Russia launches new generation of GLONASS-K satellite into orbit

Soyuz - GeoawesomenessYesterday early morning Soyuz rocket successfully put in orbit a new generation of satellite as a part of GLONASS – Russian alternative to American GPS. GLONASS-K is the latest version of the satellite design, developed by Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems. The K Series are an advanced improvement of the previous M second-generation satellites, with longer lifespans and better accuracy.

Development of GLONASS began in the Soviet Union in 1976. By the turn of the this decade, GLONASS had achieved 100 percent coverage, with the full orbital constellation of 24 satellites operational in 2011. The Russians are continually launching GLONASS satellites, with varying success. One of the biggest failures came when three GLONASS-M birds were lost when their Proton-M launch vehicle dramatically failed during launch.

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Friends In Space: The first-ever social network for tracking and communicating with an astronaut

Over the last few months, the International Space Station has evolved as an interesting platform for social media interactions and discussions about Space. Be it Chris Hadfield’s take on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that put Space on the YouTube spotlight or Alexander Gerst’s tweets on board the ISS that made #BlueDot, a trending twitter hashtag for space geeks. The International Space Station had played a key role, The Friends in Space app will showcase social networking for space geeks that extends beyond the Earth, to, you guessed it right, the International Space Station.

Friends in Space is the first ever social network for tracking and communicating with an astronaut! The application is part social networking and part space geek paradise!

Friends in Space: A Social Networking site for the Space geeks in us!

Friends in Space is a web browser application that lets you interact with Italy’s first female astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS), Samantha Cristoforetti (“Sam”) who also happens to be an Alumna of TU München. Yes, I do agree I am bragging about my university connection with an Astronaut currently on-board the ISS but can you really blame me 😉

Friends in Space application was developed by Accurat, a data visualization company that basically worked on the Friends in Space app in their free time because they believe “Space + Data = Awesome”.

friendsinspace

So what can you do with Friends in Space?

The homepage of the Web App is your real-time window to see what Sam is doing, which part of the earth she is currently flying over and who else is “out in space” with you and her. The App will showcase footage covering Sam’s activities during her time on board the International Space Station (ISS).

You can log in to communicate with Sam when she’s in orbit above your location and interact with other space geeks who are also trying to communicate with her from around the world or you can simply browse the website and share your location to see yourself among the social networking stars along the orbit. Wondering in which language to tweet/send your message to Sam? Good thing she happens to know Italian, German, French, Russian and English! So get ready to say “Saluto, Hallo, Bonjour, привет and Hello” to Astro Sam!

In addition to messages, you can also check out how kilometers Sam has traveled since your message and how many orbits you were part of.

The Web app also serves as your ISS calendar widget, reminding you when the next ISS ground pass over your location would be!

It also has some cool and engaging information about orbit information and life on board the ISS. So go ahead and check out the Friends in Space web app, I am sure you’ll like it 🙂

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