Yesterday morning a Soyuz rocket carrying astronaut Kevin Ford and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin launched successfully from Baikonur. They will join Sunita Williams, Akihiko Hoshide, and Yuri Malenchenko as part of Expedition 33 when they dock with the International Space Station on Thursday. Ford will become commander of Expedition 34 when Williams, Hoshide, and Malenchenko return to Earth next month.
The Dragon commercial resupply capsule will undock and return to Earth on Sunday October 28.
Hubble, eat your heart out. One of seven mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope has been completed – a 27.5-foot diameter monstrosity cast from 20 tons of glass and polished to 19 nanometers precision. They were aiming for 25 nanometers or better, or 1/20th of the wavelength of visible light. The optics I usually deal with are 1/10th wave precise and a lot smaller, so I’m impressed.
The Giant Magellan Telescope is being constructed in northern Chile, high in the Andes and away from light pollution. It will be part of the Las Campanas Observatory in the Atacama Desert. The seven segments form a 82-foot diameter mirror.
University of Arizona
hopes to cast the second segment mirror in January and hopes to cast the third segment next year. (corrected)
Mr. RFH says it’s a UH-60M. I just know that’s some serious planking.