Space Exploration / Space Flight: Manned

Update ...

The errant Chinese Long March rocket entered the atmosphere and crashed into the Indian Ocean west of the Maldives.

An out-of-control Chinese rocket plunged out of orbit Saturday night ET and reentered Earth's atmosphere, according to China's space agency.
The Long March 5B carrier rocket had an estimated landing area of 72.47°E longitude and 2.65°N latitude, just west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, China's National Space Agency said in a post on WeChat.
Most of the rocket was "destroyed" on reentry to the atmosphere, the space agency said

Not surprised.

Still, they should be a bit more responsible next time.
Another curiosity is that when astronauts remove their space suits from a space walk, they claim that their suits smell like a cross between gun powder and burnt metal.

The universe obviously is a smelly place.
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Another curiosity is that when astronauts remove their space suits from a space walk, they claim that their suits smell like a cross between gun powder and burnt metal.
The usual explanation is that it's ozone ...
Former NASA astronaut Thomas Jones, a veteran of three spacewalks before retiring from space flying in 2001, thinks the odor could stem from atomic oxygen that clings to spacesuit fabric.

"When you re-pressurize the airlock and get out of your suit, there is a distinct odor of ozone, a faint acrid smell," Jones told, adding that the smell is also similar to burnt gunpowder or the ozone smell of electrical equipment. "It's not noticeable inside the suit. The suit smells like plastic inside."

The smell, he adds, only occurs on a shuttle or the space station after a space walk and is unmistakable to astronauts working with the spacesuits and equipment that was used in the vacuum of space. ...
China is ready to launch its first crew to thier new space station.

"China is set to launch three astronauts into orbit to begin occupation of the country's new space station.

The three men - Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo - are expected to spend three months living and working aboard the Tianhe module some 380km (236 miles) above the Earth.

It will be China's longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.

Their Shenzhou-12 capsule is primed atop its Long March 2F rocket."
UK military opens first space command centre
The UK military has launched its first command centre aimed at protecting the country's interests in space.
Space Command, at RAF High Wycombe, will help the UK maintain a "battle-winning advantage" in this increasingly important domain, the government says.
China has issued a call for proposals for research into feasible construction of kilometer-long space structures.
China Wants to Build a Mega Spaceship That’s Nearly a Mile Long

China is investigating how to build ultra-large spacecraft that are up to 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) long. But how feasible is the idea, and what would be the use of such a massive spacecraft?

The project is part of a wider call for research proposals from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, a funding agency managed by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology. A research outline posted on the foundation’s website described such enormous spaceships as “major strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, exploration of the mysteries of the universe, and long-term living in orbit.”

The foundation wants scientists to conduct research into new, lightweight design methods that could limit the amount of construction material that has to be lofted into orbit, and new techniques for safely assembling such massive structures in space. If funded, the feasibility study would run for five years and have a budget of 15 million yuan ($2.3 million). ...
Another scheme to do something about orbiting space junk. This one proposes using recovered metals as fuel in Ion engines.

‘Gas station in space’: new plan to make rocket fuel from junk in Earth’s orbit

The orbit our planet depends on is getting clogged with debris from old spacecraft. Dead satellites and spent rocket parts are whizzing around at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometres an hour, posing a threat to communications satellites and the International Space Station.

South Australian company Neumann Space has developed an “in-space electric propulsion system” that can be used in low Earth orbit to extend the missions of spacecraft, move satellites, or de-orbit them.

Now Neumann is working on a plan with three other companies to turn space junk into fuel for that propulsion system.
Japanese start-up Astroscale has already demonstrated how it can use satellites to capture bits of debris in space.

Nanorocks, in the US, is working on a plan using advanced robotics to store and cut up that debris while it is still in orbit.

Another US company, Cislunar, is developing a space foundry to melt debris into metal rods.

And Neumann Space’s propulsion system can use those metal rods as fuel – their system ionises the metal which then creates thrust to move objects around orbit.

Chief executive officer Herve Astier said when Neumann was approached to be part of a supply chain to melt metal in space, he thought it was a futuristic plan, and would not be “as easy as it looks”.

“But they got a grant from Nasa so we built a prototype and it works,” he said.
An explanation of the Ion thruster engine here.
I'm surprised this hasn't already got an entry on here, or if it has then I have failed to find it!
NASA 'Artemis' rocket due to launch on Monday 29/8.
Plan is to send this rocket (which has been a very long time in the making) on a trip around the moon, with a collection of sensors and human-shaped dummies on board, as a precursor to an expected 'manned' mission planned for 2024.
Live coverage is due to start at 1130am tomorrow.

Watch live as our mega Moon rocket launches an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a six-week mission around the Moon and back to Earth. During #Artemis I, Orion will lift off aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and travel 280,000 miles (450,000 km) from Earth and 40,000 miles (64,000 km) beyond the far side of the Moon, carrying science and technology payloads to expand our understanding of lunar science, technology developments, and deep space radiation.

Liftoff from Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is currently targeted for 8:33 a.m. EDT (12:33 UTC) Monday, Aug. 29, at the start of a two-hour launch window.

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars. We are going.


And no mention of the fact that the whole shebang could suffer from an 'unplanned explosive deconstruction'.

'Hugo Talks' has a slightly cynical take on it.
It's just a little late for me to stay up on a school night.
01:33 for an ould fella is a bit much without caffeine. I do hope there isn't a rapid, unscheduled disassembly.

Godspeed ArtemisI!
It's just a little late for me to stay up on a school night.
01:33 for an ould fella is a bit much without caffeine. I do hope there isn't a rapid, unscheduled disassembly.

Godspeed ArtemisI!
I'm guessing you're in some antipodean area then?
This Live Science article summarizes the objectives of this inaugural Artemis mission ...
Four key 'nail-biter moments' to watch for during the Artemis launch

... What does NASA hope to learn from this un-crewed mission to the moon? [The] ... Artemis I mission will primarily test two things: The performance of the SLS rocket and Orion Crew Capsule, and the safety of the astronauts inside.

For the purposes of this mission, those astronauts will be played by three mannequins — or "moonikins" — riding inside the Orion capsule.

Sitting up front, Commander Moonikin Campos (named after former NASA scientist Arturo Campos, a key figure in the Apollo 13 mission of 1970) will test out NASA's new space suit, the Orion Crew Survival System flight suit. Behind him will sit Helga and Zohar — two "phantoms," or limbless mannequins made of "materials that mimic human bones, soft tissues, and organs of an adult female," according to NASA. (Commander Campos' name was selected through a public contest; Helga and Zohar were named by the German and Israeli space agencies, who are partners on the mission).

Campos and Zohar will wear special vests to protect them from the intense solar radiation that Earth's atmosphere usually blocks; the third mannequin will go vestless to serve as an experimental control (sorry, Helga).

All three mannequins will sit on chairs rigged with sensors to measure the acceleration and vibrations during the spacecraft's launch and reentry to Earth. By studying the moonikins and their sensor data after the mission concludes, NASA should get a clear picture of the potential bodily strain and radiation exposure that human astronauts can expect to endure during future phases of the Artemis program. ...

Assessing the durability and functionality of the spacecraft itself is the other crucial objective for Artemis I ... And the best tests of the SLS and Orion spacecraft's abilities will occur during four key "high energy events." ...
It's 12:33 GMT, 01:33 in Ireland. So just late enough to make it awkward when I have to be up for 7.
I need my sleep. :)
Yeah what EnolaGaia said.
It's a launch window of 0833 - 1033am in the US which is lunchtime/early afternoon here.
Let us not forget that while being unmanned, the trip will have mission specialist Shaun the Sheep onboard. He has trained extensively with ESA for this.


As child I was full of wonder about the moon missions that had taken place in my very early childhood. I was excited about the shuttle and eagerly watched the first mission's take-off and landing. But then it stalled there and we haven't ventured beyond near-Earth orbit for decades, whilst all the while spending trillions on nuclear weapons. To me, that has been a tragedy and I hope and pray another human sets foot on the lunar surface whilst there is still at least one Apollo astronaut still alive.
Bet those lads didn’t think it take this long to take the next step. They must be pinching themselves. Hope they’re still with us when the new boots hit the regolith.
I predict a launch delay until tomorrow.