A couple times each month, I’ll share some current NASA-related items of interest. I firmly believe that more people knowing about what NASA is doing means more people willing to enthusiastically support our missions, so even if you don’t really follow space happenings on a regular basis (or at all), I hope you find these occasional posts interesting!
1 // If all goes well, a Japanese cargo ship will be on its way to the space station when this post gets published! The HTV-6 mission is scheduled to launch at 7:26 this morning and will arrive at the ISS early next week. It’s been more than a year since the last HTV flight and it’s carrying lots of much-needed supplies and equipment. Each cargo ship also carries “crew care packages” containing a few small things for each crewmember — notes from home, photos, books, that sort of thing. And each cargo ship also carries a load of fresh fruit and vegetables! When you’re used to each freeze-dried and shelf-stable food most of the time, you can imagine how exciting it is for the astronauts to get an apple or an orange.
2 // The success of HTV is particularly important after the loss of a Russian cargo ship last week. The Progress 65P mission blasted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan and all appeared to be going smoothly until a little over 6 minutes into flight, when data from the rocket disappeared in the mission control center. The rocket engines should have burned for over 8 minutes. The spacecraft on top of the booster didn’t make it to orbit, and pieces of it were found on the ground in a remote region of eastern Russia the next day.
The past several years have not been kind to our friends in the Russian space program. This is the third loss of a Progress vehicle in the history of the ISS program, and all three have happened in the last 5 years. I hope they are able to figure out what went wrong, correct the problem, and launch again soon.
3 // I was sad to hear of John Glenn‘s passing yesterday. Glenn holds two rather unique records as the first American to orbit the earth and the oldest person to ever travel into space! The first was accomplished in 1962 and the second was in 1998 when he flew on the space shuttle. At 95 years old, he had certainly lived a full and worthy life! Godspeed, Mr. Glenn.
4 // It’s admittedly long, but if you ever wanted to get a feel for what it’s like to glide through the ISS, this video is the one to watch!