The Antares Rocket Finally Launched Over The Weekend, And Put Something Pretty Amazing Into Space

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers many courses on Space & Satellite Technology. We thought the news below would be of interest to our readers. It took Orbital Sciences a few tries, but they successfully launched their Antares rocket on Sunday. The rocket’s primary payload was just a “mass simulator” that was standing in for their […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers many courses on Space & Satellite Technology. We thought the news below would be of interest to our readers. It took Orbital Sciences a few tries, but they successfully launched their Antares rocket on Sunday. The rocket’s primary payload was just a “mass simulator” that was standing in for their Cygnus capsule, but it also launched three of NASA’s new PhoneSat micro satellites. The PhoneSats are built with off-the-shelf items like Android phones, and NASA wants you to help track them. Jasper Wolfe of NASA called the Phonesat project, “a kind of demonstration effort.” He also says that on a personal note, he thinks they’re cool. They show that future spacecraft could potentially make use of cheap and readily available consumer equipment such as smartphones. The Antares launch put three of the PhoneSats named “Alexander”, “Graham”, and “Bell” into orbit. Two of these are PhoneSat 1.0 models, with the third — we assume Bell — being a PhoneSat 2.0 prototype. The 1.0 models are built around HTC Nexus One phones running on Android and run on battery power. The 2.0 beta PhoneSat is powered with solar panels and has a Samsung Nexus S at its heart. The 2.0 also has a GPS receiver and electro magnets that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. It can also be controlled from Earth while in flight using reaction wheels. While the PhoneSats are in orbit, NASA is encouraging amateur radio operators to participate in the mission by downloading and uploading packets of data to and from the tiny satellites. Interested in taking your Ham radio hobby to the next level? More information on that can be found at Phonesat.org. The site also features a map showing the orbital path of Alexander, Graham, and Bell.
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California space law boosts business, not safety

Private cargo-carrying spacecraft? No problem, but put people on commercial flights and things get messy. Just as NASA set the date for SpaceX’s first official trip to the International Space Station, the firm’s home state of California passed a law lightening company responsibility for the safety of future passengers. No private space firm yet sends crewed flights […]
Private cargo-carrying spacecraft? No problem, but put people on commercial flights and things get messy. Just as NASA set the date for SpaceX’s first official trip to the International Space Station, the firm’s home state of California passed a law lightening company responsibility for the safety of future passengers. No private space firm yet sends crewed flights to space, but that is the plan. The new law treats spaceflight rather like sky-diving, requiring future travellers to give “informed consent”. They agree not to sue the company they fly with if they’re injured or killed in the process. California is the last of the states hosting major contenders in the commercial space race to pass such a law, trailing Virginia, home to Orbital Sciences, New Mexico (Virgin Galactic), and Texas (Blue Origin), which have already done so. The laws may make a state more attractive to space businesses, but without statistics on the safety of commercial flights, travellers sign away their right to sue blindly. However, space tourists may not care: Virgin Galactic, which plans to launch its first crewed flight in 2013, has a roster of passengers who have signed consent agreements. What is your opinion?
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