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27 May 2005

Space News: Space Shuttle Fleet Status

Discovery (OV-103) is back in the hanger for a look under the hood. And in the wheel wells (see the Atlantis report near bottom of page). And... well, just about everywhere else.

From NASA:
Technicians performed borescope inspections of the retract link assembly in Discovery's landing gear door. The left-hand assembly was inspected and no cracks found. The closeout photos of the right-hand assembly were reviewed and showed no cracks. Auxiliary Power Units were successfully tested Wednesday.

Discovery will be removed from its External Tank (ET-120) and Solid Rocket Boosters on May 31. The Shuttle will be attached to its modified tank (ET-121) on June 7.

A new heater was added to ET-121 on the feedline bellows, part of the pipeline that carries the liquid oxygen to the orbiter's main engines. The heater is designed to reduce the potential for ice and frost buildup. Final work, including pull tests to ensure the heater is bonded properly and Thermal Protection System foam spray closeouts continue. Discovery is scheduled to roll back to the launch pad in mid-June.

The Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello was transferred back to the Space Station Processing Facility. The mission processing team will ensure fasteners, inside the module without adequate running torque to act as a secondary locking feature, do not disengage during ascent. Raffaello's hatch is scheduled to be opened on May 31. The additional tasks will not affect the STS-114 launch planning window.

Atlantis (OV-104) is prepping for a trip back to the International Space Station (ISS)

From NASA:
Technicians continue power-up testing on Atlantis for its mission (STS-121) to the International Space Station. Forward, mid-body and aft-area closeouts continue.

Following the discovery of a small crack in a retract link assembly on the right-hand main landing gear, the assembly was removed from the vehicle for analysis. A spare assembly was installed Thursday.

Space Shuttle Main Engine leak checks and hydraulics leak checks are complete. Final flight controls' cycling is finished. Orbiter KU-Band antenna testing and flight controls aerosurface checkout also are complete.

More Space News

Space News: Space Shuttle: Status Report
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26 May 2005

Space News: ISS Audio: ISS chats with NEEMO [Podcast]

ISS Expedition 9 Chat with NEEMO [Podcast]
ISS Expedition 9 Science Officer Mike Fincke talks with the crew of NEEMO 6.

What is NEEMO 6?

NEEMO - the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations program -- sends groups of NASA employees and contractors to live in Aquarius for up to two weeks at a time. For NASA, Aquarius provides a convincing analog to the International Space Station, and NEEMO crewmembers experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space.

And the 6? 6=Mission number.


Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. Far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Fla., an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time.

Owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Aquarius operates 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is deployed next to deep coral reefs 62 feet (19 meters) below the surface.

The laboratory is most often used by marine biologists, for whom Aquarius acts as home base as they study the coral reef, the fish and aquatic plants that live nearby and composition of the surrounding seawater. Aquarius houses sophisticated lab equipment and computers, enabling scientists to perform research and process samples without leaving their underwater facilities.

More on NEEMO

More Space News

Space News: Space Station: ISS Audio Chat with NEEMO
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International Space Station Picture: Water Sphere

Astronaut Leroy Chiao, Expedition 10 commander and NASA ISS science officer, watches a sphere of water float between him and the camera, showing his image refracted, on the International Space Station.

More Space News

Space Picture: International Space Station: Astronaut Leroy Chiao
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Airline News: Free E-mail Newsletter

For those of you not comfortable with subscribing to a syndicated news feed via RSS, XML or podcasting, did you know also offers a free e-mail newsletter that will get you headlines and news about our site?

You may sign up for our EdgeMail newsletter for free at the following link: Free Airline News.

More Science News

Airline News: Newsletter: E-mail
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25 May 2005

Aviation Video: USAF Global Hawk [Video Podcast]

Aviation Video: USAF Global Hawk (opens new window)
A bit of fluff. I stumbled across this short PR video on the Global Hawk long endurance kinda stealthy UAV from the USAF. I though some folks might enjoy it.

It is a Windows Media file that requires broadband to view. Have fun.
USAF Global Hawk Video (opens a new window)

More Aviation Video

Aviation Video: Military: UAV: Global Hawk
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Airplane Picture: F-15 Eagle Added to Flying Colors

The subscribers-only "Flying Colors" section of has been updated with the addition of an air-to-air photograph of an Air Force/Boeing F-15 Eagle over Edwards Air Force Base.

More Airplane Pictures - Our Exclusive Flying Colors Images

Airplane Picture: F-15 Eagle
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24 May 2005

Airline News: Oh Good, So They Could Walk

According to Reuters, two ex-America West pilots accused (but not yet convicted folks!) of operating and attempting to fly an Airbus A319 while under the influence of alcohol, were “…able to see, hear, walk, talk, etcetera," attorney James Rubin, representing one of the pilots, claimed.

So they had that going for them.

They got pulled over while still being pulled by a tug.

See the original Reuters Story.

More Airline News

Airline News: Safety: Enforcement
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23 May 2005

Frolic: Bubushka Gets a Nyet

According to Agence France-Presse, the most senior Bush was recently in Moscow speaking to students at a foreign relations institute when he publicly asked Mikhail Gorbachev to go skydiving with him. Nyet cubed was the answer.

The Falling Bush
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Science News: Time Travel News: Forget Using A Wormhole

Alas, wormholes aren't what they used to be.

The BBC, in a story referencing Farscape, Stargate, Star Trek and Doctor Who, says that notion of time travel down the tube is, well, perhaps full of holes.

It seems to be an architecural problem stemming from the need to prop open the throats (should that be mouths?) at either end with the non-specifically named "exotic matter."

A real quote from this story:
"We aren't saying you can't build a wormhole. But the ones you would like to build - the predictable ones where you can say Mr Spock will land in New York at 2pm on this day - those look like they will fall apart," Dr Hsu said.
As far as simply heading over to Sirius B for a cup of Starbucks... well, the story is silent on that.

Read the Beeb Here.

More Science News

Science News: Time Travel: Wormholes
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22 May 2005

Space News: ISS Status Report: 21 May 2005

The Expedition 11 crew had a busy and varied week on the
International Space Station. The crew is into the second month
of their planned six-month mission.

Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips
began the week by repairing a restraint cable on the Station's
exercise treadmill. The broken cable, which holds the
treadmill's gyroscope in place, was detected during a routine
inspection last week. The treadmill is operational and is one
of three exercise options for the crew.

On Wednesday, after removing contents from Pressurized Mating
Adapter No. 2, Phillips depressurized the modules. This was
done to rehearse procedures for the Return to Flight (STS-114)
mission to conserve Shuttle nitrogen supplies during the
planned spacewalk. The modules also serve as the forward
docking port for Shuttles on the U.S. segment and the Quest

Throughout the week, Phillips set up and performed his first
session of the Foot Reaction Forces during Space Flight (FOOT)
experiment. Phillips wore the Lower Extremity Monitoring Suit,
a pair of customized Lycra cycling tights. The suit measures
Phillips' joint angles, muscle activity and forces on the feet
during a typical day on the Station.

FOOT investigates the differences between use of the body's
lower extremities on Earth and in space, as well as changes in
the musculoskeletal system during spaceflight. Without
appropriate intervention, astronauts in space can lose as much
bone mineral in the lower part of the body in one month as a
typical post-menopausal woman loses in an entire year.

Muscle strength also can be rapidly lost during spaceflight.
FOOT could shed new light on the reasons for bone and muscle
loss during spaceflight. This experiment could also help
understand, prevent and treat osteoporosis on Earth.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Station's atmosphere was
repressurized with air and oxygen from the remaining supplies
in the tanks of the docked Russian Progress cargo ship. The
Progress tanks were depleted in preparation for its undocking
next month.

The crew conducted test ignitions of two Solid Fuel Oxygen
Generators (SFOG) canisters on Friday to verify their
performance and activation procedures. Starting Monday, two
SFOGs will be burned daily to produce oxygen. There are more
than 80 usable SFOGs on board, which can provide six weeks of
oxygen for the crew.

The next Progress cargo ship is set to arrive on June 18 with
additional oxygen in tanks and more solid-fuel canisters.
Oxygen supplies on the Station and planned for upcoming cargo
vehicles can accommodate the crew into next year. The Station's
Elektron oxygen generation system, which converts water into
oxygen, is inoperable.

Earlier in the week, the crew performed routine inspections of
emergency fire extinguishers and portable breathing apparatus
as well as the routine monitoring of carbon dioxide and
formaldehyde levels.

During the week, Krikalev and Phillips were given information
about possible photography of Earth sites including the Toshka
Lakes in Egypt, Florida's coasts, Mexico City, and Hurricane
Adrian as it passed over Central America. Photographs taken by
the crew are available online at:

The crew is scheduled for a light duty weekend, including
routine housekeeping tasks and family conferences. Next week
includes a session with the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in
Microgravity experiment and photography of the Station's solar

More Space News

Space News: Space Station: Status Report
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21 May 2005

Airline News: A Close Call at Tokyo's Haneda Airport: 29 April 2005 [Podcast]

A close call at Tokyo's Haneda Airport involving controller errors.

Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper is reporting that controllers directed not one, but two arriving Japan Airlines aircraft...

More Airline News

Airline News: Safety: Air Traffic Control
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Aviation Jobs

Notice to Airmen and Airwomen: If you have an aviation job you are looking to fill, or are looking to fill one yourself, be sure to checkout our free airplane jobs area.

Those hiring are permitted to post up to five free listings each month.

Ads can include up to 50 words complete with links. If you've got more than that, we will ask for a few bucks. Less, it's free, but we'd appreciate a link back.

Free Aviation Job Postings
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Aviation Video: Last Chance for V-22 Osprey Documentary at Low Price

Just a heads up to those of you considering buying a download of Tiltrotor and The Future, our hour long video documentary on the origins of tiltrotor technology and the V-22 Osprey. The current price is only $5.99, but after this weekend we are going to move it exclusively into the paid subscriber only section of the website. We sold out of the VHS version at $29.95 per copy, so $5.99 for the download version is a steal.

The annual subscription price for (non-trade) is $29.95, so by subscribing, it's like getting Tiltrotor and The Future plus a 50 word 1 month non-commercial classified ad for free!

Aviation Video
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Wonderful Aviation Directory

Just want to make mention of a terrific dirctory of all things, and I mean just about all things, aviation. can help you find just about anything about aviation online. And if you have something to add, the site is run by a very generous person who is great about adding links.

Go see for yourself:
Aviation Directory

Check out his blog too:
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20 May 2005

Space News: New Mars Ship to Ship Images Released

The Beeb (BBC) has some fuzzy but first of their kind NASA images of two spacecraft orbiting Mars. The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) shot the pics of Mars Odyssey and the European Mars Express while the orbital mechanics of it all offered up some relativly close approaches.

According to the Beeb, speed of the MGS at the time was merely 6,800mph.

Read the Beeb

More Space News

Space News: Probes: Mars
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And so it begins...

Well, I've finally bit the bullet and launched a blog. Hopefully, this will actually serve some useful purpose. Like providing a less-than-journalistic outlet for thoughts and tidbits not appropriate for the mother science, airline and aviation news site,

Watch this space...


Science News: Airline News: Site News
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