Category Archives: Living in Space

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Jan.24.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Christina Koch’s Memorable Moments: Part 1 (Repeat this segment shown last week along now with parts 2 & 3 below)

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.

** Christina Koch’s Memorable Moments: Part 2

** Christina Koch’s Memorable Moments: Part 3

** Expedition 61 – Spacewalk EVA 64 animation – Preview of an upcoming spacewalk by astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano to complete repairs and upgrades to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which detects cosmic antimatter particles: Expedition 61 Ready for Saturday Spacewalk During Human Research Today – Space Station/NASA

== Amazon Ad ==

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

 

LEGO offers new International Space Station kit

LEGO will release the International Space Station kit on February 1st. The highly elaborate kit (list price $69.99) is in the IDEAS line of models “inspired and voted for by LEGO fans”:

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].

The LEGO International Space Station model kit.

The announcement on Twitter:

A skilled builder shows how it’s done”

collectSPACE says:

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.

The complete LEGO ISS kit.

More at:

LEGO ISS on display.

== Amazon Ad ==

LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V 21309
Outer Space Model Rocket for Kids and Adults, Science Building Kit
(1900 pieces)

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Jan.17.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** 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.

== Amazon Ad ==

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

Space tourism roundup – Jan.12.2020

A sampling of recent articles, videos, and images related to commercial human space travel (see also previous space tourism related posts):

** Plan to attend the Space Tourism Conference – “Profiting from the Space Experience Economy”. The STC will be held on April 28, 2020 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Las Angeles, California.

The Space Tourism Conference (STC) is an annual event that will be produced with support from the Space Tourism Society (STS), the world’s leading space tourism advocacy organization for over 20 years.

The April 28 conference date was deliberately chosen as the anniversary of Dennis Tito’s lift-off into the history books in 2001 as the world’s first private space tourist. Tito’s flight jump-started the space tourism industry, generating massive consumer awareness as to the possibilities of private space travel and commercialization of space through earth-based experiences.

Dennis Tito enters the ISS on April 30, 2001.

A hallmark of the STC is a dynamic mix of executives and cross-section of industries:

space tourism flight providers private space station developers space enterprise strategists space investors entertainment executives astronauts media producers architects digital media experts futurists scientists space-themed fashion lifestyle designers consumer brands esports artists musicians high tech leaders

Attendees can expect concrete, actionable information, real-world use cases, and stellar deal-making.

PLUS you’ll have an insider track to the growth areas in space tourism, including earth-based space experiences, such as Zero Gravity aircraft flights. 

** The Space Show – Mon, 12/30/2019John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society, which is organizing the above conference, talked about “space tourism, The Space Tourism Society, earth tourism analogs, social profits compared to financial profits, space tourism careers and opportunities plus more”:

** See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight: the Sweeping History and Future of Space TourismAlan Ladwig, formerly of NASA, spoke recently to the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) study group about the history of space tourism and its future prospects. He focused in particular on his experiences with the Teacher in Space Project and other NASA programs that intended to send civilian, non-government employees to orbit on Space Shuttle flights.

Here is the audio of his presentation to the FISO group and his slides (pptx):

Alan covers these topics in detail in his new book, See You In Orbit?: Our Dream Of Spaceflight(Amazon commission link).

** Yusaku Maesawa is looking for a girlfriend to take on a  trip around the Moon aboard a SpaceX Starship:  Yusaku Maezawa’s real decision. Looking for his “life partner”.

** Virgin Galactic update from CEO George Whitesides: Virgin Galactic ticket sales will re-open this year, CEO says – CNBC

    • Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides on Thursday revealed the company has seen steadily increasing demand from prospective space tourists.
    • “Later on in the year we’ll re-open those sales,” to fly to space, Whitesides told CNBC.
    • In the past tickets have gone for $250,000 per person but the company may increase its prices substantially for the first commercial flights.

** Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo nears completion: Second Spaceship in Virgin Galactic’s Fleet Completes Major Build Milestone – Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“VG” or “the Company”), the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced today that it has reached the “Weight on Wheels” milestone in the build of its second commercial spaceship. In this milestone, all major structural elements of the vehicle were assembled, and the vehicle deployed its main landing gear and carried its own weight for the first time. The milestone signals strong progress in the manufacture of Virgin Galactic’s space vehicle fleet by The Spaceship Company, VGH’s wholly-owned aerospace development subsidiary.

“The Virgin Galactic fleet.” The second SS2 on right is about 80% complete. Credits: Virgin Galactic

This Weight on Wheels milestone has been reached considerably faster than it took to get to this stage with the first spaceship in the Virgin Galactic fleet, VSS Unity, which is currently in flight test. This pace has been achieved through a more efficient, modular assembly process, as well as experience curve benefits.

With the spaceship now capable of bearing its own weight, the assembly team is hard at work connecting the vehicle’s integrated systems, including the flight control systems from fuselage to tail booms, as well as completing the final structural closeouts.

As this work is completed, the spaceship will be positioned in the hangar for the start of integrated vehicle ground testing, which will verify the integrity of all systems. This step is a precursor to the start of its flight test program.

Beyond today’s Weight on Wheels milestone for the second space vehicle, the Virgin Galactic spaceship fleet is already advancing to its third spaceship, also currently under construction in Mojave. Structural and system part fabrication for that third vehicle is now over 50% complete.

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic said: “Reaching the Weight on Wheels milestone considerably faster than was achieved for VSS Unity is a huge accomplishment and is a testament to the growing expertise and capabilities of the company. We now have two spaceships that are structurally complete, with our third making good progress. These spaceships are destined to provide thousands of private astronauts with a truly transformative experience by performing regular trips to space.’’

**  Virgin Galactic (SPCE) is now a publicly traded company (see last roundup) . Here are some articles about how the stock is doing:

** Virgin Galactic opens a program to prepare customers for rides to space: Virgin Galactic Kicks off Astronaut Readiness Program – Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic has kicked off its Astronaut Readiness Program – the process of preparing Future Astronaut customers for their flights to space. As the first and only private company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, we are now finalizing all elements of the customer experience, including the recently unveiled customer spacesuits, created in partnership with Under Armour, and the interior of our Gateway to Space headquarters at Spaceport America. The next phase in this process is to ensure that Future Astronauts are optimally prepared to fly to space.

The Astronaut Readiness Program launched [last November] at the Under Armour Global HQ in Baltimore where we were joined by Future Astronauts who will be among the first to fly with Virgin Galactic. Guided and instructed by some of our key team members, they carried out a number of flight preparation activities. Through completing this unique program they are helping us to tailor and perfect the program for those who follow.

Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot Dave Mackay talks with future adventure travelers on SpaceShipTwo rocket planes. Credits: Virgin Galactic

** On December 11th, Blue Origin flew an uncrewed New Shepard again (see the report on the flight here). This was the 6th flight of that vehicle, which had only inspections after each flight rather than major refurbishment. Achieving fast, airliner-like turnarounds is key to lowering the cost of flying rocket powered vehicles.

However, there have been long breaks between New Shepard flights and no explanation for the gaps. Company officials say that they need a few more test flights before they will put people on the vehicles so that might mean many months if they do not speed up the flight rate.

Here is an interview from last fall with with Blue Origin chief executive Bob Smith about the company and its space tourism plans:  Blue Origin CEO on rocketry, space tourism and the relationship with Amazon – CNBC

** The sights of earth from space will draw many people to go there, especially after rocket transport ticket prices drop with vehicles like the SpaceX Starship. Most who have gone to space have said it was one of the greatest experiences of their lives and they never tired of watching the ever-changing earthscapes below.

Helen Sharman certainly appreciated the view during her space trip: Helen Sharman: ‘There’s no greater beauty than seeing the Earth from up high’ – The Guardian

A couple of relaxing tours of earth as seen from the ISS:

== Amazon Ad ==

See You In Orbit?: Our Dream Of Spaceflight

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Jan.10.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Christina Koch’s Memorable Moments: Part 1

NASA astronaut Christina Koch’s record for the longest single spaceflight ever by a female astronaut or cosmonaut has reached a new milestone: today, it’s been 300 days (and still counting) since her launch on March 14, 2019! She’s racked up quite a few favorite moments so far—check out two of her most memorable.

** Down to Earth – Out of the Bubble

As we continue to celebrate the space station 20th anniversary, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg shares what it was like to see the Earth from above during her two spaceflights in this episode of “Down to Earth – Out of the Bubble.” As she describes it, she experienced a shift in her worldview known as “the Overview Effect,” a term coined by space philosopher Frank White.

** 2019 Space Station Research in Pictures | NASA

It has been a busy year of science aboard the International Space Station. In November, we kicked off the 20th year of continuous human presence aboard the space station, which so far has hosted 239 people and more than 2,700 science experiments. During the past year, research has ranged from growing leafy greens in microgravity to analyzing mining microbes to testing out autonomous robots. This research is benefiting people on Earth while helping prepare us to go forward to the Moon in 2024, and then on to Mars. Learn more: https://go.nasa.gov/36pXycY Learn more about the research being conducted on Station: https://www.nasa.gov/iss-science

Fabricating new tissue: “NASA astronaut Christina Koch activates the BioFabrication Facility (BFF) to test its ability to print organ-like tissues in space. Scientists and medical professionals have long dreamed of using 3D biological printers to produce usable human organs. But printing the tiny, complex structures found inside human organs has proven difficult in Earth’s gravity. The BFF allows researchers to explore whether the microgravity environment of space may support the fabrication of human organs in space.” Credits: NASA

== Amazon Ad ==

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