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Blogs

Jason Davis' blogs from 2014

Get an Up-Close Look at the Lunar Surface with These 3D Apollo Images

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/26 03:04 CST | 1 comments

3D images generated by the Apollo Lunar Surface Closeup Camera give you an idea of how it would look to crouch on the lunar surface with your spacesuit faceplate to the soil.

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Video: Ride along with Orion as It Plummets Back to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/19 05:53 CST

A new NASA video provides an astronaut's-eye video of the final ten minutes of Orion's test flight.

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NASA Delays Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept Selection until 2015

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/17 05:35 CST | 1 comments

NASA's efforts to capture a near-Earth asteroid and tow it back to lunar orbit will have to wait a little bit longer for a final mission concept.

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SpaceX to Attempt First-Ever Ocean Barge Rocket Landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/17 12:20 CST | 1 comments

Early next year, SpaceX will attempt what no agency or company has done before: land a used rocket stage on a floating ocean platform.

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LightSail Completes Testing, Announcement Expected in January

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/12 10:19 CST | 1 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft successfully completed testing to prepare it for a possible 2015 test flight.

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First Look Photographs of Orion's Return to Dry Land

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/09 10:41 CST | 1 comments

NASA's Orion spacecraft is back on dry land following its offloading from the USS Anchorage late Monday night. Here are some selected photographs by Kevin Baird.

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Orion Returns to Earth after Successful Test Flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/05 07:46 CST

NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned safely to Earth this morning after what looked like a flawless four hour, 24-minute test flight.

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In Pictures: Orion's Scrub, from the Vehicle Assembly Building

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:27 CST

Here are some scenes from launch day, shot from the unique perspective of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

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Orion Scrub Report: Sticky Hydrogen Valves

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:13 CST

Windy weather and stuck liquid hydrogen valves forced a one-day delay of the maiden voyage of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

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Orion L-1 Report: Go for Launch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/03 02:53 CST

The stage is set for NASA’s Orion spacecraft to launch on a two-orbit, four-hour shakedown cruise tomorrow morning. Patrick Air Force Base’s 45th Weather Squadron changed their forecast of an on-time launch to 70 percent—up from the 40 percent chances that marked the start of the week.

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Orion L-2 Report: The Old Gives Way to the New

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/02 04:06 CST

With less than two days before Orion's maiden voyage, NASA and United Launch Alliance are cautiously optimistic the flight will launch Thursday as scheduled.

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Your Timeline of Events for Orion's Maiden Voyage

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/01 04:39 CST

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready to embark on its maiden voyage this Thursday. Here is a timeline of events.

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United Launch Alliance Answers Burning Questions about Orion's Rocket

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/26 11:28 CST

When Orion launches next week, you may notice something alarming: The spacecraft's rocket sort of catches itself on fire. But not to worry, says United Launch Alliance.

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In Pictures: Expedition 42 Crew Launches to Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/24 01:48 CST

Three more humans are in space today following the launch of Soyuz TMA-15M from the chilly steppes of Kazakhstan.

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How NASA Plans to Land Humans on Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/20 04:04 CST | 1 comments

On the surface, NASA's humans to Mars plans seem vague and disjointed. But that's because the agency is playing the long game. Right now, it may be the only game they can play.

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LightSail Gets Burn Wire Redesign for Round 2 of Vibration Tests

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/13 04:51 CST | 7 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail-A spacecraft is less than three weeks away from an expected go/no-go decision on whether the CubeSat will be launched into space for a shakedown cruise next year.

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In Pictures: Expedition 41 Crew Returns to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/10 09:33 CST

The crew of Expedition 41 is safely back on Earth following a 165-day stay aboard the International Space Station.

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An Early Preview of Orion's Maiden Voyage

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/07 11:24 CST | 4 comments

NASA's Orion spacecraft is just four weeks away from its first test flight. Here's an early preview of the mission.

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[Update 1] Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Destroyed in Testing Accident, 1 Dead, 1 Injured

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/31 02:25 CDT | 2 comments

The private spaceflight company's spaceplane was destroyed in an accident over California's Mojave Desert.

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LightSail Vibration Test Shakes Loose New Problems

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/30 02:56 CDT | 2 comments

LightSail's random vibration test, meant to simulate the stress of an Atlas V rocket launch, shook loose new problems that the team will have to address.

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[Update 2] Antares Rocket Explodes Seconds after Liftoff

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/28 06:13 CDT | 4 comments

An Antares rocket fell back to the launch pad shortly after liftoff, exploding in a fireball that destroyed the vehicle.

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Surveyor Digitization Project Will Bring Thousands of Unseen Lunar Images to Light

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/24 02:03 CDT | 3 comments

A team of scientists at the University of Arizona plan to digitize 87,000 vintage images from the surface of the moon, of which less than two percent have ever been seen.

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When Good Rockets Go Bad: Orion's Launch Abort System

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/20 01:30 CDT | 8 comments

One of the tricky parts of launching humans into space is deciding what to do if something goes wrong. And that's where Orion's Launch Abort System comes in.

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As Deadlines Loom, LightSail Bends but Doesn't Break

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/15 09:49 CDT | 5 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail-A spacecraft is close to completing a final series of tests that pave the way for a possible 2015 test flight. But as deadlines loom, a new problem has sent the team scrambling to make a quick repair.

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Orion's Ride to Space is at the Launch Site. Why So Early?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/03 03:28 CDT | 9 comments

On Tuesday, Orion's massive Delta IV Heavy rocket rolled from its Horizontal Integration Facility out to the launch site. Launch is still eight weeks away. Why so early?

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More LightSail Day-in-the-Life Multimedia, and a Community Image Processing Challenge

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/09/30 01:07 CDT | 2 comments

We have more multimedia from LightSail's day-in-the-life test, as well as a request for some community image processing help.

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In Pictures: A Busy Week at the International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/09/26 05:29 CDT

This week, the International Space Station received a new crew and a welcomed a SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle. Here are a few photo highlights.

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LightSail Sails through Day-in-the-Life Test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/09/24 03:49 CDT | 3 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft passed a major system test in which its solar sails were deployed for the first time in two years.

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An Updated List of NASA's Commercial Crew Partner Milestones

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/09/12 04:42 CDT | 7 comments

Ahead of NASA's CCiCap partner selection, here is an up-to-date list of each company's milestones.

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Expedition 40 Crew Returns Safely to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/09/11 11:47 CDT

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are safely back on Earth following a five-and-a-half month stay aboard the International Space Station.

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LightSail Radio Update: New Answers, New Questions

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/09/03 01:47 CDT | 5 comments

Two weeks after radio anomalies scrubbed LightSail's day-in-the-life test, the team continues to close in on the source of the problem.

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International Postcards from Space

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/27 03:03 CDT

A collection of pretty pictures by cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, who currently serves as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station.

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Radio Problems Scrub LightSail's Day-in-the-Life Test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/22 05:16 CDT | 1 comments

A pesky radio problem that has occasionally stymied LightSail has returned, scrubbing the mission's day-in-the-life test.

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Data From the Rescued ISEE-3 Spacecraft Have a New Internet Home

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/14 03:00 CDT

"A Spacecraft for All" is a new website by Google Creative Labs that will host citizen science data from the ISEE-3 Reboot Project.

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LightSail Prepares for Its Day-in-the-Life Test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/12 08:14 CDT

LightSail-A's radio system has been fixed, and the spacecraft is now preparing for its August 20 day-in-the-life test.

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Watch a Recap of LightSail's Live LightSail Launch Announcement

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/07 10:14 CDT

Watch a recap of The Planetary Society's live LightSail Launch Announcement, which took place July 9 at the KPCC Crawford Family Forum.

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Buzz Mercury's North Polar Region in This New MESSENGER Video

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/05 09:31 CDT | 1 comments

A new video shows what a traveler aboard Mercury's MESSENGER spacecraft would see as they zipped over the planet's north polar region.

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Watch "Lunar Bridgehead," a Wonderfully Campy 1964 Film about Ranger 7

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/01 09:13 CDT | 8 comments

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a 1964 documentary on Ranger 7 in honor of the spacecraft's fiftieth anniversary.

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Landsat 8 Looks at the Supermoon

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/29 04:00 CDT

Why did Landsat 8, an Earth-observing spacecraft, turn its unblinking eyes toward the July 12 supermoon?

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LightSail-A Has a Blown Radio Amplifier. Now What?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/23 03:02 CDT | 1 comments

LightSail-A's blown radio amplifier doesn't affect the 2016 SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission, but it adds an unwelcome obstacle to the 2015 test mission's ever-shortening timetable.

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45 Years after Apollo 11, NASA Prepares for Another Big Splashdown

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/17 04:02 CDT | 2 comments

A new version of Apollo 11's splashdown will play out when the first astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft return to Earth.

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LightSail update: Launch dates

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/09 09:00 CDT | 2 comments

I’m excited to report some big news on The Planetary Society’s LightSail project: actual launch dates on actual launch vehicles!

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Rosetta’s comet is starting to take shape

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/03 12:55 CDT

A new animation of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko captured by the Rosetta spacecraft shows the comet rotating.

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LightSail update: Of booms and pretty pictures

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/01 03:42 CDT | 3 comments

The latest series of LightSail boom deployment tests went smoothly, paving the way for a full system test later in July.

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The latest on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/23 06:01 CDT | 3 comments

During televised updates on June 18 and 19, NASA showcased its progress on Orion and ARM. Here's the latest news.

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LightSail update: Three steps forward, one step back

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/18 05:55 CDT

The LightSail team has found potential workarounds to solve the spacecraft’s boom deployment problems, but more analysis lies ahead.

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Is Mainstream Space News Adrift?
The Houston Chronicle has a new, interactive web series on America’s space program. Why don’t we see more space coverage in this format?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/13 01:38 CDT | 8 comments

The Houston Chronicle has a new, interactive web series on America’s space program. Why don’t we see more space coverage in this format?

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LightSail update: Boom deployment diagnosis continues

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/11 10:57 CDT | 2 comments

The LightSail team continues to investigate problems with the spacecraft’s boom deployment system that postponed a flight system test earlier this month.

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After decades of silence, a vintage spacecraft says hello to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/06 05:16 CDT

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project has established two-way communication with a 36-year-old spacecraft, but more challenges lie ahead.

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LightSail update: Flight system test delayed

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/04 05:41 CDT | 2 comments

LightSail's flight system test has been delayed pending resolution of problems that cropped up during deployment of the spacecraft’s solar sail booms.

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LightSail is happening, and I'll be your new guide

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/02 12:19 CDT

Today, I'm joining The Planetary Society full-time as a media producer. My first task is to become an embedded reporter for LightSail, the Society's solar sailing spacecraft.

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