Payload: SERVIS 2
Launch Time: 01:59 GMT (21:59 EDT on June 1st)
Notes: Mission to evaluate commercial parts for utilization in space.

Thursday, June 3
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launch Vehicle: Proton
Payload: BADR 5
Launch Window: 22:00 GMT (16:00 EDT)
Notes: Launch of a telecommunications satellite for the Middle East.

Friday, June 4
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Pad: SLC-40 (Map View)
Payload: Dragon
Launch Window: 15:00-19:00 GMT (11:00-15:00 EDT)
Notes: Maiden launch of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle carrying a qualification unit of the Dragon re-supply vehicle. Launch delayed from last week.

Saturday, June 5
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
Launch Vehicle: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
Payload: Cartosat 2B, StudSat,
Launch Window: 03:53 GMT (23:53 EDT on June 4th)
Notes: Launch of an Indian remote sensing satellite, a nano-satellite built by Indian students, and 3 other small satellite payloads.

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 population of compact planetary nebulae in the Galactic Disk

Instrument(s): WFC3

Search for Very High-z Galaxies with WFC3 Pure Parallel

Instrument(s): WFC3

Ultra-Luminous x-Ray Sources in the Most Metal-Poor Galaxies

Instrument(s): 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.

Voyager 2

Hurtling through the outer solar system the Voyager 2 spacecraft just keeps going. Voyager 2 stopped transmitting science data a couple weeks ago but after a fix by software engineers, the science data is flowing once again. As of this posting, Voyager 2 is just over 92 Astronomical Units (AU) from our Sun. An AU is defined as the mean distance from the Earth to our Sun which puts Voyager 2 around 8.56 billion miles from our Sun. For reference, the orbit of Pluto has an average distance from our Sun of 31 AU.

Have a great week everyone!

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