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Space photo for July 5. Japanese Kibo complex of the International Space Station


Backdropped by Earth’s horizon and the blackness of space, the Japanese Kibo complex of the International Space Station was snapped by a NASA Expedition 23 crew member while the space shuttle Atlantis was docked with the station in May.  NASA/AP

http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/Space-Photos-of-the-Day/Space-photos-of-the-day-07-02/%28photo%29/4

Space shuttle Discovery launched on the 4th of July, 2010.


Launched on the Fourth of July Launched on the Fourth of July

Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew launched at 2:38 p.m. EDT on July 4, 2006 to begin their journey to the International Space Station during the STS-121 mission. The shuttle made history as it was the first human-occupied spacecraft to launch on Independence Day. During the 12-day mission, the crew tested new equipment and procedures that increase the safety of the orbiters. It also performed maintenance on the space station and delivered supplies, equipment and a new Expedition 13 crewmember to the station. This mission carried on analysis of safety improvements that debuted on the Return to Flight mission, STS-114, and built upon those tests.

Image Credit: NASA

Happy 4th of July from NASA Astronaut Douglas Wheeler


Astronaut Sends Fourth of July Message From Space
By Tariq Malik
SPACE.com Managing Editor
posted: 04 July 2010
02:02 pm ET

An American astronaut spending the Fourth of July in space wished the United States a happy Independence Day from orbit on Sunday.

NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock posted his July 4th messages and photos on Twitter, where he writes as Astro_Wheels, to mark the U.S. holiday on the International Space Station (ISS).

“Happy 4th of July!” wrote Wheelock, who is a colonel in the U.S. Army. “Celebrating Independence Day morning in the Russian ‘Service Module’, the ISS Command Post.” [Wheelock’s Fourth of July space photo.]

Space shuttle extended to 2011


Space shuttle extended to 2011

Image: Working on Discovery

NASA

Technicians install a main engine on the space shuttle Discovery in NASA’s Orbiter Processing Facility on Wednesday. The engine was removed to give technicians time to replace a suspect turbopump in a different rocket engine, which encountered an issue during torque testing.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/1/2010 5:35:20 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA has confirmed that the space shuttle program will keep going until next year.

The space agency made its final decision on Thursday, after weeks of indications that the program would be extended — including an official request from launch managers last week.

The managers agreed to postpone what is currently the next-to-last shuttle launch until Nov. 1. Discovery had been scheduled to fly to the International Space Station with a load of supplies in September, but NASA said more time was needed to get the payload ready.

The very last mission now has a Feb. 26, 2011, launch date. Tble replacement.

See full article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38039490/ns/technology_and_science-space/

This report includes information from The Associated Press and msnbc.com.

© 2010 msnbc.com

The shuttle Atlantis rises no more. Or leave it all to the Russians, why don’t we.


Technicians search for possible systems leaks Wednesday, May 26, 2010 after space shuttle Atlantis on STS-132 landed for the last time at Kennedy Space Center after completing its last mission. NASA has two more launches and landings before the space shuttle program retires. (RED HUBER, ORLANDO SENTINEL


“It was the last shuttle flight for all six astronauts on board — mission commander Ken Ham, pilot Dominic “Tony” Antonelli and mission specialists Garrett Reisman, Piers Sellers, Stephen Bowen and Michael Good – though some will likely get trips back to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft or maybe a new generation of U.S. commercial rockets that NASA may hire as space taxis./ May 26, 2010)”

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-space-shuttle-atlantis-lands-20100526,0,7495388.story

There are two more missions slated but not with Atlantis. Then access to the Space Station will be all up to the Russians or entrepreneurs?  Have I said “stupid” before?  (Yes, I have).

Talk of going to Mars.  Great! I am all for that. But you better have an intermediate station too for any outward exploration. Moon, Mars or otherwise. And leaving the Space Station entirely in the hands of another country – refer to the adjective above.