Red Bull Stratos & SpaceX | SciByte 66

Red Bull Stratos & SpaceX | SciByte 66

We take a look at Red Bull Stratos updates, an apple a day, new GPS satellites, a Space Station mission, Endeavours final leg of its journey, warp drive, SpaceX and Curiosity updates and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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Red Bull Stratos

  • Last time on SciByte
  • iPhone Nurse & “Warp Drive” | SciByte 64 [September 25, 2012]
  • Olympic Science & Red Bull Stratos | SciByte 56 [July 31, 2012]
  • Launch Requirements
  • Winds of less than 2 mph [3 kph] up to 800 feet [244 m] in altitude
  • An FAA regulation prohibits balloons from ascending if skies are overcast such that horizontal visibility is less than 3 miles (4.8 kilometers)
  • Atmospheric air cool enough to enable Baumgartner’s falling body to surpass the speed of sound
  • Delays
  • The original launch date of Monday, October 8th was delayed due to high winds and less than horizontal visibility of 3 miles (4.8 kilometers)
  • On Tuesday early morning although winds were calm problems in Baumgartner’s custom-built capsule delayed liftoff for hours
  • Later on Tuesday
  • The Balloon
  • Helium filled balloon
  • Constructed of strips of high-performance polyethylene (plastic) film that is only 0.0008 inches thick
  • All of the strips combined would cover 40 acres if they laid out flat
  • At launch the uninflated balloon measures 592.41 ft [180.6 m]
  • At 120,000 feet: Height / Diameter of 334.82 ft / 424.37 ft [102.1 m/129.3 m]
  • Requires approximately 8 hours of preparation immediately before launch, including about 45 to 60 minutes for insertion of the helium.
  • The balloon once “unboxed” can not be used again as they are very fragile
  • The Descent
  • Expected freefall of 5 minutes, 35 seconds or more
  • Felix will deploy his parachute at 5,000 ft [1,524 m], after which it will take 10–15 minutes before reaching the ground
  • The total time in the air from the edge of space to Earth is estimated at about 15–20 minutes
  • The combined parachute system components – Felix’s overall rig – will weigh about 60 lbs./27 kg. In comparison, a typical skydiving rig weighs about 20 lbs./9 kg., and a BASE jumping rig weighs 10 to 12 lbs./4 to 5 kg.
  • Thermosphere
  • The outermost layer of the atmosphere
  • Solar radiation bombards this layer, striking sparse air molecules and causing them to emit flashes of light, the auroras
  • Mesosphere
  • At 53 miles [85 km] it has faint clouds
  • Electrical discharge events called red sprites and blue jets
  • Stratosphere
  • Goes from an altitude of 6 miles (10 kilometers) up to about 30 miles (50 km) above the surface.
  • Air pressure drops from 10 percent of its value at sea level to just 0.1 percent
  • Absorption of UV sunlight by ozone causes the temperature to actually increase as the altitude increases
  • The temperature coupling of temperature with altitude prevents convection from happening, and so the air in this layer is dynamically stable.
  • Troposphere
  • Includes everything from an altitude of 6 miles down over most of Earth
  • Weather and jet stream
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube Free Fall Jump Aborted Cancelled due to High Winds | Red Bull Stratos Felix Baumgartner Upset | TheRobotCinema
  • Interactable Mission Timeline |
  • Image Gallery
  • Social Media
  • Red Bull Stratos @RedBullStratos
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Home | Red Bull Stratos
  • Drop Zone | Red Bull Stratos
  • How Supersonic Skydiver Will Freefall Through Earth’s Atmosphere | Felix Baumgartner Space Jump |
  • Record-Breaking Supersonic Skydive Attempt Delayed to Tuesday |
  • Supersonic Skydive’s 5 Biggest Risks: Boiling Blood, Deadly Spins, and Worse | National Geographic

Stitcher Radio


An Apple a Day

  • In a study the consumption of one apple a day for four weeks lowered levels of a substance linked to hardening of the arteries by 40 percent blood
  • The low down
  • The difference between eating an apple or not was similar to that found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease
  • Apples seemed to lower LDL, “bad” cholesterol, levels during the study [LDL, low-density lipoprotein]
  • The cholesterol LDL is more likely to promote inflammation and can cause tissue damage.
  • There was a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks
  • Significance
  • The study also showed that simply taking capsules containing polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples, had a similar, but not as large of an effect.
  • The researchers believing that polyphenols in the apples contribute to the effects and tried to extract them
  • The extracted polyphenols did register a measurable effect although not as strong as straight apples
  • Higher doses that used in this study may improve the results although apples themselves could be doing better if there are other unknown compounds contributing to the effect
  • These possible unknown compounds could also contribute to the overall effect by aiding absorption
  • Of Note
  • Eating apples has also shown some effects on antioxidants in saliva, which has implications for dental health
  • The study is funded by an apple industrial group
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube An Apple a Day May Keep Heart Doctor Away | OARDC
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • An apple a day lowers level of blood chemical linked to hardening of the arteries | MedialXPress


New GPS Satellite System

  • A Delta IV rocket launched on Oct 4th, sending a next-generation Global Positioning System satellite into orbit
  • The low down
  • The satellite will be part of the GPS system that is used by both civilians and the military
  • This system will replace a 19-year-old navigation satellite in the global system that includes 31 operational satellites on-orbit which broadcast position
  • This particular launch is the the third of 12 planned launches to provide improved GPS signals
  • This satellite system features improved anti-jam technology, more precise atomic clocks, an upgraded civilian channel for commercial aviation and on-board processors that can be reprogrammed in flight
  • The new satellite should be available by November
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube Launch of GPS IIF–3 on Delta IV Medium Rocket | SpaceVidsNet
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Liftoff! Delta IV Launches Next Generation GPS Satellite |

A Year in a Space Station

  • The low down
  • On October 5th NASA and the international partners of the International Space Station announced an agreement to send two crew members to the International Space Station on a one-year mission
  • This type of mission is designed to collect valuable scientific data needed to send humans to new destinations in the solar system
  • The crew on this mission would be one American astronaut and one Russian cosmonaut
  • The mission is scheduled to begin in spring 2015
  • Scientists say that if the mission proves to be effective, they will discuss making year long missions on a permanent basis
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Year-Long Missions Could Be Added to Space Station Manifest |

YouTube | 55 Years of Space Exploration, 1957 – 2012


SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft re-supply mission

  • The flight, referred to as Commercial Resupply Services–1 (CRS–1), is the first of a dozen resupply flights for which NASA is paying SpaceX $1.6 billion to fly.
  • Mission Patch
  • The first of NASA’s contracted cargo resupply flights to the International Space Station now has its own mission patch
  • The CRS–1 mission patch, which borrows its shape from the Dragon capsule, shows the solar-powered spacecraft grappled by the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm as it is being brought in to connect with the stations Harmony module
  • Almost camouflaged with the patch’s green-colored North American continent is a four leaf clover. The symbol for luck, the clover has become a regular feature on SpaceX’s insignias since the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company’s first successful Falcon 1 launch in September 2008
  • Embroidered versions of the patch may be in the mission’s Official Flight Kit (OFK) of mementos to be presented to NASA and SpaceX team members for a job well done.
  • Launch
  • Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, launched its second-station bound Dragon capsule atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 8:35 p.m. EDT (0035 GMT Oct. 8) from Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • Engine Failure
  • 79 seconds into the launch one out of nine of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 suddenly lost pressure and was shut down [it did not explode as they continued to receive data]
  • None of the other 8 engines were affected and the Falcon 9 rocket re-calculated a new launch profile to arrive in the correct orbit
  • Careful analysis of all data to find the cause, identify the problem and find solutions for future missions
  • Eleven minutes after launch, when the Dragon was safely in orbit, two 15-foot (4.6 m) solar arrays were deployed to provide power to the spacecraft.
  • The ‘debris’ seen falling from the engine is most likely protective fairings around the engine from engine pressure releases
  • Theodore Kurita | SpaceX Falcon Engine Failure
  • @StarbaseUGC | SpaceX Falcon Engine Failure
  • Orbcomm satellite
  • Orbcomm operates a global machine-to-machine messaging service using a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit.
  • Its second-generation constellation is designed to provide faster and higher-volume messaging, and also to provide a global Automatic Identification Service on maritime traffic.
  • The New Jersey-based company had a piggybacked payload on the Falcon 9 launch, the OG2
  • The failure in one of Falcon 9’s engines prevented the OG2 to be deployed into an orbit that was lower than intended
  • Both companies are working together in communication with the satellite to determine if it can be raised into an operational orbit
  • No statement has been released as of the filming of todays show but it is thought that they will be able to get a few months work out of the prototype
  • Plans are still in place to launch 17 more OG2 satellites on two Falcon 9 rockets in 2013 and 2014
  • Sweet Treat for the Space Station Crew
  • GLACIER, or General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator, is primarily used to preserve science samples that require temperatures between minus 301 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 160 and 4 degrees Celsius)
  • The mini-fridge sized freezer has previously flown aboard the space shuttle and will be used to return frozen samples back to Earth
  • The vanilla with swirled chocolate sauce ice cream cups won’t melt on their three-day journey to the space station thanks to a freezer on board the Dragon capsule
  • The brand of ice cream flying in the Dragon’s GLACIER is Blue Bell Creameries, a Texas dairy that has a strong fan base in Houston
  • Blue Bell ice cream has been flown to the space station before. The creamery’s cups first launched to the orbiting laboratory in 2006 on board the space shuttle Atlantis
  • Of Note
  • The Dragon Spacecraft should arrive at the space station on Wed when it will be captured using the station arm
  • It’s two week visit will conclude on Oct 28 for a splashdown off the coast of S California
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube Space X/Dragon Heads to ISS | NASAtelevision
  • Image Gallery SpaceX Dragon Launches on 1st Space Station Cargo Trip |
  • Social Media
  • Handle @
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Private Rocket Suffered Slight Glitch During Sunday Cargo Launch |
  • Astronaut Ice Cream: Frozen Dessert Launching to Space Station |
  • Station-Bound Dragon Spacecraft’s Mission Patch Unveiled |
  • Recovery Prospects Unclear for Orbcomm Craft Launched by Falcon 9 |
  • [SpaceX Rocket Launch Glitch Left Piggyback Satellite in Wrong Orbit |]

Shuttle Endeavour Parade Coming

  • Last time on SciByte
  • iPhone Nurse & “Warp Drive” | SciByte 64 [September 25, 2012]
  • The low down
  • Nicknamed Mission 26, pre-dawn Friday morning [Oct 12] Endeavour will starts it’s 2-day 12 mile journey from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to its new exhibition at the California Science Center (CSC)
  • Mission 26 will take Endeavour through Inglewood and Los Angeles, including passing over the 405 freeway
  • Endeavour will make the journey atop a modified NASA overland transporter, driven most of the time by four self powered, computer controlled vehicles.
  • Los Angeles and Inglewood police departments have said that public viewing will be limited on Friday until Endeavour’s overnight crossing of the 405 is completed
  • Although original plans included a Toyota stock truck to tow the shuttle on its last quarter-mile (400 meters) to the science center. Instead, the pickup will be used to move Endeavour over the freeway due to its computer-driven transporters not being cleared for use on the overpass.
  • Travel Logistics
  • Police will have to shut down streets and sidewalks
  • Crews will have to temporarily remove and reinstall power lines, traffic signals and street lights
  • Although the route did involve the removal of several hundred trees, for every tree that was removed, up to four trees of higher quality will be planted in its place, in addition 2-years of of tree maintenance will be provided
  • Multimedia
  • Google Map of the Journey
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Space shuttle Endeavour to leave on L.A. road trip this week |
  • How to Steal a Space Shuttle |


Dilithium Crystals

  • A new fusion impulse engine could cut the travel time to Mars from six months to six weeks
  • The low down
  • Since the sponsors of the project have ties to military funding the project will first be available for military uses, possibly for nuclear testing equipment
  • The process still has a few things to work through such as a way to harness the fusion energy
  • Also in question is turning the power generated by the fusion into thrust for an engine
  • Any craft that used this system would need to be assembled in space
  • This technology also has applications far beyond military or space exploration
  • Even with these issues scientists on the project are hoping to make the system a reality by 2030
  • The scientists are hoping to make impulse drive a reality by 2030
  • Of Note
  • The fuel that they are calling “basically dilithium crystals” is deuterium [a stable isotope of hydrogen] and Li6 [a stable isotope of the metal lithium] in a crystal structure
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • ‘Star Trek’ fusion impulse engine in the works | Crave – CNET
  • Newest Fusion Engine Is Powered On Star Trek Like Dilithium Crystals | Business Insider



Looking back

  • Oct 10, 1846 : 166 years ago : Triton : Neptune’s moon, Triton, is discovered by William Lassell while he was observing the newly discovered planet Neptune. He was attempting to confirm his observation of the previous week, that Neptune had a ring. Instead he discovered that Neptune had a satellite, Triton. Lassell soon proved that the ring he thought he had seen was a product of his new telescope’s distortion. This picture of Triton was taken in 1989 by the only spacecraft ever to pass Triton: Voyager 2, which found fascinating terrain, a thin atmosphere, and even evidence for ice volcanoes on this world of peculiar orbit and spin. Ironically, Voyager 2 also confirmed the existence of complete thin rings around Neptune – but these would have been quite invisible to Lassell!

Looking up this week

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