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The power outage, as viewed from Space

Power Outage, via NASA

Via NASA come pictures that show how severe the power outages were in the DC area during the aftermath of last Friday’s derecho storm. The slider effect is devastating, and shows whole large swaths of Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs that were in the dark in their entirety. The core of DC stays largely lit, thanks to its network of underground power conduit.

Thanks, NASA, you’re pretty awesome at showing how much Pepco, Dominion and BGE had to recover because they haven’t figured out things like “Trees falling on power lines make electrical grid fall down, go boom.”

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Discovery Coming to Udvar-Hazy

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In case you missed it, NASA announced today – the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle program and the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Russian Yuri Gagarin – that the space shuttle Discovery will make its final home at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center as part of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum collection. The 27 year-old orbiter is the longest-serving shuttle of the retiring space fleet and has flown every type of mission during its career.

It will take a place of honor that is currently occupied by the Enterprise as the original ‘test’ orbiter relocates to its new home at the Intrepid Museum in New York City. The Enterprise has been in place since the opening of the center in 2003.

Discovery flew a total of 39 missions, from satellite deliveries to the Hubble, DoD projects to the Russian space station Mir. It retired after returning to Earth on March 9. The venerable orbiter has spent a total of 365 days in space and  flown a number of special missions, including the 100th shuttle mission in 2000 and was the first shuttle to fly under an African-American commander.

It will be several months before Discovery is delivered to Udvar-Hazy. “An acquisition of this importance happens rarely in the life of a museum,” said Air and Space curator Dr. Valerie Neal. “It is an honor and privilege to welcome Discovery into the national collection, where it will be displayed, preserved, and cared for forever.”

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Cleaning the Air and Space Museum’s Lunar Lander

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Smithsonian Mag’s Around the Mall has a look at the cleanup of the Air and Space Museum’s Apollo Lunar Module #2 in preparation for the upcoming 40th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing: Continue reading

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NASA’s space flight plans

Photo courtesy of Me

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If you’re a space wonk and have some time tomorrow you might want to go to NASA’s public meeting about the plans for human space flight. Starting at 9am at the Carnegie Institution auditorium and running till 5pm topics will include the Constellation Program, the International Space Station, other orbital transport systems, and how it all gets paid for.

If you can’t sneak out of work but can keep busy-looking at your desk while screwing off you can just watch it all online on NASA TV.