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Space

NASA successfully launches SMAP satellite

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

Space

Starscraper aims at cheaper, gentler suborbital rocket

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

Space

SpaceX to attempt Falcon 9 platform landing on Friday

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

Automotive

Bloodhound Supersonic Car group tests hybrid rocket engine

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

3D Printing

Marshall Space Flight Center: A tour through NASA's hidden gem

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

Bicycles

Interview with a madman: Francois Gissy hits 333 km/h on rocket-powered bicycle

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

Space

One pilot confirmed dead in SpaceShipTwo crash

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

Space

ESA postpones experimental spaceplane launch

ESA has delayed the launch of its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), originally planned for Nov. 18. The decision to delay the launch was made to allow the agency time to gather further information on the unusual trajectory into which the Vega rocket will be launched. Read More

Space

ISS resupply rocket explodes on lift-off

An unmanned resupply mission to the International Space Station has suffered a catastrophic failure six seconds after launch from the Wallops Island launch facility, Virginia. All personnel have been accounted for with zero injuries, however damage was sustained to the launch site.Read More

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