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David Szondy

ATV-5 docks under autonomous control (Image: ESA/NASA)

ESA’s last Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)-5, Georges Lemaître, has arrived at the International Space Station. In what the space agency describes as a "flawless demonstration of technology and skill," the unmanned cargo ship autonomously docked itself while supervised by mission control in Toulouse, France and by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov inside the space station.  Read More

An asymmetrical elephant top that balance thanks to an algorithm created at Disney Researc...

Tops, yo-yos, and other spinning toys are amongst the oldest playthings created by man, with the earliest examples dating back to 3,500 BC. Paradoxically, they’re not very easy to make with their design requiring a lot of trial and error. One mistake and, instead of a pirouetting plaything, you get a clattering paperweight. That’s why spinning toys tend to be symmetrical – until now. In a blow for symmetry, Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich have developed a computer algorithm that can take any shape, no matter how cock-eyed, and make it spin like a top.  Read More

Artist's concept of ISEE-3 (Image: NASA)

A chapter of space history closed today as an ambitious project by a private organization to bring a 36-year old spacecraft back to life came to an end. Despite efforts by the ISEE-3 Reboot Project to restart the ISEE-3’s propulsion system, the unmanned probe has now been hurled back into deep space after a lunar flyby.  Read More

 The restored 540 K Streamliner

What might have been? That's the question posed by the newly restored Mercedes-Benz 1938 540 K Streamliner that will get its international public première at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance this month. The streamlined version of the 540 K was originally built to participate in a race that was cancelled due to a minor event called World War Two, but has since been restored to its original condition.  Read More

Exploded view of the CubeSat-class 50-mm (2-in) imaging instrument (Image: NASA Goddard/Ja...

Telescopes are very simple devices in theory, but getting one to work in space means a complex assembly of mechanical parts that is expensive, difficult to build, and hard to operate in the hostile environment outside the Earth’s atmosphere. To simplify things, NASA aerospace engineer Jason Budinoff is working on the first space telescope made entirely from 3D-printed parts.  Read More

The proposals are intended to produce new power sources, such as the fuel cell used in thi...

Once upon a time, energy systems for space missions were simple. You used batteries for very short missions, solar panels in the inner Solar System, nuclear power generators if you were beyond Mars or needed a lot of power, and fuel cells for manned spacecraft. However, as space exploration starts looking into lunar polar craters, comets, and the icy moons of Jupiter, new energy systems will be needed. To anticipate that need, NASA has made awards to four proposals to develop advanced energy storage technology for future manned and unmanned space missions..  Read More

Artist's concept of the new SpaceX Dragon, which may one day fly from Brownsville, Texas (...

The office of Texas Governor Rick Perry has revealed that SpaceX has selected Brownsville, Texas as the site of a new launch facility for sending commercial satellites into orbit. The plans were revealed as part of an announcement by the Governor’s office that the Texas state government is providing US$2.3 million to provide infrastructure for the project, which is expected to create 300 jobs and generate $85 million in capital investments.  Read More

The Rosetta spacecraft is now in orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (Image: ESA)

The list of space firsts got a little longer this week. On August 6 at 11:30 am CET, ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany received radio signals confirming that Rosetta had begun its approach and was going into orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, making Rosetta the first spacecraft to go into orbit around a comet.  Read More

The visual microphone can reconstruct sounds from video images, such as subtly-vibrating p...

If you've ever had the feeling that you’re being listened to by chip bags, spied on by your houseplants, and eavesdropped by chocolate bar wrappers, then you may not be paranoid; you may just be up on the latest technology. That’s because a team of scientists led by MIT that includes participants from Microsoft, and Adobe has created a "visual microphone" that uses a computer algorithm to analyze and reconstruct audio signals from objects in a video image.  Read More

Artist's impression of Curiosity (Image: NASA)

Break out the party hats – NASA’s Curiosity rover is celebrating its second anniversary on Mars. On August 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm PDT (August 6, 05:31 GMT), the unmanned spacecraft touched down at Bradbury Landing in Gale Crater on the start of a multi-year mission to seek out areas where life could or may once have existed, and is now preparing to carry on for a third year.  Read More

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