Space roundup

I’ve been offline for a bit, sorry about that. Let’s just say the budget woes got personal, and leave it at that. I’m not blaming Obama or Bolden or anyone else in my management chain or the shuffle of money to save the James Webb Space Telescope. This one is simply the fault of poor project management, and there’s no more money in the well to draw from.

I didn’t know that JSC had an arc-jet test facility. Ames has always been the go-to on thermal protection research. If there’s enough demand to support two facilities, fine, but if not, then the one in Texas should be closed. Arc jet testing simulates reentry by producing hot gas at supersonic or hypersonic speeds (must not make sarcastic comment about Congress).

The Orion Parachute Test Vehicle was supposed to be dropped over Yuma yesterday. There will probably be a press release later today, but in the meantime, here are a couple of pics of the vehicle and the loading into a C-17.

Finally, you remember the cargo ship that took out the Eggner Ferry Bridge in Kentucky? The Delta Mariner made some repairs in Paducah and arrived at the Cape last week.

With the vessel now at the Cape, technicians will be unloading the Atlas 5 rocket first stage and Centaur upper stage for launching the Air Force’s second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF 2) ultra-secure communications satellite on April 27…Despite the delay getting the rocket to the Florida spaceport, officials say there should be no impact to the planned launch date.

Also aboard the Mariner is the interstage adapter for the Atlas to deploy NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes in August.

Reader Trevor Thralls had mentioned in the earlier post that the bridge navigation lights weren’t working at the time of the accident, and this article reiterates that.