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ZODIAC

Found 8 results

  1. On 27th March, a missile fired during an anti-satellite missile test by India's Defense Research and Development Organization destroyed a satellite in space. PMO Narendra Modi even addressed the nation to declare India as a 'Spacepower'. The head of NASA, however, isn't particularly happy about it. In fact, the administrator Jim Bridenstine even called the test a “terrible, terrible thing”, while speaking at a livestreamed Town Hall gathering of NASA employees. Why, you ask? Well, it looks like the debris from the test are headed straight towards the International Space Station. The official press release from India's Ministry of External Affairs stated the test was carried out in the "lower atmosphere" to ensure that there were no space debris. But, apparently, 24 pieces from India's anti-satellite test are now heading towards the ISS. Bridenstine said “24 pieces are going above the apogee of the International Space Station. That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight. It's unacceptable and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is.” © ISRO The US military, in case you didn't know, tracks the objects in space to predict the collision risk for the ISS and for satellites. Over 23,000 objects are being tracked currently, out of which 10,000 pieces are of space debris. Nearly 3,000 of them were created by Chinese anti-satellite test in 2007. Yes, 24 pieces from India' anti-satellite test sounds like a small number compared to 3,000 created by the Chinese event, but Bridenstine noted that India's test has increased the risk of collision with the ISS by 44 percent over 10 days putting the lives of the astronauts in the ISS in serious danger. Of course, the risk will dissipate over time as much of the debris will burn up as it enters the atmosphere, but we'll have to wait for more updates on the same. Also, this isn't the first time someone has called out India's anti-satellite mission. Last week, a former ISRO engineer also said that Mission Shakti is a complete waste.
  2. The Soyuz rocket carrying two Russians and an American to the ISS launched from the Russian-operated Baikonur facility in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 2:05 pm local time (08:05 am GMT). Photo: Reuters BAIKONUR: Two astronauts, a cosmonaut and a ball set to be used in the forthcoming football World Cup in Russia blasted off Wednesday for a two-day flight to the International Space Station. NASA's Drew Feustel and Richard Arnold lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a five-month mission in a Soyuz MS-08 under the command of Russian colleague Oleg Artemyev at the expected time of 1744 GMT. All three crew members have been in space before although NASA duo Feustel, 52, and Arnold, 54, have never served on a long-duration spaceflight and have just 40 days in orbit between them. Artemyev, who is commanding a Soyuz craft for the first time, spent 169 days at the International Space Station during his previous mission in 2014. In the build-up to the launch, Russian media coverage homed in on Artemyev taking to the orbital laboratory a football that is expected to kick off the 2018 World Cup the country is hosting this summer. "We are taking a ball with us," Artemyev told a pre-flight press conference on Tuesday. "Possibly the one that will be used in the first game," said the 47-year-old, who attended school in the steppe town right next to the cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan. His colleague from the Russian space agency Anton Shkaplerov is expected to take the ball back down to earth less than two weeks before the national team take on Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener on June 14. The three men will join Expedition 55 commander Shkaplerov NASA's Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai of the Japanese space agency at the orbital lab on Friday. The ISS laboratory, a rare example of American and Russian cooperation, has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour since 1998.
  3. Two astronauts, from the US and Italy, and a Russian cosmonaut on Thursday landed in Kazakhstan after almost five months on the International Space Station, footage from the Russian space agency showed. American Randy Bresnik, Paolo Nespoli of Italy and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Russia landed on the Kazakh steppe at 2.37pm local time (0837 GMT) in a Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft. Over 139 days in space the three men "have supported hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity?s only microgravity laboratory," NASA said in an earlier statement. Bresnik took part in several spacewalks to fix a robotic arm that latches onto incoming spaceships packed with supplies, while all three men were involved in a live video chat with Pope Francis from the space station. On Sunday Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will blast off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome to replace the returning astronauts and cosmonaut. The space travellers will join three other crew members currently on the ISS. In October Russia's space agency said a manned Soyuz rocket had suffered a partial loss of pressure as it returned to Earth from the ISS in April this year. The incident did not put the lives of the crew in danger, Roscosmos said, but it was the latest in the string of glitches to hit the country's space programme, which this month extended to a failed satellite launch. NASA stopped its own manned launches to the ISS in 2011 but recently moved to increase its crew complement aboard the ISS as the Russians cut theirs in a cost-saving measure announced last year. The ISS laboratory, a rare example of American and Russian international cooperation, has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.
  4. The Canadarm 2 robotic arm is poised to grab the unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule in this NASA Tv video grab from June 5, 2017. Photo: NASA TV WASHINGTON: Two NASA astronauts embarked on a spacewalk Thursday to repair the International Space Station´s ageing robotic arm, the US space agency said. The outing by Americans Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei began at 8:05 am (1205 GMT) when the duo switched their bulky white spacesuits to battery power before floating out of the airlock. The two men will focus on removing and replacing the latching end of the Canadian-made arm, known as Canadarm2. The 57.7 foot-long (18 meters) arm was instrumental in assembling the space station and is used to reach out and grab approaching cargo ships. The robotic arm has been a key piece of equipment at the orbiting outpost for more than 16 years but has recently lost its ability to grip effectively. NASA wants to restore its full capacity before the next US cargo ship arrives next month, carrying supplies for the six astronauts living in orbit. The spacewalk is expected to last about six and a half hours. It is the first of three scheduled spacewalks this month, aimed at repairing and maintaining various equipment outside the ISS, and the 203rd spacewalk in the history of the space station.
  5. Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency, NASA first-time flyer Mark Vande Hei and veteran colleague Joe Acaba prepared to set off for a mission of more than five months aboard the ISS at 2117 GMT. BAIKONUR: Two US astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut were set to blast off for the International Space Station Tuesday in a late-night launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency, NASA first-time flyer Mark Vande Hei and veteran colleague Joe Acaba prepared to set off for a mission of more than five months aboard the ISS at 2117 GMT. The Soyuz spacecraft is expected to dock at around 0300 GMT on Wednesday. As NASA beefs up its crew in space, the launch will mark the first occasion two US astronauts have blasted off together on a mission to the ISS from Russia´s Baikonur since June 2010. The American space agency stopped its own manned launches to the ISS in 2011 but recently moved to increase its crew complement aboard the orbital lab as the Russians cut theirs in a cost-saving measure announced last year. Acaba, 50, has spent nearly 138 days in space over two missions. Rookie Vande Hei, 50, served with the US army in Iraq prior to training as an astronaut. Misurkin, 39, who is beginning his second mission aboard the ISS, also has a military background. Speaking at the prelaunch news conference on Monday, Acaba, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, said he would be taking some "musica Latina" on board to lift his crewmates´ spirits. "I can guarantee my crewmates they will not fall asleep during that music and if you want to dance at about 3 am tuned into our Soyuz capsule I think you´ll enjoy it," he told journalists. ´Praying for people´ The launch has been overshadowed by deadly storms that have battered the Caribbean and the southern half of the United States. External cameras on the ISS captured footage of Hurricane Irma last week brewing over the Atlantic as it prepared to wreak deadly havoc. NASA´s Johnson Space Center in Houston said earlier this month it suffered "significant" damage during Hurricane Harvey, although Mission Control remained operational. Vande Hei struck a sombre note in his pre-launch tweet on Monday. "L-2 days. Sunrise over Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Praying for the people of Florida as well as the continued recovery of the Texas Gulf Coast," he said. Space is one of the few areas of international cooperation between Russia and the US that has not been wrecked by tensions over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The ISS orbits the Earth at a height of about 250 miles (400 kilometres), circling the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometres) per hour.
  6. Russia on Wednesday launched an unmanned Progress cargo ship carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. "The Soyuz-2.1A booster rocket with the Progress MS-06 cargo ship launched successfully from Baikonur cosmodrome at 12:20 Moscow time (0920 GMT)," Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement on its website. The cargo ship, carrying more than two tonnes of essential supplies including fuel, air and equipment and parcels for astronauts, is due to dock with the ISS on Friday at 1142 GMT. The last successful launch of a Progress ship was in February, coming after a similar craft crashed back to Earth in December last year. A commission appointed to investigate the malfunction concluded in January that it was caused by the break-up of the Soyuz third-stage rocket engine, either due to "foreign materials" getting inside or an "assembly fault".
  7. A Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft carrying French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy landed on the Kazakh steppe Friday, ending their marathon 196-day mission to the International Space Station. NASA TV showed recovery crews swiftly helping the pair out of the craft and whisking them away from the landing site as the sun began to set on a hot summer's evening in central Kazakhstan. The pair undocked as the International Space Station (ISS) orbited above the Chinese-Mongolian border, marking the beginning of a 400-kilometre (250-mile) descent back to Earth lasting just over three hours. "All is well. The landing has taken place," a spokesman for Russian mission control told AFP after the landing at 8:10 pm local time (1410 GMT). "All the operations for the descent from orbit and landing went to plan. The crew members feel well after returning to Earth," mission control said in a statement. First-time flyer Pesquet's long-duration trip fell just shy of the record space mission for a European Space Agency astronaut set by Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy back in 2015. "It's been a fantastic adventure and amazing ride," 39-year-old Pesquet tweeted a few hours before the undocking. Former Russia Air Force pilot Oleg Novitskiy, 45, was completing his second mission to the ISS. Empty seat Pesquet and Novitskiy arrived at the station on November 20 for a six-month mission with American Peggy Whitson, who holds the NASA record for cumulative time spent in space. Novitskiy and Pesquet came home in a spacecraft that had one empty seat -- a result of Roscosmos's decision last year to temporarily reduce the Russian presence on the space station from three to two cosmonauts to cut costs. Due to that decision, NASA veteran Whitson did not join the pair on the journey home as originally planned, and will instead remain on the ISS until September after NASA extended her stay. - 'Appreciate the fragility' - French president Emmanuel Macron called Pesquet after the landing, telling him "bravo to you," while the French astronaut told him "It's going well, I'm getting used to gravity. Even just holding this telephone is difficult." Pesquet voted in the French elections from the orbital lab and is set to meet Macron once he completes post-mission work at the ESA astronaut centre in Cologne. Pesquet won plaudits at home and abroad as well as over half a million followers on Twitter over the course of his preparations and time in space. "We saw that he is very qualified, a real professional... with a great desire to work in space," Yuri Malenchenko, a retired cosmonaut who worked with Pesquet in Russia's Star City, where ISS astronauts and cosmonauts train for missions, told AFP. "These qualities were confirmed during the flight," he added. Jean-Yves Le Gall, the head of CNES, France's space agency, told AFP Pesquet "worked in a remarkable fashion." Pesquet himself underlined the "fragility" of Earth in an interview to AFP from the ISS. "There are things that one understands intellectually, but which one doesn't really get," he said via video link, gently floating around in the zero gravity of space. When it comes to global warming, "we talk of two degrees (Celsius) or four degrees -- these are numbers which sometimes exceed human understanding. "But to see the planet as a whole... to see it for yourself... this allows you to truly appreciate the fragility." The record for the longest continuous mission in space by a European Space Agency astronaut is still held by Cristoforetti, who was in orbit for 199 days from November 2014 to June 2015 and also broke the record for the longest single mission for a woman. But that is far short of the 437-day mission by Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, aboard the old Soviet-Russian space station Mir, from January 1994 to March 1995. Pesquet, France's 10th ISS astronaut, used his popular Twitter account to post photographs of Earth from space, including several of the French capital. "A last picture of Paris from the side? but you can never go wrong with Paris! Guess what time it was by the shadows '#workitoutlikeadetective#", he posted on June 1. The $100 billion ISS space laboratory has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.
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