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A long farewell

29. April 2011, 13.58
The small space shop on site at the Kennedy Space Center gives an indication of the fast-approaching end of space shuttle flights from the cape; everything is reduced in price. Although many people here on the ‘Space Coast’ are unsure about the coming months and years, the spirit needed to carry this historic space location into the future of spaceflight is unbroken. The day before the launch of STS-134, the press conferences were not just looking forward to the imminent mission.
Andreas Schütz
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Andreas Schütz
 
 

AFF Completion of experiments

29. April 2011, 11.37
SSC (Swedish Space Corporation) performed a remarkable autonomous close approached to bring MANGO and TANGO to a distance of less than 15 m. The maneuvers needed for that approach were computed by their autonomous formation flying (AFF) software on-board of MANGO. During an experiment of 8 days duration SSC performed numerous formation keeping and formation configuration maneuvers to verify the handling of different formation scenarios.
Benjamin Schlepp
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Benjamin Schlepp
 
 

STS-134 Launch -1: 1500 journalists and more than half a million visitors expected

28. April 2011, 19.38
The alarm clock goes off at 04:45 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). At 05:30, breakfast. At 06:00, the ESA-DLR media delegation, consisting of a dozen journalists and a number of 'Public Affairs Officers' (as NASA calls them) is on the move. At 08:40, after obtaining additional accreditation at two badging stations, we finally arrive at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) press site.
Marco Trovatello
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Marco Trovatello
 
 

Is the Moon unchanging?

28. April 2011, 11.20
Ever since the discovery of the telescope, man has been fascinated by the observation of the surface of the Moon. The constantly changing light coming from the Sun causes craters, mountains, valleys and plains to take on continuously varying appearances. Yet, as we look at this atmosphereless natural satellite, we get the impression that the Moon has not changed, even over the span of a human lifetime. But is this really the case?
Rolf Hempel
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Rolf Hempel
 
 

PRISMA Experiment Operations at GSOC

21. April 2011, 14.10
The goal of PRISMA is to demonstrate sensors and flight software needed to perform formation flight and rendezvous missions. With respect to future on-orbit servicing missions, PRISMA is a milestone in developing and demonstrating the required technologies in orbit. The experiment operations started after commissioning and separation of the two spacecraft, Mango and Tango, in August 2010 . The basic experiment programme is planned to last ten months, with an additional two months for an extended campaign. The first half of this timeline was successfully executed by the Swedish Space Corporation, and after the transfer of operations on 14 March it is now GSOC's turn to conclude the nominal first year of operations. Let's have a closer look at the project structure, the experimenter's contributions and the experiment operations to be conducted at GSOC.
Jörn Spurmann
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Jörn Spurmann
 
 

STS-134: Ready to blog

20. April 2011, 13.00
Since yesterday's Flight Readiness Review (FRR) confirmed a "Go" for Endeavour's Launch on 29 April it's now certain that we (me, that is) will continue blogging here starting next Thursday, 28 April, where there will be first photo opportunities at Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately my DLR colleague Thilo Kranz, fellow blogger and excellent shuttle photographer, will not be there this time.
Marco Trovatello
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Marco Trovatello
 
 

PRISMA – Mango and Tango in mission operations mode

05. April 2011, 14.30
On 14 March 2011, the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) took over operations of PRISMA. Despite my 20 years of service, I must say that even though every mission launch is special, the transfer of operations for an ongoing mission has a very new ‘feel’ about it. PRISMA has been different in many ways. The aim of this mission is to demonstrate various formation flying and rendezvous scenarios at separations of as little as a few metres with satellites Tango and Mango.
Ralf Faller
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Ralf Faller