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Ep. 23, Page 37
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Comic 1768 - Ep. 23, Page 37

5th Dec 2014, 5:08 AM in Episode 23 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 5th Dec 2014, 5:08 AM edit delete
smbhax
In case you somehow missed it the past few days, you've still got five days or so to check out the eBay auction of my biggest ever watercolor painting; it is 18" x 24" and looks something like this, only probably bigger unless you have a huge screen : o:

Image

There are more and bigger photos of it in the auction listing!

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I spent a big chunk of blog yesterday talking about the imminent launch of the first (unmanned) test flight of the Orion crew module, which is part of a two-module ship, mounted on a still-in-development rocket, that will, according to NASA's plan, one day fly some people to Mars—and then the launch was delayed due to high winds and "sticky fill/drain valves on the rocket's big boosters" that "had become excessively cold in the presence of the Delta's liquid hydrogen propellant." Which is a good example of why I usually don't take up such impending news stories. : P Oh well, the delay was just one day, and it launched a half hour or so ago as I write this; if you missed it like I did you can catch the launch video, which also has some dramatic events, like the spectacularly fiery jettisoning of the booster rockets starting at about the 4:57 mark, (although all that stuff was just the ol' Delta IV rocket, which is used to carry the module up for this test but won't be part of the Mars missions) and the jettisoning of the crew module panels starting at about the 7:05 mark.

(Hmm NASA is calling them the "service module panels" but the Orion service module is four years away from a flight test, and according to this test's launch configuration schematic there is no other "service" module of any sort...so maybe they're just using "crew" and "service" interchangeably here—or "crew" becomes "service" when there a) is no crew and b) is no other "service" module? I guess that would *sort* of make sense but it would also be pretty confusing to people like me. : P)

The flight is scheduled to go for two orbits of Earth and should take uh I think it was four and some hours; according to NASA's Twitter feed and their Orion Spacecraft Twitter feed, everything is going just dandy; oh and if you're the very patient sort you can see it all for yourself through NASA's streaming live coverage.

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The European Space Agency meanwhile, not to be left behind, has been thrashing out the plan and the budget for their next generation Ariane rocket, the Ariane 6, which needs to be less expensive than their current very successful workhorse, the Ariane 5, in order to stay on top in the increasingly competitive business of boosting satellites, ISS supplies, and other things into Earth orbit.

And speaking of Mars missions, the ESA was also discussing the future or their ExoMars rover project, which is intended to get a European rover lifting off to look for evidence of current or past life on Mars in 2018; that project has been plagued by a persistent budget shortfall, but they managed to agree upon enough funding for now "to keep the mission on track."

Comments:

DizzasterJuice 5th Dec 2014, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
DizzasterJuice
The weather was crystal clear this morning so I watched the Orion launch from my back yard. It was indescribably beautiful. I live about 100 miles west of the cape but still a nice view when it's clear.
smbhax 6th Dec 2014, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
smbhax
Oh man, that's awesome!
moizmad 5th Dec 2014, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
moizmad
Have a nice trip Chump!
Hey, Dizz is finally here, now we can get some serious space discussion here, oh boy!
smbhax 6th Dec 2014, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
smbhax
Uh-oh! ^_^