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Posts Tagged ‘space’

Vietnamese cultural space opens in Cuba

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:54 am

A Vietnamese Cultural Space was inaugurated in Havana’s Asian House on December 2 on the 50 th anniversary of Vietnamese-Cuban diplomatic ties.

                    Dong Son bronze drum

Present at the opening ceremony were members of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee, including the Director of Havana’s Historical Office Eusebio Leal, President of the Cuba-Vietnam Friendship Association Yolanda Ferrer, the former Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Raul Valdes Vivo and former Deputy Foreign Minister Hector Rodriiguez Llompart, who on behalf of the Cuban Government signed the agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam.

Several ASEAN ambassadors in Havana also attended the event.

The Vietnam Cultural Space has hundreds of farming tools, weapons, pottery, fine arts and handicraft products, ethnic costumes and pictures featuring the different cultures in regions across Vietnam on display.

At the heart of the display are two sculptures of President Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh, made from stone by Vietnamese craftsmen.

On addressing the event, Vietnam’s Ambassador to Cuba Vu Chi Cong recalled the 50 years of bilateral relations and expressed his thanks to the Cuban Party, State, Government and people for their valuable support to Vietnam during its wars of resistance as well as in its present national drive for construction.

He said he hoped that future generations would maintain and develop the special friendship between the two countries, adding that a Dong Son bronze drum exhibited there was the first to be displayed in Latin America.

The Vietnam Cultural Space is a gift from the Vietnamese Government to Cuba in accordance with an agreement signed at the 27 th session of the Inter-governmental Commission.

Source: SGGP

Seminar on space science and astrophysics opens

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm

HCM City to increase housing space

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

HCM City to increase housing space

QĐND – Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 20:29 (GMT+7)

HCM City targets building 39 million sq.m of new housing during the 2011-15 period, increasing its per capita housing area to 17 sq.m, the municipal People’s Committee has announced.

The 2009 per capita housing area in the city was 14.3 sq.m.

At least 25 degraded apartment buildings with a combined floor area of 350,000sq.m in districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, Binh Thanh and Tan Binh will be rebuilt in the next five years.

By the end of 2015, the city will complete 11 housing projects with a total floor area of 453,000sq.m, consisting of nearly 4,700 apartments.

More than 22 hectares will be set aside for developing seven low-income housing projects with 10,000 apartments having a combined floor area of 837,000sq.m.

These plans include nine projects that will accommodate 67,700 workers and 13,700 students.

The city will also relocate more than 13,200 households living along canals by the end of 2015. Of these, 4,500 households living along canals in districts 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, Tan Phu, Binh Tan and Binh Thanh will be resettled during the next two years and the remaining 8,700 households will be relocated by the end of 2015.

The city has proposed that the Government amend the Housing Law to allow social housing projects to be developed in accordance with height restrictions on apartment buildings in the city, removing the current six-storey limit.

It has also proposed changes in the eligibility conditions for buying or renting low-income apartments during the five-year plan period, raising the limit from below five sq.m per person to 10sq.m.

Source: VNA
Photo: SGTT

Source: QDND

Space station drama as cooling system fails

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 at 11:20 am

US space officials planned emergency repairs Monday after a failure of the cooling system on the International Space Station that has forced astronauts to reroute power.

One of two cooling loops shut down Saturday night, triggering alarms throughout the orbiting station, which is manned by three Russian and three American astronauts.

NASA said the crew is not in any danger. But an attempt overnight to close the circuit breaker and restart the pump module that feeds the vital ammonia to the cooling system failed.

 NASA image shows the International Space Station in 2009.

Astronauts closed down two of the gyroscopes that position the station as they rerouted power from the Destiny Laboratory research module to keep the temperature system stable. One gyroscope was later put back on line.

“The station is in a stable configuration with most systems receiving cooling and many systems operating with redundancy following the installation of jumper cables from the Destiny Lab’s power system overnight,” NASA said.

“The crew is not in any danger and is monitoring systems and relaxing on an otherwise off duty day,” it added.

“Temperatures on the main bus switching units, which route power to various systems, are a little higher than normal, but well within normal parameters and are stable.”

Despite the reassurances, NASA approved a preliminary plan for two US astronauts, Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson, to conduct a spacewalk to fetch a replacement pump module.

“Although a final decision on a new spacewalk plan is still pending engineering and timeline analysis, the most likely scenario would call for an initial spacewalk no earlier than Thursday by Wheelock and Caldwell Dyson to replace the pump module and structurally bolt it into place on the S1 truss, with an additional spacewalk by the duo two or three days later to mate fluid and electrical connections,” a statement said.

A briefing to discuss the latest developments and spacewalk replanning was scheduled for 2000 GMT Monday.

According to NASA figures, without thermal controls the ISS’s sun-facing side would roast at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 Celsius), while the outpost’s dark side would plunge to some minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit (-157 Celsius).

A statement posted some years ago on NASA’s website suggested: “There might be a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle of the Station, but searching for it wouldn’t be much fun!”

Before the module can be replaced, any residual ammonia must first be pumped out of the system, according to NASA.

Wheelock and Caldwell Dyson had already been scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday to do routine maintenance work.

The ISS, which orbits 350 kilometers (220 miles) above Earth, is a sophisticated platform for scientific experiments, helping test the effects of long-term space travel on humans, a must for any trip to distant Mars.

Experts said that the incident could restart a months-long debate about NASA’s future.

The agency plans to retire its space shuttle fleet after two or three more missions – a move that has worried some lawmakers because NASA does not have an immediate replacement spacecraft.

Once the program ends, the United States will rely on Russia’s Soyuz rockets to carry its astronauts to the space station until a commercial US launcher can be developed. That is scheduled for 2015.

The delay has led some lawmakers, such as Representative Bill Posey of Florida, where the Kenndy Space Center is located, to call for the continuation of shuttle flights to ensure that the station can be stocked with crew and supplies until 2020.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam space institute to make small satellites

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Vietnam space institute to make small satellites

QĐND – Friday, June 25, 2010, 20:7 (GMT+7)

Vietnam expected to master the technology to manufacture small satellites by 2017, when the project to build the first national space centre is scheduled for completion, said the vice chairman of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology’s Space Technology Institute, Dr Pham Anh Tuan.

The Hoa Lac national space centre project was to be built with 400 million USD from Japanese official development assistance (ODA) on a 9ha site in the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, 30km from central Hanoi. Japanese experts would transfer technology and support to build the technical facilities and train staff.

“The centre will be one of the most modern space centres in Southeast Asia, with advanced equipment being used in Japan and European countries,” said Tuan.

The project was first proposed in 2007, and the consulting group from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) submitted a pre-feasibility report last March and would conduct a feasibility study between August and next February, he said. A lending agreement with the Japanese government was then expected to be signed next year.

The first phase construction, including infrastructure, research facilities, and the installation of satellite monitoring and operating equipment and data processing equipment, would then take place during 2011-13. A satellite assembly and testing area and training area would follow in the second phase in 2014-18, giving Vietnam the capacity to assemble satellites of less than 500kg.

Each such satellite would cost an estimated 20-30 million USD and would be able to provide data to monitor and forecast natural disasters and environmental damage, as well as forecast agricultural and fisheries output.

The data could help reduce losses caused each year by natural disasters by 10 percent and save an estimated 750 lives, saving the Government over 1 billion USD annually, said Tuan.

The satellite systems would also help update map systems for land use planning and management, support global positioning systems, and monitor climate change.

The institute began co-operating two years ago with HanoiNationalUniversity’s College of Technology to establish a space technology major and would offer a master’s course next year.

“The move is expected to provide qualified staff for the centre,” said Tuan. “Over 300 Vietnamese will be trained in space technology thanks to the project.”

Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Atlantis approaches International Space Station

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AFP) – The US shuttle Atlantis neared the International Space Station Sunday as its crew prepared to deliver tons of crucial new equipment to the nearly-completed orbital laboratory.

The shuttle began its 12-day final trip Friday afternoon, when it blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida into a clear blue sky.

The 32nd and final scheduled voyage for Atlantis, first launched in 1985, will take the astronauts to the orbiting space research facility, delivering an integrated cargo carrier and a Russian-built mini research module.

According to NASA plans, the shuttle will begin at 7:40 am (1140 GMT) a terminal initiation burn, which will put it on the final course to link up with the station at about 10:27 am (1427 GMT).

Commander Ken Ham and pilot Tony Antonelli will then proceed with a series of jet firings to fine-tune the shuttle?s path to the complex, officials said.

After arriving at a point about 600 feet (183 meters) directly below the station, Ham will execute a one-degree-per-second rotational “backflip” to enable station crew members to snap hundreds of photos of the shuttle?s heat shield and other areas of potential interest.

Once the rotation is completed, Ham will fly Atlantis in front of the station before slowly docking.

Based on current plans, the Atlantis launch is one of the last three missions of NASA’s shuttle program, which is due to be mothballed at the end of the year.

After this mission, only two more shuttle launches remain, one in September for Discovery and the final blast off for Endeavour in November.

During a 12-day mission largely spent moored to the ISS, Atlantis and the crew will deliver over 12 tonnes of equipment, as astronauts seek to complete the 100-billion-dollar orbiting outpost.

“Twelve days, three (spacewalks), tons of robotics…. We’re putting on spares that make us feel good about the long-term sustainability of the ISS, replacing batteries that have been up there for a while, and docking a Russian-built ISS module,” said space shuttle program manager John Shannon.

In a poignant moment for NASA as the US space agency counts down towards the end of an era in human spaceflight, Atlantis will be retired upon its safe return home after a quarter-century career.

But NASA officials did not rule out the possibility of Atlantis taking flight one more time.

“From a processing prospective we are going to process Atlantis like we always do, because it has to be ready for a rescue mission” in the event of an emergency during the final two shuttle flights, Leinbach said.

“If it happens to turn into a mission to the space station, we will do what is necessary.”

NASA administrator Bill Gerstenmaier said that any decision to launch an extra mission beyond the final three scheduled this year would probably come from President Barack Obama himself, who would need a budget of between 600 million and one billion dollars for the flight.

“If we want to make it in a real mission, we will probably like to know in June to get things in place,” and that the extra launch would not be possible before June 2011, Gerstenmaier said.

Should an extra flight be added, NASA envisions sending four astronauts to the ISS along with a multi-purpose logistics module.

“This will be the best way to leave the station in the best configuration we can,” Gerstenmaier said.

At present, NASA and partners Russia, Europe and Japan have agreed to keep the orbiting station operational until at least 2020. Once the three remaining shuttles are retired, the United States will rely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to take astronauts to the ISS until a new fleet of commercial space taxis is operational.

Obama effectively abandoned in February plans by his predecessor George W. Bush to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020 and perhaps on to Mars.

Constrained by soaring deficits, Obama submitted a budget to Congress that encouraged NASA to focus instead on developing commercial transport alternatives to ferry astronauts to the ISS after the shuttle program ends.

Nonetheless, Obama set a bold new course in April for the future of US space travel, laying out a vision to send American astronauts into Mars orbit by the mid-2030s.

Source: SGGP

Obama to present new vision for US space travel

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2010 (AFP) – President Barack Obama travels to Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday in a bid to soothe critics of his plan to scrap an over-budget Moon launch program and reshape NASA’s future.

Critics, included the first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong, were angered by Obama’s decision earlier this year to scrap the bloated and behind-schedule Constellation program, which had aimed to plant a new US flag on the Moon.

In a nod to critics who says the new approach will costs jobs, Obama will now retain and scale down a portion of the Constellation project, the Orion capsule.

The White House says it will boost NASA’s budget by six billion dollars over five years and will create 2,500 jobs in Florida by 2012.

The new plan will mean more jobs, greater investment in innovation, “more astronaut time in space, more rockets launching sooner, and a more ambitious and sustainable space program,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Wednesday.

But while the White House was selling the new plan as more ambitious and bolder than the US president’s earlier proposals unveiled in February, critics said that it was just retreading old ground.

The new vision, outlined in a three-page document posted on the White House website, includes reaching “a sequence of deep-space destinations” and “progressing step-by-step until we are able to reach Mars.”

Proposals Obama announced in February called for axing the Constellation program and for space launches to be taken over by private industry after the shuttle program is retired this year. NASA would concentrate on research.

Gibbs said that an independent commission set up to study Constellation found “that the idea of going to the moon under the timetable prescribed was un-executable.”

Obama’s “new vision for NASA” lifts US space ambitions beyond the moon, committing to decide by 2015 on “the specific heavy-lift rocket” needed to send astronauts to asteroids, the moon, and eventually to Mars itself.

But Republican lawmaker Bill Posey, who represents the part of Florida known as the Space Coast where the Kennedy Space Center is located, dismissed the new plan as “very vague” and “underwhelming.”

“It’s not a new plan. It’s essentially the same plan that was laid out in February and he just put a new cover sheet on it with a couple of footnotes,” Posey told AFP.

The end of the shuttle’s life is expected to result in the loss of some 9,000 jobs at the Kennedy Space Center, or nearly 60 percent of the staff and would require the United States to hitch lifts into space on Russian spacecraft until a new rocket is developed.

Lawmakers and astronauts have criticized the proposal to ground the shuttle and chop Constellation, saying the combined moves would cost too many jobs in an already frail economy and would bump the United States from its position of leader in space exploration.

Apollo 11 hero Armstrong lashed out at Obama on Tuesday calling the plan to end the Constellation program “devastating.”

Armstrong was one of three former astronauts who signed an open letter to the president ahead of his visit to Florida.

“For the United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature,” the astronauts said.

However another NASA hero, Buzz Aldrin, supports Obama’s plan.

The Obama strategy does little to bridge the gap at the end of the shuttle’s life, said John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

The new, so-called “bolder” plan makes only minor changes to the earlier plans, Logsdon said.

And yet Obama’s trip to Florida to present his vision was “a positive step.

“It’s a big deal, a commitment,” Logsdon said.

Melissa Stains, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cocoa Beach, just south of Kennedy Space Center, said she would “wait and see.”

But on first impression, the president’s new plan was “more positive than it was before,” she said.

One powerful critic of Obama’s plan was Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the subcommittee that has oversight of NASA spending.

“This new plan does not represent an advancement in policy or an improvement upon the Constellation program, but a continued abdication of America’s leadership in space,” Shelby said in a statement Wednesday.

Source: SGGP

Discovery blasts off for International Space Station

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 11:29 am

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, April 5, 2010 (AFP) – The US space shuttle Discovery blasted off at dawn Monday toward the International Space Station for a mission that will put more women in orbit than ever before.

NASA’s STS-131 astronauts led by Commander Alan Poindexter (R) wave as they walk out of the operations and checkout building at Kennedy Space Center on April 5, 2010. AFP Photo

Discovery lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:21 am (1021 GMT) as scheduled.

The two booster rockets, which account for 80 percent of the shuttle’s lift during takeoff, peeled away as planned 120 seconds after the launch, falling into the Atlantic Ocean, where they will be subsequently recuperated and reused.

Source: SGGP

Discovery blasts off for International Space Station

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 11:28 am

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, April 5, 2010 (AFP) – The US space shuttle Discovery blasted off at dawn Monday toward the International Space Station for a mission that will put more women in orbit than ever before.

NASA’s STS-131 astronauts led by Commander Alan Poindexter (R) wave as they walk out of the operations and checkout building at Kennedy Space Center on April 5, 2010. AFP Photo

Discovery lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:21 am (1021 GMT) as scheduled.

The two booster rockets, which account for 80 percent of the shuttle’s lift during takeoff, peeled away as planned 120 seconds after the launch, falling into the Atlantic Ocean, where they will be subsequently recuperated and reused.

Source: SGGP

Putin offers to help Venezuela’s space bid

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2010 at 9:06 am

CARACAS, April 2, 2010 (AFP) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday offered to help develop Venezuela’s space industry on his first visit there, as the two countries deepened military, energy and financial ties.

“Venezuela has already entered the satellite, space race. Russia’s experience is gigantic in this regard,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a joint press conference with Putin.

“We could even install a satellite launcher here and a factory. We are already doing so with China, but Russia is offering to support Venezuela build its own (space) industry,” Chavez said.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) welcomes Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin upon his arrival at Simon Bolivar International airport in Caracas April 2, 2010. AFP photo

Putin was received with military honors Friday at Caracas international airport by Chavez, a leftist firebrand who has signed a dozen military agreements with Moscow since 2005 worth some 4.4 billion dollars.

“This is a truly important day for the country and for Latin America,” Chavez said late Thursday in a televised address.

“It is a visit of great importance. We are forging, like steel, a new multipolar world.”

Last week, in announcing Putin’s first visit to Latin America’s biggest oil producer, Chavez thanked Russia for helping Venezuela “bolster its defensive potential” in the face of “threats” from the United States.

Bolivian President Evo Morales also arrived in Caracas late Friday and was expected to seek a 100-million-dollar loan from Russia to purchase military and other hardware, officials in La Paz said.

They would include an Antonov aircraft for the president’s use.

Venezuela also recently won a two-billion-dollar credit from Russia to buy T72 armored vehicles and anti-aircraft systems, raising concerns in Washington, which has called for transparency.

To underscore the military cooperation between the two friendly nations, a huge Russian Antonov 124 cargo plane landed in Caracas on Friday delivering four Russian Mi-17 helicopters to the Defense Minister, General Carlos Mata.

“We’re very happy to receive this new batch of helicopters,” Chavez said of the delivery.

“These are very important fruits of the cooperation between Russia and Venezuela.”

Putin and Chavez began with a visit to a Russian merchant marine fishing vessel, which will be used to train Venezuelan sailors.

From there, they placed a wreath at the tomb of Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar, followed by a private meeting at the Miraflores presidential palace, where they signed more than two dozen agreements.

The accords will bring Venezuela “to the next phase of cooperation with Russia, which no longer will be limited to energy and military matters, but now also includes social, cultural and health issues,” said Vice President Elias Jaua on state-run VTV television ahead of the visit.

Topping the list was an agreement to set up a Russian-Venezuelan development bank to finance a joint venture for oil and gas exploration in eastern Venezuela’s oil-rich Orinoco river basin.

The enterprise — 60-percent owned by Venezuela, 40 percent by a consortium of Russian companies — hopes to extract up to 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the Amazon region.

On Thursday, Chavez said Venezuela wanted to prepare for the “post-oil” era by developing nuclear power.

“We’re not going to build an atomic bomb, but we want to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Chavez said.

He was speaking one year after he signed an agreement to that end with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a visit to Moscow.

Putin and Chavez also signed cooperation deals in agriculture, transportation, and the prevention of natural catastrophes, according to the meeting agenda.

There was no mention about an agreement on Venezuela’s space program.

US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the two nations had the right to pursue relations with whichever nations they chose, but questioned Venezuela’s priorities.

“We would note that the government of Venezuela was largely closed this week due to energy shortages and to the extent that Venezuela is going to extend resources on behalf of its people, perhaps the focus should be more terrestrial than extraterrestrial.”

Links between Venezuela and Russia have grown in recent years, with Medvedev visiting Venezuela in late 2008 during joint naval exercises, while Chavez visited Moscow in September.

Morales also traveled to the Russian capital in mid-February.

Morales and Putin were expected to discuss their own joint venture for gas and oil exploration in Bolivia, which has the second largest natural gas reserves in Latin America.

Source: SGGP