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Japanese astronaut joins biggest space station crowd in decade after SpaceX arrival

34 Comments
By MARCIA DUNN

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In space there is no social distancing, and no one can hear you scream

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Hopefully, the top photo could be a sign that future of mankind is not doomed.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

A recycled SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts arrived at the space station a day after launching from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. 

An amazing point. How many times, how long can the capsule endure for recycling?

I also like the SpaceX spacesuit design, looking slim and comfortable.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What an exciting adventure and a refreshing change to read about instead of all the bad news on Earth. Congratulations to Commander Hoshide.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It seems America doesn't need to count on Russian crew capsule any more.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It seems America doesn't need to count on Russian crew capsule any more.

The Russians have said they will exit the ISS program in 2025, claiming they will build their own space station at a higher orbit, which will expose it to more solar radiation and limit its habitability. The Russians are saying it will only be manned part time. At least that is what they are saying now. In any event Ivan, don't let the ISS hatch hit you in the rear as you leave that last time.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I also like the SpaceX spacesuit design, looking slim and comfortable.

Coming from an aviation background I'm always a little bit uncomfortable when styling considerations have any bearing on the gear one is expected to use in the unforgiving world of flight. In the back of my mind is always the question, what functional aspects were sacrificed to achieve the desired external appearance?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Looks like a party!

Can you pick out the billionaire tourist?

How many times, how long can the capsule endure for recycling?

The heat shield and thrusters can be replaced as can all the internal stuff when wear is seen. That means it becomes a pressure vessel question more than anything else. Pressurized aircraft handle 20-30K cycles over their lives.

The SpaceX launch gear is both functional and had a fashion designer behind it. Remember reading an article about them before the first human test launch. https://www.space.com/spacex-spacesuits-five-star-astronaut-review.html

They are not "space suits".

SpaceX spacesuits are not designed for spacewalks — just for backup during launches and landings.

... primary functions of the spacesuit, which is to protect the astronauts in case of fire or depressurization

I don't think they have micrometeorite protections or self-contained O2 supplies.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Weren't the space shuttles recycled?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Congrats to who are involved, imagine if the rest of us downstairs can work and live in such harmony knowing that we are all together in this world.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Weren't the space shuttles recycled?

They were, too (and I personally like the shuttle, its shape). NASA terminated the project as it turned out to be more expensive than a regular rocket launch. They also exploded twice in the air. SpaceX is said to cut the cost by one thirds.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The question of who dealt it is more complicated now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All that money spent on space should be used to fix our Earth and bring emissions down to zero!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Congrats to who are involved, imagine if the rest of us downstairs can work and live in such harmony knowing that we are all together in this world.

Admirable sentiment, but to be glum for a moment, if I could flick a switch that turned off the internet for good, I'd do it. Feels like the last days of Rome sometimes.

Such Sunday morning pessimism aside, well done to all above. You're an inspiration and in a far better place...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Russians have said they will exit the ISS program in 2025

If chosen. I would go the Russian one. Probably 50% of tasks being carried out on the ISS are repairs.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

All that money spent on space should be used to fix our Earth and bring emissions down to zero!

Dan, no matter what man does, the Earth is doomed. At some point in the distant future our star, the Sun, will consume the last of its hydrogen and when that happens, it will exit the "Main Phase" it's in now and expand rapidly into a Red Giant. The surface of the Sun in its Red Giant phase will be beyond the orbit of Earth. Earth will be roasted, maybe even drawn into the Sun by gravity and consumed. Hundreds of millions of years before that happens the Sun will have grown so hot as the proportion of hydrogen to helium in the sun declines that water will have boiled off Earth and Earth will be uninhabitable. That is the immutable future of this planet we inhabit.

If man is to survive into the indefinite future then it is absolutely essential we master living in space, interstellar space travel and become a multi-planet species. We may even need to learn how to bioengineer suitable planets that are not fully habitable as found but are in that sweet spot where surface temperatures are compatible with liquid water and our familiar plant life. And of course we have to bring our creatures, most importantly our sweet doggies with us to these new worlds.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If chosen. I would go the Russian one. Probably 50% of tasks being carried out on the ISS are repairs

Learning how to effect repairs and maintenance in space is necessary training for a human race that intends to explore the stars some day and inhabit other worlds. Read my post above about the inevitable fate of Earth to understand why. We have to be able to fix things in space because space travel will be a years long, maybe decades long endeavor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The question of who dealt it is more complicated now.

I've heard from ISS astronauts about the "funky smell" there. B-52 pilots had a similar complaint decades ago - I can only imagine that continues today.

The STS (Space Shuttle) program was ended for a number of reasons. It never lived up to the promise of routine access to space - which was expected to have monthly launches and a lifespan of 15 yrs, which it far exceeded. After all the cost numbers were in, It appears that launching 1 lb on the shuttle costs about $8K. In the early 1990s, we used $4K/lb as the estimate. That paid for one small project I worked on - savings in shipping paper manuals into orbit. They took 600-800 lbs of paper up. Putting most of that onto computers in PDF saved most of that weight.

BTW, I worked on the GN&C flight software (FSW) for the space shuttles for 5 yrs. You've seen my work. There was an entire team for requirements and 7 levels of testing, but I wrote the code to make it smooth so they would have fewer tire blowouts on landing, mainly for the nose wheel tires.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=rcq25vqtgisp7a3of18ksj4jio&action=dlattach;topic=27757.0;attach=360804;image

Pre-fix landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sww7wF7bdA4

Post-fix landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayquDUGRpRw

Thankfully, the world never saw most of the code we wrote post-Challenger. Much of it was to provide everyone on the vehicle some tiny chance of bailing out and surviving. No astronaut that I asked about it thought they'd live. 2EO and 3EO FSW was to make NASA and political leaders happier, not for the crew. They knew the reality, if not every detail.

In 2020, Musk thought that Starship could bring costs down to $10/kg ... so $4.6/lb. For lunar payloads, he's guessing $30/lb.

Currently, SpaceX charges roughly $150 million/launch for delivering 70 tons to low earth orbit. That's ... $1100/lb today - so a little over 1/8th the cost of the STS costs. Progress. Definitely progress.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They were, too (and I personally like the shuttle, its shape). NASA terminated the project as it turned out to be more expensive than a regular rocket launch.

There are other considerations. The Space Shuttle as designed and operated turned out to be lot more dangerous than a conventional rocket. Once the ISS was completed and there was no longer a need for the Space Shuttle's payload capacity and its mechanical arm the justification for accepting such high risk no longer existed. The other consideration is that the USAF by then had the Boeing X-37 in service to conduct the military missions previously conducted by the Space Shuttle.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Congrats to who are involved, imagine if the rest of us downstairs can work and live in such harmony knowing that we are all together in this world.

We can in a world led science, independent free thinkers and compassion. Unfortunately, religion typically causes division and intolerance. But I too hope for a time when we can live together in harmony as a species :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

By definition, there's no geopolitics in space

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Ascissor By definition, there's no geopolitics in space

Nobody is smiling in the photo. Perhaps, it is a little tension between them up there. Lol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Money well spent. We need to look to the future of ManKind.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Are any of these astronauts vaccinated for covid? Hell of a place to be if you get infected.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@deserttortoise

I am fully aware what awaits the Earth in billions of years time I don't need a lecture.

We don't have to neglect our planet coz it will be engulfed in the Sun in 3-4 billions years time though do we?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Am I the only one wondering about the hair?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Am I the only one wondering about the hair?

No, certainly not. Even some types of hair need gravity!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wounder what the early pioneers of space travel would think if they could come back for a day or two to see the massive leap in technology, people like Tsiolkovsky, Goddard, and Oberth, Neil Armstrong, B Aldrin, Pavel Popovich, Yuri Gagarin, to name a few.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah - I'm wondering about the hair. You'd think just keeping it short would make so much more sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nobody is smiling in the photo. Perhaps, it is a little tension between them up there. Lol.

They've probably been like that for many conversations with space and national leaders "back home" in each of their countries. Their arms want to be up and floating at chest level, so they have to hold them down too.

Also consider that some of those people haven't had a good shower in months. They've been "dry cleaning" for a long time with just a little bit of water for hygiene.

Early rocket and space pioneers would likely be disappointed that humans don't have thriving bases on the Moon and other bodies in the Solar system by now. Look at what SpaceX has accomplished, almost from scratch, in the last 15 yrs. Remember the BFR launch a few years ago and the dual 1st stage landings? Those ideas were in movies in the 1950s. A private company did that, not some govt. Materials sciences and miniaturization of electronics/computers made SpaceX possible.

NASA tried to cancel the SLS about 10 yrs ago, but Congress is forcing them to keep it alive and paying tens of thousands of engineers around the US to work on it. It is hardly the most efficient way to get into deep space or to give engineers money. Capitalism and profit motive can work wonders. That's been lacking in govt space programs.

Look at how computers have moved forward compared to space programs. My desktop computer is faster than a Cray computer that I used in college in the late 1980s. One of my watches has more processing power than Apollo did. Space shuttles flew for over 30 yrs with less than 1MB of RAM. The Space Shuttle computers cycled at 25Hz ... not 4Ghz like the most powerful computers today.

How far would we be in the Solar System if space transportation had similarly improved?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Love the picture! We have gone from the hopes of Star Trek, to the reality of the ISS! If only the Chinese government would join the rest of the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

1glenn, after multiple data attacks against space and missile contractors in the USA, Congress decided that NASA cannot work with China. Further, data shared with international partners by the US cannot be shared through them with China.

Good or bad, is hard to say. There are many things related to space that cannot be learned without actually doing it. OTOH, with Russia partnering with China, that transfer of knowledge will certainly happen, just as Russia helped the US learn about long term space station issues. There is still something magical about Russian high pressure rocket combustion chambers that the US hasn't replicated. Getting the highest possible specific impulse for the weight is hard. Literally, it is rocket science.

I worked at two companies known to be hit by Chinese govt space information stealers, so perhaps I'm a little close to have an objective opinion. Also, one of my Unix workstations at NASA was hacked - at the time I wasn't skilled in the OS or security so NASA security took over. I never heard back. Security took a disk image for study and had the OS wiped, reinstalled. I seriously doubt it was any country behind it. Probably just some college kid on the internet playing around.

BTW, the Earth is a death trap. We need to spread out into the galaxy ASAP.

https://www.space.com/proxima-centauri-emits-largest-stellar-flare.html

There are many ways that we can die. A few won't provide any warning and will kill everything in the solar system. Asteroids are the easiest to deal with, provided we see them a few years out. There are still a few asteroids yearly that we don't see coming from the direction of the Sun - so telescopes tend to avoid looking that way so sensors don't get burned out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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