Videos: SpaceX launches 10 satellites and lands booster stage

Today SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The first stage of the rocket also came back down for a landing onto a ocean platform ship. This was the first mission for SpaceX since the explosion on September 1st during a test on a pad at Cape Canaveral.

There will be 6 more F9 launches of Iridium NEXT satellites over the next year and a half or so. The satellites will replace the current set of aging Iridium satellites and provide improved global satellite telephone and data services as well as add new services such as aircraft tracking over the entire world including the oceans.

Here are videos of today’s launch and landing:


Low Earth Orbit Art Challenge – A student space art competition

There is still time to submit your artwork to the LEO Art Challenge, which is open to “All full-time students at any grade level between the ages of 13 and 22 are eligible”. It is sponsored by Enterprise In Space (EIS) and is a program of the National Space Society.

Low Earth Orbit Art Challenge

Imagine & share with us the exciting environment of Low Earth Orbit in one of many ways.  

Are you ready for the next great adventure?  To mark the first steps of the National Space Society’s Enterprise In Space (E(S) program that will send over 100 student experiments into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), we are offering this worldwide search to find a group of kindred spirits to embark on this exciting adventure challenge. 

We want to see what a low Earth orbit adventure means to you!   Imagine yourself as a professional engineer, designer, advertiser, writer, or artist that has been hired to create promotional materials about LEO and its environment.  What topic or aspect about LEO would your choose to promote?  What format would you use to present it to your customer?   Show us, and you could become part of history as one of the first groups of students to win the chance to virtually make this incredible journey into low Earth orbit. 

You can be one of the first EIS virtual crew members!

Check out the prizes here.

Submission deadline is January 31, 2017 at 23:59 UT.

Videos: ‘Space to Ground’ ISS report for Jan.13.2017 + ISS EVA to replace batteries

Here is this week’s Space to Ground report from NASA on activities related to the International Space Station

Astronauts carried out another spacewalk today-

Outside the International Space Station, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency conducted a spacewalk in U.S. spacesuits to upgrade the system for the 1A power channel of the orbital laboratory’s starboard 4 (S4) truss solar arrays. Moving adapter plates and batteries, Kimbrough completed the work to hook up electrical connections for the last three of six new lithium-ion batteries recently delivered to the station, and to move the last of the old nickel-hydrogen batteries that will be stored on the station. It was the second spacewalk in a week for Kimbrough and the fourth of his career, and the first for Pesquet in the refurbishment of two of the station’s eight power channels. On Jan. 6, Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA conducted similar work for the 3A power channel of the station’s S4 solar arrays.

Video: Ride ESA’s Huygens probe as it descends down to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan

A new video provides a wonderfully vivid view of the descent 12 years ago of the Huygens Probe onto the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan using the actual images that were transmitted back to Earth via the Cassini spacecraft: Cassini: Mission to Saturn: Huygens: ‘Ground Truth’ from an Alien Moon

On Jan. 14, 2005, ESA’s Huygens probe made its descent to the surface of Saturn’s hazy moon, Titan. Carried to Saturn by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, Huygens made the most distant landing ever on another world, and the only landing on a body in the outer solar system. This video uses actual images taken by the probe during its two-and-a-half hour fall under its parachutes.

Huygens was a signature achievement of the international Cassini-Huygens mission, which will conclude on Sept. 15, 2017, when Cassini plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere.

‘Space Cups’ designed for drinking in micro-g now available for purchase

The new company Spaceware uses 3D printing to make terrestrial versions of the “space cup”, which astronaut Don Petit first created while on the International Space Station in 2008. Petit’s design takes advantage of surface tension to allow someone in weightless to drink from the rim of the cup rather than sucking the fluid with a straw going into an enclosed container: NASA-Approved Spaceware Space Cups Are Now Available to the Public | Digital Trends.

This video gives the story of the Space Cup:

These porcelain cups are made from 3D printed molds:

A one of a kind porcelain Space Cup that comes in a variety of colors. It’s food safe, durable, and true to the original space design minus a small base for operating in earthly gravity. The functional design is derived from fluid physics, yielding a unique, even artistic piece.

Note: These cups require some hand preparation and finishing so expect some slight variations in appearance.

And this “Flight Fidelity Space Cup” is 3D printed:

A real Flight Certified Space Coffee Cup. What does that mean? Well, it means that his is the original shape, material, and specifications that have been approved by NASA for flight aboard the International Space Station.

Keep in mind that this is not for everyday use and most definitely not dishwasher safe. Think of this as a bit of art, science, and space history all in one. The cup is 3D printed using the SLA process (UV light + a bath of special resin). So when you break it down it’s space, 3D printing, coffee, and fluid mechanics. Enjoy.


Everyone can participate in space