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[Air & Space Magazine] John Young, Spaceman
« dnia: Styczeń 06, 2018, 19:20 »
John Young, Spaceman (1)
Sometimes an entire era is represented by a single career.
By Geoffrey Little Air & Space Magazine  September 2005


Waiting inside the Gemini 3 capsule on March 23, 1965, John Young was about to embark on the first of six voyages into space——seven if you count Apollo 16′s liftoff from the moon. (NASA)

John Young begins one of his last full weeks at NASA by heading to the regular Monday morning “all pilots” meeting at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. Wiry and fit at 74, a bit lower to the ground than he used to be, Young moves through the center with a determined gait. On duty, he usually wears a nondescript gray suit; off duty, he’s at home in a big black Stetson, denim jacket, and jeans, clothes that harken back to his boyhood in the farm country of Orlando, Florida. It’s December 2004, and the six-time astronaut, who has been to the moon twice, has announced he’ll retire at the end of the month.

In the astronaut office’s meeting room, it’s all business. Most of the active-duty astronaut pilots are present, including Alvin Drew, 42, a former Air Force pilot who was born the same year Young joined NASA. The main topic today, as it has been for nearly two years, is the shuttle’s return to flight after the loss of Columbia and its crew in February 2003. Young stands up to speak, and the room goes quiet—what Drew calls “the E.F. Hutton effect.” “When he talks at a meeting, any side chatter just stops,” Drew says. “He doesn’t say anything unless it’s important.”

Drew recalls another such briefing, in the dark days right after Columbia. “The number-one job of any astronaut,” he remembers Young saying, “is to keep any other astronaut from getting killed.” Like other younger members of NASA’s space corps, Drew looks up to Young as “the corporate knowledge…. He knows what mistakes we’ve made, what mistakes we’ve made twice, and he’s there to keep us from making those mistakes a third time, or a fourth time.”

One of Drew’s first encounters with the veteran astronaut was in January 2000, when he was applying to NASA. Among the first things on the agenda was a briefing from John Young, “to give you a reality check.” Young wasted no time, showing some numbers on an overhead projector to the group of 19 candidates. “You have a 1-in-258 chance of a catastrophic failure on any given shuttle mission,” he told them. Drew wasn’t sure whether that was good or bad. Then Young put up risk numbers for air combat, “things like fighters over the top of Hanoi.” Drew was surprised by Young’s next remark: “Flying one shuttle mission is as dangerous as any 60 combat missions you would fly.”

Drew, a veteran of 90 helicopter combat missions in Panama and the first Iraq war, remembers thinking, “These were not generic missions where nobody’s shooting at you, but real ‘no kidding there’s bullets flying’-type combat missions.” Young’s statistics didn’t deter anyone in the class, he says, but it made them think.

Today in the December meeting, with the return to flight on everyone’s mind, Young is going to make them think again.

“Who here thinks the culture at NASA has changed?”

After a slight pause, Young asks for a show of hands, looking around the room at the veteran and rookie astronauts. Not one hand goes up.

He has asked the question because he is gravely concerned that NASA’s management culture still allows fatal flaws. A few days later, in a set of rare interviews with the Associated Press and another with the Houston Chronicle, Young makes his point publicly by stating that the odds of a catastrophic failure on the shuttle now stand at 1 in 57, the number of flights to date divided by two fatal accidents.

When I catch up with him for an interview a month later, he elaborates. “We’ve proven 1 in 57, but who can say what it really is? I don’t think anybody has a clue what will happen next, or what unusual thing will happen that we haven’t thought about.” I ask: Will the shuttle be able to keep flying? “Hope so,” he says. “I think you gotta try. I mean, nobody ever guaranteed it was going to be risk free.”

It’s a perfect summary of NASA’s essential dilemma: trying to make the inherently dangerous business of spaceflight as safe as possible. And it’s vintage John Young: blunt and matter of fact. In a video tribute at Young’s retirement ceremony at the National Air and Space Museum in December, the actor Tom Hanks said: “John Young is one of my heroes, a man who did what had to be done, regardless of the consequences.” In the front row of the IMAX theater, Young couldn’t help but grin. In the past he’s grumbled to friends, goodnaturedly, about the fact that Hanks’ 1998 HBO miniseries, From the Earth to the Moon, skipped over his Apollo 16 mission entirely.

Young seems aware of where he stands in the astronaut pantheon: the hard-working professional, but never the star. He doesn’t seek the media spotlight, and is at his best in the company of his scientific and engineering peers. If you’re serious, he’ll take you seriously. His fellow astronauts say he also can be very funny, in a droll, you-had-to-be-there kind of way. But his reserve is hard to penetrate, even for people who have worked with him closely. Michael Collins, Young’s crewmate on Gemini 10, wrote in his memoir, Carrying the Fire, that of all the early astronauts, “John is the most uncommunicative (with Neil [Armstrong] a distant second).”

He is also, hands down, the most experienced. At the retirement tribute, Bob Crippen, Young’s pilot on the shuttle’s first flight, lauded him as “the astronaut’s astronaut,” not just for having flown six times but for his technical understanding of spaceflight. Brewster Shaw, Young’s pilot on shuttle mission STS-9 and now chief operating officer of United Space Alliance, the company that operates the shuttle, told the audience of veteran astronauts that John Young had “the most intuitive engineering mind I’ve ever seen.”

Young built his first airplane model when he was six years old: “a high-wing airplane; I think it was a Waco,” he says. As an undergrad at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a Naval ROTC commander and aeronautical engineering major, he showed an early interest in rocketry, if not exactly space. In 1951, as a junior, he published an article in the Georgia Tech Engineer on the German V-2 rockets built by Wernher von Braun. “I didn’t say very nice things about him, because, you know, using unguided rockets to hit civilian targets was not very nice,” he says today. “I never dreamed that he’d [von Braun] come over here and build the Saturn V.”

Initially, Young set his sights on a Navy flying career. But the Navy had other ideas, and assigned him after graduation to serve as a fire safety officer on the USS Laws, a destroyer that saw combat during the Korean War. Flight training had to wait until after the war. In 1959 he was selected for a coveted slot at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, home to the Navy test pilot school. There he helped wring out what would be the Navy’s first Mach 2 fighter jet, the McDonnell F4-H1 Phantom II.

In 1962, Young found out just how fast, and how high, a stripped-down Phantom could go. On a cold, clear February day, he took off from Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine in an attempt to set a record for time to climb to 3,000 meters (just under 10,000 feet), as part of the Navy’s Project High Jump. He did it in just under 35 seconds, and says his real time was actually faster, but the “statistics guys” adjusted it for 95 percent confidence. Two months later, Young set the 25,000-meter record, taking off from Pt. Mugu, northwest of Los Angeles, and zooming to 82,000 feet in just under four minutes. In his pressure suit, he could glimpse the dark edge of space before he coasted back to land in the Mojave Desert.

Like many test pilots of his generation, Young also had his eye on a contest that was just getting under way. He applied to NASA, thinking it “looked like a good way to use what we’d been trained to do,” and in 1962 got the call to join the New Nine, the group of astronauts chosen after the initial Mercury Seven. President Kennedy had just committed the nation to a lunar landing—or rather, Young says, “They said we’d try. Nobody knew we could go to the moon. They were talking about using hydrogen in the engine. The only thing I knew that burned hydrogen didn’t work too good, and that was the Hindenburg.”

Three years later, on March 23, 1965, Young and Mercury veteran Virgil “Gus” Grissom became the first two Americans launched together into space, on Gemini 3. Young was the first of the New Nine to fly.

He remembers his first look at the Earth from orbit. “I didn’t realize it [would be] so beautiful. I could hardly take my eyes off it,” he says. “I was so busy looking out the window I sort of neglected the trajectory data.” During the crew’s three revolutions around Earth, Young did look away enough to operate the first guidance computer in space, and he took the first clear hand-held photos of features on the ground.

After a rough reentry (during the parachute’s descent, Young and Grissom were thrown forward so violently that Grissom’s visor cracked), Young resolved to go right back into space. “I told Deke [Slayton, head of the astronaut office], ‘Put me on the next mission you can.’ And I guess he did the best he could.” Young commanded Gemini 10 in July 1966, with Michael Collins on board as his copilot.

Gemini 10 was an ambitious mission that rehearsed several techniques needed for Apollo: rendezvous, docking, and, for Collins, a spacewalk. Young had to be careful not to blast his crewmate with exhaust from Gemini’s maneuvering rockets while Collins was outside; he doesn’t think such a risk would even be allowed today. And another complication arose. “I think the night before the mission, Reg Mitchell [a Gemini engineer] came in and told me, ’Oh yeah, and by the way, don’t let the sunlight hit the top of Mike’s ejection seat, ’cause the sun is so hot it will probably fire the ejection seat,” Young says. “So then I not only had to fly formation [with the docking target]…and not squirt on Mike, but I had to keep the sun off the ejection seat.”

After Gemini, Young set right to work on Apollo. In mid-January 1967, he went to see good friend Gus Grissom down at Cape Canaveral. Grissom showed him the inside of the command module, set up for his crew’s full-dress systems test. Young remembers peering inside the craft at the wiring. “There were bundles as big as my arm that were going around sharp corners, and you know as soon as you fly, going around a sharp corner with a big wire, all you’re going to do is chafe it and set if off,” he says. “I asked him [Grissom] about it, and he said, ‘I can’t say anything about it. If I do, they’ll fire me.’ That’s what he told me.”

On January 27, 1967, Young was in California running checks on the next-to-fly Apollo capsule. He remembers seeing toxic glycol leaking on the floor. Just the day before, fellow astronaut Dave Scott had been in a spacesuit pressurized with oxygen and had gotten badly shocked. “He’s very lucky he didn’t get electrocuted, burnt to death,” says Young. “Things weren’t very good in those days.”

The same afternoon, while Young was in California, Grissom, with Roger Chaffee and Ed White, perished on pad 34-A in Cape Canaveral, in what would always be referred to at NASA as simply The Fire. The bad wires had sparked a conflagration in the oxygen-soaked module.

NASA responded with a two-year, top-to-bottom redesign of the command and service modules. Young and other astronauts believe the changes saved their lives. He had always been concerned with engineering safety; even back in the Gemini days he was known for writing critical, well-reasoned memos that came to be known as John Young Safety-Grams. “That’s what test pilots are for,” he says. “They’re supposed to look at stuff and see what’s right and what’s not right, and if it’s not right, you gotta tell ’em.” In 1964, Bob Gilruth, the first director of the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, told his assistant, George Abbey (later himself director of the Johnson Space Center), to sort the mail to decide what was important. Abbey remembers Gilruth saying to him, “The one thing I want to see if it comes through is a memo from John Young. If he writes a memo, and he’s got a concern, then I’ve got a concern. He’s the best engineer I’ve got working for me.”

Young was assigned to the May 1969 Apollo 10 mission, the second to orbit the moon. It was a full dress rehearsal for the first landing, with Young flying solo around the moon in the command module for eight hours while Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan took the lunar module down to 50,000 feet above the surface. Orbiting the moon alone, Young was particularly struck by the number of craters on the far side. “Most of the backside of the moon is just highland impacts,” he says. The idea of bombardment—huge meteors smashing and shaping the lunar surface for eons—would stay with him.

After returning to Earth, Young went through rocky personal times, as did many of the astronauts during the high-pressure years of Apollo. He was divorced from his wife of 10 years, the mother of his two children, and later married Susy Feldman, who worked for a NASA contractor in St. Louis.

In those days, no one at NASA knew the odds of success for the moon landings. As Young was training to command his own 1972 landing mission, his new wife told him something disturbing. She had learned about a formal risk analysis that put the chance of survival on future moon missions as low as 20 percent. Young claims it didn’t affect his thinking, but it was upsetting to his wife, and apparently to NASA. “George Low never let anybody see those numbers,” Young says today. Low was the space agency’s deputy director at the time. “I really believe that’s why the big guys wanted to knock off [Apollo] 18, 19, and 20 [the later missions that were canceled in 1970]. Even if they’d had the money, they didn’t see the benefits of lunar surface exploration, in terms of real scientific benefits, but they thought they were going to lose some people. You know, they might have.”

Young’s Apollo 16 crew did not face anything as grave as the explosion that nearly scuttled Apollo 13, but the moon landing proved to be Young’s most difficult mission yet. He almost didn’t land at all. A problem with the command and service modules’ thrust control system in lunar orbit delayed the landing for hours while mission control assessed the risk. Finally NASA gave a “go,” and six hours behind schedule, Young and Charlie Duke separated from Ken Mattingly in the command module and descended to the surface. Even after the anxious delay, Young’s heart rate at touchdown barely broke 90 beats per minute. By contrast, most Apollo commanders’ hearts were racing as they landed; Neil Armstrong’s hit 150.

Climbing down the ladder to the lunar surface, Young talked like an explorer: “There you are: mysterious and unknown Descartes. Highland plains. Apollo 16 is going to change your image.” After four spaceflights, John Young was finally where he wanted to be—roaming the moon. He and Duke walked and drove more than 16 miles of the lunar surface. All the time, scientists on the ground kept asking if they were seeing the volcanic rocks, or basalts, that all the pre-mission science predicted would be at Descartes. Young insisted that what he was collecting was breccia, rocks made by meteor impact. When geologists later examined them, it turned out he was right. “See, you can even train a fighter pilot to be a geologist,” he joked. Lee Silver, a California Institute of Technology geologist who helped train the Apollo astronauts, was impressed: “[Young] was really more dedicated to getting maximum return from his missions probably than anybody else,” he says today. “That’s a difficult thing to say, because there were so many dedicated people. But if I had to pick one man to lead an expedition where he had both to master the medium and at the same time keep his eyes on the scientific goals, I would pick John Young.”

Before leaving the moon, Young and Duke got word from the ground that Congress had approved funding for the Space Transportation System—the space shuttle. On his return, Young immediately went to work helping to design and test the new vehicle. He went right back into the simulators, while most of his Apollo colleagues left NASA. Gene Cernan, who made the last landing during Apollo 17, told Marcia Dunn of the Associated Press that after Apollo, he “couldn’t go back in the dungeons” of simulator training. He marveled at his colleague’s staying power, joking that someday “100 million years from now, they’ll dig up [the Johnson Space Center] and find John Young at his desk.”
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Odp: [Air & Space Magazine] John Young, Spaceman
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Styczeń 06, 2018, 19:20 »
John Young, Spaceman (2)

By 1977, just five years after the last lunar landing, Young was the sole Apollo astronaut left at NASA. When it came time to pick a commander for the shuttle’s first spaceflight, George Abbey had no hesitation in choosing Young, who also had a say in the matter. He’d been promoted in 1974 to chief of the astronaut office. Once again, though, his wife came forward with concerns. “She was very upset with the whole business. She used to work on the Minuteman down on the Cape, and they kept blowing up,” he says, referring to the missile’s temperamental solid-fuel motors. “Then she found out we were going to have two solid rocket motors on the space shuttle, and she was really upset.”

Young’s pilot on the first flight would be a space rookie, Bob Crippen. A seemingly endless series of delays due to problems with everything from the main engines to the heat tiles made Crippen joke that by the time they eventually flew, the crew wouldn’t be Young and Crippen, it would be “Old and Crippled.”

Finally launch day arrived: April 12, 1981. It was the only time in history that a launch system made its first spaceflight with people on board. As the STS-1 astronauts sat on the pad, Crippen’s heart rate went up to 120, then, during launch, to 130, but Young’s wouldn’t break 90. “I want mine to go faster,” he told Crippen, “but it won’t. I’m too old.” Young was 50.

The two-day flight had its bothersome moments: ground control deluged them with too many messages via the noisy teleprinter; it was cold in the cabin, about 50 degrees (though Young said during his crew debriefing, “I was too proud to say anything”); the toilet didn’t function properly; and Young faced blinding sun glare, and had to use his hand as a visor much of the time. Young sloughs it all off now. “Yeah, I wasn’t worried about all that stuff,” he says. “It was incidental.” After the landing, addressing a crowd at the desert landing strip, he was uncharacteristically poetic about NASA’s new vehicle: “We’re really not too far—the human race isn’t—from going to the stars.”

In 1983, the 53-year-old Young, who now needed half-moon glasses to read the fine print of onboard instructions, commanded STS-9, the first flight of the Spacelab science laboratory. In the shuttle’s payload bay was a pressurized 20-ton module that carried 73 experiments run by seven people working 12-hour shifts. For Young, STS-9 was still very much a test flight, and it had more than its share of technical problems. During reentry, two of Columbia’s computers went out within five minutes of each other. The attitude control system suffered a failure, and one of the hydraulic power units caught fire at 40,000 feet and burned all the way to landing. At the time, recalls Young, “We didn’t know it was on fire. We had no idea. Fact is we landed on Thursday and found out about the fire on Saturday—so that’s the kind of fire to have.”

Young had now made six spaceflights, more than any other astronaut or cosmonaut. But he wanted one more. As chief of the astronaut office, he penciled himself in for another historic mission: the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Then Challenger exploded. It was a cold day, January 28, 1986. Just three weeks earlier, Young had written one of his famous memos, arguing that the shuttle should go back to landing in California instead of Florida, even though the change would add ground processing time. He was concerned that the fickle Florida weather might lead to brake failure. The shuttle program managers rejected the idea.

The day of the Challenger launch, Young was flying the weather plane, circling the pad, keeping an eye out for storms, wind, and temperature changes. From his aerial perspective, he saw it all happen. “We were holding at 20,000 feet and watching them lift off, and I got a picture of the whole thing blow—coming apart,” he says.

“Very sad. Very needless, because Leon Grabe, my old buddy, had written [about problems with the booster rockets’ joints] back in 1977. Nobody was listening. Just the same damn thing with the frigging….” He stops himself, his mind now on a more recent tragedy. “They had wing leading edge damage of some kind that was pretty bad, and nobody paid any attention to it [before] Columbia.”

On March 4, 1986, just weeks after NASA’s first fatal accident in space, Young wrote a scorching internal memo. Blunt as ever, Young enumerated safety problems dating back at least two years before the Challenger accident. “If we do not consider Flight Safety First all the time at all levels of NASA, this machinery and this program will NOT make it,” he wrote. “If the management system is not big enough to STOP the Space Shuttle Program whenever necessary to make Flight Safety corrections, it will NOT survive and neither will our three Space Shuttles or their flight crews.”

At the time, NASA forbade astronauts to speak with the media. Someone leaked the memo to a reporter at the Houston Post. Angered, NASA managers moved Young up and out of the astronaut office, to the position of the center’s Associate Director, Technical, and bumped him from flight status. Even though the commission that investigated Challenger later backed Young’s findings, he was still grounded. By that time, George Low, Bob Gilruth, and other allies in top management were gone. The Hubble mission finally flew, without John Young, in 1990.

“Young fought a lot of losing battles,” says one close colleague, who thinks the Safety-Grams eventually lost their impact. Even his Columbia crewmate, Bob Crippen, joked at Young’s retirement tribute that all NASA managers (including himself) have file cabinets overflowing with Young memos.

Though without a mission, he maintained his flight readiness status in T-38 jets and in simulators. “I did think I’d probably be reassigned to a flight, but it just didn’t happen,” Young says. In recent years, he started joking that flying another mission would be too dangerous: “Susy would kill me.” Last December, NASA’s longest serving astronaut, whom one friend calls “the archetypal extraterrestrial,” finally hung it up—being an astronaut, that is. He is still philosophically extraterrestrial, convinced that space is humanity’s ultimate escape system.

“There’s a 1-in-455 chance of a civilization-ending event in the next century,” he says, ever ready with the statistics. “We can’t avoid catastrophe; we’ve got to plan for it.” Young has come to believe that a triple threat of disasters—asteroids, super volcanoes, and ourselves—could end civilization, and soon. The 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, he thinks, was nothing compared to what’s ahead. And he believes the technologies NASA is developing to live on the moon—inflatable structures, rapid-growth-cycle wheat, alternative energy sources—could be our salvation.

In a remarkable series of memos to NASA’s upper management in his last years at the agency, Young laid out his case for why a “single planet species” can’t survive. In one 2001 note, he made a case for returning to the moon. He signed it “John Young, Ex-Lunar Field Geologist.”

He still attends planetary science conferences, and plans to write scientific articles now that he has the time. After discussing geology and related topics in our phone interview, I say, “You sound like a scientist.” He goes silent. Then, sounding slightly offended, Young replies, “I’m not a scientist. I’m an engineer. I’m just a guy who wants to get things done and get on with it.”

I’ve come to think of John Young as a kind of test pilot for the planet, looking for ways to make the vehicle a little safer, or at least make sure we have a backup system if things go wrong. He wants us all—astronauts and Earth’s future generations—to have a nominal flight.

But as an old test pilot, he’s not going to admit taking himself too seriously, not to outsiders. When I ask why he’s still at NASA three weeks after his retirement, Young quips, “I’m just using the phone.” He plans on “hanging around” the agency for a while, and recently signed on as a consultant to NASA Headquarters.

Before signing off our interview, I ask if he has anything else he’d like to say to Air & Space readers. “Keep flying,” he answers. “It’s fun. Sure beats work.” That’s John Young, keeping it loose, no matter what.

Source: John Young, Spaceman
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Odp: [Air & Space Magazine] John Young, Spaceman
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Styczeń 06, 2018, 19:56 »
JOHN W. YOUNG

Special to the New York Times
Published: April 13, 1981

HOUSTON, April 12— With his unlined face, his mere hint of gray hair and his sometimes wryly self-effacing manner, John W. Young doesn't exactly look or act the part. But at the age of 50 he is the chief, the astronaut's astronaut, the dean of the corps, the wise old man among spacefarers.

With today's successful launching of the space shuttle Columbia, Mr. Young became the first astronaut to fly in space five times. No human being, American or Russian, has been into space as many times, on as many different kinds of missions, as he.

When the Apollo astronauts of the late 1960's and early 1970's returned from their historic landings on the moon, many of them came to suffer from the how-do-you-top-that syndrome. For a few, the letdown created emotional problems and difficulties in readjusting. Some simply cut the cord and went into other lines of work.

Not John Young. He stayed on as an astronaut after commanding the Apollo 16 lunar-landing mission in 1972, and he plans to stay as long as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will let him.

''There's always something to do in the space program,'' he said. ''It's so varied. You don't do the same thing twice in any given moment of any day.'' A Mission in Life: The Space Shuttle

Mr. Young not only found renewal after Apollo, he found a mission in life. When he talks of the shuttle, into whose design and provingout he has poured nearly two decades of experience as an astronaut, it is in terms of the project's urgent importance to the national interest. In many ways, the shuttle IS John Young.

He first ventured into space in 1965 aboard the initial flight of the two-man Project Gemini series. The next year, he commanded Gemini 10. He flew to the moon and around it in early 1969, in the dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing. And he walked and worked on the moon as the commander of Apollo 16 in 1972.

Later he retired from the Navy as a captain and, as a civilian, became chief of the astronaut office. He is still chief, although most of his duties in that job have been taken over by Alan Bean, a fellow astronaut, while Mr. Young has been training for the Columbia flight.

Mr. Young is not a tremendously extroverted person, though he is not shy. He is perhaps most renowned for his dry wit. Asked, for example, how he came to be selected to command Columbia, he explained that the chief astronaut made the recommendation. ''And at that time,'' he dead-panned with perfect timing, ''I was the chief.''

John Watts Young was born on Sept. 24, 1930, in San Francisco. He later moved with his family to Orlando, Fla., where he graduated from high school with a straight-A record. In 1952 he received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, again with straight A's, and joined the Navy to become a test pilot. A Place in Non-Regulation Lore

Through Mr. Young, from time to time, the world outside the inner circle of NASA has been able to see the human side of the astronaut, a side that few people saw in the early years. On his first space flight, for example, he smuggled a corned beef sandwich aboard. His superiors were not amused.

Some years later, while working on the moon's surface, he assured himself a place in the non-regulation annals of space lore. Having been force-fed orange juice laced with potassium throughout the mission for medical reasons, Mr. Young was having some very mundane internal problems. He said so in terms both earthy and obscene. He had thought he was talking on a closed radio circuit. He was not.

The long hours of training and weeks away from his family are generally blamed for the break-up of his first marriage in 1971, when he and his wife of 16 years were divorced. Soon afterward he married Susy Feldman, a secretary for a space contractor. He has two grown children from his first marriage, John, 22, who is in the Coast Guard, and Sandy, 23, who is married and lives in Rockledge, Fla.

Mr. Young's enthusiasm for space exploration has clearly not waned, and he believes that the American public, too, has not lost its longterm fascination with it.

''I'll bet you that when this rascal goes off,'' he said not long ago of the shuttle, ''it'll be like the Apollo moon landing as far as folks being around watching.''

The future? ''I'm going to stay with it,'' he said, even though he will go to the end of the flight line after Columbia's first mission and it may be five more years before he can go into space again. ''You can never tell.''

Source: JOHN W. YOUNG

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Odp: [Air & Space Magazine] John Young, Spaceman
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Styczeń 06, 2018, 22:50 »
Legendary astronaut John W. Young dies
January 6, 2018 William Harwood


John Young pictured through spacecraft window prior to launch of Gemini 3 mission. Photo: NASA.

Legendary astronaut John Young, who twice ventured into space in pioneering two-man Gemini capsules, orbited the moon and then walked on its cratered surface before commanding two space shuttle missions, including the program’s maiden flight, has passed away.

NASA confirmed the death early Saturday in a posting on Twitter: “We’re saddened by the loss of astronaut John Young, who was 87. Young flew twice to the Moon, walked on its surface & flew the first Space Shuttle mission. He went to space six times in the Gemini, Apollo & Space Shuttle programs.”

Tweeted astronaut Terry Virts: “Rest In peace John Young. You were one of my heroes as an astronaut and explorer and your passion for space will be missed.”

A veteran Navy test pilot and Georgia Tech graduate who brought an engineer’s keen eye to three generations of spacecraft — and NASA management — Young was the first man to fly in space six times and the only astronaut to fly aboard Gemini and Apollo capsules and the space shuttle. He served as chief of NASA’s astronaut corps from 1974 to 1987, overseeing 25 shuttle flights during the program’s formative years.

Across a 42-year career at NASA, Young was a relentless advocate for flight safety, firing off countless memos that occasionally made him a thorn in the side of NASA management, especially in the wake of the 1986 Challenger disaster. Throughout it all, he brought a dry wit and ready smile that belied a near photographic memory and encyclopedic knowledge of complex space systems.

He also brought a legendary cool nerve to an inherently dangerous job that amazed his compatriots.

“I found out from the flight surgeon later on that my heartbeat was 144 at liftoff,”
Charlie Duke, one of Young’s crewmates on the Apollo 16 moon landing mission, said of his reaction to launch atop a Saturn 5 rocket. “John’s (heartbeat) was 70.”

“I was either calmer than I thought I was or, as I later noted in the space shuttle, I was too old for it to go any faster,” he quipped in his memoir “Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space.”

He famously smuggled a corned beef sandwich aboard his first Gemini mission and was caught on a “hot microphone” between moonwalks, using colorful language to discuss excessive flatulence that he said was caused by drinking too much orange juice.

“No doubt the orange growers down in my home state of Florida and the company that made Tang, General Foods, weren’t too happy with my comments, if they heard them,” Young wrote in his memoir. “It made us wish ‘the breakfast drink of astronauts’ had never been invented!”

Before blasting off aboard the shuttle Columbia on the first flight of the winged orbiter — the first time anyone had launched aboard an untried spacecraft — Young was asked if he had any worries.

“Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they’re going to light the bottom, and and doesn’t get a little worried, does not fully understand the situation,” he famously deadpanned.

“He was a living legend,” said Andrew Chaikin, author of “A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts.” “He had this kind of manner about him, he brought this kind of ‘I don’t understand the W matrix or anything like that, but what gets me is’ and then he’d say what was on his mind and it would just nail the problem. I think he did that to keep people on their toes.”

Young was a “profound believer that humanity should be a multi-planet species,” Chaikin said. He used to talk about how if we stay on this planet for too long, something’s going to get us, whether it was a super volcano or whatever. He really was a true believer.”

Young’s career reads like a chapter from “The Right Stuff.”

A naval aviator and test pilot, Young logged more than 15,275 hours flying time in a variety of aircraft, including 9,200 hours in T-38 jets. He spent 835 hours in space across his six NASA flights, serving as co-pilot of the first Gemini mission in 1965, commander of a second Gemini flight in 1966, lunar module pilot for Apollo 10 in 1969, commander of Apollo 16 in 1972 and commander of the first shuttle flight in 1981.


Astronaut John W. Young in a shuttle era portrait. Photo: NASA.

His sixth and final spaceflight came as commander of Columbia for the ninth shuttle mission in 1983, carrying a European Spacelab module into orbit that served as a test bed of sorts for the kind of research now carried out aboard the International Space Station.

He was in training to command a record seventh mission — launch of the Hubble Space Telescope — when Challenger exploded in 1986. In the delay that followed, and the turmoil that ensued, the Hubble launch was put on hold and Young was forced out as chief astronaut.

He stayed at NASA in an advisory capacity, waging an ongoing battle to improve shuttle safety.

“John Young was the consummate space man,” Chaikin said. “I can’t think of anybody else more devoted to NASA and the space program. In his bones, he was a space explorer.”

Born Sept. 24, 1930, in San Francisco, Young grew up in Orlando, Fla., attended Georgia Institute of Technology and earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in 1952.

He then joined the Navy, serving aboard a destroyer before earning his wings. After four years with Fighter Squadron 103, Young was assigned to the Navy Test Pilot School, setting two time-to-climb records flying F-4 Phantoms. In September 1962, Young was selected in NASA’s second group of astronauts, following the original seven Mercury astronauts.

Three years later, on March 23, 1965, Young blasted off with Mercury astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom, the second American in space, atop a Titan rocket on the maiden flight of NASA’s two-man Gemini capsule. Grissom and Young tested the spacecraft’s ability to change orbits — critical for future rendezvous missions — and put NASA’s first flight computer through its paces.

Young commanded his second flight, Gemini 10, launching with future Apollo 11 astronaut Mike Collins, on July 18, 1966. During the three-day mission, Young rendezvoused with an Agena target stage and then flew in formation with the spacecraft while Collins walked in space to retrieve a micrometeoroid experiment package.

The Gemini program helped NASA develop the rendezvous and spacewalk techniques needed or Apollo missions to the moon. The Apollo 8 crew orbited the moon in 1968, the Apollo 9 astronauts tested the lunar lander in Earth orbit and Young, along with Apollo 10 crewmates Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan, flew to the moon in May 1969 to test the landing module in lunar orbit.

With Young staying behind in the Apollo command module, Stafford and Cernan descended to within 47,000 feet of the moon’s surface in the lunar lander, carrying out a dress rehearsal of the techniques and procedures that would be used two months later when Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin carried out the first piloted landing on the moon.

“Apollo 10 had flown for eight days, three minutes and twenty three seconds,” Young wrote in his memoir. “Later, when I entered the basic facts and figures of Apollo 10 into my pilot’s logbook, I wrote only ‘It was a great hop.'”

In April 1972, Young commanded the Apollo 16 mission, landing on the lunar surface with Duke while Ken Mattingly orbited above in the command module. Young and Duke drove an electric moon buggy over 16 miles around the landing site, collecting about 200 pounds or rocks in the Descartes highlands during three moonwalks.

During the first excursions, mission control told the moonwalkers the House of Representatives had approved a budget that included funds for development of the space shuttle.

“The country needs that shuttle mighty bad,” Young replied from the moon’s surface. “You’ll see.”


John Young leaps from the lunar surface as he salutes the United States flag during the Apollo 16 moon mission. Photo: NASA.

After a final moon landing mission, NASA began full-scale development of the space shuttle. Young became chief astronaut in 1974 and helped with planning the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a mission born in superpower detente that called for U.S. and Soviet spacecraft to dock in orbit.

All the while, NASA was pressing ahead with development of the space shuttle. After a series of approach and landing tests using the prototype shuttle Enterprise, Young and astronaut Bob Crippen were named to fly Columbia into orbit in the program’s maiden flight.

The shuttle relied on state-of-the-art main engines and two enormous solid-fuel boosters to make the climb into space. Solid-propellant boosters cannot be turned off once ignited and they had never been used for propulsion with a U.S. manned spacecraft.

The main engines also were a concern, with pumps operating at higher pressures and temperatures than previous engines to squeeze more thrust out of a lighter-weight powerplant. The shuttle used three SSMEs, and development proved difficult with numerous test failures.

Raising the stakes even higher for the first shuttle mission, NASA had never launched a rocket designed to carry astronauts without multiple unpiloted test flights. Young and Crippen would blast off aboard one of the most powerful rocket systems ever developed without a single preceding test flight.

Columbia was equipped with ejection seats for its initial test flights, but escaping from an out-of-control shuttle was problematic at best.

“That was probably the most daring test flight of all time,” Chaikin said. “I can’t imagine how anybody could do that, but they did it.”

The first attempt to launch Columbia on April 10, 1981, was scrubbed due to a computer timing glitch. Finally, three days later, all systems were go for launch. In his memoir, Young captured the excitement — and concerns — that were in his mind that morning as he and Crippen suited up.

Along with mentally reviewing abort procedures, “I was also thinking that with all the main engine and main engine pump problems we’d had, we’d be lucky to avoid being killed during ascent. I was also thinking about what a grand time it would be if Crip and I used those ejection seats just to fly through the 5,000 (degree) plumes of the solid rocket motors!

“We didn’t get paid to worry bout all those dozens of things that could kill you but it was hard to keep them totally out of mind. I did my best by focusing my thoughts on the procedures.”

As it turned out, Columbia climbed smoothly into space, kicking off the shuttle program’s 30-year run.

“It felt good to get back to zero gravity,” Young wrote. “It had been nine years since Apollo 16. … All through the flight I would marvel at Earth’s fragile beauty.”


Astronaut John Young on the middeck of space shuttle Columbia during her maiden flight in April 1981. Photo: NASA.

Columbia performed well throughout the mission, although the loss of several heat-shield tiles caused concern. But re-entry and landing went well and Young guided Columbia to a picture-perfect touchdown on a dry lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

“Do I have to take it to the hangar,” Young joked with Houston after Columbia rolled to a stop on the dusty lakebed.

“No,” astronaut Joe Allen replied from mission control. “We’re going to dust it off first.”

“We’d done it! We’d pulled it off!” Young wrote in his memoir. “It was an outstanding end-to-end test flight of a very complex aerospace vehicle. As I said while the flight was happening, ‘she is performing like a champ, real beautiful.'”

Young commanded Columbia again for the ninth shuttle mission, the first carrying a roomy Spacelab research module in the ship’s cargo bay. During re-entry, two of the ship’s three auxiliary power units, or APUs, caught fire. The APUs used toxic hydrazine to generate the hydraulic power needed to move the shuttle’s elevons the muscle needed for braking and steering.

Engineers would later discover the fire began at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Then, on touchdown, one of the shuttle’s main flight computers failed because of internal contamination.

“Not to mince words, we were on fire when we landed, though of course we didn’t know it at the time,” Young wrote.

Two days later, engineers discovered both APUs exploded within minutes of touchdown. Young had argued for a Kevlar shield to separate the closely-packed APUs in case of a major problem during ascent or entry, “but because it would have cost $8.5 million to install, the space shuttle program office wouldn’t allow the shield to be incorporated,” Young wrote later.

By this point, the space shuttle had been declared operational, for better or for worst.

“As all of us and the rest of the world would soon find out, it was or the worse,” Young wrote. “Far worse.”

He was referring to the 1986 Challenger disaster, a devastating failure that destroyed one of NASA’s four shuttles and killed its seven-member crew. In the wake of the disaster, Young, as chief astronaut, relentlessly pushed for safety upgrades, firing off memos that frequently angered management.

“Here’s the thing about John,” Chaikin said. “John was absolutely fearless about making sure he did the right thing, and he just felt it was his responsibility to bring these issues to light, these safety issues, and he did. He annoyed the hell out of some people by doing it.

“He wasn’t always right, but his heart was always in the right place, and you could never question his motivation. Many times, he was right on target.”

On May 5, 1987, Young was removed from his post as chief astronaut and reassigned as “special assistant” to the director of the Johnson Space Center for engineering, operations and safety.


The crews of the first and last space shuttle missions, pose for a group photo in a training facility at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on November 2, 2011. They are, from left, Doug Hurley, STS-135 pilot, Robert Crippen, STS-1 pilot, John Young, STS-1 commander, with STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson, and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. Photo credit: NASA Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool.

In a chapter titled “Mountain of Memos,” Young said his criticisms “had been found to be too newsworthy for NASA to continue to tolerate.” Addressing the astronaut office, Young apologized for “no longer being able to defend them.”

The response was a standing ovation.

“My life has been long, and it has been interesting. It’s also been a lot of fun, and a lot of hard, challenging work. If I could do it over, I would do it over the very same way. Most of it has been a marvel to me.”

Source: Legendary astronaut John W. Young dies

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« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Wrzesień 30, 2018, 07:53 »
An asteroid called John Young
September 24, 2018

John Young cemented his legacy at NASA as a Moon walker on Apollo 16 and Commander of the first space shuttle mission. He has now officially earned his place amongst the stars, as the International Astronomical Union designated asteroid 5362 Johnyoung in his honor.

Young transformed his childhood hobby of making model airplanes into a career as a fighter pilot and later an astronaut. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in aeronautical engineering and joined the Navy, where he completed test pilot training and served at the Navy’s Air Test Center.
 
After establishing his career as a fighter pilot, including completing test pilot training and serving at the Navy Air Test Center at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Young was selected in 1962 as part of NASA’s second group of astronauts, “The New Nine.” This group of explorers included the first humans to venture beyond Earth’s gravity, and included Neil Armstong, Jim Lovelll, and Tom Stafford. John went on to become one of only three people who have flown to the moon twice, commanded the space shuttle’s first launch, and served as Chief of the Astronaut Office.
 
During his service at NASA that spanned more than four decades, Young left a lasting impact on everyone he encountered. One of these people is Rob Landis, an engineer in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, who was so moved by Young’s contributions that he took it upon himself to ensure that an asteroid was named in his honor after he passed away on January 5, 2018 at the age of 87.

Landis was only 13 years old when he saw a NASA brochure that was hanging up at his local university, where he had the opportunity to study astronomy a as a teenager.
 
“John struck me as an unusual explorer,” Landis said.  “I noticed a NASA astronaut selection brochure pinned to a bulletin board with the directions indicating to send materials to mail code AHX.  I did not know what that meant, but I knew who John Young was.”
 
While not old enough to apply, Landis decided to write a letter to Young, who was serving as Chief of the Astronaut Office, inquiring about what the requirements to become an astronaut might be in the 1990s. To his surprise, he received a letter back.
 
“Believe it or not, John wrote me back.” Landis said. “He told me that he wouldn’t be able to speculate an answer, but it still encouraged me to pursue the dream of working for NASA. Although I didn’t become an astronaut, I have had an amazing, 20-year career at NASA that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
 
Asteroid 5362 Johnyoung is located in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter and was discovered in 1978 during efforts to explore the path of Voyager-1. The asteroid, which was re-designated to honor Young after originally being named 1978 CH, completes one full rotation every 6.88 hours and a revolution around the sun every 6.23 years.
John Young would have turned 88 years old today (Sept. 24, 2018), and while he is no longer with us on Earth, he has definitely earned his place among the stars.
 
Rose Pendley
Johnson Space Center

Source: An asteroid called John Young

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Odp: [Air & Space Magazine] John Young, Spaceman
« Odpowiedź #5 dnia: Listopad 17, 2018, 18:59 »
'Eighth Launch' for John Young, Northrop Launches Cygnus NG-10 With Fresh Haul for ISS
By Ben Evans, on November 17th, 2018 [AmericaSpace]


Liftoff-off of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with about 7,400 pounds of cargo after launching at 4:01 a.m. EST Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Photo: Cole Ippoliti / AmericaSpace

Susy Young was always convinced that her husband, legendary astronaut John Young, actually logged seven launches into space in his career. It was a sentiment echoed by veteran shuttle flyer Jerry Ross, who in April 2002 became “the first” human to record seven space missions. In his memoir, Spacewalker, Ross noted that Young had already launched into space six times from Earth and—via his Apollo 16 mission in April 1972—also once from the surface of the Moon. “Most people forget John launched from the surface of the Moon to return home,” Ross wrote, adding “I’d never argue with Susy!”

At 4:01 a.m. EST today (Saturday, 17 November), an unpiloted Cygnus cargo freighter, laden with 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg) of experiments, equipment, supplies and spare parts for the incumbent Expedition 57 crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS), rocketed to orbit, bearing Young’s name. As the “Spaceship (SS) John Young”, it represents the ninth time that a Cygnus has been named in honor of a deceased former astronaut, coming only months after Young’s death, aged 87, in January. And it also gives Young—in spirit, at least—an eighth space launch to add to his tally of six launches from Earth and his single launch from the Moon.

Coming after two days of delay, caused by a poor weather forecast on Thursday and Friday, this morning’s flight was also the ninth launch—though only the eighth fully successful ascent—of the Antares booster, which originated as the first large, homegrown liquid-fueled rocket ever built by Orbital ATK. Originally developed under the nomenclature of “Taurus”, the vehicle underwent a lengthy and tortured development, before flying its maiden voyage in April 2013. Antares 100-series boosters went on to deliver three Cygnuses to successive ISS crews between September 2013 and July 2014, but suffered a catastrophic explosion, seconds after liftoff, on 28 October 2014. By that time, problems with its Soviet-era AJ-26 engines were already well known and efforts to upgrade them were underway. In December 2014, it was announced that the enhanced Antares 230 booster would utilize a pair of RD-181 engines at the base of its first stage. Since October 2016, and including this morning’s launch, four Antares 230 vehicles have successfully delivered their Cygnus payloads to orbit.


Northrop Grumman’s Antares 230 rocket atop Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops, ahead of launching the company’s 10th cargo delivery flight for NASA. Photo: Cole Ippoliti / AmericaSpace.com

Under the language of its initial Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA, signed back in December 2008, Orbital ATK was tasked with staging eight dedicated Cygnus missions, ferrying a total of 44,000 pounds (20,000 kg) of payloads and supplies to successive ISS crews. However, with the increased uplift capacity afforded by a pair of Atlas V launches in December 2015 and March 2016 and the larger payload envelope of the “Enhanced Cygnus”, this target has already been surpassed. Flying for the seventh time today, the Enhanced Cygnus carries a “stretched” Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) and can transport a 60-percent greater haul of payloads than its predecessor, the Standard Cygnus. Standing 15.9 feet (4.86 meters) tall and 10.1 feet (3.1 meters) in diameter, the spacecraft is fitted with low-mass Ultraflex solar arrays, whose characteristic fan-like shape makes the entire vehicle quite distinct from the wing-like appendages of the Standard Cygnus.

In readiness for launch, the 133-foot-tall (40.5-meter) Antares 230 booster was rolled out to Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Va., late Monday, and was raised to a vertical orientation—against gloomy, overcast skies—early Tuesday. The weather outlook for a pre-dawn launch on Thursday seemed bleak. “An area of low pressure is expected to develop and bring rain showers to the Southeastern United States on Wednesday,” NASA noted in its L-3 weather forecast, issued Monday. “These showers will quickly progress to the northeast on Wednesday night into early Thursday, drawing very close to Wallops by the launch window early Thursday morning. The timing of these showers will be key for determining weather suitability for launch Thursday.” With only a 10-percent chance of acceptable conditions on Thursday, with thick clouds, disturbed weather, low cloud ceilings, heavy rainfall and high winds, it was unsurprising when a 24-hour scrub was announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Conditions for the backup attempt early Friday were expected to be calmer. “Rainfall looks to taper off early Friday morning, but strong northwesterly winds are still expected to affect the Eastern Shore during Friday’s backup count and launch window,” NASA noted on Wednesday afternoon. “Winds are expected to be sustained at 25-30 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Sea states will also be of concern with the prolonged high wind event: Seas are expected to be 8-12 feet during Friday morning’s count and slightly falling off to 8-10 feet during the launch window.” This also became untenable, and assessments of high winds and high seas, forecast for early Friday morning, eventually led to a decision to move the launch attempt to early Saturday, at which point conditions were expected to be 95-percent favorable. “The storm system that produced high winds and heavy rain on Thursday is currently exiting the region and moving off quickly to the northeast,” NASA explained. “Windy conditions will continue through the morning hours, before beginning to subside this afternoon as the area of low pressure moves farther away and high pressure builds closer to the Wallops area.”


A long exposure of the launch. Photo: Elliot Severn / AmericaSpace.com

Today’s launch marked the first Cygnus and Antares mission to be conducted under the auspices of Bethpage, N.Y.-headquartered Northrop Grumman Corp., which completed its acquisition of Orbital ATK earlier in 2018. This has produced an interesting change in mission designators throughout the Cygnus program. The cargo ship and booster were designed by Orbital Sciences Corp. and the early Cygnus missions (2013-2014) received the “ORB-xx” designator, after which Orbital merged with elements of Alliant TechSystems in early 2015 and the next six missions (2015-2018) were labelled “OA-xx”. Now, after Northrop Grumman’s purchase, future missions will receive the “NG-xx” nomenclature. As such, today’s mission is known as “NG-10”. Or “Spaceship John Young”, if you prefer.

Late Friday evening, engineers and flight controllers came to their consoles at Wallops to begin powering-up the booster and chilling its propellant systems with liquid nitrogen. Tanking was critically timed about 90 minutes before T-0, due to temporal limits associated with the rapid boil-off of the cryogens. A final poll of flight controllers occurred in two phases and by T-15 minutes all of Antares’ propellant tanks had attained flight pressure and were verified at “Flight Ready” levels. Shortly thereafter, the vehicle transitioned to Internal Power and at T-11 minutes the Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) was armed to effect a rapid retraction at T-0.

At 4:01 a.m. EST Saturday, cutting through the pre-dawn darkness of Wallops Island, the two RD-181 engines at the base of the rocket thundered to life and quickly ramped up to a combined thrust of 937,000 pounds (425,000 kg). Antares cleared the Pad 0A tower, right on the start of the five-minute “launch window”, and rose dramatically into the Virginia sky, commencing a pitch and roll program maneuver to establish itself onto the proper flight azimuth for orbital insertion. Maximum aerodynamic pressure on the vehicle’s airframe occurred at T+80 seconds. All told, the RD-181 engines burned for 3.5 minutes, consuming almost 530,000 pounds (240,000 kg) of propellants, before shutting down. The first stage was then jettisoned and the solid-fueled Castor-XL upper stage ignited to position the NG-10 Cygnus into an orbital “slot” about 220 miles (350 km) above Earth. Seventy minutes after leaving Pad 0A, Cygnus’ solar arrays were unfurled, ready for a two-day chase of the space station.


Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket for its NG-10 commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station is seen on the left in the Horizontal Integration Facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in this photo from Nov. 4, 2018. The mission’s Cygnus spacecraft is shown in the middle of the facility. The Antares NG-11 rocket scheduled to launch in spring 2019 is on the right. Credits: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black

Laden with 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg) of experiments, equipment and supplies, the NG-10 mission represents the first visit to the ISS—piloted or unpiloted—since the high-altitude launch failure of Soyuz MS-10 in October. The station is currently staffed by just three members: Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of Germany, representing the European Space Agency (ESA), and his crewmates Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, all of whom have been in orbit since June and are expected to return to Earth in December.

Key payloads aboard Cygnus include Refrabricator, a demonstration of an integrated 3D printer and recycler, which will recycle plastic waste materials into high-quality 3D-printed filament, which could permit sustainable fabrication, repair and recycling on future long-duration missions. The joint U.S./Canadian VECTION investigation will examine changes in sensory input in microgravity, which can cause human errors in velocity, distance or orientation perception, whilst a NASA-funded experiment to examine the complex process of cement solidification carries great potential for future concrete-based structures on extraterrestrial bodies. After the ISS samples are returned to Earth, detailed microstructural analyses will be undertaken in the hope that safer, more lightweight space-based habitats may be developed in the future, as well more improved cement-processing techniques on the ground. The Experimental Chondrule Formation at the ISS (EXCISS) simulates the high-energy, low-gravity formation of the Solar System to better understand how the initial “stardust” caused by stellar evolution processes evolved into large enough particles to form planets, their moons and other celestial bodies. The experiment will emit an electrical charge into a container filled with specially formulated dust particles, once per hour over a 30-day period, to examine the shape and texture of the resulting “pellets” in the unique microgravity environment afforded by the ISS. Other staples of station research include protein crystal growth—specifically the protein Leucine-rich repeat kinase-2 (LRRK-2), which is deeply implicated in the development of Parkinson’s disease—and a series of tests of new gas-separation membranes, with pores 100 nanometers and smaller.

Following today’s successful launch, Cygnus will rendezvous with the ISS on Monday, 19 November, whereupon Auñón-Chancellor will grapple it with the 57.7-foot-long (17.6-meter) Canadarm2 robotic arm. Ground controllers will then command the arm to rotate and install Cygnus onto the Earth-facing (or “nadir”) port of the station’s Unity connecting module. Current plans are for Cygnus to remain attached to the ISS until mid-February 2019, after which it will be robotically detached and intentionally burned up in the atmosphere later that same month.

Source: 'Eighth Launch' for John Young, Northrop Launches Cygnus NG-10 With Fresh Haul for ISS

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« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Listopad 19, 2018, 21:48 »
Space station receives second of back-to-back cargo deliveries
November 19, 2018 Stephen Clark [Spaceflight Now]


The Cygnus spacecraft, named the S.S. John Young, in the grip of the space station’s robotic arm Monday. Credit: NASA/Serena Auñón-Chancellor

Wrapping up a two-day chase since launching from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, a commercial Cygnus cargo craft arrived at the International Space Station Monday with more than 7,200 pounds of supplies and experiments, the second freighter to reach the orbiting complex in 15 hours.

A Russian Progress refueling and resupply craft docked with the space station at 2:28 p.m. EST (1928 GMT) Sunday with nearly three tons of propellant, water and provisions for the lab’s three-person crew.

Exactly 15 hours later, at 5:28 a.m. EST (1028 GMT), the station’s robotic arm snared the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft as it flew in a capture position around 30 feet, or 10 meters, below the outpost.

NASA flight engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor was at the controls of the nearly 58-foot-long (17-meter) Canadian-built robot arm for grapple of the Cygnus supply ship Monday. She handed over control of the arm to ground controllers to maneuver the craft to a berthing position on the station’s Unity module, where a series of latches and 16 bolts drove closed to firmly connect the vehicle to the outpost at 7:31 a.m. EST (1231 GMT).

The Cygnus spacecraft, named the S.S. John Young in honor of the former Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle astronaut who died in January, is scheduled to stay at the station until mid-February. During the nearly three-month stay, astronauts will unpack 7,215 pounds (3,273 kilograms) of supplies and experiments stowed inside the ship’s pressurized compartment, built by Thales Alenia Space in Italy, then replace the items with trash for disposal.

Space station commander Alexander Gerst tweeted photos of the Cygnus spacecraft’s arrival.






The back-to-back arrivals Sunday and Monday set a record for the shortest time between arriving cargo craft at the space station.

The payloads aboard Cygnus include a plastic recycler and 3D printer built to advance in-space manufacturing capabilities, and an experiment studying how the human body’s ability to perceive motion, orientation and distance changes in microgravity.

The recycler and printer, called the Refabricator, is a tech demo aimed at analyzing how future space missions could manufacture tools and spare parts on-board, without requiring resupply from Earth. It was developed by Tethers Unlimited under contract to NASA.

“At Tethers, we developed, designed and tested the Refabricator,” said Allison Porter, flight missions manager at the company based near Seattle. “Basically, we’re melting down polymers and making them into 3D printer filament … Once the Refabricator recycles and makes new filament, we are able to print new parts.”

The space station already has a 3D printer on-board provided by a company named Made in Space. But that device, intended as a proof-of-concept for 3D printing in space, needs fresh material from Earth to be fed into it.


Principal investigator Allison Porter with the Refabricator flight unit. Credit: Emmett Givens/NASA

“When all the results were in, we found out that there were no engineering significant microgravity effects,” said Diane Risdon, In-Space Manufacturing Refabricator project lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. “So now we have our 3D printer, we know that it works in space. The next thing is where do we get the filament? … Do we have to upload that? We’re trying to avoid large masses being uploaded, so we’ve got to find a sustainable source for filament.

“On the ISS, we know that there’s multitudes and multitudes of plastic baggies,” she continued. “The crew complains, what do we do with all of these baggies? They also have packaging — plastic packaging — they use food plastic containers, plastic medical devices, so periodically they round up all this trash and burn them in space.

“We’re thinking, well, there’s our resource,” Risdon said. “If we can recycle these, then we’re on our way to getting our filament.”

Another science investigation aboard the Cygnus spacecraft will examine the processes at the origin of the solar system that led the formation of dust particles that eventually grew into larger objects, leading to the birth of the planets. The experiment, led by researchers at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, “zaps a specially formulated dust with an electrical current and then studies the shape and texture of pellets formed from these steps in the absence of gravity,” according to a NASA overview of the investigation.

Here’s a breakdown of the cargo manifest provided by NASA:

    - 2,515.5 pounds (1,141 kilograms) of crew supplies
    - 2,301.6 pounds (1,044 kilograms) of science investigations
    - 2,076.8 pounds (942 kilograms) of vehicle hardware
    - 253.5 pounds (115 kilograms) of computer resources
    - 68.3 pounds (31 kilograms) of spacewalk equipment

Loaded with trash after its departure from the station, Cygnus will fire its engine to climb into a higher orbit roughly 300 miles (500 kilometers) above Earth to deploy two CubeSats.

One of the nanosatellites is MYSat 1, a 1U CubeSat around the size of a Rubik’s cube. Carrying two payloads — camera and a lithion-ion coil cell battery — MYSat 1 was built by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi with the support of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company in the United Arab Emirates.

The other CubeSat set for release in the higher orbit is CHEFSat 2 from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

About the size of a shoebox, CHEFSat 2 is a copy of a CubeSat launched on a Cygnus cargo mission to the space station last November. CHEFSat 2 will test commercial off-the-shelf technologies to evaluate their performance in space, focusing on new radio communications capabilities.

Cygnus will lower its orbit below the space station’s altitude after releasing MYSat 1 and CHEFSat 2, targeting an altitude of around 200 miles (325 kilometers) for separation of KickSat 2, a NASA-sponsored CubeSat mission led by principal investigator Zac Manchester at Stanford University.

KickSat 2 carries 100 tiny “sprites” — essentially 1.4-inch (3.5-centimeter) square circuit boards with integrated power, computing, sensing and communication equipment. The mission is a follow-up to the KickSat mission that launched in 2014, but failed to release its sprites in orbit.

The mission will test the limits of satellite miniaturization, a trend toward affordability widely popularized by the CubeSat design over the last two decades. But KickSat’s sprites are a tiny fraction of the size of a CubeSat.

KickSat 2 will eject its sprites at a lower altitude to ensure the circuit boards re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in a matter of weeks, avoiding the possibility of the sprites, which could be difficult to track with ground-based radars, becoming a long-term space debris threat to other satellites.

The Cygnus was supposed to carry more than a half-dozen additional CubeSats inside its internal cabin for eventual release through an airlock on the space station. But those were all removed from the cargo manifest, and deferred to future launches, according to Scott Higginbotham, a mission manager for NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program at the Kennedy Space Center.

Two of the CubeSats originally booked to fly on the NG-10 mission — named UNITE and TechEdSat 8 from Purdue University and NASA’s Ames Research Center — will launch on SpaceX’s next resupply flight to the station no earlier than Dec. 4, Higginbotham said. The others will be placed on future Northrop Grumman or SpaceX cargo launches.

NG-10 is the first Cygnus flight since Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK, which developed and flew the previous cargo missions under an 11-launch contract with NASA valued at $2.89 billion.

Starting with NG-12, set for launch in late 2019, Northrop Grumman will kick off a follow-on commercial resupply services contract, guaranteeing the company at least six additional flights through 2024.

SpaceX also launches cargo to the space station for NASA, and the space agency has tapped Sierra Nevada Corp. to begin resupplying the research complex in late 2020.

Source: Space station receives second of back-to-back cargo deliveries