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Space Feature

Reaching for the stars: How lasers could propel spacecraft to relativistic speeds

How do you send man-made probes to a nearby star? According to NASA-funded research at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), the answer is simple: assemble a laser array the size of Manhattan in low Earth orbit, and use it to push tiny probes to 26 percent the speed of light. Though the endeavour may raise a few eyebrows, it relies on well-established science – and recent technological breakthroughs have put it within our reach.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People Feature

Dezso Molnar interview: On the road with a serial inventor and flying car advocate

Dezso Molnar is living his childhood dream, traveling America and the world as a wandering inventor, living out of the back of a Honda Element as often as not. He consults on all manner of fascinating projects, from rocketry to electric aviation to land speed racers, and he's in the process of starting up a flying car racing league, into which he'll enter his own flying motorcycle. Loz spent several days with Dezso in California, meeting some of his remarkable friends and taking a peek at some of his many projects. Here's part one of our long-form interview, in which Dezso talks about his origins as an inventor, rocket scientist and rock star.Read More

NASA begins construction of SLS core stage mock-up

NASA has begun the process of constructing a mock-up of the vast core section of its planned Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The simulated core will serve as a practice tool for NASA prior to the 2018 launch of the SLS, which the agency hopes will move mankind one step closer to undertaking a manned mission to Mars.Read More

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.Read More

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.Read More

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."Read More

Space Launch System fires up

NASA is another step closer to manned deep-space missions with the completion of the latest round of RS-25 rocket engine tests. Based on the engines that sent the Space Shuttle into orbit, the new power plants will form the core of the Space Launch System (SLS).Read More

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