Packed with authentic ISS details, including a posable Canadarm2 and 2 rotating joints that coincide with 8 adjustable ‘solar panels’, this 864-piece set is a wonderful gift idea for space enthusiasts, adult LEGO fans or any experienced builder. Beautiful centerpiece This awesome LEGO spaceship model comes with a display stand, a buildable mini NASA space shuttle and 3 mini cargo spacecrafts, plus 2 astronaut microfigures to create a striking centerpiece in any room. Illustrated instructions are included, plus a 148-page booklet with fascinating ISS facts and information about the LEGO fan who created this space model kit and its LEGO designer [Christophe Ruge].
LEGO first announced that it was producing the International Space Station as a toy set in June 2019, after it won a fan poll in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the LEGO Ideas website. The space station received 45 percent of the more than 22,000 votes cast in a competition against three other possible sets.
The LEGO ISS got its start five years earlier, when Christoph Ruge, a LEGO and space enthusiast from Germany, first submitted his design for the space station brick-built model to the LEGO Ideas website. It qualified for a review by the LEGO team, but was rejected in 2015.
In 2018, Ruge re-entered his space station after scaling it down to match the size of the shuttle included in a winning LEGO Ideas project, the “Women of NASA” set released in 2017. (The orbiter included in the ISS set coming out Feb. 1 is similar to, but not identical to the “Women of NASA” model.) Again, LEGO’s design team did not select Ruge’s ISS to go forward, but then the anniversary vote came about.
China plans to launch Chang’e-5 lunar probe and its first Mars probe in 2020 as part of the country’s ambitious space program, according to a plan released Friday in Beijing by the Space Department of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). More on: http://www.cctvplus.com/news/20200118…
** China is ushering in a phase of super space programs – CGTN
In 2018, China alone accounted for over one-third of the world’s rocket launches. Today, Chinese astronauts strive to reach the final goal of the lunar exploration program. Once trailing behind in global space programs, China has now earned its place in the space race and is tapping into this new field.
Shuttle astronaut Mike Mullane recounts stories of space sexism, toilets and M and Ms in the first Space Boffins podcast of 2020. We also meet the engineer developing the controls for a new robotic arm for the space station – or ‘Man Machine Interface’ – and Richard and Sue are joined by science writer Colin Stuart to look ahead to the next year in space. Warning: this podcast features some disturbing audio of a space toilet malfunction…
** Down to Earth – Episode 6 – Ever Changing Picture
As we enter the year the space station 20th anniversary, NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson shares what stood out to her most about seeing Earth from orbit in this episode of “Down to Earth – Ever Changing Picture.” The shift in worldview is inspired by space philosopher Frank White.
** Christina Koch’s Memorable Moments: Part 2
The longest single spaceflight ever by a female astronaut or cosmonaut is now 306 days long, with more to come. On top of adding to her total spaceflight time, NASA astronaut Christina Koch looks back over her long mission and recalls some favorite moments, including her favorite meal and most memorable view from orbit.
** Train Like An Astronaut: Kelly Marie Tran and Naomi Ackie
On December 11th, 2019, Kelly Marie Tran and Naomi Ackie from the film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker spent the day at NASA’s Johnson Space Center training like astronauts and learning about NASA’s plans to explore the Moon with the new Artemis program, which includes landing the first woman and next man on the lunar surface by 2024. Follow Tran and Ackie – used to traveling through galaxies far, far away – through their training with NASA astronauts Meghan McArthur and Jessica Watkins on a gravity offload system, in the Orion crew capsule, an exploration rover, and much more! Music from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker featured tracks include: Main FanFare, The Rise of Skywalker, and The Finale composed by John Williams.
** NASA Astronauts Spacewalk Outside the International Space Station on Jan. 15, 2020
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will step outside of the International Space Station into the vacuum of space together. The duo will replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries to continue upgrading station power systems on the Port-6 truss structure. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 6:50 a.m. EST and last about six-and-a-half hours.
Update 10:50 am: The SpaceX webcast page is now configured for tomorrow’s schedule in-flight abort test and it offers the SpaceX IFA press kit (pdf). The webcast will go live about 20 minutes before lift off.
Tomorrow’s test will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to separate from Falcon 9 and carry astronauts to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency on ascent pic.twitter.com/Cji4S5JDHl
Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon went vertical and the crew access arm was extended last night ahead of tomorrow’s in-flight demonstration of the spacecraft’s launch escape system. The four-hour launch window opens at 8:00 a.m. EST, 13:00 UTC → https://t.co/gtC39uBC7zpic.twitter.com/dS6R3hCgZi
** SpaceX aims for two Falcon 9 launches in next three days starting with the in-flight abort (IFA) test on Saturday morning. On Monday there will be another batch of 60 Starlink satellites sent into low earth orbit.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule have arrived at pad 39A in Florida, where the vehicle will be lifted vertical in preparation for an in-flight test of the human-rated ship’s launch escape system Saturday. https://t.co/e9tMYft6Jdpic.twitter.com/5y6fLudCmp
** An Ariane 5 rocket sent two satellites to GEO transfer orbits on Thursday. The spacecraft were the EUTELSAT KONNECT for the telecom operator Eutelsat and GSAT-30 for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Take a look inside the #Starliner on its Orbital Flight Test. Four interior cameras captured the mission, and this video covers nearly every dynamic event during the flight, including launch, separation events, on-orbit maneuvering, re-entry and landing. This is just a preview of what’s to come from the Dec. 20-22 flight as we prepare to release all our onboard mission footage.
** China successfully launched remote sensing satellite Jilin-1 on a Long March-2D rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi on January 15.
The responsive launch system utilizes a large mass accelerator to provide on demand launches of small satellites in virtually any weather at an order of magnitude lower cost and higher frequency than any existing or proposed launch system.
Investors include Airbus Ventures, GV, KPCB, Catapult Ventures, Lauder Partners, John Doerr and Byers Family. The funds from this investment will be used to scale the SpinLaunch team and technology and continue to build out SpinLaunch’s new corporate headquarters in Long Beach, California, and complete the flight test facility at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
“Our team at SpinLaunch greatly appreciates the continued support of this formidable syndicate of investors, who share our vision of enabling low-cost and frequent launch of imaging and communications constellations that will protect our planet and humanity.” said CEO Yaney. “Later this year, we aim to change the history of space launch with the completion of our first flight test mass accelerator at Spaceport America.”
In January 2019, SpinLaunch relocated to a new 140,000 square foot facility in Long Beach, California, and funds will be used for the buildout of this corporate headquarters and investing in equipment and machinery to be a world-class R&D manufacturing facility. In addition, the company is hiring additional talent for both its Long Beach headquarters and Spaceport test facility. First flight test is expected later this year.
Coming two weeks before the NG-12 Cygnus is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on 31 January 2020, NASA’s Johnson Space Center officially requested, and the Federal Communications Commission approved, a post-Station mission extension for the craft.
For this mission, Cygnus had a pre-flight approval to perform two weeks of solo flight operations after leaving the Station before destructively re-entering. That solo flight operation has now been extended to 31 days in large part due to the planned 9 February launch of the NG-13 Cygnus from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s X-60A program recently achieved a key developmental milestone with the completion of integrated vehicle propulsion system verification ground testing.
The X-60A is an air-launched rocket designed for hypersonic flight research. It is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services under an AFRL Small Business Innovation Research contract. The goal of the X-60A program is to provide affordable and routine access to relevant hypersonic flight conditions for technology maturation. This test included both cold flow and hot fire testing with the Hadley liquid rocket engine developed by Ursa Major Technologies. Flight-like hardware was tested using flight-like operational procedures. The test runs covered full duration burns, engine gimbaling for thrust vector control, and system throttling.
“This test series was a critical step in reducing risk and gathering necessary system integration data in preparation for our upcoming flight tests,” said Barry Hellman, AFRL X-60A program manager. “When we go to flight later this year, we hope to demonstrate the capability of the X-60A to provide affordable access to hypersonic flight conditions, which will position AFRL to deliver an innovative test capability for the Air Force and other DoD organizations.”
X-60A is a single-stage liquid rocket primarily designed for hypersonic flight research and is launched from a modified business jet carrier aircraft. It is capable of testing a wide range of hypersonic technologies including airbreathing propulsion, advanced materials, and hypersonic vehicle subsystems. The vehicle propulsion system utilizes liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to provide affordable and regular access to high dynamic pressure flight conditions above Mach 5.
During the upcoming flight tests based out of Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, FL, the X-60A will fly at relevant conditions necessary for technology maturation. Data will be collected to validate the overall vehicle design functionality as well as performance predictions.
This year could see the fulfillment of a number of long-promised achievements in human spaceflight. For the first time, private companies could launch humans into orbit in 2020, and two different companies could send paying tourists on suborbital missions. The aerospace community has been watching and waiting for these milestones for years, but 2020 is probably the year for both.
We may also see a number of new rocket debuts this year, both big and small. A record number of missions—four—are also due to launch to Mars from four different space agencies. That’s just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting year; here’s a look at what we’re most eagerly anticipating in the coming 11.5 months.
SpaceX reportedly plans to build a massive mobile gantry – effectively a tower on wheels – at one of its two Florida launch pads, a bid to meet obscure military launch criteria needed to secure highly lucrative Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch contracts from the US government.
Although this is not the first time that SpaceX and vertical integration have been thrown around in the same sentence, it is the first time that the company is reportedly close to actually finalizing its plans along those lines and constructing a real solution at one or more of its three orbital-class launch pads.
****** Construction of Starship SN-1 ramping up. Here is a new tweet from Elon:
At SpaceX Boca Chica, engineers have begun dismantling the test tank (“Bopper”), the UFO Steel Rings and an old bulkhead, while the Starship SN1 Nosecone gained a friend in the Windbreak. Muted due to high wind noise conditions. Footage and photos from Mary (@bocachicagal) for NSF. Edited by Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer).
****** SpaceX Boca Chica – More Buildings, Test Tank Dismantled, Starship Rings – NASASpaceflight.com
A very busy SpaceX Boca Chica video, as more buildings are constructed, steel rings are mated and Test Tank “Bopper” is literally pulled apart. Video and Photos from Mary (@bocachicagal) for NSF with additional photos from NSF Member Nomadd (@@nomadd13)
SpaceX’s GO Discovery ship has arrived in Texas to deliver more Starship hardware to Boca Chica, a facility that continues to expand. A Jobs Fair was held today, showing SpaceX’s expansion intent. Video and Photos from Mary (@bocachicagal) for NSF.