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Kenneth Mays
A ship has one bridge! ONE BRIDGE! ONE RIKER! ONE BRIDGE!
A ship has one bridge! ONE BRIDGE! ONE RIKER! ONE BRIDGE!

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Kenneth's posts

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+Chris McCain being a damn nerd.

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L-426: Logbook

I'm in there, somewhere!

It takes a village to make the mold for the Soyuz seat liner, as I found out today. A couple of people were pouring liquid plaster on me, a couple more were holding me down so I stayed in good contact with the walls of the "bathtub" and someone was kindly covering my face, so I didn't get plaster splashes on it.

After a first rough mold was done, it took some iterations of adding and scraping away until I was confident that I had no hot spots and had an even contact all along my spine and, most importantly, my neck. A few more iterations in the actual Sokol spacesuit and the mold was done!

The seat liner is especially important at reentry. As you know, there's no such thing as a soft landing in the Soyuz: impact with the ground can be violent. But if the liner fits properly, it will distribute the impact load evenly and prevent injury.

Oh, and yes, days like this do make it feel so real!


Traduzione italiana a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:

En español aquí:

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Hey DARPA, I know a little company called
Have an idea for a spaceplane that can launch 10 times in 10 days, go Mach 10+ and costs less than $5 mil per flight?

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Uplifting story about friendship :)

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New video is live! This one's introducing an article about Vladimir Komarov's death abord Soyuz 1, one of the more common Soviet stories I'm asked about. Like to the article is on the You Tube page! 

Vladimir Komarov's Death Abord Soyuz 1

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There's a stunning image of Phobos from ESA's Mars Direct that you have to see, and you have to see it full resolution so follow the link! Mars Express' High Resolution Stereo Camera caught Phobos over Mars' limb on March 26, 2010. The waviness of Mars in the background is a by-product of the line-scanning nature of HRSC. 

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Concept art and weight estimates for a one-man lunar lander from 1966. I just LOVE these never realized concepts. At the time when any harebrained scheme to land on the Moon was fair game, engineers came up with some really interesting ideas!

I'll have to work on tracking down and compiling a list of all the lunar landing ideas that never were...

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Jupiter and the Sun are the two largest objects in our Solar System, and as they orbit around one another, they create regions where their gravity roughly cancels out. These are the Lagrangian points, created whenever two objects orbit one another: places where gravity is such that another small object can follow along in the orbit without being pulled in or out. And since things aren't getting pulled out of there, they get stuck in there as well: and so we have two large clumps of asteroids (and miscellaneous smaller space debris) in Jupiter's orbit. These are called the Trojan Asteroids; the group ahead of Jupiter is known as the Greek Camp, and the group behind it the Trojan Camp, with the asteroids in each camp being named after famous people in that war. Together, these two camps have as many asteroids as the Asteroid Belt.

Other stable patterns are possible, too: another one is what's called a 3:2 resonance pattern, asteroids whose motion gets confined to a basically triangular shape by the combined pull of Jupiter and the Sun. This group (for Jupiter) is called the Hilda Family, and their route forms a triangle with its three points at the two Lagrange points and at the point on Jupiter's orbit directly opposite it from the Sun. 

None of these orbits are perfectly stable, because each of these asteroids is subject to pulling from everything in the Solar System; as a result, an asteroid can shift from the Lagrange points to the Hilda family, and from the Hilda family to the Asteroid Belt (not shown), especially if it runs into something and changes its course. 

The reason that Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet is that we realized that these things are not only numerous, but some of them are quite big. Some things we formerly called asteroids are actually bigger than Pluto, so the naming started to seem a little silly. So our Solar System has, in decreasing order of size, four gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus); four rocky planets (Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury); five officially recognized dwarf planets (Eris, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Ceres); and a tremendous number of asteroids. (We suspect that there are actually about 100 dwarf planets, but the job of classifying what's an asteroid and what's actually a planet is still in progress -- see the "dwarf planet" link below if you want to know the details)

Ceres orbits in the Asteroid Belt, about halfway between Mars and Jupiter, just inside the triangle of the Hilda Family; Pluto and Haumea are both in the distant Kuiper Belt, outside the orbit of Neptune but shepherded by its orbit in much the same way that the Hildas are shepherded by Jupiter; Makemake is what's called a "cubewano," living in the Kuiper Belt but unshepherded, orbiting independently; and Eris is part of the Scattered Disc, the even more distant objects whose orbits don't sit nicely in the plane of the Solar System at all, having been kicked out of that plane by (we believe) scattering off large bodies like Jupiter.

But mostly, I wanted to share this to show you how things orbit. This picture comes from the amazing archive at, which has many other such pictures, and comes to me via +Max Rubenacker

More information about all of these things:

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WATCH THIS! Then, keep watching. SO AMAZING!!!
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