Oneweb’s First Six Global Internet Satellites Are Safely In Orbit

After four years and more than $2 billion in funding, OneWeb is ready to launch the first six satellites out of a planned constellation of 650 with which it plans to blanket the world in broadband. The Arianespace-operated Soyuz rocket will take off at 1:37 Pacific time from Guiana Space Center.

OneWeb  is one of several companies that aims to connect the world with a few hundred or thousand satellites, and certainly the most well-funded — SoftBank is the biggest investor, but Virgin Group, Coca-Cola, Bharti Group, Qualcomm and Airbus have all chipped in.

Read more at: Techcrunch

Spacex Crew Dragon Nails Crucial Test: Docking With The Space Station

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has been tested in a vacuum, jostled in an acoustic chamber and put through computer simulations. But there’s only one way to know for sure how a spacecraft will work: Strap it to a rocket, and let it fly.

NASA hopes the Crew Dragon, and a Boeing-built capsule called Starliner, will start flying US astronauts later this year and end the United States’ years-long reliance on Russia to ferry crew to and from the International Space Station. Crew Dragon’s first test mission launched early Saturday, and a risky and crucial test came Sunday morning when the capsule docked with the International Space Station.

Read more at: CNN

Crew Dragon Retires Big Risks, More Challenges Lie Ahead

So far, so good.

Crew Dragon automatically docked at the International Space Station (ISS) this morning. Although it lacked astronauts, it is was a milestone in NASA’s Commercial Crew program that has funded SpaceX and Boeing to produce vehicle to replace the space shuttle the agency retired in 2011.

The mission has already retired a great deal of risk, including the launch on Saturday, on orbit operations, and rendezvous and docking with the space station. The docking is a major achievement; the cargo Dragon variant is berthed with the station by an astronaut using the facility’s robotic arm.

Prior to the flight, the Russian space agency Roscosmos had expressed reservations about the software being used to guide Crew Dragon to a docking with ISS. The space agency appeared to reiterate that concern today with a tweet in Russian.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

The NASA Decision Russia Didn’t Like

Up on the International Space Station, the United States controls one half, and Russia controls the other half. Like the U.S., Russia has one of its astronauts on board right now, and as a rule, 250 miles above Earth, collaboration is synonymous with consensus. But recently, as the U.S. prepared to launch a new and somewhat risky mission, Russia hesitated before deciding whether it would endorse the project.

The cargo mission is expected to leave Earth this weekend. A rocket will lift off from historic Cape Canaveral, in Florida, and propel a capsule loaded with supplies toward the ISS. After the capsule arrives, astronauts on board the station will unpack the shipment, replace it with items to return home, and seal the capsule back up. Once the capsule detaches, it will fall into the planet’s atmosphere and splash into the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more at: Atlantic

Pegasus Woes Continue To Delay NASA Mission

A persistent problem with a Pegasus rocket will keep a long-delayed NASA space science mission on the ground until at least this spring.

NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission was scheduled to launch in late 2017 on a Pegasus XL rocket based out of Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific. That launch was delayed to June 2018 because of an issue with the rocket’s separation system, then delayed again when engineers detected “off-nominal” data from the rocket during a ferry flight from California ahead of the June launch attempt.

Read more at: Spacenews

Advanced Camera for Surveys Anomaly on Hubble Space Telescope

At 8:31 p.m. EST on Feb. 28, the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope suspended operations after an error was detected as the instrument was performing a routine boot procedure. The error indicated that software inside the camera had not loaded correctly. A team of instrument system engineers, flight software experts and flight operations personnel quickly organized to download and analyze instrument diagnostic information. This team is currently working to identify the root cause and then to construct a recovery plan.

The telescope continues to operate normally, executing observations with the other three science instruments — the Wide Field Camera 3, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph — that are all performing nominally.

Read more at: NASA

Commercial Space Policy Issues For 2019

This year promises a number of major achievements in commercial spaceflight. That includes commercial crew test flights, like SpaceX’s Demo-1 uncrewed test flight now scheduled for no earlier than the very early morning hours Saturday from the Kennedy Space Center. In the suborbital spaceflight arena, both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic expect to start flying people this year, with Virgin Galactic performing its latest SpaceShipTwo test flight, with three people on board, last Friday.

Many of those milestones, were first planned for years ago, though: commercial crew vehicles were previously scheduled to be flying in 2017, while both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin had expected to be flying commercially by now. “This is the first time that I’ve ever been saying ‘this year,’” Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos said in a recent interview about when people will fly on its New Shepard vehicle. “For a few years I’ve been saying ‘next year.’”

Read more at: Space review

Following Setback, Beresheet Spacecraft Completes Critical Maneuver

The Beresheet spacecraft successfully carried out a key maneuver Thursday night, following a worrisome computer glitch earlier this week.

Ground control activated the spacecraft’s main engine for four minutes, putting it into a new orbit which takes it to a distance of 131,000 kilometers from earth. The next maneuver is scheduled for next week.

“The maneuver was conducted as expected. All the systems of the spacecraft worked properly,” said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. “We are on our way to the moon.”

Read more at: Times of Israel

International Space Station’s Orbit Raised By 1.6 Km

Specialists of the Russian Mission Control Center have adjusted the International Space Station’s orbit, raising it to the medium altitude of 408.5 km, a spokesman for the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIImash) said on Tuesday.

“The orbit adjustment was performed as scheduled. As a result of the maneuver the medium altitude of the space station’s orbit was raised to 408.5 km,” the spokesman said.

The research institute earlier told TASS that the ISS’s orbit would be adjusted by 1.6 km to create ballistic conditions for Russian spacecraft’s flight with the help of the engines of the Progress MS-10 cargo spaceship.

Read more at: TASS

World View Announces CEO Shift, Grounds Co-Founder’s ‘Space Tourism’ Dream

Tucson’s stratospheric balloon company publicly named a new CEO on Thursday, a move months in the making as World View “retools” toward boosting scientific and communications gear — even as the firm’s workforce has fallen short of lofty goals and even its contract with Pima County.

World View went on record to confirm what reported last week: there’s a shakeup at the top of the high-altitude balloon firm. World View’s new CEO is a veteran leader in the drone industry, Ryan Hartman, former president of Insitu, Boeing’s unmanned aircraft subsidiary. That company builds drones for the U.S. Navy, and others.

Dropped from the top of World View’s list of executives and board members to the bottom was Jane Poynter, the first CEO and a co-founder of the company.

Read more at: Tucson sentinel

Boeing Engineers Will Become Familiar Faces To NASA Astronauts On Starliner Spacecraft

The upcoming adults-only Science Night Live at the Orlando Science Center will feature two engineers working on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft — one of two commercial spacecraft being prepared to launch NASA astronauts again from U.S. soil later this year.

Boeing Starliner engineers Melanie Weber and Louis Atchison will be featured speakers Saturday at the 21-and-up Science Night Live event.

Guests at Science Night Live will be able to wear a pair of 360-degree virtual reality goggles to experience a virtual flight on Starliner.

Read more at: Click orlando

Want to be a Space Tourist? Here is What to Expect

Late last week, commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic sent three people to space and back, including Beth Moses, the company’s chief astronaut instructor. It was the first time that Moses, an aerospace engineer who has previously worked at NASA, had visited space—and the flight makes her the first woman to fly this high on a commercial spacecraft.

Now, Moses’s job is to prepare Virgin Galactic’s customers for what could be the experience of a lifetime: A journey above the atmosphere and into microgravity, where the sky is dark and Earth’s horizon is curved. Tickets are selling for US $250,000 each, and so far, 600 people from 58 countries are waiting for their turn to ride.

Everyone who signs up must pass a basic medical exam, but unlike NASA’s highly selective astronaut program, there is no “right stuff” that commercial fliers must possess—just a lot of cash, a bit of fearlessness, and a sense of adventure.

Read more at: National Geographic

Chinese State-Owned Firms Preparing To Launch New Commercial Rockets

Chinese defense contractor CASIC is preparing to launch a new solid propellant launch vehicle in the first half of the year as part of a multiplatform commercial space strategy.

The Kuaizhou-11 (KZ-11) debut launch will carry six satellites, according to Chinese language news portal 3SNews, though it provided no information on the payloads or clients, nor more precise information on timing.

The new rocket will have a liftoff mass of 78 metric tons and be capable of lifting 1,000 kilograms to a 700-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) or 1,500 kilograms into a 400-kilometer low Earth orbit using either 2.2 or 2.6-meter payload fairings, making it the largest Chinese solid propellant launch vehicle so far.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA Asteroid WARNING: Radars Track 1.2KM Asteroid For Possible COLLISION In December 2019

NASA has predicted 31 potential dates between 2019 and 2101, on which the asteroid threatens to hit the Earth. The closest impact date, which also happens to be the most likely date of cataclysm, falls on December 28, 2019. The asteroid, dubbed Asteroid 2010 GD37, is next most likely to crash into Earth on December 21, 2093. The asteroid also threatens to hit Earth in December 2022, December 2024 and December 2027.

Read more at: Express UK

NASA Selects Mission to Study Space Weather from Space Station

NASA has selected a new mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet. Space weather is important  because it can have profound impacts – affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids.

The new experiment will, for the first time, obtain global observations of an important driver of space weather in a dynamic region of Earth’s upper atmosphere that can cause interference with radio and GPS communications.

The Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) mission will cost $42 million and is planned to launch in August 2022, attached to the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. From its space station perch, AWE will focus on colorful bands of light in Earth’s atmosphere, called airglow, to determine what combination of forces drive space weather in the upper atmosphere.

Read more at: NASA

Failed 1970s Venus Probe Could Crash to Earth This Year

Here’s another warning about incoming space hardware — but this saga has an interplanetary connection.

First, we have to peel back space history to the early 1970s, just after the height of the Cold War space-race between the Soviet Union and the United States.

The Soviet Union launched the Cosmos 482 Venus probe on March 31, 1972. But the spacecraft messed up its rocket-powered escape to that cloud-veiled world and got trapped in Earth orbit.

Read more at:

Space Weather Kicks Up a Social Storm

One of the most visible — and fabulously beautiful — effects of this ‘space weather’ on our planet are the aurora borealis, the famous ‘northern lights’ that dance across the high (and low) latitudes.

Throughout human history, spectacular auroral eruptions have given rise to fearful beliefs of mythological creatures, have driven folklore and have influenced culture, religion and art.

Today, we know the aurora are the visible manifestations in our atmosphere of space weather, and occur when electrically charged particles from the Sun collide with Earth’s atmosphere. These particles are delivered by the ‘solar wind’ — a constant stream of electrons, protons and heavier ions — emitted by our Sun.

Read more at: ESA

Private Cygnus Cargo Ship Ends Mission with Fiery Death in Earth’s Atmosphere

The Cygnus cargo spacecraft completed its latest resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA today (Feb. 25) with a death dive into Earth’s atmosphere.

The robotic Cygnus vessel — named “S.S. John Young” after the late commander of NASA’s Apollo 16 moon mission — launched in November atop an Antares rocket and delivered about 7,400 lbs. (3,350 kilograms) of supplies and scientific gear to the orbiting lab.

The freighter, which is built by aerospace company Northrop Grumman, stayed docked to the station for 81 days. It departed on Feb. 8, loaded up with more than 5,500 lbs. (2,500 kg) of trash for fiery disposal upon re-entry.

Read more at:

Global Meteor Network In Belgium, Germany And Netherlands

The first triangulation results of the Global Meteor Network Cameras in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are described. Between 2019 February 11 and 16, 28 trajectories and orbits were obtained. A particular fireball was associated with the DSE#034 meteor shower, removed from the IAU meteor shower working list. This requires further investigation if any meteor source is active at this position.

Some years ago, the Croatian team presented at the meteor conference in Austria the developments of a low costs video meteor camera to allow a wide coverage of the atmosphere (Zubović et al., 2015). Contrary to many other similar presentations at such conference these efforts were not idle talk and were developed further on (Vida et al., 2016). When the first results were published, the project caught wide attention among the meteor community (Vida et al., 2018a, 2018b).

Read more at: Meteor news

Scorched Spacex Rocket Returns To Port In Florida, Ready To Launch A Fourth Time

Singed and blackened from three fiery trips to the edge of space and back, a Falcon 9 rocket returned to Cape Canaveral on Sunday after a mission last that week carried the Israeli Beresheet moon lander into orbit, ready for inspections before attempting a fourth — and likely final — launch this spring.

The 15-story first stage booster entered the channel to Port Canaveral around 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) Sunday, two-and-a-half days after landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first stage powered an Indonesian communications satellite, an Israeli moon lander, and a U.S. Air Force experimental smallsat into orbit Thursday night after lifting off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Spacex’s First Starship Engine Suffers “Expected” Damage During Raptor Test Fire

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that the first full-scale Starship engine to be tested has already been pushed to the point of damage less than three weeks after the campaign began, setting the stage for the second full-scale Raptor to take over in the near future.

According to Musk, while most of the damaged pathfinder Raptor’s components should still be easily reusable, the assembly of the second finalized engine is “almost done” and that Raptor will take over near-term testing rather than waiting for repairs to the first engine. This is undoubtedly an extraordinarily aggressive test program, particularly for such a new and cutting-edge rocket propulsion system, but these latest developments are ultimately far more encouraging than they are concerning.

Read more at: Teslarati

The Executive: Dan Hart, President & CEO, Virgin Orbit

In 2015, Virgin Galactic opened a facility at Douglas Park to manufacture a new satellite rocket launch system, LauncherOne. In 2017, those operations were incorporated as a new firm within the Virgin Group – Virgin Orbit. The company now takes up two industrial buildings at Douglas Park, employing more than 500 people. Virgin Orbit President & CEO Dan Hart is a long-time Long Beach resident.

LBBJ: Why did Virgin Galactic select Long Beach to manufacture its LauncherOne system?

Hart: Long Beach has an incredible history in aerospace, and the area around Long Beach has a tremendous history around aerospace and space in general. The talent pool is like none other in the world. If you’re going to develop a new system, you really want to attract people who have some familiarity with it and expertise. And it has been perfect.

Read more at: LBBusiness journal

Russia to Invest Over $450,000 in Development of Backpack Vacuum Cleaner for ISS

Russia’s Rocket and Space Corporation Energia is planning to order the development of a new vacuum cleaner, which can be worn as a backpack, for use by cosmonauts on board the International Space Station (ISS), according to the procurement order posted on the website of the company.

A new vacuum cleaner will not only have to suck up dust, hair, threads, liquid droplets, and crumbs. It will also be used during repair works on the ISS to get rid of sawdust.

According to media reports, cosmonauts have been repeatedly complaining about excessive noise and low efficiency of the vacuum cleaner that is used on the ISS at present.

Read more at: Sputnik news

NASA Is Going Back To The Future With Nuclear Rockets

Tucked into the recent spending bill that was passed by Congress is a line item for $100 million for NASA to develop nuclear thermal rocket engines, according to a recent article in Space News. The space agency has dabbled in nuclear rockets off and on since the early 1960s. However, NASA plans to conduct a flight demonstration by 2024 is new.

As NASA noted, the space agency in conjunction with what was then the Atomic Energy Commission worked on a project called the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program in the 1960s. The NERVA program tested various reactors and engines until the project was closed in 1972, once it became apparent that humans had stopped going to the moon and would not travel to Mars anytime soon.

Read more at: Hill

Nuclear In Space — The NETS Meeting

The NETS meeting is wrapping up today at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. The Nuclear And Emerging Technologies For Space is an annual gathering of people from NASA, National Laboratories, industry, and academia to discuss space nuclear power and propulsion as well as new and emerging technologies that make further space exploration possible, safe and economic.

For future space missions, especially for establishing colonies on the Moon or Mars, we need new energy systems to power larger facilities and spacecraft.

Read more at: Forbes

Deep Space Dial-Up: How NASA Speeds Up Its Interplanetary Communications

On November 26, 2018 at 2:52:59 ET, NASA did it again—the agency’s InSight probe successfully landed on Mars after an entry, descent, and landing maneuver later dubbed “six and a half minutes of terror.” The moniker fits because NASA engineers couldn’t know right away whether the spacecraft had made it safely down to the surface because of the current time delay (roughly 8.1 minutes) for communications between Earth and Mars. During that window of time, InSight couldn’t rely on its more modern, high-powered antennas—instead, everything depended on old-fashioned UHF communications (the same method long utilized in everything from TV antennas and walkie-talkies to Bluetooth devices).

Read more at: Arstechnica

Europe Unveils Design Of Reusable Rocket That Looks A Lot Like A Falcon 9

Late last week, the European rocket maker Ariane Group and the French space agency CNES announced the creation of an “acceleration platform” to speed development of future launch vehicles. The initiative, called ArianeWorks, would be a place where “teams work together in a highly flexible environment, open to new players and internationally.”

“In this era of NewSpace and in the context of fierce competition, ArianeWorks will accelerate innovation at grassroots level, in favor of mid-tier firms and start-ups, with commitment to reducing costs a major priority,” a news release sent to Ars states.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Astronauts Arriving On Mars Won’t Be Able To Walk. VR May Save Them

It lasts around 23 minutes and feels “like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, on fire, then crashing really hard.”

That’s how retired Nasa astronaut Ron Garan describes the return from space, strapped into the tight confines of a Soyuz capsule plummeting through the atmosphere back to Earth. The touchdown, slowed by a parachute and – at the very end – six small rockets, is called “soft,” but in reality it’s extremely rough.

Read more at: Wired

U.S. Sen. Cornyn Files Measure To Extended U.S. Operations On Space Station To 2030

U.S. operations on the International Space Station would continue until 2030 under a bill filed Wednesday by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas.

“The only way to continue learning about the universe around us is to aim high and dream big,” Cornyn said in a statement Wednesday. “I’m grateful for the continued work of and input from Houston’s space community as we drafted this bill, which sets the stage for a new era of space exploration and to reassert American leadership in space discovery.”

Currently, operations on the space station are scheduled to end in 2024, but Congress has the ability to extend that date. Experts have said the space station can operate safely until at least 2030.

Read more at: Houston chronicle

European Officials Reject Spacex Complaints Over Launch Subsidies

European space officials on Tuesday rejected complaints by U.S. rocket builder SpaceX that subsidies are hampering its access to the European market, arguing the much larger U.S. market is virtually closed to Europe’s Ariane satellite launch vehicle.

Daniel Neuenschwander, head of space transportation for the European Space Agency (ESA), said efforts were under way to cut costs and stay competitive in a market increasingly dominated by U.S. and Chinese players, but the playing field was not level.

“It’s a tough competition but we should make sure that it is done in a way that is fair,” Neuenschwander told Reuters at the opening of a new German Aerospace Center rocket test site in Lampoldshausen, near Stuttgart. “I think that you better clean your own house before you start to complain about someone else’s.”

Read more at: Reuters

Canada Becomes First Nation To Formally Commit To NASA’s Lunar Gateway

Canada has become the first nation to formally commit to NASA’s lunar Gateway project with a financial contribution to cover a 24-year period and the development of a new generation robotic Canadarm.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Wednesday that Canada would be partnering with NASA and spending 2 billion Canadian dollars ($1.4 billion) over 24 years on the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway program, a human-tended facility in orbit around the moon, as well as other space programs. The announcement included funding of 150 million Canadian dollars over five years for a new Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program to help small and medium-sized businesses develop new technologies to be used and tested in lunar orbit and on the moon’s surface in fields that include artificial intelligence, robotics and health.

Read more at: Spacenews

Defense Officials: New Military Branch Designed For The ‘Unique Culture’ Of Space

Defense Department officials on Friday detailed a five-year plan to establish a U.S. Space Force as a new branch of the military. If Congress approves it, it would be the smallest of the armed services, with just 15,000 members, and its annual cost would be about $500 million.

The more colorful aspects of a military service — the uniforms, the basic training or the weapons it will use — were not discussed in the Pentagon’s Space Force proposal. Officials said it would be premature to get down to that level of detail at this stage in the game.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Force To Cost $2 Billion, Include 15,000 Personnel In First Five Years

The Trump administration plans to spend $2 billion in new funding over a five-year period to create its Space Force, during which roughly 15,000 space-related personnel will transfer from existing roles.

Officials unveiled those details and the Pentagon’s legislative proposal for the new military service March 1. Defense leaders sent the formal proposal to Congress Feb. 27 after President Donald Trump ordered its creation in June.

While many of the details have yet to be determined — will the service have a bootcamp (unclear), its own service academy (no), their own uniforms (possible) or recruitment centers (probably) — a Space Force would share resources such as an acquisition chief, general counsel and chaplains with the broader Department of the Air Force.

Read more at: Defense news

SecAF Questions Space Development Agency; Air Force Didn’t Want Boeing F-15X

“I have some concerns about what is the mission of this entity (the Space Development Agency). Why do we think it would be better than what we currently do, and what exactly would it be focused on.”

That is what Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, whose service includes the Space and Missile Systems Center, told me when I asked her how the proposed Space Development Agency would work with SMC. Back in November, then- Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the Space Development Agency would be the first part of the Space Force or Space Corps — or whatever it is the Trump Administration is trying to create — to stand up.

Read more at: Breaking defense

STRATCOM Chief Renews Call for Sensors in Space

As military officials continue to call for a space-based sensor layer capable of detecting and tracking ballistic or hypersonic missiles, leaders also hope existing signal and surveillance systems aren’t neglected.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Air Force Gens. John Hyten, head of U.S. Strategic Command, and Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the Navy’s sea radars will be needed to thwart missiles headed for the United States.

“We need to go and invest ourselves and our ability to have, first, the domain awareness,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Right now, we need to invest in the IUSS. IUSS, which is our Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, which is atrophied as it relates to the continental U.S. and our ability to defend there.”

Read more at: Military

Hyten Enthusiastic About Usspacecom, But Wants Some Operations To Remain In Omaha

At a Senate hearing today, Gen. John Hyten, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), enthusiastically supported reestablishment of a U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) to ensure space warfighting gets the priority it needs.  However, to ensure a seamless transition he wants some of its operations to remain at USSTRATCOM headquarters in Omaha. He also voiced support for the latest plan to create a Space Force as part of the Air Force, but repeated his opposition to a new military department.

Hyten testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) along with Gen. Terrence O’Shaugnessy, Commander of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

What Happens to Your Body If You Die in Space?

The coming decades should bring about a number of developments when it comes to blasting people into orbit and beyond. Private space travel continues to progress, with Elon Musk and Richard Branson championing civilian exploration. Professional astronauts continue to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) for scientific research. By the 2040s, human colonists could be making the grueling journey to Mars.

With increased opportunities comes the increased potential for misadventure. Though only 18 people have died since the emergence of intragalactic travel in the 20th century, taking more frequent risks may mean that coroners will have to list “space” as the site of death in the future. But since it’s rare to find a working astronaut in compromised health or of an advanced age, how will most potential casualties in space meet their maker?

Read more at: Mental floss

Elon Musk: The Popular Mechanics Interview

In January, we ran an exclusive interview with Elon Musk in which he explained, for the first time, his full thinking—and the complex engineering questions—behind his decision to construct SpaceX’s Starship rocket and booster with stainless steel. The previous design for the rocket (which was then known as the BFR) had called for carbon fiber, but Musk recalculated and went with steel due to its durability, cost-effectiveness, and ductility.

Here, in a continuation of that interview, Musk goes deep on what it takes to actually travel beyond orbit and into space. Also, it sounds like Mars will have a nice park.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

How Spacex Lowered Costs And Reduced Barriers To Space

On March 2, SpaceX plans to launch its first test of an unmanned Dragon vehicle which is designed to carry humans into low Earth orbit and to the International Space Station. If the test is successful, later this year, SpaceX plans to launch American astronauts from United States soil for the first time since 2011.

While a major milestone for a private company, SpaceX’s most significant achievement has been in lowering the launch costs that have limited many space activities. While making several modifications to the fuel and engines, SpaceX’s major breakthroughs have come through recovering and reusing as much of the rocket and launch vehicle as possible.

Read mroe at: Conversation

Stunning Images From NASA’s First 60 Years Of Space Exploration

NASA marked its 60th anniversary last year, and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in July. One thing that ties together these decades of scientific discovery and intrepid missions is the amazing photographs the agency has distributed — for free and in abundance — as part of its mission.

Some 400 of the best, including a selection of lesser-known images, have been collected in the book “The NASA Archives: 60 Years in Space,” a visual celebration of NASA from its inception to its near future.

Read more at: CNN

The Marriage Of Spacex And NASA Hasn’t Been Easy—But It’s Been Fruitful

On Saturday morning SpaceX will attempt to launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft for the first time, marking the latest step in a relationship between NASA and the California rocket company that has now spanned 13 years. It has been a fruitful relationship for both.

For SpaceX, funding from NASA allowed the company to accelerate development of its world-class Falcon 9 rocket from a single-engine booster. Perhaps more importantly, sustained funding for cargo missions to the station (16 have flown so far) has provided the operational breathing room to continue to improve the Falcon 9 rocket, practice landing it, and make reusable rocketry a reality. Now, with crewed missions nearing, SpaceX may soon become the first private company to ever launch humans into orbit.

Read more at: Arstechnica

When Pan Am Promised to Fly Us to the Moon

In 1964, Austrian journalist Gerhard Pistor walked into a Vienna travel agency with a simple proposition. He’d like to fly to the moon, and if possible, he’d like to fly there on Pan Am.

The travel agency, presumably dumbfounded by this request, decided to simply do its job and make the ask: It forwarded the impossible request to the airline, the legend goes, where it attracted the attention of Juan Trippe, the notoriously brash and publicity-thirsty CEO of Pan American World Airways, the world’s most popular airline. Trippe saw a golden opportunity, and the bizarre request gave birth to a brilliant sales ploy that cashed in on the growing international obsession with human spaceflight: Pan Am was going to launch commercially operated passenger flights to the moon. Or, at least, that’s what it was going to tell everyone.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

Elon Musk’s War With The SEC Heats Up During A Historic Launch Week For Spacex

Elon Musk’s ongoing war with the Securities and Exchange Commission continued this week when the agency targeted recent tweets by the billionaire entrepreneur, sparking a standoff that could result in a judge finding him in contempt.

On Monday, the SEC filed documents indicating its belief that Musk last week violated a late 2018 settlement that restricted his Tesla-related communications, specifically on Twitter.

“Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019,” he tweeted Feb. 19. “Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”

Read more at: Florida today

Did You Know Israel Sent A Rocket Into Space In 1961?

Israelis were bursting with pride on Friday, February 22, 2019, whenthe first “blue-and-white” spacecraft successfully blasted off  in the first ever privately-funded Moon mission.

The initiative marks the next step in the Israel Space Agency’s stated goal to “increase Israel’s relative lead in this field and position the country amongst the leading nations involved in space research and its exploitation.”

The notion that this tiny silver of a country could be a leader in space flight and exploration is rooted, in part, with the Israeli Air Force.

Read more at: Israel21c

‘First Man’ Wins Oscar For Visual Effects

First Man, the moonshot tale of Neil Armstrong in the launchpad years before his historic voyage won the Academy Award for visual effects, topping a field of eclectic competitors that included the superhero epic Avengers: Infinity War, Star Warsfilm directed by Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg’s pop-culture collage Ready Player One.

First Man visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert — who also won an Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 –– led an unique effort on First Man, which achieved its evocative recreation of the Apollo 11 mission by melding digital effects, meticulously created miniatures, archival footage, vintage filming techniques and colossal LED screens to re-create the 1969 space mission and the historic ramp-up to it.

Read more at: deadline

‘Not Supposed To Happen’: Remembering Apollo 9, 50 Years On (Part 1)

The year 1969 was pivotal in so many ways for humanity. At its dawn, American astronauts had newly returned from circling the Moon, and by July it had produced our first piloted landfall on another world. These astonishing achievements continue to resonate today—particularly following 2012’s untimely loss of Neil Armstrong—but there is one mission, flown in March 1969, which is a decidedly unsung hero of the effort to plant bootprints on the lunar surface. It rose only to low-Earth orbit, but without it those historic steps at the Sea of Tranquility could not have been taken.

The mission was Apollo 9, and would be forever remembered as a mission of gumdrops and spiders, sickness and golden slippers…and the flight of “The Red Rover”.

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