Video: STS-134 Ascent Imagery Highlights

Space shuttle Endeavour and the STS-134 crew begin the journey to the International Space Station on May 16, 2011.

Cool Website: How Many People Are in Space Right Now?

This website is dead simple and awesome.

It answers simply: how many people are in space right now?

Today the answer is 6 – that will change in a few weeks with the shuttle arrives.

Check it out here.

Top 10 Amazing Rocket Explosions – Videos – Coolest Launch Disasters

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We’ve scoured YouTube for the 10 coolest rocket launch explosion videos we could find – and this is the result. We’ve deliberately avoided using launches involving people – that wouldn’t be entertaining now, would it?

Indian Rocket Explodes Carrying Comms Satellite

A rocket carrying an Indian communication satellite exploded just after liftoff on Saturday in the second launch failure for India’s space agency this year.

Ariane 5 Rocket Explosion

An integer conversion error caused this rocket to explode during ascent. It was an Ariane 5 from the European Space Agency. This launch was on June 4, 1996.

Sea Launch Rocket Blows Up

The ocean based Rocket Launch platform has a bad day.

Titan IV A-20 explodes over Cape Canaveral

Titan IV mission A-20, the final Titan IV-A to fly, explodes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral when a short circuit resets the rocket’s guidance system. The onboard flight termination system ended the mission, carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office believed to be worth over $1 billion.

Rocket Carrying GPS 2R Satellite Explodes

Accidents happen. Even at NASA where they have strong testing and integrity procedures. A rocket carrying a GPS 2R just seconds into the mission explodes. More than 250 tons of flaming debries and rocket fuel rain down from the sky. The explosion occurs so close the the ground that the area around looks like a war zone.

Massive Rocket Explosion

We couldn’t find any info with the video as to what launch it was.

Russian Rocket Launch Failure

An unmanned Russian Soyuz rocket carrying a Foton M-1 satellite has a failed launch attempt and crashes back to Earth only seconds later with a large explosion. The explosion and reactions to it are captured on tape by several spectators.

Massive NASA Delta II Rocket Explosion with fireblast

Watch the full explosion of a DELTA II Rocket. See the blast on tele from only a 1000 yards distance (measured from the nearest impacts of the falling debris) Also notice the red smoke coming from the explosion-blast, waving slowly east to the atlantic ocean.

Rocket explosion compilation

A compilation of several Rocket Explosions.

Soviet rocket disasters Compilation

Here’s another compilation video, this time of Soviet Rocket disasters.

Richard Branson Sends out Message about Gagarin Night

I thought this was worth sharing – here’s a special message from Richard Branson – someone on the forefront of humanity’s next space revolution – on the magnitude of today, the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s first flight.

“I was one of those lucky kids that spent his most impressionable years in a truly unique decade – the 1960’s. London was a pretty exciting place to be growing up in – anything was possible and most of the conventions of the past were being swept away in a tide of hope for a better future.

Looking back, it is obvious that the source of the optimism and inspiration we shared originated thousands of miles away from London; but it was beamed directly into our homes in glorious black and white and we all felt a part of it. That “it” was of course man’s conquering of the final frontier – a stupendous achievement considering that less than 60 years before, even achieving powered flight remained frustratingly elusive.

So, on the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight it’s right that we should look back and honor all the pioneers, explorers and mavericks who blazed the trail to space and allowed the rest of us to dream. It’s also a good moment to pause and ask where we go from here.

How do we re-inspire a new generation and make real the experience of spaceflight, not just for the lucky few but for all?

I asked myself that question for a good many years and am immensely proud now that with Virgin Galactic we are doing our bit to ensure that space exploration and everything that comes in its wake, thrives in the 21st century.

We owe it to ourselves, we owe to the first human in space – Yuri Gagarin, and we owe to our kids and future generations.

Today, all around the world, thousands of people will be remembering Gagarin in Yuri’s Night Celebrations.

Happy Yuri’s Night fellow space explorers! Can’t wait to host our first party in space courtesy of Virgin Galactic!”

Richard Branson

Video: A Look at the Future of Manned Space Flight over the Next 50 Years

Tom Clarke, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Uri Gagarin’s inaugural man-powered space flight, looks at the legacy of the space race and what we can expect ahead in the next 50 years.

Russia Marks the 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Flight

April 12 marks 50 years since Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to fly in space.

NASA Orbits Mercury for the first Time – Video Inside

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft’s first photos of Mercury have revealed a pock-marked planet full of craters from pieces of asteroids.

Video: What Does A Space Shuttle Launch Look Like From Above? Well, Like this

From the video description:

“Flying from Orlando, FL I had the rare opportunity to be able to watch Discovery’s final launch as it embarks on STS-133.”

What an awesome video!

SpaceX Eyeing Manned Space Flight

Fresh on the heels of a very successful 2010 for SpaceX, they’re moving ahead with their plans for manned spaceflight.

According to the LA Times:

After becoming the first private company ever to blast a spacecraft into Earth orbit and have it return intact last month, Hawthorne rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is pushing toward its next big step.

The company known as SpaceX wants to be the first commercial firm to launch astronauts into outer space and has submitted a proposal to NASA.

SpaceX wants in on the potentially multibillion-dollar job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station after the space shuttle is retired this year. The company is already building rockets and capsules to deliver cargo to the station.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program hopes to award about $200 million in seed money in March to companies to develop rockets and spacecraft for the next step in manned spaceflight after the shuttle. Several aerospace companies, including SpaceX and aerospace giant Boeing Co., have submitted proposals.

Source.

Very exciting times for space travel! Can’t wait to see what SpaceX has in store!

NASA Images Most Distant – and Youngest – Galaxy in the Universe

most distant galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped an image of the most distant galaxy in the universe.

From NASA:

Astronomers have pushed NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to its limits by finding what is likely to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe. The object’s light traveled 13.2 billion years to reach Hubble, roughly 150 million years longer than the previous record holder. The age of the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years.

The tiny, dim object is a compact galaxy of blue stars that existed 480 million years after the big bang. More than 100 such mini-galaxies would be needed to make up our Milky Way. The new research offers surprising evidence that the rate of star birth in the early universe grew dramatically, increasing by about a factor of 10 from 480 million years to 650 million years after the big bang.

Source.