Archive for December, 2012

Crowd Sourced Science:  The Milky Way Project

Crowd Sourced Science: The Milky Way Project

NASA / JPL recently released Clouds, a new on-line “game”  which is a part of the Milky Way Project ,  a science initiative which seeks to refine some of the vast quantity of observations made by the Spitzer Space telescope and ESA’s Hershel Space Observatory.  One of the common emerging themes in space science is that the capacity to […]

Turbopump Bearing Faulted in Latest Proton / Briz Launch Episode

Turbopump Bearing Faulted in Latest Proton / Briz Launch Episode

Sources:  RIA Novosti,  Spacepolicyonline.com Investigation of a December 8 launch incident which saw a Proton booster deliver the Yamal 402 satellite to the wrong orbit has focused on a failed turbopump bearing in the Briz-M upper stage.  Although the satellite was eventually boosted to the proper orbit using its own on-board propellant, the mission saving manuever did not come without a cost, most likely […]

Posted in: Russian Space
Santa or SpaceX?  Well if it’s a Reusable Launch Vehicle You Want….

Santa or SpaceX? Well if it’s a Reusable Launch Vehicle You Want….

If for some reason you weren’t looking forward to next year,  here is a reason to reconsider. This video comes from a December 17th test flight of the SpaceX Grasshopper reusable test vehicle conducted at the company’s McGregor, Tx rocket development facility.  Propelled by a Merlin 1D engine using deep throttling capability and closed loop vector control, the craft […]

Does Tau Ceti Harbor Earth’s Sister Planet?

Does Tau Ceti Harbor Earth’s Sister Planet?

Source: University of Hertfordshire A team of astronomers based out of the University of Hertfordshire has discovered compelling evidence that the Tau Ceti system, only 12 light years away from Earth, contains at least  5 planets, two of which are orbiting within the star’s “habitable zone.”   The find, which was made using a new modelling technique which employs […]

Posted in: Space Science
Cassini Captures Saturn in All its Glory

Cassini Captures Saturn in All its Glory

Sometimes the most beautiful ornaments aren’t even on the tree.  Another remarkable image from Cassini JPL Press Release Below: PASADENA, Calif — Just in time for the holidays, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, in orbit around Saturn for more than eight years now, has delivered another glorious, backlit view of the planet Saturn and its rings. On Oct. […]

Posted in: Space Science
North Korea, ITAR, and the Janus Coin of Launch Technology

North Korea, ITAR, and the Janus Coin of Launch Technology

North Korea’s December 11 launch of its first satellite has justifiably drawn an enormous degree of criticism due to the clear military rationale behind the program, as well as the sad contrast of resources placed into it at the same time the economic failures of the totalitarian regime keep much of the population at a starvation […]

Rivers on Titan : Cassini

Rivers on Titan : Cassini

There are times when the mystery and wonder gradually being revealed in our own solar system borders on intoxicating, and no deep space probe has done a better job of pealing back the layers than Cassini.  It is hard to believe that this mission, launched in 1997 from the same pad now occupied by SpaceX and the Falcon […]

Posted in: Space Science
X-37B : Putting the Cart Under the Horse

X-37B : Putting the Cart Under the Horse

Tuesday’s launch of a Atlas V rocket carrying the X-37B unmanned orbital space plane marked an interesting development in the gradual progression of  reusable space flight capability.  In the first place, it represented a return to flight of the RL-10 upper stage engine following an October Delta IV launch “anomaly” in which an underperfoming engine led to a longer than planned […]

There’s a Storm Coming (So Let’s Fly Around It This Time)

There’s a Storm Coming (So Let’s Fly Around It This Time)

For anyone who has wondered just why pilots on trans-oceanic flights continue to fly through storms,  this news release about a very welcome NASA funded improvement in aviation weather forecasting provides a good explanation and hopefully some relief.  Sometimes telling yourself, and your fellow travellers that the plane can take more than you can,  just isn’t all […]

Posted in: NASA
The SpaceX / Stratolaunch Split

The SpaceX / Stratolaunch Split

The recently reported split between SpaceX and Stratolaunch Systems raises some interesting questions regarding the future of Paul Allen’s project. The inclusion of SpaceX and its Falcon launch vehicle always seemed to make more sense for Stratolaunch than it did for SpaceX, which after all, is doing quite nicely on its own. According to reports, Stratolaunch, which has yet to […]

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