4 February 2009

"...as if it were a ship on a violent sea."

A little while back I crowed over reported on NASA's Expedition 19 to the International Space Station, which was then due to launch on the 25th of March, carrying Beagle Project collaborator Mike Barratt into the wild black yonder. Susan in comments kindly sent a link that led me to this USA Today item (my bold italics):
NASA delays shuttle launch, space station's relocation
Traci Watson

A scheduled move of the International Space Station today has been delayed until March after a relocation in January went awry, the space agency said Tuesday. NASA also postponed a launch of space shuttle Discovery.

The shuttle was to visit the station Feb. 14, but technical worries about Discovery prompted NASA to delay the blastoff until no earlier than Feb. 19.

Discovery will carry a new crewmember and solar panels to the station.

The decision to delay moving the station is likely to push back a scheduled March 25 launch of a Russian spacecraft ferrying two new residents to the station, space station program manager Mike Suffredini said Tuesday.
"...two new residents" - that's our Mike!
Last month, rockets were commanded to fire to move the space station as usual, but because of erroneous commands sent to the rockets, they cut off so suddenly that the station shook vigorously, NASA said. The station is regularly repositioned to maintain its altitude above the Earth and to meet visiting spacecraft.

The vibration was so strong that the three station residents alerted Mission Control. Engineers were concerned about whether the jostling weakened the station's joints and solar panels. A NASA video taken by a camera inside the station shows the interior shaking as if it were a ship on a violent sea.

Engineers found that the station had not been harmed, but managers opted to delay the next relocation of the station until March so calculations could be double-checked, Suffredini said.

...continued here.
A ship at sea, eh? An appropriate analogy considering NASA's link with a certain UK-based maritime project. Here's the abovementioned video:



Considering the proximity of the shaking to the void of space, and to quote Peter McGrath in our BBC Radio interview last Darwin Day, "Now, as a sailor, that almost makes me wet myself."

1 comment:

Francisco said...

Karen! Did you see my e-mail, sent to your NHM account? Thanks in advance, /FVS