Find us on Google+

Beached rocket debris mistaken for missing Malaysian airliner

Japanese rocket maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries says the large piece of debris that washed up in Thailand appears to be from one of its H-2 rockets, not a missing Malaysian airliner. Credit: Khaosod TV video capture

A piece of debris that washed up on a beach in Thailand is from a Japanese rocket, not a Malaysian airliner.

The debris, spotted on a beach 600 kilometers south of Bangkok, generated speculation it could be from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that went missing in March 2014.

Instead, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries says the debris appears to be part of a payload fairing from an H-2 launch, although it wasn’t immediately known from what launch. [AP]


More News

Blue Origin successfully flew its New Shepard suborbital vehicle again Friday. The vehicle flew to an altitude of 101.7 kilometers, with the crew capsule parachuting back to Earth and its propulsion module making a powered vertical landing. The vehicle was the same one that flew in November, which the company’s founder, Jeff Bezos, hailed as a milestone in its efforts to develop reusable launch vehicles. Bezos said that he hoped to reveal more details about Blue Origin’s planned orbital launch system later this year, and also perform full-scale testing of its BE-4 engine. [SpaceNews]

Richard Branson argues that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is a superior vehicle in some respects to those being developed by Blue Origin and SpaceX. “Our spaceship comes back and lands on wheels. Theirs don’t,” he said in an interview Friday during the World Economic Forum, contrasting SpaceShipTwo’s runway landing with the vertical landings performed by New Shepard and the Falcon 9 first stage. That, he argued, gives Virgin Galactic an advantage in future point-to-point travel applications, a market that neither Blue Origin nor SpaceX have formally expressed an interest in pursuing. [CNBC]

ESA has dismissed Airbus as the prime contractor for its share of the International Space Station. ESA is taking over that role, splitting the work into three contracts with Airbus, Altec, and the German space agency DLR. ESA said a desire to control costs of station operations was the key reason for taking over the station work, but offered few specifics on how much the agency expected to save with this new approach. [SpaceNews]

ESA will invest $36 million into the development of an American cargo spacecraft to service the station. The agency will complete the design for the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism and build the first flight model for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser vehicle. Sierra Nevada won a NASA contract earlier this month to delivery cargo to the station, an award which triggered ESA’s investment. The contract will also revive studies of launching Dream Chaser on the Ariane 5 to support European research. [SpaceNews]

Want to get these briefings even earlier? Here’s the signup.

Russia has delayed development of a more powerful version of the Angara 5 intended for human lunar missions. Roscosmos officials said Friday work on the Angara-A5B was being pushed back, with a first launch of the vehicle now delayed until after 2025. The A5B version of the Angara uses a liquid oxygen-liquid hydrogen upper stage that increases its payload performance to low Earth orbit by 10 tons. Russian proposals for human missions to the moon, which have also been delayed by budget cuts, made use of the Angara-A5B. [TASS]

Federal government offices and many businesses in the Washington area are closed Monday in the aftermath of a major snowstorm. The storm dumped two feet or more of snow across the region Friday and Saturday, bringing the region to a standstill. In addition to the closure of federal government offices, the House has cancelled plans for any votes this week, and the Senate has pushed back its first votes until Wednesday night. It’s not clear if the Senate’s plans will delay a hearing Wednesday morning by the Senate Armed Services Committee on the use of Russian-built rocket engines. [Washington Post / National Journal]

Russia claims its next-generation crewed spacecraft will cost several times less to build than the crewed version of SpaceX’s Dragon. Roscosmos said the Federation spacecraft it is developing will cost $734 million and be ready for flights to the ISS in 2023. Russian officials claimed that cost is 3.5 times cheaper than SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which received a $2.6 billion contract from NASA in 2014. However, the NASA contract value includes not just development but also up to six flights to the station. [RT]

Richard Branson argues that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is a superior vehicle in some respects to those being developed by Blue Origin and SpaceX. “Our spaceship comes back and lands on wheels. Theirs don’t,” he said in an interview Friday during the World Economic Forum, contrasting SpaceShipTwo’s runway landing with the vertical landings performed by New Shepard and the Falcon 9 first stage. That, he argued, gives Virgin Galactic an advantage in future point-to-point travel applications, a market that neither Blue Origin nor SpaceX have formally expressed an interest in pursuing. [CNBC]

A European spacecraft is using observations of Pluto and its largest moon as a vision test. ESA has turned its Gaia spacecraft towards Pluto nine times in a little over a year, to see if the spacecraft could see both Pluto and its moon Charon. It did in seven of the observations, allowing the Gaia team to more accurately calculate the resolving power of the spacecraft. Gaia, launched in 2013, has a primary mission of mapping the positions of a billion stars in the galaxy. [New Scientist]

Astronaut Scott Kelly has resolved one of the biggest mysteries of his nearly year-long mission on the ISS: why he almost always appears with his arms folded. “It feels awkward to have them floating in front of me. It is just more comfortable to have them folded,” he said during an “Ask Me Anything” session Saturday on Reddit. He answered a variety of questions about living and working on the station, including the pleasures of looking out the window at the Earth as well as some of the dirty work involved in keeping the station running: “Recently I had to clean up a gallon-sized ball of urine mixed with acid.” [Reddit]


The Week Ahead

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Wednesday-Friday:

Thursday:

Thursday-Friday:

Friday:

  • Baikonur, Kazakhstan: A Proton rocket is scheduled to launch the Eutelsat 9B satellite at 5:19 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday:

  • San Diego: SpaceUp San Diego, an “unconference” where participants organize sessions on their topics of interest, takes place at San Diego State University.

SpaceNews.com

Source: Space News

by
Beached rocket debris mistaken for missing Malaysian airliner

Posted in Whats New and tagged by with no comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *