comic on Facebook today. So sad. I do miss the shuttle. A lot. A former shuttle coworker of mine passed away last weekend from cancer and I distributed the news to some of my other coworkers who worked with him closely. It's awful that it took something so sad to get dialog going again with coworkers that I loved working with. While I'm glad I'm still working in the space industry, my current job doesn't give me the same kind of enjoyment and satisfaction that my shuttle job did.
But since the shuttle isn't flying any more, we make do. And the space industry is still working hard to get satellites, supplies, and people into space. Here's some news from the last week:
- The Japanese successfully launched their HTV supply vehicle from Tanegashima Space Center on Saturday. The cargo ship is stocked full of mechanical and electrical parts for space station maintenance, new experiments, necessities such as food, clothes, and water, and a tiny, talking robot named Kirobo. The HTV vehicle will be captured by the ISS's robotic arm tomorrow morning and dock to the station shortly after. You can watch it all happen here on NASA TV.
- A Delta 4 rocket launched yesterday evening, carrying an Australian military satellite. The entire mission, in fact was funded by Australia. You can read more about it and see the very cool pictures here.
- NASA is planning another Mars mission. The MAVEN satellite, which just arrived at KSC to be processed for stowage on a rocket, is set to launch in November 2013 on a 10 months trip to Mars where it will orbit the red planet to examine it's atmospheres (or lack thereof). It's odd, I just heard about MAVEN on Monday from one of the coworkers I got in touch with, and then all of a sudden I'm hearing about it everywhere!
- Speaking of Mars, did you know it's been 1 whole year since the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on Mars? Seems like yesterday we were all cheering as Curiosity successfully landed (I still get a little teared up watching the mission control room as the rover landed successfully). In that year, Curiosity was busy and productive. Here is an article detailing Curiosity's seven biggest discoveries including hints of former water sources on the red planet. And here is a video of Curiosity's path from build to launch to landing to it's discoveries on Mars: