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Rocket

The Electron launch system uses a battery-powered turbopump in its Rutherford engine

Though there have been tremendous advances in space technology in recent years, when it comes to getting into space, we're still like cavemen trying to get beyond the breakers on a floating log – at least, that's the view of New Zealand-based company Rocket Lab. In the hopes of increasing the number of satellite launches to over 100 a year and placing constellations of small satellites into orbit numbering in the thousands, the company has developed a "battery-powered" rocket engine to lift its Electron launch vehicle at almost a tenth of the cost of conventional boosters.  Read More

The Vulcan rocket will use a reusable booster engine configuration

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) has entered the reusable launcher race with its Next Generation Launch System (NGLS), also known as the Vulcan rocket. This replacement for the current generation of launch systems will incorporate a rocket engine assembly that jettisons from the first stage and is snared in mid-air by a helicopter after reentering the Earth's atmosphere  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

The BE-3 engine recently completed its acceptance testing

Blue Origin has taken a step closer to lifting into space by announcing that its BE‑3 rocket engine has completed acceptance testing, opening the door to its first flight. The first new hydrogen engine to be developed in the US in over a decade, the BE-3 is part of Blue Origin's program to develop a completely reusable launch system.  Read More

Ed White during the first-ever American spacewalk (Photo: NASA James McDivitt)

March 23 marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of Gemini III - the first manned mission of the now legendary Gemini program. Following hot on the heels of the Mercury missions, and only a short time after President Kennedy's famous speech in which he announced his intent to put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade, Gemini was tasked with testing the technologies and techniques that would lead America to victory in the space race.  Read More

The ADAPT vehicle flew to an altitude of 1,066 ft before descending using LVS and G-FOLD l...

In anticipation of more ambitious planetary missions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, in collaboration with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California, has recently been testing new landing technologies using an Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed (ADAPT). Aimed at developing new systems for landing on Mars and other planets with much greater precision, a new imaging landing system and algorithm were tested using the demonstration vehicle on two successful flights.  Read More

The SLS solid fuel booster pictured during its two-minute certification test (Photo: NASA)

NASA has successfully completed the first of two tests designed to certify the massive solid fuel boosters which will form a part of NASA's next generation Space Launch System (SLS). Once completed, SLS will represent the most powerful launch vehicle ever constructed and will be responsible for, among other tasks, launching NASA's Orion spacecraft on humanity's first manned mission to Mars.  Read More

CT-2 rolling out from the VAB (Photo: NASA)

Two veterans of the US space program have marked 50 years of service with in appropriately sedate style. In 1965, a pair of gigantic crawlers were built to move the Saturn V moon rockets to the launch pad. Half a century later, they are still in service and being upgraded to handle NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and other launch vehicles. To celebrate, the 6 million lb (2.7 million kg) Crawler-Transporter 2 (CT-2) made a rollout for a visitor and media day at less than one mph.  Read More

Artist's depiction of the ICI-4 rocket which launched today (Image: Trond Abrahamsen, Andø...

The northern lights are more than one of nature's most awe inspiring sights, they are an electromagnetic phenomenon that can adversely affect power grids and communications and navigation systems. Researchers from the University of Oslo have flown a rocket through the lights to take a closer look with the aim of gathering data that will help in predicting space weather.  Read More

IXV lifting off atop its Vega launch vehicle (Photo:  ESA–S. Corvaja, 2015)

ESA's IXV experimental spaceplane has successfully carried out its 100-minute mission to test technology re-entry and navigation technology for the next generation of European spacecraft. Whilst often described as a spaceplane, the IXV is in reality an atmospheric re-entry testing package wrapped in what appears to be a basic space shuttle fuselage. The resulting data accrued from the launch will inform a wide range of endeavors, spanning from re-supply trips to the ISS, to manned return missions to Mars.  Read More

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