NASA has announced the names of the first astronauts to ride into space aboard the first generation of commercial spacecraft that will return manned launch capabilities to American soil. With the selection process complete, the astronauts are set to begin a stringent training program in preparation for the 2017 launch of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft.
In the early days of spaceflight, every new satellite was a one off. Today, satellites are produced in classes, but each new mission still needs a satellite that's individually configured for its role. With the goal of creating a next-generation universal satellite, ESA, Eutelsat, and Airbus Defence & Space have signed an agreement to develop the first fully reconfigurable Quantum satellite.
So far, astronauts haven't suffered medical problems much worse than a bad cold, but what about when the inevitable happens and someone needs surgery millions of miles from the nearest hospital? To seek answers, a surgical team recently carried out a simulated operation aboard a Canadian research jet designed to create weightless conditions.
ESA astronomers have turned the Fermi, Swift and Integral telescopes towards a distant supermassive black hole, using an opportune gravitational lens to make observations that would otherwise have been impossible. The findings represent the first time that gamma rays have been observed using a cosmic lens.
The nature of the universe recently became a little clearer, as
astronomers from Durham University announced the discovery of a large
population of supermassive black holes that were previously hidden from
view by gas and dust. Using data from NASA's NuSTAR
satellite observatory, the researchers confirmed the detection of
high-energy x-rays from black holes that could be billions of times the
mass of the Sun.
A team of engineers from MIT may have brought us one step closer to keeping astronauts strong and healthy in space. They've created a centrifuge that will allow individuals to exercise whilst simulating Earth's gravity.
NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program has advanced to its second phase, green-lighting a series of futuristic technological concepts for further agency-backed development. The program's chief objective is to foster clever ideas that help shape future aerospace exploration and, with interstellar submarines and swarms of tiny satellites, it offers a mind boggling picture of what future space travel might look like.
Three years ago, Swiss research institute EPFL announced its plans to build a spacecraft that could grab orbital debris and then carry it back towards Earth, burning up in the atmosphere with it on its way down. Called CleanSpace One,
the satellite was depicted at the time as using a claw-like grasping
tool. Now, however, EPFL has announced that it will utilize a folding
conical net to essentially gobble up bits of space garbage.
Scientists estimate there are 20,000 particles of space junk measuring up at over 10 cm in diameter currently hurtling around the earth at an average velocity of 25,000 km/h, threatening to damage or destroy orbiting satellites. To combat the problem, the German Government has granted the German Aerospace Center (DLR) €25 million to create a system to track space junk as it orbits the earth and the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) has been tasked with creating the new system's radar component.