Friday, 18 September 2009

Space Shuttle Flushes the Toilet for All the World To See

Shuttle with water dump. Copyright Clair Perry 

This picture is from last week; September 9, 2009 to be exact, but I still wanted to share it. I just got in touch with photographer Clair Perry from Prince Edward Island, Canada to get his permission to post the image. No, this is not a comet. Pictured is space shuttle Discovery executing a water dump. The shuttle needed to get rid of excess waste water before landing the next day, and jettisoned it overboard via the waste water dump line, creating a spectacular visual effect as sunlight hit the spraying water. This dump occurred just as the shuttle was flying over North America last week, and lots of people witnessed this "toilet flush." Some reports indicated it was "pristine" water (the shuttle fuel cells' by-product is water) and other reports said it was "waste water and urine" (the Bad Astronomer called it Constellation Urion). Whatever, it was pretty. NASA said this was an unusually large dump, about 150 pounds (68 kg), because new regulations say no shuttle water dumps can take place while docked to the ISS, so as not to contaminate the outdoor experiments on the Kibo lab.
See below for the spectacular entire image, which also includes the nearby ISS creating a streak in the sky. Thanks to Clair Perry for sharing his images.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

ZA 002 ( SumbandilaSat) eindelik van die grond af

Source:  Engeneering News

SA satellite finally lifts off 
South Africa’s R26-million Sumbandila satellite (SumbandilaSat) has been successfully launched from the renowned Baikonur Cosmodrome by Russian space agency Roscosmos, on a Soyuz-2 rocket. The launch was at17:55 South African time on Thursday.
The rocket was placed on the launch pad early in the week, but the launch has been subject to two holds, each of 24 hours duration. The first hold was caused by a combination of bad weather and a telemetry glitch.

The second hold was the result of problems in the fuelling process, apparently caused by a leak in a pipeline or hose that needed repair or replacing. Fuelling has to be completed just 20 minutes before lift off, and the launch was aborted just 13 minutes before the scheduled launch time. The Soyuz-2 is powered by a mixture of highly refined kerosene (the fuel) and liquid oxygen as the oxidiser. Liquid oxygen has to be kept at a temperature of – 183˚ C or below. As it evaporates very easily, it cannot be stored for long.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Science Unlimited se ekspo in Pietermaritzburg

Science Unlimited het weer in Pietermaritzburg hulle jaarlikse ekspo gehou en meer as 22000 leerders en onderwysers het dit bygewoon.

Alhoewel die uitstallings agv die huidige ekonomie nie soos ander jare was nie, was die aanbiedings weer eens ‘n sukses.

Om in te skakel met die IYA2009 het ek ‘n multimedia aanbieding gedoen oor ons eie sonnestelsel. Oor die drie dae wat die expo gehou is, in die laatste week van Augustus, het 1800+ leerders my aanbiedings bygewoon wat die meeste nog is in vergelyking met die ander Science Unlimited waar ek aanbiedings gedoen het.

Drie expo’s per jaar word gehou. Een in Pretoria, een in Stellenbosch en in Pietermaritzburg. Besoek gerus hulle web blad vir meer agtergrond informasie.

Jacques van Delft
Direkteur: ASSA Solar-afdeling

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Klubaand vir ASSA Bfn-klublede

Wie: Lede van ASSA Bloemfontein
Praktiese sessie: Riglyne om astrosketse te teken
Plek: Oppikoppi - Boyden-sterrewag.
Datum: 19 September, Saterdag
Tyd: 16:30 vir 17:00
Aanbieder: Hannes Pieterse