Expedition 6 Crew Returns Home

The sixth crew of the International Space Station returned to Earth just after 10 p.m. EDT on May 3, the first time U.S. astronauts have landed in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Russian Mission Control reported at approximately 2:45 a.m. May 4 that the support helicopters reached the crew and all three astronauts were in good health. The capsule appeared to touch down about 276 miles from its planned landing zone.

NASA develops new design process for future spacecraft

Building the next Starship Enterprise may have just gotten a little simpler. NASA has announced what it says is an efficient, timely, revolutionary process that may help design the next generation of space vehicles. Engineers at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, in collaboration with astronauts from NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, are using the Virtual Flight Rapid Integration Test Environment (VF-RITE) to develop and evaluate vehicle designs that may eventually ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The new process quickly and efficiently incorporates virtual test-flight data into the design process, creating a continuous dialog between test pilots and vehicle designers.

French use robot arm to remotely diagnose patient at sea

French researchers say they have for the first time demonstrated the use of a teleoperated robotic arm for echographic diagnosis in a remote situation. The objective of the project was to demonstrate how teleoperated echographic diagnosis can be carried out on patients at remote locations. A radiologist at St Anne’s Hospital in Toulon used the teleoperated robotic arm to diagnose a test patient on board the ship stationed at sea. With the robotic arm, videoconferencing equipment and satellite communications, the radiologist was able to assess the severity of medical problems from the remote site. This has important implications for spaceflight and research as it means that astronauts on board the international space station can receive diagnostic attention without returning to Earth.

Space Station glovebox parts returned to Earth for repair

After extensive troubleshooting efforts by the crew of the International Space Station, elements of the Microgravity Science Glovebox are being returned to Earth for repairs this week by Space Shuttle Endeavour. Space Station science experiments and payload operations are managed by the Payload Operations Center at Marshall Center. Elements of the Microgravity Science Glovebox were packed aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour for return to Earth for repairs this week after extensive troubleshooting efforts by the crew of the International Space Station.

Baby bye bye bye

Oh well. It looks like ‘N Syncer Lance Bass won’t be making a trip into space after all. After failing to pony up the $20 million needed to participate in a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) after several deadline extensions, the pop star was asked to leave Russia’s cosmonaut training program, according to the Russian Space Agency. The Russians have a cargo container ready to go in Bass’s place. Bass had been training for the trip since July and was scheduled to go up to the space station by rocket on October 28. For a look at what Bass will be missing, visit NASA’s SkyWatch site to find out when the station can be viewed flying over your town.

Space is the place … for Bass

Despite financial setbacks that threatened to keep boyish pop star Lance Bass from his life-long dream of traveling to outer space, Bass continues to train to join a Russian crew heading to the International Space Station in October. The cost of sending Bass into space is said to be about $20 million, and the mission, which Bass has been training for since July, became jeopardized when payments were not made on time. If he makes it there, the 23-year-old Bass would be the youngest person to travel to outer space.

Just wait til Lance Bass gets there

Stargazers this week may be surprised by the sight of a glowing orange object streaking across the night sky. It?s the International Space Station, which is making bright passes over the U.S. and Canada until mid-August. The ISS — which travels at 17,000 mph and circles the planet 16 times a day — crosses the sky in three to six minutes, and can shine more brightly than any planet or star except our sun and moon. (Its brightness depends on its orientation, your location and the sun.) Right now this impressive sight can be observed by the unaided eye if skies are clear. (A flyby near downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday night was clearly visible despite city lights.) To find out when the station will fly above your town, orbit over to NASA SkyWatch.