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20 July 2005

NASA: Moon: Google: Huh?

Well it's only a Google moon...

Google, those clever clever people, have honored the folks who made the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 possible and the mind boggling success it was, by adding some moon maps to Google's already wonderful map interface. See for yourself at the link below.

See the moon through Google's eyes.

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Space News: NASA: Google?
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15 July 2005

Space News: NASA Deep Impact Coming Soon

Source: NASA

On July 4, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will attempt an extraordinarily daring encounter with the far-flung comet Tempel 1 hurtling through space at tens of thousands of miles per hour. As if that is not challenging enough, the comet's size, shape and other characteristics are not entirely known.

Two of NASA's eyes in the sky, the Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes, helped scientists prepare for the comet encounter. From their orbits high above Earth, the telescopes watched Tempel 1 in early 2004. Together they came up with the best estimates of the comet's size, shape, reflectivity and rotation rate. The data may help Deep Impact snap pictures of the dramatic rendezvous and increase the probability of making contact with the comet.

"Even tiny adjustments to our model of Tempel 1 are crucial to hitting the target and setting camera exposure times," said Dr. Carey Lisse, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. Lisse is team leader for the Tempel 1 Spitzer studies.

Previous observations of Tempel 1 taken with ground-based telescopes indicated the comet is dark and oblong, with a width of a few miles. Spitzer and Hubble refined these measurements, revealing a matte black comet approximately 8.7 by 2.5 miles, or roughly one-half the size of Manhattan Island, N.Y.

"Spitzer was crucial in pinning down the comet's size," said Dr. Michael A'Hearn, University of Maryland, College Park. He is principal investigator for Deep Impact and the Hubble observations. "We'll know exactly what it looks like when we get there," he said.

The Deep Impact spacecraft was launched on January 12, 2005. Its mission is to study the primordial soup of our solar system, which is sealed away inside comets.

On July 3, as it approaches Tempel 1, the spacecraft will separate into two parts. The impactor will attempt the tricky task of placing itself in the path of the speeding snowball, while the second part, the flyby spacecraft, swings around for a ringside view.

After the impactor is released, its specialized software will steer it toward the sunlit portion of Tempel 1's nucleus. To program the software, mission planners at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) needed to know the size and reflectivity of Tempel 1's surface. Since its surface can't be observed directly from Earth, scientists turned to Spitzer's infrared eyes to measure its size.

When viewing a comet in visible light from very far away, only reflected sunlight can be seen, so a big, dark comet can look the same as a highly reflective, small comet. In infrared light, a comet's radiated heat is measured, providing a direct look at its size.

Once the size of Tempel 1 was known, scientists could calculate surface reflectivity. They calculated the amount of reflected, visible light observed by Hubble and found Tempel 1 reflects only four percent of the sunlight that falls on it.

"Knowing the reflectivity also tells us how to set up our cameras," Lisse said. "Like photographers, it's important for us to know our subject before the shoot."

Tempel 1's shape and two-day rotation rate were derived from long-term observations made by various telescopes, including Hubble, Spitzer and the University of Hawaii's 2.2-meter telescope at Mauna Kea.

In addition to the flyby spacecraft images, at least 30 telescopes around the world, including Spitzer, Hubble and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, will be watching the dramatic impact. By analyzing the material blown out of the interior of the comet, this global network of telescopes will assemble a list of the raw ingredients that went into making the planets in our solar system.

Deep Impact

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Space News: NASA: Deep Impact
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Space News: NASA Selects New Frontiers Mission Concept Study

Source: NASA

NASA announced a mission to fly to Jupiter will proceed to a preliminary design phase. The mission is called Juno, and it is the second in NASA's New Frontiers Program.

The mission will conduct a first-time, in-depth study of the giant planet. This mission proposes to place a spacecraft in a polar orbit around Jupiter to investigate the existence of an ice-rock core; determine the amount of global water and ammonia present in the atmosphere; study convection and deep wind profiles in the atmosphere; investigate the origin of the Jovian magnetic field; and explore the polar magnetosphere.

"We are excited at the prospect of the new scientific understanding and discoveries by Juno in our continued exploration of the outer reaches of our solar system during the next decade," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

At the end of the preliminary design study, the mission must pass a confirmation review that will address significant schedule, technical and cost risks before being confirmed for the development phase.

Dr. Scott Bolton of Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo., is the Principal Investigator. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will provide mission project management. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft.

NASA selected two proposed mission concepts for study in July 2004 from seven submitted in February 2004 in response to an agency Announcement of Opportunity. "This was a very tough decision given the exciting and innovative nature of the two missions," Asrar added."

The selected New Frontiers science mission must be ready for launch no later than June 30, 2010, within a mission cost cap of $700 million.

The New Frontiers Program is designed to provide opportunities to conduct several of the medium-class missions identified as top priority objectives in the Decadal Solar System Exploration Survey, conducted by the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council.

The first NASA New Frontiers mission will fly by the Pluto-Charon system in 2014 and then target another Kuiper asteroid belt object.

NASA Science Programs

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Space News: NASA: Jupiter
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Airline News: Ethiopian Airlines Increases 787 Dreamliner Order

Source: Boeing
Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Ethiopian Airlines livery
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 31, 2005 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Ethiopian Airlines today said the airline has increased its firm orders for the 787 Dreamliner to 10 airplanes by exercising purchase rights obtained with its initial order announced Feb 4. The airline is the first 787 customer to exercise purchase rights or options for the rapidly selling new Boeing jetliner.

Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing also said they have completed the contract for the airline's 10 Dreamliners, valued at US$1.6 billion at list prices.

"Having been the first to bring jet service to the African continent, Ethiopian Airlines is excited to once again be the first by launching operations in Africa with this revolutionary airplane," Ethiopian Airlines CEO Ato Girma Wake said. "The 787, represents the future—one in which Ethiopian Airlines will play a major part—and we view this airplane to be a cutting-edge solution to bolster our passenger service, improve our efficiencies and add to the airline's bottom line."

Ethiopian Airlines moved quickly to secure its five additional delivery positions for the 787 following a series of recent order announcements for the airplane, which is essentially sold out for its first three years of production. Its first 787 is scheduled for delivery to its Addis Ababa home base in 2008.

"The market appeal for the 787 continues to grow," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We're proud to strengthen our long-standing partnership with Ethiopian Airlines through the 787, which will help airlines all over the world operate profitably while flying people directly where they want to go, with exceptional comfort and with unmatched economic efficiency."

Ethiopian Airlines will be the first Africa-based operator of the technologically advanced and rapidly selling jet and one of the first anywhere to receive the Dreamliner.

Developed as an entirely new airplane and incorporating composite technology that lends to operating efficiencies and performance characteristics exceeding conventional airframes, Boeing's 787 continues to gain ground with airlines worldwide.

Boeing now has 266 orders and commitments from 21 customers for the 787. The Ethiopian Airlines order will be booked on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries Web site pending final documentation of U.S. Ex-Im Bank guarantees.

Boeing's partnership with Ethiopian Airlines dates back some 50 years. Today, it operates an all-Boeing fleet of 737 and 767 airplanes.
Boeing's 787 Site

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Airline News: Fleet: Orders
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NTSB Safety Recommendations

Source: NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that the
Federal Aviation Administration:

Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 air
carrier operators to establish programs for flight
crewmembers who have demonstrated performance deficiencies
or experienced failures in the training environment that
would require a review of their whole performance history at
the company and administer additional oversight and training
to ensure that performance deficiencies are addressed and
corrected. (A-05-014)

Amend the emergency exit training information contained in
the flight crew and cabin crew sections in Federal Aviation
Administration Order 8400.10, Air Transportation Aviation
Inspectors Handbook, to make the emergency exit door/slide
training described in the flight crew section as
comprehensive as the cabin crew emergency training section
of the principal operations inspector handbook. (A-05-015)

Verify that all 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part
121 operators emergency door/slide trainers are configured
to accurately represent the actual airplane exit door/slide
and that their flight crew emergency exit door/slide
training provides the intended hands-on emergency procedures
training as described in 14 CFR 121.417, to include pulling
the manual inflation handle. (A-05-016)

Inform all air traffic control tower controllers of the
circumstances of this accident, including the need to ensure
that aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles are
not delayed without good cause when en route to an emergency
and the need to relay the number of airplane occupants to
ARFF responders. (A-05-017)

In cooperation with the Memphis/Shelby County Airport
Authority and Memphis Fire Department, modify the November
1, 2001, letter of agreement, titled, Airport Emergency
Procedures, to fully describe the protocol to be used for
emergency responses, including Rural/Metro Fire Department
aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment and personnel.

The complete recommendation letter is available on the Web by clicking here - caution it is a PDF file.

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Airline News: Safety: NTSB Recommendations

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Airline News & Picture Site Launched:

Airline Logo border=We have just cracked the doors on our new everything airline portal site,

We are just getting started so bear with us while we get the walls up and some paint on the place. In the meantime, get yourself signed up (it's free) and ready to discuss all things airline, post your pictures (if you own them), and follow the news of the world's greatest and most challenging business - airlines!

The forum is now open and we will soon have a photo gallery that you can view and post your own airline and airport pictures to without a supreme court telling you if your work is good enough or not.

The names and categories in our forums are just a starting point. Want another forum added? Please use the "Feedback" link to tell us and we will do our best.

Our success will depend on creating a community of folks that love the airline industry and feel at home here. Tell us what we can do better and if you can help out, let us know too.

If you can, please link to us (see instructions on the site's homepage) and tell your friends.

Donations are much needed as well.

Clear skies to you all,

Airline News: Media: New Site
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