Archive for October, 2014

Disaster in the Desert: Tragedy Strikes Virgin Galactic

Disaster in the Desert: Tragedy Strikes Virgin Galactic

Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground In the second major disaster to strike commercial space in the same week, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo broke up in the air above the Mojave desert shortly after igniting its new plastic compound based hybrid motor in what would have been its first powered test flight. […]

Policy Implications of the Antares Failure

Policy Implications of the Antares Failure

Tuesday’s loss of the Orbital Sciences Antares booster carrying a Cygnus cargo vessel to the International Space Station, a failure of space hardware, is also bringing more attention to matters of space policy, where the news is both good and bad. To begin with, the explosion of the Antares rocket only six seconds into flight, […]

Here Be Dragons: The Rise of SpaceX and the Journey to Mars

Here Be Dragons: The Rise of SpaceX and the Journey to Mars

Here Be Dragons: The Rise of SpaceX and the Pursuit of Mars is an in-depth history of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation and the Falcon 9/Dragon system which just won NASA’s Commercial Crew award to return human spaceflight capacity to the United States. It is much more than that however.  SpaceX was founded with the Red […]

“A Mishap Has Occurred” OSC Antares Rocket Fails 6 Six Seconds Into Flight

“A Mishap Has Occurred” OSC Antares Rocket Fails 6 Six Seconds Into Flight

Orbital Sciences has suffered a major accident in the launch of the Orb-3 mission to the International Space Station. Six seconds into a launch which was delayed one day due to a boat straying into the safety zone, the Antares booster carrying a Cygnus resupply vessel appeared to lose thrust and come crashing back into […]

Antares Liftoff Scrubbed Due to Marine Traffic

Antares Liftoff Scrubbed Due to Marine Traffic

Waiting on a new day / Image credit Orbital Sciences It was a beautiful evening for a rocket launch. Unfortunately, it was also an equally beautiful evening to do a little boating. Ordinarily not a problem, but in this case the unidentified vessel in question was downrange of the Orbital Sciences Antares booster which was […]

Elon Musk MIT Interview and the Evolution of SpaceX

Elon Musk MIT Interview and the Evolution of SpaceX

On Friday, October 24th, SpaceX founder and CTO Elon Musk sat down for a one on one interview as part of MIT’s AeroAstro Centenial Symposium celebrating 100 years of that institution’s contribution to aero and astronautics. The entire wide ranging interview (here) covers SpaceX, Tesla, Hyperloop and even electric supersonic aircraft, as well as Elon’s […]

Posted in: Mars, SpaceX
SpaceX Dragon Returns, OSC Cygnus Set to Launch

SpaceX Dragon Returns, OSC Cygnus Set to Launch

CRS-4 Dragon Returns / Image Credit : SpaceX Completing its five week mission, the SpaceX CRS-4 Dragon capsule departed from the International Space Space Station at 8:57 AM CDT Saturday morning. A little under six hours later, it was floating in the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles west of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Following the Dragon’s […]

Counting Comets Around Another Star

Counting Comets Around Another Star

Another “Science Friday” courtesy of the European Southern Observatory. From ESO, (link here) “The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. A French team of astronomers has studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris […]

SpaceX Reaches Merlin Milestone

SpaceX Reaches Merlin Milestone

100: Image Credit SpaceX SpaceX has announced via website update a milestone in the production of its Merlin 1D engine. “Less than two years after SpaceX began producing the Merlin 1D engines that power the Falcon 9 rocket, the 100th Merlin 1D engine is complete. SpaceX is currently the largest private producer of rocket engines […]

Posted in: SpaceX
“Wastebook 2014” Takes Aim at the International Space Station

“Wastebook 2014” Takes Aim at the International Space Station

Earlier this week, retiring Senator Tom Coburn, (R) Oklahoma released the 2014 edition (pdf) of the “Wastebook” of public spending. As always the publication includes a cherry picked list of the various ways in which government “wastes” taxpayer dollars, much of which is difficult defend no matter what your political point of view. As usual, NASA […]

Posted in: NASA
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