This Week At NASA

zerofay32

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August 2012

STS-213-LF7 is complete and KSC is getting ready for the next launch. This launch will be of an Automated Transfer Vehicle on top of an Ares I. The ATV program has been in development for some time now but is was only fairly recently that any progress was made.

The ATV (which is the same design as the ESA ATVs) was originaly developed to fly logistics to Space Station Helios. For much of the development, NASA could not deside on a launch vehicle. After the first operational flights of the Ares I, engineers began consitering using the new rocket to lift the ATV. It was finalized and the changes to the ATV design were made. Now the ATV is ready to for a test flight to Freedom. ATV flights (designated A1/ATV-#) will launch from LC39 Pad C, same as manned Ares I flights. The first flight (A1/ATV-1) is scheduled for launch later this month.

With developement of the ATV with a sustainable LV to lift it. The days of the STS are trully numbered. NASA anounced a preliminary launch schedule for 2013 earlier this week and on it was the planned retirements of Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. The plans show that Helios construction will be completed sometime in May. With station construction flights complete, the shuttles will only have logistics to carry to and from Freedom. With the need to open up funding for increased Artemis Program operations, NASA has desided that the two oldest shuttles will be taken from active service.

Discovery will be first. Her last mission will be the retrieval of the Hubble telescope on mission STS-218 in September 2013. Atlantis's last mission will be STS-219-LF10, a logistics flight to SSF, in December 2013.

In honor of the Shuttles past, NASA also announced that the fleet would again be getting a new look. The design, though, has not been released.

Though STS may be winding down, Artemis is gearing up. before the end of this year will will see the first launch of the Block II Orion. This version will allow long duration storage of an Orion at Helios and be the capsule NASA will use to return to the moon. Other Artemis related flights will be happening in 2013. Several launches of Lunar Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (LTDRS). And NASA also added at the very end of the new schedule, in Feburary 2014, Artemis 1. This will be the first test flight of the Ares V and the Block I LEM.
 

garyw

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Now this is an example of how a VSA should be run. Details, mission achievements, goals, plans, etc. Awesome stuff as always Zerofay32!
 

xmariox

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Yes it is very funny how can people enjoy this great simulator:) I always like read his blog:)
 

zerofay32

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Thanks to you both. Good to hear that I'm not just bloging to myself (not that I would stop :p )

For me, it adds a little bit more of a story line to fictional missions. I've even used Shuttle Fleet's engine failure feature to add a little uncertanty to the older shuttles (not that it's any more reallistic) With Discovery, there is a 15% chance of an engine out during ascent. Atlantis has an 11% chance and Endeavour has a 7% chance. The other two shuttles in my fleet are only 2 or 3 years old so they have a 0% chance.

Like I said, not realistic but keeps me honest on my abort trainning :lol:
 

garyw

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Sounds good. I set up a 'random events' section in Excel. This means that the weather at my launch, landing and abort sites might not be good enough to land. Keeps the mission interesting because it has conditions that need to be adapted to. However, because I enjoy the planning as much as the mission sometimes what should be a simple mission can be two or three months in the making. :lol:

And with this VSA fever I should do an ISA blog!
 

astrosammy

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Always great to read this. All the programs I started usually ended after the first flight. Maybe I'll make another real time mission soon... Maybe a flight to Apophis.
 

zerofay32

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@astrosammy: I have always wanted to do at least one realtime mission sometime but I can never find the time to conduct one. Also I'm waiting for SSU (and a computer that can handle it) so that there are more things to do while in orbit.
 

orb

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garyw;bt3086 said:
I set up a 'random events' section in Excel. This means that the weather at my launch, landing and abort sites might not be good enough to land. Keeps the mission interesting because it has conditions that need to be adapted to.
Just wait for the wind implementation in the upcoming Orbiter version. It will be one less "random event" to set up just in a spreadsheet. :p
 
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