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Rocket


— Space

Blue Origin's New Shepard makes historic touch down

In April, Blue Origin, the aerospace company established by Jeff Bezos, successfully conducted the first test flight of its New Shepard space vehicle. While the launch was a success, the propulsion module was unable to be recovered as planned due to a loss of pressure in the hydraulic system on descent. But sticking to the old adage of, if you don't first succeed, try, try again, Blue Origin has now successfully launched and landed a re-usable rocket designed to take paying customers on a suborbital flight to the edge of space.

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— Space

Moon Express and Rocket Lab team up for 2017 lunar mission

Space startup Moon Express has signed a contract with Rocket Lab to help carry out three lunar missions starting in 2017. Described as the first private contract between two companies to carry out a lunar landing, the agreement will see Rocket Lab provide launch services using its Electron rocket system for the Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander as part of Moon Express's attempt win the Google Lunar Xprize.

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— 3D Printing

NASA tests 3D-printed turbopump

NASA has previously tested simple 3D-printed rocket components, such as combustion chambers and fuel injectors, but if the technique is to be practical, it has to cope with more complex items. Case in point is this 3D-printed rocket engine turbopump. Successfully built and tested at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the turbopump is described as "one of the most complex, 3D-printed rocket engine parts ever made."

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— Space

Copenhagen Suborbitals dreams big with Spica rocket

Meet Copenhagen Suborbitals (CS), the small Danish organization with a big dream – launching a human being into space, and returning them safely to Earth in a shoestring-budget micro rocket. The CS website conveys a simple mission statement, to prove that access to space does not have to come in the form of an exorbitantly expensive government-subsidized project. CS is proving that a driven group of individuals can achieve what would at first glance appear to be the unachievable, and strike a blow for the democratization of space.

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— Space

Scramjet-based project looks to blast Australia into space

The list of spacefaring nations remains small, but thanks to continuing advances in technology that promise to reduce the financial and logistical hurdles involved, the numbers are set to increase. One country that could be joining the club, if the University of Queensland (UQ) and Heliaq Advanced Engineering get their way, is Australia. The two are teaming up on a project intended to deliver payloads weighing from 50 to 500 kg (110 to 1,102 lb) into orbit.

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