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Space habitat reports – Feb.21.2024

Here is this week’s selection of videos and news items about space habitats, living in space, and space settlement. Starts with NASA’s latest Space to Ground report for the International Space Station:

** Progress MS-26 dockingSciNews

The Progress MS-26 spacecraft autonomously docked to the aft port of the Zvezda service module, on the International Space Station, on 17 February 2024, at 06:06 UTC (01:06 EST). Progress MS-26 (ISS Progress 87 mission) delivers about three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 70 crew aboard the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA/Roscosmos
Music: “Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky” courtesy of YouTube Audio Library

See also Cargo Craft Successfully Launches to Station | Space Station/NASA – Feb.14.2024

** Using a VR headset on space station – Astronaut describes experience – VideoFromSpace

Expedition 70 astronaut Andreas Mogensen describes the experience of using a VR headset while exercising on the International Space Station to Space.com’s Elizabeth Howell.

** Expedition 70 Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa Answers Japanese Media Questions Feb. 20, 2024 – NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) discussed living and working in space with Japanese reporters during an in-flight interview Feb. 20. Furukawa is in the midst of a long-duration mission on the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions.

** 2023 Annual Highlights of Results from the International Space Station – NASA Johnson

The International Space Station is a microgravity research lab hosting groundbreaking technology demonstrations and scientific investigations. More than 3,700 investigations conducted to date have generated more than 4,000 research articles published in scientific journals. In 2023, the orbiting lab hosted approximately 500 investigations. See more space station research achievements and findings in the Annual Highlights of Results publication at https://www.nasa.gov/stationresults.

** Axiom Space – Progress on assembly of the first habitat module.

Thales Alenia in Italy is building the structures for the habitat modules that Axiom will initially attach to the ISS and later detach to become a free-flying space station owned and operated by Axiom. Here is a recent item about a milestone in assembly of the first module:

** Sierra Space displays an illustration on Twitter/X showing three generations of LIFE space habitat module designs:

We are developing and testing “game changing softgoods expandable technology” that leverages the ability to “pack and compress” softgoods structures at launch, then deploy to utilize maximum volume for on orbit operations.

2024-20-02: We are developing and testing “game changing softgoods expandable technology” that leverages the ability to “pack and compress” softgoods structures at launch, then deploy to utilize maximum volume for on orbit operations.

These technology advancements provide “low mass to volume ratios” that are unmatched in the industry. Other habitation providers rely on larger and more powerful rockets with increased fairing envelopes to reach our inflated volumes

We can launch packed and deploy to an average 625% volume increase once pressurized in orbit, offering more on orbit capacity at a reduced size and mass.

We look forward to further developing this technology as we build the world’s first commercial space station.

It’s been pointed out that rotating the LIFE 3.0 module, which would fit into the SpaceX Starship at 8 meters before expanding to 19 meters when deployed, around the long axis at a 4-6 times per minute could provide spin gravity at a potentially beneficial fraction (15-35%) of one g.

** VASTPlanning private crew missions to the ISS

Axiom recently completed its third private crew mission to the ISS. These provide the company with revenue as well as  technical experience as it prepares to launch its own space habitats in the coming years. VAST, another space habitat company, announced this week that it also aims to sponsor private ISS missions. NASA requires payment for such missions and allows only a limited number per year. So the two companies will need to compete for contracts with the agency.

** Chinese Astronaut Captures Breathtaking Views of Egypt, Red Sea from SpaceCCTV Video News Agency

China Manned Space Agency on Tuesday released a bird’s eye view of Egypt and the Red Sea taken by astronaut Tang Shengjie who is currently on-board China’s space station.

** Other news and articles:

** Highlight: Snow over the Pyrenees across Spain to Barcelona. Feb 20, 2024 11:45 CET  –   ISS Above

NASA EHDC6 Live views of the Earth from the International Space Station

— Highlight: Dallas TX – Deb 21, 2024 11:46 CST –   ISS Above

** Live Video from the International Space Station (Official NASA Stream) – NASA

Watch live video from the International Space Station, including inside views when the crew aboard the space station is on duty. Views of Earth are also streamed from an external camera located outside of the space station. During periods of signal loss due to handover between communications satellites, a blue screen is displayed.

The space station orbits Earth about 250 miles (425 kilometers) above the surface. An international partnership of five space agencies from 15 countries operates the station, and it has been continuously occupied since November 2000. It’s a microgravity laboratory where science, research, and human innovation make way for new technologies and research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. More: https://go.nasa.gov/3CkVtC8

Did you know you can spot the station without a telescope? It looks like a fast-moving star, but you have to know when to look up. Sign up for text messages or email alerts to let you know when (and where) to spot the station and wave to the crew: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov

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ISS after undocking of STS-132

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Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

ESO: Record-breaking quasar identified

A new report from the European Southern Observatory (ESO):

Brightest and fastest-growing: astronomers identify
record-breaking quasar

This artist’s impression shows the record-breaking quasar J059-4351, the bright core of a distant galaxy that is powered by a supermassive black hole. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, this quasar has been found to be the most luminous object known in the Universe to date. The supermassive black hole, seen here pulling in surrounding matter, has a mass 17 billion times that of the Sun and is growing in mass by the equivalent of another Sun per day, making it the fastest-growing black hole ever known.

Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have characterised a bright quasar, finding it to be not only the brightest of its kind, but also the most luminous object ever observed. Quasars are the bright cores of distant galaxies and they are powered by supermassive black holes. The black hole in this record-breaking quasar is growing in mass by the equivalent of one Sun per day, making it the fastest-growing black hole to date.

The black holes powering quasars collect matter from their surroundings in a process so energetic that it emits vast amounts of light. So much so that quasars are some of the brightest objects in our sky, meaning even distant ones are visible from Earth. As a general rule, the most luminous quasars indicate the fastest-growing supermassive black holes.

We have discovered the fastest-growing black hole known to date. It has a mass of 17 billion Suns, and eats just over a Sun per day. This makes it the most luminous object in the known Universe,

says Christian Wolf, an astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU) and lead author of the study published today in Nature Astronomy. The quasar, called J0529-4351, is so far away from Earth that its light took over 12 billion years to reach us.

The matter being pulled in toward this black hole, in the form of a disc, emits so much energy that J0529-4351 is over 500 trillion times more luminous than the Sun [1].

All this light comes from a hot accretion disc that measures seven light-years in diameter — this must be the largest accretion disc in the Universe,

says ANU PhD student and co-author Samuel Lai. Seven light-years is about 15 000 times the distance from the Sun to the orbit of Neptune.

And, remarkably, this record-breaking quasar was hiding in plain sight.

It is a surprise that it has remained unknown until today, when we already know about a million less impressive quasars. It has literally been staring us in the face until now,

says co-author Christopher Onken, an astronomer at ANU. He added that this object showed up in images from the ESO Schmidt Southern Sky Survey dating back to 1980, but it was not recognised as a quasar until decades later.

Finding quasars requires precise observational data from large areas of the sky. The resulting datasets are so large, researchers often use machine-learning models to analyse them and tell quasars apart from other celestial objects. However, these models are trained on existing data, which limits the potential candidates to objects similar to those already known. If a new quasar is more luminous than any other previously observed, the programme might reject it and classify it instead as a star not too distant from Earth.

An automated analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite passed over J0529-4351 for being too bright to be a quasar, suggesting it to be a star instead. The researchers identified it as a distant quasar last year using observations from the ANU 2.3-metre telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Discovering that it was the most luminous quasar ever observed, however, required a larger telescope and measurements from a more precise instrument. The X-shooter spectrograph on ESO’s VLT in the Chilean Atacama Desert provided the crucial data.

The fastest-growing black hole ever observed will also be a perfect target for the GRAVITY+ upgrade on ESO’s VLT Interferometer (VLTI), which is designed to accurately measure the mass of black holes, including those far away from Earth. Additionally, ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), a 39-metre telescope under construction in the Chilean Atacama Desert, will make identifying and characterising such elusive objects even more feasible.

Finding and studying distant supermassive black holes could shed light on some of the mysteries of the early Universe, including how they and their host galaxies formed and evolved. But that’s not the only reason why Wolf searches for them.

“Personally, I simply like the chase,” he says. “For a few minutes a day, I get to feel like a child again, playing treasure hunt, and now I bring everything to the table that I have learned since.”

Notes

[1] A few years ago, NASA and the European Space Agency reported that the Hubble Space Telescope had discovered a quasar, J043947.08+163415.7, as bright as 600 trillion Suns. However, that quasar’s brightness was magnified by a ‘lensing’ galaxy, located between us and the distant quasar. The actual luminosity of J043947.08+163415.7 is estimated to be equivalent to about 11 trillion Suns (1 trillion is a million million: 1 000 000 000 000 or 1012).

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Space habitat reports – Feb.13.2024

Here is this week’s selection of videos and news items about space habitats, living in space, and space settlement. Starts with NASA’s latest Space to Ground report for the International Space Station:

** Progress MS-24 undocking SciNews

The Progress MS-24 spacecraft autonomously undocked from the aft port of the Zvezda service module, on the International Space Station, on 13 February 2024, at 02:09 UTC. Progress MS-24 (ISS Progress 85 mission) delivered about three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 69 crew aboard the International Space Station.

Credit: Roscosmos

Music: “Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky” courtesy of YouTube Audio Library

** ISS astronauts toss football, mention Taylor Swift in Super Bowl prep on space stationVideoFromSpace

NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli talk about the Super Bowl and “Swiftly come up to speed” in this pre-game video.

** Expedition 70 Space Station Crew Answers Massachusetts Student Questions – Feb. 9, 2024NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andy Mogensen discussed living and working in space during an in-flight event Feb. 9 with students attending the Central Tree Middle School in Rutland, Massachusetts. O’Hara and Mogensen are in the midst of a science mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future human exploration through the agency’s Artemis missions, which will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future expeditions to Mars.

** European Space Agency (ESA) news:

Day and night cycle on the Space Station | ESA – Feb.8.2024

** Ax-3 Mission | ReturnAxiom Space

Axiom Space is building for beyond, guided by the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human, everywhere. The leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure, Axiom Space operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station today while developing its successor, Axiom Station – the world’s first commercial space station in low-Earth orbit, which will sustain human growth off the planet and bring untold benefits back home. For more information about Axiom Space, visit www.axiomspace.com.

** Happy Chinese New Year from the Tiangong space station crew – VideoFromSpace

The Shenzhou 17 crew Tang Shengjie, Tang Hongbo and Jiang Xinlin wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year from the Tiangong space station.

See also China’s Space Station Crew: Celebrating Year of the Dragon | Leonard David – Feb.12.2024

** Other news and articles:

** Highlight: The artwork that is The Appalachians Feb 6, 2024 – 12:16 EST ISS Above

NASA EHDC6 Live views of the Earth from the International Space Station

** Highlight: SoCal – Los Angeles – San Diego – Feb 10, 2024 15:21 PST ISS Above

** Live Video from the International Space Station (Official NASA Stream) – NASA

Watch live video from the International Space Station, including inside views when the crew aboard the space station is on duty. Views of Earth are also streamed from an external camera located outside of the space station. During periods of signal loss due to handover between communications satellites, a blue screen is displayed.

The space station orbits Earth about 250 miles (425 kilometers) above the surface. An international partnership of five space agencies from 15 countries operates the station, and it has been continuously occupied since November 2000. It’s a microgravity laboratory where science, research, and human innovation make way for new technologies and research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. More: https://go.nasa.gov/3CkVtC8

Did you know you can spot the station without a telescope? It looks like a fast-moving star, but you have to know when to look up. Sign up for text messages or email alerts to let you know when (and where) to spot the station and wave to the crew: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov

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ISS after undocking of STS-132

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Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

Space habitat reports – Feb.5.2024

Here is this week’s selection of videos and news items about space habitats, living in space, and space settlement. Starts with NASA’s latest Space to Ground report for the International Space Station:

** Expedition 70 Northrop Grumman Cygnus Cargo Craft Arrives at Space Station – Feb. 1, 2024 – NASA Video

Loaded with food, fuel, and supplies, the unpiloted Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived to the International Space Station Feb. 1 where it was installed to the Earth-facing port of the Unity module. Dubbed the “SS Patricia (Patty) Hilliard Robertson” for the late NASA astronaut who succumbed from injuries sustained from a plane crash, Cygnus launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Jan. 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will remain docked to the space station for approximately six months. The mission is the 20th Northrop Grumman commercial resupply services flight to the space station for NASA.

** Expedition 70 Northrop Grumman Cygnus Cargo Craft Secured to Space Station – Feb. 1, 2024 – NASA Video

** Expedition 70 Space Station Crew Answers California Student Questions – Feb. 5, 2024 – NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Expedition 70 Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara discussed living and working in space during an in-flight event Feb. 5 with students attending the Emblem Academy in Saugus, California. Moghbeli and O’Hara are in the midst of a science mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future human exploration through the agency’s Artemis missions, which will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future expeditions to Mars.

** What happens to astronauts during space station reboosts? Crew demonstratesVideoFromSpace

International Space Station crew members demonstrate their motion during a recent reboost of the oribal outpost. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli explains.

** Window to the world in 360° | MuninnEuropean Space Agency, ESA

Join ESA project astronaut Marcus Wandt inside the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world” and and pan around to enjoy the view.

The ESA – European Space Agency-built Cupola is the favourite place of many astronauts on the International Space Station. It serves not only as a unique photo spot, but also for observing robotic activities, arriving spacecraft and spacewalks.

Marcus was launched to the International Space Station on the Dragon spacecraft as part of Axiom Mission 3 on 18 January 2024. His two-week mission on board is known as Muninn.

Follow Marcus’s journey on the Muninn website, check our launch kit in English or Swedish and connect with Marcus on his Instagram and X accounts.

Muninn website: https://www.esa.int/Science_Explorati…
Marcus Wandt’s Instagram: / esaastro_marcus
Marcus Wandt’s X: / astro_marcus

** Hassell and ESA unveil their concept for a permanent base on the moonNew Scientist

The European Space Agency has unveiled its Lunar Habitat Master Plan, a conceptual design for a scalable moon base.

Commissioned by ESA’s Discovery programme and designed by architectural firm Hassell, the ideas will guide the agency’s technological development of such structures, so it can solve some of the issues moon dwellers could face in a future where research, exploration, tourism and prospecting may all form part of a lunar economy.

“More people on the moon in a sustainable way. This is a good picture to have in mind,” says ESA advanced manufacturing engineer Advenit Makaya, who was involved in the design process. The concept aims to address problems that might arise from having people on the lunar surface for extended periods. This includes protecting astronauts from the harsh environment, such as radiation and dust, and dealing with extreme temperatures, lack of water, oxygen and power.

The habitat is designed around a series of inflatable pods that would make minimal contact with the surface, reducing issues with abrasive dust. These would then be protected by a shell made of blocks, 3D printed using lunar soil, known as regolith, that can be interlocked into place over the pods to absorb radiation. We might also be able to get water or oxygen from the regolith. And to mitigate temperature fluctuations, and maximise solar power efficiency, the base would be built on the edge of Shackleton crater at the moon’s south pole where it would face the sun for longer.

Both ESA and Hassell admit their design is some way from becoming a reality, but flexibility is at the heart of it. “Is it a case of running before we can walk? I don’t think so. These things take a long, long time to plan,” says Xavier De Kestelier, the global head of design for Hassell and the lead architect on the project. “We need to keep on exploring the science.”


Learn more ➤ https://www.newscientist.com/article/…

** Ax-3 Mission | On-Orbit Science BriefingAxiom Space

Since arriving at the International Space Station, the Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew has been hard at work. Join Dr. Lucie Low, Axiom Space’s Chief Scientist, to discuss the various research projects being conducted onboard during this mission.

** Expedition 70 Axiom Mission 3 International Space Station Farewell Remarks – Feb. 2, 2024 NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, Axiom Mission-3 crewmembers Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Alper Gezeravcı, and Marcus Wandt provided farewell remarks February 2 ahead of their scheduled undocking from the space station February 3. The crew has been living and working on the International Space Station since January 20 following a launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 18. Axiom Mission-3 is the third private astronaut mission to the space station.

** Gravitics – Latest posting on X:

** VAST update on X:

** Starlab Sizzle Reel – Voyager Space on Vimeo

Starlab is a new-era space platform, set to serve a global customer base of space agencies, researchers, and companies. Our space station will ensure a continued human presence in low-Earth orbit and a seamless transition of microgravity science and research from the International Space Station into the new commercial space station era.

See latest announcement: Starlab Space Selects SpaceX’s Starship for Historic Launch | Voyager Space – Jan.31.2024.

Starlab Space LLC (Starlab Space), the transatlantic joint venture between Voyager Space and Airbus, today announced the selection of SpaceX to launch the Starlab commercial space station to low-Earth orbit (LEO). Starship, SpaceX’s fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond, will launch Starlab in a single mission prior to the decommissioning of the International Space Station.

“SpaceX’s history of success and reliability led our team to select Starship to orbit Starlab,” said Dylan Taylor, Chairman and CEO, Voyager Space. “SpaceX is the unmatched leader for high-cadence launches and we are proud Starlab will be launched to orbit in a single flight by Starship.”

See also: Starlab—with half the volume of the ISS—will fit inside Starship’s payload bay | Ars Technica – Feb.1.2024.

** Shenzhou-17 Crew Displays Scientific Research Facilities at Tiangong StationCCTV Video News Agency

The Shenzhou-17 crew members displayed various scientific research facilities at China’s Tiangong space station recently.

** Other news and articles:

** Highlight: Winter over Utah – SLC – Provo – Uinta Mtns – Feb 4, 2024 – 11:26 MST –   ISS Above

NASA EHDC6 Live views of the Earth from the International Space Station

** Highlight: Colors of the Sahara – Chad – Egypt Feb 3, 2024 8:12 UTC –   ISS Above

** Live Video from the International Space Station (Official NASA Stream) – NASA

Watch live video from the International Space Station, including inside views when the crew aboard the space station is on duty. Views of Earth are also streamed from an external camera located outside of the space station. During periods of signal loss due to handover between communications satellites, a blue screen is displayed.

The space station orbits Earth about 250 miles (425 kilometers) above the surface. An international partnership of five space agencies from 15 countries operates the station, and it has been continuously occupied since November 2000. It’s a microgravity laboratory where science, research, and human innovation make way for new technologies and research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. More: https://go.nasa.gov/3CkVtC8

Did you know you can spot the station without a telescope? It looks like a fast-moving star, but you have to know when to look up. Sign up for text messages or email alerts to let you know when (and where) to spot the station and wave to the crew: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov

====

ISS after undocking of STS-132

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Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

Night sky highlights for February 2024

Check out the night sky this month, February 2024. Here are videos and articles highlighting the top sights to observe.

** What’s Up: February 2024 Skywatching Tips from NASA – NASA JPL

What are some skywatching highlights in February 2024?
Venus begins its exit from the morning sky, as Mars makes its comeback. Plus, now through May is a good time to observe spiral galaxy M81.

0:00 Intro
0:13 Moon & planet highlights
1:45 Observing spiral galaxy M81
4:01 February Moon phases

Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at https://science.nasa.gov/skywatch….

** Tonight’s Sky: February 2024 – Space Telescope Science InstituteTonight’s Sky

In February, the Winter Triangle is your guide to the night sky: The northern hemisphere is treated to views of the stars Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse. Keep watching for the awe-inspiring space-based views of the Orion Nebula, which is sculpted by the stellar winds of central bright stars.

“Tonight’s Sky” is a monthly video of constellations you can observe in the night sky. The series is produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of science operations for the Hubble Space Telescope, in partnership with NASA’s Universe of Learning. This is a recurring show, and you can find more episodes—and other astronomy videos—at https://hubblesite.org/resource-galle….

** What to see in the night sky: February 2024BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel reveal what to see in the night sky tonight and throughout February, including the best comets, clair-obscure effects on the Moon, Orion, Gemini and star clusters.

00:00 Intro
00:13 Mercury, Venus and Mars
02:23 Jupiter and Saturn
03:41 Uranus and Neptune
06:22 Comets
11:25 Einstein Crater
13:34 Lunar X and V, Jewelled Handle
15:31 Orion
16:30 Castor and Pollux
17:50 M35
19:05 Ursa Major
20:15 Leo and the Sickle
22:00 Beehive Cluster
23:06 M67
25:08 Hydra

** Sky & Telescope’s Sky Tour Podcast – February | The Winter Hexagon and Constellations Near Orion – Sky & Telescope Youtube

Our monthly Sky Tour #astronomy #podcast provides an informative and entertaining 10-minute guided tour of the nighttime sky. Listen to the February episode and keep tabs on the Moon, say goodbye to a couple of planets, trace out the Winter Hexagon; and explore some lesser-known constellations near Orion. So bundle up, grab your curiosity, and come along on this month’s Sky Tour.

See also

** What’s in the Night Sky February 2024 Venus Mars Conjunction | SpaceX StarlinkAlyn Wallace

** Night Sky Notebook February 2024Peter Detterline

What’s happening in the sky in February 2024 when you look up!

** See also:

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Stellaris: People of the Stars