Advanced propulsion

A Possible Explanation for the EM Drive’s Newtonian Paradox

A Possible Explanation for the EM Drive’s Newtonian Paradox

Its not warp drives or jump gates, but a form of in-space propulsion many regard as just as improbable, the EM Drive, is managing to remain in the news. Billed as possibly reducing travel times to Mars in half, the EM Drive holds the potential to change how we view access to the rest of […]

Posted in: Advanced propulsion
Look Ma! No Mylar! : NASA’s E-Sail Promises Higher Speeds to Far Away Places

Look Ma! No Mylar! : NASA’s E-Sail Promises Higher Speeds to Far Away Places

A fascinating experiment is underway at the Marshall Space Flight Center to demonstrate the potential of a new form of solar sail which does away with the fabric entirely. Instead of attempting to deploy a troublesome sail made of mylar, the E-Sail uses instead a series of thin aluminum wires spun out from the slowly […]

Launching Tiny Starships: The Breakthrough Initiative Targets a Mission to Alpha Centauri

Launching Tiny Starships: The Breakthrough Initiative Targets a Mission to Alpha Centauri

In February, Innerspace featured a story about a NASA derived concept to send tiny, wafer-sized sized spacecraft to interstellar destinations by using an array of lasers to accelerate them to 30% of the speed of light. It did not take long for the hypothetical story based on a research paper to achieve a potentially very […]

Posted in: Advanced propulsion
NASA Concept: 30% Light Speed in 10 Minutes With Photonic Propulsion

NASA Concept: 30% Light Speed in 10 Minutes With Photonic Propulsion

A paper submitted to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society by Philip Lubin of the UC Santa Barbara Physics Department last April, is suddenly drawing a great deal of attention, in part because it resulted in a NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) award. The title of the paper, A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight, and of […]

Posted in: Advanced propulsion
Feeling the “Burn” of Solar Thermal Propulsion

Feeling the “Burn” of Solar Thermal Propulsion

For a brief period in the 1990’s, Solar Thermal Propulsion appeared to be on the cusp of becoming the next big thing in space technology. While that obviously has not happened yet, a recent NASA Future in Space Operations (FISO) presentation from Marshall Space Flight Center suggests it may still be an approach whose time […]

Posted in: Advanced propulsion
Ad Astra Begins Work on NASA Contract for VASIMR Deep Space Engine

Ad Astra Begins Work on NASA Contract for VASIMR Deep Space Engine

It’s certainly not warp drive, but one of the more exciting concepts for deep space propulsion is a making a significant step towards development with the following press release from Ad Astra Rocket Company. (comments follow) PRESS RELEASE 081015, August 10, 2015 Ad Astra Rocket Company and NASA move to execution phase of NextSTEP VASIMR® […]

Posted in: Advanced propulsion
Planetary Society Declares LightSail a Success

Planetary Society Declares LightSail a Success

Deployed! Image Credit The Planetary Society It was hard won, but after series of scares involving low battery readings, software glitches and communication dropouts, the Planetary Society has declared its cubesat based LightSail experiment a success. The 3U cubesat launched into space as a secondary payload aboard an Atlas V on May 20th, the same […]

Five Years Later: Part II

Five Years Later: Part II

Dawn of New Era : KSC Clock Adds Up the Minutes of the First SpaceX Launch to ISS If Project Constellation was the clear victim of President Obama’s Kennedy Space Center address, the immediate beneficiary was without a doubt the International Space Station program. Slated for de-orbit as soon as 2016 in some Constellation planning […]

Turning Up the Power on Solar Electric Propulsion

Turning Up the Power on Solar Electric Propulsion

NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion thruster. /  Image Credit NASA. After arriving at the dwarf planet Ceres one month ago, NASA’s ion powered Dawn spacecraft entered an initial capture orbit which took it to a maximum altitude of more than 46,000 miles above the icy body. Firing steadily, a 2.6 kw ion engine, one […]

Posted in: Advanced propulsion
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