Space Past, Space Recent, Space Present

Space Past: 35 years ago today, the Skylab-3 mission splashed down in the Pacific after astronauts Alan Bean, Jack Lousma, and Owen Garriott spent almost two months aboard the station. You can read more about the mission on this Wikipedia page.

Space Recent: I missed this when it was on the Discovery Channel, but a recent experiment demonstrated the technology for beaming power from space-based solar collectors. This interests me because one of my Ornery American essays was on using space-based power to help recovery efforts after natural disasters.

Space Present: The folks at Sea Launch successfully lofted the Galaxy-19 satellite yesterday. (I worked as a technology security monitor on the Galaxy IIIc launch, which was a great adventure.) Congrats!

Space Present II. Also yesterday, the House passed a waiver that would allow NASA to continue purchasing Soyuz flights to the International Space Station beyond the 2011 expiration of the current waiver.

Because it takes three years to build a new Soyuz, an INKSNA waiver extension is required for NASA to avoid unmanning the station starting in 2012. If the Senate goes along and the extension becomes law, NASA would be able to maintain an uninterrupted presence on the lab complex and bridge the gap between the end of shuttle operations in 2010 and the debut of its replacement in 2014 or 2015.

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