Connect with us

Ecology

Astronauts Land Safely in Kazakhstan Aboard Recently-repaired Soyuz Capsule

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

Expedition 57 crew members Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), left, Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, center, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA landed safely in Kazakhstan after six months in space. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Expedition 57 crew members Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), left, Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, center, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA landed safely in Kazakhstan after six months in space. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A Successful Landing

Last night (Dec. 19), a NASA astronaut, a German flight engineer and a Russian cosmonaut landed safely back on Earth after six months of hard work in space.

Yesterday, the three astronauts buckled into the cramped descent module of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, undocked from the International Space Station, and began the three-and-a-half hour journey home to Earth. As the craft neared the planet’s surface, it deployed a massive orange-and-white parachute which slowed its descent through the clouds to the frozen ground below.

Shortly after landing, the Soyuz MS-09's orange-and-white parachute can be seen on the snowy ground. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Shortly after landing, the Soyuz MS-09’s orange-and-white parachute can be seen on the snowy ground. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz craft touched down in snowy Kazakhstan near the town of Dzhezkazgan at 12:02 EST (11:02 a.m. local time). Carrying Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, and Sergey Prokopyev, the craft landed successfully with all three crew members healthy and safe inside.

As soon as the craft landed, Russian recovery crews, medical personnel, and both U.S. and European Space Agency support teams rushed to the capsule. They helped the crew members out of the descent module and ensured that they were unharmed. Despite their safe landing, the astronauts will still need significant time and assistance in re-adapting to Earth’s gravity.

Thankful to be Home

Thankfully this landing was successful, but it did carry additional risks. This past summer, astronauts noticed a dip in pressure aboard the space station. This led them to discover a hole in the Soyuz MS-09’s orbital module. And, while the hole was quickly patched, Prokopyev and fellow Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko cut out pieces of the module’s external hull during a spacewalk just a few days ago. The hole was patched once again, but the crew’s flight home did come with the risk that the orbital module would once again spring a leak.

The crew traveled home from space in the descent module, sealed off from the patched-up orbital module. But, according to Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who keeps track of spaceflight events, this could prove dangerous if the module sprung a leak at the wrong time. A leak, though unlikely, could have pushed the craft in the wrong direction. Luckily, nothing of the sort occurred.

These astronauts have been looking forward to life back on Earth for some time. Last month, when asked in an interview with CBS News about what she was looking forward to most after returning home to Earth, Auñón-Chancellor said: “That’s easy. Family. That’s what you miss the most up here. I don’t think you ever really get used to it. You have reminders, we have pictures, we get special video conference calls, but it’s not like being in the arms of your loved ones.”

After family, Auñón-Chancellor said  “would be just the feelings of Earth. For example, the wind, the rain. We were watching a video the other day and I remember being very jealous of watching somebody stand by the ocean because I knew they could feel the wind and smell the sea. And we can’t do that up here.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Ecology

Today’s letters: ‘Visionary’ plans don’t always work in Ottawa

Editor

Published

on

By

The opinion piece written by Tobi Nussbaum, CEO of the NCC, declares that a “bold, visionary transit plan” would showcase the capital.

As a long-term resident of Ottawa, I’ve had it with visionary plans. In the 1950s, the streetcars serving Ottawa so well were sent to the scrapyards. In the early ’60s, Queensway construction bulldozed established neighbourhoods and ripped the city apart. Later in the decade, the downtown railway station, which could have formed the hub of a commuter network, was relocated to the suburbs. These actions, in the name of “progress,” were undertaken with the “vision” to make Ottawa a car-reliant city.

Now we have an LRT, built just in time for most people to realize that they do not have to go downtown as they can work from home.

Current thinking is pushing a new “link” between Ottawa and Gatineau, with yet more expensive and disruptive infrastructure projects being touted, including a tramway or another tunnel under the downtown core.

Continue Reading

Ecology

That was then: Biggest earthquake since 1653 rocked Ottawa in 1925

Editor

Published

on

By

A regular weekly look-back at some offbeat or interesting stories that have appeared in the Ottawa Citizen over its 175-year history. Today: The big one hits.

The Ottawa Senators were playing a Saturday night game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Auditorium, the score tied 0-0 halfway through the second period. Sens’ rookie Ed Gorman and the Habs’ Billy Boucher had just served penalties for a dustup when the building began to make “ominous creaking sounds.” A window crashed to the ground.

Nearby, at Lisgar Collegiate, all eyes were on teenager Roxie Carrier, in the role of Donna Cyrilla in the musical comedy El Bandido. She had the stage to herself and was singing “Sometime” when the building rocked, the spotlight went out, and someone in the audience yelled “Fire!”

At a home on Carey Avenue, one woman’s normally relaxed cat suddenly arched its back, rushed around the room two or three times, spitting angrily, and climbed up the front-window curtains.

Continue Reading

Ecology

Ottawa delays small nuclear reactor plan as critics decry push for new reactors

Editor

Published

on

By

TORONTO — Canadians will have to wait a little while longer to see the federal government’s plan for the development of small nuclear reactors, seen by proponents as critical to the country’s fight against global warming.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day virtual international conference on Wednesday, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources said the plan will lay out key actions regarding the reactors. Its launch, Paul Lefebvre said, would come in the next few weeks.

“We’re still putting the finishing touches on it,” Lefebvre said. “The action plan is too important to be rushed.”

Small modular reactors — SMRs — are smaller in size and energy output than traditional nuclear power units, and more flexible in their deployment. While conventional reactors produce around 800 megawatts of power, SMRs can deliver up to 300 megawatts.

Proponents consider them ideal as both part of the regular electricity grid as well as for use in remote locations, including industrial sites and isolated northern communities. They could also play a role in the production of hydrogen and local heating.

“SMRs will allow us to take a bold step of meeting our goal of net-zero (emissions) by 2050 while creating good, middle class jobs and strengthening our competitive advantage,” said Lefebvre.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan had been scheduled to speak at the conference but did not due to a family emergency.

Industry critics were quick to pounce on the government’s expected SMR announcement. They called on Ottawa to halt its plans to fund the experimental technology.

While nuclear power generation produces no greenhouse gas emissions, a major problem facing the industry is its growing mound of radioactive waste. This week, the government embarked on a round of consultations about what do with the dangerous material.

Dozens of groups, including the NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green Party and some Indigenous organizations, oppose the plan for developing small modular reactors. They want the government to fight climate change by investing more in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“We have options that are cheaper and safer and will be available quicker,” Richard Cannings, the NDP natural resources critic, said in a statement.

Lefebvre, however, said the global market for SMRs is expected to be worth between $150 billion and $300 billion a year by 2040. As one of the world’s largest producers of uranium, Canada has to be part of the wave both for economic and environmental reasons, he said.

“There’s a growing demand for smaller, simpler and affordable nuclear technology energy,” Lefebvre said.

Joe McBrearty, head of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, told the conference the company had signed a host agreement this week with Ottawa-based Global First Power for a demonstration SMR at its Chalk River campus in eastern Ontario. A demonstration reactor will allow for the assessment of the technology’s overall viability, he said.

“When talking about deploying a new technology like an SMR, building a demonstration unit is vital to the success of that process,” McBrearty said. “Most importantly, it allows the public to see the reactor, to kick the tires so to speak, and to have confidence in the safety of its operation.”

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending