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Satellite retirement, Solar Eclipse and SDO is Lego - SpacePod 2010.07.14

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Published on Jul 13, 2010

Satellite retirement, Solar Eclipse and SDO is Lego on your SpacePod for July 14th, 2010.-----If you've ever seen an older Apollo landing or even the movie Apollo 13 you may remember a point when the spacecraft was re-entering the atmosphere, mission control would lose communication. This was because the radio signals could not penetrate the massive plasma and ionization blast occurring under the vehicle. This blackout phenomenon happened until 1988 when the first part of the TDRS or Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System came online. Since then the re-entry signals have been sent back up to space, away from the plasma and ionization layer to the TDRS satellites and from there relayed back down to Earth. This satellite network serves many other uses as well, and is a key element in constant and flawless communications for human space flight. Part of the TDRS legacy has retired. TDRS-1 which was the first of these space to ground communications satellites in the network has been removed from service as of late last month. Living well past its expected 7 year lifespan, this little 27 year old bird was instrumental in many key communication milestones. This was one of the satellites that helped send the first tweet from space as well as the first globally broadcast event at the South Pole for new years eve at the turn of the Millennium. Ahhh TDRS-1, how we'll miss you.Changing gears slightly, did you have a chance to see the total solar eclipse that happened on July 11th? Yeah, me neither. Problem was that this eclipse was a narrow column that was visible from the South Pacific Ocean. Here's a map that shows the path of totality. That's a whole lot of water on that map. Should have booked a eclipse cruise! That would have been awesome! If you missed this one, fret not you'll have another chance to view a total solar eclipse on November 13th. 2012.Lets close out this SpacePod with a little geekery. Well, more geekery than normal at least. Lego has released their Shuttle Adventure pack. For $100.00 you get this set of Awesome. The external tank and solid rocket boosters all separate and the landing gear works. It is the awesome! Oh, speaking of Legos, we have an SDO Lego kit too! I've been trying to find a place to buy this online but as of yet have been unsucessful. I really only bring this up because I wanted to use the line "SDO is LeGO". Make sure to tweet that to NASA_SDO so they know you watch the show.Well, I can't end the Pod on a bad pun, so here's a shot from the REAL SDO. This is our own sun as shown in extreme ultraviolet light from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Enjoy!

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