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International Space Station

This artist's concept of OPALS in operatin (Image: NASA)

In internet engineering, there’s a problem called the “last half mile," which looks at how to connect users to high-speed fiber optic networks without going through old-fashioned copper wires that can slow data down to a crawl. NASA has more of a “last 250 miles” problem in making data connections with the International Space Station (ISS). The upcoming Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) project is an optical technology demonstration for using lasers to improve communications with the ISS and other spacecraft in hopes of boosting connection speeds by a factor of 10 to 100.  Read More

The Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) facility provides a suite of robotic systems with the c...

The Space Shuttle may be gone, but one part of it is still going strong. The Canadian-built Canadarm robotic arm first flew on the Shuttle in 1981 and its successor, Canadarm2, is still working on the International Space Station (ISS) helping with experiments, supporting space-walking astronauts, and aiding unmanned cargo ships to dock. Not content to rest on its laurels, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working on the Next Generation Canadarm (NGC). More flexible and compact than its predecessor, it’s part of a new 5-part system designed to fulfill the need for robotic arms to help with satellite repair and refueling.  Read More

Ultrasonic sensors could help detect air leaks on the ISS (Photo: NASA)

In space, no one can hear you scream, but you can hear an air leak. In old science fiction movies, air leaks on spaceships and stations reveal themselves as convenient holes to slap a patch on, but on the complex International Space Station (ISS), it isn't that simple. NASA is working on a new system for detecting the ultrasonic noise of an air leak quickly before it turns into a dangerous race against time.  Read More

Kirobo will travel to the ISS on August 4

In what may not be the most historic event in space exploration, but may be the cutest, Toyota has announced that the Kibo Robot Project’s “robot astronaut” Kirobo will be sent to the International Space Station on August 4. Unlike its human counterparts, the 13.4-in (34 cm) tall humanoid robot will travel aboard an unmanned Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center atop a H-IIB rocket. Once at the ISS, Kirobo is scheduled to conduct the first-ever robot-human conversation experiments in December.  Read More

Made in Space was first tested aboard a cargo plane using parabolic flights to achieve zer...

Imagine the first manned mission to Mars is three months out from Earth when a one-of-a-kind vital component fails. Today, such an accident would mean a choice between desperate invention and death, but it may not be too long before astronauts will just download a file and print out any part as needed. Turning such a potential drama into a simple task is the goal of NASA and Made in Space Inc., whose plan is to send a 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) next year as part of demonstration to show the potential of the technology.  Read More

Abell 222/223 galaxies, showing a filament of dark matter stretching between the two galax...

Recently the media has been saturated with overly-hyped reports that NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) may have detected dark matter. These claims may have some justification if the word "may" is shouted, but they rest on a number of really major assumptions and guesses, some of which are on weak and shifting soil. So just what was seen in the experiment, and what are the possible explanations?  Read More

Commander Hadfield's videos have received millions of views on YouTube (Image: Canadian Sp...

After one hundred and forty-four days, 2,336 orbits of the Earth, and hundreds upon hundreds of posts to Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, Commander Chris Hadfield has returned from the International Space Station a household name – arguably space travel's first since the Apollo Moon landings. Gizmag takes a look back at Hadfield's 5-month mission to see how and why Hadfield inspired millions.  Read More

The International Space Station awaiting repair of a coolant leak

NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Cassidy are preparing for a six hour spacewalk to fix the latest ammonia coolant leak on the International Space Station.  Read More

The International Space Apps Challenge asked teams to solve problems for both Earth and sp...

Given a set of problems related to space exploration and a 48-hour deadline, 9,000 people in 80 locations around the world created over 600 solutions. The International Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA and other international space agencies, offered up massive amounts of data and other resources to teams of hackers who responded with creative solutions. The public now has the chance to view these solutions online and vote for their favorites on each project's official page. Gizmag set out to find the best projects related to data visualization and education, space exploration and satellite inventiveness, green technology, and remotely-operated vehicles.  Read More

Breakfast wouldn't be breakfast without a good, hot bag of coffee

Since the early days of space travel, a consistent complaint has been bad coffee. Now a group of freshman engineering students at Rice University has developed a simple approach to alleviating this problem.  Read More

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