Friday, September 30, 2011

SpaceX to attempt fully reusable orbital booster

(AP) LOS ANGELES — California space-launch entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday his company will try to develop an orbital booster system with components capable of flying back to Earth for reuse.

Both of the rocket’s stages would return to the launch site and touch down vertically, under rocket power, on landing gear after delivering a spacecraft to orbit, Musk said in a webcast speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. A company animation also showed a capsule landing in the same way.

Musk, founder of Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, said the complexities of the engineering have canceled previous efforts by others.

“I wasn’t sure it could be solved, for a while, but then I think just relatively recently — probably in the last 12 months or so — I’ve come to the conclusion that it can be solved and I think SpaceX is going to try to do it,” Musk said.

“Now, we could fail — I’m not saying we are certain of success here — but we are going to try to do it. And we have a design that on paper — doing the calculations, doing the simulations — it does work,” he added. “Now we need to make sure that those simulations and reality agree, because generally when they don’t reality wins.”

SpaceX is currently working to demonstrate that its big Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule can ferry supplies to the international space station now that NASA has retired its space shuttle fleet. The capsule and the Falcon 9’s first stage are intended to be reusable after recovery from ocean splashdowns.

Full article: http://www.cbsnews.c … h/main20113820.shtml

Friday, September 23, 2011

UARS Re-entry Updates

Spaceflight Now’s live coverage page for the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.

Craft: UARS
Launch: STS-48
Shuttle Discovery
Launch: Sept. 12, 1991 @ 7:11pm EDT
Deploy: Sept. 15, 1991 @ 12:23am EDT
Decommission: Dec. 15, 2005
Re-entry: Friday

http://www.spaceflig … com/uars/status.html

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NASA unveils new plan to buy rides for astronauts

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — NASA plans to spend as much as $1.6 billion over the next two years bolstering industry efforts to develop space taxis, officials said on Monday.

The U.S. space agency will be looking for complete systems — launchers, spaceships, mission operations and ground support — to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by the middle of the decade, a draft solicitation released on Monday shows.

The money will supplement investments that private companies are making to develop commercial space transportation services.

President Barack Obama has requested $850 million for NASA’s commercial crew development initiative, or CCDev, for the year beginning October 1. The Senate Appropriations Committee last week offered $500 million.

With the U.S. space shuttles retired, the United States is dependent on Russia to fly its astronauts to the space station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations that orbits about 225 miles above Earth. Russia charges more than $50 million a person, including training and support services.

Full article: http://www.msnbc.msn … e-space#.TnikNdRBWit

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Launch System to Rival Saturn V

NASA will build a rocket larger and more powerful than even the massive Saturn V moon rockets under a plan unveiled Sept. 14 to take astronauts farther into space than ever before.

The Space Launch System, or SLS, will take astronauts into deep space on missions to asteroids, the moon or Mars.

“We are dreaming big,” NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said. “We’re investing in technologies to live and work in space and it sets the stage for visiting asteroids and Mars.”

Just like its Saturn V predecessor, the SLS heavy-lift rocket will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Kennedy’s main work during the SLS development will center on designing ground support equipment for the test flights and then the operational missions.

The unique facilities at Kennedy are expected to be used for SLS, too. In addition to the landmark Vehicle Assembly Building, which stacked the Saturn V for launch, Kennedy has processing areas and clean rooms that can support spacecraft of all sorts. The crawler-transporters and the 355-foot-tall mobile launcher, or ML, also are available to support a rocket at the launch pad.

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Students to Study Mysterious Giant Planet with NASA’s Juno Spacecraft

Famous astronomer Galileo Galilei was well into his 40s when he discovered moons orbiting our solar system’s largest planet — Jupiter. By those standards, there are thousands of students who are light years ahead in their research of the cosmos.

About 8,500 kindergarten through 12th-grade students from the United States and Chile are involved in the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT) project, which allows them to operate a 112-foot retired NASA radio telescope to study black holes, quasars and planets. They also have the unique opportunity to monitor the health of NASA’s spacecraft, including its newest planetary probe to Jupiter — Juno.

[Read More…]

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