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International Space Station

A laser/telescope system may be able to de-orbit smaller pieces of orbital debris (Image: ...

Orbital debris is increasingly becoming a hazard to satellites and other spacecraft, which is why various groups have proposed concepts such as gas clouds, nets and sails for collecting it. While those approaches could capture larger objects, the problem of smaller pieces of debris – which whiz around the Earth like bullets – would remain. That's why an international group of scientists is developing a system that could shoot those bits down with a laser.  Read More

Falcon 9 making its landing attempt

Elon Musk's goal of achieving the first powered landing of a reusable booster had a close brush with success today as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket narrowly failed to survive a touchdown on the deck of a drone barge off the US east coast. The third landing attempt by the company came after the launch of the CRS-6 mission, which sent an unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.  Read More

An artificial muscle developed by Lenore Rasmussen (pictured) will be tested aboard the IS...

When the Dragon spacecraft is propelled into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket this week on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), it will be carrying an artificial muscle material developed by Lenore Rasmussen and her company RasLabs. In addition to better prosthetic devices, it is hoped the material could find applications in robots on deep space missions.  Read More

Proba-2 captured this image at the height of its second encounter with Friday morning's so...

Friday morning bore witness to a stunning solar eclipse, as our Moon traversed the face of our parent star, blocking its light in a beautiful example of the intricate orbits negotiated by the planets and moons that make up our solar system. For those able to secure a pair of protective glasses and be charmed enough to gaze through cloud-free skies, the sight was a spectacular one – a rare meeting of two celestial bodies that have accompanied each of us through every day and night of our lives.  Read More

Artist's impression of the unmanned Dream Chaser in orbit (Image: SNC)

Though the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spaceplane was kicked out of the running to ferry crew to the ISS, a variation on the craft may still end up visiting the station. As part of its bid to win NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract, SNC has unveiled an unmanned autonomous version of Dream Chaser to carry cargo into orbit.  Read More

The ISS will be home for Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko for a year (Photo:  STS-128 Cre...

Most missions to the International Space Station range from 160 to 180 days, but this month Russia and NASA will launch a joint year-long mission designed to more fully test the stress of space travel on the human body. ISS veterans Scott Kelly (US) and Mikhail Kornienko (Russia) have been training for two years for this daunting mission, culminating in departure slated for March 27, 2015, 3:42 p.m. EST. from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome.  Read More

Artist's concept of Jupiter/Exoliner docking with the ISS

Lockheed Martin has provided a glimpse at the next generation of commercial spacecraft by revealing its proposal for NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program. The new cargo ships, which Lockheed compares to the US transcontinental railroads of the 19th century, are designed to not only resupply the International Space Station, but also support manned deep space missions, such as the first expedition to Mars.  Read More

Soyuz TMA-14M in the final stages of its descent (Photo: NASA, Bill Ingalis)

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova have safely touched down in Kazakhstan on Mar. 11, with the landing heralding the end of a 167-day mission to the International Space Station. During their time in low-Earth orbit, the crew's activities were planned to the minute by mission controllers on the ground. Over the course of Expedition 42, hundreds of experiments were undertaken relating to the effects of the microgravity environment aboard the station, the potential benefits of which will aid future astronauts, as well as the people back on Earth.  Read More

Artist's concept of the space drogue (Image: NASA)

Getting to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) by jumping out of an airlock with a parachute may seem daft, but a group of students are trying just that with a CubeSat. According to NASA, TechEdSat-4, which was jettisoned from the space station on March 3, has reached its designated orbit, where it will use a parachute-like "exo-brake" to slow it down enough to safely re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.  Read More

The tests took place in the Quest airlock (Photo: ESA/NASA)

The airlock of the International Space Station (ISS) was turned into a laboratory last week. In a station with as much space as a 747, that may seem a bit odd, but its purpose was part of a study of the lungs of space travelers by monitoring the effects of one the astronauts' most surprising hazards: dust.  Read More

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