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  1. #1171
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    Chandrayaan 2 launch: How to watch India's historic moon landing attempt live
    Jackson Ryan, CNET | July 13, 2019 11:30 PM PDT

    India will launch three robotic explorers to the moon Sunday, aiming to become the first ever nation to make a soft landing at the south pole.


    After several delays, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission this Sunday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Fittingly, the landmark mission is set to depart a few days shy of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, humanity's first crewed lunar landing, with the goal of making the first soft landing at the lunar south pole. While India's mission won't feature humans, Chandrayaan 2 is carrying three lunar exploration robots -- a lander, rover and orbiter -- which will be able to survey the moon from both the surface and the sky.

    The launch is currently scheduled for Sunday, July 14, at 2:51 p.m. PT (5:51 p.m. ET) and is set to take place at India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, north of Chennai. The payload of Chandrayaan-2 consists of a lunar orbiter, a lunar lander and a lunar rover and will be launched atop the ISRO-developed GSLV Mk-III rocket. That rocket is about half as powerful as the SpaceX Falcon 9 and will put Chandrayaan-2 into what's known as an "Earth parking orbit" before the module uses its own power to extend its orbit and eventually position itself for a lunar rendezvous.
    ________________________________

    It was called off due to a technical glitch, so the Youtube channel is no longer available.

    How to watch the Chandrayaan-2 launch

    Want to tune in to the historic mission? ISRO will be handling livestreaming duties across its social media pages so you should be able to tune in at the ISRO Twitter or follow along on the agency's Facebook page. ISRO have also stated India's public broadcaster Doordarshan will also carry a livestream on its YouTube channel. There's plenty of options!

    Don't want to hunt around? Just tune in to the Youtube channel above. You can watch the Press Information Bureau's stream from there. (Sentence modified to fit the way I formatted the article. - ilan)

    Why is this mission called Chandrayaan-2?

    This is the sequel to Chandrayaan-1, an ISRO mission that launched 11 years ago featuring only a lunar orbiter. That orbiter reached the moon on Nov. 8, 2008 and then fired an impacter which struck the south pole. The material ejected from the sub surface allowed ISRO to detect lunar water ice -- a valuable resource that could enable future exploration. Chandrayaan-2 will look to build on this monumental discovery from the ground.

    When will Chandrayaan-2 reach the moon?

    Provided Chandrayaan-2 launches on time, it is expected to reach the moon on Sept. 6, 2019. If it can achieve the difficult feat of landing on the surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft landing in history, following the US, Russia and China, which currently has the Chang'e 4 rover operating on the far side of the moon.

    The lander and rover are headed for the lunar south pole, exploring a scientifically important region that has been shown to contain water ice. The lunar lander, known as "Vikram," and a rover, known as "Pragyan," will set up shop in the south, far further than any previous mission to the moon. The proposed landing spot is between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N.

    #ScienceGoals

    All three of ISRO's robotic explorers have different lifespans and will be looking to achieve key science goals in their limited time exploring the moon. Chief among these goals is the ability to understand the composition of the moon, allowing for a deeper understanding of its origin and its evolution.

    There are 12 payloads on board, with five on both the orbiter and lander and two on the rover. The lander will only operate for a single lunar day (two weeks on Earth). NASA is also hitching a ride on the lunar lander with a laser retroreflector, a device that can help measure the distance between the Earth and Moon.

    The orbiter will operate for a year in a circular orbit around the poles and carries radar and spectrometers that will enable study of the moon's surface and exosphere. Predominantly, these instruments should enable a greater understanding of the moon's water ice deposits. A mapping camera will also provide a 3D map of the terrain.

    The Pragyan rover, powered by the sun and AI, will cross the lunar surface at the blistering pace of 1 centimeter per second carrying instruments that can assess the molecules present on the moon.
    _________________________________

    The launch was called off due to a technical glitch, so the Youtube channel is no longer available. - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 07-14-2019 at 11:02 PM.
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  2. #1172
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Live from the Moon: How Earth Saw the First Steps of Apollo 11
    Jane Green, Sky & Telescope | July 12, 2019

    Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's first steps on the Moon changed the world. But that the world would see them wasn't a given.

    I was only knee-high when I witnessed Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps. I, along with 600 million others, took for granted the grainy black-and-white television images originating some 240,000 miles away. But those pictures were a triumph that almost never came about.



    Initially, NASA mission planners saw no reason to televise the event at all. The command module was already carrying a camera for telecasts during the astronauts' flight to the Moon and, due to weight and fuel restrictions, planners deemed a second, heavy TV camera on the lunar module unnecessary. Instead, they prioritized voice communication, vital systems data, and astronaut biomedical telemetry. In fact, in an emergency meeting a few months before launch, Ed Fendell, NASA’s instrument and communications officer, announced that the mission wouldn’t include a second camera to cover the moonwalk. Every NASA manager and anyone who could spell “TV” was in attendance, and an enraged audience rose en masse to its feet, wildly rejecting Fendell’s conclusion. Numerous impassioned speeches followed as fervent old timers fought for coverage.

    The outcome? The final mission included a 3.29-kilogram (7.25-pound), Westinghouse-designed, slow-scan, black-and-white camera. Mounted upside down (for vibration isolation) in the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA), left of the ladder on the lunar module’s descent stage, this was the camera that captured Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface.

    Beaming Images to Earth

    The Parkes Obseratory's original role was as backup receiver for the moonwalk only, supporting NASA’s other two tracking stations: the prime 64-meter receiver at Goldstone, in California’s Mojave Desert, and the 26-meter dish at Tidbinbilla, near Canberra, Australia. The 26-meter dish at Honeysuckle Creek, also near Canberra, would track the command module, Columbia, and coordinate the other Australian stations.

    But just two months before launch, NASA changed the plan, introducing a 10-hour rest period for the astronauts prior to their lunar surface walk. With this schedule, the Moon would have set at Goldstone — but it would be high overhead at Parkes. So NASA upgraded Parkes to prime receiver when Eagle was on the Moon.

    The Parkes dish, with its large collecting area, extra gain in signal strength, and reliability ensured the astronauts no longer had to deploy a bulky erectable 3-meter antenna on the lunar surface, saving 20–45 minutes of time and effort. Instead, engineers utilized a 0.66-meter S-band steerable antenna atop the lunar module’s ascent stage. This antenna transmitted telemetry and, crucially, TV signals.

    In the weeks before launch, Australian and NASA engineers conducted exhaustive equipment checks at Parkes, as well as recording and tracking trials. By July 16th — with errors eradicated, procedures streamlined and the Australian Press departed — the site was in lockdown. Parkes was “good to go.”

    After Apollo 11 launched, Parkes tracked it flawlessly for two days. The Columbia command module spun around its long axis like a barbecue spit to prevent solar overheating on one side and freezing on the other. As the module’s antenna rotated with the spacecraft, Parkes observed this passive thermal control, or “barbecue roll,” as a rhythmical variation in signal strength.

    The Moon Landing

    “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

    Everything was on schedule, the lunar module was in good shape, and neither Armstrong nor Aldrin would admit to fatigue — both astronauts wanted to walk as soon as possible, cutting their scheduled 10-hour rest period short. But this happened five hours before the Moon rose at Parkes. No Moon. No signal. No television. The Parkes team was gutted. The Moon was visible at Goldstone, however, and the U.S. tracking station was bumped to prime.

    Then a lengthy cabin air depressurisation and slow donning of spacesuits delayed the astronauts' exit from the lunar module. When Armstrong finally stepped down the ladder, the Moon was just emerging at Parkes … along with a ferocious squall.

    As the Parkes dish tipped to its limit to catch the signal from the Moon, 70+ mph winds battered the support tower. According to the dish’s driver, Neil “Fox” Mason, the operators would ordinarily have “quit tracking, stowed the dish and put it up on jacks.” But the astronauts were opening the hatch. “This is only going to happen once,” announced the observatory's director John Bolton.

    At 12:54:00pm (AEST), as the wind alarm rang in a shuddering control room, causing ominous rumblings and banging overhead, the Moon rose into the dish’s range. From the ladder, Armstrong pulled the cord, which swung open the MESA and dropped the TV camera into position. Aldrin pushed in the TV circuit breakers. With the camera activated, the breathtaking telecast began.

    Competing Stations

    Three stations tracked the TV signals throughout Armstrong and Aldrin’s outing: Parkes, Goldstone, and Honeysuckle Creek (HSK). At Parkes, Mason tracked the signal all the while, never once stealing a look at the 10-inch TV monitor behind him.

    In near real-time, TV stations around the world broadcast two versions of the telecast – Australian and international, both having first been converted to commercial TV standards. At HSK, Apollo’s slow-scan TV signals were converted onsite, using specially built scan-converters. Parkes’s signals were converted at Sydney Video. Then NASA’s Charlie Goodman selected the best-quality pictures from both dishes and sent them on to Houston TV. International travel added a 300-millisecond delay to the international version.

    Once the signals arrived in Houston, a controller then made his selection from Goodman’s pictures and those sent from Goldstone. These final images were then distributed to the U.S. television networks for international broadcast.

    The Australian Broadcasting Commission, on the other hand, had no NASA-mandated delay. Since the signal had not traveled via satellite to Houston, there was also no 300-millisecond delay. Australia’s 10 million viewers, therefore, witnessed Armstrong’s historic first step some 6.3 seconds before the rest of the world.

    Vitally, the first 8 minutes, 51 seconds of TV coverage came not from Parkes but Honeysuckle Creek. Due to Parkes’ elevation constraint – 29° 38’ above the horizon – the Moon was still too low. HSK suffered a low signal-to-noise ratio but the engineers were able to adjust brightness and contrast. Within 20 seconds, they also flipped their inverter switch so that the images appeared the right way up.

    Goldstone also experienced problems, including negative images and – due to an operator not flipping the specially installed inverter switch – upside-down images. Houston stuck with Goldstone’s voice downlink but switched away to give them time to find a fix for the images. Meanwhile, Parkes’s main beam signal fired in. Despite staying with Goldstone’s voice downlink throughout, NASA remained with the Parkes images for the 2.5-hour telecast.

    All in all, the televised Moon landing was a truly bonza feat. The final TV images embodied a global dedication and professionalism from countless thousands of people involved in an epic enterprise.
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  3. #1173
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    Join space scientists marking Apollo anniversary
    Posted by EarthSky in HUMAN WORLD | SPACE | July 17, 2019

    Join online as leading space scientists discuss the legacy of Apollo 11 during the mission’s 50th anniversary this week.


    Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Image via Neil Armstrong/NASA.

    This evening (July 17, 2019), join space scientists at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where they’ll discuss the legacy of Apollo 11, whose 50th anniversary is this week. Titled Small Steps and Giant Leaps: How Apollo 11 Shaped Our Understanding of Earth and Beyond, the event will highlight how the study of the moon has led to a deeper understanding of Earth and the solar system, including their origins, and what the world stands to learn from continuing planetary science missions.

    The program will be streamed live on YouTube, and begins at 7 p.m. EDT.

    Watch the online presentation here:


    Moderated by NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green, the panel will include:

    Sean Solomon, director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
    Sonia Tikoo, assistant professor at Stanford University
    Steven Hauck, professor of planetary geodynamics at Case Western Reserve University
    Heather Meyer, postdoctoral fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

    The event is a partnership between the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the National Archives and is a part of AGU’s Centennial celebration.

    Bottom line: Watch leading space scientists discuss the legacy of Apollo 11 during this week’s 50th anniversary of the mission.
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