back to article Space 2010 - the future is fantastic!

Highlights of space exploration missions in the year 2010. The year 2010 is shaping up to be a watershed in space exploration. The biggest change will doubtlessly come after America's planned retirement of its venerable space shuttle fleet next September in favor of the Constellation program (a program that's far behind …

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Complete list?

There's also two planned launches of the Spacex Falcon 9 launch vehicle. And the hoped for return of Hayabusa, the Japanese comet probe which may have cometary material on board.

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Happy

What?

No mission on April the 1st to study Uranus?

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Silver badge

Just off the top of my head....

You failed to mention the following that should happen this year.....

SpaceX Falcon 9 first flight, plus more Falcons 1's. Very important, esp. to NASA

SpaceShip2 test flights and first powered flight.

Armadillo Aerospace - first high altitude flights.

Masten Space Systems - first high altitude flights.

Bit more research needed?

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Anonymous Coward

Man on the moon by 2069?

Still struggling to match the heady days of the 1960s then.....

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Won't be the US government

that puts the next man on the moon.

Private enterprise will do it before 2069.

Or maybe the Chinese.

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Go

Last 5 chances to test permanently waterproof TPS

In 1996 NASA Ames used some money from the Director's discretionary fund to research and develop a permanently water repellant coating for both the tiles and the blankets. This would eliminate the injection of DMES into every single tile and blanket on the orbiters. This process is done prior to every single launch. A saving of 1000s of staff hours.

The thermal protection system is waterproofed because a waterlogged tile absorbs 3x its own weight in water. The odds of an orbiter being on the pad for a month (normal time before launch) and not getting drenched at some point by the Florida wheather is *long*.

The test programme found transition metal flourides (IIRC Ti and Sc) were best at it and worked well. However AFAIK in the 12 years since they have *never* been tested on a single actual installed tile or blanket. This is critical to increasing their Technology Readiness Level and future acceptance.

Tiles were also used on ESA's Apollo capsule style sea landing ARD mission and demonstrating that they cound be made waterproof would be beneficial to both NASA and ESA, given that the CEV has moved to a sea landing.

DMES is nasty stuff and the orbiter processing facility has to be cleared out when they do it.

While too late to change the orbiter processign flow it would give future designers more options as they would no longer be put off by the demonstrated high maintenance hours needed to make this technology reusable.

While the orbiters are being retired and CEV seems to be ablator only I suspect Lockheed (who spent shed loads of cash getting them to work will be looking to find other people who could use tiles or blankets if they did not have to mess about with waterproofing them.

Other wise as others have noted it is also a big year for the SpaceX Dragon projects and by extension NASA's COTS programme. Although the flight of a crew rated Dragon/Falcon 9 is probably years away.

But I might be wrong.

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Actually...

Dark matter is estimated to be 20% of the missing mass, while dark energy is estimated to be up to 75%.

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Alien

computer hello computer?

im still waiting for my replicator....

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FAIL

Figure-Eight observed *path*, not orbit

"it watches the Sun almost 24 hours a day on a figure-eight orbit with Earth."

Er, no. The observed path of the SDO from the ground will be a figure-eight due to it orbiting at geostationary distance, but the orbit being inclined from the equatorial plane:

From <http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=8835>:

"SDO will orbit Earth once in 24 hours at an angle offset, or inclined, from our planet's equator. Unlike a geostationary orbit, which would keep the spacecraft above the same area of Earth all the time, SDO will trace a figure-eight path above Earth."

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Troll

You forgot one

Space Cadet Mission

Scheduled launch date: January 1, 2010

Mission duration: approximately 8 hours

I've got my eye on some tasty Fly Agaric that I plan to take a little before midnight on the 31st December. Looking for blast after just after midnight and I expect to leave Earth orbit shortly after for a quick sprint to outer space and back. Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

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fly agoric?

Lucky bastard. I haven't had a chance to do any mushrooms in a dog's age.

Tell you what; I'll smoke _something_ for you, but it won't be a kipper. (I've never had those; are they any good? What are they, like, salmon or something?)

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Paris Hilton

Paris Angle?

Wot no mention of Paris? Where is the schedule for the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space project?

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PT

Glory

Since Glory appears to be a NASA project to investigate man-made global warming, they could save a great deal of money by canceling the mission and just making up the results they're looking for.

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