Thursday, May 22, 2014

Video: Sky watchers on the lookout for new meteor shower

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UPDATE - 12:33 a.m. EDT - Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance Sunnyvale Station are active.

UPDATE - 12:24 a.m. EDT - NASA Marshall Space Flight Center video is active.

If predictions hold true, on Friday night Earth may experience a sandblasting of debris from comet 209P/LINEAR, resulting in a new meteor shower.

In 2012, meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center were the first to announce that Earth was due for a May 2014 encounter with debris from comet 209P/LINEAR. 
Other meteor experts quickly confirmed this prediction and some did use the words “meteor storm.” The most recent calculations, however, indicate we might get a strong shower, but perhaps not a storm of meteors.

What will you see? As with all meteor showers, the only way to know is to go outside on the night of the predicted peak and see for yourself.

The meteors will radiate from the constellation Camelopardalis (camelopard), a very obscure northern constellation.

Can't see the meteor shower from your location. Bookmark this page and stay tuned Friday night into Saturday morning for updates on where you can observe from online webcams.

Timeline of Events (all times Eastern Daylight Time)
  • 8:24 p.m. - Friday – Sunset in Washington, D.C. area.
  • 8:30 p.m. - Friday - Jeremie Vaubaillon of IMCCE in Paris, France, predicts debris from the comet will begin to impact the Moon at this point.
  • 1:00 a.m. - Saturday - Peter Jenniskens, a scientist with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, will depart from Palo Alto, Calif. aboard an aircraft and head towards Seattle, Wash., in an attempt to observe the meteor shower above any cloud cover. The flight will return to Palo Alto approximately four hours later.
  • 3:17 a.m. - Saturday – Moonrise in Washington, D.C. area.
  • 3:39 a.m. - Saturday – The International Space Station will be visible in Washington, D.C., area 19 degrees above the horizon.
  • 5:51 a.m. - Saturday - Sunrise in Washington, D.C. area.
Online resources:
  • DCNewsroom Twitter
  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center video.
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Video: Great test today for NASA's Morpheus lander

NASA's Morpheus prototype lander performed its 13th free-flight test Thursday from the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 97-second test began at 2:30 p.m. EDT with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet and safely touching down on lunar-like surface.

Morpheus is a prototype planetary lander capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Designed to serve as a vertical testbed for advanced spacecraft technologies, the vehicle provides a platform for bringing technologies from the laboratory into an integrated flight system at relatively low cost. This allows individual technologies to mature into capabilities that can be incorporated into human exploration missions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Boeing gets order for 30 737 MAX jets

Boeing celebrated a milestone achievement Tuesday on the 737 MAX program, surpassing the 2000th order for the single-aisle airplane. With the addition of 30 orders from unidentified customers this week, the 737 MAX now has a total of 2,010 orders from 39 customers worldwide, valued at $209 billion at list prices. The 737 MAX also has commitments for more than 250 additional airplanes.

The 737 MAX has reached 2,000 orders faster than any other Boeing airplane in history. This unprecedented demand is fueled by air traffic growth and the need for more fuel-efficient airplanes.

"Since its first order, the 737 MAX has received more than 50 percent of the new orders versus its direct competition,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

"We have a lot of faith in Boeing and the 737 MAX, especially since this will be the narrowbody aircraft of the future for United Airlines," said United Airlines Vice President of Fleet Ron Baur.

"In addition to the latest technology LEAP-1B engines from CFM International, the MAX combines advanced aerodynamics including the Advanced Technology winglets, 787-style large screen flight deck displays and the passenger preferred Boeing Sky Interior to give customers an airplane that will enhance their fleets for decades to come,” said Leverkuhn.

The 737 MAX will be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than today's most efficient Next-Generation 737s – and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service, Boeing said in a company press release. “The 737 is more fuel efficient than the Airbus A320 today and will be more fuel efficient than the A320neo tomorrow. Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see an eight percent operating cost per seat advantage over the A320neo.”

On track to begin final assembly in mid-2015, the 737 MAX will fly in 2016 and deliver to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Canada receives first 787 Dreamliner jet

The Boeing Company delivered the first 787 Dreamliner to Air Canada on Sunday. Air Canada is the first airline in Canada to fly the plane. The airplane, the first of 37 787s ordered for delivery through 2019 by Air Canada, departed Paine Field in Everett, Wash. for its delivery flight to Toronto.

Air Canada has announced it will use the 787 on its Toronto-Tel Aviv routes, as well as launch a new destination – Tokyo's Haneda Airport. The 787 is 20 percent more fuel efficient than similar-sized airplanes it will replace in Air Canada's fleet.

Air Canada's 787 launches the airlines' new International Business Class Cabin with 20 seats. The airplane offers 21 seats in Air Canada's Premium Economy Cabin and 210 seats in Air Canada Economy. Customers will be more comfortable with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other features.

Made from composite materials, the 787 Dreamliner is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes.

Air Canada will receive flight and maintenance training services from Boeing. The company will provide Air Canada's fleet with crew planning solutions; electronic charting for electronic flight bags; Maintenance Performance Toolbox, a digital real-time-information tool that enables quick resolution of airplane maintenance issues; and Direct Routes and Wind Updates services for more efficient flights to reduce fuel consumption.