The rocket motor on the Zvezda module has only fired twice, the second time happening 7 years after the first time. Resupply ships dock with the ISS and just before they leave, they boost the orbit until they have just enough fuel left to deorbit. Since the ISS' orbit degrades approx 1-2 km/month they boost it anywhere from 50-100km using resupply ships. The ATV has boosted the ISS numerous times.
What's it like, being a former Enron accountant
Space-procured Palladium and Platinum has the potential to make space-based mining possible. If you could put an asteroid in earth orbit containing a couple of tons of platinum group metals and extract them (that's the tricky part) you would own the global market for those materials.
That was true in 2004, however with redundant systems installed since then, the US portion is capable of running on it's own today.
It was designed with a 10 year service life, then re-rated for 20 years. Current plan is 2024 but after that is really stretching things and major modules need to be replaced due to stressed placed on them by boosting the orbit (the ISS is actually in the upper atmosphere and loses about 2km (1 mile) altitude per month due to atmospheric drag. It gets reboosted by Soyuz and Progress spacecraft periodically.
Yes you could keep it going indefintiely but eventually the safety factor drops below an acceptable point. Based on what's there right now, that safe point is 2024-2030.
A next generation space station could possibly exceed a 25 year design life, but really, 25 years is pretty damn good given this was the first try since Space Lab for the US. For the Russians this is old hat, their segment(s) are just repurposed MIR 2 parts.
It's not like we had hundreds of years of heritage in designing these things. We have yet to have a satellite collide with a human-populated space station. I'm sure we'll learn a lot about what to do/not not do with space stations in the years after that first event. Designing a space station module to survive multiple tens of thousands of MPH impacts with space debris, satellites, micrometeorites, etc for not just 10 years but 100 years is asking a bit much, don't you think?
We've only been building "semi-permanent" space station modules for 10-15 years. It's not like you can just ship 3 tons of bricks, some cement, mortar and trowels and tell the astronauts to build something "roughly airtight and space station-y looking" and hope for the best for 100+ years.
Russia announced that they were planning to end their involvement with the ISS in 2009 or so. This is nothing new. They've been telegraphing their displeasure with the ISS program for half a decade or more, and their lack of willingness to continue with it past 2020. The portions they're sending up to the ISS will be detached and converted in to a separate space station shortly after 2020. This is not "news", this is "established fact". Maybe it's more noteworthy the second time that they publish this through official channels?
The ISS will be a 20 year old international experiment at that point, yes the US and Russian halves of the ISS share a common "atmosphere" but mechanically they're completely separate space stations capable of detaching at any time. Most of the Russian segment of the ISS is made from leftovers from their MIR 2 project. It's no surprise that they're wanting to separate from the ISS. Those space station modules have a finite lifespan and most of them will be nearing their operational limits around 2020, with a maximum lifespan of 2030. Either we replace them with new modules or deorbit the whole thing. Russia has decided to replace them with new modules and go their own separate way. They've been talking about this for a looong time. The ESA has been talking about teaming up with the Russians moving forward, rather than NASA on the next space station. China ended up building their own space station after being turned down by the Americans. We're not making a whole lot of friends in the aerospace field with the ISS these days. The New ISS may be everyone - (minus) America next time around, due to our overwhelming fear of sharing orbital technology with the Chinese (who aren't allowed inside NASA buildings, just ask any Chinese aerospace engineer).
Someone made a web thing so you can erase the old text and put in your own. I did one. I think it significantly improves on the original page.
Due to several sources closely linked with the Rosetta program, Philae will be getting a whole lot of sun come May 2015 due to the position of the comet as it adjusts it's precession around the sun and moves that particular part of the comet in to near-constant daylight. Expect more news at that point from Philae. You heard it here first, folks.
Did these guys just say "hey let's do a lunar sample return mission! high five!" and throw together a kick starter? They don't even have a target launch vehicle chosen yet. Not only do they want to do a return sample mission (something China has been working on for 15 years) but they want to drill a 60 ft hole in the moon while they're at it. This is, to use a pun, lunacy. The logistics involved of entering lunar orbit, let alone landing are incredible. And they want to throw a 60' drilling apparatus on there that will work flawlessly? Not even the ESA can get their 8" drill to work on the comet correctly and that's just ice.
Good luck with that.
You don't need a whole lot of CPU to check Facebook while listening to Pandora, or watch cat videos on Youtube.
Yeah but now that it's in place how many trucks are up there? Other than periodic maintenance, how many 18 wheelers service that farm in a given year? Three? Plus now you have a bunch of awesome ridge top mountain biking trails, improved access to the wilderness etc etc. Other than the short term inconvenience of a major infrastructure project going in (oh no!) your long term view of the even longer term benefits of the site seem awfully jaded given the extremely low impact (i.e. none) to your daily life.
Probably contract with Tesla to put a hydrogen station next door to their electric station, since there's already an all-electric network from coast to coast. The "green infrastructure" is already there, now Toyota can leverage off of that
Octopus are basically water going aliens that crash landed on earth, they have separate brains for each eyeball and almost as many neurons in the tentacles as the brain, plus their motor cortex is doughnut-shaped and encircles their throat. Yet they're smart enough to unscrew the lid of a peanut butter jar if they're trapped inside one, and more often than not can pick the winner in a soccer match. The fact that we have any idea of how to do anything with something as weird as an octopus is pretty damn impressive. This is hard core nerd biology/medicine, cutting edge right here.
Look, just be glad they didn't post pictures of ktitens, ok?
There was a HUGE pushback against the Dallas DART light rail in the mid-90's when it was announced, however initial turnout was 50% higher than even the best expectations and they accelerated plans for the subway portion through uptown to the suburbs. Nowadays there's 4 or 5 lines, one even connects with the major international DFW airport. The station by my office has a train leaving every 1-2 minutes during peak rush hour, completely packed for the suburbs. I am the only person in my office that doesn't take the train (because I bicycle in).
People fucking hate riding the bus, but they love the train, for whatever reason. Maybe because they're bigger inside and you can walk around. And the route/stops never change. Now DFW boasts 96+ miles of commuter focused light rail, with another 20+ miles coming over the next decade (compare to 650 miles for NYC). That does take quite a few cars off the road. I would guesstimate our office takes about 800 cars off the road every day using rail.