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Antares descended into hellish inferno after first stage propulsion system at base of Orbital Sciences Antares rocket exploded moments after blastoff from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, VA, on Oct. 28, 2014, at 6:22 p.m. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

Antares descended into hellish inferno after first stage propulsion system at base of Orbital Sciences Antares rocket exploded moments after blastoff from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, VA, on Oct. 28, 2014, at 6:22 p.m. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

NASA WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, VA – All was calm, the air was crisp with hope and the skies were clear as far as the eye could see as the clock ticked down to T MINUS Zero for the Oct. 28, 2014 blastoff of an Orbital Sciences commercial Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, VA, – on a mission of critical importance, bound for the International Space Station and stocked with science and life support supplies for the six humans living and working aboard.

Tragically it was not to be – as I reported live from the NASA Wallops press site on that fateful October day. The 133 foot tall rocket’s base exploded violently and unexpectedly just seconds after a beautiful evening liftoff, due to the failure of one of the refurbished AJ26 first stage “Americanized” Soviet-era engines – built four decades ago.

And now for the first time, I can show you precisely what the terrible incendiary view was like through exclusive, up close launch pad photos and videos from myself and a group of space journalists working together from Universe Today, AmericaSpace and Zero-G news. [click to continue…]

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Carnival Of Space #381

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Joe Latrell at his Photos To Space blog.

Click here to read Carnival of Space #381
[click to continue…]

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At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the agency's Orion spacecraft pauses in front of the spaceport's iconic Vehicle Assembly Building as it is transported to Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After arrival at the launch pad, United Launch Alliance engineers and technicians will lift Orion and mount it atop its Delta IV Heavy rocket. Credit:   NASA/Frankie Martin

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the agency’s Orion spacecraft pauses in front of the spaceport’s iconic Vehicle Assembly Building as it is transported to Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After arrival at the launch pad, United Launch Alliance engineers and technicians will lift Orion and mount it atop its Delta IV Heavy rocket.
Credit: NASA/Frankie Martin

After a decade of hard work, numerous twists and turns, and ups and downs, NASA’s new Orion deep space crew vehicle is finally, and officially, marching towards its maiden blastoff in less than two week’s time.

The Orion spacecraft cleared one of the final hurdles to its first launch when [click to continue…]

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NASA’s “Remastered” View of Europa is the Best Yet

Europa.  CThe cracked, icy surface of Europa. The smoothness of the surface has led many scientists to conclude that oceans exist beneath it. Credit: NASA/JPLredit: NASA

The cracked, icy surface of Europa. The smoothness of the surface has led many scientists to conclude that oceans exist beneath it. Credit: NASA/JPLredit: NASA

Europa, Jupiter’s sixth-closest moon, has long been a source of fascination and wonder for astronomers. Not only is it unique amongst its Jovian peers for having a smooth, ice-covered surface, but it is believed that warm, ocean waters exist beneath that crust – which also makes it a strong candidate for extra-terrestrial life.

And now, combining a mosaic of color images with modern image processing techniques, NASA has produced a new version of what is perhaps the best view of Europa yet. And it is quite simply the closest approximation to what the human eye would see, and the next best thing to seeing it up close. [click to continue…]

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Earth’s Orbit Around The Sun

Diagram of the Earths orbit around the Sun. Credit: NASA/H. Zell

Diagram of the Earths orbit around the Sun. Credit: NASA/H. Zell

Ever since the 16th century when Nicolaus Copernicus demonstrated that the Earth revolved around in the Sun, scientists have worked tirelessly to understand the relationship in mathematical terms. If this bright celestial body – upon which depends the seasons, the diurnal cycle, and all life on Earth – does not revolve around us, then what exactly is the nature of our orbit around it?

For several centuries, astronomers have applied the scientific method to answer this question, and have determined that the Earth’s orbit around the Sun has many fascinating characteristics. [click to continue…]

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