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Rocket

The ALASA concept uses an expendable rocket dropped from a conventional aircraft to launch...

If you've ever dreamed of turning your municipal airport into a satellite launching facility, then DARPA has your number. At this week's 18th Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC, Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office reported on the progress of the agency's Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, which is designed to launch 100-lb (45-kg) satellites into low-Earth orbit using an expendable rocket dropped from a conventional aircraft.  Read More

The latest Falcon 9 launch has been delayed 24 hours (Photo: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Today's launch of NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has been delayed 24 hours. With less than two and a half minutes on the clock, mission control placed the launch on hold due to problems in the first stage avionics and with one of the range safety radars.  Read More

NASA's SMAP satellite blasts off from the Vandenburg Air Force Base, California (Image: NA...

On its third attempt, NASA has successfully launched its Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite atop a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket. The orbiter is designed to take high resolution moisture maps on a global scale, mapping the entire planet in the space of only two to three days. The maps will grant us an improved ability to forecast droughts, floods, and even aid agricultural workers in crop planning and rotation.  Read More

Starscraper project Mark IIb engine test firing

The International Space Station (ISS) may get all the glory, but suborbital rocket flights still play a vital part in space research. The problem is that even though such flights only go to the edge of space, they are expensive, few in number, and put massive stresses on experiments. Partly funded by a Kickstarter campaign, students at Boston University are developing an inexpensive suborbital rocket for educational purposes that uses new engine designs to create a cheaper, reusable suborbital rocket that's easier on the payload.  Read More

An autonomous spaceport drone ship will act as the landing target for the Falcon 7

On Friday, the Dragon CRS-5 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket. If the launch is successful, the unmanned Dragon spacecraft will carry supplies and experiments to the ISS, but that part is almost routine. What is unusual is that SpaceX has confirmed that it will not only attempt a powered landing of the Falcon 9 booster, but will do so as a precision landing on a robotic sea barge.  Read More

The hybrid rocket engine is one of three power plants which the Bloodhound team hopes will...

Britain's Bloodhound team has taken a slow-but-steady approach toward its goal of breaking the world land speed record, but it appears to be paying off. Bloodhound, along with its partner, the Norwegian/Finnish aerospace and defense group, Nammo, have successfully tested a large hybrid solid/liquid rocket engine at Nammo's test facility in Norway. Described as the "latest in the evolution of hybrid rocket motor technology," it's one of three power plants that will be used by the Bloodhound Supersonic Car when it makes its record attempt in 2016.  Read More

A Falcon 9 rocket with grid fins deployed

SpaceX is banking on its plan to recycle rockets as a means of cutting the cost of space travel and transport. CEO Elon Musk revealed the latest part of this puzzle over the weekend: the autonomous spaceport drone ship.  Read More

U.S. communication with the International Space Station happens from this room at NASA's M...

One of NASA’s more off-the-radar facilities is responsible for some of the organization’s most important research. Kennedy Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory may get the lion's share of attention, but Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, is responsible for developing much of the complex inner-workings of rockets, satellites, and future technologies.  Read More

Francois Gissy's rocket bicycle that took him to 333 km/h (207 mph) (Photo: Gerard Toutin ...

Last November, Frenchman Francois Gissy hit 285 km/h (177 mph) on a rocket-powered bicycle. Now, at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France, he's knocked his own world record out of the park. Dialing in a massive 4.5 kN of thrust, which generates roughly the equivalent of 560 horsepower (418 kW), Gissy took his rickety-looking rocket bike up to a monstrous 333 km/h (207 mph), hitting top speed in just 4.8 seconds and generating about 1.96 Gs worth of acceleration. We had a quick chat with Gissy, who tells us he's hoping his next run will put him over 400 km/h (249 mph) in less than two seconds on a machine he's calling the "Spine Crusher."  Read More

Artist's concept of SpaceShipTwo separating from WhiteKnightTwo

One of the two pilots who were aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo during yesterday's test flight accident is dead. At a press conference at the company’s Mojave Air & Space Port, officials from Virgin Galactic said that local authorities have confirmed the death and that the second pilot, who parachuted from the spaceplane before it crashed in the desert, is in hospital after suffering serious injuries.  Read More

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