March 31, 2013
[This is an interesting article that I found, as it mentions the term “Space Elevator”. Now these have been in existence for years but only now is it coming to the forefront as a “possibility”. I also find it interesting that 3D printers are becoming front page news while they’ve had replicators also for years. They’re just introducing it to us slowly so when the technology DOES come forth, we’ll be consciously ready for it. t]
When the Space Shuttle was the primary taxi to take astronauts to the ISS, it was a 2-day journey. No longer.
Just a short while ago, a Soyuz space craft docked with the International Space Station (ISS), less than six hours after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA reported that the lift off was at 07:43 Eastern Australian Daylight Time, with the docking completed at 13:28 this afternoon. The hatches were opened at 15:10 our time.
This new transit path is the result of the ISS being lifted from its previous 350 mile high orbit (which was a limit imposed by the shuttle’s abilities) to 400 miles.
The new path requires just four orbits of the Earth to complete the chase and docking compared to the previous 30 orbits. Of course this requires much greater precision in the timing of the launch and the mid-flight thruster burns to match speeds of the two vessels.
Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) along with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy are the first station crew members to take this expedited route to the ISS which had previously been tested with three separate Progress cargo vessel missions.
Cassidy was previously a Navy SEAL.
Prior to the mission, Vinogradov joked during a pre-launch briefing that “With such a short time the crew could even take an ice cream [to the current ISS crew] — it would not be able to melt.”
Cassidy added, “When you lay out the timeline of those four orbits, there are certain key activities that need to happen, basically burns, that need to occur on time to get you to the rendezvous. The way it works out, there’s about 30 to 40 minutes between each of those major activities. That’s enough time for one guy or two to float up and basically use the restroom (in the spacecraft’s upper compartment), that’s what it boils down to, kind of stretch your legs and pee.”
With such a tight schedule, the Soyuz was lunched close to the time when the ISS was overhead, and in fact the launch was observed by the ISS crew. Current ISS Commander Chris Hadfield tweeted “Just watched the Soyuz launch! The rocket’s red glare, powering up away from the Earth, turning towards us in hot pursuit. Incredible to see.”
Article can be found HERE.
The Space Elevator Explained
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