Round it up Last week, SpaceX proved that Crew Dragon abortion engines could work, ISS sailors boarded EVA to fix their particle physics detector and Search for Skylab got cut to directors.
SpaceX activates Crew Dragon's abortion engines, nothing explodes
SpaceX has successfully completed a full-time static fire test on engines designed to whip the Crew Dragon safety capsule into an abortion scenario.
Complete static fire test of the Dragon Crew Escape System – SpaceX and NASA teams are now reviewing test data and working on a demonstration of the Dragon Crew's flight capabilities. pic.twitter.com/CMHvMRBQcW
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 13, 2019
While trying a similar test back in April, the only Crew Dragon capsule it brought to the International Space Station (ISS) was blown out to land. No one was aboard or injured by what Deluxe and NASA delicately called "anomaly."
Last week's Test of SpaceX's "Zone 1" at Cape Canaveral gave Draco's reptiles, commonly used for maneuvering orbit, training. These motors are also used to reorient the capsule during abortion. Then, the Crew Dragon's eight full SuperDraco engines were fired.
The April blast was triggered by a surprising "titanium ignition event" and Spacex redesigned it to prevent a recurrence. This time everyone was having a good time, because they SuperDracos needed to shout the dragon out of the unsuccessful Falcon 9.
SpaceX intends to demonstrate that scenario with the self-sacrificing Falcon 9 in the months before the first ISS 2020 flight.
"No user-friendly parts": ISS astronomers start with iFixit EVA
Hopefully, the iFixit gang watched NASA television last week as NASA astronauts Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan launched an ambitious spaceship set to fix the AMS-02 Cosmic Space Detector station.
The device, launched on one of the last space shuttle missions in 2011, failed, but never had to be repaired in orbit. As such, engineers and astronauts spend years thinking about how to actually deal with machine problems. Simply launching another is not really an option.
During last week's expanse of space, the duo removed debris cover, pre-positioned materials, and mounts before EVA's next set when things got worse. The next spaceship on November 22 will see sailors cut and labeled stainless steel pipes that fasten the current AMS cooling system. A third space bar is required to attach a new unit to the instrument side before leakage checks can be performed.
Astronauts have never had to cut and reconnect fluid lines like these during a spaceship, adding to the complexity of the procedure.
The robots are coming. With rockets
Rocket Lab has added a robot, called "Rosie," to its production line in an effort to accelerate the production of its electron launcher.
The company believes that the addition of a helper will allow it to increase the frequency of electron production from one every 30 days to one every seven days.
Far from us pointing out that, so far, the company has yet to manage launch cadets once a month, let alone weekly, and so we are afraid Rossi may soon find himself with a bunch of spare rockets ready to go.
Those who are afraid of the human-like android, armed with throwers, should not worry. The Rossi comprises a 5.5-axis machined window along with a customized sixth rotating axle. The work is large enough to machine the entire Electron first stage. You can, according to the company, "park the bus" in the item.
We think more about Bertha than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The next Rocket Lab mission, called "Fingers off", has a launch window that opens on November 25 and will be taken off Complex 1 for launch in New Zealand.
Happy Birthday, Buran
While Apollo is drawing headlines, it is worth noting that the 31st anniversary of the Soviet Union of Winged Orbiter, Buran, rolled over last week.
Launched in response to the US space shuttle program, project work began in the early 1970s, with the construction of orbitals (of which only one would fly in space) beginning in 1980. Although visually similar to the American shuttle, Buran relied on the engines of the Energy Booster to send the spacecraft into orbit. Without tying the three main space shuttle (SSME) engines around, Buran would also enjoy greater load capacity.
To fly more than one casual test flight.
After a long series of atmospheric tests using a jet prototype, the first operational spacecraft was launched on November 15, 1988. The unmanned orbiter flew in two orbits before successfully landing on the pilot. The uncleaned flight was still haunted, as well as for the crew, before the money ran out. For all its magic, launching something of the Buran was hell-bent on costing the alternatives.
Unfortunately, the version of Buran's flight was destroyed when the roof of his hangar Baikonur crashed. The Buran prototype, OK-GLI, can still be seen in Germany at the great Tech Spiere Museum.
Listen to Al Shepard give a trio of "chickpeas" as he dresses
Producers of indie film Search for Skylab tweeted a documentary on America's first space station after unearthing the sound of astronaut chief Al Shepard, reprimanding the crew for failing to report mission control that one of the three, Bill Pogh, had thrown him while in orbit.
Shepherd's air landing on the crew comes in 1 hour, 12 minutes.
Other welcome improvements have been made to the quality of some film material (with the exception of the 1970's kinescopes) and the insertion of some additional content, such as the interview with farmer Esperans, who looked at Skilab's 1979 influence.
We looked at the original cuts in March and loved what we saw.
The creator, Dwight Steven-Boneski, was also quite excited by the film and told us, "For me personally, the film no longer has any crunching moments where I wish to change it."
Those (like us) who paid cash for something on Vimeo during the day will already have the updated version available. Otherwise, the price of a few beers for admission remains the price for anyone interested in a little forgotten US space history. ®
CONTINUES OF LIVING LONDON 2020