kin of mumbai attack victims welcome

Relatives of victims of the 2008 Mumbai attack victims on Wednesday welcomed the execution of the lone surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab, saying justice has been finally delivered. In Varanasi, Sunita Yadav, wife of victim Upendra Yadav, expressed her gratitude to the authorities for carrying out the execution.

Daily Bollywood News:Bipasha Basu - Bollywood will remain a hero-centric business

Women are active in show business like never before, but will they surpass the status Bollywood heroes enjoy? Never, says Bipasha Basu, who feels there is minimum opportunity for female actors in the Hindi film industry

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Friday, December 11, 2009

2009 miss world: Priyanka Chopra flies to Johannesburg

Priyanka Chopra

Mumbai: Priyanka Chopra will be joining the ‘Miss World’ pageant nine years after winning the title – this time not as a participant. The actress is flying to Johannesburg to judge the final round of this year’s Miss World contest to be held in the glittery evening of December 12th, 2009.

Visibly elated to be at the contest again, Priyanka said, “When Julia Morley, who is in charge of the beauty pageant, invited me to be a judge, I was ecstatic. There I was a teenager all those years ago, nervous as hell on the same platform. Now I’m going in a totally different capacity.”

Her professional life also saw a high mark this year with considerable appreciation for her role as the leading actress of Bollywood film ‘Kaminey’. Talking to a news daily, she said, “This was a good year and hopefully 2010 will be as good, if not better.”

For now, the busy actor has managed her schedules to be at the leading beauty contest, which is going to be a two-hour event at Gallagher Convention Centre. The current Miss World, Russia`s Ksenia Sukhinova, will crown one of the 112 hopefuls, which include Pooja Chopra, the winner of Femina Miss India World 2009.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Hometown Heroes 2009" Astronaut & Terrible Towel Return to Pittsburgh

Astronaut Mike Fincke and Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II

Image above: Astronaut Mike Fincke presents the space-flown Terrible Towel to Steelers President Art Rooney II during pre-game activities on Nov. 15. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut Mike Fincke

Image above: Astronaut Mike Fincke works on space themed activities with patients at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut Mike Fincke at Avonworth Elementary School

Image above: Astronaut Mike Fincke shared his experiences on Expedition 18 with over 700 students at Avonworth Elementary School, encouraging them to study science, technology, engineering, and math. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut Mike Fincke at Sewickely Academy

Image above: Astronaut Mike Fincke visited his alma mater, Sewickely Academy, inspiring the students to follow their dreams. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut and U.S. Air Force Colonel Mike Fincke has taken the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers to new heights! During his command of Expedition 18 onboard the International Space Station, Fincke flew the iconic “Terrible Towel” for his favorite team and sent a message to them for their 2009 Super Bowl game.

His unique Terrible Towel wave in zero gravity became an internet sensation and inspired Steelers fans around the world. This November, Fincke attended his first Steelers game when his special team took on the Cincinatti Bengals at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15. The Hometown Heroes weekend peaked as the Steelers honored Fincke during their second largest crowd in the stadium’s history.

Prior to the game, Fincke met fans to sign autographs and take photos. During the pregame activities, Fincke presented the famous Terrible Towel that was flown in space to Steelers President Art Rooney II. Fans responded with a standing ovation when the video footage from space with the towel was shown on the stadium scoreboard. Rooney then surprised Fincke by presenting NASA with a #18 Steelers jersey in honor of his Expedition.

His visit actually began on Friday, Nov. 13, with a series of media interviews and educational appearances. Fincke, an Emsworth, PA native, visited his alma mater, Sewickely Academy, where he attended on scholarship while growing up. He met with more than 400 students, shared his experiences on Expedition 18 and encouraged the students to pursue their dreams.

Later that afternoon, Fincke spoke with more than a thousand students in the Avonworth School District. The students and faculty were thrilled to have Fincke share his inspirational story and information about space exploration.

“It’s great for the students to hear someone with real-life experience, especially from the perspective of living and working in space,” said Darlene Tartaglione, Principal of Avonworth Elementary. “It’s very nice to see that what the kids are learning really can be applied to life outside of school.”

Hometown Heroes is an opportunity for astronauts to reach out to their communities. Fincke also spent Saturday morning with patients at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. When he arrived, the staff and children had been working on space activities. Fincke quickly introduced himself and presented the hospital with a photo of Pittsburgh that he took from the space station. It was not too long before he joined the children in their activities, helping with arts and crafts and signing autographs.

Fincke continued his community activities with a presentation at the Carnegie Science Center on Saturday afternoon. He shared his experiences on the space station and took questions from the audience of more than 300 people, some of whom had interacted with him during Expedition 18. David Trombetta, a high school student from the Pittsburgh area was part of a group of students who spoke with Fincke over ham radio during the mission.

“They are trying to advance science to better understand life away from Earth,” Trombetta said, excited to meet an astronaut in person for the first time. When asked if he aspired to travel in space, he said, “No, but I would like to be an engineer.”

Fincke has spent a full year in space throughout the course of his career as a NASA astronaut. As a mission specialist on the upcoming STS-134 space shuttle flight, Fincke will add 12 days to his cumulative time in space. The mission will mark the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour. It is scheduled to be the second to last flight of the Space Shuttle Program.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Technology: Tests Chopper Drop

How do you make a helicopter safer to fly? You crash one.

NASA aeronautics researchers recently dropped a small helicopter from a height of 35 feet (10.7 m) to see whether an expandable honeycomb cushion called a deployable energy absorber could lessen the destructive force of a crash.

NASA helicopter drop test.

On impact, the helicopter's skid landing gear bent outward, but the cushion attached to its belly kept the rotorcraft's bottom from touching the ground. Four crash test dummies along for the ride appeared only a little worse for the wear.

NASA helicopter drop test
Click to enlarge

Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are testing the "deployable energy absorber" with the help of a helicopter donated by the Army, a crash test dummy contributed by the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., and a 240-foot (73.2 m) tall structure once used to teach astronauts how to land on the moon. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Researchers must analyze the test results before they can say for sure whether the deployable energy absorber worked as designed.

"I'd like to think the research we're doing is going to end up in airframes and will potentially save lives," said Karen Jackson, an aerospace engineer who oversaw the test at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, more than 200 people are injured in helicopter accidents in the United States each year, in part because helicopters fly in riskier conditions than most other aircraft. They fly close to the ground, not far from power lines and other obstacles, and often are used for emergencies, including search and rescue and medical evacuations.

For the test at Langley, researchers used an MD-500 helicopter donated by the U.S. Army. The rotorcraft was equipped with instruments that collected 160 channels of data. One of the four crash test dummies was a special torso model equipped with simulated internal organs. It came from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

Technicians outfitted the underside of the helicopter's crew and passenger compartment with the deployable energy absorber. Created by engineer Sotiris Kellas at Langley, the device is made of Kevlar and has a unique flexible hinge design that allows the honeycomb to be packaged and remain flat until needed.

NASA helicopter drop test
Click to enlarge

A sort of "honeycomb airbag" created to cushion future astronauts may end up in helicopters to help prevent injuries instead. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Kellas initially came up with the idea as a way to cushion the next generation of astronaut-carrying space capsules, but soon realized it had many other possible applications. So the concept became part of a helicopter drop test for the Subsonic Rotary Wing Project of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington.

Jackson said researchers tested the deployable energy absorber under realistic conditions. "We crash-tested the helicopter by suspending it about 35 feet (10.7 m) into the air using cables. Then, as it swung to the ground, we used pyrotechnics to remove the cables just before the helicopter hit so that it reacted like it would in a real accident," she explained.

The test conditions imitated what would be a relatively severe helicopter crash. The flight path angle was about 33 degrees and the combined forward and vertical speeds were about 48 feet per second or 33 miles per hour (14.6 meters per second, 53.1 kph).

"We got data to validate our integrated computer models that predict how all parts of the helicopter and the occupants react in a crash. Plus the torso model test dummy will help us assess internal injuries to occupants during a helicopter crash."

Engineers say the MD-500 survived relatively intact as a result of the honeycomb cushion. They plan to recycle the helicopter and drop it again next year, but without the deployable energy absorber attached, in order to compare the results.

Geminids Meteor Shower: Nature's 'Holiday Light Show'

Join us for a live chat and ask questions about the Geminids Shower.

Who: Bill Cooke, Meteoroid Environment Office
What: A live chat where you can ask a NASA Expert your question.
When: Fri., Dec. 11, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. EST
Where: Check back on this page on Friday to participate.

Star trails and a Geminid meteor over Brasstown Bald mountain, Georgia, in 1985.

Star trails and a Geminids meteor over Georgia in 1985. Image credit and copyright: Jimmy Westlake

> View 2008 Geminids (Windows, streaming)
The Geminids are one of the best meteor showers of the year and never seem to disappoint observers! Join Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office, located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in a live web chat on Friday, December 11 from 3:00-4:00 EST to learn more about the Geminids meteor shower.

This meteor shower gets the name "Geminids" because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini. For the best viewing opportunity, go outside, take a blanket and something hot to drink, lay on your back and look up into the night sky. Best viewing time is between midnight and dawn on December 13-14.

An observer in the Northern hemisphere can start seeing the Geminids meteors as early as December 6, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next week, rates increase until a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour is attained on the night of December 13-14. The last Geminids are seen on December 18, when an observer might see a rate of one or so every hour.

History of the Geminids

The initial appearance of the Geminids meteor shower came fairly sudden during the 1860s. The first notation of the shower occurred in 1862 at Manchester, England. During the 1870s, observations of the Geminids became more numerous as astronomers realized a new annual shower was active.

The first estimate of the strength of Geminids came in 1877 with an hourly rate given at about 14. Rates increased slightly during the remainder of the 19th century to about 23 an hour. Reported rates continued to increase through most of the 20th century. During the 1900s, rates averaged about 20 per hour. The rates averaged near 50 per hour during the 1930s, 60 per hour during the 1940s and 1950s, 65 per hour during the 1960s and 80 per hour during the 1970s. The rates stayed near 80 per hour during the remainder of that century.

Media Contact:
Janet Anderson, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Crew Does Science, Maintenance; Prepares for Undocking

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams
Image above: Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams works over the weekend with the autonomous satellites of the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites experiment in preparation for a robotics competition in which students on Earth will control the satellites. Credit: NASA TV

While performing their regular science and maintenance duties Monday, the Expedition 22 crew members aboard the orbiting International Space Station were set to monitor the undocking and disposal of the propulsion module segment of the Poisk Mini-Research Module 2.

The detachment of Poisk’s propulsion section is scheduled for 7:16 p.m. EST Monday, with a deorbit burn planned for 11:48 p.m. to send it to a destructive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The section will burn up after entry interface around 12:32 a.m. Tuesday. Poisk docked to the space-facing port of the Zvezda Service Module on Nov. 12.

Since the propulsion module is no longer needed, the undocking of that section of Poisk will open up a new docking port for Russian vehicles. The first use will come on Jan. 20 with the relocation of the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft by Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev and Commander Jeff Williams from its current location on the aft end of Zvezda.

Williams worked with the Integrated Cardiovascular (ICV) experiment in the Columbus laboratory. ICV researches the extent of cardiac atrophy and seeks to identify its mechanisms.

He also stored some blood and urine samples in the station’s Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer (MELFI). MELFI supports a wide range of life science experiments by preserving biological samples collected aboard the orbital outpost for later return and analysis on Earth.

Suraev worked with the Russian experiment known as Respiration. The experiment takes physiological measurements to provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of respiration in microgravity. Additionally, the flight engineer performed regular maintenance on the life support system in the station’s Russian segment.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA’s T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are slated to depart the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia Wednesday for their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will launch in the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft on Dec. 20 and dock to the station on Dec. 22, joining Williams and Suraev as part of the Expedition 22 crew.

› Read more about Expedition 22
› View crew timelines

› Read more about the station's butterfly experiment

2010 International Space Station Calendar

NASA is offering a 2010 calendar that describes the work being done on the International Space Station and gives information about the crews that have lived there. The calendar contains photographs taken from the space station and highlights historic NASA milestones and fun facts about the international construction project of unprecedented complexity that began in 1998. (Note: In order to print the document correctly, please select the two-sided print option in your printer dialog box)

› Download calendar (10.2 Mb PDF)

Endeavour to Move to VAB

Mon, 07 Dec 2009 07:31:41 PM GMT+0530

Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida successfully completed all pressure and leak tests on space shuttle Endeavour this past weekend.

Endeavour's side hatch will be closed for Saturday's move from its hangar in Orbiter Processing Facility-2 to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Also, the shuttle's final tire pressurization for flight is set for today.

Meanwhile, the STS-130 astronauts will practice techniques for the mission's first spacewalk in the neutral buoyancy lab near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Space Shuttle Mission: STS-130

STS-130 Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick
Image above: Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick attired in a training version of his Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit, awaits the start of a spacewalk training session in the waters of the neutral buoyancy laboratory near NASA's Johnson Space Center. Photo credit: NASA/JSC
› High-res image

› Meet the STS-130 Crew

Endeavour's STS-130 Mission
Commander George Zamka will lead the STS-130 mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Endeavour. Terry Virts will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists are Nicholas Patrick, Robert Behnken, Stephen Robinson and Kathryn Hire. Virts will be making his first trip to space.

Endeavour will deliver a third connecting module, the Tranquility node, to the station in addition to the seven-windowed Cupola module, which will be used as a control room for robotics. The mission will feature three spacewalks.

Liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is targeted for February 4, 2010 at 5:52 a.m. EST.

Launch Scheduled for Dec. 11

WISE inside the Delta II payload fairing
Image above: NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has been wrapped in the outer nose cone, or "fairing," that will protect it during its scheduled Dec. 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Image credit: NASA/VAFB

Liftoff of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Launch and mission managers finished the Flight Readiness Review on Sunday and gave their "go" to load propellants into the Delta II rocket's second stage today. The scheduled Launch Readiness Review and press conferences will take place Wednesday, Dec. 9.

This week at Vandenberg, weather officials predict intermittent showers, wind and thick clouds due to an approaching front. The official launch forecast will be available closer to launch day.

The WISE spacecraft will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months. The mission will uncover hidden cosmic objects, including the coolest stars, dark asteroids and the most luminous galaxies.