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Sunday, August 24, 2008


Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) is a national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia.

Malaya Independence

The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British in London for Merdeka, or independence along with the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V.T. Sambanthan. Once it became increasingly clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out, agreement was reached on February 8, 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire. However, for a number of logistical and administrative reasons, it was decided that the official proclamation of independence would only be made the next year, on August 31, 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj announced the independence of Malaya from the British on August 31, 1957 at Stadium Merdeka.

The formation of Malaysia

Federation of Malaysia, comprising the States of Malaya, North Borneo (later renamed Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore was to be officially declared on the date August 31, 1963, on the 6th anniversary of Malayan independence. However, it was postponed to September 16, 1963, mainly due to Indonesian and the Philippines' opposition to the formation of Malaysia. Nevertheless, North Borneo and Singapore declared sovereignty on August 31, 1963. Indonesian opposition later escalated to a military conflict.

Indonesia considered Malaysia as a new form of colonization on the provinces of Sarawak and Sabah in the island of Borneo (bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia), which they laid claim on.[ citation needed ] To assure Indonesia that Malaysia was not a form of neo-colonialism, a referendum, organized by the United Nations, and the Cobbold Commission, led by Lord Cobbold, were formed to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak wished to join Malaysia. Their eventual findings which indicated substantial support for Malaysia among the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, cleared the way for the final proclamation of Malaysia.

The formation of the Federation of Malaysia was then announced on September 16, 1963 as Malaysia Day. The Independence Day celebration is still held on August 31, the original independence date of Malaya. However, this has caused some minor discontent among East Malaysians in particular since it has been argued that celebrating the national day on August 31 is too Malaya-centric.

Thats all from me! I LOVE MALAYSIA!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hubble's Story

Named after the trailblazing astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889-1953), the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a large, space-based observatory which has revolutionized astronomy by providing unprecedented deep and clear views of the Universe, ranging from our own solar system to extremely remote fledgling galaxies forming not long after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

Launched in 1990 and greatly extended in its scientific powers through new instrumentation installed during four servicing missions with the Space Shuttle, the Hubble, in its eighteen years of operations, has validated Lyman Spitzer Jr.'s (1914-1997) original concept of a diversely instrumented observatory orbiting far above the distorting effects of the Earth's atmosphere and returning data of unique scientific value.

Hubble's coverage of light of different colors (its "spectral range") extends from the ultraviolet, through the visible (to which our eyes are sensitive), and into the near-infrared. Hubble's primary mirror is 2.4 meters (94.5 inches) in diameter. Hubble is not large by ground-based standards but it performs heroically in space. Hubble orbits Earth every 96 minutes, 575 kilometers (360 miles) above the Earth's surface.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD performs the daily orbital operations, servicing mission development, and overall management of the Hubble Program. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, MD develops and executes Hubble's scientific program and is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under contract to NASA.

Last Mission To Hubble
Making Hubble More Powerful Than Ever

Hubble Telescope that is 350 miles above the surface of our planet, will be service by the crew of STS-125 for the last time to make it more powerful than ever. Hubble had been serviced in the year 1993, 1997, 1999 and most recent in 2002. The Astronaut will spend over 32 hours in spacewalks.Besides repairing, upgrading and enhancing the telescope, the Astronaut will also install 2 new science instruments that is COSMIC ORIGINS SPECTROGRAPH and WIDE FIELD CAMERA 3.


Launch Target:
Oct. 8, 2008
Mission Number:
STS-125 (124th space shuttle flight)
Launch Window:
60 minutes - rendezvous dependent
Launch Pad:
Mission Duration:
11 days
Landing Site:
KSC(Kennedy Space Center)
28.5 degrees/304 nautical miles
Primary Payload:
+ Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4

STS-125: The Final Visit

The mission insignia for STS-125 - the fourth Hubble servicing mission. Image: NASA

It's a mission to once more push the boundaries of how deep in space and far back in time humanity can see. It's a flight to again upgrade what already may be the most significant satellite ever launched.

And, for the space shuttle, it's a final visit to a dear, old friend.

The STS-125 mission will return the space shuttle to the Hubble Space Telescope for one last visit before the shuttle fleet retires in 2010. Over 11 days and five spacewalks, the shuttle Atlantis’ crew will make repairs and upgrades to the telescope, leaving it better than ever and ready for another five years – or more – of research.

The shuttle Discovery launched Hubble in 1990, and released it into an orbit 304 nautical miles above the Earth. Since then it’s circled Earth more than 97,000 times and provided more than 4,000 astronomers access to the stars not possible from inside Earth’s atmosphere. Hubble has helped answer some of science’s key questions and provided images that have awed and inspired the world.

“We’ve actually seen an object that emitted its light about 13 billion years ago,” said Hubble senior scientist Dave Leckrone. “Since the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that’s its infancy, the nursery. From the nearest parts of our solar system to further back in time than anyone has ever looked before, we’ve taken ordinary citizens on a voyage through the universe.”

The Hubble Space Telescope is seen in March 2002 with its new solar arrays after the completion of STS-109, the third Hubble servicing mission. Image: NASA

But Hubble has not done it alone.

Atlantis’ crew – Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Gregory C. Johnson and Mission Specialists Andrew Feustel, Michael Good, John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino and Megan McArthur – will be the fifth shuttle crew to fly to the telescope. Their predecessors have replaced and repaired failed and faulty components and added new and improved cameras and scientific equipment, and the STS-125 crew will be no different.

Most exciting are the new scientific instruments Atlantis’ spacewalkers will install. The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, for instance, will observe the light put out by extremely faint, far-away quasars and see how that light changes as it passes through the intervening gas between distant galaxies. In this way scientists will learn what that gas is made of, how it’s changed over time and how it affects the galaxies around it.

“It’s an important player in the story of how galaxies are formed and how the chemical makeup of the universe has changed over time,” Leckrone said.

And the new Wide Field Camera 3 will allow Hubble to take large-scale, extremely clear and detailed pictures over a very wide range of colors. At ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths the WFC3 represents a dramatic improvement in capability over all previous Hubble cameras. It is also a very capable visible light camera, though by design not quite as capable at visible wavelengths as Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The WFC3 and ACS are designed to work together in a complementary fashion.

“If I want a complete family album of the universe, I need to look at it in all these different wavelengths,” Leckrone said. “This will be the first time we’ve had an opportunity to take all these different images together, to have a comparable quality of pictures across this whole wavelength band.”

Before those much anticipated views are seen, though, the equipment has to be installed – a process that will be exciting in its own right. The spacewalks necessary to outfit Hubble will be very different from the spacewalks conducted at the International Space Station.

“It’s more like brain surgery than construction,” Lead Flight Director Tony Ceccacci said. “On station spacewalks, you’re installing large pieces of equipment – trusses, modules, etc. – and putting it together like an erector set. You can’t do that with Hubble. Hubble spacewalks are comparable to standing at an operating table, doing very dexterous work.”

Although the installation of the new equipment and the replacement of some old items gyroscopes, batteries and a fine guidance sensor – will be challenging, it’s the repairs the astronauts plan that will be the most complicated.

The new camera and spectrograph are designed to complement the scientific instruments already on the telescope – specifically the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. But pieces of those instruments have failed in past years – not the entire instrument, but specific pieces inside of them. The crew will replace only the pieces that have failed.

But those instruments were never designed to be repaired in space. In fact, they were specifically designed not to come apart.

The Hubble Space Telescope is in the grip of space shuttle Columbia's robotic arm in March 2002 at the beginning of STS-109, the third Hubble servicing mission. Image: NASA

“When we first looked at it, we were going ‘well, maybe, maybe not,’” Ceccacci said.

Since then, the team has come up with a plan for the work that Ceccacci believes will be very successful. But it won’t be easy – the repair of the spectrograph, for instance, requires the spacewalkers to remove more than 100 screws to access a computer card they will pull out and replace.

Still, the mission’s commander pointed out that it’s good practice for the future.

“I think it’s a step that we need to take to make us better able to go to places like Mars,” Altman said. “You don’t want to drag a whole spare giant box along – you’d like to be able to have the one little transistor you need to plug in when that fails. Being able to demonstrate this in space is a key element of us growing as a space-faring people.”

The Hubble spacewalks won’t be the only things that differ from missions to the space station. Confined to just the shuttle, the quarters will be tighter; with five back-to-back spacewalks, the pace will be faster.

Without the station crew to give the shuttle a once over and photograph its heat shield , the customary survey of the heat shield done the day after launch will be much more intensive. The crew will use the shuttle robotic arm and its 50-foot boom extension and sensor systems to perform not only the standard nose cap and wing leading edges inspection, but also a survey of the upper crew cabin and the entire underside.

In the unlikely event that irreparable damage is found, the crew also won’t be able to get to the space station to wait for a ride home – Atlantis can't reach the station from Hubble’s orbit. Because the crew won't have access to the station and the support it could provide in an emergency, the mission to Hubble requires some changes on the ground.

For every shuttle mission since Columbia, there has been a contingency plan in place to allow another shuttle to be launched if needed to rescue a stranded shuttle crew. On station missions, that stranded crew can wait longer at the station than would be the case for Atlantis. So, for 125, another shuttle will be standing ready on Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-B. If needed, space shuttle Endeavour, manned by the flight deck crew of mission STS-123 which flew in March, will be ready to fly to Hubble and retrieve Atlantis’ crew within days.

What puts Altman’s mind at ease, however, are the changes NASA has made to keep damage from occurring in the first place.

“I feel pretty good that we’ve made incredible improvement in the external tank,” he said. “That’s the root cause. But if something does happen, I think we have the tools to find it, see where it is, evaluate how serious it is and fix it. And then on that one-way-down-at-the-edge-of-the-probability-level chance that you could have damage such that you wouldn’t want to come home on it, we have the capability to stay up there – extend our time and have another shuttle come get us.”
The risks, he believes, are relatively small, and the payoff is huge.

“Hubble puts cutting edge science together with a visual image that grabs the public’s imagination,” Altman said. “I think that’s the first step in exploration. Because Hubble takes light that’s been traveling for billions of years, sucks it in and shows it to us. It’s like taking you on a journey 13 and a half billion light years away while you sit there at home and look out at the universe.”

source : NASA
watch the video :

Crew Begins First Full JAXA Experiment in Kibo

Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff works in the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 17 crew aboard the International Space Station began a new week Monday with the initiation of the first full Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency experiment in the Japanese Kibo laboratory.

Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff began the Marangoni fluid physics experiment, which resides in the Ryutai science rack aboard Kibo. This experiment studies different fluid flows in the microgravity environment of space.

Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko continued to stow unneeded items in the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). The ATV is slated to undock from the station on Sept. 5 and be deorbited Sept. 29 for destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

In addition to their regular exercise activities, all three crew members performed routine body mass measurements.

source :
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