Science blog and purchase links
Bold They Rise
Take a journey, learn of the design challenges in creating the space shuttle. Hear astronaut impressions of flying the most complicated machine ever built.
Bold They Rise tells the story of the space shuttle through the personal experiences of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who made it happen – in space and on the ground, from the days of research and design through the heroic accomplishments of the program to the tragic last minutes of the Challenger disaster.
iTunes purchase link: Bold They Rise
Space Travel & Flight
Explore other audiobooks regarding flight, space travel, Mars mission preparation. Audiobooks written to take you from the earliest days of the US Air Force, history of our first ventures into space and finally the possibility of a manned mission to Mars.
Explore today with these links:
1) “In the Shadow of the Moon” by Francis French & Colin Burgess
2) “Tomorrow’s Air Force“ by Jeffrey Smith
3) “The X-15 Rocket Plane“ by Michelle L. Evans
4) “Trailblazing Mars: NASAs Next Giant Leap“ by Pat Duggins
Travel in time from the early 1900s when the US Army first began using aircraft; to the late-1960s during the Gemini & Apollo missions; a future time around 2020 with a Mars mission and to the year 2030 seeing the US Air Force of the future.
In the Shadow of the Moon by Francis French & Colin Burgess
The content covers the Gemini and Apollo missions of the 1960s and our race to the moon with the Soviets. Two chapters are devoted to Russian attempts to build spacecraft capable of reaching the moon and the crews that flew them.
iTunes purchase link: In the Shadow of the Moon
The X-15 was a rocket-powered aircraft that was launched from the wing of a B-52 bomber. There were 3 aircraft built and operated from 1959 thru 1968, each configured a bit differently from one another. The X-15 set a number of speed and altitude records during the 9 years of test flights, many of the records have not been broken to the present day.
Pilots that flew the X-15 included names such as:
- Scott Crossfield – first pilot of the X-15
- Joseph Walker – set many unbroken records
- Neil Armstrong – first man to step on the moon
- Joe Engle – commander of space shuttle flights
- William “Pete” Knight – holds world aircraft speed record of 4,520 mph set in 1967
The first X-15 model known as X-15A-1 (AF Ser. No. 56-6670) is on display in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. The second model, X-15A-2 (AF Ser. No. 56-6671) is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, near Dayton, Ohio. The third model was destroyed in an accident in November 1967, when Michael Adams was killed as the rocket plane went into a spin.
In all, the 3 aircraft performed 199 test flights, some reaching altitudes of 62+ miles and speeds over 3,000 mph.
This audiobook, contains stories of each of the test pilots of the X-15 rocket plane, including comments from ground crew, family and administrators of the program. Listen as the humorous and tragic stories are recounted by the many members involved in this program to develop and test this remarkable plane, the X-15.
iTunes purchase link: “The X-15 Rocket Plane”
Trailblazing Mars by Pat Duggins
NASA took delivery of the first Orion space capsule. This is an all new crew cabin for space exploration, a replacement to the retired space shuttle. And will be used for Mars exploration. In my mind this capsule is much bigger than the Apollo capsules which were designed for the trips to the moon in the 60s and early 70s. I’ve seen a couple of the Apollo capsules, I’m guessing they were about 10 feet in diameter. They held a crew of 3 people, two that would land on the moon with another ship and a single crew member that remained in orbit around the moon. This new Orion capsule will measure about 16 feet in diameter. As I’m writing this, I’m comparing it to rooms in my home and thinking that’s a big improvement. I’m also thinking, on a trip to Mars for 18 months, I might find it a little cramped.
The Orion capsule still has many tests ahead of it before manned flight to Mars, some will be unmanned to test the systems. The first unmanned flight will be next spring. If all goes according to plan, this flight will take the capsule out above 3000 miles above earth orbit. I don’t believe there have been any trips out that far since the moon landings.
I thought I’d post a picture from Mars, should you choose to accept the trip, this is what you might see.
If you are interested in learning more about such a trip and finding answers on Mars travel, check out the audiobook “Trailblazing Mars: NASAs Next Giant Leap” written by Pat Duggins. Pat has several interesting stories in the book, explaining the journey, the preparation, the technology and hazards.
iTunes purchase llink: “Trailblazing Mars: NASAs Next Giant Leap”
Exploration on Mars
Thought I would update you on the latest Mars news.
NASA completed the first flight of an Orion space capsule and the launch system on December 5, 2014. The flight was unmanned, putting the capsule through a number of stress tests such as a reentry speed reaching about 20,000 mph, causing the heat shield to reach temperatures around 4,000 degrees. The flight lasted about 4 hours, reaching an altitude of nearly 3,600 miles. This would be the farthest distance from earth for a capsule since the Apollo moon missions. The Orion and a new launch system will be used to bring astronauts to Mars for manned exploration.
Orion – SLS Fuel Tank
A Tornado plowed through the Michoud testing facility where NASA builds and tests pieces of the new Orion Space Launch System components, like this 130 foot long hydrogen fuel tank that is being welded by the robot (yellow machine). One of the fuel tanks was shipped out of the facility only last week, so it was spared the ravages of the tornado.
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