SpaceX today released video from the Falcon 9 first stage flyback and landing video from the July 14 launch of six ORBCOMM advanced telecommunications satellites. This was a test of the reusability of the Falcon 9′s first stage and its flyback and landing system. It splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, and SpaceX called it a “soft” landing, even though the booster did not survive the splashdown. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted on July 14 that the rocket booster reentry, landing burn and leg deployment worked well, but the hull of the first stage “lost integrity right after splashdown (aka kaboom).” He later reported that detailed review of rocket telemetry showed the booster took a “body slam, maybe from a self-generated wave.”

SpaceX today said last week’s test “confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity.”

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Carnival of Space #363

by Susie Murph on July 22, 2014

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

The tent is up! This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Kimberly Arcand at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory blog.

Click here to read Carnival of Space #363.
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Two unidentified divers participating in a past NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) increment. Credit: NEEMO/Facebook

Two unidentified divers participating in a past NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) increment. Credit: NEEMO/Facebook

How do we send humans to asteroids or Mars? While the answer is complex, one part of it is to say “a simulation mission at a time.” That’s one of the roles of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project, which now is seeing its 18th crew temporarily live in a habitat 62 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean’s waves.

Astronauts spend time in the small Aquarius habitat and every so often, venture outside — including right now that goes until about 1 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. UTC). Luckily for us virtual aquanauts, there are six possible livestreams to choose from — so have fun figuring out which is the best view! You can catch all the action at this web page.

And if you miss today’s, another one is scheduled for tomorrow around 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. UTC).

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A collection of images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory marking its 15th anniversary in space. Top, from left: the crab Nebula, supernova remnant G292.0+1.8 and the Crab Nebula. At bottom, supernova remnant 3C58. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

A collection of supernova remnant images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory marking its 15th anniversary in space. Top, from left: the Crab Nebula, G292.0+1.8 and the Crab Nebula. At bottom, 3C58. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

It’s well past the Fourth of July, but you can still easily find fireworks in the sky if you look around. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has been doing just that for the past 15 years, revealing what the universe looks like in these longer wavelengths that are invisible to human eyes.

Just in time for the birthday, NASA released four pictures that Chandra took of supernova (star explosion) remnants it has observed over the years. The pictures stand as a symbol of what the telescope has shown us so far.

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An image of Centaurus A. The halo goes across four degrees in the sky, about eight times the apparent width of the moon seen with the naked eye. The image was taken with the  Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2), the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope, and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Digitized Sky Survey, MPG/ESO

An image of Centaurus A. The halo goes across four degrees in the sky, about eight times the apparent width of the moon seen with the naked eye. The image was taken with the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2), the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope, and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Digitized Sky Survey, MPG/ESO

Centaurus A — that popular target for astrophotographers in the southern hemisphere — has a much wider halo than expected, astronomers revealed. Turns out the galaxy’s ghostly glow is about eight times the apparent width of the full moon in the sky. Examining this halo in more detail could reveal much about how galaxies come together, astronomers said.

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