Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuff To Watch: 40390576's YouTube Channel

Saturn SA-6 onboard film, 1964, view two. The launch vehicle is a Saturn-I; the vehicle's second stage is a S-IV. Video from 40390576 on YouTube.

In my time as an amateur spaceflight historian/shuttle pimper, I've found a lot of amazing channels while surfing around on YouTube. I've decided to occasionally profile some of the interesting things one can see while looking for space-y videos on YouTube.

This channel, called "40390576" (very enigmatic!), has an impressive catalog of vintage rocket/shuttle-related footage. There are a lot of great shots of rocket stage separations (such as the footage above of a S-IV second stage separating from the Saturn I launch vehicle). Also, if explosions are your thing, this channel has the market cornered on various rocket failures from the early days of the space program. This one from 1965 was particularly impressive, and I sincerely hope no one was injured in the resulting massive conflagration.

At any rate, this channel is regularly updated, and is an amazing find for any budding rocket engineers out there, or people who merely want to watch insane sh*t blow up. Check it out, whatever your viewing hungers are; you will not be disappointed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ISS Update: August 29, 2011

According to, NASA officials announced this morning the ISS might be de-crewed (unmanned) staring in November due to the recent Progress launch vehicle failure. This scenario could happen if Russia's space program is not underway again by that time. 

However, there is no need to panic. Ground crews are more than able to operate the space station's systems with no crew members aboard for an extended period. 

...So yeah, anyway, more of what we already know. We've all had sort of a difficult last week - I certainly did - so here's a cute picture of Gemini 3 to make us all feel a bit more cheery. 

Gemini 3 crew Gus Grissom and John Young, 1965, from Life magazine. 

UPDATE 9:25 PM EDT:  Evidently the problem with the Soyuz rocket was caused by a gas generator failure in its third stage engine, according to Russian news sources.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Update About The Progress Cargo Vehicle Failure: August 27, 2011

It's been kind of a crazy week everywhere for pretty much everyone, so I am going to keep this post short and sweet. According to Spaceflight Now, a NASA official has said this last week's Progress launch vehicle failure may cause the International Space Station to be unmanned by year's end. NASA was relying on Soyuz spacecraft to ferry astronauts back and forth to the ISS. This failure comes at a particularly unfortunate time due to the very recent end of the shuttle program.

Obviously and understandably, Russia's space program would like to take their time to work out their launch vehicle issues before they place people inside their capsules (and trust me, I am behind that 100%). Also, re-starting spaceflights in winter is kind of a bad idea, because winter conditions in Russia = nightmarish recoveries of landed Soyuz capsules.

NASA is holding a press conference Monday, August 29th at 10:00 AM EDT to discuss their options following the Russian launch vehicle failure. Let's try our best to be positive through this difficult time for manned spaceflight. Also, if you're in Hurricane Irene's path, stay safe out there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some General Facts About Russia's Space Program

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project crews. From left, Apollo's crew consisted of Donald "Deke" Slayton (a Mercury 7 astronaut), Thomas P. Stafford, and Vance Brand. Soyuz's crew consisted of Alexei Leonov (a veteran cosmonaut) and Valeri Kubasov. 1975 NASA photo. 

  • The then-Soviet Union was responsible for sending the first unmanned mission (Sputnik-1, or "Satellite-1") and the first orbital manned mission (Vostok-1, or "East-1") into space. The USSR kicked off the "space race" on both sides of the world.
  • The USSR sent up the first space station well before Skylab was launched. Salyut-1 was launched into space in 1971. Salyut missions continued well into the 1970s. The Mir space station, launched in 1986, housed several U.S. shuttle astronauts until its decommission in 2001.  
  •  The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission was the first collaborative docking between crews from different nations. It set the precedent for future projects between the U.S. and Russia, such as the current International Space Station. Also, astronaut Thomas Stafford and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov remain close friends. 
  • Alexei Leonov also was the first human ever to complete an extravehicular activity, otherwise known as a spacewalk, in 1965. 
  • The USSR sent the first woman in space in 1963. Valentina Tereshkova was launched into orbit on Vostok-6; she also was the first civilian (non-military) person to fly in space. The U.S. did not send women into space until 1983.
  •  The Soyuz program has had a 97% success rate over nearly 45 years. This is pretty amazing in itself given the obvious risks of putting humans and unmanned spacecraft into space.

My Thoughts On Russia's Space Program

Video of today's Progress M-12M/44P launch, which re-entered and crashed shortly following its launch due to a propulsion system failure. Video courtesy of Spaceflight101.

I discovered tons of rather nasty comments on's Facebook page about this Russian launch failure which took place earlier today. The comments basically had the tone of "Why did we get rid of the space shuttle?" and "Why are we allowing THEM to take us into space?" In a moment of exasperation, apparently it's very easy to forget manned and unmanned spaceflight history. 

Let's take a moment to review some U.S. launch failures (yes, we have had a few). I had a friend who was at the Delta rocket explosion extravaganza in the late 1990s when basically all of the cars in and around Launch Complex 17 were destroyed by 200 pound chunks of flaming rocket debris. (He was fine. His car wasn't.) In NASA's 50-odd years of history, we've unfortunately lost a lot of satellites due to launch vehicle failures. These things happen. Let's not forget that spaceflight, at best, is incredibly risky.

Opponents of Russia's spaceflight program LOVE to bring up Soyuz's ill-fated first flight and Soyuz 11. Let it be said the NASA was not all all happy and smug that their Soviet counterparts encountered tragic failures. Deke Slayton's face is lined with obvious emotion while making a statement about the loss of Soyuz 1. It's a horrific tragedy when any human being, regardless of political stance, is lost while merely doing his or her job. In 1967, the U.S. also experienced its own loss with the flash fire which ended the lives of the Apollo 1 crew. It goes without saying that the Challenger and Columbia accidents were extremely upsetting and traumatizing to everyone involved in both countries' space programs. The wounds experienced in the quest for manned spaceflight run incredibly deep on both sides of the ocean.

My stance is that we're all brothers and sisters in spaceflight, despite political affiliations, nationality, color, religion, and gender. No one OWNS space. The U.S. has made wonderful achievements in spaceflight over the last 50 years; we managed to land men on the moon with the barest of technologies. Let's not forget the Russian space program put the first man (and woman) in space. They set the bar extremely high for us, and we should be grateful for that. Due to their tenacity, we were inspired to enter the game of homesteading space. 

UPDATE, 6:36 PM: Today's Progress launch failure is already causing considerable political fallout. Are you kidding me?  Why don't you guys in the House worry about the crappy economy before you decide to diss the Russian space program? 

UPDATE, 6:47 PM: Today's rocket failure has prompted Russia's space program to halt its manned spaceflight program temporarily. The rocket which launches Progress cargo vessels also launches manned Soyuz missions. No word yet on how this may affect future ISS missions. Keep reading This Space Available for future updates.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Greatest NASA Photo Ever?: Pete Conrad Being Pete Conrad, 1965

Pete Conrad does typical Pete Conrad stuff, 1965, in preparation for Gemini 5. Thanks to Retro Space Images for this amazing photo!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

NASA Publications Which SHOULD Somehow Exist, But Don't

1971 NASA publication highlighting sites and features of the Moon from lunar orbiters. 

NASA has been known to send out various pamphlets, brochures, and publications out to its adoring public. I still have in my possession some vintage Voyager/Pioneer publications and a lot of space shuttle brochures from the mid-1980s; from Juno's NASA Tweetup, I have amassed a similar impressive collection. But what about the brochures we REALLY wanted to see? Here's a small collection of what we all wish we had in our swag collections.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First 10,000 Hits Call For A Skylab Party

"If you take more blood from me, Joe, I am so gonna ban you from the beer spigot." Pete Conrad submits to a dental checkup from Joseph Kerwin, America's first space physician. 

"Awwww DUDE I MADE THAT SIDE TOO SHORT. Sorry 'bout that. It's just hair. It will grow out..." Pete Conrad uses a 1973 Flowbee to trim Paul Weitz's hair.

"Teeheehee, look, my head is in this plate thing-y!" Joseph Kerwin, you are an astronaut, you're not supposed to be there. 

 If your name is Joseph Peter Kerwin, contact this blog and let me know what the heck was exactly going on in this photo. For all mankind.

"Pete! Save some party times for us, too!" Pete's Apollo 12 buddy Alan Bean, left, commanded Skylab 3. Here he is with Jack Lousma and Owen Garriott (from left to right). 

All photos from 1973 by NASA except for the Conrad & Weitz photo by Life magazine. Thanks to my readers for making my first 10,000 hits possible! I hope you enjoy the content here!

For more Skylab paaaaarty times, visit this hilarious blog created by my friend Gina - Skylab Party!

Juno Where I'm At?: Juno's Location, August 18th, 2011 Edition

Juno at 12:20 AM EDT on August 18, 2011. The solar-powered space probe is currently chillin' in front of Uranus and Jupiter (its destination in 2016). Screenshot from JPL's Eyes on the Solar System by me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interruption In Programming Until Later This Week...

"Going to the Moon, BRB." Gene Cernan does his Apollo 17 mission commander thing, 1972 NASA photo.

I am going to be out of the area early this week so I will be taking a short break from blogging. However, I'll be back soon after some much needed R&R!

This Space Available's Newest Feature - Mission Reviews, Part 1: Gemini 6A - 7 (1965)

I can smell them from almost 46 years back. Gemini 7 returns from spending two weeks in a floating toilet, December 18, 1965. Life magazine photo.

So, I've decided to start reviewing missions on a five-star scale now, because obviously astronauts know a whole freakin' lot about stars. Anyways, I've decided to start with Gemini 6A and Gemini 7.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Account Of Juno's NASA Tweetup On Kittysneezes!

The author standing in front of Juno's Atlas V, August 4th, 2011. GO BIG OR GO HOME!

My article summing up Juno's NASA Tweetup went live today! Give it a read - hopefully it does justice to two of the greatest days ever experienced. 

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft: Juno/Atlas V NASA Tweetup -

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So Yeah, I Make Videos. Videos Are Cool Now.

Video created by Emily Carney. LEGAL NOTE: All photos by NASA. Song is "This Is It" by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, 1979. I have no ownership of the content within this film.

I've had the same YouTube channel since 2005 or 2006 under the name emilybot. Generally it was my hub to "favorite" post-punk and comedy videos.

I've just started uploading videos on the channel this last week. 

I don't intend on really getting too obsessed with video, since I generally enjoy writing, but I like the idea of creating slideshows and sharing NASA photos with people who may have similar interests. So here's my tribute to the 1977 Approach and Landing Tests, STS-1, and STS-2. All set to some appropriate 1970s yacht rock! Because the space shuttle was probably a big fan of yacht rock. Or something.

Anyways, enjoy the video. I think some of y'all might dig it. It has lots of pretty pictures of astronauts generally being total badasses, and of course it has lots of Enterprise and Columbia. 

DID YOU KNOW: Construction on Columbia began in...1974? Columbia assembly started in Palmdale, California on June 4, 1974. Enterprise assembly started on June 21 during the same year. Initial contracts were awarded to various contractors starting 40 years ago in 1971. And the rest, as they say, is history...

Monday, August 8, 2011

My First YouTube Video: My Tribute To The Juno/Atlas V Tweetup

This video is a condensed collection of photos from the Juno NASA Tweetup last week. Originally I had so many pictures in there, the video was about 30 minutes in length. However, these are the very best photos set to some appropriately-themed music.

Keep some Kleenex handy for the end. Also, my article summing up the Tweetup will appear on the Web site Kittysneezes August 12.

Once again, my sincerest, deepest thanks to NASA, Juno mission scientists/technicians, the United Launch Alliance, JPL, and of course, to my fellow Tweeps for two of the greatest days of my life. I never imagined I'd be part of something so completely amazing. Thank you always!

Video created by Emily Carney.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Fun With Eyes On The Solar System, Or How My Family Learned To Start Worrying And Stage An Intervention

Juno hauling its solar-powered ass away from Earth around an hour and a half post-launch at 1:53 PM EDT, August 5th, 2011.

Juno earlier this evening at 10:04 PM EDT. Juno is facing Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Sun, and the space probe STEREO Ahead.

All screenshots by Emily Carney.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's After 10:00 PM On A Saturday Night. Do You Know Where Your Space Probes Are?

This is where Juno was at 4:10 PM EDT today. Screenshot by me.

A while back Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology released a cool-as-heck Web site called Eyes on the Earth, which allows the viewer to track data coming from Earth's satellites in 3D and in real time. It was widely believed at the time that JPL/Caltech could not possibly outdo themselves because of this awesome Web site.

Well, because they are total badasses, JPL and Caltech are now back with Eyes on the Solar System. That's right. Viewers at home can download the Infinity plug-in and look at various probes, planets, asteroids, satellites, etc., etc., etc. hanging out in the solar system in three dimensions. Also, one can go back to the good ol' days of Pioneer 10 and Voyager 1; you can view these probes' historical flybys when you "rewind" time (yes, you can control times and dates on this Web site). Did I mention it was in 3D? This Web site makes Tron: Legacy look like Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" video. In all seriousness, both Web sites are going to revolutionize the way the Internet looks at Earth and the universe.

In conclusion, if you haven't seen these Web sites yet, get some 3D glasses and CLICK ON THE LINKS RIGHT NOW.

This was where Voyager 2 was hanging out at 4:38 PM EDT. All by its lonesome, chillin' in deep space. Screenshot by me.

Recovering From A Trip To Space Heaven: Some Thoughts About Juno's NASA Tweetup

 Juno's Atlas V is on top of this plume, August 5th, 2011. At this time, the Atlas V was traveling downrange towards its desired interplanetary hyperbolic trajectory (Juno is headed to Jupiter). Also, note the massive shadow to the left from the plume/launch vehicle. Photo taken by Emily Carney.

I am going to write a more detailed article about the Juno Tweetup for the great online publication Kittysneezes, so keep your eyes and ears prepared for that. However, in the meantime, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to NASA and to my fellow Tweeps. I had what can only be described as two of the greatest days of my 33 years on Earth, and I saw things that most people never get to view in their entire lifetime right in front of me. I will always be indebted to NASA for their wonderful generosity in allowing me to have this fantastic two-day experience. It can only be described as "Space Heaven." 

To all of the people out there who may decry NASA as being "dead" due to the end of shuttle missions and governmental budget cuts, I can assure you that the organization is more than alive and well. NASA administrator Charles Bolden (also, a former astronaut) discussed plans for future manned missions with us, meaning that we will see U.S. astronauts go into space sooner than expected. After all, you can't close space church!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

At The Juno NASA Tweetup - 8/4/2011

Woot! I am here y'allz. Right next to the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC in the Tweetup tent. I can't quite believe it myself. I will be providing updates throughout the day with plenty o' memorable quotes and some fascinating facts about the Juno mission to Jupiter.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Made It To T-Ville!

I am here again in Titusville after a semi-arduous but necessary and money-saving bus trip. Excited and ready for fun...of course, watch this space over the next two days for more updates from Mission Juno's NASA Tweetup.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

NASA Juno Update: Juno Now Has Its Own Channel

What I'll be doing in a couple of days, Stanley Kubrick edition. 

Hey space peeps. How y'all doing? I am doing quite well. 

In less than two days, I will be at Florida's Space Coast to enjoy the Juno NASA Tweetup and launch. I am bringing my warhorse of a smartphone (don't feel like bringing my entire computer with all of its hardware...I like the idea of being "portable"), so I will be providing updates from the site.

If you can't make it to Cape Canaveral this week, you can do the next best thing on your computer - Juno has its own channel on Livestream. Check out the NASA Juno channel to see updates and programming about this upcoming mission! If not, I'll see you at the Cape! 

UPDATE: For anyone traveling to Florida's Space Coast to see Juno's launch, here's your five-day forecast via The Weather Channel.  On Friday, there is a 30% chance of rain, which really doesn't mean much. STS-135 launched in pretty iffy weather, plus Florida's weather is notoriously changeable.