In this installment of NASA Now, you’ll meet Guidance, Navigation and Flight Controls engineer George Hatcher, who talks about the complex system needed to fly the space shuttle at extreme speeds and in extreme environments. Learn about the instruments used to inform the shuttle of its location, how to get where it wants to go, and what to do to change direction. The program focuses on the technology and physics of this complex spacecraft.
Link to this episode of NASA Now (requires log-in credentials).
NASA Now Promotion Video
The BHALF competition is open to teams of four or more students in grades 9 to 12 from high schools and community groups throughout the United States, District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Teams develop a flight experiment or technology demonstration and submit a proposal for consideration by a panel of NASA scientists and engineers. The panel will select eight teams to design and construct their project for competition. The eight projects will be sent to the near space environment of the stratosphere, or nearly 100,000 feet (~ 50.5 km) above Earth, during several NASA weather balloon launches in Northeastern, Ohio.Proposals are due February 11, 2011.
On Jan. 21st, NanoSail-D unfurled a 10 m2 sail 650 km above Earth’s surface, becoming the first solar sail to orbit our planet. For the next few months it will skim the top of the atmosphere, slowly descending in a test of ‘drag sails’ as a means of de-orbiting space junk. If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will disintegrate like a meteor in April or May of 2011, dispersing harmlessly more than 1100 km high.
Meanwhile, sky watchers should be alert for flares lasting 5 to 10 seconds outshining the brightest stars in the sky, mimicking a supernova, perhaps even casting faint shadows at your feet.