February 12, 2007

I interrupt this blog (yes again)…

Usually these “interruption” posts bring news from home – and this one is no exception. To make it a bit easier to find these posts (if you really want to), I added a label, which is listed to the left <--.

Back to the news-

You all know that my brother is awesome, but also somewhat of a geek. Well, this week he sees the fruits of his awesome geek labor over the past couple of years: five satellites and a satellite carrier he has been working on will be launched on Thursday, US EST time (Friday, for those of us in the future). This is a huge accomplishment, and I’m really excited for him!

The project was commissioned by NASA, which awarded the work to the company my brother works for. He was in charge of all the engineering for the Probes and the Probe Carrier. (Trying desperately hard not to *giggle* as I want this to be a serious post).

Moving on…

This is an explanation from the NASA website dedicated to the satellite:

NASA's Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) aims to resolve one of the oldest mysteries in space physics, namely to determine what physical process in near-Earth space initiates the violent eruptions of the aurora that occur during substorms in the Earth's magnetosphere.

Event: Delta 2 rocket • THEMIS
Launch Date: 2/15/2007
Launch Time: Time: 6:07:37 - 6:26:37 PM EST
Location: Kennedy Space Center, FL

THEMIS is a 2-year mission consisting of 5 identical probes that will study the violent colorful eruptions of Auroras.

Understanding and predicting space weather is important to describe the environment in which spacecraft and astronauts operate and ensure their safety. Just as hail and tornadoes accompany the most severe thunderstorms, substorms accompany the most intense space storms – those that disrupt communications, cause power line transmission failures, and produce the most penetrating radiation. THEMIS will study substorms to gain insight into the most severe space storms.

Here is a photo from the NASA website of the 5 spacecraft on the rocket, inside one half of the fairing, just prior to them putting the other half of the fairing on.

And here are two websites where our geeky and non-geeky but still interested/curious friends can learn more about the launch and perhaps even watch it:


I know I’ll be watching from here!! =)

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