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shuttle being carried on 747
Fresh from the STS-126 mission space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft, flew over California’s Mojave Desert on its way back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 10, 2008. (Click on the image to go to a NASA page where you can see and download larger versions.)

Is Nasa’s Ares Program Doomed?

Bit by bit, the new rocket ship that is supposed to blast America into the second Space Age and return astronauts to the moon appears to be coming undone. First was the discovery that it lacked sufficient power to lift astronauts in a state-of-the-art capsule into orbit. Then engineers found out that it might vibrate like a giant tuning fork, shaking its crew to death.

Now, in the latest setback to the Ares I, computer models show the ship could crash into its launch tower during liftoff. An Orlando Sentinel article about the Ares program quotes an unidentified NASA employee as saying, “I get the impression that things are quickly going from bad to worse to unrecoverable.”

GLAST Lifts Off On Gamma Ray Mission

NASA’s Gamma-ray Large Area Telescope successfully launched aboard a Delta II rocket June 11. The spacecraft will study the highest-energy form of light, helping scientists to answer questions about supermassive black hole systems, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays. GLAST is a powerful space observatory that will explore the most extreme environments in the universe, and search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter, explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed, and help crack the mysteries of the staggeringly powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.

Nasa Pics

Nasa has moved the picture of the day stuff and that broke the google gadget that I had displaying the photos. So I’ve yanked that out. It’s too bad, because I kind of liked that, but I’m guessing it was pulling a lot of bandwidth or something. (Not just my site obviously- I don’t get that many visits, but if thousands of people had it installed, it would add up.)

I’ll keep my eyes open for something else interesting to put up over there.

Yesterday’s Launch

So apparently this was Discovery’s 35th flight. Everything went nicely and they are on their way to install the Harmony module on the space station. I waited until the countdown got down to about 4 minutes and then headed downstairs and outside.

There were a lot of puffy white clouds and so we didn’t see the shuttle until it was a ways up. There was a bigger cloud that blocked our view of the solid rocket booster separation. But it was still cool. There was quite a big crowd out there. This is the first launch that has happened while I was at work.

My team lead’s wife and son drove out to jetty park last night and camped out to watch the launch today. I want to do something like that myself. Every launch I’ve seen thus far has been from here in the Orlando area. Need to get up close for one.