March 29, 2020

18.10.09:It’s…SPACE PORCH!!!

NASA astronauts recently completed the installation of an interstellar deck that’s out of this world. Installed on STS mission -127, the Japanese Exposed Facility, or JEF, isn’t your ordinary lawn deck. This terrace-like attachment to the International Space Station (ISS) will host up to nine experiments at a time and make lengthy space walks to swap out experiments or gather data unnecessary. Installed on July 23rd of this year, the JEF is fully accessible to the Kibo robotic arm and will house experiments that require a complete vacuum or temperatures only found in space. It will also enable the burgeoning ISS to get down to what its highly criticized for; performing real science. JEF is now open for business and already houses four experiments: SEDA-AP, the Space Environment Data Acquisition equipment Attached Payload, designed to gauge radiation in the near Earth environment; MAXI, the Monitor & All-sky X-ray Imager, that will scan the entire sky at X-ray wavelengths and alert astronomers to X-ray bursts within 30 seconds of their detection; SMILES, a monitor for sub-millimeter wave emissions in the high stratosphere; and HREP, an experimental payload of hyper-spectral senors designed to conduct the most comprehensive survey of Earth’s ionosphere in years and described as “Landsat on steroids”. Another experiment, dubbed CALET, the CALorimetric Electron Telescope, will study high energy cosmic rays and is slated for installation by 2012. Clearly the JEF is not your suburban weekend warrior “project porch”…we here at Astroguyz are curious; did they have to host a kegger at the ISS to get the shuttle to stop by?

July09: News & Notes.

- Teenage Supernova Discovery: Ah…who says you can’t engage kids in science anymore? Supernova 2008ha was recently discovered by Caroline Moore of Warwick, New York. Discovery actually occurred back in November 7th of last year, and buzz has just passed around the Internet as this is one of the weakest supernovas to be discovered. Perhaps that’s why the big guys missed it…

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AstroEvent of the Week:08.06.09:the STS-127 Launch.

(Hey, can you believe that we’ve been doing “Event of the Week” for exactly a year now without missing a beat? I thought that next week’s Summer Solstice post rang a bell… ironically, our first “event” post was also a Shuttle launch!)

The shuttle Endeavor is once again vaulting into orbit. Fresh off of STS-400, the stand-by contingency mission to rescue Atlantis that was thankfully never needed, it is slated for launch from the Kennedy Space Center Saturday morning. The window opens up 7:17 AM EDT on June 13th, shortly after local sunrise. This should afford cool launch views for hundreds of miles around, (including Astroguyz HQ, about 105 miles away!) weather willing. [Read more...]