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Inspiration4 Mission Launches!

Hello fellow space enthusiasts! Today's blog is very important, it is the tenth blog post on the website! Thank you to all the people who have been here all along. Thank you!

The Inspiration4 mission, made possible by SpaceX, recently made history by launching four civilians into low earth orbit for three days. This is the first all civilian mission to orbit, because all missions before this did not go into orbit. The astronauts were not untrained, however. It is still necessary to train for missions like this because the G-forces experienced at launch would be enough to blackout an untrained human (four G's), and the forces experienced on reentry are greater, pulling up to six (only on a steep reentry angle which should not happen). The astronauts -- Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski, and Dr. Sian Proctor -- needed to train in the centrifuge (a way of simulating G's) and not much else! Haley Arceneaux is a cancer survivor, and is officially the first person in space to have a prosthetic body part (a metal rod in her leg). Chris Sembroski was randomly selected to fly to space by donating to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which researches cancer in kids. Dr. Sian Proctor is a female astronaut candidate who was about to be selected as an astronaut. This means she was one of about 20 people who were on the path to become astronauts, but only nine people would be selected to become astronauts, and she was not one of them. She then became aware of the Inspiration4 mission, and wanted to apply. To apply, candidates had to post a 2 minute video on Twitter about themselves and what they do. Siane posted a video and got selected! The seats on the Dragon spacecraft were named after four traits: Leadership, Hope, Generosity, and Prosperity. The Inspiration4 team wanted to have leadership represented by the person who started the whole program, Jared Isaacman; they wanted Hope to be represented by a cancer survivor, Haley Arceneaux; they wanted Generosity to be someone who donated money to St. Jude's, Chris Sembroski; And they wanted Prosperity to be represented by an entrepreneur and a dreamer, Dr. Sian Proctor. The astronauts picked the name Inspiration4 because the goal of the mission is to inspire others, and there are four people in the capsule. This mission is historic in many ways, including being the highest anyone has been from Earth since 1999; Sian Proctor will be the fourth African American in space, and, of course, Inspiration4 the first all-civilian mission to orbit. The Inspiration4 mission has a docu-series on Netflix, named Countdown. You can visit the official website here. The official livestream is here. To track the mission live, go here. [Editor's note: the capsule splashed down on the 18th.]

Mars is a planet we all want to know more about, and that is why NASA, ESA, and countless other space agencies have sent probes to Mars. The main goal is to see if life can be sustained on another planet. The Perseverance rover, made by NASA, is a rover designed to retrieve samples from Mars and store them in a location where another rover can pick them up and return them to Earth. If you want to bring samples to Earth, you need to take samples, which is what the Perseverance rover is doing right now. The Perseverance rover took its second part of a "twin sample" last Wednesday. The two samples taken from the same rock offer some puzzling information. The rock contains salt, which is promising because salt is known for preserving life, but because the salt is there suggests water flowing through the crater did not flow like the geologists thought it would have. They thought the water flooded the crater, and then rapidly receded and dried up, but it turns out the water was trapped in the ground for longer than they thought. The water might still be trapped in small bubbles in the sample! This information is very helpful in the sense that scientists can use this information to better hypothesize how life formed, if it did, on Mars. An article regarding this can be seen here.

Over at the ISS, this week two astronauts got into their spacesuits and started working. The most recent spacewalk was completed by Akihiko Hoshide from JAXA (Japanese Aerospace eXploration Agency) and Thomas Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency), to install a solar panel mounting bracket. The bracket was placed on one of the solar panel wings, and it is there to allow a new solar panel, named IROSA, to be mounted. The plate will allow this more efficient solar panel to produce more electricity for the station. The astronauts retrieved and installed the mounting plate and multiple strengthening rods. The crew will then replace a device called the FPMU, or the Floating Potential Measurement Unit. The unit is on the station to measure electrical charges that build up on the space station over time, to make sure equipment does not get damaged due to random electric charges. The spacewalk occured on the 10th of September, and lasted around six hours. The livestream can be seen here, and an overview of what happened can also be seen here.

Meanwhile back on Earth, SpaceX has been rapidly innovating their Starship launch vehicle in Boca Chica, Texas. Ship 20 and Booster 4 have been preparing for a launch for a long time, and they are nearly there. Booster 4 has rolled out to the Orbital Launch Site (OLS) and has been preparing for tests, like a pressure test and temperature test, as well as a static fire (a firing of the engines while clamped to the pad). The development in Boca Chica has been astonishing. The tank farm, which holds rocket propellant, is nearly complete, with one more tank and a couple more insulation shells to be installed. There is work on another area to stack the sections of the ship, which will be slightly taller and much wider than the previous. The area is rapidly becoming more and more like a Starbase and is quickly coming along. Daily Starship updates are released by NASA Spaceflight.

I hope you liked today's tenth blog post, and I will see you on the next one!

Norminal News

Bringing the passion of space to the minds of dreamers

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