ATK train with SRB segments crashes again :: NSF - Following yesterday's news of the ATK train carrying Solid Rocket Booster segments had derailed late last week, information is starting to flow on another crash involving the same train near Alabama today. The train is carrying segments that will be involved were the six remaining RSRM 98 center and forward segments (STS-120) and RSRM 99 aft segments (STS-122). The train is believed to have crashed when a bridge it was travelling over collapsed, with serious injuries to the crew on board. The incident happened when a bridge the train was crossing collapsed, injuring six people on board. It is not yet know if the segments have been seriously damaged, but given they are solid fueled, they would not have been at risk of exploding. 'Just found out there was a derailment of a train car shipment early this morning. Several cars containing new segments coming from Utah are off the track and on their sides by early accounts,' said Constellation manager Steve Cook in an e-mail to NASA workers this afternoon. 'The crew in the car that rides along sustained critical injuries. The derailment occured in Pennington, AL. This is a 1st to the best of our knowledge. More to come as the day progresess.' [see: Forum: ATK train with SRB segments crashes again & Boosters in train accident]
Train carrying shuttle rockets derails :: (CNN) -- A train carrying reusable solid rocket booster segments for the space shuttle derailed in western Alabama Wednesday, leaving at least two people injured, a NASA spokeswoman said. The train was on its way to Kennedy Space Center in Florida from Utah, where the rocket booster segments are manufactured, when the accident happened around 10 a.m. ET near Pennington, Alabama, about 100 miles west of Montgomery, spokeswoman Katherine Trinidad said. One of the injured was an employee of ATK, the company that makes the segments, and the other was a railroad employee, she said. The two were airlifted to Mobile, Alabama, said George Torres, a spokesman for ATK. (Watch rail cars strewn along the tracks Video). The fuel inside the segments is ammonium perchlorate, which has the consistency of a rubber eraser. Because it is a solid, nothing has spilled out of the railcars, Trinidad said. The train, which had 16 cars, went off the tracks in a forested area after a bridge collapsed, she said. Not all of the cars carrying the eight segments derailed. No residents or nearby communities are at risk, and the fuel cannot explode unless it is deliberately detonated, Trinidad said by telephone from Washington. However, once the fuel is ignited, it cannot be extinguished. NASA considers the situation stable, she said. This is the second time this train has derailed on its journey from Utah, Trinidad said. On Friday, a few wheels went off the track in Kansas, but no cars turned over, she said. The segments will be sent back to Utah for inspection by the manufacturer. They had been intended for use in the October 20 launch of the space shuttle Discovery, NASA officials said. The derailment is not expected to affect that launch, the officials said, because NASA has an ample supply of other segments available.
Freight train with shuttle parts derails :: AP - MYRTLEWOOD, Ala. - A freight train carrying segments of the space shuttle's solid rocket boosters derailed Wednesday after a recently repaired bridge collapsed over boggy ground, authorities said. Six people aboard the train were reported injured, one critically. NASA said it was not immediately known whether the equipment was damaged. But space agency spokesman Allard Beutel in Washington said the accident should not delay any shuttle launches. The trestle collapse was under investigation [...] "It appears when the train got onto the trestle, the trestle just gave way and sank to the ground," said Mike Rudolphi, an official with the boosters' manufacturer who went to the wreck site. "It's going to be a challenge to get it out of there." Eight booster segments were on the train, which carried only the shuttle shipment, Rudolphi said. One booster overturned, along with two locomotives and a car carrying six attendants, who were injured. Two of the injured were airlifted to a hospital in Tuscaloosa, where one was listed as critical and one fair [...] Last Friday, two axles on one car came off the tracks for unknown reasons about 60 miles west of Salina, Kan., while the train was traveling at less than 20 mph, Herring said. The train was back on the tracks after several hours, the spokesman said. Meridian and Bigbee of Meridian, Miss., was hauling the equipment and owns the trestle, said Mike Williams, a spokesman for Bigbee parent Genesee & Wyoming Inc. of Greenwich, Conn. The bridge was closed for repairs Sunday night and reopened Wednesday morning, he said.
Alliant Techsystems || Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster
Another memo (and back on to the people for a moment), notes all minor injuries, with one serious (but not life-threatening), and he's been air lifted from the scene [+].
Tornado spotted in Anthony, Chaparral and WSMR :: Las Cruces Sun-News - LAS CRUCES — A tornado was seen early this afternoon in Anthony, Chaparral and at White Sands Missile Range, but there were no reports of damages or injuries. The tornado touched down shortly before 1 p.m. about two miles south and east of the main post at White Sands Missile Range. It was one of three tornados reported in the area, according to the National Weather Service in Santa Teresa. The other two twisters touched down in Otero County and in El Paso near Ft. Bliss. All three tornados were over open land and no damage has been reported. "It was very pronounced," said Larry Furrow, WSMR spokesman. "It didn't look like it was in an area where it could do much damage to life and property." Harvey Jones, a Chaparral resident, also saw the tornado near his home. "It was at least two miles — if not farther — north of Chaparral," Jones said. "It was a pretty wide funnel cloud. From where I was, I could see a lot of junk flying in it, but nothing like houses or anything like that." Rain and hail storms moved to the southeast as the tornado subsided. However, the National Weather Service, in Santa Teresa, has issued a Special Weather Statement of the potential for moderate to heavy rainfall from thunderstorms. Winds could gust to as much as 50 mph if storms reoccur. Wednesday's tornado was the second in about eight months that has been confirmed in Doña Ana County. A tornado was reported west of Las Cruces in September. [Image Gallery]
Tornadoes in Borderland :: KDBC - The thunderstorms started around 12:30 p.m. in Alamogordo, Las Cruces and El Paso. Community Correspondent Deanna Utnage took this picture of a tornado touching down near White Sands Missile Range. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area just before the tornado touched down. Officials at the National Weather Service confirm three tornadoes touched down near White Sands. The tornado warning was lifted just after 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. In El Paso, heavy rain and hail pelted parts of the city. Some residents reported seeing gumball size hail. Glory Road in west El Paso also fell victim to the rain as it flooded in a matter of minutes, forcing emergency crews to shut down the street. Chief Meteorologist Robert Bettes and Senior Forecaster Gene Savard say the possibility of more bad weather is expected throughout the evening. Make sure to watch CBC 4 News for any weather developments.
KOAT Slideshow || White Sands Missile Range
A rare tornado for Southern New Mexico was captured on film as it moved across the White Sands Missile Range on October 29, 1992 [+].
The Carina Nebula: Star Birth in the Extreme :: In celebration of the 17th anniversary of the launch and deployment of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers is releasing one of the largest panoramic images ever taken with Hubble's cameras. It is a 50-light-year-wide view of the central region of the Carina Nebula where a maelstrom of star birth - and death - is taking place. Hubble's view of the nebula shows star birth in a new level of detail. The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. In the process, these stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born. The immense nebula contains at least a dozen brilliant stars that are roughly estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun. The most unique and opulent inhabitant is the star Eta Carinae, at far left. Eta Carinae is in the final stages of its brief and eruptive lifespan, as evidenced by two billowing lobes of gas and dust that presage its upcoming explosion as a titanic supernova.
Hubble Space Telescope || Eta Carinae Nebula
New Horizons :: Wikipedia - New Horizons is a robotic spacecraft mission conducted by NASA. It is expected to be the first spacecraft to fly by and study the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons, Charon, Nix and Hydra. NASA may also approve flybys of one or more other Kuiper Belt Objects.
Probe shows Jupiter up close and personal :: Julie Steenhuysen — CHICAGO Tue May 1, 2007 6:53pm EDT :: (Reuters) - Small moons are acting as shepherds using their gravity to herd dust and boulders in Jupiter's faint rings, NASA scientists reported on Tuesday. The finding is one of several discoveries made from images captured in late February by the New Horizons probe in what NASA scientists called "a real-world fly-by" of Jupiter, 16 months into its mission to Pluto. They also got the closest look yet at the "Little Red Spot," an Earth-sized swirling storm that scientists described as a galactic rendition of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting, and dramatic views of volcanic eruptions on Jupiter's moon Io. These postcards from Jupiter were taken by the piano-sized robotic probe's seven cameras as it came within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter on February 28. About 70 percent of the data has been relayed to Earth so far. The close encounter allowed New Horizons to make use of Jupiter's gravity to shave three years from its travel time to Pluto. It is expected to arrive in 2015. The encounter with Jupiter "was a chance to practice ... before the rubber hits the road" with Pluto, Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, told a televised news briefing. Pictures of Jupiter's faint rings revealed the moons Metis and Adrastea herding rocks with their gravitational pull. "The boulder-sized particles are definitely being controlled by these shepherding satellites," Jeff Moore of the NASA Ames Research Center in California told the briefing. Also spied was what appeared to be remnants of an object that had recently collided with the rings. "Individual clusters of particles in the rings is a really new discovery," Moore said.
MYSTERY VOLCANO. On Jupiter's volcanic moon Io, New Horizons revealed an umbrella-shaped plume rising 200 miles into space from the volcano Tvashtar. "It's really exciting that it performed for us," said John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "Galileo was orbiting for six years and we never saw plumes like that," he said, referring to an earlier mission. The probe also revealed a mystery volcano, so young its lava has just reached Io's surface, but has yet to emit enough gas to produce a plume. "We're seeing the birth of a new volcano here," Spencer said. In about eight years, the mission will produce the closest-ever views of Pluto and the hundreds of other icy objects in the distant Kuiper belt region. But for now, the NASA scientists are happy with the test drive. "I think we're ready to rock and roll." Stern said.
New Horizons || Image Gallery
STEREO :: Wikipedia - STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) is a solar observation mission which was launched on 26 October 2006 at 00:52 GMT. Two identical spacecraft were launched into orbits that cause them to (respectively) pull further ahead of and fall gradually behind the earth. This will enable stereoscopic imaging of the Sun and solar phenomena, such as Coronal Mass Ejections.
The Sun in 3D :: STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program (STP). This two-year mission, launched October 2006, will provide a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth System. The two nearly identical observatories - one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind - will trace the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth. They will reveal the 3D structure of coronal mass ejections; violent eruptions of matter from the sun that can disrupt satellites and power grids, and help us understand why they happen. STEREO will become a key addition to the fleet of space weather detection satellites by providing more accurate alerts for the arrival time of Earth-directed solar ejections with its unique side-viewing perspective.
First 3-D Images of the Sun || STEREO Eclipse Movie
• Ashes of Star Trek's 'Scotty' Primed for Space Launch
• NASA manager asks workers to reach out
• NASA Satellite Takes AIM at Earth's Highest Clouds
• On trip to Mars, NASA must rethink death