Today’s Tidbits: September 17, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: September 17, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today, September 17, 2017.  Enjoy!

Dragon Splashes Down

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft returned from the International Space Station (ISS) this morning, landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California about 10:14 am ET. That brings to a close SpaceX’s 12th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the ISS — SpaceX CRS-12 or SpX-12.  Launch was on August 14.  At 4:40 am ET today, ISS astronauts Bresnik (NASA) and Nespoli (ESA), using the robotic Canadarm2, released Dragon after it had been detached from the Harmony docking port. Dragon took 6,400 pounds of cargo to ISS, and returned 3,800 pounds to Earth, including mice from the Rodent Research-9 study.

Fifth HI-SEAS Mars Simulation Exercise Ends

HI-SEAS habitat. Photo credit: University of Hawaii website.

Today is the end of a Mars simulation exercise that has been taking place in Hawai’i for the past 8 months. The Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is a habitat on the Big Island of Hawai’i that is positioned on the side of Mauna Loa 8, 200 feet above sea level.  The geology of the area is Mars-like according to the University of Hawai’i, which operates the NASA-funded HI-SEAS project. This is the fifth simulation, HI-SEAS V, and began on January 19.  Two women and four men have been living in the habitat’s 13,000 cubic feet of volume and making excursions outside dressed in the equivalent of spacesuits to simulate what it would be like to do research on Mars.  The primary purpose of the project is to better understand how people react to the isolation they would encounter on a Mars mission.  The exercise includes a 20-minute communications latency to simulate the signal travel time between Mars and Earth. Leonard David has more [].

India Will Resume Launches by December

India Times reports today that launches will resume by December.  India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) suffered a failure on August 31 because a fairing did not separate properly.  An Indian navigation satellite, IRNSS-1H, was lost as a result.  A committee studying the failure has not completed its report yet, but the head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) says launches will resume in November or December.

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