The James Webb Space Telescope and other cool astronomy stuff!

Boeing is the first with a third-party proposal for Mars Sample Return. To absolutely no one’s surprise, it wants to launch a single massive lander onboard an SLS (which costs a bare minimum of $2 billion a launch all by itself). For some idea of the size of the lander, here’s an artist’s conception with Perseverance at lower right for scale.

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Well… since it isn’t crewed, at least we don’t have to worry about a door falling off…

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NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Eyes Next Launch Opportunity

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen as it is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test, Saturday, May 4, 2024 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) teams continue working remaining open tasks in preparation for the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The teams now are targeting a launch date of no earlier than 4:43 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 21, to complete additional testing.

<sigh> Now there’s a minute helium leak. Not serious, apparently, but the engineers need some time to properly characterize it.

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You’re forgetting about the door for the samples to be loaded into the MAV and then sealed to keep them safe and secure during the trip to Earth and reentry. True, the odds are extraordinarily low that anyone would be hit by a wayward sample or piece of the reentry capsule, but the time and the money wasted!

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Capsule?

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No parachute, BTW, since it’ll hopefully be carrying rock samples sealed inside individual titanium tubes that can survive a ~200MPH impact thanks to a crushable metal layer cake inside. That’s a significant amount of weight that doesn’t have to be schlepped to Mars and back.

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Oh, hey— Anyone with the Criterion Channel— They have the excellent 1989 Apollo Program documentary “For All Mankind”. Brian Eno composed music for the soundtrack, really my favorite album by him.

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All it needs is Matt Damon!!!

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And some duck/duct tape.

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Filed under Hubble -

Money quote -

“ By the end of 2026, and possibly sooner, the Hubble Space Telescope will be below 500 kilometers in altitude for the first time.”

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Stephen King thought so. Wasn’t that in It?

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TL;DR — “Mr. Scott, I need. More. Power!”

Have you tried releasing the parking brake?

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The funny thing is, that would actually help in this case. Getting into Mercury orbit means slowing down to match Mercury’s orbital velocity around the Sun. It’s considerably harder (requires more delta-v) than getting to Mars, hence all the gravity slingshots en route to lower the probe’s orbit to match Mercury’s.

This is why I love particle physics and wish my brain did math better. I was fascinated during my intro to modern physics class. I’ve read some popular science books about the Standard Model, string theory and the like. I love things that blow my mind!

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“I’M BLOWING MY HAIR WHILE I’M BLOWING MY MIND!”

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NASA, Boeing Now Working Toward May 25 Launch of Crew Flight Test

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad illuminated by spotlights at Space Launch Complex 41 on Sunday, May 5, 2024. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) teams will take additional time to work through spacecraft closeout processes and flight rationale before proceeding with the launch of the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test. The teams now are targeting a launch no earlier than 3:09 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 25, for the flight test carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station.

Boeing is still dealing with the small helium leak on one of the thrusters of the service module. If I were superstitious, I’d say the Starliner program is cursed.

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