Home > Ephemeris Program, NASA, Space exploration > 04/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Up up and a way my beautiful balloon*

04/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Up up and a way my beautiful balloon*

April 21, 2016

Ephemeris for Thursday, April 21st.  The Sun rises at 6:47.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 8:36.   The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:16 tomorrow morning.

The successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft and the Dragon module marked the returned SpaceX to supplying the International Space Station after its failure last June.  Besides the great achievement of landing the first stage of the Falcon on a barge, it delivered the Bigelow Aerospace BEAM inflatable module to the ISS.  It’s already been attached to the station and will be inflated next month.  Bigelow already has two inflatable satellites in orbit:  Genesis I and II launched in 2006 and 2007 and though retired, are still in orbit.  Inflatable spacecraft offer maximum volume for minimum weight.  If the tests on the space station prove the concept, the Mars manned spacecraft may feature an inflatable living module.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

*Apologies to the 5th Dimension and Bigelow Aerospace.


Loading BEAM

The BEAM module being loaded in the Dragon Trunk. Credit NASA / SpaceX.

BEAM in the trunk

Dragon separating from the Falcon second stage with the BEAM module seen in the Dragon trunk. From a SpaceX/NASA video.

Inflated BEAM

What the BEAM module will look like when attached to the ISS and inflated. Credit NASA.


Cutaway view of the Bigelow Aerospace B330 Expandable Space Habitat. They are contracting with United Launch Alliance to send it into orbit. It will have 330 cubic meters of volume. Credit Bigelow Aerospace.

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