This Sunday (July 1, 2012), three members of the International Space Station crew will return to Earth on board a Kazakhstan-bound Soyuz craft, after over six months in orbit. Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers, two of the returning astronauts, and Joe Acaba, who arrived at the station in May, discuss life on board ISS, the visit of the Dragon capsule, and current activities in space.
FLORA LICHTMAN: Just another day at SCIENCE FRIDAY, calling space.
Station, this is National Public Radio. How do you hear me?
DON PETTIT: NPR, we hear you loud and clear.
LICHTMAN: Don Pettit, walk us through how you’ll get back to our planet this weekend.
PETTIT: We will get in our Soyuz spacecraft and under the command of Oleg Kononenko, and Andre Kuipers will be flight engineer one or board engineer one, and I’m board engineer two. And we work together to get this spacecraft back home, starting off with undocking.
We start off, we get inside, the close the hatch, we have to do a leak check, make sure the hatches don’t leak. And then we strap in and undock, and then we do a de-orbit burn. And then as we hit the atmosphere, the spacecraft separates so that only the descent module comes through the atmosphere in one piece.
And then our parachute comes out, and we go thump, roll, roll on the steppes of Kazakhstan.
Read, or listen, to the full interview – Astronauts Prepare For Departure
Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia.
One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.
Shenzhou-9 was launched at 6:37 p.m (local time) against a vivid blue sky from the Jiuquan space station at the edge of the Gobi Desert. Televised nationally, the launch prompted a round of applause in the command center as the capsule separated from its carrier rocket and entered orbit.
The trickiest part of the mission will come when the capsule docks with the Tiangong 1 space module, a prototype of a space station about the size of a school bus, which is orbiting about 213 miles above Earth.
Learn more, including how the U.S. Congress has banned China from the International Space Station…so they’re building their own:
What could be better than beautiful weather, beaches, and your favorite scrappy start-up?
Two cities in Los Angeles are slowly becoming hubs of technology, Santa Monica and Venice.
In the spread out landscape of Los Angeles these two cities are adjacent close-knit urban areas, with ample office space, coffee shops, restaurants, and apartments. But, not the typical high-rise or pre-fab buildings, these are old school one-story remodeled spaces.
Think fun, diverse, and in some places gritty (i.e. hipster).
Recently, both held town hall meetings with local companies and government officials to strategize growth:
Santa Monica devoted much of its annual State of the City address to promoting the tech community, with Mayor Richard Bloom declaring: “Today we are not just Santa Monica, but Silicon Beach and the Tech Coast.” (In an unofficial vote later, hundreds in attendance overwhelmingly threw their support to the Silicon Beach name.)
“Our technology-qualified workforce, creative workplaces and leading broadband infrastructure will keep our economy well-positioned for future growth,” Bloom said.
After the mayor’s address and a short video touting the rise of tech companies in Santa Monica, Jason Nazar, who is chief executive and co-founder of local start-up Docstoc.com, moderated a panel of people connected to the tech scene.
Silicon Beach is spreading to Venice.
The quirky beach-side community drew hundreds of attendees to a packed town hall meeting dubbed The Emergence of Silicon Beach.
Executives from Google, local start-ups Viddy and Mogreet, and accelerator Amplify were on hand for a panel moderated by Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who repeatedly told audience members that they were witnessing a “Venicessance.” Nearly two dozen tech companies set up booths to tout their products and ideas to about 400 attendees.
“Ten years ago, it was very hard,” James Citron said. “You had to fly up to San Francisco and do the Sand Hill Road dance, for those of you who know the venture capital world. Now they’re coming down here looking for great companies, so that’s a big fundamental change.”
It also helps that Google Los Angeles has set-up shop in the, Frank Gehry-designed, Binoculars Building in Venice.
For more on the start-ups in the area, including who’s hiring, Los Angeles Times reporter, Andrea Chang, has been doing a great job covering all of the start-ups in Silicon Beach.
Here are a few of them:
- LuxeYard brings social aspect to flash sales
- Capsule aims to be group events’ one-stop app
- Sole Society – flash fashion sale site
- Scopely – a secret project from a former Googler
- BeachMint – e-commerce websites with products designed by celebrities
- Science Inc., provides guidance and funding for start-ups
- KarmaGoat lets consumers sell their goods for charity
- Social gaming company Mention Mobile
- Elevator Labs: an L.A. start-up building L.A. start-ups